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The United States (US) has been engaged in a “war on terrorism” to “defeat” al Qaeda since 2001. This study presented and tested an over-arching conceptual framework for US Counterterrorism (CT) policy. The conceptual frame was tested using qualitative thematic analysis of archival records from the Reagan through Clinton era. The research also used a case study of al Qaeda as the context to bound the selected records for the study. This new conceptual frame was used to evaluate the success, failure, and effects of US CT policy activities related to al Qaeda, using the records identified for the study. Following US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, there was ample cause for further study into US counterterrorism (CT) policy. Unfortunately, CT policy is an understudied area in the field of terrorism research. This study seeks to fill a gap in scholarly understanding of CT policy through the development and testing of this new conceptual framework (Kielsgard et al., 2018; Renard, 2021). The records selected for the case study were primary source documents from Presidential Libraries, other government agencies, and associated documents on relevant events related to US CT policy activity associated with al Qaeda. The new conceptual framework was coded into a hierarchy, tested in a qualitative data analysis software, and analyzed to reveal related evidence of US CT policy action. This study both evaluates US multidisciplinary CT policy and provides a new conceptual framework for other professionals to evaluate US CT policy efficacy.