tv Washington Journal CSPAN February 20, 2016 5:34pm-6:31pm EST
>> 80% of americans are somewhat worried about terrorism. 24% of the republicans think it is the leading political issue in the election season. 9% of democrats. and you know, some of that is understandable. we had the attack in october where 224 people were killed in cyanide and you have the attack in paris where 130 people were killed and in san bernardino, california 14 people killed who were inspired by isis. with that said, the fret from jihidist terrorism in the united states is low. it has been managed and contained because of the actions of the u.s. government and the vigilance of the american publi. contained because of the actions of the u.s. government and the vigilance of the american pubcos of the u.s. government and the vigilance of the american public >> hosost: when you say managed and contained what to you mean? >> guest: if we were having this
talk before 9/11 and i stated the facts of what is happening it would it would have been absurd. 45 deaths is a tragedy but they are not on the scale of 9/11 or even on the paris attack with 130 people were killed. you will not hear politicians say we managed and contained the threat. you hear them saying we managed and contained the threat and you are not going to hear them say by the law of average someone is going to get one through. >> peter bergen, you write that americans suffer from historical amnesia and you say the golden age of terrorism was in the 1970's. >> guest: it is hard to remember
this but there was the underground, the puerto rican nationalist, the black panthers. there was a lot of political violence in the '70s and that disappeared. >> host: this is not to say the public should overlook the threat. there have been benefits with the threat concern with strangers raising the alarm to more often family and community members of radicalizing militants alerting the authorities. >> guest: yeah, not far from where we are sitting in the washington studio, you know, you may recall the case where five young men from northern virginia went to join the pakistani taliban and their families got in touch with the islamic organization and then the fbi and they were arrested in
pakistan. so family members and peer know the most about people. sometimes they will inform. >> host: how many investigations are underway? >> guest: the fbi says 900. >> host: is that people or what? >> guest: 900 investigations. typically it is people working alone or in pairs. they are usually lone wolves. in san bernardino it was a married couple and in the boston bombing it was two brothers. 2015 could see more jihadi terrori
terrorist cases since 9/11. >> host: how do you define jihad? >> guest: it has two meanings. one is declaring war and the other is the internal struggle. more people chose that one. >> host: nidal hassan -- where is he now? >> guest: i got a letter from someone working him. he is facing the death penalty for killing 12 soldiers and one civilian at fort hood, texas. the last time the military carried out an excution was half a century ago.
his family ran businesses, he is typical of the people i write about. n non-observeant muslims who became radical or middle class. fairly well educated and same income as the average american. they are really ordinary americans and that is a problem for law enforcement. >> host: where the did the conversion happen with hassan? >> guest: his parents both died when they were very young. that turned into a more fundamentalist view of islam then over time to a more militant version. i interviewed his first cousin who was from northern virginia as well and a successful lawyer
not far from here and he points out his cousin that conducted the attack at fort hood was unmarried, turning 40, very worried about going to afghanistan in a war zone, and also was he had never had a serious relationship with anybody else and he had no friends. so this was a socially isolated individual who just sort of performed in his own mind a herodic deed. it is fun and exciting.
>> host: peter bergen, you said you got a letter. have you wrote him back? >> guest: i try to reach out as much as possible. i try to contact the perpetrators and often times they are prevented from talking to journalist. one of the people i profile in the book i depot a hundred page letter and he is in florence, colorado in supermax and you would not wish that on your worst enemies. he is from northern virginia as wem. white middle class kid, high iq, who converted to islam and became a leading jihadist on the internet. it is interesting the european internet was largely created by americans and the english speaking jihad who is motivating people in the united states, the uk, and australia has been
started by american citizens. >> host: anwar al-awlaki is from northern individual as well. >> guest: yes. he was invited to the pentagon to speak after 9/11. he was hanging out with two of the hijackers and he is the most important english speaking member in jihad. he was killed in a covert operation but he is still celebrated around the world and shows up in all cases we look at. and indeed in the boston bombing
case they got their bomb recipe in spite of his magazine. >> host: you said there is no one-size-fits-all. >> guest: right. a desire to belong to something, some people are relatively young and it is tremendously exciting for them. i profiled one of the first person to create an english jihadi website. he is from charlotte north carolina and working in a call center as a computer specialist. he, by his own account, it was enthralling. so when you look at these cases, the more you know about them the more individual each person is and the mix of motivation you cannot say it is radical islam or personal disappointment or
objection to foreign policy. it is a mix of all of those. lots of people object to foreign policy and have personal disappointments. they killed many people that had nothing to do with islam. i mean it didn't have any affect on american foreign policy. the more you get into the why at a certain point you hit a brick wall because the acts are not explainable. >> james clapper talking about isis and its threat to the homeland. want to get your reaction. >> the rate of foreign fighters traveling to the conflict zones in syria and iraq is without precede precedent. 38, 200 foreign fighters including 6900 from western countries that traveled in syria from 120 countries since the beginning of the conflict in
2012. as we saw in the november paris attacks returning foreign fighters with first-hand battle experience pose a dangerous operati operational threat. isis has demonstrated suface -- sophis attacks. isis has conducted scores of attack. and isis' strength globally exceeds they have of al-qaeda. isis' leaders are determined to strike the homeland beyond extremist attacks. although the u.s. is a harder target than europe, isis e ternal operations remain a critical factor in our threat assessment for 2016. >> host: peter bergen? >> guest: those are sobering figures. the last time we heard there
were 4500 westerns who went to syria for training and now the number is 6900. the last time we had an over all number it was 30,000 now it is close to 40,000 he is saying. so the fact is we are continuing to see significant numbers of people going to syria for training. the good news is very few are americans and the ones going it a one-way ticket with them sometimes getting killed over there. i could only find two examples when researching the book of people who train with a jihadi militant group and come back to the united states. we are talking about a handful. look at paris. everybody involved in the attack trained in syria. there were eight people we know of who were involved in the actuala actual attack. you had 1500 frenchman go to syria to train. several hundred have come back. that is a big problem for france and belgium which has very large
numbers relative to its population going. it is a problem for germany, britain, pretty much every european country has had a relatively significant number of people going. we, the united states, are protected by geographic location. we are protected by the fact the american-muslim community is integrated into society. think about it in france where 10% of the population is muslim and 70% of their prison population is muslim. you are talking about a group that is disadvantaged. we don't have the same anger in the muslim-american community. we have a number of cases since 9/11, a little over 300, of american citizens or residents or people engaging in terrorism or crime. but the volume of people who are being attracted to this ideology in europe is much higher.
>> host: peter bergen, if you are writing the book instead of the united states of jihad and called it france of jihad would you come to the same conclusion? >> guest:ing you could have a paris-style attack every year going forward in paris. the french say to follow one person they need 25 people to do 24 hours a day of surveillance. think about the several hundred who have come back from syria. they have had two serious attacks in paris in one year. the charlie hebdo attack they killed 12 people in january. and they killed four people at a jewish supermarket in the space of two or three days. then we have the attack that killed 130 people in november. and you know, i think the european -- these nationalist
parties in europe whether in france, england, or hungary and are they are all based on immigration. i think this will create more anger. >> host: we are going to go to your calls in two seconds. we will pull the numbers up on the screen so you can talk with peter bergen. the subtitle of this book; investigating america's homegrown terrorist. you didn't use the word domestic but homegrown. >> guest: homegrown is the term the government uses. these people are not traveling ov overseas for training. they are radicalizing in their own bedrooms or the basement getting isis propaganda online and they are as american as anybody who is looking at this
and listening to the show. it is a -- it is an american phenomena which i think most people think terrorism is something that comes from outside. on 9/11 we were attacked by foreign born attackers. but major hasan was an american citizen. san bernardino, the husband was born in chicago. this is an american phenomena. >> host: mr. peter bergen produced mr. osama bin laden's first television interview and he declared war on the u.s. latter that year. frank is on the line for the
independent line. >> caller: hi. your book sounds valuable and i would like to read it. i would like to tell you about an experience i had. i moved to miami-dade in 1976 and there was the bombing at the dominican republic which was behind the building i lived in. i saw police cars all over when i drove there to see what it looked like at night. there are a lot of people. it is not just the jihadi's versus america. there is a lot of difference of opinions between the different sectors of the movement that don't like each other and take out grudges on the streets of america just like the people in miami-dade did. i think miami-dade went through something like this before. years before, what happened in fairfax, virginia, when i lived in for seven years -- >> host: got the point, i think.
peter bergen? >> guest: the caller makes a good point which is there have been all sorts of forms of political violence in the united states that are not related to this. the first really mass casualty attack in manhattan was conducted on wall street in 1920 by an analyst. and of course the united states was a wash in weaponry and this would be easy if you had have grudge or illog pie. when you saw the attacks on the chuch in north carolina where dylan roof killed nine african-americans and he was trying to incite a race war.
>> host: 330 americans have been charged with terrorism since 9/11. 29 is the average age. 39% of are married and 30% have children. >> guest: my research created this database to help with the underlying claims. they were both college educated. married. had a child. he was 70,000 a year and a pretty good job at the san bernardino county. and in many respects they accepted the fact they adopted this ideology and were typical ordinary americans who seemed to be living the american dream. >> host: michaelal -- michael is in milford.
>> caller: i think things in the world are simpler than anyone wants to admit. syria, an ally of southeaeasters russia. western powers want to remove the assad regime who is an ally of russia. in 2013, we started arming moderate rebels to remove the assad regime. now they are isis. it is the same group of people. all we are trying to do is remove the assad regime like we did cudoffy, sadan. it is the same playbook. >> guest: syria is a complicated issue.
i am not sure it is the immediate removal of assad. the two most powerful players in syria other than assad it is isis and the al-qaeda affiliate there. our main goal now is mostly trying to attack isis. rusa's main goal is the preservation of assad. i think the syria war would be going on for more than a decade.
the people who could put the brakes in don't seem to do so. i think we will continue seeing thousands of foreign fighters from around the arab world. and many many hundreds continue to go for training. >> host: director and vice president mark is in lake geneva, florida. mark, turn down the volume. we will move on to another. we will move on.
this is mark. hello, mark. >> caller: i wanted to disagree with the premise about peter bergen's book especially the subtitle. homegrown terrorism stems from radical right wing christianity. it is far greater than any muslim jihadist terrorism in the country. i just wonder if you are talking about homegrown radical or homegrown terrorism does he mention that in his book? does he talk about terrorism against blacks and people of color and kkk and talk about bringing that up? this is the comparison. it is not fair to talk about homegrown terrorism when you don't bring up right wing
christianity. >> guest: it is not in the book but it a good point. 48 americans were killed by anti government fanatics. anti abortion militants and neo nazis since the book began. where focus on jihadi terrorism because we were attacked on 9/1 with the most devastating attack since the british burned down the white house in 1814. that is the subject of the book. but i don't discount the fact that it is dillion -- dylan roof who killed people at a prayer meeting that there are other forms of violence. >> host: peter bergen, do you use the term radical islam? >> guest: probably talk about militant islam more. the president has been careful
not to use the phrase radical islam. i understand his reasoning. the more he says it the more it does play into the playbook we are at war with islam and of course we are not. but the fact is the koran can be cherry picked and you can have parts that advocate war. offensive wars against the perceived enemies of islam. just as the crusades had something to do with christianity and the settler inement had something to do , this has so to something to do with islam. the good news is that the people
most likely able to fight back are the people who have islamic knowledge, including another northern virginia resident who runs and he is personally intervened in the cases of several young men who became enamored. how did he do that? he is a leading islamic scholar. they do not represent some utopian version of islam. when you met osama bin laden in 1997, what was your impression? guest: my impression was that he was quite well-informed, intelligent, he was talking shinseki.leader of
gerry adams was a terrorist at one point. he is pretty well-informed about what is going on in the world. he is intelligent. charismatic at all? guest: i did not find him that charismatic, but the people around him, on his every word and treated him with much deference. he is certainly charismatic to his followers. as i'm sure you know, isis and dispute aboutn a the head of the global jihadi movement. isis can see themselves as the rightful heir of bin laden. i took about the ideology of bin laden.
laden-ism is a lot like other ideologies. it claims to explain the present and the future. bin laden set out a series of ideals that isis is acting on in a more extreme way. we need to create a caliphate, there were people standing in the way, we need to created in a violent means. bin laden, his ideas continue to influence even in death what is going on today. host: mary is out in maryland. republican line. you are on with peter bergen. "united states of jihad: investigating america's homegrown terrorists." guest: i have -- caller: i have a question about general petraeus? host: why do you ask that question? caller: i have been reading that he is the one in charge over there. host: he has been gone for quite a while. , i'm: general petraeus
sure his advice is sought in the military or the white house because he has been such a long time in iraq and he travels to the region frequently. for anow, he is working financial company in new york city and that is his principal -- that is what consumes his daily life. he is not running the middle east. here in our political season, several solutions to terrorism, to isis, have been proposed. can we carpet bomb isis out of existence? guest: no. isis is embedded into mosul, the second-largest city in iraq. they are also in a fairly
sizable city in syria. isis is not running around in toe big convoy amenable being bombed from overhead. they are careful about their movements. the bombing campaign has been going on from us two years against them. carpet bombing is not going to work. tanning muslim immigration is not going to work. the people profiled in the book are already here. to have the muslim american community on your side. you would not want to alienate muslim banning immigration, which would be illegal, and what about people who have one muslim parent and one christian parent? it does not make any sense. host: david is in dayton, ohio. a democrat. caller: good morning. i would like to ask a question.
why weren't any of the american jihadists ever prosecuted in accordance with the constitution traders? guest: actually, adam gotand, a propagandist for al qaeda, was the first american to be charged with treason. he was killed in a drone strike in pakistan. there have been, in rare bases where treason was the charge. i'm not a legal expert. i think treason has a particularly -- it is fairly high barred. you face the death penalty in treason cases. for prosecutors in a lot of these cases, the perpetrator, it is very clear what they have done. , it was easyassan
charge him with murder. he did not contest the facts. i think treason is probably a .retty high bar prosecutors are looking at the simplest charge that will stick. let's not get too complicated. murder is often the easiest charge. sometimes, there is not even a .errorism charge it is easier to go with a murder charge or there is a terrorism charge that produces a longer sentence if you can have a terrorism charge attacked to the underlying crime. , a lot ofr bergen things about the apple phone encryption. here is "usa today." they have syed farook and tashfeen malik coming into o'hare in 2014.
with this be a valuable tool for the fbi and government people able to get into our phones? guest: we just don't know. we don't know what is on that phone. i will say this. my opinion is that there probably is not much on the fun that we don't know already. we already have their verizon phone accounts. we have an extensive search of their house. we have their computers, we have the fulsome confession of several of the husband's best friends and gave them the weapons. we also have what was on the cloud from apple from the phone that was not the material encrypted on the phone. my guess is that there is not a hell of a lot on the phone. you might find out some extra details. i don't think there is any allegation that this couple was in touch in any real deep meaningful sense with isis. yes, they pledged allegiance on facebook, but i don't think
there is going to be some huge revelation on the phone. tech companies are concerned with market share around the world. if it is known that the u.s. government has some kind of backdoor to their products, a lot of people around the world are not going to get an apple phone or use google. by the way, to some degree, the train is beginning to leave the station on this point. isis is not using american social media platforms at all. iny are using one based berlin as a social media platform, encrypt it. if capitol hill legislated that all american tech companies have a backdoor, which i don't think it's going to happen necessarily, but if it did, it would be moot. isis has moved on because of their concern about this issue to other social media plan forms that are not american made. host: one of the things i
learned in united states of hassan hadat nadal been tracked by the fbi, by the government, prior to what happened at fort hood. guest: he has had 18 e-mails to the american-born cleric in yemen. you look at these e-mails and they look pretty disturbing. they are about the permissibility of conducting suicide operations, the permissibility of attacking fellow soldiers. wassan diego field office flagging this and was very concerned. they were concerned because he was in touch with two of the 9/11 hijackers. the washington field office has said the e-mails were consistent -- the blue san diego off.
one portion of the fbi was diderned and another part not do the due diligence to find out more. katie is in silver springs maryland on our independent line. caller: good morning. i guess the question comes from watching tv at night. about seen parities or mocking operations. is doeshe question satire have any effect on isis's recruitment efforts? host: is that where you were going? and mass media
yet it is in slaving millions of people. pre-rich topic for satire and it is a good way to undercut them. host: what is new america? guest: it is a think tank founded in 1999 in d.c. we are opening in san francisco, we have offices in washington. we have a national security practice and we hope to advance big ideas about how to change the united states for the better and do it in ways that are interesting to read and engaging to the public. we are not a government in waiting as many think tanks in washington are. we are trying to put big ideas into the public square. host: is there a connection to eric smith? guest: he is the chairman of the board. james in rochester, michigan. independent line. we are talking with peter bergen. "united states of jihad: investigating america's homegrown terrorists" is the new
book. caller: good morning. you may have alluded to this, but my question is does mr. berg see similarities and comparisons between the patriot movement, of which we had a great example of january in oregon, and the jihad movement? my thinking is such that if you were to strip away any references to the constitution the literal interpretation and then insert anything that has to do with the koran, they are one and the same? guest: i don't disagree with that at all. attack byhere was an a neo-nazi on a jewish community center in kansas and he killed three people and shouted hail hitler as he was being arrested. ,f he had shouted allah bar what would have been a big news story would have been even bigger. i completely accept the caller's
point. political violence attacking the end of the day, there are a number of different motivations for that. and we seenazis raising antigovernment fanatics who are attacking police offices. sometimes, they are violent and killing people, as well. host: who is dr. mark sage men? guest: he is a former cia case officer who wrote a very influential book about jihad. it looked at the number of different cases. made the book interesting book that these groups formed to do terrorist attacks. it is a social movement. you joined the jihad is a group of friends. that was true of the 9/11
hijackers. then he talked about the main aboutm of the west radicalizing. attack in paris was financed by the terrorist organization, not a bunch of lone wolves who got together and did the attack. news is that the threat in the united states is mostly entirely lone wolves right now. that is good news because there is a natural ceiling to what one person or a pair of people can do. co-conspirators, it was an organized group that did the attack. --omegrown mill again militants killed 13 people.
between a difference dot a large organization can and what one person can do when they are radicalizing in their own house. ,ost: boring file clerk tweets how would you go about defeating isis? guest: that is a great twitter handle, by the way. there is no demand signal from the american public for if you really wanted to defeat isis, you would spend a 200,000 woman and iraq. when we had 150,000 servicemen and women in iraq, we were barely containing the iraqi civil war. if you are really serious, that is what you do. the only republican candidate
who said what he would do was lindsey graham, who is out of the race now. he said he would send 20,000. the american public is not the managing a major groundwork again in the middle east. in the absence of that, we are left with the next president coming into office and they will probably do something similar to what president obama is doing. a relatively small number of special forces, attacking the money supply, enlisting turkey to stop people. and basically an operation to squeeze isis overtime that will take several years. there is no political appetite in the country for something much bigger. the republicans have not said precisely what they plan to do when they critique president
obama other than say things they do not make a lot of sense. host: we go back to where we started. you talked about managing. are we in a new normal? guest: i think we are all in a new normal. it is a low-level persistent threat that is going to continue for years. it is not an exit stencil threat. we have managed to contain it. we have done many things to increase our defensive capabilities. al qaeda central, who attacked us on 9/11, is more or less out of business. isis is taken their place. think we will see more large-scale attacks in europe. will see isis-inspired attacks in the united states. many will be disrupted by the fbi.
some, by the law of averages, will get through. texas -- that, or kind of thing will continue. host: john is calling in from northport, florida. me.er: excuse thank you for listening. why are you not talking about the country of turkey? the reason why i say that is i grew up in pennsylvania. there was a clergyman out of the country of turkey who was put into the united states back in 1999. amsterdam, i spoke to him
, regarding this man. there is now an investigation because of charter schools that he is under investigation, he is considered a terrorist, which the country of turkey put him on the terrorist list. the country of turkey hired robert amsterdam. host: john, where do you want to go with this? caller: is he familiar with this man and i feel the country of turkey is funneling terrorists out of the country of turkey into syria? host: thank you, sir. with them not familiar case. according to isis' own , beginning about early 2015, they begin to complain about the fact that the turks have been much less sympathetic for people going through turkey to syria. turkey has begun to crack down on that.
the foreign fighters going to syria are going through turkey. turkey has gone from a laissez-faire position to being pretty aggressive. they have turned people back and arrested people. route, itse down that is a lot harder to get into syria from the other countries that surround it. host: solipsism guest: -- salfa afism. guest: it profiles people who were followers of the prophet of islam. very few are terrorist. very few christian
fundamentalists attack abortion clinics, but almost everybody who attacks an abortion clinic in our country is a christian fundamentalist. that is a way to think about it. host: chris is in new haven, connecticut. caller: hi, i have a cousin who is now dead, but he was a raging and he wrote to the shot and iran -- shah in iran. it just seems that it set the stage for all of this. he had to open a safe to drink his sixpack of beer, but when he left iran, he could take his beer anywhere he wanted, but he was dodging bullets. guest: the overthrow of the shah
was arguably the most important moment for many jihadi people. this was a shia revolution in iran, but it was a fundamentalist move that overthrew a secular dictator backed by the united states. for a lot of people, that was a significant event. it indicated that we can have a religious revolution, whether it foraudi arabia, egypt -- people like al qaeda, the iranian revolution was the model of what they hoped to achieve. host: how have we changed our tactics over the last 15 years? really bigink it scene in the book is george w. bush who had never been -- met the new head of the fbi because
robert mueller had started the job the week before 9/11. he started saying, we believe it is al qaeda, here is the evidence. george w. bush interrupts him and says, this is what the fbi has been doing for time immemorial. your job is to prevent this from ever happening again. that was a huge shift of the fbi. it was a debate about whether we should have a domestic intelligence agency. a kind ofs become domestic intelligence agency. there is a huge analytical core that did not exist on 9/11. there is also an army of informants trying to go around and find people inclined toward terrorism. the fbi is in the business of preventing attacks before they happen.
they did not do it in this much more intentional way. host: see something, say something. has that been an ineffective campaign in anyway? guest: occasionally. they come up with interesting reports. the people with the most useful information our peers and they are the most likely to come forward. family members are more likely to come forward, the most likely people to come forward are strangers. they have the least useful information.
>> investigating america's home grown terrorists. brand n investigating america's homegrown terrorists, brand-new book out. thank you for being in the washington journal. >> every day books are reviewed by publications throughout the country. country. here's a look at some recently reviewed titles. naval academy english professor philip jason. he writes the book is loaded
with horror stories, procrastination obfuscation. much of what is new is his extensive interviews with special forces soldiers, a wide range of war crimes investigators and intelligence officials. nick littlefield recounting the life of the late senator ted kennedy was reviewed in "usa today". she continues, the authors pitch the story as a blueprint for making washington work again but it
unintentionally underscores how must the political landscape has changed. new york times science writer commented on jeffrey lieberman's history of psychology of the times sunday book review section. thesection. the government recognizes that many people remain skeptical about his specialty and they comfortable with the notion of mental illness generally. generally. it is one thing for somebody to suffer from a malfunctioning of the body's infrastructure but mental illness targets the mind and its symptoms are often disguised as personal defects. addressing the disparity between physical and mental health care. >> you know, with a lot of things, pancreatic cancer, there is not that much that can be done. but for the vast majority of
mental disorders we already have enough to make a huge difference. we just don't provided in an accessible way. i think this is the only way that this kind of gets the attention of the media is the add violence into this, some individual who is mentally ill and untreated kills people. >> people. >> watch for these programs and more this weekend on book tv. >> you're watching book tv on teewun, television for serious readers. here is a look at what is on prime time tonight. the kickoff the evening with david bernstein.