tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN September 30, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
decisions. >> let me ask all of you, matt, i'm intrigued by your company, iron net security. i'm interested, is that iron net, when we think about public's vulnerability, how to think about what suzanne was talking about in terms of cyber exposure. i remember when al gore would talk a lot about the lockbox, confidence you could have. are you setting your self up for fill you're in the name of your company to have this notion to be so cap able, but we're in a situation of always tilting towards disaster. >> i hope we're not setting our selves up for failure with the nay of the company. there is a sense for sure that the cyber threat is so
complicated. it's great to look back today, 15 years ago, the terrorism threat. when i was at the national terrorism center we looked at how that threat had really changed to much in the last 12, 15 years, where it's more diverse, adapted on the terrorism side. now look at cyber. all those same features characterize cyber threat. you have increasingly sophisticated actors, criminal gangs at the level of what we thought were at the capability of nation states. you have the nature of those attacks changing from destructive to disruptive, destroying hardware. one of the things we think about now, the offense typically has the advantage. the offense wins. it's a little like transform. when i was at the national terrorism center, didn't taub
about it's basically impossible to stop every terrorism attack. risk management, it applies in the terrorism realm. you're managing realm but same thing in the cyber security realm. you can stop every -- >> did you see president obama beat his chest and say our cyber capabilities beat everybody els by far. i'm interested you rank 1 to 10 and united states 10, where would you put the threats after the president's comments. are you happy the president said that? >> i think that's right with our capabilities relative to the rest of the world. a number of ways, offensive cyber capabilities, defensive cyber capabilities. overall we're ahead of the rece of the world. we do have significant adversaries at the nation state level with china, russia, iran,
north korea and you can tick off attacks knowingly attributed to those governments or expected to be those governments, that region. below that level you have to rank pervasive type of kk are basically criminals that to go on target. that attack quite significant really cost a few thousand dollars in terms of malware available on the internet. that's a couple years ago. those groups are increasingly sophisticated. >> scale of one to ten next biggest threat. >> i would say if we're a ten, seven, eight area. >> given that, i don't know if you have thoughts, susan, in this new world of the ability to create consequences with cyber capabilities, another government, cyber grid, ukraine
we saw it with stuxnet in iran, centrifuges, whoever made that stuxnet virus, i don't know. when you're at that level, what do you think allegations about russia, hacking democracy, do you think u.s. government could send a signal hacking chinese, a bureau in putin's office. >> depends on the affect you want to achieve. we're more vulnerable because we're more engaged in cyber. that may not be the way to go. china signed an agreement with u.s. they did it because they want to tamp down the amount of communication and democracy happening in china as a result of cyber so this was to their advantage. right now it's not to putin's advantage to tamp down things. we can send signals through quiet channels.
i want to move back to something susan and they were talking about. often we want to think about resiliency rather than reliability. you think about the power grid, it's operated on the idea if one generating system is down, the system should work. resiliency is if a number of them are down it should work. resiliency, if they go down like we had a situation like in ohio a few years ago that started with a tree and snow barrel. what happens, how do you come up? what are the right ways to build cyber for resiliency. that's something we have not built in 15 years ago but something we really need to have now. something i'm sure your agency owe. >> with all of you, how vulnerable do you think our national electric infrastructure is? >> we are doing such a great job. >> what is your biggest blind
spot. >> let me say, i'm serious saying we're doing a good job working with electricity sector, that is because private sector are partners in the electricity subsector are very forward leaning and very aggressive. i'm leaving to head to new mexico for quarterly meeting for 30 or 40 ceos from across electricity sector who come together to meet with us on a very regular basis to talk about how we meet together to improve resilience of electric grid. a lot led by them. it's very resilient. what i will say what we are very mindful fuful of, a great deal
built in the '70s before we were cyber dependent. cyber efficiency tacked objecn. when those go down there's physical redundancy you can rely back on. as we upgrade -- that ends its useful life and upgrade and move to smart grade, et cetera, much more mindful in a way that prrves that resilience. that won't always be an i.t. solution. oftentimes that resilience will come from putting in a hand crank, having paper copies, things like that. >> and one of the things -- >> going back to cash. susan. >> one of the things they need to think about. right now they paying time to go after a target, after season y, if you talk about a hybrid attack on a bunch of systems, they don't necessarily have the
advantage. they have to get at the power grid and banking system or whatever else they are going to at the same time. that's a much harder job to do than when they go after sony or target on their own calendar, their own instant, which makes us somewhat more secure as a result. >> let's talk good guys and bad guys for a minute. i remember we did a talk when sony north korea thing unfolding, lisa and fran and fran lambasted sony. said there are criticisms all around that can be shared. one of the things, sony did nothing they should along the cyber level and really cast a lot of the blame on the private sector side of that equilibrium. i'm interested on the good guy side of this, a public that doesn't want to be ripped off or have its e-mail taken or operation system suspended, what is their responsibility to protect themselves from malicious people and government's responsibility to protect iran, china.
seems to me we talk a lot about companies and what they need to do but they can't match a government. suzanne. >> i come at this from the notion of comparative advantage. so we've often talked about roles or responsibilities and kind of we're going to dictate that in a command and control way that comes out of the military context, which is not appropriate here. we do need to come to the table and understand what each of us in the private sector and all levels of government bring to the table in terms of comparative advantage. so we have a comparative advantage with regard to deterring state action. we succeeded in doing that on the agreement we reached with china on economic espionage and companies have the comparative advantage with respect to the immediate protection of their systems and networks. we have to work together on response and we're now developing with the private sector additional play books and
an ex response we have to understand, again, what resources each of us brings to the table and how we're going to work. >> i'm with suzanne in terms of relative advantage. the challenge is, to your point, steve, we put a lot of burden on the private sector in a way going back to the analogy to terrorism, we would not say the same thing about responsibility to protect themselves against terrorist attack. if you think about terrorist attack, physical attack against a facility or company, it's pretty clear what the u.s. government's role is. it's better organized than it was 15 years ago. we're getting there with cyber to understand what is the responsibility of private sentor, what's the responsibility of the u.s. government when you have a nation state undertaking attack against u.s. company on u.s. soil. going back to before, it's very difficult for companies to be able to defend themselves
against the level of cyber attack we face from sophisticated actors like north korea. >> i'm going to go to the audience, whatever you're going to say, you're thinking about cryptography, what we're beginning to see on the bad guy side of the equation is going dark, the inability -- there's now a reaction out in the druglord world, and isis world, nefarious networks going off the grid. >> let me -- i'll take that, let me just add a little bit, my colleagues have known for years anything we don't want on the front page of "new york times" or "washington post" we don't put in e-mail. sony executives didn't seem to know that. sony films had been leaked to places not like youtube anymore that doesn't show those things but before being shown in movie theaters for a long time. so i completely agreed with matt and suzanne that a company can't
withstand a nation state attack. maybe a large company in the defense industrial base. >> you're saying we should live with a little bit of fear about what we do. >> there's certain precautions that aren't there. the fbi has been talking about going dark for the last 20 years. how have thingd changed in the last 15? in 2001 we had what happened. we had change in export controls that allowed companies to put in strong cryptography for export, made it easier for skrong cryptography domestically. here is where i lambast computer companies. they didn't do that until post -- this is not completely true, google beginning change with cryptography but post snowden era.
if you look to the extent we've gone -- if you look at the session, communicating electronically, we all carry smart phones, computers in our pockets. 80% communication of smart phones. also blackberry has gone out of business essentially. blackberry had a secure communication system, smart phones have not. what we had to the extent the government was playing two sides. you could use cryptography but the fbi kept saying they are going dark. what i've seen quite clearly is that the nsa and defense side of the government has said cryptography, obiquitous cryptography -- >> i wish we had an hour or two. i'm with her on the value, it's
a real problem in the terrorism front. there are misunderstandingses occurring between isis fighters that are encrypted and we can't see. that's a real serious problem. >> you're telling us we really, really,ually can't see. >> that is a real problem. >> i have some thoughts but let's -- >> let me open up the floor for questions and comments real quickly. in the back -- i'm being directed. my apologies we'll do our business. >> i'm with tpc global. i have a question more along the quult r cultural societal aspects of this conversation. what is it going to take as far as an attack to get more political pressure on lawmakers, the government to start taking actions that are more preventive for cyber attacks. for instance, if an armored van went up to the office of
personnel management and drove away with a bunch of records or the same thing happened at dnc i feel like there would be a lot more pressure. >> got it. >> what's it going to take? concept too abstract to grasp. >> we're short on time. appreciate the question. about 30 seconds. >> here is the thing. when you buy a computer and leave it there and don't onanything with it, it's no good a few years later. it's no good cass it's easy to hack and so on, so forth. one of the things lawmakers have not understood in order to provide proper security we have to fund maintenance. maintenance is just as important, more important than initial funding. that's a serious thing. the other thing is we haven't gotten responsible about holding companies responsible. when there's a data breach and i got two years' worth of credit report for free that's not enough. >> to be fair to his question, what can you do to bring pressure. one of the obvious questions is at what point does this ethereal cyber stuff that seals so distant become kinetic,
where you see thing happen in the tangible world. that's what you're happening. do you need that to happen, a disaster to happen, that's physical and things can be seen and felt as opposed to theorizing the fact. >> last two days before christmas last year, there was a cyber attack on the electric grid that brought down power for quarter million people. this is not academic, not ethereal, not ukraine but it did happen. we've made great progress getting this into the board rooms, across the country. congress acted in an impossible fashion to north dakota five or six cyber security legislation including very importantly automated information sharing, liability protection for companies that sign up for machine, readable machine to machine near realtime shark of
cyber indicators. that required congress to down around tricky -- and they enacted it. we do have the attack, do have attention and congress is taking some action on this. there's a lot more to be done. >> last word. >> i'll go back to terror analogy and bring it back to the anniversary of 9/11. there are all the tools of national we can bring to bear. cyber responses are one way to respond. there's a whole realm of other ways from diplomatic to intelligence to law enforcement to prosecution. there's a range of tools we can bring to bear when we attribute an attack. i do think as much as cyber legislation, information sharing was great start, it is just the beginning i think to your point. >> i wish we had a couple more hours. this is fascinating. i want to ask you where you guys dream about these disaster scenarios. we're going to end there. i want to thank you poly tech
institute. matt, iron, i do like the name. young lady, next time up here, you get the first question. >> please welcome former senator joe lieberman now senior adviser to counter-extremism project and mike rogers, host of something to think about. here to lead the conversation, please welcome back mary louise kelly. >> hello, again, everybody. senator, congressman, welcome. i have to say i've been really looking forward to this session because you two are both out of politics, which means you can tell you what you actually think. >> did that ever stop us before. >> you were just telling me that the last time you all were up on stage you got into a fistfight.
we can only hope for a repeat. >> we were joking. >> more of a spat. >> senator lieberman, let's start with you. you may not recall this but you and i both had occasion to meet in 2004. i showed up at your office on capitol hill, pretty spring day. i showed up because i was working on a story about t-tick? anybody remember? blank faces. terrorist integration. >> it was predecessor to nctc. >> up and running a year. a guy named john brennan was running it. >> whatever happened to him. >> so long ago you war democrat back then. >> wow. >> you told me on that pretty april day that you feared ttic
and other reforms were, i'm quoting you, potentially calamitous. your concern as i reported on npr the next morning, you feared we were creating these huge beaurocracy that would work at cross-purposes and still not really talk to each other. so my question to you is have we created all these huge beaurocracies that work at cross-purposes and still don't really talk to each other. >> i actually remember that conversation. i believe had to continue will probably be reflected on all panels, nothing is perfect but we made great progress in that remember. i'll use the word disaster, we experienced the national disaster 9/11, 15 years ago. one thing it did is to wake us up notwithstanding the truck bombing at the world trade center in '93, bombings at the embassies, "uss cole," et
cetera, that we were in a new kind of war. that was the first thing. second, we did act. incidentally we acted on a very bipartisan, nonpartisan basis, created department of homeland security. the whole purpose was to bring people together. incidentally, the big battles in that legislative experience were motte between republicans and democrats, they were between people close -- basically arguing for a given agency that didn't want to be blended under the department or in the intelligence reform that followed 9/11, the 9/11 commission. >> so you think we've made great progress? what would you point to? >> together the department of homeland security creation and reform of intelligence system in response to the 9/11 commission constitute the biggest changes in our national security apparatus sin the late 40s, which was the beginning of the cold war.
so we were beginning a new era of conflict. i just say every day at the ntct, director of national intelligence, department of homeland security, various agencies of the federal government are sharing information, working together. these are big beaurocracies and a lot of people involved. is it occasionally inefficient or top heavy? they are recognizing the embassy and talking a lot more than they did before. i guess the bottom line i would say, believe this for my own review but also 9/11 commission, if the reforms that exist today existed on 9/11, the 9/11 attack could not have been successfully launched against our country. >> congressman, i'll let you jump in here. what have we gotten right since 9/11? >> we are better integrated. it was really a leadership event as much as organizational event.
i think organizational events were important because it started driving innovation in a way we couldn't do when they were separate. do i think there's lots of room for reform yet? i do. one of the things we got right, we started dispatching nsa analysts down range. heifer really did that before. so the nsa is a big signals collection intelligence agency. it was separate freddie combat environment in a way that probably wasn't helpful prior to 9/11. troops and combat in iraq, afghanistan, other places in the world. they started to do this. this wasn't done integration, legislation effort, they had a chance to do this, dispatched analysts down range. sounds like a small thing. >> get them out of ft. meade. >> get them out of ft. meade, put them in afghanistan, putting them in other countries around the world. putting them in countries like iraq in ways they aren't done
before. so had all the intelligence services sitting in the same room looking at the same problem set. all of them could pick up a phone to the mother ship, how do we get the right resources, answer, apply the resources we have to solving particular intelligence problem. we saw huge benefits almost immediately. we've seen those kind of things. pbb. >> president's daily brief. >> is a much better product today because of the dni structure, dni supporter, organization to be fair. a more coordinated effort. nobody gets to say my information is more important than another agencies. we all think our agencies is best, we all know fbi is the best going into this. everybody has that belief. what pdb now represents is an
accurate picture from all the agencies. sometimes an agency isn't going to be representative, maybe cia might not be represented in pdb today. cross-pollinated, you can get the best product on the desk for the best solution. i think that is a positive result from the organization. >> doubts to read pdb? >> not in the form of pdb, all the information times ten, president sees it for a little bit. as chairman you get that plus some but not in the form of pdb. we get our own daily briefs. >> you're talking about all the agencies putting information in, balanced project. one stream of intelligence reporting is more accurate than the others. as you know from iraq war fiasco, there's the danger of not connecting the dots, also group think. you get a diluted product if you
pour everything together. >> maybe i missed that part. they don't get a voice. some days they don't, next day it might be all cia. that is the best most timely information given the situation of the day is for the purpose of national security decision. that's why i think it's a better product. you might get a little cia, nsa, nga, dia in there, any other acronyms. >> a few more. >> might be able to get them all. that's the benefit of it. you could have one analyst, three-quarters be for one analytical product that makes it to pdb because it's that important, that good, that fresh and that accurate on that particular day. in the old days, a historical look. the cia going to wait, i think, for the cia product. you get great cia product, nice
other products as well. that to me was a big benefit. >> senator lieberman, staying with the theme of things that have been fixed, reforms since 9/11. dhs, department of homeland security, your baby. i remember you fighting for that long time. a lot of battles on the hill. hand over heart, is it useful? >> i'm not going to deny paternity here this baby occasionally acts in ways that has all of our children you're not so sure of, but i know -- incidentally, i was actively involved, i was glad to be but really bipartisan. fred thompson, the late great fred, dear friend, working with me on homeland security committee. people in the house on both sides. the bottom line was we took then 22 significant agencies, brought them together.
>> you wanted more, the fbi to be in there. >> incidentally, this all started -- i don't take full credit for this because it was actually a report earlier in 2001 before 9/11 by a commission shared by warren rudman and gary hart that foresaw a terrorist group taking advantage of the disorganization of the american security agencies and striking us and recommending something like department of homeland security. this is going to be a funny reference point. i want somebody to send me a speech that fred smith of fedex gave to his employees. he said the journey to better service by fedex has no final destination point. in other words, we have to continue always to get better and better.
there's still more of that to do. are we safer to have a dhs with all component parts working together? we sure are. >> it prompts the question about how you get the balance right. are we safer? okay. you can certainly point to the fact there hasn't been anything on the scale of 9/11 since 9/11. >> that's a significant fact to point to. >> that's significant. on the other hand. the number that's being put on what's spent to prevent that from happening is somewhere in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars. nobody would advocate any action that might bring about another huge catastrophic mass casualty attack. on the other hand it's a trillion dollars that hasn't been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and other things. do you think we've gotten the balance right? i'll let you take it first. >> i don't know the number. i can't judge whether it's accurate. i'll assume for the moment it's accurate. the first responsibility of the federal government, we all say this, it's true, provide for common defense, protect security
of our country. without security, freedom, ton to get kids well educated. so can i say if it is a trillion dollars, every dollar was spent officially? of course not. we were under attack on 9/11. we've stopped similar attacks. obviously still under attack the men as of islamist radical terrorism which expressed it's self since 9/11 mostly in lone wolves radicalized over the internet. that's something the counter-extremism project, had i'm here on behalf of, which i helped found two years ago, has worked onto. here again, terrorist as they did on 9/11 using aviation system, using a wonderful development in our world, which is the internet. they are using it to
communicate, radicalize and sometimes to attack. and for instance, the counter-extremism project is focused on putting pressure on twitter, which is used a lot by radical extremist groups to deny them that access. we've developed a wonderful man, scientist at dartmouth college, a program which he first developed to kind of automatically find child pornography on the internet, now to do the same for images and words that are associated with extremism and terrorism. the bottom line here is government isn't going to do it all. we're under continuing threat because of how few people can do enormous damage to us on this unconventional battlefield. we're pushing them back.
>> i was struck by a point in the atlantic magazine article, i see a lot of you have got, asking the question about tsa, for example, talking about a place where a lot of money has been spent and a lot of effort made to get it right. the question was how many hijackers have armed air marshals taken down since 9/11? and the answer is none. yet we've invested and spent and trained thousands and thousands and they are flying around the country as we speak. how do you weigh that, congressman, as someone who controlled the purse strings? how do you get the balance right? >> a quick story, someone who believes this is an important thing. by the way, the intelligence community is what's going to help us prevent problems from happening and prevent bad policy decisions from being engaged on. i argued it has an outsourced or outsized, excuse me, impact on what our national security is going to like in the next few
years. we don't get that piece right, i guarantee you the other piece isn't going to work at all. when i became chairman, i decided i was going to every bad place in the world to talk to people on the ground, on the front edge of this thing doing that work. one of the conclusions i came away spending all that time on the road, great americans doing incredible things was that they had some problems. one of those problems -- think about, this is going to shock everyone in the room. are you ready? there's politics happening in washington, d.c. what happened was because the politics was driving the spending, if it was a counter-terrorism case, they got all the money they needed. people wheel barreling it in and dumping it in the office. if they had a case, intelligence matter that didn't fit ct but fit national security, they couldn't find a dollar to work. i heard this in multiple places around the country.
i see one good old friend i had conversations with. i won't see who they are. good to see you, tom. he's retired. i can say tom and not go to jail. i look bad in orange jump suits with the numbers on the back, makes me look very boxy, just so you know. what we find, we had lots of great money but could you save money. came become after three-month tour, came back and called directors and said i'm cutting your budget, you may want to come up and see me. dead silence. what are you talking about? you're the guy. what we did was say how can we spend better, after 9/11 we threw a lot of money at the problem. i argue rightly so. i'm with the senator 100%. you didn't have a lot of options. spending money when the first goal toys defend america. we were able to take out that first couple of years about $3 billion. we did it through merging -- nothing sexy, we didn't take away from mission, mission had
money. a little more flexibility on counter-terrorism fund, use it on other security issues. in some cases they had to give money back, couldn't spend it on ct, nuclear proliferation. i don't know about you, keeps me up at night. we have to change that. we have to go through that same review. you should do it with every agency. some hard conversations. we were able to cut that much money and not mission, some argued more mission dollars at the end of the day and spent less money. i believe it's completely possible. it's hard, tedious, everyone has budget lines. they argued in one budget line about how much fuel they spent on helicopters. i wish i was kidding you on an intelligence operation. on the other line they were buying boats because they had so much money they didn't know what to do with it. might need a boat in the particular region of the middle east. >> let me just press you on
this. it seems as though some of the most effective things since 9/11 have been, a, local. and b, pretty cheap. i'm thinking of the example in boston that boston carried out six months before the marathon bombing not knowing that was on the horizon, carried out big emergency preparedness drill. figured out if we were to have mass casualty, where would we take people, where should we position medical personnel. it saved lives, people got treatment that was lifesaving. is that the big restrukting. >> not the biggest model, not much talked about. the department of homeland security by direction of silence created a section that
interfaces directly with local and state law enforcement. that gives -- i forget the number, i used to know it, hundreds of thousands of personnel that joined the effort to stop a terrorist attack. i bet that drill in boston, i don't know, was either encouraged or financed by the department of homeland security because we did that. we've done that in major cities throughout the country. >> still your baby. >> yeah, i'm a proud and i would say protective father to that department. >> i think you agree, at some point we have to say we've got this huge money poured into a funnel at the top. maybe it's not coming out exactly the way we want it, the bottom. can we restructure this in a way that fits this model. irresponsible to go through and try to re-evaluate spending, the whole of government approach, that's one thing we haven't gotten right. the whole of government approach hasn't gotten to where we need
to go. nsa and cyber command is likely to split. i think that's probably a good decision for whole host of reasons. that means we're going to have some changes and change these horses midstream. also on the state department working with intelligence services i'm not convinced we exactly have that right yet. that change has to happen pretty soon going forward and the next president is going to inherit -- i think dysfunctional is too strong a word, layered democratic national security council operation decision-making process that i don't think works for the better of our national security. they are going to have to go in and change that. not either one of them will tackle that issue. it's a big one. >> beaurocracy in progress. a frightening image. tight on time but i want to squeeze in one question. from the back tell us who you are. >> with the brennan snowe center for justice. interesting in conversation about dhs and whether that money
was well spent. of course dhs sent millions and millions to fusion centers with very little oversight and seems that money did vary little especially when you're talking about counter-terrorism. i'm interested if you think that money was well spent looking back on dhs, ultimately contributed to national security, whether you would extend that to fusion centers and whether you would have suggested something different or done something different in the future. >> with the benefit of hindsight, good idea, bad idea. >> it was a good idea in the section it literally brought together federal, state, local law enforcement and related agencies. i can tell you from the state level married a lot in local level from those groups involved and helped federal prevention and law enforcement effort. i'll go back to fedex analogy,
just have to continue. i agree with what mike said, oversight role, very active oversight role has to be played by congress in the relative committees obviously. there's an opportunity for the new president, whoever it is, to do the same, do it top to bottom. this is 15 years. no agency these agencies, dns, dni, nctc made us safer. could they use a review? of course they could and it ought to happen soon. >> congressman, a quick word on that point. >> yes and no. yes, fusion centers help. i think need to shrink them down. i don't think we need as many across the country. some became a status symbol, not related to work they are about to do. major cities, mablg los angeles, new york, chicago, detroit, places that were hotbeds of activity made a lot of sense to have a fusion center. it was good. we put them in other places.
if you looked at metrics on success there was some great creators hired in these fusion centers, taking other work and reprinting it. we don't have the funds to top rate that kind of loose operation anymore. i would have them but i would really target them around the country. then money on local officers to participate. some of them having a hard time filling their operation, having hard time infusion centers. yes, in all of these, great idea. implementation, we have some work. >> spoken like a true former fbi agency. >> congressman, senator, thank you both. thank you. >> more next from atlantic's conference on security 15 years
after 9/11. speakers in the second part include house homeland security chair michael mccall, assistant attorney general for national security john carlin and white house security adviser lisa monaco. >> please welcome to the stage karen greenberg director for the center of national security fordham university of law, shaughnessy american civil lebts union. please welcome back the atlantic steve clemens. >> greetings, everybody, i'm back. don't forget you'll get to ask the first question. karen greenberg the office of rogue, very cool and underexposed in d.c. a great thing to have you here. signing books, if she really
wins you over, they will be there after. start for a moment, thinking 15 years and what has happened. a lot focused on getting the bad guys, security, dimensions. i'm interested in the state of our soul is. part of the equation, targeted killing, drones, infrastructure dealing with detainees in guantanamo. karen, i want to ask you in the waves of fear that drove a lot of decisions on how we deal with people we identified as enemies whether they were or not, what is the price we paid as a society for that? >> big. the price we paid is much more than we can imagine, i think. i can talk about this a little bit. there are things we now accept
as a country we never would have accepted on september 10th, 2001, 15 years ago. >> like? >> the most obvious, the low hanging fruit, is, of course, torture, which is still mentioned in presidential debates of the candidates, which came to an end before the end of the bush administration and definitively with the obama administration. let me just mention a couple of other things. one is the concept of indefinite detention, held without trial, without a sense of end of hostilities so you're kept in limbo. prior to 9/11, this was not something that would have tolerated in legal or constitutional mind-set. now what we've done is president obama said let's close guantanamo. closing guantanamo doesn't mean what it used to mean. it used to mean ending indefinite detention, which was what guantanamo is about. now it means closing the doors
on guantanamo and keeping a dozen people in indefinite detention, which is keeping the category alive in the american mind-set and legal system. >> let me open this up. i would argue if you went out to poll the american public, and i could be wrong on this, that that might not seem like a bad thing. they may not be aware or think about consequences. is this just karen greenberg being obsessive compulsive bhutan issue americans have lost track of and doesn't care anymore. we have seen horrific things happening, beheadings, human rights abuses abroad and terrorism directed at the united states. i guess my question is so what, not speaking on behalf of myself but on behalf of many people i know and around the country. how is that? >> here is why. here is the answer to that.
that's 2,000 people, we don't care about them. we're over it. we understand the cause of 9/11. that's one thing. there's such a thing as mission creep. who we define as an enemy and who we can detain under those circumstances can change at any mom. this is not a legal principle codified, voted on, accept as body politic. that's why we keep them in guantanamo, one of the reasons. if you really think we can contain this, that's one thing but we don't have that guarantee. >> let me jump in here if i can. part of the answer to so what. five years ago, the ten year anniversary of 9/11 we wrote a report at aclu. it was called a call to courage. it was a call to courage on the part of our policymakers and national leaders to remember resilience and form of strength that comes from constitution and values embodied there are written into formative national character. we were in danger of losing
that. i think we're still on that trajectory. part of the so what, part of the are we safer, one of the things we're looking for safety for and from in addition to undeniable risk of terrorism is safety from government overreach. safety from government violations of the law. and there is a system obviously of structural checks and balances written into the constitution as well as framers bill of rights, right, fourth amendment essentially says basic principle, government does not surveil us unless there's suspicion of wrongdoing in advance. fifth amendment due process rights. i think that system is in danger of continuing to be broken down. it has been violated. let me give you a couple examples. 2001 aumf, right? specific language of 2001 aumf
debates when congress passed it, rejected wholesale authority on the part of the executive to go to war without defining a particular enemy. now two administrations republican and democratic have used and invoked 2001 aumf beyond its purpose and beyond its breaking point. that's a failure of structural checks and balances with respect to perhaps the most important power congress should have, which is the power to declare war. this is not a post 9/11 failure. that failure has been happening for a while. i think one of the dangers, and this comes back to, for example, the targeted killing policy is that based on that 2001 aumf you've had first president bush and two terms of president obama claim the authority to engage in massive legal strikes in violation of the international legal framework the united
states helped establish that maintains international peace and security picking from bits and pieces from the most per missive aspects of the law while ignores specific aspects that protect the right to life as well as security. >> hannah, i have heard -- i was there when the president gave a speech essentially my short form, stop me before i kill again. a speech where he basically said our targeted killing policy needs review, standards, controls, needs frames and called on congress to help work with him to set those frames. this was a president inviting some sort of framework he and john brennan and others have been making. the call happened but to my knowledge the framework hasn't happened. you have a congress that seems unable to work for it. i'm interested -- i understand and appreciate the frame you're coming at on this, the fact is
targeted killing are continuing. the president of the united states, obama, seems to me, anyway, to be trying to navigate something that isn't just completely disconnected from am i wrong? >> it's one thing to say it and another thing to do it and another thing to blame politics which often happens. it's politically i try but i can't. >> what grade would you give them in. >> i want tho talk about something. our soul. we have executive killing without transparent process. we have group surveillance as opposed to individual you know suspicious surveillance. >> a lot of the warrantless surveillance has been walked back. >> some of it has been. >> and the idea that you target the group rather that the individual is so contrary to the way we think about the country.
we have executive detention. how would i rate this president? i would rate his intentions. his intentions are pretty good and u would give him maybe a b-plus. but his ability to achieve what he wanted to do with probably a b-minus. >> he might be very happy with a b-minus. >> he might be. one place he hasn't succeeded is on the surveillance issue. i think he may have been convinced that it was better to follow along the trend that had happened. this is a place where he had really -- but he tried. i want to talk about this. the reason, as far as i can tell, that they pushed back on surveillance. >> right. >> was not because of civil liberties concerns any more than the reason torture was a civil liberties concern. it was because there was a large con ten gentleman within washington writing reports and other things saying this is not
making us safer. this program does not work. yeah, it was illegal according to the court but it was because it didn't make us safer. this is something that obama has not really explained to the american people well. and i think that's another piece of it. a final piece is could we please have a president or any leader who gets up and says, guess what, we are safe. we are safer. we have spent trillions of dollars on a military intelligence law enforcement and we know what we're doing. on that he gets a very loud grade. >> haina let me ask you a bifurcated question. on one hand the president announced his appointment of a muslim federal judge. first time. but to talk about muslims in the climate 15 years after 9/11 and the demeaning terms that they've been talking about in selection, i'm just wondering how the aclu in your world sees that.
while you do that, i'm interested in a quick reflection on looking back at the last 15 years. and i don't mean this in any disrespectful way. have there been mistakes or blind spots in the kind of human rights global justice community of things that you just got wrong, that you overemphasized that actually those on the security side of the equation were right. so let me start with those two things real quickly. >> two things he says and then he says quickly. >> yeah. >> so let me talk about not just the politics then. the first part of your question goes not just to the politics of fear but also the politics of bigotry which we're seeing at unprecedented crescendo levels in this election now. and there's an entire extreme set of proposals and policy proposals coming from donald trump. but i think it's also necessary to pint out where we have been on some of those kinds of
issues, both under the bush administration and under the obama administration. so if you all will remember, going back to just a few days after 9/11 where president bush visited a mosque and he said, we're not going to hold the many responsible for the terrible bad acts of a few. and then of course his administration went on to do exactly that with sweeps and detention and prosecutions and so on. and something perhaps not as dire, but somewhat similar is going on still today. so i give president obama credit. i give hillary clinton credit for culling out extreme forms of bigotry yet we still have programs, for example, countering violent extremism programs that despite the words used about being about extremism of all kind, still do that fundamental sin which is to look at an entire community through the bad acts of fortunately a
tiny few through a security lens and that is counter productive, it's ineffective and it's just dividing us further in ways that i see -- >> resentment. >> -- that i see playing out in all types of communities in which i work and we work. but you of got to link that to other kinds of programs that focus the eye of the security state unfairly in ways that are challenging. let me give you one more example. >> really quickly. >> walk lists. in our investigation, the government admitted that it is blacklisting people, preventing them from exercising their constitutionally protected rights based on predictions that people who have never even been charged with a crime might nevertheless do something wrong in the future. >> because of name and race? >> we found it's been disproportionately against minorities.
now if you're going to do something that peril es, you have to provide a process for somebody to clear their time. the government refuses to do that. touching on the second part of your question whab did we get wrong or perhaps what did we not anticipa anticipate. i know i did not anticipate the ways in which the systems of checks and balances would break down as badly as it has. i'm not talking just about congress but also the courts in terms of not pushing back as much as they could have on things like tran parncy. we talked about targeted killing. there are over 100 legal memos that have been written to justify the lethal force program of which only three or four have been made public. so that system of checks and balances failed. and i think another area is one i've struggled with a
significant amount over the course of my years work on this. it struck me when it was down at guantanamo. it strikes me when i'm doing all of this work. it's something that senator mccain said. early on in the discourse post-9/11 it's not about them, it's about us. and in advocacy, that was the only thing that was working, including in the torture debate. it's not about them, the bad guys, it's about us and our values. but what that ended up doing is dehumanizing people who are part of us and creating a division between us and then that is really detrimental to rights and the security and fabric of what the great national project is in this country. >> thank you. karen, let me ask you to briefly share with me as you look back over the last 15 years, you've been one of the most prolific
writers on the question of rights and the national soul and looking at, you know, it's like my professor used to say, you don't know a society unless you watch it and and it under stress. what mistakes has your community, what mistakes have you made. what would you do differently in short form? >> i would focus -- i think there is one mistake. i think it's an overall conception that we got into the debate that there was liberty and there was security and there were a lot of people who said, oh, really, they're the same thing. so that debate just went away and never had it. the fact is that human rights people and civil libertarians need to appreciate more than they do at least, you know, articulating it to the public, what it means to carry the burden of national security. this is a good example right now. we have a counter extremism program that d.o.s. and doj who
are rolling it ou and there are many that don't want to have anything to do with it. it's the government. actually if you look at what they're looking for, they're asking for ideas. this is not a cynical attempt to get people to think about how do we stop extremism. who cares what we call it, whether we call it violent extremism. i understand who cares and why. but there has to be more of a shared sense that okay, there are some national security realities that we need to think about. and i think just giving a little bit in that direction could make -- everybody should be able to sit at the same table as you and i know and talk about these things. >> thank you both so much. let me now go to the floor. do you still have a question in the back, young lady? no? right here. tara, very smart reporter with the bbc. >> i liked what you said about the stop before i kill again
speech by 0 bam aobama and what it means for a liberal to become a president or liberals should have known he was going to do that or whether he learned something when weapon went into office. >> what does it mean for the liberals that president obama will be known as the drone president? hina? >> i work for a nonpartisan organization so i'm going to put away the liberal -- >> talk completely fact based and empirically. >> i think this is a deep entrenchment and i think it is a very dangerous one. and i think when you're thinking about these things, replace president obama with president clinton, president trump, president romney. one of the ways in which the obama administration sought to put constraints owe the executive branch's claimed authority in the targeted killing program was when it looked like president romney might become president. right? and look at where we are now.
so when you're asking about what does it mean for this president to have done it, it means something very dangerous in that the next president, who she or he may be, the next country which might have far less of a record of trying to have rights respecting approaches is going to claim this exact same legal authority. and what is that legal authority? it is the legal authority claimed to declare people, including your own citizens, enemies of the state without geographic or temporal limitation without judicial review based on executive branch say-so alone. and that is a very dangerous authority no matter the party or the political perspective of the individual who is commander in chief. >> and one that other countries may also have the pow toer to d.
we don't think of this suicide a reciprocal relationship right now but that could evolve sooner than we think. >> just to wrap up, as you look forward in six months we're going to have a new president of the united states. do you see any of the issues you work on getting better in whatever options may be coming next? and i mean other than jill stein. >> i don't think the surveillance issue is going to reverse in any way for the foreseeable future. i do think there's a possibility that guantanamo will close. i think if it closes the idea of this kind of detention is over. but i think there's going to be some new challenges that have to do with the fact that state actors are back on the scene, not just nonstate actors. and the new challenge is having a national security policy that can actually deal with both things in an integrated way. >> thank you for this conversation. hina shamsi and karen greenberg,
author of "rogue justice" which you can buy outside. thank you both so much. please welcome vice president of nuclear security and brian jackson senior physical scientist at the rand corporation. here to moderate the discussion is stephen brill. [ applause ] >> so i think this is among the most important panels of the day. and the reason i think so is because we're going to talk about real specific threats. but are they real specific threats? andr andrew, let me start with you. first, what's a dirty bomb, in
30 seconds or less. >> a dirty bomb where a terrorist would get radiological material from a hospital medical facility, they would get cobalt or seize yum, they will put high explosives around the raid active material, take it no new york city or washington, d.c. and detonate the dirty bomb. a dirty bomb is a weapon of mass disruption, would lead to massive psychological impacts but would not kill a lot of people. it's really a panic weapon and a weapon of misdisruption. >> thank you. when i was doing my interviews for this article, i typically would end an interview with a security expert, whether from the bush administration or from an ngo like yours and like yours. and would say -- the final question would be, what -- of all of the possible threats,
what are you most surprised that hasn't happened that could happen. and pretty much to a person everybody say a dirty bomb. then i discovered that there are actually two agencies of the government, the nuclear regulatory commission and the nnsa, the national nuclear -- >> security administration. >> national nuclear security administration and they have two different standards for securing the materials that you talked about. the nuclear regulatory commission which actually can set the regulations has what the nnsa says are really lax and kind of terrible standards if any standards at all for security. and when i sbor viewed the nrc person in charge of all of this, he said, i'm paraphrasing, well we don't like to be prescriptive, which was a peculiar stance for someone at a regulatory agency. i mean how did it come to pass that there are two government
agencies with differing standards and the one that can enforce the standards is lax by almost everybody else's estimation. >> first, the experts you talked are correct. 157 years after september 11th we're less safe and the likelihood of a dirty bomb going off in our lifetime is very real and something we have to be concerned about. regarding the two key agencies, what happened after september 11th is the nuclear regulatory administration came up with increased controls. the problem is -- and it's not just something we've cited but the gao has cited, the requirements that they put out were too broad and too general. further more, the way the nrc works is that 37 out of the 50 states are what's called agreement states. so they self regulate. and it's up to the hospitals,
the industry and the medical facilities to try and interpret what that policy level requirement is. so what the gao found is you have differing levels of interpretation. what nnsa has done and nnsa is working with nrc, what nnsa has done is said look given the threat and the urgency we're going to establish a voluntary program so that we can go in and put in cameras and sensors and motion detectors to increase security. the bottom line is we need nrc to tighten its regulations, be more stricter -- >> why don't they tighten their regulations? what's stopping them? >> they have a lengthy process to go through. and what needs to be done in the interim is that additional funding needs to be provided to nnsa to try to do the upgrades. so far to date, steve, after ten years of working the issue of dirty bombs, only 35%, all of
the facilities in the united states and around the world have received these security upgrades. are you kidding me? it's been ten years. >> you've been working on this since before, right? >> i've been working on this for 25 years. >> you're probably a his tearic because you wake up every morning. is he right about in. >> certainly the risk of a dirt yo bomb is having that's very concerning. when you look at terrorist group behavior and the weapons they adopt, they like weapons that have shock value and radiation shocks people and they're often very good at explosives. >> and how hard it is for someone who's got access to explosives just to add this stuff, assuming they can get access to it because the security regulations are just nil. once they have access to the radiological material, how hard it is to turn a simple bomb into
a dirty bomb? >> it's very simple to add a raid y raid yak tif material. whether it will disperse it well or well enough to get headlines is another story. well enough to get headlines might be good enough. >> just to go a quick comparison, on the nuclear side, a as a result of the nuclear security summits, they can try to pursue nuclear material or radiological material. the radiological material is located in 150 countries. >> thousands of places here. you don't have to go to another country. you can go to your local hospital and there might be a padlock on the door, there might not. so what i was really curious about, though, is why would hospitals which aye written
about in my prior life, multibillion dollar operations, even though they're called high profits, why would hospitals, why would the other kinds of industrial users of this material, logging companies, oil companies, food companies, why would they risk this liability? >> so one, they need to -- >> why doesn't the fcc go after those that are for-profit and listed to make them disclose the liability? >> one, we need to raise awarene awareness. the hospital and facilities i visited see these devices as being used for medical reasons. they have a culture view that is different. they don't see this as a terrorist issue. second, back to your point, there is no commercially available liability insurance. when we met with these hospitals in new york city, they can't purchase insurance liability for a dirty bomb. you can get insurance liability coverage in the uk, you can get it in france but you can't get
it here. the way we have to make this work -- >> it's actually good that you can't get the liability coverage because it puts them on the hook. did you meet with sloan kettering, big cancer place? >> so what we'rening doing. >> did you? >> no, we did not. >> what hospitals did you meet with. >> mount sinai. >> you're saying they're uninsured what would be a multibillion dollar liability. >> correct. and what we've found is the facility operators, they don't have the money. you have to take it up to the ceus and elevate it up to the senior risk managers of those facilities. so what we are doing -- >> how much does it cost. you told me, not a lot of money at all. >> 250k to take a device that could lead to tens of billions
of damage in new york city, it's 250k to switch it out with an x-ray device that cannot be used to make a dirt yo bomb that is fda approved. >> and the revenues last year were something on the order of $6 billion. >> correct. >> so 250k. >> yeah. so what we're calling for, back to the bigger issue here, what we need is what obama did on the nuclear said, he called for a four-year effort to secure the nuclear materials and that's why we got all of the material out of ukraine, turkey and libya. we need the next president to announce a similar four-year effort to secure the radiological materials that could be used in a bomb. we need presidential leadership. >> in addition to that, wouldn't it also help if the next president or the tournament president talked more about a dirty bomb so instead of people being terrified of a headline
that says downtown washington now super fund site. it's much more scary than it is actually threatening >> you did a very good job on the video you put on regarding this piece. there needs to be a dialogue with the american public. there needs to be more information out there. cdc has a lot of information act what happens when there is a dirt yo bomb. you go inside. you stay indoors. there are not going to be a lot of people killed by a dirt yo bomb but it will lead to radiation being spread and contaminated. but there needs to be a dialogue so people understand what the impacts are. you can secure the sources, replace them and you can come up with other technologies to reduce the threat. >> before we jump off this, just for the information of the people in the audience, one of the scenarios that i described from senate testimony was that if a bomb like that went off in
downtown washington, ie outside, it would result in an extra one death for every 10,000 people living in washington, which sounds pretty terrible, except that that adds up to 50 people which you could probably mitigate if you went through an office build on k street and got people to quit smoking. >> correct. >> yet there is this threat. brian, let me ask you about the second, the second topic of our question discussion. the bioterror threat. as i mentioned this morning, it really stuns me that we haven't done anything, doesn't seem like we've done anything about by yo terrorism even though all of us in this room remember that after 9/11 with the anthrax attacks and the judy miller book "germs"
at the top of the best seller list, that was the threat de jour and that's what everybody was scared about. what happened? >> well, i don't think it's fair to say that we haven't done anything. but what we've done has been sort of linked to the crisis response, you know, kind of mode that secretary ridge talked about at the beginning. we had anthrax. there was a great deal of focus on this. i was working on emergency responder issues at the time. emergency responders were buying hazmat suits so they could respond. there was a big influx in planning and over time that went down. then we have pandemic influenza, ebola in there, pulses of activity in between. but what we haven't had is the sustained effort on that to srt of maintain readiness and maintain the ability to respond. >> and we have the biowatch as sensors, a couple deployed
actually near this build, in and around downtown washington. they're all over major metropolitan areas but we really don't know if they work, right? we think they don't work. >> there's a lot of problems with that technology. it's a tough scientific program. i would use that as an example of one of the costs of focusing on this in a kriefts response mode as opposed to a sustained mode. the initial by yo watch were rolled outpost-9/11. i think you called it the do something period. >> the jack bower syndrome, do something, do anything. >> there really was a pressure to get any capability out. so you could sort of see that as a first draft. and if we had continued to focus on this in a sustained way -- >> contractors who sold the equipment were only too happy to comply with the pressure, right? >> fair enough. but, you know, if you kept more sustained focus and effort on
that threat over time, there's more opportunity to build on the science and to improve the technology over time so it would have worked better. >> what stops the focus. if there's a bioattack tomorrow, there will be a presidential commission and the presidential commission would say there were all of these warnings, we knew this stuff didn't work, we knew it was deployed for 14 years and we were spending $80 million a year to pick up the samples, even though we pick up the samples 36 hours after they had been dispersed and so it doesn't help any way and they don't work. the presidential commission would be outraged anindignant. why is it with homeland security we can't do the presidential commissions in advance and get outraged and indignant on the advance. >> it makes it easy to respond
in crisis and also makes it easy for authorities to respond to cuts in public health over time, responding to the financial crisis and so on. so really the question is there a more fundamental one about our governmental system about how to maintain focus on threats that are thankfully lower probability than many others. but because the consequences are high, we need to be able to keep people's attention to keep activity but not do it through sort of scaring people. >> director comey is quoted in this article as saying they know that they have to balance the current focus on, you know, lone wolves and home grown attacks, whatever that acronym was they used this morning, hve, and with the reality that they know, the groups like isis and al qaeda are trying to do this kind of stuff. they're trying to do a bioattack. they're trying to get
radiological materials. why can't we set those priorities differently? the director of the fbi says this and yet again, i'll just come back to it because it's an easy target. this technology is now 15 years old, as i point out in the article, the undersecretary of homeland security in charge of this stuff said that they hope within three to eight years to have a fix. now don't you both know that if something like this happened the day after tomorrow they would have a fix in six months? >> but steve if i could just add back on the radiological and nuclear said, these issues are so important that they do require presidential level initiative and they are global. and think about what president obama did. he brought together the world leaders on this issue of nuclear security, not once, not twice, not three times, four times.
no other president has done that. that then gave resource to the different agencies and then that gull vaiz niezed the internatiol effort. they're in africa, they're in europe, all other kinds of place. to address the issue and overcome the bureaucratic issues, you need presidential leadership that leads to the funding and then you need to have the metrics followed and held accountable to the statements that you make that you're going to get this one in three years or four years. >> when it comes to a dirty bomb, it doesn't sound like a funding issue. get a for-profit hospital or a non-for-profit hospital or a logging company to understand they really should spend $250,000 today as opposed to $8
trillion worth of liability tomorrow or getting the nrc which the president supposedly oversees, that doesn't cost any money. why are we talking about money? >> given the fact that we know that isis is seeking to arequire and use these materials, with given the fact they've said they will use the materials when give them, it takes time to educate people with liability issue. you really need to try to ak late that with a sense of urgency. and the way you do that is yes industry should pay some of this, hospitals should pay some of this and you will get the government partnership. but you need to have a presidential level statement that will catapult this forward to pin mize the risk of a dirty bomb. >> it's not just the financial budget that's necessary to keep a sustainedest going, it's about getting the attention. >> that's a good point.
>> in that case you're talking about a lot of private actors, probably more than budget. but in other problem areas it's both. >> we tend to direct our attention retroactively when it comes to intelligent. >> it's important with the benefit of hindsight. >> let's take a couple of questions from the audience. thank you guys. anybody? i see a hand there. >> good morning. my question has to do with an issue that happened after the fall of the soviet union and it was the idea of loose nukes and we were worried about it at the time and i've read articles about it at the time but it's fallen to the wayside. is there an issue? are there still potentially
missing nuclear weapons? we had teams working with the russians working with us at this time are we still working with them on that and have we got our arms around it? >> that's a great point. after the breakup of the soviet union, thanks to senator nun and luger, they initiated the program and for 20 years we had folks from d.o.d., department of energy going to russia and basically securing russian war heads, russian nuclear war sites. that program ended in december of 2014 where with russians said enough, we're not going to allow you inside our closed cities. so right now, other than the start inspections that are going on, there is no more access. so right now we have no boots on the ground. we don't know what russia is doing with the more than $2 billion that senator nun and senator luger with their leadership provided funding to
make sure that russia is actually still following through with suggestion staining those upgrades. despite the current situation, there needs to be a dialogue with russia given they have more than half of the world's nuclear materials. we can't leave them out of the dialogue. >> what about the countries 0 the former soviet union. >> all of it was removed from ukraine. some of my colleagues helped me work on that. that was because of president obama and the summit. all material has been removed from other areas. kazakhstan has materials. those are the issues that we need to work on the nuclear side even though the summit process is over. >> thank you. one more question. right there. sir.
>> good morning. thoughts on the iran nuclear deal. success and prospects for its ability to limit proliferation. >> 30 second. let's start with you brian >> you can have my 30 seconds. >> first of all what a lot of people don't appreciate is the incredible sbrupsive precedent setting verification measures that are under the iran nuclear deal. when i was at the department of energy and working on this before i left, secretary moniz and the lab experts got together and mapped out all of the different pathway to prevent and slow down iran from getting a nuclear weapon. my view is that i think the iran nuclear deal is an important achievement. it significantly slows down the iranian nuclear program and it sets an important precedence in terms of intrusive inspections. people forget that inspectors get daily access to declared
facilities. so it is very important and it needs to be fully implemented. >> thank you. and thank you. we're going to run off. [ applause ] and now please welcome michael mccaul and the security correspondent at cbs news. >> good morning. nice to be here. thank you for your time. trying to find this clock. and it's right there. so we are on the clock. and let's get right to it. chairman mccaul, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> it's amazing and i wouldn't be surprised if you felt the same way. it's been 15 years since 9/11. first question, i want to talk about what i think for a lot of
people in the room may be the obvious, which is how this threat has evolved over the last 15 years, al qaeda, now isis. what are you thoughts on that in. >> well the threat has changed. i think people ask me, are we safer. i would say we are not safer but the threat has evolved into a different kind of threat. i think pre-9/11 we were looking at bin laden who had a primitive form of communication, caves and kour yours. the difference is really the internet, the power of the internet. they both sort of subscribe to the seventh century a.d. philosophy. the difference is today we have a new generation of terrorists that are very savvy on the internet and know how to exploit it both to recruit, to train and to radicalize from within. what we see is 40,000 foreign
fighters that have converged from 120 different countries into what's now called the islamic state in iraq and syria. this and this was done predominantly over the internet. something bin laden couldn't do. the al qaeda structure is a top down command and control, big spectacular events. isis is very much bottom up, do whatever you can wherever you can. the directives i see coming out of raqqah is come to syria to join the fight or two, kill where you are. both impact the homeland in terms of foreign fighter travel that could get into the united states. but also people who can radicalize over the internet, which we've seen recently in many of the cities that we've seen attacked in the united states where people have radicalized to carry out these attacks. now having said that, we have created an apparatus -- i think
they did a great piece on this article about the changes we've made both to air travel, both to intelligence sharing and breaking down the silos between law enforcement and intelligence and foreign governments that i think has created -- that's created a safer or at least a better protected environment where it would be very difficult to pull off a 9/11 style hijacking event. what we're look ageing at now ie sads bomber, ied, more smaller scale attacks. >> you said on september 2nd that the administration is playing whac-a-mole with this, that there should be more of a wartime strategy. but you've just said that this is sort of an unconventional enemy in how it is reaching out and recruiting. how do you fight a more conventional war against something like isis. >> it's not a conventional war.
i mean my dad was world war ii air campaign for d-day. we defeated the nazis. this is probably more akin to the long term of what president kennedy called the twilight struggle against ideology, communism. and that took 40 years to defeat. i think we have to have the military strategy. i think it's taken four years for the president to get to that point. we're having limited success now. clapper has said it has not impacted their ability or capability to conduct external operations. but we have to look at it from the mind-set that this is going to be a generational ideological struggle, not just all military but diplomatic and political, war of ideas issue and know that it's going to be a generational struggle. >> but if you were advising a president or in the white house at some point, would you -- what type of military strategy would you recommend?
>> well we've known about isis -- i got briefed on them in a classified setting over four years ago. we didn't do a whole lot about it. we downgraded the threat. i would say that we have to defeat them at their core, the best defense is a good offense. militarily we have to deal with the dynamic of assad. with the russians in there we've completely -- our inability to take action is a decision in and of itself. and i think that has created more complex, more difficult scenario. now with the russians in there. so you have assad in there, isis. we have to make isis number one priority tomorrow and defeat them. the military tell me that can't be done if we have the political will to do it. but we also have to have the political reconciliation within syria which has a civil war going on and the diplomatic resolution.
iraq, there were many mistakes made in iraq under both administrations, bush and obama. but the failure to engage prime minister maliki imploded the situation in al qaeda and iraq and then morphed its ugly head into isis. >> would you endorse what the gop nominee said last night on another network about a closer alliance with putin and russia? >> i think i would urge caution. and i've been in the briefing room with them on national security issues. i think we do have a common enemy. the russians don't like the islamist jihadists and we on i didn't sayly aobviously are at war with them. but you can't trust them. the idea that put season a friend of ours or russia is a friend i think is a falls
narrative. as reagan dealt with russia, peace through strength and through that comes strength and diplomacy is the way you deal with putin and his aggression in russia. but the fact is they're in now and that could have been avoided had we taken action four years ago. we have to accept the fact that the russians are there. what i argued was that the russians were not directing their strikes a the isis but rather the rebel forces that we were backing against assad. i think their number one objective is to reinforce assad's regime and working with iran. that's a dangerous alliance there. again, they're not our friends. >> how would that strategy impact hbes, home grown violent extremists. how does that impact what's happening here at home and people who become inspired by
that ideology >> that's where things are changed. you had operational issues with core al qaeda driven out of central command. now you have this phenomenon over the internet of radical lie occasion of home grown violent extremism. how do you stop that. how do you stop the guy in the basement. new york calls it losers to lions. you have a guy that's vulnerable to the propaganda looking for something greater than themselves and then they aspire to become a part of something greater that is isis. so we see that taking place -- it's odd there, the microphone. >> yeah, it fell out there. >> that is really hard to stop when you have someone in their basement with the glow of a computer radicalizing. we saw that happen in orlando, we saw that happen in san bernardino, chattanooga, ft. hood and boston. most of the cases that happen in the united states are along that
avenue. in every one of the cases we missed -- we've stopped a lot of bad things from happening. it's important to point out. we've arrested over 100 isis followers in the united states. but how do you, how do you stop the one that you missed again. usually in each of these cases after the fact when we talk to family members, friends or individuals in the mosque, for instance the boston bomber, tamerlan tsarnaev was so radicalized that he was kicked out of the mosque and yet we didn't know about that. that's the kind of thing, if we see the warning signs of radicalization early on and provide an off-ramp or spot it to the authorities, then that's how we stop the attacks. >> is this hbe threat, is that something that has improved over time in that there are fewer threats out there for the fbi and mobile law enforcement and joint terrorism task force to deal with, is it decreasing or
is it rising in. >> i just had my briefing yesterday without going into the details of the classified space. the numbers are increasing. >> the number of home grown violent extremists is increasing? >> the number of threats, the number of investigations, the number of plots. >> so it was -- director comey talked about a thousand investigations across the country in all 50 states. so that number is rising multiple thousand or not that high? >> the number is very sensitive but the number is rising and the number of plots -- we put out terror threat snapshot every month out of my committee and each month the numbers are going up. to me that's what's concerning. it's not going down, it's going up in terms of the number of threats, the number of individuals. and it's very difficult to cover and monitor that many people in the united states, much less the internet activity and how do we
stop that. how do we stop isis from radicalizing people in the united states. it's a first amendment question of when does it cross over into not being protected by the first amendment. there's a lot on the internet, how to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mother, right, things that like that disturb us. but the numbers are going up. and one thing we are failing at i think is the counter narrative. the idea -- the war of ideas as i talked about before. now the state department used to do this through voice of america with an american flag. they realized that's not working. so globally we have to use credible voices and the voices of leaders in the communities and religious leaders. we do the same thing in the united states and that's what i've talked to jeh johnson a lot about in terms of how can you reach out to the community with credible voices and religious
leaders in the community to say this is not our religion. this is not a good path for you. this is not a good way of life. only in that long term ideological struggle are we going to win this thing. >> well it's interesting that you say the number of investigations are rising. because at the same time the fbi has reported that the number of travelers, people trying to get from the u.s. to syria, iraq, the battlefield, that number has gone down to a trickle. so what you're suggesting is that these people are staying here, they're staying at home? >> well the number -- so yeah, the foreign fighter threat and the radicalization or the internet threat. but the number of cases have gone up. the number of people, their capability to travel to the region and back has gone down. i think our limited military success now is having an impact on that. again clapper has indicated that hasn't compromised external
operation capability. and don't forget, as we squeeze them in iraq and syria, what we' seeing is i went to northern africa two months ago and was in sinai and egypt where isis is, cairo, tunisia, the largest foreign fighters before capita and libya, got briefed by the libyan ambassador and his team talking about how libya is a failed state and the there are 6,000-plus fighters in libya. they mo. they move to power vacuums and safe havens. that's a breeding ground for terrorism. >> you've talked about sanctuaries that are developing in syria, in iraq, in libya. anywhere else around the globe? >> we're seeing activities in indonesia and that's a
frightening thing, the global reach that they have through the power of the internet. going back to premises of your initial question, that is the core difference now between traditional what we saw al qaeda before 9/11 and the threat we see today. >> going back to something you said a minute or soing a, about the message we are communicating. over the last year, and i don't want to point to any one thing in particular, but during this campaign season has some of the rhetoric been a negative instead of a positive in terms of countering the message? >> yeah. i think if you -- inflammatory rhetoric can insight and can actually advance recruiting efforts. i'm always very careful, i think about what i said. >> is there any concrete evidence that that has happened, that it's spiked over the last year and a half? is there anything that suggests
that is the case? >> i don't have any statistical numbers but i think that's just kind of a sort of a well-known principle that that's going to inflame that community. but again i think we need to -- i do agree with the nominees. we need to take a tougher stance militarily. we're finally doing that now. drone trieks alone are not going to kill an ideology. you have to have the political diplomatic resolution to this and then the counter narrative strategy to defeat the ideology. >> if you're talking about introducing more troops, i think 15 years after 9/11 there are a lot of people in america who don't want to see that. how do you thread that needle, say this is something that is necessary and speaking to some family in the midwest or in the west, anywhere across this country that has seen a loved one go overseas and doesn't want that to happen again, how do you sell that message to that war weary public?
>> i don't think there is a lot of appetite for that. we've tried these rebel forces in syria and for the most part it's been a failure, as long as assad is there he's a magnet. the arab league of nations, it's their back yard, their religion, their responsibility to step up to the plate. they tell me they made that offer to the president but they were turned down. but i think a u.s.-led coalition and a real coalition, the full participation, it has to be led by the united states and also bring in the arab league of nation to provide that fighting for us. >> what about russia? >> we're already there. >> what about russia? >> that's where it gets tricky. we're really trying to deconflict where we're striking. now if the russians want to hit isis, then i'm all for that and that's the only common interest we have in that part of the world right now. >> we have five minutes left. wanted to open it up to
questions in the audience. right here in front. >> you mentioned a lot about how the changing landscape of global terror, they've become more sophisticated across. with hve's do we see the threats becoming more sophisticated or the same old traditional tactics. >> these are the most bizarre microphones. >> and the letters here. i'm going to move up. >> we're talking about some pretty tough stuff. >> just warning me please. i don't think i signed that release. >> you know, the idea that you're going to have a lone wolf pop up is nothing new but it's increased in its numbers. as i mentioned, the numbers have
increased in terms of investigations and it is primarily attributable to the power of the internet. and, you know, the type of person that is vulnerable to that message and messaging. one thing i've encouraged the private sector to do, so twitter will actually take down handles that they see -- they term as jihadists. they have taken down quite a few. of course they'll pop up with another handle in the near future. the other thing is google will provide a counter narrative popup when you type in jihadist terminology and facebook has started to do some of this stuff. so we've got to find a way to stop the internet radicalization process. it is the ideas on the internet that are influencing these, what they call loser to lions. it only takes a handful of people to do a lot of damage, as we've seen. >> thank you.
i'm a reporter with congressional quarterly. this morning there's been a lot of conversation from the podium about reforming the department of homeland security, making it more efficient. but as chairman of one of the more powerful committees in the house, do you think there's any appetite in congress for providing better oversight, we forming the number of committees that oversee dhs, this morning secretary johnson said that he spent way too much time not only, you know, going to committee hearings but also answering questions from, you know, several dozen committees. and so i'm asking if you think that there's any appetite for making it more efficient and stream lined from a congressional point of view. >> yes, i do. to your first point we're going to develop in the next month sort of an idea of what the department should look like in the future, moving forward for the next administration. but to your point with respect to congress, you know, this
question is put together as a political compromise with the idea that it will be fixed down the road and it never was. just met with the speaker yesterday, talking to him about this very issue. i agree with jeh johnson. you know, the one recommendation, the 9/11 commission that was never followed was this point that you're making, and that is a single committee in the house and senate that this new created department would relate to. now they report to over 100 committees and sub committees. it's dysfunction l. it cripples the department. i've had legislation myself that got held up for three years because of jurisdiction and it wasn't until paris happened that i was able to get that bill on the floor. and it took the intervention of the majority leader of the congress to get that action. that is where jurisdiction, i would argue, puts the american people in harm's way and shame on congress for not fixing this problem.
i'm going to provide that we change this in the next congress because it's my responsibility. and i think inaction will cause problems for us. >> so do you agree that there are a lot of hearings? every time we look up there's some law enforcement official on capitol hill testifying. i worked in new york a long time. three years ago when i came here, that process of having these officials on capitol hill all of the time, one of my comments was how do they get any work done. right? are there too many hearings? >> we have an oversight responsibility but i agree with the 9/11 skmigs that that oversight should be driven by the homeland security committee. i'm not saying that because i'm chairman. i'm saying that particularly the department, unlike state department or justice department, you have one you dish rare and foreign affairs committee, again over 100 committees and sub committees
making a department dysfunctional. all you're doing is responding to congress and testifying instead of doing your primary mission and that is protecting the american people. >> can you give us -- we have about 30 seconds left -- a preview of what this report on dhs is going to recommend to the next president, what, streamlining, what, cutting employees? what are some of the highlights? >> we're in the process. i don't want to get ahead of myself. but streamlining process, making it more effective. technology is noz being utilized as effectively. and from an i.t. perspective with the cloud to integrating the 22 agencies in the department -- >> how many departments do you think there should be within dhs? >> what can we consolidate. and we're in the process of doing that. i think we have one more question though. i'd be happy to take it. >> right there, white shirt
here. >> thank you. you mentioned the losers and the lions problem and are you concerned with too often some of these prosecutions of these quote unquote losers are being wrapped up into fbi investigations and prosecuted for crimes that they wouldn't have the capability to commit without being engaged with fbi undercover agents? >> that was pointed out in "the atlantic" piece. these people are already going down the road and the next step is active terrorism. it's not like they tach them at the beginning. they've already taken active steps. the fbi gets information that they've taken active steps to commit an act of terror. by the time we get to them we're simply working with them to get them off of the street to stop that next step from happening. so i would not apologize for the
fbi on this one. i think they saved a lot of american lives by what they've done. one last point we didn't get to touch on, a very important issue, cybersecurity. we which is small-scale terror. the cyber piece could cause far more damage and consequences than anything we have out there. >> isis cyber terror or nation state? >> well, isis is trying to develop that capability. i'm talking more nation state, like russia, china, iran. they are developing great capabilities. our foreign adversaries are developing this where they could shut things down. we've heard the allegations about influencing the elections. you know, i wrote a book called "failures of imagination" where we talk about this particular threat is one that's really -- it's not the future. it's here and now. >> all right. that will be the last word. i told you about the clock. we're out of time. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thanks, jeff.
>> next to the stage, please welcome john carlin, assistant attorney general for national security at the justice department, here with "the atlantic" steve clemons. >> greetings, everybody. john, thank you so much for joining us today. earlier today we had a conversation with a number of players, and i asked one of your former colleagues, matt owen, i guess, to judge if the united states was on a scale of ten and our next biggest adversary were to be judged on a scale of one to ten, where would he put them? and he said he'd give the next biggest threat a seven. and as you're out there prosecuting terror case and sort of like "the wizard of oz," you know what's going on around the world, what russia's doing, what isis is doing, what domestic players in the united states are doing. how would you rate the biggest threat to the united states on a one-to-ten scale? >> i think when you think about what the threat picture is now,
that we are facing more complicated threat picture than we've ever faced before, and that's a consensus across the intelligence and law enforcement community. let me give you one case as an example of how -- >> is he microphone on? i hear me. yeah, your mike is definitely not on. now maybe you're on. sing a few bars. >> it's one way to -- >> there you go. >> -- avoid trouble is just to not turn on the microphone. it's good security. >> operational protocol. so who's the next biggest threat? >> i'd say if you look now at the threat picture we're facing, it's the most complicated threat picture that we've faced, period. and that's a consensus across the intelligence community and law enforcement. and let me give one case as an example of what we're facing today that's quite different than what the threat picture looked like when my division was created, the national security division, which is the first new litigating division at the department of justice in about
50 years. it was created as one of the post-9/11 reforms, and our ten-year anniversary is actually this september 14th, next week. and so, when we were first created, we focused very much on tearing down the wall that had existed between law enforcement and intelligence prior to 9/11 that made it very -- that made it difficult to share information across the federal government. as we move to the next threat, it's a different, more complicated threat that involves the private sector. imagine today you're at a company, and inside your company you see that a hacker has gotten into your system. and the hacker has stolen a relatively small amount of personally identifiable information, names, addresses, that type of thing. and your i.t. guys say this isn't particularly sophisticated. they kicked them out of the system. then you get a threat through e-mail that says, commercial provider. let's say it's gmail. the threat says pay me 500 bucks through bitcoin or i'm going to embarrass you by releasing the
information. the vast majority of companies today pay the 500 bucks or decide not to pay the 500 bucks because they don't take it seriously, and they move on. unsophisticated hacker, what's the big deal? they do not tell anyone in government. they do not tell anyone in law enforcement. but this case, which is a real case, they did do the right thing and they worked with the federal government. and if they hadn't done that, what they would never have found out is that at the other end was not some low-level crook or criminal hacker, but instead, it was a guy named freearizi, a koo extremist who had moved from malaysia, from malaysia had hacked into this company. and what he was doing with the personally identifiable information, he was not only looking to make a buck, he was providing it on the back end to one of the most notorious cyber terrorists in the world at the time, a man named junade hussein, a british-born citizen who had moved to raqqah, syria, where he was at the heart of the islamic state of the levante.
he wasn't cashing in, instead he was combing through that list -- >> so, bitcoin extortion was fueling isis in raqqah? >> worse than that. so, it's not just that the extortion can fuel isis in raqqah, he was going through the list of stolen names, addresses, looking for the names of government employees. and then using u.s.-made technology, blasting it back to the united states in the way that we see now in the current threat, which is the crowdsourcing of terrorism. so using twitter, he then says, kill these names, kill these government employees where they live, and calls upon their adherence to do it inside the united states. that's what the threat looks like now. it moves very fast. data moves very quickly. it's exploiting u.s.-made technology. it crosses five or six different countries. it requires coordination not just federally and with foreign partners, but with the private sector. because they worked with us in this case, we were able to take effective action, and farizi, the defendant who was responsible for that, was
arrested in malaysia pursuant to u.s. charges, and then thanks to the cooperation of the malaysians, brought to the united states where he pled guilty for conspiring to commit that terrorist act. and juad hussein was killed in a military raid in raqqah where he was in the islamic state levante. we can take action, but it's incredibly difficult. >> how many cases do you have like that today? >> if you look at the cases of the crowdsourcing of tourism versus the focus of large terrorist attacks. looking at the end of 2013 when they changed strategy, we've brought over 100 federal cases across the united states, 60 last year alone. that's more international terrorism cases than we've ever brought before. and what we see in the united states is that it's not linked to one geographic or ethnic -- geographic area or ethnic group. we've brought them in over 36 districts across the country. the common two factors, and they're linked, is one, the age
of the defendants. so, over 50% of the defendants are 25 or younger, and most troubling, one-third are 21 or younger. and i think that's very much linked to the second phenomenon, which is this is because of the exploitation of social media. the common factor in almost every one of these cases is the international terrorist exploitation of social media and how that played a role in taking someone from ideas to the step where they want to take violent action. and that used to be the assessment of the intelligence community when i was doing this back at the fbi, was that you couldn't get someone to move from idea to violence without meeting them in the real world, personal connection. that's clearly not the case for the generation who's forming all sorts of friendships entirely online, much more good, but we have a terrorist group who's seeking to exploit that as a vulnerability. >> john, let me ask you a question, because you know, you can raise cases like this, which are so compelling, but we have a discussion, both today and i think in society in general about what the right equilibrium
is between awareness and a kind of proactive step on just getting ourselves around what we need to do by way of surveillance and national security decisions versus the kind of classic liberties that are core to what the country's about. i mean, you're out there litigating and prosecuting, you know, very bad cases. and i'm sort of interested in how -- i mean, i know you're in the government, but we had debates about the patriot act. we were discussing earlier what provisions have given back. what do you need to do your job that you don't have today? and what powers have you been given that you wish you hadn't been given to actually be true to what the country's about? >> well, i think we are true to what the country's about. and one thing that's an amazing experience for the folks in our division and working at the department of justice, and it's drilled into you from the moment you first swear the oath to protect and defend the constitution, is that our job is
to defend the liberties that make us who we are as americans. and so, that is both our life and our liberty. and every new employee that i bring on into the division, we give them two core documents to read. one is the church committee report, which shows what can happen when lawyers don't play the role that they should play in terms of oversight and actual abuses of the authorities that we're granted. and the other's the 9/11 report, which shows what can happen if we don't set up our legal structure in a way that allows for the effective sharing of information so we can protect ourselves against threats to do us harm. and those have to be the twin pillars that guide how we solve each problem that we confront, that we confront day to day. look, bringing the number of prosecutions that we've brought i think is great tactical success, and i have no doubt that lives are saved because we were able to prevent some of these individuals that are being targeted by international
terrorists to commit violence here from killing innocent people across the united states. it's tactical success. strategically, though, one of the reasons we were created as a division is because success is not the successful bringing of a criminal prosecution. success is preventing the threat. and to prevent the threat here, we need to change strategically two core things. one is defeat these terrorist groups where they are overseas. that's going to be less directly our focus in the national security division. the second, though, is how do we keep a terrorist group from exploiting what western and american, in particular, minds created, built, make money off of, and is a great boom in general to society, social media. we should be the best at using this system, and right now they're exploiting it. so how do we change that strategically? and there part of our job i think is just to educate. >> do you tweet? >> no. i don't. >> are you on