tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN July 8, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
lee. i'm reminded of a saying that my father and grandfather used to say in syria which is when you point to the moon, the idiot looks at the finger. the issue is a there's a lot of things to blame for, and there are a lot of things that make individuals that are radicalized susceptible. we hear this administration blame the syrian revolution on climate warning. we hear narratives we try in this ethno-centric focus to claim whatever fits into a partisan check box on what's happening in the muslim world. i would tell you -- i'm hearing some of the answers from my colleagues on the panel. i keep hearing this short-term solution versus long term solutions and a vision. the reason we have the largest agency in government focused on counterradicalization because we have a sophisticated whack-a-mole program.
sometimes like treating cancer, the patient may get sicker before they get better. if you don't treat the disease and suppress symptoms, you will ultimately kill the patient or not treat and learn about the disease. i can tell you the bottom line is the radical ideology is islam is that time in history what christianity was in the 16th, 18th century. we can sit it out and let others that are moving movements of hundreds of millions and stay asleep and say, well, in america where we are most fitted to have this revolution of ideas within the house of islam, we can let them do it and dominate the conversation under countering violent extremism or we can weigh in and treat them with tough love and think we are going to treat the theo cthethe
mentality. it prevents the advancement of the ideas of freedom that can happen in this laboratory in america. >> to take your medical analogy a step further, you refer to treating symptoms instead of addressing the root cause. i assume analogize this to a misdiagnosis. if we misdiagnose this as a malady brought about because of poverty or career opportunities what might we miss? >> we miss the fact prisoners in saudi arabia and syria are fighting not against poverty, fighting for freedom, for liberty. in this free society we can't even recognize the voices, the dissident voices. it would be like in the cold war being told that their voice is don't matter. all that matters is the economic polite under soviets. in the meantime our government would cozy up to the italian nonsoviet communists as being our allies when the root problem
was communism and socialism and collectivism. in this battle, the root problem is theocracy. the government doesn't need to become experts in sharia but at least take sides within the house of islam and let the arabs and pakistanis stop seeing us as cozying up to the theocrates oppressing against the hundreds of millions that are islamics and majorities of the green revolution and in america right now we are letting, by not using the terms, we are letting the islamists define and lead what it is to be a muslim. i reject that as an american muslim that loves this constitution. >> thank you very much, dr. jasser. >> thank you, senator lee. senator klobuchar. >> i think senator durbin might
have been next. all right. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing and thank you senator coons, thank you to our witnesses this hits at home for me. we have the largest somali population in the country. i went out to meet our first ambassador in 25 years to somalia, ambassador schwarz who has been in foreign service 20 years and taking on this difficult assignment and understands this is a balance. the balance is going after terrorism and evil at its roots at places, in places like somalia, going after isis at its roots. it's also going after extreme ideologies, islamic extremism here at home. but in our community, we love our somali community. nearly 100,000 people, i have a full-time somali outreach. he's now been elected to the school board. we have people who are running
businesses, who are part of the fabric of life in our state. i was the prosecutor managing an office of 400 people during 9/11 where massoui was captured. we get this balance and see it all the time. i figured my mission as a prosecutor was to convict the guilty and protect the innocent. what i have seen the change from 9/11 when the bush u.s. attorney went around to the mosques and assured people at president bush's direction they would not be victims of hate crimes, they would not be bullied, we would stand up for them and that was part of america, i've seen different rhetoric right now. that is hurting those communities, and not furthering justice. i met with some of our people from our muslim community a few months ago at a mosque and heard the story of a family that had gone out for dinner. the parents experienced no discrimination before.
they were having dinner with two kids and a man walked by and said, you four go home, you go home to where you came from. the little girl looked at her mom and said, mom, i don't want to go home. you said we could go out to dinner tonight. i want to eat dinner here. i don't want to eat dinner at home. those were the innocent words of a child because she only knows one home. that is minnesota. she only knows one home, and that is the united states of america. in a state where we now had dozens of indictments against people who have been trying to go to join those evil terrorist organizations of al shabaab and isis where we have convicted people in just the past month, understanding how important this is, respecting our law enforcement, u.s. attorney appointed by this administration for their work, i still understand how we cannot indict an entire religion and community because of the conduct of a few.
so this is a balance. i guess my first question, and i heard congressman ellison's name was raised. he is my congressman. a man of great patriotism. he paired up with one of the most conservative members in the house who took michele bachmann's seat to start the somali conference. the two have done that together because we don't see politics as getting in the way of not just the prosecution of criminals and evil, but also in the defense of americans and innocent americans. i heard his name raised. i know i want everyone on the panel to know he has been an advocate for funding, as i have been as senator franken and many to figure out how we can go after this and figure out when kids and young people -- no parent wants their kids to grow up to be a terrorist, how they are influenced by this and how we can do a better job identifying problems.
that's why the homeland security. jeh johnson will testify here. we'll be asking him about this. we are putting out grants from homeland security. we put something like $50 million in the last appropriations bill to try to go after this violent extremism. i ask you how you think this could work and how this is part of the solution, in addition to what i support is strong law enforcement and this side to prevent these kids from being influenced in the first place. >> thank you for the question. i've been fortunate enough to go to minneapolis and speak quite a bit with the minneapolis somalia american community. i think part of the problem is keeping the frame as extremism. when you look at the foreign travel in the first instance during the somali civil war, there was an invasion from a foreign country into their ancestral homeland.
since there has been a united states of america, americans have gone to fight in foreign conflicts, not just ones they have some familial attachment to, but where they felt some interest in either becoming part of a big adventure or some ideological attachment to one side or another. we have treated that as a normal part of american life. we now have this prism of extremism where we ignore the conflicts going on and treat it as a problem within the heads of these children. my concern is that by doing so what we are doing is shoving the conversations about those foreign conflicts into the dark corners of the room. right? parents tell their children, don't talk about politics and somalia or syria and iraq when you're in the classroom. don't talk about that -- >> i don't think that is what this program is about, mr.
german. this is not about that. it's about working with communities and trying to give them the kind of support they need so if a kid is starting to have issues and they see things that they start pairing them up with people so they can figure out what's happening. >> so i've been looking at these programs. >> you don't support them? >> it's difficult to say that because i can't get information about them. >> okay. >> we have been trying very hard. these are public programs, we should be able to evaluate them publically. >> we should be asking jeh johnson about this. i want to see some of the other views here. some of these people that have been recruited in minnesota, there is some terrorist cell issues. other people recruiting them. a lot of times it's people on the internet. obviously, we have first amendment rights. i am two minutes over already here, about what we should be
doing here to limit some of this recruiting and taking responsibility with the private and public sector. this is slick recruiting that's going on right now right within our midst. >> thank you for the question. we have to put out alternative voices, not have a narrative that we are opposed to them or that we are attacking their religion. there was this big study done by the people at duke. they surveyed almost 400 law enforcement officials and talked to over 200 community members in a variety of focus groups. the sense was that there was sort of an oppressive atmosphere from law enforcement toward these communities. that i think is pernicious and counterproductive.
we have to maybe restart and rethink some of these programs. of course, provide alternative narratives for the young people. if i could add one more thing. a lot of the rhetoric in the presidential campaign has been, i think, pernicious for young people. we did a nationwide survey of teachers to ask what has happened in your classroom as a result of this? there are a lot of kids who are feeling bullied, a lot of kids who are feeling scared. especially young people. >> i heard the same thing. >> yeah. and that is a dangerous thing, too. i think it's quite important that all of us, especially people in your position, positions of other persons on this committee speak out against that. >> that's something president bush focused on after 9/11. >> it made a big difference. >> yes. all right. thank you very much. >> senator sessions. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
mr. cohen, i remember during the civil rights days and your organization was standing firm for equality and rsds sued the clan and went after them aggressively and condemned their radical ideas. i don't think there is anything wrong with that, mr. jasser. aren't you saying it's all right if someone advocates a position that's extreme or violent or incompatible with the republican doctrines of america, the constitutional order, that they should be challenged on those beliefs? isn't that the honest way we debate issues in this country? >> i believe there is nothing that would melt away muslim bigotry more than for americans to see muslims step to the plate and counter theocracy. once they see we are the most essential head of the spear in this battle and see the 15 principles we signed where we condemn violent jihad, condemn the caliphate, we sent this to every mosque in america and have gotten crickets back because the
media and government are complies italy giving muslims a pass whether they side with american constitutionalism. i hear references to president bush's administration, what he said post 2011, it's completely different. the arab awakening countered the regimes that fixed the narrative in the west to compare what we did pre-2011 to post arab awakening is folly. >> i remember during the civil rights days, national tv networks, maybe they were atheists, jewish, catholic, whatever, going into churches in the south, sticking a camera in the face of a preacher and asking them, can an
african-american and black person worship in your church, yes or no? this was a difficult question. it was pretty tough, but i thought and in retrospect, that kind of challenge caused people to realize the position was untenable. it could not be defended in public debate and it went away, essentially. is that the kind of challenge you think that ought to be made to extremist groups within the islamic rubric? >> we need to challenge muslims to realize that violent homophobia comes from nonviolent homophobia. when the president goes to a mosque, he went to the islamic society of baltimore. they had gender apartheid as a policy, a sermon which was against homosexuals a year prior
our muslim reform movement publicized. why is he going to this mosque? it appeared to be a bigotry of low expectations that we don't hold muslims accountable to the same values we do everybody else in the west and this country. we'll give lectures to christians, jews and others, but when it comes to muslims, the mosque is in the 13th century when it comes to women's rights, gay rights and other rights. treat us with tough love, hold us accountable and the bigotry that exists in america will melt away because they'll see us as essential. >> the islamic world and muslim religion is a great religion. millions of people, millions follow doctrines and don't believe in these things. villages and cities throughout the world, and i don't see there is anything wrong challenging that doctrine. mr. mccarthy, they say well this
is not islam. the people who practice this ideological violent, terroristic idea believe they are practicing islam, do they not? >> they certainly do. they have a lot of basis for doing so. >> with regard to miss khera, i think there's some theological issues here. if you believe your religion calls for certain things, you may not believe that but some do. this causes part of the problem, does it not? >> i think the biggest problem you have is the imputation of bigotry and bias to fact. when i was a prosecutor doing these cases, it was simply a fact that there are commands to violence in the scripture that they are mediated and exploited by people like the blind sheik, and they inspire young muslims to commit violence.
now, the way he interpreted those verses is certainly not the only way to interpret them. a lot of the heroic work i think dr. jasser does is precisely to try to either correct what may be translation errors or to contextualize these disturbing verses. are we going to put our head in the sand about whether they are there? >> that's what we are dealing with, colleagues. i wish it were not so that there are people that can find verses within the koran that justify violence, and we can say it's not religious if we want to, but they think it is. mr. haney, i understood you said
that sharia law, is it a part of the koran itself? is a call to sharia law a part of the koran? i didn't know that it was. >> speak up. >> it's called the dean. there are several names for it in arabic. dean means law and/or belief or religion. sharia is derived from a combination of the koran itself, the haddif, saying of mohammed and what you might call tradition. all combined together into one, what's called consensus. so it's partially koranic. partially haddif. it is the gravitational force that brings order to the universe of islam. it's a very important concept. sharia is the driving force of the global islamic community, and simultaneously of the global islamic movement. what we see are expressions, are
tactics, ways to implement or i should say ways to achieve the goal of an implementing sharia law. tactical ways. all the way in a spectrum from promotion or invitation to join islam up to what we call jihad and other verbs which mean slaughter or push away. they are more frequent in the koran than jihad if we are going to have an honest discussion about the strategies and tactics of the global islamic movements, what we need to do is address honestly and with courage the verbs and meanings of the words that we have been constantly told to ignore or purge away and what they actually mean and how they drive the individuals we've seen.
>> you are a very accomplished prosecutor. i recall the manson trial, they proved the ideology, the motivating factors to the manson group and why they did the murders. that's what you did in your case, did you not? you identified and proved as part of your case the motive based on what they interpreted their faith to mean. >> yeah. i respectfully find it mind boggling to have a conversation in which it's suggested that we need to turn a blind eye to ideology when you actually get into the four corners of a trial on most of the charges that we bring, which are essentially conspiracy cases in almost every single instance.
the very evidence they say we shouldn't look at for purposes of the investigation is the evidence that the prosecutor has to admit at the trial in order to prove willfulness, in order to prove intent and in order to prove knowledge. so we're actually saying that in investigating people who might potentially commit the terrorist attack, we have to close our eyes to their ideology, but if we are lucky enough to indict them at some point, and we get them to trial, then we can put into evidence all the things we didn't look at when we were investigating. how crazy is that? >> briefly, this nation cannot admit everybody that would like to come here and immigrate to america, is it important to ask whether one has an extremist ideology and ask questions how they interpret it or not? is there some constitutional protection that the united
states cannot inquire to see who might be the most successful immigrant? >> i don't think there is any constitutional impediment to it. that said, during the 1960s into, i guess, the early '80s, there was a lot of statutory work that was done supportive of the proposition that we needn't be worried about ideology, that it's not a causeative trigger. it was not constitutionally necessary to do that. i think a lot was caused by the fact that the supreme court in the '60s and '70s gave expanded first amendment protection to radical ideology which was a terrible mistake. i think made out of a calculus the soviet threat had been overwrought. whatever you think about that, we are now in a threat
environment where it's not a hypothetical question about whether there is an ideology that triggers mass murder attacks. we are seeing it. >> thank you. mr. chairman, thank you. i appreciate the hearing. we are seeing, a spasm i've called it, within islam experts testified that it's real. there's radical ideas leading to these kind of attacks and it's going to take a long time to see that. maybe it's incumbent on us all to be firm and defend our country, at the same time think deeply about the rate way to handle it because religion is something we all in this country respect, freedom of religion. >> thank you, senator sessions. >> mr. chairman, could i just respond to something said earlier during this panel questioning? >> we will recognize senator durbin and he may well give you the opportunity. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i listened to senator session's questions. he is moving us to where we ought to be. mr. cohen, when you went after or your organization went after the ku klux klan, you were aware their symbol was a flaming cross? >> yes, sir. >> and that they believe somehow they were espousing the teachings of christ? >> they were purifying the race, yes. >> these race purifications ended up in hateful and violent and murderous tactics against african-americans? >> that was the way they did business, yes. >> catholics, jews? they were a hate-filled group that used the flaming cross and their purified christianity for justification? >> yes. >> westboro baptist church sends demonstrators to the funerals of our fallen soldiers and put up these hateful signs that say
this soldier died because of sodomy, because of gay marriage. their homophobia, they believe, is part of their christian belief. i think the point that has been made over and over by three members of this panel is it is a mistake for us to then call the ku klux klan radical christians or westboro baptists radical christians. they are extreme, violent, radical, they're unacceptable. it reflects on all of us who count ourselves as christians if you use a term so broad in its application. no one is arguing, mr. mccarthy, that someone who possesses a dangerous ideology, dangerous to the united states should ever be allowed to immigrate, but presumptive republican nominee donald trump isn't making that distinction, my friends. he wants to exclude all muslim immigrants. that to me is where he has gone way beyond the needs of protecting america and into territory which i hope this country will never, ever
embrace. it's interesting to me last week we had a debate on the floor of the senate on terrorism, and the debate got down to the question as to whether or not we should be weary or careful when a suspected terrorist wants to buy an assault weapon, a firearm, and many of us said let's err on the side of safety. and unfortunately only eight republicans would join senator collins, another republican, when she suggested maybe we keep the guns out of their hands until we find out whether they truly shouldn't be on the no-fly list. we couldn't carry the day. so the presumption was give them the gun, ask questions later. now we have this hearing. instead of dealing with suspect terrorists, we are dealing with a suspected religion, according to some. that's where i think we crossed the line.
if there are those who would abuse their religious beliefs, threaten others and threaten america, use all our power to protect us, but the notion that we would call for radical christians, radical islam and such, and therefore, have the right answer to keeping america safe, i think, is fundamentally wrong. i'll say this, i have plenty of disagreements with president george w. bush on a spectrum of issues, but i still marvel at the fact that after all we went through on 9/11, he would say to america, "all americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true face of islam. islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. it's a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. it's a faith based upon love, not hate." thank you, president george w. bush for reminding us at that terrible moment in history who the real enemies were. they weren't people of the islamic faith.
they were those who had violent, extreme views and were ready to kill, to execute that like the ku klux klan, like the hate mongers of the westboro baptist church. that president in that moment of history got it right and we've got to get it right today. we are being called on like many generations have in the past to respond to a legitimate fear of terrorism in a way consistent with our american values. and when we lapse into this notion that we are going to condemn a faith, i think we've gone way too far. miss khera, i know you wanted to say something earlier. let me ask you, do you live in a muslim neighborhood? >> no, i do not. >> do you know what a muslim neighborhood is? >> i was scratching my head a bit when i first heard that term used. the muslim community of the united states, with few exceptions, is actually quite spread out and integrated into
the broader america. >> that's my experience, too. i mean, i can show you some irish catholic parishes in chicago and some areas on the north shore where jewish populations live, but muslim population is not that large, per se, and they seem to be dispersed. when we talk about patrolling muslim neighborhoods, i'm at a loss. what was he trying to say? what is a muslim neighborhood? >> i think you're absolutely right. senator, if i could add to your statement of acknowledging president bush and what he did and the importance really of bipartisanship. i think this issue of really pushing back against these frankly unamerican and unconstitutional proposals to marginalize and target a group of americans based on their faith is not consistent with the constitution. it's not consistent with our values. i might add that it's not just yourself and some members on
your side of the dias, but i want to acknowledge senator flake and graham who have been courageous with their words urging to tamp down this divisive rhetoric. >> let me add, thanks senator graham who is here. i called senator flake at his home on a saturday evening when he visited a mosque in arizona and thanked him. >> i sent personal thank you letters to senator flake and senator graham. >> it was such a thoughtful gesture, totally consistent with what president george w. bush reminded us. >> that was a mosque i attend. >> i thank senator flake for having the courage to do it. i yield the floor. >> senator durbin, can i add one more thing i wanted to say earlier? i want to make it clear that there have been hundreds of imams and islamic scholars who routinely condemn terror. there are muslim religious scholars who have taken on the narrative of isis to great peril to themselves.
a number received specific death threats from isis. i cringe when i hear people saying muslims are not speaking out against the contortion of their faith for violent ends. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator durbin. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think this is an important hearing. i'm glad we're having it. i need to go to my own church. i haven't been to my own church in a while. is there a fight for the heart and soul of islam afoot between a few radicals and most muslims? is that a fair statement? either one of you? >> that is my book is about the fact that this is, you know, terrorism is simply a symptom. the underbelly of it. i cringe at -- >> the answer is yes? >> yes, sir. >> all right.
i think there is room. >> overwhelming super majority. >> yes, absolutely. >> it's not only build peace, it's share our values. here's what i've learned after 37 trips to iraq and afghanistan. most people there are not buying what i am selling. the taliban and al qaeda. all things being equal, most moms and dads don't want to turn their daughters over to these nut jobs. when i hear they're all the same, you need to go over there more because they're not. the bottom line is most people will be culturally different but sort of buy into the idea that radical islam is not for them, so we need partners in the faith. now, back here at home, how many of you think we're fighting a war and not a crime?
how many of you think we're at war? state of undeclared war with radical islam? >> do you feel comfortable with that? >> i think we're doing both. there's obviously a war. >> i agree. >> and there's criminal activity. >> they are at war with us. there's a difference between fighting a war and a crime and that's really important. what do we do when we find -- are there radical imams out there in the country that sympathize with isil and al qaeda, inside the country, inside the united states? >> i've never heard of one inside the united states. >> i believe there are imams that may condemn violence, the tactic, but i think they sympathize with the division of the world into a islam and the land of islam and the land of war so there are those who believe war can be fought not necessarily by guns and ammunition but by civilizational jihad where they believe they can advance their ideas through an evangelism of their theopolitical mentality. >> the only reason i mentioned
this is i don't want to profile the muslim -- the islamic -- the muslim -- let me tell you my experience with american muslims. young man who grew up in afghanistan, went to high school in afghanistan, graduated from high school, came i think to chicago, can't remember his american hometown, joined the army, went back to afghanistan as an interpreter, took me over to his former high school where they were having election polling wearing the uniform. his job was to guard me and the general that went with me. there were about eight or ten of us. embraced the principle. he started crying and that's my view of american muslims out there in the fight, but if you do have a radical mosque or a radical preacher or a radical whatever, is it okay to follow them and monitor what they do? >> so i think -- i think there's a difference between somebody who has radical thoughts or is espousing radical thoughts and then actual violence. i think as you can certainly
appreciate, senator graham, having a radical thoughts is not illegal. some would actually say it's downright american. >> i agree. but it's not downright american to be sympathetic -- see, when i first went in the air force i had to sign a form that i wasn't a member of the communist party. that in 1977. i'm sure if i said i was i would not have gotten into the air force so the enemy was the communist ideology so all i'm suggesting is that this young man who happens to be an american muslim hates the ideology as much if i do if not more because he'd be the first victim, not me. they would kill him before me because he's in their eyes worse of a problem. what i'm trying to suggest here is that the guy who did the killing in orlando went to the same mosque as the guy who is a suicide bomber in syria. what are the odds of that happening without something going on in that mosque and they not really know each other? >> i would like to address that. >> sure. >> as a subject matter expert and the law enforcement who took
a vow to protect the american people from threat, both foreign and domestic, this icon of this organization, which is a major global level organization operating in the united states says very plainly in its logo what its intention is. in english it says assembly of muslim jurists of americans. >> you're not answering my question. what i'm trying to say is there is a current within the islamic community in the united states that conform to sharia law. what we're actually talking about aren't the tactics of radical islam or jihad. >> i got you. you're not -- who is the fbi guy? >> i was a former fbi agent. >> what are the odds these two guys going to the same mosque and not know each other? >> i -- i have no idea what those odds are but that was something that the fbi investigated so i'm sure that
that's something you can find out. >> all i'm suggesting is i don't want to -- i'm all in to partnering with the faith because you can't win the war without it. american muslims are -- there's a hero in this war, it's an american muslim who will take up arms against radical islam. if i had to create a hero for the times in which we live, it's somebody of the muslim faith who is an american citizen that will wear the american uniform and take the fight over there to these bastards, that's my perspective, but when you have centers of radical activity, i don't want us to get so politically correct, and that's the whole purpose of this hearing, that we ignore the obvious. how in the hell could it be that the guy that killed 49 people in a club in orlando who went to the same mosque as the guy who became a suicide bomber in syria, that that there's not going on there and how did the fbi miss it? >> it's entirely reasonable to figure that, and if we can't -- if we feel like we're so
hamstrung we can't investigate. >> that's the point of this hearing. have we gone too far the other way that you can't talk about the obvious? >> let me -- let me suggest this. in my case we proved that the mosque was the hub of the conspiracy, that it was used for the storage of weapons. that it was used for recruiting, for conspiratorial conversations and for plotting and they used it because they thought that that was a safe place to do that, and if we -- if we signal and it's not just a signal, it's a fact, that we are closing our -- not just our law enforcement but our intelligence gathering and investigative eyes in what's supposed to be a war, where we actually have an authorization of military force and people in harm's way, then we're not fighting a war that we have any interest in winning. >> having said that, i believe that the overwhelming majority of mosques in this country are not that way, but when you find a connection how do we deal with
is it? ma'am, doctor, i want your perspective as much as anybody else. i'm trying to solve a problem. i'm trying to prevent an attack. >> senator, the problem comes to how you define radical. right now when we say violent extremism is the problem, were define radical as those who would want to take up arms against america and you have people lining up signing fatwas and religious rulings that they are nonviolent and condemn the terror, but when you define radical as those who are anti-semitic, homophobic, who perpetrate conspiracy theories about american military and american policies, all of these are the underbelly of ideas. >> mr. cohen would agree with you, right? >> and our community needs a 12-step program. the reason you can be at the same mosque is there's complete denial between the connection of nonviolent islamism to violent islamism that they are going to be at the same mosque and not realize it because they are not going to connect just like the alcoholic that needs that first step. they are in denial, and we perpetrate that denial by ignoring the verbiology. >> ma'am, what would you say? >> law enforcement, if there's reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, law enforcement needs to go there and they need to
conduct a full investigation. >> that's a good way to end this. >> that's all we're talking about. fighting a war, not a crime. good surveillance techniques that are within the constitutional values, and i am convinced that the purpose of this hearing, senator cruz, that you've worried that we've gone too far the other way and that's all i'm saying. thank you. >> thank you, senator graham. mr. mccarthy. in your testimony you talked about peaceful muslims here in america who worked with you and were integral in helping to prosecute the blind sheikh case. can you describe to this committee the difference between the muslim faith and islamism that embraces violent jihad. >> i think it's -- it's hard to define the muslim faith because there are too many divergent interpretations of it.
it's easy to identify what we call islamism or i prefer to call sharia supremicism which is really a radical political ideology with a religious veneer, not a religion as we understand it in the west. my impression listening to the -- to the back and forth today is that we are underestimating how serious a problem it is. i don't think it's a handful of radicals versus everyone else who is just embracing the west. i brought along a well-known classic sharia manual today that i'll supply with your -- with the committee's permission
called "reliance of the traveler" which is an ancient authoritative manual of sharia law. i open to the page that says jihad. jihad means to war against non-muslims, and it explains where the etymology of it is drawn from. we could go through several different aspects of it, whether it's penalties for apostes, inequality against women, inequality against muslims and so forth. i think, mr. chairman, the reason this is relevant it's not andy mccarthy's view of what islamism is. this is a manual that in the front of it they thought it was important enough to include the endorsement of the alizar research academy, basically the sharia faculty at the seat of sunni islamic learning since the tenth century. it's also endorsed by the international institute of islamic thought which is the muslim brotherhood think tank
that's been operating in the united states, i believe, since the early 1980s. there are other endorsements as well, but the point is that this political ideology which is radical in the united states because it is would -- it would supplant our constitution since its core tenets are antithetical to our constitution, so to me that's radical, whether you're -- you know, whether you want to blow up a bridge to get it done or not. if you want to supplant the united states constitution with a totalitarian legal code and societal framework, that's pretty radical. there's an awful lot of people who buy on to this to one degree or another.
some percentage of them will become jihadists. some larger percentage of them will create enclaves or safe spaces, i guess that's the -- the popular common term, right, safe spaces for this ideology to take root and to grow, and the forcible commands in it and the bellicose interpretation of it is something that is preached and endorsed by very influential scholars in this belief system so it's a shame that we -- that it has enough religious tenets to it, the oneness of allah, the duty to pray and so on, that we allow it to cloak itself in the guise of religion rather than what it actually is which is a totalitarian political philosophy, an ideology, but i think we make a big mistake when we underestimate the hold that it has on a group as big at 1.6 billion people. >> and dr. jasser, if i understood you correctly, it was your testimony that we duo a
disservice to the american muslim community when we lump in peaceful muslims who share our values with the islamists who as you've written about are waging a war for the soul of islam. is that a fair understanding? >> yes, sir. i think that it's too easy to -- if people ask where are the voices of moderate islam, there's been no urgency. it's time that muslims wake up, that there's an urgency for us to speak out, not just against the tactic but against the root cause, and our muslim reform movement is trying to duo that. it's a bipartisan effort to try to lay how the what are the
ideas that make us muslims that believe in the faith of islam that separate us from this global massive political movement islamism. large parties, and at the core is this identification of the islamic state. the reason isis is re youthing to the level in and growing up in the country in the west, end up wanting to die for the identification in the islamic state. the only counter to that is this whack of mole of countering extremism is starting to teach our kids that it would be much more preferential to die for america. until we engage programs that duo that we're going to continue this whack a mole program. >> dr. jasser, i thank you for your courage in defending truth at risk and at knowing risk of great personal vilification and even personal risk. that is a powerful and important demonstration of courage. >> thank you. >> you know, when senator graham was asking his questions i found one exchange really remarkable in that senator graham asked if
there were radical imams in the united states and the testimony was she had never heard of any radical imams in the united states who had sympathies with al qaeda or isis. i found that truly an astonishing statement, although i would note it was a statement entirely consistent with the purge that mr. haney testified about. the obama administration has undertaken because one. things the purge did is, and i quote, removed references to mosques specifically as a radicalization incubator. so she was testifying consistent with this purge. i wanted to ask some of the other witnesses on this panel if you share miss kara's view of never heard of a radical imam in the united states who embraces or sympathizes, that was senator graham's exact question, with isis or government. i know you went undercover at cair. did you encounter -- >> well, first of all -- >> please turn your microphone
on. >> well, we can't forget and i'll go into some current imams. anwar al awlaki and my time at cair siraj wahhaj consistently talks about the implementation of sharia law which is no different than the ideology of al qaeda or isis. it means that anyone that reads their magazines, anyone that studies their ideology they are constantly quoting islamic law from the hadiths, from the koran. they are constantly quoting that. no different than the imams like imam siraj wahhaj. we have a problem that is much bigger than we're willing to suspect. >> when omar mateen called the
911 at 2:35 a.m., here's a portion of it. what is your name? my name is i pledge allegiance released it. the words that were omitted, were -- abu baker al-baghdadi of the islamic state. and then two sentences later, abu baker al-baghdadi and then the second half of that, the islamic state. what does it say to you that the department of justice is sanitizing and erasing the statement of who the orlando terrorist was pledging his a i legionance to.
>> it means if we don't change course, we can expect more tragedies like what happened in orlando. >> and that would be consistent also with the purge explicitly removing quote references to mosques, specificallies a radicalization incubator. would you put that in the same category? >> yes, sir. >> mr. mccarthy i want to talk about, you talked about the threat of islamism. and i want to talk about some of the symbols, some of the evidence we had in terror attack after terror attack. because some of my democratic colleagues have suggested, this is simply about the use of a word or two, or even as my friend senator coons says, about three letters, "ism," i would suggest that the only reasonable conclusion of this hearing is that the deliberate and willful blindness is costing american
lives over and over again. whether you look at little rock or fort worth or san bernardino, over and over we see warning signs, over and over the obama administration has evidence of islamic terrorism and over and over again, it doesn't act to prevent it. i would mention nadal hasan. the obama administration knew he had been in electronic communication with the radical islamic cleric, anwar al awlaki. the obama administration knew that he had asked about the possible justifications for waging jihad against his fellow soldiers. and yet, the administration did nothing. and nadal hasan murdered 14 innocent souls. in your view, is a soldier communicating with a radical islamic cleric, anwar al awlaki, asking about the per missibility of waging jihad against his
fellow soldiers, preparing power points to that end, are those significant red flags that should have moved the administration to action? >> they are highly significant red flags. to dismiss them because it was consistent with his research, as i understand was the main reason, was reckless. >> indeed what his fellow officers said part of the reason that they did not act against him was political correctness. let's look at another example. the tsarnaev brothers in boston. the obama administration pointed out that the they had traveled to islam, dagestan provinces. he was interviewed by the fbi, the elder brother. russian authorities a second time notified the administration that they believed them to be religious extremists. the elder brother returned to check chechnya and met with
chechen terror-related groups. he posted on youtube, a public-called jihad. and yet the administration had stopped watching him at that time. did not see the public call to jihad. and that ended up culminating in the two brothers setting off pressure cooker bombs at the boston marathon that murdered three people and injured approximately 180 others. are those once again significant red flags that ought to be met with a serious law enforcement and national security response to protect acts of terrorism? >> i believe they are and i believe they underscore the problem with treating ideology as if it were not a trigger to violence. >> and the final example i'll focus on. is omar mateen. now omar mateen was interviewed by the fbi, not once, not twice, but three times. omar mateen had told his co-workers that he was involved
with both al qaeda and hezbollah. ohma mateen had watched videos of the radical cleric, anwar al awlaki, one connecting theme of a number of these terrorists. omar mateen was interviewed one time because of his relationship with mooanar muhammed abu salah, who died in syria in 2004. there's evidence to indicate they may have attended the same mosque. >> are those again the sorts of red flags that ought to trigger serious law enforcement and national security scrutiny to prevent terrorist attacks? >> yes, they are. >> is it a reasonable ierence in your experience, having spent nearly two decades as a prosecutor, that the administration's scrubbing, refusal to acknowledge the existence of jihad or radical
islam, as this chart shows, literally erasing it from their training materials. >> and yet not acting to prevent terrorist attacks on united states soil? >> i think so, and again, think it's incredibly reckless to take the position that because ideology is constitutionally protected to have such that you can't prosecute someone for having it, that you therefore drop investigative efforts and drop intelligence efforts on the theory that ideology is simply something we don't need to worry about. >> i noticed you were very absorbed in your questions.
as you should be. and thank you for having the hearing. senator blumenthal. i'm interested in light of the statements of allegiance, that were made by the san bernardino and orlando killers. >> for at least the orlando massacre. what objective evidence there is that isis is inspiring or supporting. >> terrorist extremists here. i think there is evidence of it. it troubles me greatly and i think the nation has to be more vigilant and vigorous in
countering the efforts of isis. to inspire and support extremist violence here. and extremist violence can take a lot of forms, but killing 49 people with an assault weapon qualifies for me, as violence. when it's done with a claim of allegiance with isis, then i think it raises some red flags. so let me ask you mr. mccarthy and others, what objective evidence you see of isis inspiring or supporting -- that kind of violence. >> senator, i think that isis like al qaeda, like other terrorist organizations, is less
important than the ideology which transcends them all and will outlast them all and is the catalyzing feature here. now specifically with respect to isis, we know that the organization has made it quite clear that it would like to see jihadists in place in the united states and elsewhere in the west, commit acts of terrorism that they can attribute to isis and take advantage of. but i would suggest to you that it's the ideology more than the organization, that is doing the inspiring. >> also, i would go a step further, just to point out how serious of a problem this is. the threat with sharia. we could kill every member of isis tomorrow. it wouldn't affect the global jihad it would slow it down
until they caught up. we could kill every member of al qaeda tomorrow. if we don't address implementation strategies to prevent sharia and the spread of sharia doctrine, like dr. jasser said, we play whack-a-mole with jihadi groups it won't end. >> i think we need to be careful, clearly where there's a conspiracy, law enforcement should track down everybody who was involved in the conspiracy. but what we have to understand about terrorist methodology is the appeal for anywhere, anyone anywhere to do something, as an act of desperation. right? it's a reflection of their weakness, not their strength. so we have to be very careful when we talk about somebody who answers that appeal, to not do what isis wants us to do. which is to make believe that they actually are that strong. and that they're actually is a connection and this person actually was isis, rather than
some misanthrope who was reaching out for whatever was going to get him in the newspaper and on tv. if we reward this behavior, whether they're reaching out for isis like omar mateen was doing or reaching out to white supremicist groups like dylann roof was doing, you're giving them an opportunity to be famous and to be a soldier of whatever the cause is. and we need to be very moderate in how we talk about this thing so we're focusing on real conspiracies, because then as we've seen, co-conspirators can go out and commit other crimes if we're talking about somebody just claiming allegiance with no actual connection, we should be careful in attributing that to the group that they claim. >> isis taking credit is sort of like the rooster taking credit for the morning. they'll put the virus out there. these are not lone wolves, it's
a global ideology that taps into vulnerable individuals for whatever reason may be vulnerable. but the root cause is -- i think if you look why domestic policy against radical islam is also connected to our foreign policy, same thing. the vacuum in syria, you cannot get rid of isis in syria without also ending the assad regime. the two are two evils that feed off of one nor. secular autocracy and the relationship of this battle within the house of islam is a cancer that rooted in syria right now and is spreading all over the planet and they seek recruits and will take and try to mobilize their recruits, they tap into this fervor of political islam. the allegiance to the islamic state and that identity. until we have a coherent domestic and foreign policy with a unifying vision of where we are in the role american muslims should play in that battle happening within the house of islam, we're going to continue to see this recur and recur.
we could get rid of isis tomorrow with a six-month operation to do it in syria. but it will recome up. because the dictators there like to see a radical islam as a foil in order to suppress their populations throughout the middle east. >> i understand, mr. haney, were you going to make a point? >> idso, intelligence-driven special operations. over the course of 25 years i interviewed 25 to 35 american citizens going to madrassa in south africa. they were in a program called the aleen program, it takes seven years to go through it and they become qualified to become imams, they had been to madrassas in the united states. they never finished public school. they memorized the craykoran.
they went to madrassas in south africa, because they teach in english. i saw it up close and personal with a large cohort of with american citizens. i saw them transform from young men into adults. >> i know it's real. that was my specialty. i interviewed hundreds and hundreds of individuals coming back into the united states bolt american citizens. lawful permanent residents and foreign visitors and virtually every single time it was exactly the same motivation, commitment to ideology that i saw in every single one of them. >> i understand the point that destroying isis, destroying the
movement of isis, destroying the military force of isis, doesn't destroy the ideology. doesn't destroy the idea. that's why i asked not just about support, but also inspire, by which i meant ideology as well as potentially recruiting, training and physically providing support. i think there are analogies, there have been throughout our history of forces that want to do us harm through opposing ideology. forces that oppose freedom and democracy. and the values of tolerance and free expression and religious freedom that make us, strongest, country in the history of the world. so that's why i'm looking for evidence that isis as it's
constituted now, is providing inspiration and support. because we want to stop not only isis, but also whatever it's doing to inspire and support extremism and violent extremism in this country. acts of hate and acts of terror. and orlando was both. i think the president was right about that fact. and the attorney general of the united states was right about that fact. and you know, i found mr. jasser's point about the responsibility of your effort being bipartisan, so compelling. use that word and i think it's important that we in the congress be bipartisan in this effort. and the more we are partisan, the weaker we will be. thank you, mr. chairman.
>> thank you, senator blumenthal. senator coons? >> thank you, chairman cruz, let me quickly ask three more questions and i'm going to conclude, if i can. i wanted to follow up a little bit on this idea that ideology is a trigger to violence. and how aggressively or actively we should be going after an ideology rather than actions based on an ideology that mr. mccarthy suggested. mr. mccarthy, i may have misunderstood. i thought i heard you to say that the expansion of the first amendment in cases during the 1960s to protect radical ideas was a mistake. is that correct? >> i did say that, yes. >> then let me if i could, mr. cohen -- >> do you want me to explain what i meant by it? >> very concisely, if you would. >> sure. they carved out an exception for the advocacy of ideology that calls for the violent overthrow of the united states. as if there were a firm
difference between advocating it and inciting it. which i think has been much more dlif to apply than perhaps they thought. >> mr. cohen, you've dedicated most of your life to the pursuit of finding and closing down of those who engage in not just ideology, but dangerous actions against other americans. and senator sessions had some interesting, curious comments on the central role of the southern poverty law center in pushing back against the klan and you've previously made a point that just because groups like the klan or i would suggest the lord's resistance army, a horrific terrorist group in central africa, just because they miscite the bible. we wouldn't remember to them as radical christians and we are similarly making a mistake as we demonize islam as radical islam. help me understand in your view whether we should be engaging in widespread surveillance of the muslim community? and whether we should be indulging the proposals of some
candidates for president, in uniform bars on muslim admission to the united states. or patrols of so-called muslim neighborhoods. in an effort to contain a dangerous ideology. where do you think that boundary lies between appropriate investigation of those who might have a proclivity to violence, and demeaning an entire religion? >> i think we're on a very slippery slope and a very, very dangerous one. if i can respond to one thing that mr. mccarthy said and perhaps that will put it into context. you know, the abstract advocacy of violence in our country is a constitutionally protected, is constitutionally protected speech. what's not protected is stealing a group and -- stealing a group and preparing a group for violence. the first is protected by the first amendment. the latter is a conspiracy, a criminal conspiracy. i think that if we don't hold that distinction sacred, our
country will be in trouble. i think that some of the, some of the implicit suggestions that we should surveil entire communities, are not only ineffective, but wildly unamerican. and i, i can't believe that we would countenance that kind of activity in our country. i think it would drive, i think it would more likely drive terrorism than it would root it out. >> that is exactly the challenge i think senator klobuchar was referencing in her home community. the challenge of striking a balance between investigating, prosecuting those very few individuals who are committed to acts of violence and breaking up the conspiracies and engaging the much broader muslim community who is loyal and wants to fully enjoy the freedoms of the united states.
and without their partnership and effective intervention of that very small number of folks who want to turn an ideology into an action, is really going to be at some risk. ms. khera, there was a previous exchange about the importance of removing from training manuals information that was just bigot and wildly misleading. if you renew the point, you assert in your testimony that stigmatizing and marginalizing an entire community based on their faith chills our first amendment and puts us at risk. because it frays the very relationship between law enforcement and millions of americans, would you just elaborate on that for a moment? >> yeah, sure. you know specifically on your last point, i think the concern is that this is if you create mistrust between law enforcement in our communities, people are going to be reluctant to interact with law enforcement and potentially report crimes. so that means people who are
engaging in potential crimes are not going to be caught and brought to justice. i think there's a real public safety concern there. specifically to tease out what that, the concern is, is that these, these materials were basically setting up a situation where it was calling for either innocuous activity or relickously first-amendment protected activity to now be seen as an indicator of violence. for example, growing a beard, attending a mosque or a prayer group. were specific items and behaviors listed in an fbi intelligence product as being a so-called indicator of violence. >> so in other words, actions that would equally be indicators of being a faithful muslim. >> correct. >> or in some. >> removing that from a training manual makes it more likely that law enforcement agents trying to understand islam will not make the mistake of assuming that all
muslims are radicalized and are inclining towards a violent ideology. >> that's correct. >> mr. german if i might just close with you. the assertion has been made indirectly and then directly that the obama administration has literally put american lives at risk because of political correctness. or even worse, that career law enforcement agents, because of a fear of somehow being politically incorrect, stepped back from doing their job to keep americans safe. in the instance of omar mateen, he was surveilled several times by fbi agents, both directly and indirect indirectly, undercover agents and folks sent in to try to see what he would might commit to or what he might do. there are two different theories of the case here. one is that the obama administration is disloyal, treasoness and so willfully said, we're not going to take any actions against this
dangerous radical. i find that disrespectful to what i know of those in state and local and federal law enforcement i've worked with for many years. who frankly when they see a clear threat to public safety don't care about political correctness, they care about doing their job. and alternative theory would be that despite repeated attempts to build a credible case against this individual, he didn't bite. he didn't take action, he didn't actually begin a conspiracy. he didn't take proffered offers of opportunities in a way that allowed agents to build a real case against him and proceed. and as senator klobuchar indicated, in one of the largest muslim/american communities in america, they've taken case after case to trial and have successfully prosecuted, those who took steps to participate in conspiracies. does it seem credible to you that career law enforcement agents looked the other way out of a concern for political correctness? or does it seem credible to you that a deeply disturbed
individual who was at different times saying he supported or was involved with groups that are literally fighting each other on the battlefield, was not taking enough credible steps to develop a working case? and then second, new york city police commissioner bill bratton. recently said that wide-scale surveillance programs like an nypd program that targeted the muslim community failed to produce a single piece of actionable intelligence. and frankly, didn't work. i would be interested in your comment on how we could strengthen the hand of federal and local law enforcement to keep us safe. >> your first question, i do believe the men and women of the fbi are doing everything in possible under the law to try to protect us from threats. and in the cases where red flags are raised, investigations actually were pursued. my concern is they're not looking for the right thing. they're not looking for indicators of violence, they're looking for indicators of
radicalization. depending on whatever model that is. and in some of these cases, what we see is those clear models are not accurate. and i also agree on the issue with chief bratton. where the broad surveillance of entire communities dilutes the ability to focus on real threats. and i think that's why during the period those programs were in place, two cases were missed, they were looking too broadly focusing on real threats in both of those cases they traveled overseas to training camps, that's something we maybe should pu more resources in rather than surveilling muslims. >> i want to thank the whole panel for your testimony, the members of this committee who have engaged today. i do think we have important and unresolved questions. about how to keep americans safe. how to strengthen the hand of federal, state an law enfor
enforceme enforcement. in a way that respects our most fundamental values and doesn't come up against boundaries of cherished first-amendment freedoms. whether you call it radical islam, islamic extremism. arguing about these semantics in my view hasn't moved us any closer towards developing new and effective ways to combat terror and defeat isis. i look forward to a hearing where we can ask more pointed questions. let me just close by saying that i am deeply troubled by proposals in our current election season. proposals made by mr. trump, to ban all muslims from coming to the united states. proposals to cope a list of all muslims in the united states. to actively and aggressively surveil mosques. to patrol so-called muslim
neighborhoods, i think are profoundly unhelpful as we try to respect america's constitutional traditions and keep our country safe. and i frankly worry that proposals such as these, and the broad following they seem to have gotten, harken back to some of the worst chapters in american history. in particular i'll just remind us that after the attack on pearl harbor, this great nation turned its back on japanese-americans, forcing the relocation and incarceration in camps of over 100,000 people. based solely on their japanese ancestry. not based on any actions taken. or any expression of intent to harm americans or to be disloyal to the united states. and the majority of those interned were american citizens. as i prepare for today's hearing i could not forget a meeting i had with the daughter of fred koramatsu. whose name was given to a signal u.s. supreme court case. i met his daughter at a ceremony at the white house. and in 1983, when mr.
koramatsu's conviction for violating the internment order was finally overturned. he said i would like to see the government admit they were wrong and do something about it so that this will never happen again to any american citizen of any race, creed or color. it is my hope that in this debate and in this election season, we will set aside proposals that seem more in keeping with the errors made in the past, where we went after entire groups of american citizens, regardless of their substantive actions and that we would instead live up to our core constitutional commitments and creed. and find the right balance between respecting constitutional liberties, welcoming all americans of whatever background, and finding a bipartisan path forward that will genuinely keep americans safe. thank you. >> thank you, nor coons. i want to thank each of the witnesses for coming and participating in what i believe was a very important hearing. i'm going to make three closing
observations, the first several of my colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle, is made invocations of the klu klux klan and drew the analogy of blaming the klan on christians to addressing directly and candidly the threat of jihadism and radical islamic terrorism. i would hope that all of us on both sides of the aisle could agree that the klu klux klan is bigoted and evil and has no place in civilized society. and i would note the suggestion that that could somehow be extended to the christian faith, dr. martin luther king jr. and many of the civil rights pioneers, were christian ministers, rest king and indeed, one of the most powerful paens to justice ever written. the letter from the birmingham jail. begins, my dear fellow clergymen. no faith whether christian or ju
jewish or muslim or any others has the right to murder others because they do not share that faith. and we should speak candidly and vigorously against anyone advocating for the murder of innocents because of religious hatred and intolerance. a second observation that's disappointing, after hearing testimony that included mr. haney's testimony that some 876 documents were edited or deleted as a result of a purge it saddens me that not a single one my colleagues from the democratic side of the aisle asked even a single skeptical question about that purge, the purge that resulted in deleting the word "jihad" dropping it from 196 in the 9/11 report, to zero, in report after report after report. that apparently the orwellian
censorship of law enforcement materials and intelligence materials is not a concern of my colleagues. i would note that the senate has a long history of holding the executive accountable, regardless of party and at a time when we're facing a global war on terror, i hope that my colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle will express real concern. >> several times it has been suggested in a nod towards presidential politics, and i understand the lure of senators to inject themselves in presidential politics a few months before the general election may be irresistible and i wouldn't know anything about that. but yet, not a single one of my democratic colleagues asked questions or expressed concerns
as to why over and over and over again, the administration has failed to respond to red flags. failed to respond to real significant evidence of radical islamic terrorism before these terror attacks was carried out. and has failed to connect the dots. law enforcement can't be perfect. we shouldn't hold them to that standard. but it is the obligation of the senate to hold them at account when over and over and over again from little rock to fort worth to chattanooga, to san bernardino, to the boston marathon, to fort hood, to orlando, the red flags are there, the signs are there and yet, the administration doesn't connect the dots and act to prevent those acts of terrorism. it saddens me that not a single question from the democratic side of the aisle focused on why didn't we do more to protect, prevent these acts of terrorism before they happened. this isn't a question of semantics, this is a question of whether the administration is
willing to acknowledge what the threat is and willing to act to prevent acts of murder and terrorism before they occur. i want to thank each of the witnesses for being here. we will keep this hearing record open for an additional five business days, which means the record will be closed at the end of business on thursday, july 7th, 2016. and with that, this hearing is adjourned.
committee in orlando. friday, july 8, starting at 3:00 p.m. eastern and continuing saturday july 9th. members will debate. live on c-span, the c-span radio app and cspan.org. on american history tv on c-span 3 -- >> members always you have to be wary of. -- memoirs, because not only are memoirs just by their genre, bound to be self-serving to a degree. but they also most of these people did not disclose too much. and in some cases, they may actually dissemble and to try to mislead people. >> historians talk about the techniques used by the c.i.a. and russian foreign intelligence service to gather intelligence. dating back to the cold war. and how that has changed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. at 6:00, an examination of race relations in post civil war memphis.
>> many whites thought this is it. it's finally happening. it really is happening. a full-scale black uprising and they panicked. mobs of white men armed with pistols and clubs, formed spontaneously downtown. marched to the scene of the shoot-out. and began shooting, beating every black person they could find. >> the 1866 riot that resulted in the massacre of dozens of african-americans and the assault on freed women also the role of federal u.s. colored troops stationed near the city and just before 9:00, author and journalist walter isaacson offers an argument on benjamin franklin's innovation, and passion for science as an example of what he calls america's national character. >> his view was that small businesses and start-ups would be the backbone of a new economy. and indeed, one of the things that his group did is leather apron club, was they made a set
of rules and maximum s for how be a good start-up entrepreneur and innovator. >> sunday morning at 10:00, on race for the white house rewind -- >> in the music of our children, we are told to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. and for america, the time has come at last. >> you know that every politician's promise has a price. the taxpayer pays the bill. the american people are not going to be taken in by any scheme where government gives money with one hand and then takes it away with the other. >> the 1972 republican and democratic national conventions with richard nixon accepting the gop nomination for a second term and south dakota senator george mcgovern accepting the democratic nomination. for our complete schedule, go to cspan.org.
>> in a statement to the press, former british prime minister tony blair said this week that he accepted full responsibility for the decision to invade iraq in 2003. his statement comes after the release of a british report investigate the the uk's role in iraq. the report, the chilcot report is a seven-year inquiry into the decision to follow the u.s. into the iraq war and the claim that the intelligence for the war was not justified and that saddam hussein posed no imminent threat at the time of the invasion in 2003. this is an hour and 50 minutes. >> good afternoon.
in light of the length of the report, the statement that i make will be fairly long. but after the statement has sended, i'm happy to stay and take questions for as long as you want to ask them. the decision to go to war in iraq and to remove saddam hussein from power in the coalition of 40 countries led by the united states of america, was the hardest, most momentous, most agonizing decision i took in my ten years as british prime minister. for that decision today, i accept full responsibility. without exception and without excuse. >> i recognize the division felt
by many in our country over the war. and in particular, i feel deeply and sincerely in way that no word can properly convey, the grief and suffering of those who lost ones they loved in iraq. whether members of our armed forces, the armed forces of other nations, or iraqis. the intelligence assessments made at the time of going to war turned out to be wrong. the aftermath turned out to be more hostile, poe tracted and bloody than ever we imagined. >> the coalition plan for one set of ground facts and encountered another. and the nation whose people we wanted to set free and secure
from the evil of saddam became instead, victim to sectarian terrorism. for all of this, i express more sorrow, regret, and apology than you may ever know. or can believe. only two things i cannot say. it's claimed by some that by removing saddam we caused the terrorism today in the middle east. and that it would have been better to have left him in power. i profoundly disagree. saddam was himself a well-spring of terror. a continuing threat to peace and to his own people.
if he had been left if power in 2003, then i believe he would once again have threatened world peace and when the arab revolutions of 2011 began, he would have clung to power with the same deadly consequences that we see in the carnage in syria today. whereas at least in iraq for all its challenges, we have today a government that is elected, is recognized as internationally legitimate. and is fighting terrorism with the sport of the international community. the world was and is in my judgment a better place without saddam hussein. secondly, i will never agree that those who died or were injured made their sacrifice in
vain. they fought in the defining global security struggle of the 21st century against the terrorism and violence. which the world over destroys lives, divides communities and their sacrifice should always be remembered with thanksgiving and with honor when that struggle is eventually won, as it will with. i know some of the families cannot and do not accept this is so. i know there are those who can never forget or forgive me for having taken this decision. and who think that i took it dishonestly. as the report makes clear, there were no lies, parliament and cabinet were not misled. there was no secret commitment to war, intelligence was not falsified and the decision was made in good faith.
however, i accept that the report makes serious criticisms of the way decisions were taken. and again, i accept full responsibility for these points of criticism, even where i do not fully agree with them. i do not think it is fair or accurate to criticize the armed forces, the intelligence services, or the civil service. it was my decision, they were acting upon. the armed forces in particular did an extraordinary job throughout our engagement in iraq. in the incredibly difficult mission we gave them. i pay tribute to them, any faults derive from my decisions and should not attach to them. they are people of enormous dedication and courage. and the country should be very proud of them.
today is therefore the right moment to go back, however and look at the history of that time. so that those even if they passionately disagree, will at least understand why i did what i did. and learn lessons so that we do better in the future. first, why was saddam a threat? my premiership changed completely on the 11th september, 2001. 9/11 was the worst terrorist atrocity in history. over 3,000 people died that day in america, including many british people making it the worst-ever loss of life of our own country's citizens, from any single terror attack. in fact, 9/11 was not the first attack. prior to then, 23 countries had suffered terrorist attacks of this nature.
in 2002, 20 different nations lost people to terrorism. for over 20 years as well, the regime of saddam had become a notorious source of conflict and bloodshed in the middle east. he had attempted a nuclear weapons program, only halted by a preventive strike by the israeli military in 1991. used chemical weapons in a war he began with iran, a war that lasted seven years with many casualties. he invaded kuwait in 1990, he used chemical weapons extensively against his own people. for example in the massacre where thousands died in a single day. the international community made frequent attempts to bring him into compliance with u.n. resolutions, calling for him to give up his programs. as it of march 2003, he was in breach of no fewer than 17 such u.n. resolutions.
in 1998, following the ejection for u.n. weapons inspectors from iraq. president clinton and i authorized military strikes on his facilities. and from that point, regime change in iraq became the official policy of the u.s. administration. >> in a country where a majority of iraqis are shia muslims and 20% of the muslim population kurds, he ruled with an unparalleled brutality with a government drawn almost exclusively from the sunni 20% minority. though many of his victims were also sunni. saddam was not the only developer of weapons of mass destruction. libya had a program, north korea was trying to obtain nuclear technology. the network of the pakistani scientists, a.q. khan was a deliberator of such technology and iran's program had begun. but only regime had actually used such weapons, that of
saddam. intelligence still valid indicated al qaeda wanting to acquire such material and 9/11 showed they were prepared to cause mass casualties. so it's important now that we're here 15 years after 9/11, to recall the atmosphere at that time. america had never suffered such an attack on its soil before. its population were devastated. they regarded themselves at war. the taliban who had given sangt wa sanctuary, in which over 200 victims, mainly australians lost their lives in the bali bombings. all western nations were changing their security posture, we were in a new world. and at that time, we did not know where the next threat, attack or danger would come from. the fear of the u.s.
administration, which i shared, was that the possibility of terrorist groups acquiring either by accident or by design, chemical weapons, biological weapons, or even a primitive nuclear device. the report accepts that after 9/11, the calculus of risk changed fundamentally. we believed we had to change policy, on nations developing such weapons in order to eliminate the possibility. of wmd and terrorism coming together. saddam's regime was the place to start. not because he represented the only threat with you because his was the only regime actually to have used such weapons, there were outstanding u.n. resolutions in respect to them and his record of bloodshed showed that he was capable of aggressive, unpredictable catastrophic actions. in addition, the u.n. sanctions imposed on iraq was crumbling and therefore, containment was
faltering. the final iraq survey report, which was conducted into saddam's wmd program, and ambitions after the iraq war, news findings are accepted this report found that saddam did indeed contend to go back to developing the programs after the removal of sanctions. so i asked people to put themselves in my shoes as prime minister. back then, barely more than a year from 9/11 in late 2002 and early 2003, you're seeing the intelligence mount up on wmd. you're doing so in a change context of mass casualties caused by a new and virulent form of terrorism. you have to at least consider the possibility of a 9/11 here in britain. your primary responsibility as prime minister is to protect your country. these were my considerations at
the time. the lead-up to war. wi will, there was no rush to war. the inquiry rightly dismisses the conspiracy theory that i pledged britain unequivocally to military action, in crawford, texas, in april of 2002. i did not and could not as they explicitly in their report conclude, i was absolutely clear publicly and privately, however that we would be with the usa in dealing with this issue. and i made that clear in the note to president bush on the 28th of july, 2002. but i also said we had to proceed in the right way, and i set out the conditions necessary especially that we should then go down the u.n. route. and avoid precipitous action, as indeed the inquiry report finds. >> so as again the inquiry
finds, i persuaded a reluctant american administration to take it back to the u.n. this resulted in the november 2002 resolution, 1441, giving saddam a final opportunity to come into i quote full and immediate compliance with u.n. resolutions and to cooperate fully with u.n. inspectors. any noncompliance was defined as a material breach. finally and only under threat of military action saddam allowed inspectors to return. but his cooperation was not complete. see the report in january of 2003 and that in march of 2003 referred to the in the body of the report. by then there was substantial disagreement of the u.n. security council. america wanted action, president putin and the leadership of france did not. in a final attempt to bridge the division, i agreed with the inspectors, a set of six tests based on saddam's noncompliance,
with which he had to kplin immediate comply immediately. which included things like interviews for people responsible with his programs. which up to then had been refused, except in countries where obviously the people would be subject to intimidation. the tests were accompanied by an ultimat ultimatum. that nonresults would supply in action. i secured an american agreement to a new resolution, vetting tests, which if he had passed, would have avoided military action. but the united states understandably insisted that in the event of continued failure, the u.n. had to be clear that action would follow. and this was the approach rejected by saddam. the americans in the uk and other partners from over 40 nations had assembled a force in the gulf ready for military
action. president bush made it clear he was going to act. the british government under my leadership chose to be part of that action, the decision endorsed by parliament. with the leaders of the opposition being given access to exactly the same intelligence and advice presented to me. now the inquiry finds that as of the 18th of march, war was not, and i quote, the last resort. but given the impassivity of the u.n. and the insistence of the united states for reasons i completely understood, and with hundreds of thousands of troops in theater, which could not be kept there indefinitely, it was the last moment of decision for us. as the report indeed accepts. by then, the u.s. was going to war, and to move with us, or without us. the inquiry finds that going to war without a majority of the u.n. security council in agreement, undermined the
authority of the u.n. the reality is that we, britain, had continually tried to act with the authority of the u.n. i successfully convinced the americans to go back to the u.n. in november of 2002, as i said. and after the initial conflict, it was again britain, which put u.n. authority back in place for the aftermath, so that from june 2003, british troops were in iran with full u.n. authority. however, as of the 18th of march, there was gridlock at the u.n. in resolution 1441, it had been agreed to give saddam one final opportunity to comply. it was accepted he had not done so. in that case, according to 1441, action should have followed. it didn't, because by then, politically, there was an impasse. i say the undermining of the u.n. was in fact the refusal to follow through on 1441.
and with the subsequent statement from president putin, and the president of france that they would veto any new resolution authorizing action in the event of noncompliance, was clearly not possible to get a majority of the u.n. to agree on a new resolution. as the then-president of chile explained, there were no points in saying a majority decision would be vetoed. on the 18th of march, and this is the vital thing to understand. given especially what sir john said this morning. we had come to the point of binary decision. right it remove saddam or not. with america or not. the report itself says this was a stark choice. and it was. now the inquiry claims that military action was not a last resort. though it also says it might have been necessary later.
with respect, i didn't have the option of that delay. i had to decide i thought of saddam, his record, the character of his regime, i thought of our alliance with america. and its importance to us in the post 9/11 world. and i waited carefully. i took this decision with the heaviest of hearts. i had already as the inquiry finds, consulted our armed forces and their commitment to be part of it and their view that we should be part of it. if you read my private notes to president bush from march of 2002 on, you will see my caution, my recognition this was not like kosovo or afghanistan and my desire to do this if at all, peacefully. but as of the 17th of march, 2003, there was no middle way.
no further time for deliberation. no room for more negotiation. a decision had to be taken. and it was mine to take as prime minister. i i stand by it. i only ask with humility that the british people accept that i took this because i believed it was the right thing to do based on the information that i had and the threats i received and that my duty as prime minister at that moment in time in 2003 was to do what i thought was right. however imperfect the situation or indeed the process. and moments of crisis such as this, it's the profound obligation of the person leading the government of our country to take responsibility and to decide.
not to hide behind politics and expediency or even emotion but to recognize that it is privileged above all others to lead this nation. that the accompaniment of that privilege when the interests of our nation are so supremely and plainly at stake is to lead and not to shy away. to decide and not to avoid decision. to discharge that responsibility and not to duck it. neither history, nor the fierce conduct of modern politics with all it's love of conspiracy theories and it's willingness and addiction to believing the worst of everyone should false identify my motive in this. i knew it was not a popular decision. i knew what it's costs might be
politically though that shrinks into complete insignificance beside it. i did it because i thought it was right and i thought the human cost of inaction, of leaving saddam in power would be greater for us and for the world in the longer term. so the action commenced on the 18th of march. in less than two months american and british armed forces and those of other nations successfully opposed saddam and that part of the campaign that was a major part of our strategic objective was brilliantly conducted by the military and you can never forget that. in june 2003 an agreement was agreed putting coalition forces in charge of helping the country to a new constitution with a u.n. support and another u.n.
mandate. in august 2000 they have to with draw following the bombing of the u. s. headquaters and baghdad by al qaeda. and especially following the bombing of the mosque. a state of near civil war continued until the surge of american forces began in 2007 and restored the country to relative calm. in 2010, a largely peaceful election in which the party with the most votes was a nonsectarian coalition was held. and in 2010 al qaeda and iraq was effectively defeated. in 2011 the arab spring began. the remnant left for syria and built it's space and came back over the border in iraq renamed as isis and held by the nature
of the government and exploited the situation in iraq and created what we see today. we should never forget that as a result of the removal of sedan in 2003 they agreed to yield up the nuclear chemical weapons program. this lead to the complete destruction of the program under international inspection which turned out to be much more advanced than we knew. which had it remained in the hands of gadhafi would have posed a serious threat. the network was shutdown. come to our alliance with america. it was my prerogative as prime minister and decide to be with the united states in military action. the inquiry questions whether this is really necessary and important to catch the alliance.
9/11 was an event like no other in u.s. history. i considered it an attack on all the free world. i believe that britain is america's strongest ally. should be with them in tackling this new and unprecedented security challenge. i believe it important that america is not alone and part of a coalition. in the end a majority of european union nations supported action in iraq. i do not believe we would have persuaded the bush administration to go down the un path without a commitment to be along side them in the fight. throughout my time as prime minister, britain was recognized as the united states foremost ally. it serves this well and allow us to protect more innocent people than we would have alone. we were america's core partner in the post 9/11 world and i believe that was right. there are two essential pillars
and our alliance with the united states and our partnership in europe and we can feel both strong as a national interest. people can disagree with that, but that was our judgment as prime minister. i come to weapons of mass destruction. the inquiry endorses findings that there is no evidence that intelligence was improperly included in september 2010 or number 10 improperly influenced the text. thou it makes no finding of inappropriatety it finds that the intelligence had not established that saddam possessed wmd. i only asked that people read the reports given to me in march 2002 and then september 2002 and many other occasions for example in the note written by my senior advisor.
in mind hind sight we may know that some of this information was not correct, but i had to act on the information i had at the time. i would point out two other things. first, virtually every intelligence agency reached the same conclusion and very good reasons. saddam's previous use of weapons is the complete disregard and eviction of u.n. inspectors in 1998. secondly, it is essential to consider the findings of the iraq survey group. conducted by leading u.n. weapon's inspector with 1,400 people of his team. this was done after the war in 2004. the very interviews denied the
inspectors in 2003. it's right to read that report because it is authoritative. the inquiry itself causes significant but with respect to them they never explained its significance. the survey group finds that saddam's priority was to get sanctions lifted. but once they were lifted they find it was his intent to re-constitute his program. above all, this survey group report finds that he intended to go back to a nuclear program fearing iranian development of nuclear weapons and that he kept teams in capability to develop those and chemical weapons once sanctions were removed. now, of course, we never know whether he would have done this, but i ask if you knew that for a fact this dictator had used
chemical weapons on his own people. he continued to lie about having them so he could continue to use them and he killed thousands of his own people with no respect for human life or norms of civilized behavior would you have wanted to take that risk of leaving him in place? or would you want to eliminate it? saddam in my view was going to pose a threat for as long as he was in power. the planning and the after math. the inquiry makes several criticisms. i accept that especially in hind sight we should have approached the situation differently. these criticisms are significant. they include failures to seek assurances for the american side which i accept should have been sought, the failures in american planning are well documented and
accepted. i do note that the inquiry fairly and honestly admit that they have not even after this passage of time been able to identify alternative approaches which would have guaranteed greater success. and this i would suggest is for the very simple reason that the terrorism we faced and did not expect would have been difficult for any circumstances to counter. this is the lesson we learned from other conflict zones especially libya, syria, yemen, but others, also. our planning proceeded on the basis of those risks of which we were warned namely possibility of humanitarian disaster, the use of wmd by saddam, resistance from the regime and challenges of reconstruction. in the event