tv Washington Journal Thomas Sanderson Discusses Homeland Security CSPAN September 12, 2017 3:02am-3:59am EDT
also in pennsylvania. here to talk about the anniversary of 9/11 and the state of security, thomas sanderson, serves as the transnational threat project. good morning. guest: well, i think we are fairly safe. it's difficult to know exactly how to measure that but the reality is we've not had a major 9/11 style attack in the united states. we are able to deter folks from doing that through the securities we have, the overseas partnerships that provide intelligence for us. we do have home grown violent xtremists here and we have 100 people 100 people investig so there's not zero threat but we are managing it. >> so the policy you spoke about previous, specifically
what has worked? guest: well, certainly pushing security outward to our partners and improving the detection of people trying to come into the united states, cking up information on bomb plots by plots by al qaeda and the air ban pen ins la. detection at home. protection.border detecting individuals protectio. detecting individuals who have come in any number of ways. so those are the number of policies put protection. detecting individuals who have come in any number of ways. so those are the number of policies put in place, strength nd and they are working. commission e 9/11 was formed one of the things they spoke about was this idea of stove piping of information. is that information sharing getting better among t the comm was formed one of the things they spoke about was this idea
of stove piping of information. is that information sharing getting better among t the departments here in the u.s.? guest: without a doubt. information sharing has improved greatly. you do have more than 250,000 employees at d.h.s. you have tens of thousands of others across the law enforcement and intelligence communities relevant to homeland security but also our security overseas. it is never perfect. here are cultural differences, budgets. er but we do have a patriots working inside our government and outside our government and in law enforcement budgets. but we do have a culture of sharing. with do have a lot of people dedicated who are at the local regional state tribal level that are working together. again nothing perfect but we all understand the nature of the threat. host: thomas sanderson, our guest, here to talk about the security of the u.s. homeland ecurity. what's going on in europe, particularly when it comes to the threat there? what should the united states
be most concerned about? guest: we should be concerned about individuals in the united states copying what they've seen in europe, berlin, barcelona, london, multiiple lo cages. vehicle ramming. the late spokesman of isis, if you can't attack, if you can't to syria and iraq, attack with your foot, with a knife, a punch, a kick, a vehicle. so we've seen the art of the possible inside of europe. israel, for example, where to s individual with a car can ram people. you're never going to know until the last second. these individuals don't usually , including sign probably 4-5,000 europeans under the visa waiver program and, can travel to the united
states. that doesn't mean they want in without someone spotting them. and congress is looking at them. essential towards our economy and culture and family ties but it is a potential vulnerability with so many europeans having gone to fight that sis and having passports. host: would you say it's a icing? or not? what does that prove for the u.s.? >> certainly isis is more decentralized as an organization. they pivoted before we took ici? or not? what does that mosul. resources, individuals, has been prepositioned and set forth into europe. so those are the things that are already out there. it is a decentralized threat there is still some control
from leaders from groups we should be concerned about. but we should remember that the most terrorist attivity is about local battles. but we should all remain vigilant because bin laden said on llowers, don't focus europe focus on the united states. host: before your work, you served as an instructer and onsultant on terrorists. thomas sanderson our guests. our first call for you from alabama. caller: good morning. i have a question about the islamic terrorist training camps that are in america and what is being done about that?
guest: well i'm not aware of any specific training camps. forces l you that the do an excellent job of discovering any potential training forces do an facilities. of course we have had groups of individuals in the united states who engaged in their own they training where gathered one together did paint gathered one together did paint ball exercises, made plans, survailed, provided counter ntelligence. i'm not sure if we have formal training camps at this point. host: tony in maryland. aller: good morning. you have another war fear mongering guy on there to i guess scare everybody again
ince september 11. i'm very disappointed in you. i'm not one of these ones out here that believe that 9/11 was done by the people that you say did it. i just don't believe it. there's no evidence to support it. here's plenty of evidence to support otherwise. the video of the pentagon does not look like a commercial aircraft. the plane that went down in shanksville does not look like there was anybody in that plane. and people are starting to come to an understanding of what really happened on that date. host: we invited him on to talk with folks like you. guest: i don't share your particular view. i think the evidence certainly
has proven and is available that shows who did this, how they were supported. very exhaustive studies were done on this and investigations were done through multiiple agencies and nongovernment yl groups. so i think it's clear what happened. host: why do you think this persists, these ideas? >> because -- a few reasons. one, there are individuals in the united states who do not trust our government. number, because the united states has had relationships with fighters in the past, many which then became part of al qaeda, that feeds this perhaps the at this, states is behind
are not the actual perpetrators. i think those are two of the key reasons. host: san diego is next. bruce. caller: with 9/11, i think -- and it seems to be that much th are not the actual perpetrators. i think those are two of the key tension is covering up domestic terrorism. at is the state of that in terms of threats to the united states i'm talking specifically noo nazis and kkk. guest: though this is the anniversary of 9/11 i do think ds appropriate to address the nazis, esented by noo kkk and other hate groups. we saw what they're capable of doing in charlottesville but we have many examples of the attacks they have care rid out minorities in the united states so it is a significant threat and i know that the f.b.i. and
others are looking at this. being ident it's pursued. idea of t about this recruitment? particularly as we know much more about how individuals commit these actually response? guest: recruitment is very difficult. it's hard for communities, family members, law enforcement and idea of recruitment? particularly as we know much more others to detect individua whose are radicalized. which is why counter intelligence is very important. unfortunately, grants for programming at homeland security have been pulled and that is one thing that i think is heading in the wrong direction. but as a country i think we do a pretty good job of detecting the that in most places. there are places where you have pockets of individuals who are not well integrated into american society.
again, a safe haven for an individual is their own mind. it's very difficult to detect activity. many who do seek to conduct attacks talk about it with friends, with compatriots on line and the f.b.i. is often able to intervune here. it is difficult. we have a diverse country and a lot of social media mention ming in that stimulate the minds of young meng who may feel minds of young meng who may feel marginalized. host: was the decision to pull funds done by the administration? guest: yes. the funds are designed to detect radicalization, provide the kind of counseling, the kind of help that authorities can use to prevent young men and women to go to these groups.
over 400 individuals in the united states have been inceleste gated, about 60 who have been arrested and prosecuted. t's about nine men to each woman. al host: bryan is next. guest: how many people from luzzmim countries have overstayed woman. their visas and what are we doing linchtly from the 9/11 point to this point? thank you very much. >> i don't know how many individuals have overstayed their visas from any religious group or ethnic group. and i'm not sure that we are going to be trying to detect those numbers based on that criteria. their visas but it is clear that we have many people who are overstayed. muslims, christians, and all other relincolnance and we should be pursuing those
individuals. host: washington, d.c., good morning. calling on republican line. you're next. me. : just bear with i spent 20 years as a contracter for the f.a.a. i left as a senior principal ngineer. i believed all the stuff on 9/11 until about five years later i came across some stuff and started doing my own investigation. i don't believe in some media thing. what i found was first of all planes can't fly into a 30 foot hole like they did in the pentagon. they seemed to have it cancal difficulties showing you that. there's a whole industry that's een built up around fear
mongering. they're getting big salaries. they shredded the bill of rights. it was an inside job. the organizations you're talking about, they did you find any explowives? >> no. >> did you look for explosives? >> no. >> all you have to do is look in those buildings. and the work is getting around are getting tired of the fear mongering. and they get their salary from this whole thing of are getting so-called terrorist groups down. host: ok. you made your point. est: i've been in 70 countries. i've interviews over a dozen militant groups. let me tell you there is nothing fake about the threat. it is real. i don't have his expertise with
the f.a.a. but i don't share the thought that this is an inside job. there are a number of threats that will continue to target us. host: he brought up the patriot act and surveillance. what's the lock it have term effect? >> certainly on raffle's side individual, feel they have less privacy but feel we're savor. you don't want to trade that in today there have are some tradeoffs. just like at the airport we allow ourselves to be checked. we do that in order to fly safely. so the patriots act has done a number of things that are good and has eroded some of our liberties.
we struggle today both today do and threats but largely foreign and the need to protect ourselves and the others who get on metro, get on a ship, get into a car, walk into a building. those are concerns we want to think about. host: you can find his book at the hill website. stems from the barcelona attacks. guest: the point is if you do not share information and do it effectively that you could end up getting bitly. however, when it comes to attacks from spain, spain struggles with multiiple sources of energies. and the c.i.a. did send them information about potential attacks in barcelona but that been one than a
hundred pieces of information that came in that week, that month. wre just don't know. it's been one than a hundred pieces of information h spanish because it's hard to improve this. there's good information, it's not as good. the cultural differences, the differences.egal privacy laws. and even within countries, bellingm has risen by so many different differences. privacy organizations. host: missouri. al, go ahead. caller: i wish he would tell the truth. we've been since 19r6. reagan started that war. and they know reagan started that war and they're not going to tell the truth. we've been in pakistan since is he 86 and he needs to tell the
truth. thank you. host: my comment is the is one of our most difficult partners truth. in the battle against terrorism. pack stan has enable militant groups but they are also partners of ours pursuing militant groups. and violent extremist groups can help achieve those goals. but pakistan dupts a lot. they are not the only country like that. there are countries who have been the source of the ideology. saudi arabia. also provides us with intelligence on the threats. that list goes on and on where e have imperfect partners. host: jim, go ahead. caller: i just want to say that i think it's so digs respectful to call in to this program and talk about conspiracy theories
to those people, those thousands of people's lives who were touched by the tragedy. for anyone to believe that our government, our country somehow conspired to do something so tragic and so terrible, it's just sick. it's sick to think that way. and believe those things. that's really all i have to say about it. i just think those families knees to know there are -- need to know there are those of us who have the respect to know what was paid by those people. that's about all i have to say about it. guest: thank you. i appreciate those thoughts. and on the anniversary of 9/11 those are ever important. these stheeries are not founded. this would be an outrageous thing for our government to do. it would also be an extremely difficult for the government to have succeeded in doing.
host: two times the president has tried to impose some type of travel ban. talk about what the president's proposal is. what do you think the effectivelyness would be? guest: we've seen the challenges and the they are significant from a nurl of courts, a number of parties who are challenging the president to be able to say a certain group of individuals is not allowed in the united states. it is not effective. we have individuals inside this country who are not muslim, we ave individuals threating to come inside who are not muslim. part of this is clearly political and economic in its tone and in its makeup. it is not a wise policy. host: one is to allow the government to improve the process of vetting. what is that current process? guest: the current standard for
vetting is extraordinary. if you come in here as a refugee, it is very, very difficult for you to get through that process. it's many, many months long. we have an excellent standard for that. and that is not the issue here. this is a political issue. from pittsburgh, pennsylvania, marianne on our republican line. good morning. caller: i would like to know about the from f.b.i. agent tha caught in texas to one of the terrorist attacks that happened in texas. billion t the $3.2 equipment litary iven to someone. she's referring
to this woman who worked at the f.b.i. who consorted with a known terrorist. i don't know many details about o this woman that but i do know that she was caught. that she did cooperate, provided information to the f.b.i. of course after having been caught. and i don't know much of details beyond that. but that but i that is very frighte marianne is right to bring that up. to have someone in the f.b.i. doing that is scary. is immune.cy in the equipment, i believe she's talking about the trump administration's reversal of providing excess military departments police which president obama curtailed sharply after what had happened over the last couple of years with departments which respect to excessive police force against civilians. i do think it is dangerous to put into hands of a police department military grade equipment.
there are specialized teams who require specialized materials. but they've always had those for some time. i think we need to be careful about providing military style weapons that he are designed to welfare by pls departments in situations. host: the project director for the threats program. nd served at the defense intelligence agency's office of counter terrorism from 1998 to 2002. what is that program? guest: sure. let me clarify. i worked intelligence for a contracter called science international corporation. i joined them right after graduate school to look at factors and indicators that would warn us that terror groups were going from onventional weapons to weapeds
. that was my -- weapons of mass destruction. thast my main client or customer. what we did is we looked at the three main instances of the use of wmd in the past. that was the armed forces, use of color reingas. t was a small cult that used salad bars. can i don't know if you remember that incident. to poison individuals and sicken them. so we looked at those as well as a nurl of things, social science literature. his is opened source and classified to help determine when a militant group would make those connections. classified to help determine when do they start, when they begin to isolate, when they engage in group think, where they can dispers a certain level of guilt. so it did that for four years
and provided insights on what those factors and indicators may be. host: what were your thoughts then on 9/11 about the use of aircraft? guest: we were not looking at aircraft. my team was not looking at aircraft at the time but i'm certain individuals were. and concerned about that possibility. had been raised in studies before both government and nongovernment that aircraft could be used like this. of course aircrafts have been targeted in the air. n am 103, air india, lots of times. but not a lot talked into being turned into cruise missiles. that was the innovation of the part of al qaeda and today remains a threat. aircraft are tier 1 target, highly visible, the impact on the economy and on the psyche and on the moral of the country would have been profound if they were to trike again that
way. host: because now do you think that could be repeated? guest: it would be very difficult to get four individuals on board to take over the aircraft because of the doors on the cock pit. getting a bomb on board we've seen that's possible. we saw in egypt with the aircraft, in somalia, in other placeses where that has happened. in raugs it has happened a couple of times. so getting individuals to take over the aircraft to then use it as a cruise missile. that seems to me near impossible. but getting in, how much is that difficult? host: go ahead. caller: thank you for answering my call. i'm calling about this 9/11 situation. it's feasible for the government to do this. remember operation northwood,
the kennedy administration. linden b. johnson. is 9/11 thing started from 1991 or before when george w. bush senior tried to take over raush and the coalition ended up in 2011. nd he had two $240 billion ecurities needed to be cleared on september 12. host: thank you. guest: i don't share your view on the conspiracy element of this that the government was in on this. it's certaintly true that our government that essentially any government on the planet today has engaged in pretty awful activities. but this is way beyond the
pail. and that would be outrageous to kill that many people just is not true and did not happen. in just a few moments we will take you to the moment of silence that yo have been seeing leading up to that. until then our conversation with thomas sanderson will take place. we'll palk for a moment to watch the white house ceremony and then resume our conversation. john this is dan in independence oregon. caller: i wanted to ask the person, the last five years in the united states, how many innocent people have been killed by terrorists and how many innocent people have been killed by the police. thank you. guest:ion the exact numbers how many people have been killed in the last five years by terrorist incidents and by
police. but certainly my guess is that the number by police is much igher than by terrorism. creates an inordinate amount of fear but it is that ability to generate that fear that is so awful. of course we have seen a lot of violence on the part of some police officers in this country and the number are pretty high. i don't know the numbers and can't help you with creates an amount the comparison. host: john is next. caller: thank you for what you do and what your organization does. i'm so happy to -- that the president called these people they are. that i think basically they were referred to as cowards. from whoever bombed oklahoma. and they are. i think don't be grossed out by this but these people don't like pigs. right?
they should be buried in a pig platter. we could tell them we use them in footballs and the old ones we're going to bury them in as far as the ones who commit suicide. they kill these people. they should never be referred to as anything but cowards. and that will stick with them. guest: well, i share your view that they should be called cowards. i do not agree with associating heir deaths as pigs. these people are awful. overseas we have an aggressive posture, with special operations, with drones, with strike aircraft, but i want to point out that counter terrorism, counter insurgency demand much more than what is referred to as kinetic activity.
we will not achieve durable relief until we deal with this. there are a whole range of things that we need to do that we are not doing that this government is not serious about doing. we have not resourced those efforts. i hear this from intelligence officers, special operations officers, folks across government, left right and middle. we are not doing the serious effort that we need to do to reduce the threat. it is not just bombing. were very good at that. >> what's on the top of the liffs? host: encouraging strongly and doing as much as we can to force good goveness from
overseas. trying to reduce sectarianism. religious and ideological radicalization. socio economic huge. a lot of the young men are on the sidelines, reduced in their life in joining extreme nt extremist groups. it gives them a seps of purpose, dignity, and respent. these are thing that is they lack at home often in repressive regimes. but in democratic societies too. out re's a big deficit there.
then radical preachers and then radical preachers and individuals manipulate that neeth. host: so, yeah. then radical preachers and individuals manipulate that neeth. host: so, yeah. host: what's the best way to minister this? guest: engaging these countries where you find this happening and where you find the numbers so high. tunisia, for example, saudi arabia, jordan. and these are allies of ours but they're large numbers of individuals coming from these countries joining these groups. and it is about being better at governance, to protecting your citizens. my colleague often says that when we look counter terrorism. we need to look at the states who are terrorizing their own people. and we need to use the leverage we have to push policies that do improve job making, job production, good in governance but reduced levels of crupping. host: we're a few moments away from observing the moment of silence. caller: i just want to tell mr. sanderson thank you for presenting facts. it sadens my heart that so many people in america believe in conspiracy theories.
again, thank you so very much for presenting the facts. i really appreciate it. guest: thank you, and good luck down in texas. host: harley republican line go ahead. caller: i was a fine 11 first deployed called out at ground zero for about six weeks. but my -- i've been thinking about this a long time. i read somewhere that terrorists their families get rewarded and get high schools named after them. is there any mechanism to seize the assets of terrorist families, their extended families so a stiff might deper because he knows his mother will wake up in poverty.
est: i don't know what the policies are with regard to being able to seize the assets of families. i know they the round up the entire family. that can turn into more because you radicalize those policies are with regard to being able to seize the assets of families. i know young men and girls when you use that whole sale approach. that is present in so many of the countries where i've done my research. i don't think that they would do that here. host: thomas will remain with us as we go to the white house to observe the moment of silence.
silence at the white house. we go back to our conversation. your thoughts on 9/11. where were you? guest: i was at the place of business out in tysons corner, and i remember my boss indicating that something is happening. we didn't have tvs and the ability to live stream at the time so we all went down into the basement. and i had actually reported to the pentagon for an assignment that monday. and my boss called me in early to work on something for another office. and we all were downstairs. i just remember vividly, on a day like today, how frightening that was. and once you got the second building confirmation hit and then the pentagon you felt the sense of seige. and of course we had no idea by whom. so that was the first time in my life i felt that. host: let's go to john in mississippi, democrat's line. thank you for waiting. go ahead. caller: well, i will never
forget this day. i would just dropped my son and school. off to manager at was a a local casino and as soon as i dropped them off, i go to the home, i look on my tv, i see the tv had hit. and it was -- manager at a local casino and as soon as i dropped them off, i was just -- just didn't know -- i was i was like, i didn't know what to say. i called my wife and told her. i said we're at war. it's an didn't. but prior to me having this profession i was an air defenseman in the military. so i just assumed naturally that we had stingers at the pentagon, there were stingers at the white house. i had made a comment like a week earlier because i think they had hijacked in egypt or turkey. i just made a comment, well, all they have to do is to really mezz this country up is
hit wall street or hit the capitol. we're going to argue and fight about politics. or hit the white house. so for it to happen two weeks later, and then to drop my kids off and go to work, i had so many quorkers looking at me lie -- rightfully so, a person who has information about such tragic things. and i'm crying. but they -- nobody knew about my military career prior to his job. i would give my life for this country then and now. ease stop the conspiracy theories, america. it's not good. not good for the world, not good for us. host: thank you so much. guest: thank you for your service. and you did put your life on the line by joining the military. you did that with the kind of knowledge and others had.
you must have looked at this as a possibility and then it scared the daylights out of you by this and then your coworkers scared too by your prediction. this is an awful thing. i thank you for calling off the conspiracy theories. because so many people died that day and after to fight the taliban and al qaeda and made sacrifices as many have. let's let's go to jim in california. caller: hi. this is jim in california. it's tragic what happened in 9/11 of the 1200 or 1500 people died. what's more tragic is the 0,000 deaths in hospitals, hospital admitents every year. and it's going on and on.
and that's more than what's happening in 9/11. nothing is done about that. 440,000. 30% are due to the hospital -- the people at the hospital. the others to the doctors in the hospital. what about what happens with regards to people who don't go to hospitals? host: comment if you wish. guest: sure. i remember during the clinton administration where president clinton did look at this issue of the very high number of deaths from infections and accidents inside u.s. hospitals which was a stunning number to me. t over 35,000 car deaths per area. there are many things that kill more people than 9/11. but these are for the most part accidents so we don't look at them in the same way as we do a plot from overseas meant to instill fear across america and to kill almost 3,000 people. host: we tend to focus on the
middle east when it looks at sources of the problems. are there other hot spots? >> without a doubt. hot spot. is a big north africa just below the sahara is an area my colleague and i traveled to recently to look at what's happening in nigeria, with aqim. many other groups. tomorrow i depart to southeast asia, which is another hot spot. one of the main concerns we've been looking at is this phenomenon, this threat of foreign fighters. we don't know the exact numbers but anywhere between 41,000 and 44,000 came to the syria, iraq battle field to join isis and many other groups present. many others have been killed and come to the united states but others coming from 10
countries are still battling there in the remnants of the united states the cal fate that they declared. and some are going home. in southeast asia we've seen the first flair fired off. you've had more than 80 foreign fighters show up to join the most evil, despicable group today. and you had fighters from chechnya, saudi arabia, yemen, morocco, india, indonesia, malaysia, and even singapore the battle. over 125 phil pin police and security forces have been killed. more than 500 militants killed and 40,000 people displaced. this is not the only activity n southeast asia but those are the two key issues down here. but we have etsdz no
insurgencies. you have in other parts now in the fill pins. these are different from groups like al qaeda and isis but they can battle. over 125 phil pin police and security forces have been killed. more become the cause celeb of these groups coming in to defend muslims where they were minority and these are catholic and buddhist ma majority countries. what's happening to those individuals seeking autonomy. these are muslims who are seeking to essentially run their own lives free of government interference. those kind of battles could draw in people. what we've seen is an isis battle. they're bad people. they've been trained and hardened. and they are now made their ourney to the fill pins. host: from tampa, florida. john, you're next.
caller: i had u like to thank e guest and expertise from protecting ordinary americans from extremists. real threat. him on need to correct one thing. donald trump's travel ban was not against the muslims like the fake news media would have us believe but rather against countries in such disarray that you can't verify these people through their countries -- countries in him on one thing. donald trump's travel ban was not against the shambles. like syria, for instance. it wasn't against muslims. it was against muslim people who came from countries where these terrorists exist and the countries are in such disarray they couldn't be verified and safe to enter the united states of america. guest: thank you. some of those countries are in disarray.
yemen, for example. but many other countries have threats and did not make that list. zool hello. guest: i want to thank the guest that you have. plus honor the 3,000 plus that died in new york and the penguin. plus i want to also honor the four that died on 9/11 in benghazi. now, for conspiracy people, lets give them a little meat on that. it was the government who caused four deaths. so if you want to choose on something about conspiracy, why don't you chew on that. guest: there certainly are a number of opinions on what happened in benghazi and who knew what and when they knew it. but certainly tragic that we
individuals there. any americans and any innocent individual american or not, a loss of life there is awful. host: looking at the trump indi. any americans administration's handling of issues of security. what are you paying attention for from this administration when it comes to security of the homeland. guest: the cbe grants. i think that is a problem. but the president and the department of homeland security which is staffed by a lot of career individuals, the vast majority, are doing a good job working hard. we need to keep our eye on the ball. i believe the president is doing that and putting an emphasis on immigration. there are a finite amount of resources but i think d.h.s. is good a -- doing a good job. it's difficult to excute all the time. but on other security issues, intelligence leaks also the president's cavalier attitude towards sharing intelligence