tv Book Discussion on Objective Troy CSPAN January 3, 2016 8:00am-9:16am EST
i was off work in building a bookshelf, and my wife who teaches at notre dame called and said turn the tv on. and i did, and i had no idea that the course of my life would take, but basically first was with the "baltimore sun" a few years and then 11 years at the times. i've covered mostly terrorism, counterterrorism. so the origin of this book was just my desire to think a little more deeply about the subjects i've been covering for all those years i was particularly interested in kind of pondering what was always a puzzle for me, which was what could motivate a person to be a terrorist, you know, devote himself to the
murder of dozens or hundreds or thousands of strangers, what brings a person to the point? i was also interested in the counterterrorism side that seems to me that almost everything we had done against the al-qaeda threat and more recently the isis threat, whatever good it had done in terms of enhancing american security, it had also created a backlash which had sort of fed back into al-qaeda. if you think about interrogation and torture, secret detention in guantánamo, the prison at guantánamo under bush, and targeted killing using drones under obama, all these things have sort of created a backlash that is eventually done some recruiting for al-qaeda. that seemed to me to be a paradox that it wanted to think about.
so i also wanted to tell a story, and i'd written a number of stories about anwar al-awlaki, sometimes his name is pronounced awlaki but it's the same guy. is family pronounces it al-awlaki. and before we tee up the first video i'll tell you a little bit about, background about this guy. his life and death make a hell of a story that involves sort of a family drama. it involves obviously terrorism. it involves sex, involves spying, and it raised all the kind of big issues of this period of time, these 14 years that have changed and sort of shaped american values, american principles, american foreign policy.
and he also has historic importance. he was the most effective, most powerful recruiting voice in english for al-qaeda. some people would say in any language. and he was also, has the distinction of being the first american citizen since the civil war to be hunted down and killed without criminal charges, without trial court orders of the u.s. president. a decision that some people think was a good one, some people think was a bad one but will debated for many years to come. so let me set the stage for the first video clip i want to show you. anwar al-awlaki was born in new mexico when his dad was a grad student there, and spent his first seven years in the states.
his father i should say was a sort of technocrat. he got a ph.d in agricultural science in the states, taught for a few years, and then moved back to yemen as this plan had been but he was here with his family for almost a dozen years, and he loved this country. which as you will see is quite ironic. who self anwar moved back at 87, stayed in yemen until he was 19 and then his dad sent him back to the states to colorado state to get an engineering degree. but those of you who have kids now the kids have sometimes their own ideas about what they're going to with her life, and he finished his engineering degree but he found engineering not very inspiring, and though he arrived as a 19 year old in the states, as a kid who didn't have much interest in religion, he discovered islam while he was
in colorado, it also discovered a knack for preaching. so under pressure from his father he took an engine job briefly after he graduates from colorado state, stayed in it for six weeks, quit and took a job as part-timas a part-time imam e denver islamist society. he did pretty well in that job and offered his own mosque in san diego, stayed there for a few years. again, sort of a rising reputation, just in his 20s, and that got him a job at a very big mosque right outside washington, d.c. in falls church, virginia. so anwar al-awlaki arrives in washington in early 2001, and his reputation is already kind of kidding around before 9/11. he had already preached at the u.s. capitol and was still
preaching on the life of the prophet muhammad osha let cbs. he was on a lecture circuit, speaking all over this country and in the uk. and then along comes 9/11, and i would say there's never been the right guy in the right place at the right time, never has that been more true than about anwar al-awlaki after 9/11. ithere was a time when as everybody here remembers, americans were suddenly very interested in islam, and al-qaeda. they wanted to understand what the heck just happened, and so he was a young 30 year old charismatic preacher who knew the koran very well, and it's history very well, spoke basically native english and native arabic, and was also not
incidentally in the country's biggest media market. so all of the sudden the "new york times," the "washington post," tv, radio were all beating a path to the door of his mosque in falls church to ask him about all kinds of things. so the first video clip i'm going to show is what you might call the good anwar. this is at a time when he was preaching very much mainstream islam. it condemned the 9/11 attacks. it turns out i believe as well as publicly, and he was sort of available to answer questions in a very patient, lucid way. and so have become very popular with the national media. so this is a short clip rape ofa video made by the "washington post" at the time for its website and it was basically that has to to let up the
videographer follow him around for the and explained the holy month of ramadan to a non-muslim audience. so robin will queue up this video spent this is something we do before the first break of light on the horizon. >> so he's sitting in his basement of falls church picked a house he shared with his wife and three kids very near the mosque and is breaking the fast with dates, eating dates. >> for us to get away from a world which indulge in, a chance for us to a more austere life. muslims abstain from three things during the month of from done, food, drink, and any sexual activity. and that is from sunrise to
sunset. i would leave the mosque,, get some rest. actually i would check my e-mails first of all and then get some rest. and then go to the midday prayer at 12 noon. spin so now he is back at the mosque leading midday prayers are. >> i think that in general islamists -- is love sprinted into negatively. there's always this association between islam and terrorism when that is not true at all. by me, it is the religion of peace. for me personally i don't see a difference between war and ramadan or another time of year. if the war is justified or not. >> welcome, you've got mail. >> i feel he was rushed into this war. there could have been some other
avenues to solving this problem. >> okay. as you heard he said islam is a religion of peace, and he was critical of the u.s. invasion of afghanistan after 9/11. but he was very much within kind of mainstream of islam, mainstream of politics. that changed, and it's sort of a long story but that's one of the things, sort of the core reason i wrote this book was to understand that. and i'll just say that what struck me is that there is a personal element, very personal element in this case. there's an ideological element, and they're sort of an external element. so the personal element in this case was that he was on this, he was on a roll. he wasn't the right guy and i
think he was quite happy, would have been quite happy to stay in this country and become a public figure even better known than he was at the time he was doing this. that i can easily imagine he would've been very successful at that, and perhaps we would've been tired of seeing him on "meet the press" on sunday. it would've been a very useful role because there was never really, there hasn't in the 14 years never really been a truly national voice representing muslims in this country. i think he could've put a very useful role, but on the personal front what happened was he discovered that the fbi which of the following him around i discovered that he regularly visited prostitutes in hotels run the d.c. area and they had a file on this. when he learned of his, the manager of an escort service called in to say the fbi just paid me a visit and then of all about this, he panicked. he was essentially a conservative preacher to
conservative congregation who was no different from a southern baptist preacher, you know, with a conservative take on things, and some off the record hobbies. he panicked turkey thought this was the end of his career, and a few days after learning that he flew off to the uk and returned only for one short visit. so that was the personal psychic the ideological side, you know, i think he began, he was always aware of the sort of jihadists school, if you'd say, this sort of radical strain of islam but he had rejected it. he became gradually more interested in it and that was only for in part because of things were happening in the outside world. we had invaded afghanistan. he was mildly critical of that in the clip we saw. we had gone on to invade iraq. he was extremely critical of
that. it began to make them think about what osama bin laden had been claiming for years, which was that the u.s. was at war with islam. that began to its appeal. i should say that one reason it's appropriate to show video clips of this guy is that he lived his entire professional life in front of audio recorders and video recorders. and as you'll see, it's all still preserved. he was sort of an early adopter of technology. he had his kid brother selling cassettes of his sermons on the sidewalk in san diego. when he became possible he put out a cd set which were bestsellers among english speaking muslims. 53 cd set on the life of the prophet muhammad. had a bunch of other box sets. they were in the glove
compartment and in the living rooms of many, many people in the states, canada and britain. so he went off to the uk, spent a couple years there. the other thing that was happening there was in the uk before 2005 when the was a very serious attack on the buses and subways affair, there was a tolerant for radicals speech in the muslim candidate that was, that really was not present in the u.s. he found he got a lot of positive feedback from sort of giving radical speeches. one thing that i kind of sort looking to understand about this guy, very ambitious, and his ambitions had been channeled sort of in the media spotlight when he was in d.c., and then that path was blocked and you still burning with impatience and looking for another path.
eventually left the uk, ended up in yemen. he was arrested and held without charges for 18 months by the yemeni government, at the behest of the u.s. which had become more suspicious of him and his intentions and his influence, and when he was released in fairly short order he moved to the tribal areas of yemen and joined al-qaeda. so the next clip am going to show is march of 2010. what happened as you may remember that on christmas day in 2009 that wasn't the so called underwear bomber, a young nigerian who tried to blow up an airliner coming into detroit. the bomb fortunately fizzled. he was taken off the plane, and the fbi, he told the fbi subsequently that anwar al-awlaki, this guy, have essentially recruited him, that again, coach jim for this suicide mission of blowing up
the plane. -- coached him. so at that point in the eyes of the obama administration's lawyers he had, and intelligence agencies, he had shifted from being just a public and as for al-qaeda to be an operational terrorist, and that made a big legal difference. and so they began a legal process where essentially lawyers studied this issue secretly of the justice department, and eventually advised obama and his staff that they considered that it would be legal and constitutional to kill this guy, despite the fact that he was an american citizen. and so that is all unfolding. meanwhile, anwar al-awlaki has not put on his microphone. so in march of 20 didn't he put out the message that you're
about to see and you'll see quite a contrast of what you sing in 2001. >> did not be deceived by the promises of preserving your rights from a government that is right now killing your own brothers and sisters. today with the war between muslims and the west escalating you cannot count on the message of solidarity you make it from the civic group or a political party, or the words of support you hear from a kind neighbor or a nice coworker. the west will eventually turn against muslim citizens. hence, my advice to you is this. you have two choices. either -- orgy hot the recently or you fight. you leave and live among muslims or you stay behind and follow the example of those who fulfilled their duty of fighting for a lost cause. i specifically invite you to
either fight in the west or join the brothers in the front of jihad, ironic and somalia. i invite them to join us in our new front, yemen, the base to which the great jihad of the arabian peninsula will begin. >> so as i said, quite a change over that time. and note that the speaking english and he's addressing directly american muslims in the west. in 2000 what he said in a summit after 9/11 that the special role of american muslims was to be a bridge between the united states and a billion muslims worldwide. now he's saying that the religious obligations of american muslims is either to stage attacks at home and kill their fellow citizens or come to the middle east and joined
al-qaeda. he was extremely effective as an orator. let me say one other thing about the role of, because we are in this wonderful church where i've had occasion to think a lot about the role of religion, and the role of religion in motivating terrorism. i'd just like to pause a minute and think about the religious aspect of folks like this. i'll read you something, it's a quote that i have in the book that hear i heard not long afte1 and that is stuck with me ever since, and i just find so powerful and so intriguing. it's from a guy named lorenzo who is a catholic priest who worked in new york for many, many years, and he was
interviewed by pbs after 9/11, and he was asked his reaction to 9/11. i think because he's christian and a muslim, if so interesting to hear his reaction. they said, what did you think when the attack happened? he said, from the first moment i looked into that horror on september 11 come into the fireball come into that explosion before, i knew it, i knew it before anything was said about those who did it or why. i recognized an old companion. i recognized religion. look, i'm a priest for over 30 years. religion is my life. it's my vocation. if the existence. i would give my life for it. i hope to have the courage, therefore, i know it. and i know and recognize that day that the same force, energy, instinct, whatever, passion, because religion can be a passion, the same passion that motivates religious people to do great things is the same one
that day brought all the destruction. when they said that the people who did it, did it in the name of god, i wasn't the slightest bit surprised. it only confirmed what i knew. so i found a sort of fascinating. maybe we can talk a little bit about that. but let me go on with the story. the fact that anwar al-awlaki was not considered to be an operational terrorist in the wake of the underwear bomber and in this ode -- balmer episode meant he went on to the killers, the first american citizen, and they began after february 52010 when they kill or capture ordered was signed, all the agencies, all the security agencies of the government, all the intelligence agencies went to work trying to find this guy, ending every effort. the cia would run talk to everybody who ever met him
offering a $5 million reward for any information on his whereabouts. the national security agency, which many folks around here have connections to or have relatives who work at, basically dropped an electronic net over the whole country of yemen, intercepting everything. and they finally caught up with him. i should say that the name, i often forget to say where the name "objective troy," the name of my book comes from. if you go on the kill list, on the military's kill list, you are called an objective. one of these linguistic things that the military often does this sort of objectified i guess you could say, so the distance itself from the human drama. so you become an objective and you're getting a code name. in yemen oddly enough the codenames were all the names of towns in ohio.
so there's picture with ohio and anwar al-awlaki was given the codename detroit picks they became objective toy. -- troy. as you know -- hit the next slide -- there was a solution that come one aspect of the bush counter narrative program that obama did not reject an effect embraced was the predator drone. and so bush had just in the last six month of his presidency that sort of ramp up drone strikes in pakistan, because al-qaeda was reconstituting in the tribal areas of pakistan. obama would put his arms around this thing and he came into office be leaving this was the right answer for terrorism. and he ramped up strikes in pakistan, expanded them to yem
yemen, and to somalia on a much smaller scale. and i think, you know, to put it briefly, obama had won famously said he was against all wars. he was against dumb wars. i think it came into office be leaving that the war in afghanistan and the war in iraq were dumb wars, the senate 100,000 american troops to a muslim country for 10 years to does seem to be a very good way to make the u.s. a safer country. and user intrigued by the drones. he thought that was the weapon that was tailored to this peculiar problem, meaning small number of terrorists hiding out in the wild areas in pakistan and yemen. so we thought that was right idea. he sometimes told aides, let's try to kill the people you're trying to kill us. and by implication, not tens of thousands of other people who
died in the wars in afghanistan and iraq. so his goal was to pull out of the big wars, but he didn't think he could ignore the threat of terrorism. this was his solution. so by the time they finally caught up with anwar al-awlaki on september 30, 2011, defend a year and a half or so to find him, and there was a volley of missiles. he was killed along with a kind of american sidekick a guy named samara can't who moved to yemen and joined al-qaeda. and two yemeni guys who were with al-qaeda. and obama at the time they're very secretive about that operation. he announced that anwar al-awlaki was did he made a public announcement that he did not say exactly how he died.
he didn't say the u.s. was responsible. however, that's been a problem i think the drone problem all along is excessive secrecy. a failure to explain to the rules under which strikes are conducted or to reveal their results so there would be some accountability. but by me of 2013 he decided that he could open up a little bit about this. he gave a major speech on drones and terrorism at the national defense university, and we're going to play just a little clip from those in which the centerpiecenterpie ce of his speech was his defense of killing an american citizen, anwar al-awlaki. so this is obama explaining why he felt it was necessary to kill al-awlaki. back one. there you go. >> for the record i di i do not
believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any u.s. citizen with a drone or with a shotgun without due process. knower should any president to put armed drones on u.s. soil. -- nor. when he uses and goes abroad to wage war against americans and is actively plotting to kill u.s. citizens, and when neither the united states no our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot, his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper sitting down on innocent crowds should be protected. that's who anwar al-awlaki was. he was continuously trying to kill people. he helped oversee the 2010 plot to detonate explosive device
onto u.s.-bound cargo planes. he was involved in planning to blow up an airliner in 2009. when farouk abdulmutallab, ma the christmas day bomber, went to yemen in 2009, awlaki posted him, approved a suicide operation, helped him take a martyrdom figure to be shown after the attack. this last issue sure to blow the airplane when it was over american soil. i would've detained and prosecuted awlaki if we captured him before he carried out a plot, but we couldn't. and as president i would've been derelict in my duties as a not authorized the strike that took them out. >> so that's a very stern looking president obama. he'd gotten a lot of criticism at the point when he gave that speech. some of you may recall a 13 hour
filibuster by rand paul, senator graham called in which he basically was objecting to the notion that you could kill an american without a trial. social bit of defensiveness better, but in the immediate aftermath of september 30, 2011, drone strikes the kill awlaki, there was a feeling of sort of job well done around the white house, rather counterterrorism agencies. osama bin laden had been killed in may of 2011 and al awlaki kung fu many people at the point, i was more dangerous than bin laden, had been killed. and it was a little bit of a triumphant attitude around the white house when you talk to folks here but it didn't last long. it lasted i would say about two weeks, and if you move to the next slide, this is anwar
al-awlaki 16 year-old son. what happened was there was another american drone strikes in yemen, and they thought they were shooting at a mid-level al-qaeda operative in a group of men sitting on the ground eating dinner. and it turned out that he was not there and to the people who were there and were killed were his 16 year old son and the son 17 year old cousin. and the u.s. government has to this day never been willing to say anything publicly about the strike. however,, you know, we sneak around at the people of akron and so on privately. and i believe them when they said that this was a mistake.
they had no idea the teenagers were there and they would not have taken the strike if they had known they were there. and i'm also told that obama was furious when he got word of what had happened. because he knew that they would be a huge backlash against u.s., against u.s. counterterrorism in yemen. and, indeed, yemen is a tribal society where they could kind of understand that anwar al-awlaki joined al-qaeda and was trying to kill americans, and the americans got him first and there was a certain justice of there. by the death of this kid which got a lot of attention in yemen, people were completely in for your related and perplexed by it. -- infuriated. i found very few people believed that this was a mistake. they thought the u.s. was more competent than that and they believed were killing the kid for fear that he might go up to become a terrorist, and they were very unhappy about it.
so the was a huge political price that was paid. and that sort of a microcosm of something that happened on a larger scale with the drone program. so that was one thing that cast a shadow over the whole awlaki story, but the second thing that happened, came to light sort of more gradually, and that was something i don't take president obama or his staff had really considered before ordering the strike, and that was that when you kill a guy like this in the age of the internet you are not necessarily making him go away. and so not only that, but islam has her tradition of martyrdom not unlike that in the christian tradition of martyrdom. and so a lot of ologies fans and young people who were just kind of taking an interest saw him as a martyr.
and he's portrayed that way on the internet very commonly now. so he speaks with the kind of greater authority, the greater authenticity as a martyr. so his message which was all over the internet before he was killed remains all over the internet today, and it actually has a little more potency, because even when it's clips from those 53 cds on the life of the prophet mohammed completely mainstream stuff, the listeners are often aware this is the guy that the americans killed. and so it's in a different frame now and its head and actually potent effect. but if you go on youtube, which i did again this morning, i do it from time to time, and you put awlaki into the search engine on youtube, which is really sort of his last home,
speaking of, sort of evolving communications, technology, the evolving internet, if you put his name into youtube you come up with more than 62000 videos. someone who supports on his death and so on, but the vast majority are his work, his life's work essentially. and everything is jumbled together there. i just took a little screenshot. if this were a video we could scroll down basically indefinitely and see his videos. here is one called battle of hearts and minds, which is quite a radical thing. before he joined al-qaeda fairly late in the game. we have the call to jihad which i just played, and with one of the prophets serious drinker this is an early lecture he had given when he was very much a mainstream for moderate guy. it's all jumbled together and it
has a powerful radicalizing affect. part of my job is to take a look at all the indictments that come by, with terrorism, terrorism related charges. i would say in the four years since awlaki was killed, more than half of all of those cases, if you look at the person's laptop, it usually a young person who's very active on the internet, if you look at the laptop and you look at the history, you find it been watching a lot of anwar al-awlaki videos. and a classic instance was the two sarno brothers, the two chechen born brothers -- tsarnaev. who blew up the finish line at the boston marathon, two years almost awlaki has been killed but they were huge fans of anwar al-awlaki. the younger brother, joe parr,
who is still alive in prison, -- dzhokhar. you tweeted about anwar al-awlaki integrators reckon many different lectures and things in the weeks leading up to the bombing. not only that but these brothers got their instructions from an english-language al-qaeda magazine that awlaki had found what they can't who was killed with him, samir khan. and it's called inspired magazine and is still being put out by other english speakers with al-qaeda since his death. but it was sort of his concept, and one of the things in addition to ideology, every issue is practical instructions for mounting attacks. the two tsarnaev brothers got their instructions for how to make bombs out of pressure cookers and fireworks and, unfortunately, the instructions work very well and those with the bombs that were set off at the boston marathon. in january, you'll remember that
a couple of also brothers, french algerian brothers, went to the editorial offices of "charlie hebdo," this satirical magazine in paris and shot up the place, killed about a dozen people. and they were later within a day shot and killed by police to do a sort of on the run after that. but one of the brothers, his last words, last words publicly were in over a cell phone come to a french tv station, and his message was very simple, that they represented the al-qaeda branch in yemen and that he had been to yemen and met with anwar al-awlaki and he claimed that anwar al-awlaki had financed the operation. it's not totally clear whether that was true or not. awlaki have been dead for but it is clear when of the brothers have been to yemen and met with awlaki. so there was an instance where you can find awlaki not only in
english but translate in wrench, arabic and lots of other languages. so he has really proven to be a powerful force. i'm just going to show one last video clip. this is one of many martyrdom videos pakistan to put up on the internet. this is actually a clip from, one put up by al-qaeda and it shows in speaking arabic in a tent in yemen a few months before he died, it is talking about martyrdom. so let's watch this. >> it's hard to see the english subtitles. this is on the web with english subtitles but he's basically talking about how, like fruits the ripen and fall from a tree, people prepare for martyrdom and then they're ready for martyrdom.
>> so that's the title shot for this film your dawwa, it's called the martyrdom of dawwa. you see is a smiley face, the gentle voice, the teacher. used to think i was explaining ramadan 10 years earlier, but he's got a very different message now. the u.s. succeeded in killing the messenger, but the message lives on. so with that let me stop talking
and invite your questions. i'm happy to talk about anything i've mentioned, the book, the reporting for the book in yemen, you know, whatever is on your mind i'd be happy to talk about. yes? and were going to wait for a microphone. >> what do you know about the reasons that jihadists, what jihadists and they're going to actually accomplish practically by committing the acts of terrorism but what do they expect to get out of it? >> that's a great question, and it's one of the puzzles i wanted to understand. i think the answer is that if you accept this view of the world, you believe that ultimately all human beings will be part of one unified islamic
state, which you heard a lot about in recent years from isis, the islamic state, known as the caliphate. and so everyone will eventually convert to islam and sort of live happily ever after. it's such a powerful vision that some people have to die, if 100,000, 10,000 people, 100,000 people have to die en route to this sort of vision, it's okay with the folks who have accepted this ideology. i used to work in russia and my first book was about the collapse of the soviet union, and there's a quote from a russian writer that has always stuck with me. at some gulags archipelago, his huge work on the death camps,
the labor camps under stalin. and what he says is sheikhs your villains were, they killed only a dozen or two dozen people because they didn't have ideology. hitler and stalin could kill millions because they had ideology. i think the same, in other words, you have to have a vision that is so grand in the mind of your followers that killing lots of people is justified. the end is so great that it justifies those means completing the jihadists are very much like that. [inaudible] spent what you think he was should you about al-qaeda? and for that matter, isis. >> well, i think, fortunately as a reporter i generally get paid to tell people what happened and
not to give my views on it. but i'll kick it around a little bit. i think it is a very, you know, this church i think once had a bumper sticker that you see occasionally, something like universal church, were all your answers to questions. when i started to write this book, i said to people, you know, people would ask me what do you think of killing anwar al-awlaki? was it a good thing or a bad thing? i would usually say i want someone if they come to this book making it was a great thing we killed this guy, have second thoughts after they read the book. and if they come to the book thinking it's a terrible thing and a war crime to kill this guy, have second thoughts after reading this book. i think it's a very difficult decision for the president, this guy is out there plotting day and night to bloglines or find
someone what to kill americans, and i was very impressed into and reporting for this book how that weighs on president and a lot of people and a lot of people wondered if the plane had blown up under detroit, those 300 innocent people who died would've been very much on his watch, on his shoulders. so i think it's very hard to condemn in that sense. but i do think that in retrospect, you could say that it was probably a mistake given what's happened to this guy's influence as a result. i was thinking about a cia veteran who is now out of the cia but who i talk to result of talked about all the stuff, use talk about how to use has used almost exclusively hard power in this war, if that's what you call it, this war on terror, this war on al-qaeda. meaning basically been killing people.
he said that we have a powerful tradition of soft power by which he means, you know, not only things like development but also hollywood, madison avenue, getting messages out. and something that some muslim commentator said before anwar al-awlaki was killed after he been put on the kill list was this is a big mistake in your going to turn him into a martyr. and what you should really do is take the fbi file on his visits to prostitutes, which exposed him as an outrageous hypocrite in the eyes of his very conservative followers. >> thank you very much. >> what you should do is find a way to put that out in a credible way, and discredit him and i will take care of not only him but the internet.
whether it was possible to do that in a way that the government could find a way, i know the government isn't the most credible spokesman for something like that but you can kind of imagine and al-jazeera video or you can imagine some respect and islamic institution for putting out a white paper on who was anwar al-awlaki and maybe having some impact. i think sometimes in an ideological battle, the hard power of telling people doesn't work so well. one of the ironies of this, these 14 years, is that in the '90s in leiden begin to say the u.s. is at war with islam. had in the '90s it was a little hard to figure out what the heck you meant by that he did seem like sort of a lunatic notion. u.s.a. going into bosnia and protected muslims. what the heck did he mean by that? but what happened after 9/11,
and this is really the way historically terrorism functions, we invaded afghanistan. we invaded iraq. would begin flying drones over pakistan. we begin flying drones over yemen. and taking strikes in somalia. it's a gross oversimplification to say that u.s. is at war with islam, but it is literally true that we are killing muslims. and the core recruiting pitch of al-qaeda to impressionable young muslims is the u.s. is killing your muslim brothers and sisters. it's your religious obligation to fight back, and that's what awlaki's pitch was. while i think the u.s. is far safer than it was at the time of 9/11, certainly again a big attack like that, because of
increased surveillance, border controls and a lot of other things, it's also true i think most experts would say that the minority of muslims him and it is a small minority, of more than a billion muslims worldwide who have adopted this view of the religion and believe that their religion and that they are at war with the u.s., it's a small minority but i think it's more numerous than it was at the time of 9/11. and that's a worrisome thing, and use it with isis which has recruited something like 30,000 foreign fighters to fight for the islamic state. other questions? >> well, my question, obviously things were brewing since 9/11 but it won't ask you about the
run up to the iraq war because i think that's when things really started to go awry with public opinion against the u.s. but they were all saudis pretty much a not a single al-qaeda member, and yet -- >> fifteen of 19 of the hijackers were saudi. >> and al-qaeda wasn't even in iraq at the time, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and get president bush is determined to repeat the same, you know, it was just, i felt like the press laid down for that and allowed the propaganda to whip up with the enthusiasm for invading iraq. spent with huge consequences. you are absolutely right. >> a complete disaster. >> my employer, the "new york
times," you know, i think most people who worked there today would say made a pretty egregious mistake in its coverage of some of the stories in the run up to the war by reporting in too credulous of way claims that were being made by various administration officials about evidence that saddam hussein, you know, had an active program to produce weapons of mass destruction. nuclear, chemical, biological. and it was actually essentially a public explanation, apology published after i think 2004 sometime after the war began. so i think you're right, there's a lot of agreement that the coverage of the run up to that war was not kind of a great moment in american policy history. and it's also true that if you
think it like i like anwar al-awlaki was looking at the world and he knows there's this al-qaeda and bin laden, that they're claiming that the west is essentially in this contest with islam and is killing muslims, he said when we go and invade iraq with no obvious reason, it certainly confirms the view of a lot of people who are maybe on defense that the al-qaeda view of the world was correct it and the consequences have been colossal, as everybody knows. most recently with the rise of the islamic state in iraq and syria, most people will tell you there would be no such entity that can out of the al-qaeda branch in iraq and graph of the iraq war. so i think most people would say
the that is a direct consequence of the war in iraq. at the same time, you know, 9/11 was going by and large an unprovoked attack. you can come up with reasons why al-qaeda was motivated, but i think they don't hold up toto much scrutiny. so it's not as if, i don't think you could make a credible case that al-qaeda was entirely the creation of u.s. foreign policy. it is an ideology that goes, that's very powerful that goes way back in the history of islam and that has been, unfortunately, sort of applied in a very crude way to the current, the scene in global politics. that's what we are living with now. other questions? >> can i get one more question? what's going on in syria now, i
feel like the reporting is really lacking. >> it's like in part because it's very dangerous. and as you've seen, the journalist who went to syria, some of them ended up beheaded. so it is very tough. the one thing that has actually been a huge help is the internet. a lot of very brave people in syria have unable to communicate with western journalists via the internet, and that's a way of the -- that's the way a lot of information is gotten out. isis, you paid for them for the most part. i mean, we spend a whole lot of money equipping the iraqi armed forces, and as you will remember in 2014, they sort of rolled
across part of iraq and captured a whole lot of weapons. so a lot of it is u.s. weapons. some of it is also serious weapons. some of it is applied to russia, the soviet union in the past. so it's mostly captured weapons. but isis also has a lot of money. they have it from kidnapping in getting paid ransoms. they have it from the oil fields that have taken over, and they have it in some cases from wealthy donors in the gulf states who actually approve this project of creating this on the states. any other questions? >> do you see evidence of developing a propaganda offensive in this situation you mentioned, the war of ideas and so forth?
do you see evidence in our administration or in any candidates opening up to that possibility? that's the first part. the second part is, what do you see as a possibility of having an impact, a successful impact, on isis, for instant? >> it's something that's been hotly debated since 9/11 inside the government. and some of you may remember that president bush, george w. bush hired a former madison avenue ad executive to sort of put the good word out about america. and i remember a cartoon at the time that i had on my refrigerator for years because i thought it captured the problem with that so nicely put it was cheerleaders dressed in red, white and blue outfits, and the cheer was u.s.a., not just bombs
and that people. -- that people. [laughter] i think that captured or difficult it is for the government to organize a sort of popped into campaign in the face that effective in the face of a sort of ideological assault like the one from al-qaeda. but the government has tried repeatedly, if anybody is on twitter, for example, the state department has a twitter account, a twitter feed under the name think again turned away. it's targeting young muslims who are sort of tempted by the islamic state, specifically they tweak out sort of horrifying stories and pictures of what life is like under the islamic state. to try to counter this sort of rosy view of come on over here, we have a job for you at the islamic state. and trying to point out the horrors of some of what isis has
done and it's maybe had some impact but it is very difficult. i've mentioned this former cia guy who talks a use of soft power. it's very difficult, tricky thing. it's so much easier to send a drone over until people you think are terrorists. but that has proven to be a very imperfect solution to the problem. sorry, and your second part was? [inaudible] >> i think the frustration i think of government officials in this area is that, i've spent a lot of time hanging around mosques in this country and other countries, but to go in this country. i've visited all the mosque were cut by that preached, talk to a lot of people here not too long
ago i did a story, in the early summer i did a story. i went to boston which been for the boston marathon bohne, the trial of the younger brother. they sort of had been wrapped up in the drama, and if that wasn't enough right before i got there i got was arrested for allegedly, a muslim who allegedly had decided his duty was to be had a policeman to him when he attacked a policeman, not surprisingly, he was shot to death. but that was out of there. the mosque director told me that the mosque had gotten 100 immediate calls in the days after that asking essentially for a comment on this nutcase who's trying to behead a police officer. what you realize when you hang out is that first of all, the vast majority of muslims, the old woman mature of american muslims have absolutely no sympathy for this point of view but the second thing you realize
and they stopped the planes and the bonds of an so what was that? it was a completely failed plot that with a bubbly of only told number of people i did actually succeeded. but al qaeda rushed out a special issue of inspire my demon on the cover was the some $42,000 inside was coverage about this reply, however only cost $42,000 had caused billions
of dollars into syrup did shipping. tell us perhaps an overestimate but it certainly cost tens of millions of dollars to the economies of many countries. and cost a lot of money to increase security for cargo flights. so it was an example of what experts in this place called asymmetric warfare that they are spending $4000 tens of millions and they can kill a small number of people and can have a huge input. i'm often struck because i live in baltimore. we will have 300 billion murderers -- there've been 220,000 murders in united states states since 9/11. i does come as something like two dozen, maybe three dozen were carried out by jihadists in the name of jihads. we're talking about two dozen
versus 220,000. yet we are very focused on the terrorist threat. it has driven a lot of our policy decisions in the foreign policy decisions in the last 14 years. i think we are sort of running up against the time limit. why don't we take one more question and if folks want to hang around again, and sign books but the hard facts and i have some hard facts -- hardbacks. all the money going to church which could use the money. think of your friends who like this kind of thing. if people want to hang around for some leftover questions. >> the first book and of course this book in the magazine
section of "the new york times." i would like to know, what are you working on now? >> linear trends gave me a book leaves us a year. it is unpaid. you don't have to show up to work for a year, which was very generous. i spent a year writing this book, reporting and writing this book. they are not going to give me back for a rail. i have a number of other book ideas and one been floating around a while on a different subject about the slave trade in baltimore which has a lot of angles to it. one of the things that sort of struck me in writing the book that i mentioned to those of you to look at the book, chapter 9a
grapple with the idea of radicalization in the role of religion, the role of identity in all of this stuff. and i also took a look at obama in this regard. i looked for any -- anything in obama's past that might give a clue to the thinking about drones, target and i found that he had assigned a quiet hipster essay by frederick douglass, that douglas wrote in 1854 and it was about essentially a time when the fugitive slave law have been passed so some people were making money returning the slaves into bondage. the title of this essay by frederick douglass, is it right and why?
it basically proposes some people who are so evil in so evil and so damaging to society and human life that they are deserving of death and neoliberal solution is to kill them. obama would not let me interview this book, but i hope to talk to and maybe someday after he is out of office and i will ask him, you know, is that essay assigned to the lawsuit, you know, occur to you as he wrestled with this idea of killing by drone. the thing that intrigues me a minute to this century in baltimore with slaveowners and also the abolitionists running around and trying to buy people of their freedom and tried to help them the slavery. it is a real moral culture in that is in no way resembles the
emily brady who spoke "humboldt" discusses the finding of marijuana. >> i wrote this book because i was really curious about this community of marijuana farmers. i grew up in california. i am from the wine country in nine new where i grew up there was this region and marijuana was growing mainstream. i was wondering how the pot towns were adjusting to marijuana becoming almost legal. i wondered what a pot towns was like, when a community of people grow marijuana and how does that affect their lives. >> it is located in california about four hours north of san francisco on the oregon border.
a rural community in southern humble would be the heartland of the marijuana industry about 20,000 people. you reek of, the big cities had maybe 15,000 people. i originally went up there for a week and there was this change in the air. we had a legalization measure on the ballot. it looks like he was going to pass in 2010. we drove up there and there was no interest in. people were talking about this culture and people wanted to talk about what they did for a living. i ended up living in the community for over a year to earn people's trust and to understand this place because of
the quite humble place. it is scored as synonymous with marijuana and a lot of journalists go through there every year, every month. to really understand the end how the industry began with a story of chance. they were living hard got blasphemies were building they built themselves and for their own tomatoes. they were pretty poor. a lot of them were on welfare actually. and then they found they could grow their own marijuana which was the drug of choice for that kind of culture. they found that their friends back home, back in the city like the marijuana and they could make a little bit of money selling it to them. and then there was this discovery was a way to grow really strong marijuana.
it discovered in hawaii, ablative grow really strong marijuana was discovered in the late 70s in humboldt. once that happened it was very strong and people like that in the cities and a lot of money came in. in the 90s we had a medical marijuana law, the first day to press for medical marijuana law. around that time, had firmer friends making $6000 a pound. it was harder to grow. people grew in entries for little places that it was very lucrative. now basically medical marijuana.anybody but the garage or a garden to get a medical permit to grow their own pot.
and it was all over this state, not just little rural areas. so right about now marijuana is about -- [inaudible] mckinley considerable profit. around the time the legalization matter where people were using it recreationally. it was about the same price and they were afraid the prices were just going to plummet and bottom out in a way the prohibition. in that town, the majority of people are not growing.
75% to 100% of people in the community are involved. store owners and people who do other things to maybe supplement their incomes. i've never encountered a huge multi-vehicle convoy that comes out and does a huge rest. to read about them all the time in the paper and they tend to be fairly big grows up like a thousand plants are more and i was never involved in any of those. i did spend a year with a sheriff today, riding along with him and for instance we went to a garden in the town right next
to the tomatoes and strawberries there were people growing marijuana plants. he was really frustrated. it's a simple thing. you don't have it, we have had it down. it was a couple with a kid and unfortunately they were following. i think eventually legalization will come, broader legal nation with the unit prohibition and now you have taken gestural alcohol conglomerate and i think there is a place where master growers of humboldt and in the economy there is not very many people. and the way it is like the last small farming community in america where everybody can make
it really reasonable living farming. once that is opened up. >> for more information on the recent visit to oakland in the many other destinations on a cities to her, go to c-span.org/cities to wear. >> we want to introduce it to an author named adam levin. the book is called "swiped: how to protect yourself in a world full of scammers, phisher, and identity thieves." first of all, mr. levin, you are noted as founder and chairman of credit.com. what is credit.com? >> credit.com is an online educator, advocate, also a site where you can get services appropriate to where you are in your credit life and also provi