tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg October 1, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
♪ from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. lisa monaco is here, president obama's chief homeland security advisor. wideole in compass is a range of critical issues that affect u.s. national security. they include the campaign against isis and cyber security. she is also at the head of situation room briefings on immigration and other issues. she also made it the administration's response to the ebola outbreak.
her career as a federal prosecutor in washington and serve as chief of staff to fbi director bob mueller. i am pleased to have her. thank you. -- welcome. lisa: good to be here. charlie: are there more interesting jobs than you have in washington? lisa: i'm not sure. there could be. charlie: what do you define the the job that the president has given you? i have thel respect, best job description that there is. i get to help the president and his national security team keep the nation safe and keep the american people safe. that fundamentally is the job. charlie: what is the biggest threat to our national security? talking aboute terrorism, my job encompasses homeland security and counterterrorism. on the homeland security side, cyber threats, first and foremost, are something we are
very concerned about. on the terrorism side, people are very focused on isil, as continueld be, but i to be very focused on al qaeda and the arabian insulin, -- peninsula, the most determined and persistent affiliate of the al qaeda core, and their nusra,ed efforts, and al and it goes on. charlie: is it possible that they would be able to court date all of these groups so that there would be one central command of all surface -- service under one umbrella? lisa: what's interesting is you see a shift in the terrorism landscape since 9/11, and even in the last few years. silold arguably -- i arguably has elevated in terms of being at the vanguard of global jihad. al qaeda, and what we refer to
as al qaeda core, operating in afghanistan and pakistan, was for a long time our chief focus. sil and the area it occupies between iraq and syria, and increasingly its efforts to extol its adherence to violence is our focus. charlie: al qaeda on the arabian peninsula -- are they, according to osama bin laden's successor? --a: up until a short ladder a short while ago, the leader of the arabian peninsula, who died over the summer, was the deputy to him. he was and had been named by him as the number two in all of al qaeda. so yes, very much a close relationship. charlie: has the success of isis changed al qaeda?
it's interesting, and the statements last week, you can see a struggle for continued relevance. al qaeda core has been largely destined in the afghanistan and pakistan theater, and that is due to the relentless pressure that our intelligence community, our military, our law enforcement efforts working with our partners, including pakistani military operations. charlie: you coordinate with drone policy? -- how do you coordinate drone policy? we continue to take legal action against those threats, those terror factions who pros a continuing eminent threat to u.s. persons, so what does that mean?
a country or partner nation where those terrorists are operating -- if a country or partner nation are those terrorists are operating will not take action, we will do so. i am working with members of the intelligence community and the military to work those operations. charlie: an operational role with respect to drones -- is that the cia? lisa: we have been very clear, and the president has been very clear, that legal action against terrorists ought to be done largely by the military. charlie: largely. lisa: well, there are applications that you -- operations that sometimes the to be done by the intelligence community. i am not going to speak to specific operations, but you want to make sure that the president has a whole range of tools at his disposal. when you are talking about the most great, serious action you can take to disrupt a threat,
and that is legal action, that is the job of the military. that is what the president said in 2013. charlie: when does he get involved in a decision about brown's? -- drones? lisa: i think the best example of this was, with regard to the striking and some lucky -- with regard to the strike that has been talked about. but charlie, this is about setting policy, setting priorities, making sure that the military and intelligence community have clear policy guidance. for instance, the president set out a clear standard for when the united states government will use direct, legal action against a terrorist target outside an area of active hostility. charlie: can you tell us the standards? lisa: as the president laid out in his speech to years ago at the national defense university in 2013, he made very clear that we apply the highest standard we
can, so that means that a terrorist target -- there must be near certainty that the terrorist target -- first of all that the terrorist target has to be a lawful target, then that neart -- we have to have certainty that that target is present, and importantly, charlie, that there are no civilians that would become -- would be killed or injured. charlie: what comes of mistakes occur? or a hostage? most unfortunate example of that is, as you know, the announcement the president made a few months ago about the death of lauren weinstein, and aid worker. italian they were killed in a u.s.
counterterrorism operation and did not have indications that they were there, quite obviously . charlie: what did you have evidence that they had been there? -- but did you have evidence that they had been there? lisa: no. and had there been, as the president said, had we had that information, we would not have conducted that operation. charlie: even if you had the suspicion that they might be there, there would be no operation. lisa: there has to be near certainty that the highest standard -- with the highest standard you can apply that there will not be a civilian casualty or injury. it is a devastating thing when that happens. he maderesident said, the decision immediately upon being told what happened that there was accountability and it would be public, that this is the action that had been taken, and the united states would take responsibility.
you take on an al qaeda or terrorist leader, i assume the widest -- wisest thing you can do to avoid a drone attack is have someone close to you -- either a child, family, or a hostage. we have seen actions to try and port operations. charlie: like what? staying on communications devices. at a certain point, you've got to communicate, you've got to move. agency communications and the military tries to work within them. silrlie: how is i different? lisa: it is a threat phenomenal and different in kind that the al qaeda core threat and its affiliates. they havegs -- displayed an almost apocalyptic ambition, certainly of brutality
, that has been unprecedented. a mission to establish a caliphate between iraq and syria. lisa: absolutely. they have shown the ability to take and hold territory. --s was the extinguishing the distinguishing factor, one that we were talking about at this time last year. as you know, the president was able to bring a group of some 60 nations together in a coalition , inight i sold --isil military terms as well is going after their finances, going after their four fighters, addressing their abhorrent messaging that they provided to young people to enlist them in iraq. isil is different in the vision is put -- the vision it puts forth, but most distinguishing feature, i think,
charlie, is the success they have had and their ability to use social media. i make the analogy that several years ago, just a handful of years ago, my colleagues and i in counterterrorism were focused on the al qaeda and arabian peninsula's use of magazines to extol their followers and get them direct and. -- give them direct in. .- direction at the time, it was a pdf on the web. that looks like an eight track tape version of propaganda now when you see what isil is doing. isil uses twitter and social media, and poses a next potential threat. -- x potential threat -- exponential threat. charlie: is it primarily for recruiting? but: people use that term,
it is more like enlistment. there are some 90,000 twitter accounts that are associated with isil. them may fraction of be true i sold members --isil members, but they themselves will have 50,000 followers out of shock. do the math. they are getting their word out, getting their vision out, in some cases directing and some cases extolling, individuals, and they are preying on .ulnerable people, mostly youth this is a distinguishing factor, too will stop we do not see one demographic -- too. we do not see one demographic drawn to this. all ages, but mostly youth? charlie: what attracts them? the romance? lisa: this is a question we need a lot more research on.
but i think one of the things is an attraction to being part of something bigger. these are disillusioned, vulnerable young adults. charlie: it's like youth joining gangs. lisa: that's exactly right. there have been a lot of talk about the parallels, and if there are ways that we can give those young people and offramp, if you will, before they get drawn to this. my impression from reading a lunch of media is that recently there have been some people who have given testimony that it is not what you would expect. lisa: yes, and this is what we need to lift up. this is what we need to get more attention to. charlie: but that's the responsibility of the state department or the white house? department runs under the leadership of rick engel. -- s i think you know him. charlie: i have known him a long
time. lisa: he runs something called a strategic communications center to provide messaging that seeks to counter isil's narrative. but we can do that, and rick is doing a tremendous job on that, and he has worked to set up the gold version of this -- gulf version of this that will send 'st messages to debunk isil message and narrative. but what really has to happen is lift up the voices of those who have traveled and found that isil is being hypocritical. and it's not a romantic jihad -- it is a brutal undertaking, a savage undertaking where women are enslaved, raped, and beaten.
charlie: have there been reports? lisa: there have been reports. charlie: can you are from the -- confirm them? lisa: i cannot. there was a hostage as well. lisa: yes, i think you're speaking of kayla miller. mueller. charlie: where is he? is he in syria? iraq? time, he wasong public, and we had a public , it was a bigm step, the first time he had been seen publicly in some time, a show of defiance. charlie: but there is also this,
you have been able to launch successful drone attacks against isil. hit the leadership, including the guy doing the finance for them. lisa: yes. anylie: does that have impact? some people have said they have carefully organized themselves so that somebody can step up. they expect to lose certain members because of drone attacks or other clashing militarily. lisa: we have been putting a tremendous amount of pressure in iraq and increasingly in syria and around iraqa. leader wasance killed during an operation. it was intended to capture him. military members were going into syria. what did happen, though, in that raid, was a tremendous amount of
intelligence getting gathered. that helps us understand what isil is doing and its finances. but also in iraq, the u.s. to move th able number two -- the number two and i saw. -- in isil. charlie: meaning you killed him. lisa: correct. and in syria, there has been the death of an individual and mains who were the proponents in isil of external operations, particularly extolling persons in the united states to undertake what we refer to as "opportunistic attacks." ♪
♪ merlie: vladimir putin told that he worried most about people on the battlefield coming , those russians who had been attracted coming back, and he said i would rather fight them in syria than russia, and that is why i am in syria. let's talk about russia and syria. he is clearly telegraphing that he wanted to build russian
forces there to support aside -- assad. he also said he is there because he wants to defeat isis, and it inimportant to keep assad government because you need government to defeat isis, and invited the united states and other countries to help them in that effort. why is that not a good idea? lisa: a few things are wrong with that. assad government and what it has done to his people, is a magnet for extremists to come and foreign fighters to flow into syria and iraq. assad is not a counterterrorism partner. charlie: but -- he said that.
a lot of people believe that aside is a magnet to attract -- isil.to i sold but you might not immediately , but agree that in the near term we need him for that effort. that is clear is -- clearly what secretary kerry has said, unless you correct me. lisa: i don't think we need that effort, because assad is not going against isil, . i would say there is no need to reinvent the wheel. the president continues to lead and will convene again tomorrow
am a the coalition of 60 nations countering isil. aat was begun last year, or little bit earlier in the summer, precisely because -- one of the main considerations was the flow of foreign fighters and the need to fight isil coming from turkey to europe, and he took it away to the united states. the aim of the coalition certainly to partner with iraqi security forces to push back isil, to address the flow of foreign fighters. charlie: there is a policy difference there. saudi and others want to get assad first. lisa: they certainly do. our policyll me what is with respect to assad. where is it today?
lisa: what i would say about this, charlie, is the effort we have made against isil has been one focused with our gulf allies. and you are quite right -- they and we believe assad should go. charlie: but they believe it as a condition of our involvement. factare not happy with the that there is not a huge focus on getting assad removed. is that true or not? lisa: i would take a little bit of issue with that. charlie: you don't take issue with assad being a higher priority with them than with us. lisa: it depends on what we are talking about. saudi arabia, i would argue right now, their focus is human -- yemen, it is iran, and certainly it is isil. last year, as i was traveling through the region to gain support, along with secretary kerry, to gain the support of
our gulf allies to join the coalition and undertake strikes , dropping bombs in syria. charlie: including the jordanian pilot that was captured. lisa: correct. saudi assistance. that was all garnered because the one thing i found in my discussions with the gulf countries was there unity -- .heir unity against isil they believe it is a perversion of islam. they will not call them isil. they will call them dash. to refer towant them as islamic in any way.
they have tried to undergo a change in their own name several times. they started out as al qaeda in iraq, became isil, and then wanted to become isis, or the islamic state. the view to only call them isil is to not give them the benefit of their own branding. that term isse offensive to a lot of people who are muslims. lisa: yes. charlie: so what is the difference between what the united states and russia want to do in syria? lisa: what they want to do is wantsisil, but putin also to fight assad. that is fundamentally intentioned, because we believe .ssad cannot fit there is no legitimate future in
syria. charlie: do you think he wants assadp up as odd because may be a serious mistake on his part, but assad is necessary in the fight against isil? that he brings something important, which is a central authority, an army, and other factors? lisa: i think that remains to be seen because we have not seen a effort by amount of the syrian regime against isil. charlie: interesting. it is all directed against so-called moderate forces. lisa: opposition forces. charlie: because most of the depths of civilians come from the syrian army, correct? lisa: right. -- toe: so two out of under 50,000 people. -- 250,000 people. lisa: 12 million. well, 7 million displaced
persons, 4 million refugees, so 12 million total -- charlie: have been displaced by this war. lisa: correct. that is an instability that comes from the chaos that the assad regime's actions have brought. what it has amounted to is isil moving into that space and being able to operate. what we want to do is eliminate that freedom from them, push it back and not make it a hospital environment. and now we have turkey in the game -- charlie: how is turkey in the game? lisa: we have opened up their intellect to allow for the united states to fly missions out of their. they are becoming a more active partner with us against isil. charlie: and you know there is concern that their primary reason for doing this, in part, .s to go after kurds
lisa: yes. charlie: and this is a way for them to have covered to attack them. lisa: what i would say to that the pkk is a long --long-standing threat to turkey, but i would say that isil poses a real threat to turkey. i met with the foreign minister a few hours ago. it is something we talk to the turks about. they are working with us against isil. they have very real concerns about isil on their border and the flow from turkey into syria committing attacks in turkey. charlie: you have hillary us, and general betray others urging more to be done, but the president made the
decision not to do more at the time. and he argued that she did not believe a word about -- he worried about several things. weaponsed about supplies flowing into the hands of jihadist groups. we saw that happen. weapons were given up when some moderate forces surrendered to out nusra -- al-nusra. gave up their carries and join them. moderate forces supported by us not only gave up and joined al-nousra, but they gave up their trucks and other things. the reports you are referring to are troubling. our efforts to train and equip moderate opposition faces challenges. challenges -- four or
five have been infected? -- vetted? that's not like a challenge. lisa: we have made tremendous strides among that stretch of border between turkey and syria. turkokey andth kurds. were supposedhese oute moderate forces coming to overthrow osama. that is what was supposed to happen. even former syrian army officers were supposed to be a part of this whole effort. it failed. , you call it a failure, but why? lisa: it is very difficult to build up, in essence, an
people who aret worried about their families, fighting for their lives, figuring out how to sustain themselves and their families wonderingey are whether or not they stay in syria, they flee with 4 million refugees who -- the cauldron of extremist groups and those trying to fight the regime, those trying to fight isil, it is a very difficult challenge to identify those individuals, to fetch them, to make -- vet them., to make sure they can be trained and trusted with our armaments. that is the effort we are undertaking. we are doing so with coalition partners, with turkey, with saudi arabia. charlie: with respect, it seems like you are taking a long time. lisa: and it is going to take
longer, because what is needed, charlie, is a local ground force. we can't do this solely from the error. .here -- the air there needs to be a local force that will hold ground once the coalition clears. charlie: and the argument is while all of this is happening, isis is becoming stronger and stronger. --a: well, it is certainly no one has made any bones about long,ct that it is a slow, hard process. but what i would say is there has been progress. in iraq, isil operates 30% less territory than it had gained. charlie: but it is still in control of the second-largest city in iraq. lisa: it is. but this time last year, we were talking about isil having been on the march, taking over mosul,
slaughtering people. today, that is not the case. for 100,000 people to go back to -- takrit, this is a very difficult problem. and this time last year, isil was operating completely untouched. now, that stretch of border , weeen turkey and syria have clear that and pushed isil back from all but about 60 miles. charlie: and have you gained control of the border? that 60 milel stretch, yes. and we are placing more and more pressure. not to say that this is a long process. the president said it will be a multiyear effort.
and it cannot be only a military operation. charlie: i want to talk about that. when the former prime minister of iraq in power -- was in power, the effort she made against sunnis led many sunnis to find isis attractive. has that stopped being a big , that sunnis were able to acquiesce in support or opposition to isil because they viewed the government of baghdad as as much of an enemy as isil?? lisa: you are right. the government did not address sunni grievances, so what you had was isil rolling through and you had sunnis in iraq facing the bitter choice of fighting for a government that they did not believe was fighting for guys thatoing with
were a brutal fighting force, which was isil. charlie: and that includes military officers who were in the saddam hussein army. that's right. and what you saw the president do this time last year was say we are not going to lend our until the government forms a more inclusive government. it has increasingly so. but there is more to do. ar in particular, there is more that has to be done to address sunni grievances, to make sure that they can be a part of the fighting force. there is a political element, but there is going after the finances of isil. there is going after the foreign fighter flow and countering a message. -- their message.
petraeusformer general testified late last week before recommended tuning things -- one, more effort on the political side, the necessity of having more forces against isil, and creating these safe zones. does this strike you as a wise, achievable policy? lisa: i think they are very resource intensive. illitarys' m colleagues saying that to actually have a safe zone and undergo the protection of it, particularly as an complex of an environment as syria, where it is very hard to tell who is fighting two, actually undertake the position -- protection of the zone, can be hard.
someone who advised the president of syria said this -- the problem with u.s.-syria policy since the crisis has been a mismatch between objectives and means, the objective of displacing the assad regime has been proven unachievable with the means we have been willing or able to deploy to achieve it. what do you think of that? is a very smart guy and spent a lot of time in the situation room wrestling with this -- these hardest of all problems. means, the the critics have talked about putting more resources against this problem. form ofcomes in the u.s. troops, i think that the president was very clear that he thinks that would be a mistake. charlie: i will talk about
things other than syria, but thea is the main focus of battle against isis right now. very? lisa: syria and iraq. charlie: what is the status of isil in pakistan, afghanistan, or libya? things that concern you, i'm sure. lisa: absolutely. isil made goals to establish caliphates, starting in the heartland of serial -- syria and iraq. it is also trying to establish provinces in algeria , and afghanistan. their desire to expand globally is quite clear, and that is in absolute concern for somebody of my job. of most concern i would say right now is probably -- their
effort is twofold. in effort to establish a province in libya that is focused externally on extra things, andternal as the president's counterterrorism and homeland ability adviser, isil's to use social media to extol followers to commit attacks here on the homeland. what we have seen is their use to get theiria message out, to enlist, to recruit, direct, or extol followers to take up an attack simply if they have an opportunity. charlie: what is the best example of that taking place? lisa: unfortunately, there are several examples of those who are in contact with isil here in the united states, and are trying to travel to go join, or
who have been inspired by isil's message. in fact, the fbi has made about 50 arrests in the last year of individuals who are either in contact with isil members in syria or they are inspired by and seeking to travel and lend their support to isil, . what's interesting about this is those individuals do not fit anyone profile. they don't fit any one demographic. some 30% of them are under the age of 21, so the unifying theme is used. men, women, girls. charlie: but there is no single profile. lisa: noticing the profile. there is investigations in every state of the union. charlie: what is interesting too is the connection has not been
made in a mosque as it has been in the past. lisa: it's made online. charlie: and so the only way you can combat that is what? lisa: this is the challenge, charlie. use -- it's a brutal irony, actually. i sold is a group who is dedicated to rejecting modernity. that is their apocalyptic vision. and what they use is one of the greatest innovations that the united states has brought to the world. media, anet, social engine for social change, and engine for street -- for free speech, and engine for creativity. so how do we address their messaging? we have got to do, in the digital space, what we are trying to do any physical space, which is denied in -- the in a safe haven. charlie: but we have not been
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pakistan. is one of theisi isil provinces i have mentioned. what we have found is that those who are seeking to join isil in afghanistan and pakistan are largely disgruntled or disaffected members of other groups. whether or not they have really there, that isil remains to be seen. charlie: hostage policy is an issue of concern to you. what is the policy specifically today? lisa: today, our policy is as it has been for many years, which is to make no concessions to
those who take our people hostage. inortantly, what we changed the hostage policy review that we did last spring is to make very clear that we will not abandon families, and families prosecuted if they have to make a difficult decision. charlie: so if they have to pay ransom, they will not be prosecuted. lisa: the justice department announced as part of this policy review that they have never undertaken such a prosecution. the thing that resulted from this policy review, charlie, was a recognition that our approach to dealing with hostage policy and trying to get our people back had been constructed for another time, quite frankly. it had been drawn up in an era we weresil, before
dealing with hostage takers operating in of governed -- in ungoverned space. so the challenge we have with , we justating in syria talked about it. we don't have a partner to work with in syria. charlie: russia's help in the iran negotiations ought to be a possible model, shouldn't it? lisa: there are things we have shared interests in. preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon is one of them. charlie: the what is the fear back of the fear is that he will protect assad and assad needs to go? is that the primary fear? or is it somehow all about russia wanting to play a bigger role than the united states would like for them to play? lisa: i think the concern is if they are going to be
propping up and supporting assad, that runs directly counter to what we are trying to do. charlie: is it necessary for them to say that we are not here to prop up assad, we are only here to fight isil, to satisfy you? lisa: they need to be clearer about what their intentions are. as you notice, those discussions are ongoing. charlie: what about iran? what is their objectives? are they opposed to isil? heisel is sunni and they are shia. they are opposed. lisa: very much so. charlie: how much can we cooperate with them back of their general is everywhere. he is in moscow, damascus, has seen thehe leadership in all those places, which brings me to this. how bad is it when you get up in
the paper this morning, and the leading story is, this was in the new york times -- russia surprises in battling isis and dealing with iran. this is my question, iraq and syria adds to the discord on tactics -- what does that mean? lisa: i saw that story. i don't think, and i would take issue with the term "surprised your cap -- surprise." all, russia has been involved in syria, and the iraq government, sovereign government, they can engage in the discussions they are going to have their. --there,\ what i will tell you is that there is limited cooperation. limited because -- what?
why does it not bother you that go -- bother you? because, one, the iraqi government is a sovereign nation. they can speak to this. we will hear from their prime minister tomorrow. he is speaking to the human -- un, . secondly, this is no surprise. russia has long been in syria and has had this client relationship for a long time. charlie: am i missing anything that i should understand or you want to communicate about your responsibilities in terms of terrorism and homeland security? lisa: i think you have gotten that the breath of them. we have not spent much time talking about the domestic pieces. this goes to the social media issue. , of thatroader effort
which is a piece to counter violent extremism. the approach needs to come bottom-up from communities. the interesting thing we have been seeing is a year ago, president obama had basically a call to action for countries to come together as part of the coalition to include countering this whole narrative and undertake countering violent extremism. we then held a summit at the white house on countering extremism in february. what we have seen grow is, drive tothe global bring communities together, to bring young people -- i was at an event this morning, a global youth summit, with hundreds of young people from 45 nations around the world, coming together to build digital
give kids a path that makes them not susceptible to isil, that is a tremendous change. when the president asked you to take on this responsibility, you were with the department of justice will stop you are a prosecutor -- the department of justice. you were a prosecutor. lisa: i was the head of the national security division, which is a division in the justice department that brings together terrorism prosecutors, espionage prosecutors. it was one of the reforms after 9/11 to bring us together. so the president dominates his homeland security and terrorism advisors, who had been advising him during the campaign, had formerly had a long career in the cia, had been chief of staff, and he said, i need somebody else because john
is going to go over to the cia. he made the decision that you were the person. what did he say to you as to why he made it you? said, are youe willing to take those 3:00 a.m. phone calls? i have spent 15 years in the justice department of her coming to the white house as a prosecutor, and as chief of staff at the fbi. i think having seen the transformation of our government and seeingt-9/11, the benefit of bringing intelligence and law enforcement tools together, thinking critically as a prosecutor, and believing very deeply in the rule of law, which is what the justice department is all about
-- all of those are elements that we need to bring to counterterrorism and homeland security. i think the president believes that deeply. probably hadink he a sense of your mental toughness, and that's what made the case. that you could come in there and pick up the kind of strength that john brennan was believed to have brought to the job. that somehow the experience you had injustice and all those things showed him that he had found the right person. because you need a very sharp mind. you will be the first to say that. lisa: yeah. it is unrelenting, but it is a tremendous privilege. charlie: you said in a speech tot the prep school you went -- who would have thought that attending an all girls school
would have prepared me so well for an all-male environment? lisa: it's true. charlie: thank you for coming. lisa: thank you. charlie: my pleasure to have you here. i hope we will stay in touch and help us understand what the effort against terrorism is, how it changes, of office, and how the challenges present themselves. lisa: thank you, charlie. charlie: thank you for joining us for the hour. see you next time. ♪
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