tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera November 24, 2015 1:00am-1:31am EST
>> i felt like i was in a washing machine. >> we're kind of stuck with more than a century of bad choices. >> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight. easy access, the immigration loophole. and secret messages, how mobile apps could be used to coordinate an attack. this summer's compassion for syrians seeking refugen the west has given away to autumn's fear and loathing. people in europe and america
have removed the welcome mats they have once put out. for thousands of refugees fleeing war in their home land. by wide margins, americans oppose president obama's proposal to bring in 30,000 syrians. and governors don't want them in their state. even if they are admitto the united states as refugees. what americans fear most is foreigners intent to do harm, disguised as refugees who have free rein, witnessed in paris just ten days ago. indeed some of the killers in the french exam had visited i.s.i.l. controlled territory in syria before coming back to plot their attacks or at least that's what's alleged. but the perpetrators weren't syrians.
they were french and belgian nationals, with passports. are france alone has contributed some 2,000 foreign fighters to the ranks of i.s.i.l. in syria and iraq and that is a potential security vulnerability that some people in congress say is a bigger danger than admitting syrian refugees into america. that's because the u.s. has a visa waiver program with 30 other nations allowing, bypassing of screening process that entrants do. easily use their passports for easy access to the united states and plot new attacks here. libby casey has this report. >> compare the programs. on the one hand, the obama administration wants to admit 10,000 syrian refugees that
takes a year and a half to two years. on the other hand, the vee is a waiver program. >> the vee is a waiver program has many, many more people going through it millions, it takes virtually no time as opposed to 18 months to 24 months and there's much less vetting. we need to really tighten up that program. >> democrats on capitol hill and some republicans say they want improvements, especially since the perpetrators of the paris attacks traveled between europe and the middle east with ease. >> that's a huge risk. >> the program lets citizens of three dozen countries including france australia and japan, travel to the united states for 90 days, no see visa necessary.
>> this program i have supported but i also believe it is the soft underbelly of our national security policies. >> senator dianne feinstein says many are let into the united states with no examination. she proposes getting a visa waiver they can still travel to the u.s. but on a traditional visa that includes an in person interview, that requires all immigrants to provide photos and passports, and a chip to store biometric data. for the past five years, american passports have contained an he h e-chip. >> the changes may sound good but they're complicated. >> we haven't been able to come up with a way to put information
technology in the path of the traveler without disrupting flow at an airport. so that has not been done on our end. now we're going to ask other airports to do a similar program on their end? in. >> libby casey joins me now from washington, good to see you. is dianne feinstein using this moment after the paris attacks to paint republicans into a corner to get this bill passed which she's been trying to get passed since 2007? >> yes she has been working on it for a long time but the numbers speak for themselves. you are talking about thousands of people coming into the country through refugee programs and millions of psychiatristors for this visa waiver program. she is certainly using this moment to highlight what she has said was a chief concern. she's got democrats and republicans supporting her in this effort
ali. >> we have seen is republicans efforts to stop refugees coming in. are there republicans who are coming out fiercely against this? >> this gets to your question about is dianne feinstein painting them into a corner? you are on record wanting to tighten up security, strong vetting process of anyone coming into the united states. and dianne feinstein says this has a lot more porous holes than we would like. while we aring good after a program that impacts a fraction of the number of people that come to the united states. and as you look at, as you mention, the perpetrators of the attacks in paris, they could have come over to the united states on their passports alone because they belong to these visa waiver countries. so she is able to push this
issue at this very moment. now republicans have come out with some other proposals one of them rand paul, presidential candidate, member of the senate has said he would like to see a 30 day waiting period for people coming over from visa waiver countries. well the business community is actually pushing back against this republican proposal because they say it's totally unrealistic not just for families planning vacations but every business meengts tha meeting that people take, or countries that the u.s. have a strong economic relationship with. so like shooting that idea down, but republicans is owned this for quite a while because of business concerns and they are worried about could this have a chilling effect? is it more of a process of having to go make a consular visit, apply for a visa? could that be more difficult for people to come to the country. >> thanks very much, libby casey
for us in washington. as libby said, conservatives say we should stop refugees coming into the united states. that's after the break. >> this is al jazeera america live from new york. >> at 7:00 - "news roundup". tony harris gives you a fast-paced recap of the day's events. >> this is the first line of defense. >> we have an exclusive story tonight. >> then at 8:00 - john seigenthaler brings you the top stories from across america. >> the question is, will these dams hold? >> and at 9:00 - >> i'm ali velshi, on target tonight... >> ali velshi on target. digging deeper into the issues that matter. >> i'm trying to get a sense for what iranians are feeling.
calls have come from both house of coming. the visa program allows travelers from europe and elsewhere to bypass the rigorous screening process that visa applicants usually good do through. before entering the united states. one analyst out there this the thinks the visa program should be expanded. james carafano, author of wikiworld at war. good to have you. >> good to be with you. >> dianne feinstein since 2007 has been trying tighten up this visa waiver program. and potato 9/11 ha post 9/11 har place to get into to be a tourist in and it benefits us
economically to open things up. where do you stand on what she's trying to do? >> she's wrong. there are no security gaps in the visa waiver program. the difference between the visa waiver program and getting a regular visa is we have better relationships with countries that participate in the program, so we share a lot more information. we actually know a lot more about a traveler and risks from visa waiver countries than from countries we just don't get visas. nothing gets bypassed, and -- >> hold on a second, an interview gets bypassed and some say there's nothing better than an interview. >> they're wrong. the exact same thing you provide in a veet sees a, then you get d in for an interview and what that actually does is improves an interview. you are interviewing high risk people as poamed to everybody.
if you. >> hold on i'm on your side. i'm just saying that you something doesn't get mixed. if you are not part of esta or visa waiver program doesn't get missed, you might say that's inefficient and i might agree with you. >> look, the data shows that the interview is no more effective than other methods. again the impression is here you're bieching something. all these -- bypassing something. all the methods that would do in the esta program, the credit screening is actually identical, you have hundreds of thousands of people coming every year if you parse all that time out in an interview you are actually doing really crappy per fungary perfunctory interviews. if you have been to syria or iraq you should get an interview. the reality in esta, if you
admit that you have gone to syria or iraq, you are going to have an interview anyway. >> by the way, because our viewers know because we are having a very robust conversation. esta is strong system for travel authorization and if you are saying that you're honest in your application you'll still get the interview, if you are not honest what happens? >> well, the same thing would happen if you go on an interview in line. if you are a good terrorist and you go on an interview you know how to lie. there is not a whole lot of benefit, unless you are a high risk person and you already know they're high risk and you're already interviewing them. it's mostly about intelligence and you're not going to agree to them anyway. countries have to agree to all kinds of additional requirements which actually make travel much more safer much more robust. for example all that electronic information, feinstein says i want their picture, i want their
fingertips. fingerprints. you know what? they have to put that in their passport and you already have that. >> let's talk politically for a second about the argument that we're getting ourselves all into a lat they are about how dangerous refugees who would take to to two and a half years dmiltd to the united states would be, when in fact most of the perpetrators allegedly involved in the pawshes attack were from france or belgium, the same rigorous process that there's something to that right? >> there's the politics and the reality. the politics is this is democrats pay back for people you know annoying and embarrassing the present refugees. they should be vetted appropriately and we can do that. we have brought them in from other war zones and i think all congress really needs to be is
reassured at a the process is being done properly. i think this is politics, the reality is that it's look, the terrorists that travel, and we did a report on this after 9/11 and people can go on the web and they can find it. it's the 9/11 commission on terrorist travel. what we find is every possible way a terrorist can travel, they have tried. but the point is they travel in such small numbers that putting blocking any method of travel as a way to stop terrorists is rims. is ridiculous. it's like looking for a needle in the haystack. you. >> i always find it unusual given how much i travel that there's no exit requirement at all in the united states, biometric or otherwise. if congress requires it to be biometric that should be just eliminated, but should there be anybody checking you out when you leave the country?
>> the point is we have 40 million people coming in and out of this country all the time. tracking that number to the precision of zero doesn't really get you there. even if you say a thousand people didn't check out. there's 30 million people in the country, are you going to go find them? the expense you go to for this perfect accountability, for 30 million people is going to give you data that is not really useful. we can track people, for instance the terrorist who tried to bomb time square, we can track him down. >> within two days. are some of the requirements of visa and tracking in the united states are built on the idea that we don't want people coming in here working illegally as opposed to trying to find people who do bad things? >> it is a dual-use system. visas were initially designed, visa security, economic overstay people coming in the country and
just wanting to keep working and overstaying their visa. what we did in the post9/11 world, we completely revamped the visa waiver program so we could add in measures that provided security not just for us but for other countries. and when people just say well we'll just exit this program and not do this, okay fine great do that. so that means every country that we participated would likely rereciprocate. we hardly go to countries that require visas, but if you were to go to europe dom england and germany for oktoberfest, americans don't realize the blessings that they have that they participate in this program. the thing is the people that are supporting this are not just saying this is good economics. what they're saying is this is good security. to participate in this program the bar is so much higher you're
way way better off, you're much more secure than you are with trafltion wh travelers who all you have to do is go get a visa. >> i would assume you don't agree with senator rand paul's proposal of a 30 day delay in the visa program? >> it doesn't make sense. i'm not sure what the 30 days adds. it's an electronic system. you're instantary going to the database and terrorist watch list against criminal indictments. so all that's happening instantaneously . to be fair to most of these people, they're speaking auto of ig snorns, right? they haven't bothered to see how this works. i have never found a renal person would who's looked at this system and hasn't said one it's way better than it was before 9/11 and b, it's way
better than anything else that's out there. >> jim carafano thanks for joining us. vice president of national security and policy at the heritage foundation. now the tools being used against us, we'll look at the challenges of decoding chaos, next. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself,
and that's what we're doing at xfinity. we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can
to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. . >> one of the key questions in the paris tacks is how the perpetrators were able to coordinate their moves without being detected. investigators are said to be taking a hard look into so-called strong encryption
technology used in many smartphone messaging applications. jake ward explains. >> if someone wanted a secure application to communicate plans for an attack they'd have no end of option he. what's app the world's leading messaging app would be a logical first choice. security forces tell al jazeera that the app may have been used by the paris attackers. in the aftermath of the bangkok bombings in august it was discovered that the culprits used what's app to communicate. but that's not because it's the preferred means of communication for bad guys, it is the preferred means of communication for nearly one seventh of the world's cell phone users. 8 million monthly users and while 20 billion sms text messages are transmitted each day, it is a free alternative to text messaging and voice calls.
in its early days what's app had a somewhat weak security reputation and so after the company was acquired by facebook, my phone does the encrypting and the phone on the other end does decrypting. they basically arrange a handshake that doesn't involve any central server. sucialtas a result, what happens app does not have any access to my messenger. it's that kind of encryption which is also used by a lot of other competing platforms that has members of the intelligence community complaining that it makes their jobs more difficult if not impossible. speaking on monday, cia director john brennan describes encryption this way. >> intentional gaps that have been created in the ability of intelligence and security services to protect the people
that they are asked to serve. >> david cameron in the aftermath of the paris shootings earlier this year, even called for encrypted messaging apps in britain. it's important to remember that while we've discovered again and again that people use these apps to plot violence it is always in retrospect that we find that out. there's practically no publicly available evidence that any intelligence agency has thrarted an attack by monitoring niece sorts of communications, those are very difficult. >> it is difficult to pick out that dismal that small out of a huge haystack. even if they could, it ising in to prevent the terrorists to use their own code words. >> an to fches warn
authorities of tamerlan la tsarnaev was missed spelled. >> jake ward joins me. jake before we worry about what to do with the information something stood out, that is the idea that what's app and all these other messaging organization he don't have their own key to the back door as we like to see, the dispute in the united states now is whether the government should have access to that back door if they need it or they should not be given it. you're saying the companies don't have it. this is a messaging awm messaging app and the that. >> that's right ali. in the postsnowden area it is a matter of salesmanship to say, we have an uncrackable means for you to communicate. what's app, apple, are developing ends to end
encryption schemes. your hand set does the encrypting, the company isn't involved, only giving your phone the able to do it. an unencrypted message never passes through their server. the point that privacy advocates point out and technologists secondary master key that unlocks any possible what's app message that suddenly becomes the most prized hacker goal. suddenly that company would be under siege from hackers across the world trying to gets that encryption scheme. so there really is no feasible way technologically or from a business perspective to build a back door into it. that means across the world as countries like britain, looking at the
investigatory act -- >> but the courts struck that down. >> the court struck down the last one but since our report we've determined now that the investigatory powers act, it is a mouthful but it's an important one is now being sort of pushed through as quickly as possible in britain that would basically make it illegal for any to create an app that does not somehow give the government a back door to it. that means what's app and imessage, a lot of the android messaging apps would have to be done away with because they are built to not be decoded. >> we know that the nsa wants back door keys to everything. is there any threat to shut you down. >> it does not seem feasible. here in the united states, when you are talking about a messaging app that reaches 800 million people that is responsible for more exchanges of information than is traditional texting the united
states just prizes the entrepreneurial spirit enough that they would not simply go in and sort of strike that stuff down. v there have been of course a lot of back door conversations about how could we try to coordinate that and when you talk to tech leaders out there, they say we are constantly being asked by the government, how can we get in the back door without violating your agreement with your customers. that said, the france u.k. and other western allies we are seeing policies that could deal away with encrypted information once and for all. >> we'll save for another day, what you do with the data if security agencies could do it. that's aan important conversation. jacob ward from san francisco. the news continues on al jazeera america. >> it's like a conveyer belt of storms. >> i felt like i was in a
washing machine. >> we're kind of stuck with more than a century of bad choices. ♪ >> the united states has sent military forces to war in many places in the last 60 years, korea, vietnam, the dominican republic, kosovo, afghanistan, iraq again, without the congress doing what is specified in the constitution, declaring war against a national enemy. there is a growing sentiment among americans that the united states should send ground troops to syria. we're asking, anything to declare? it's the "inside story." ♪