tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 8, 2015 12:30am-2:31am EDT
>> i echo the feelings of everyone. there are seats you administer in this occasion. i am grateful for it. also, to police services. our local police services that do such a good job. we hope that we become more localized in times to come. i am very fond of political history. if nothing else we can all reflect and perhaps tell our grandchildren that we were there that night. i would like to thank my home team who have been so energetic and dedicated in putting forward this campaign.
and i would like to cite the previous several general elections that made all of that possible as well. i do spare a thought in this is true of so many constituencies, almost all of them across scotland for those members of staff. it is one thing for the elected representatives to find themselves at the mercy of the electorate. it is the other people who are sadly searching for employment in their 20's and 30's. i wish them well and i thank them for their talent and factionalism over the course of this campaign that will it will stand them and very good stead. i wish than this one reflection that with the great debate, they have a comments about scotland's
future and the swift commission. i will personally be sorry not to be a voice in the commons contributing to that debate. i certainly intend to continue to tribute in whatever way possible. >> that is charles kennedy bowing out of politics, at least for now. a total shock from where we started, but not from where we ended in the middle. if you are getting up and wondering what has happened let's just recap. this is the seat addiction, the conservatives will have 316. the labour party, 239. the liberal democrats 10. a disastrous night for them. you kept 2 -- ukip two.
the question at this point is whether the original exit addiction will hold or whether those seat numbers will creep toward a majority. allison seebeck's's seat, that is a conservative gain. perhaps a bit of a surprising one. but the question is whether the tory numbers will creep up and push them closer to a majority. one of the questions we have been grappling with is given the incredibly hard night they have had it is hard to imagine them wanting to go into another coalition with the tories and it is hard to imagine them wanting any arrangement at all or it -- at all. especially as we have learned that david law has lost his seat.
something that would be surprising indeed. having a look at the change in the share of that you can't vote. it will not necessarily give them a huge majority. a dramatic fall across the country. i guess the critical question, if he doesn't get a majority, how david cameron will put together the numbers. here is ed miliband leaving. a quite dignified speech. doesn't give away very much. we will wait till he gets back to london and has a final look at the numbers to see what he makes of it and whether he will continue as the labour leader or stand down. at this point, given the terrible results, even a poor result for labour, i sense there will be many in politics who
will expected to continue as labour leader. i expect you will see him announcing he will not go on. nick clegg is a much more complex case. let's go to nina in the opinion room. nina: we saw pictures of ed miliband but it was nick clague that twitter went mad for. >> we talked all night tonight and twitter is where people are joining each other in real time. tonight, just a few moments ago nick clegg was 80% of that conversation. at that moment around 5:00 in the morning, more people were tweeting about nick clegg that had tweeted about any other candidate.
nina: it will probably turn into a cocktail bar conversation. let's check in with facebook. linda, talk me through the figures. linda: this has been huge on facebook. it is the first election in the u.k.. we just crunched these numbers here in london and back in california. 78 million interactions across 12 million people. for comparison, the scottish referendum, which was the most talked about topic, 16 million interactions. we have never seen anything like this in the u.k. across any topic. nina: is it because the polls are so tight? linda: the important thing to member about facebook is it is a mirror of the real world. 35 million people are on
facebook and 27 million people on their mobile phones, talking about the issues that matter. i think what it says is that people care about politics in this country and they care about who will lead them. they care about talking to their friends about these issues. nina: how do you think the night will end or begin? >> i just spoke to some key tories they think they are on track to win a majority which none could have predicted at the start of the night. it has been an extraordinary few hours. nina: do you think that is the way it will go? >> labour's total loss in scotland which wipe them out with a political force. there fail -- failure to have an inspiring political message.
so now, the question is will they have a stable majority or simply be the dominant party and form an alliance. there is no question that the labour party has faced a disastrous consequence. nina: ed balls, what is your hunch? >> he might be holding on. the fact we are even discussing that shows how disastrous -- disastrous it has been. and ed balls, more than anyone else, has not exactly set on fire the country with the program he brought. if he does lose i am afraid it is partly his contribution. nina: ed miliband, very briefly if he goes later on in the morning, what is your protection for who comes next? >> look, i think it goes beyond
personality for labour. it is their total failure to inspire people. their parents, grandparents in the case of scotland and they have abandoned a party which they no longer feel provides solutions to their everyday problems. it is not just personalities, it is a much more profound question. nina: i have never seen you so downbeat. >> this is a difficult time. but lots of people out there will be feeling despair. the great struggles on housing and the living wage, they will keep going. >> we have just been debating and trying to work out what seats the liberal democrats still hold.
it is not as easy as it still should be. let's go to whitney, we are just waiting for the prime minister's account. reasonably he is there. good night for him. whichever way you look at it. and the critical thing at this point is where it is going to end. he still does not have a majority. we are not predicting that he will have a majority. the general mood is working away on the figures. constantly reviewing exactly which way this morning is going. it does look as if the numbers may creep up toward the majority which is perhaps why he has such a big smile. very few people in politics saw this coming. not a single opinion poll. a few pundits thought there
would be a swing back to the conservatives at the last minute. let's hear what is happening. >> turnouts at the election were 73.57%. total number of rejected ballot papers was 188 and the votes cast for each candidate were as follows. roland wessex regionalists, 110. cameron, conservative party 35,201. [cheers and applause] and right duncan -- enright duncan shot thomas. labour party.
child abuse 37. simon, you can't -- ukip. 5352. chris thompson. 94. i hereby declare that david william donald cameron is duly elected as member of parliament for the whitney constituency. >> david cameron back in their. it has to be said he doesn't look exactly ecstatic, perhaps that is a deliberate strategy. cameron: can i give thanks to ukip and all those who worked hard around the country this election night.
all of those who have worked so hard for me here in west oxfordshire. and campaigners right across the country. i want to thank the voters who have elected me again. it is a huge honor to serve you in parliament. the stand up for this beautiful part of our country. i will do everything i can to go on working hard for you. today is the 70th anniversary of the victory in europe. i think we should start by remembering those who gave such a and service to save our country and to save our democracy which we have seen in action today. some people say and i have often said there is only one opinion poll that counts. i'm not sure that has ever been truer than tonight. this is clearly a very strong
night for the conservative party. i think we had a positive response to a positive campaign about creating jobs and a record over the last five years but above all, a planned for the next five years. wanting to reward work in our country that those who put in and do their best should find the system on their side. on the steps of downing street those who can should and those who cannot, we always help. we published a manifesto that was squarely for working people. that is what we put in our manifesto and that is what i hope to implement in government. it is too early to say what sort of result there will be at the end of this election campaign. three -- but to me, it was
always about the difficult decisions. the foundation for a stronger economy and the chance to build on that foundation and to say to people that if you want a job or apprenticeship if you want a home of your own or security and dignity, we are on your side. also, we should never in politics duck the big issues whether dealing with our deficit or holding that referendum which we were right to hold on the future of scotland or indeed in the future. that we must hold to decide britain's future in europe. my aim remains simple. to govern on the basis of governing for everyone. i want to make sure that our economic recovery reaches every part of our country. as the economy grows that the poorest can benefit from that
recovery and have the chance of work and a stronger future. i want to make sure there are good schools the matter where they live or their background and above all, i want to bring our country together. our united kingdom together, not least, by implementing the devolution we were rightly promised and other parties agreed both for wales and scotland. in short, i want my party and i hope the government i would like to lead to reclaim a mental that we should never have lost. the mental of one nation and one united kingdom. that is how i will govern if i am fortunate enough to form a government in the coming days. i think the voters for putting your trust in me again and i will make sure that i do not let you down. >> david cameron striking a very
interesting tone talking about one united kingdom, a notable speech in that regard given that scotland has almost entirely been one by the s&p tonight. -- snp tonight. that is a difficult strategy but certainly no hint of triumph. we have some news of our own, we are updating our production. can i come to you and ask what you predict will be the seat numbers? >> we have had about two thirds of the results come through. the conservatives are doing better against labour than we thought. much better against liberal democrats than we thought. it seems to me now as if the conservatives are in with a very good chance of getting an overall majority of say 327
seats. >> so it is the bolton west and the seats coming through for the tories driving this. you are worried while ago that you hadn't heard from brighton. >> that is still one of the things that could upset this. but stevie eight got a huge majority there. conservatives are clearly doing better. they seem at the moment to the polling above where they were polling in 2010, as our labour. but the fallout has benefited the conservatory and in scotland labour have lost all of these seats. >> let's bring up the prediction and shoe over it. it does get tories over the line but we heard o'donnell and various others talking about how incredibly uncomfortable a small majority is.
it has to be said that if he wanted to wind david cameron up you would say to him, your worst nightmare is a tory majority of five. we weren't entirely joking because we all know there are a lot of back benches who do not like david cameron a lot and he has been somewhat able to ignore them because the coalition has given him an enormous majority. in one sense he has to go to work and govern with a much smaller majority. it is possible that he might do a deal with the democratic union. >> i suspect he will have a little conversation with his friend sir john major. both the pluses and the minuses. >> i know what john major is going to say, to be fair.
jane: we have a prime minister who may be able to govern with a slim majority. the u.k. electoral map has changed. we have been talking a lot the movement of voters away from the two major parties. just because we were updating a prediction does not mean that the broad picture has not changed. the conservative party look like they are going to edge ahead. and labour has hardly on down. that sense of those two parties being and neck hasn't changed. the greens are coming second coming above the labour democrats and over 60 seats and you cap has come second in 70 seats. that brought fragmentation is still there by a possible majority. >> david cameron just getting
into the car looking a lot happier than when he went on stage. i assume his coming to london and as the morning goes on there is not much doubt that it will be a knowledge or clear that he will be the next prime minister. it has been a dramatic night and all kinds of ways. let's go to julie. julie: it is just gone 10 minutes to 6:00 in the morning. it looks that the conservatives will have a majority by one seat. with around two thirds of the seats declared this is the state of the nation. you may be just waking up. this is how it stands. 100 95 seats so far declared 64 live dams -- lib dems, snp 54. it has been a disastrous night
for the lib desmms. in the last hour, david law lost his seat and simon hughes was ousted by labour. their leader, nick flake kept his seat but admitted -- nick clegg kept his seat but admitted it has been a bad night for the party. >> it is painfully clear that this has been a cruel and punishing night for the liberal democrats. the election has profound implications for the country and profound implications for liberal democrats. julie: their leaders include ed davey, he seemed to blame
negative campaigning by the tories. >> i found all sorts of people who wanted to vote for me but did not want to vote for my party. or felt with the campaign being waged by the conservatives -- even though the snp were standing here and labour were not going to win, that message unfortunately got through. julie: the other big story of the night is the success of the snp in london. they had just six after the last election and now have more than 50. labour and the south increased vote share. he says scottish labour will fight back. >> we have to go back to the values and be on the side of scottish people and listen to what their hopes, aspirations and dreams are.
the scottish national party has to be strong. scottish people need us. the fight starts now. >> a brutal business politics. all the signs are it has been very brutal for danny alexander. >> ladies and gentlemen, may i have your attention please? returning officer, declare the total number of votes given to each candidate were as follows. danny alexander, scottish liberal democrat, 18,029. [applause] donald macleod scottish christian party. 422. u.k. independence party 1236.
drew henry, scottish national party, 28,000, 813 -- 28,813. [applause] edward brian, stanford mountain, scottish conservative and unionist 3410. marie o'reilly -- tom: snp gain. not surprising. the secretary of the treasury sitting right next to nick clegg and george osborne. david cameron, big decisions made on tax and spending. yet, he thought a pretty good
fight. i was going to say ran it close, but that is not true. look at the change in the share of the vote. it is a very brutal business. in the coalition, sitting next to the tory ministers taking all the same decisions, the tories are in potentially with the majority and the liberal democrats are out more or less on that. jane: danny alexander sums up the night for me. snp doing stunningly well in scotland and the liberal democrats collapse. danny alexander's rise to the top and walking out of government tonight. host:tom: colin you have predicted the end of the liberal democrat
majority. colin: we came at 10:00. because we would do very well, most people went for the next two or three hours but if anything they strengthened as the night went on and i expect that to continue in the morning. tom: shine tories? -- shy tories? colin: there are all sorts of reasons. shy tories. failure to be convinced that ed miliband would be a strong prime minister. the fear in england of the snp in scotland and all kinds of things for the weeks and months ahead. >> also true that the conservatives have not made large inroads. some of them could've just come
from you can't voters. i think what we will find out is that it is a distribution of those votes. that is what has really mattered and it is the collapse of the lib dems and the search of the snp in scotland. tom: we will have plenty of time to turn it over as david cameron may be back on his way to downing street. it has been an extraordinary night. an snp landslide and the liberal democrats have suffered huge losses. some of the best-known names lost their seats and more are at risk. at this point, the conservatives are on course to be the largest party. how the story unfolds from here will undoubtedly consume us all four hours to come. the coverage will continue on good morning britain and i will be joining them as soon as i can get there.
back here at 9:25 with more results and analysis. susanna ella over to you. >> that concludes itv's election night program. as of right now, prime minister david cameron's conservative party gained seats but failed to reach the 326 needed for an outright majority. the scottish national party was a big winner, picking up almost all of the seats but even the liberal democrat leader nick clegg held onto his seat the party could see major loss that could see most of the members out of office. >> coming up on c-span, the senate homeland security
committee. and the oral argument against aclu charging the constitutionality against the nsa's phone tapping program. and loretta lynch testifying at her first taking office. on the next washington journal dr. thomas insel discusses advances in research and treatment. then peter schweitzer on how the foreign businesses made bill and hillary clinton rich. looking at state governments and pension systems with tracy gordon. live every morning at 7 a.m.
eastern, your comments on facebook and twitter. may 8 marks the 70th anniversary of world war ii in europe. on friday, dignitaries will take part in a commemorative ceremony. speakers include madeleine albright, white house national security adviser susan rice, and world war ii historians. you can watch the flyover of dozens of world war ii aircraft, right here on c-span. >> sunday night, on c-span's q&a, kate andersen brower on the white house. >> who are the thickkllands?
>> nine members of the family have work at the white house. he is a part-time butler, he might be there right now. he works every week. and nine members of his family have worked there, his uncles are maitre d's. which is the head butler. he got there he was 17 years old in 1959, during the eisenhower and ministration. he is still working there. it describes how he used to work in the kitchen, how people would get him ice cream to eat. it is incredible that he remembers what the eisenhowers were like. that is what i wanted to do, patronage of these people. >> sunday night at the eastern and pacific.
8:00 hour. >> paying tribute to the first ladies and life in the white house. we will hear from margaret hoover, who remembers her grandmother lou the first woman to invite an african-american to tea. >> we don't know that she was the first first lady to invite an african-american to tea but cause a tremendous scandal. she was the wife of congressman depriest who have been elected from chicago. it was a tradition that first ladies would invite all the congressman in for tea. in the context of their day, on this issue, they knew it would be a scandal. it could be a scandal, this
would be a good move for the country. to make her feel better, they invited her husband to the white house. this was the first time a african american was invited to the white house publicly. teddy roosevelt had secret meetings. >> joint c-span this mother's day, looking at the children and grandchildren of america's first families. that is sunday at noon eastern here on c-span. on thursday, the senate homeland security committee examined terrorist recruiting methods, including social media. as well as suggestions for counseling those suggestions. this hearing is just over two
it is really the current evolution of terrorist recruitment. we have got a panel of i think excellent witnesses to lay out the reality, which is what we're always trying to do in this committee, which is if you solve a problem, you have to first recognize and acknowledge that reality. so, i think we have got a good panel. i would ask consent to enter my written opening statement to the record. it is always granted because our ranking member is such a kind gentleman. what i would like to do is talk a little bit about an isis message that warns of 71 trained soldiers in 15 u.s. states, 23 signed up for missions. i'm going to read some excerpts here because, let me say, we have no knowledge whether this is true or not. i think some of our witnesses will probably say it is bluster. let's hope so. but this is a perfect example of what isis is trying to do, and how they're trying to use social media. their post, and of course, this is claiming credit for the terrorist attacks in texas excerpts read, the attack by islamic state in america is only the beginning of our efforts to
establish a province in the heart of our enemy. we knew that the target was protected. our intention was to show how easy we give our lives for the sake of allah. out of the 71 training soldiers, 23 signed up for missions, like sunday. we are increasing in number. of the 15 states, five we will name -- virginia, maryland illinois, california, michigan. the disbelievers who shot our brothers think you killed someone untrained. no they gave their bodies in , plain view because we were watching. they say the next six months will be interesting. let's hope not. as i'm being briefed for this hearing, by the way, the reason we always call these hearings is i've got questions. i need to understand what these problems are. but so, i'm always learning a lot, and i'll learn a lot more through the testimony. but i like timelines. and so, i had my staff prepare just for 2015 the timeline of potential terrorist plots that
have been foiled, the arrests we have been made by individuals inspired by isis and other islamic terrorists. and you go through the list. we had christopher lee from cincinnati, ohio planning to come to the u.s. capitol to bomb. and then two semi-automatic weapons opened fire on people fleeing the capitol. that was on january 14. february 25, three brooklyn men were arrested. march 17, former u.s. air for ce veteran was arrested after a failed attempt to cross the border into syria. march 25, an army national guard specialist was arrested after planning to travel to syria. april 2, two women were arrested in queens, new york. april 3, a philadelphia woman was arrested before she could travel to syria. april 8, this one hits closer to home. this is a gentleman from -- a man from madison. joshua ray van was arrested in chicago o'hare airport, after his flight landed from turkey. april 10, john t. booker's
arrested in topeka after it was discovered he was preparing a car bomb for use against nearby ft. riley army post. april 16, another indictment. april 19, six men arrested on terrorism charges. april 3, the texas terrorist attempt. we have got a chart that i think is also somewhat surprising. again, the point of that timeline is these arrests, the revelations of these things are growing. and they're increasing in frequency. another i thought relatively shocking as i was being briefed by my staff, i was saying, is this true? the number of terrorist attacks in 2012 around the world was 6,771? and in 2013, 9,700? and one of my staff members went, wow. which is exactly my reaction. 2012, 11 individuals killed in -- 11,000 individuals killed in
terrorist attacks. it grew by 61% to almost 18,000 in 2013. in this chart, we have broken that out between terrorist attacks in afghanistan, syria, iraq, and pakistan. i consider those war zones. that still leaves almost 3,000 terrorist attacks in 2012 outside of those war zones. almost 4,000 in 2013, an increase of 33.8%. so the point of this hearing is to show that the danger is real. in many respects, the threat is growing. we'll have testimony here. there have been some setbacks for isis. they're maybe not as strong as they purport to be. but they're using social media to show that they're actually stronger than they are to inspire the kind of action. and they don't need a whole lot of territory. they don't need too many computers. they don't need too many people spewing that hate and providing that kind of inspiration. so, this is a real threat. i really want to thank and welcome the witnesses for your thoughtful testimony in coming
here. and with that, i'll turn it over to the ranking member for his opening comments. tom carper: thank you, mr. chairman. to each of you, welcome. this is an excellent panel, and we look forward to hearing from you, having a chance to ask questions of you this morning. as this committee discussed in a number of hearings over the years, the threats that our country faces -- and the chairman just has given us a quick look of what is going on this year. but the nature of the threat evolved significantly since 9/11, when i was a new member of the committee. after 9/11, the most acute terrorist threats came from osama bin laden's al qaeda which orchestrated, as we know large, complex attacks from remote caves in afghanistan. today, bin laden is dead. the core of al qaeda, as we knew it, had been largely dismantled. unfortunately, al qaeda affiliates in yemen and africa and in syria have filled the void. at the same time, new terror
groups like isis presented in immediately a different kind of threat to the u.s. and others, both here and abroad. while the threat of major aviation attacks still remains a top concern for american counterterrorism officials, the tactics employed by groups who are targeted have broadened and are not as focused on this particular kind of attack method. groups like isis, like al shabab and al qaeda in the arabian peninsula used social media and online propaganda to spread their call to extremists here in america and around the world to carry out their own attacks against us -- perfected the ability to use social media to lure western recruits to syria for training. these new tactics mean we can no longer rely solely on our ability to use military force to eliminate a terrorist threat. we must, in partnership with our allies abroad, start examining more closely the root causes of
why westerners join the ranks and act in the name of isis or al qaeda. we must continue to evolve our own counterterrorism tactics to address these root causes. and today, we'll begin to examine the narratives put forward by the terrorist groups over social media, and also how those narratives are being used to influence vulnerable individuals here and in other western countries. and we will look for common sense solutions that our government, along with other governments, can employ to counter these groups. narratives to eliminate this terrorist toolbox. with that, i look forward to a good conversation. thank you, again, for joining us. >> thank you, senator carper. it is the tradition of this committee to swear in witnesses. so, if you all stand, raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. please be seated. our first witness is peter bergen. mr. bergen is the director of the national security studies program at the new american foundation, cnn's national security analyst and the author of "manhunt: the 10-year search for bin laden." peter l. bergen: thank you senator johnson. thank you, senator carper. thank you, other members of the committee and the excellent staff that put this hearing together. my task today is to try to outline the threat from americans inspired by the syrian conflict, which is the newest wave and cohort of domestic jihadism in the united states. and we at the new america foundation, where i work, have identified 62 individuals from news reports or public records who have tried to join isis, have joined isis, or for the al qaeda affiliate or supported others doing so. here are the big takeaways. they come from across the united states. we found cases in 19 states.
as you know, fbi director james coomy said there are ongoing investigations. some of these are not public yet. they don't fit any ethnic profile. there are whites pakistani-americans, bosnian-americans. and this, of course, produces problems for law enforcement, in the sense that unlike in the case of al shabab, which attracted overwhelmingly somali americans, mostly from minnesota. senator johnson went to university, i believe, that was a very focused group of who were going. this is across the united states. we also found an unprecedented number of american females. i mean typically, these are a , group of highly misogynistic individuals, whose goal in life is to preclude women from having any role outside of the home. and yet we found some females a number of them are teenagers and this is really a new -- a very new phenomenon. we also found that this is a relatively young group. the average age is 25, but
teenage girls as young as 15. the only profile that these -- this group really shows, 53 of the 62 individuals were very active on social media. downloading and showing jihadist propaganda, and in some cases, as simpson was doing directly communicating with members of isis in syria. and, you know, this is a new development in the way jihadist terrorists are recruiting in the united states. the kind of conventional view, or perhaps the cartoonish view is an al qaeda recruiter comes here and recruits somebody and creates a cell. in fact, that's very rare. that did happen in lackawanna. you may remember the lackawanna six case, where there was an al qaeda recruiter who recruited six yemeni americans from buffalo to new york to go to a training camp in afghanistan. we also saw that also in minnesota, in 2007, when veterans of the somali war went to minneapolis to recruit americans physically and bring them to somalia. but that is -- we're no longer seeing that model at all.
in fact of the 62 individuals, , we found none of them were physically recruited by a militant operative, cleric returning foreign fighter, or radicalized while in prison. instead they self-recruited , online, or were sometimes in touch by twitter with members of isis in syria. why would americans abandon what is after all a usually very comfortable life? a lot of these come from, you know, come from comfortable backgrounds and are intelligent individuals. why would they be attracted to isis? and i think there are sort of, perhaps, three reasons. first of all, of course, a terrible nature of assad's brutal war against his own people is an attraction. secondly, the claim that isis created the caliphate, which i think is a powerful attraction for idealistic fundamentalist muslims. thirdly, isis is presenting itself as the vanguard of the muslim army that is signaling the end of times. and that it is basically the vanguard of a group that will
usher in, you know, the perfect, true islam when the savior of islam returns. now, you know, i was just this morning looking up the -- saw a very large number of americans something like 4 in 10, believe that we are in the end times. so, this is not such an uncommon view that we're in the end times. so, isis is presenting itself as ushering in the end times, which is another powerful kind of attraction. it also presents itself as a real state with social services, and that claim is not completely false. although it certainly is probably less true than they present it. and for some of the western recruits, this is an heroic and glamorous thing. we have seen people tweet on isis. we have seen isis fighters say it is like playing the "call of duty," but in 3-d. there is a heroic aspect of this. finally what is the true level , of threat? i would say the true level of threat in the west is not as
much as something like 80% of americans believe, that isis is a serious or fairly serious threat to the united states. well, it may be a threat. it is clearly a big threat to american interests in the middle east, potentially. but so far, only one syrian foreign fighter carried out a successful attack in the west, which was the frenchman who attacked the jewish museum in brussels on may 24, 2014 killing four people. of course that doesn't mean the , threat doesn't exist. it is worrisome, but not existential. and related to that point, of the 19 individuals we found who went to syria, or eight of them were killed over there. so, syria was proving as much of a graveyard as a launchpad for attacks. it is a very dangerous war, as you know. in fact, about half of the men who have gone over there have been killed in a larger sample of 600 foreign fighters that we examined, and 5% of the females. even for the women, it is very dangerous.
so, if the returning foreign fighters are not the issue, what is the issue? and the issue is really what we saw on sunday, which is people inspired by isis taking up -- on obviously easy to take up weapons in this country and doing something with them. likely sunday's attack didn't , mature in the way the attackers wanted to. but i think that is a harbinger of what we'll see in the future. so, the real issue is not syrian foreign fighters coming back to the united states. law enforcement has done a good job of tracking these folks. they come back. there is only one case where law enforcement didn't recognize that a particular person had gone to syria, which is the floridian. but the returning problem is really, i think much less of an issue than the home-grown isis-inspired that we saw on sunday. and there is very little as a practical matter we can prevent lone wolfs, who are truly lone wolves, from doing these kinds after tacks. the good news is there is a natural ceiling to what a lone wolf can do.
for instance in boston, the , tsarnaev brothers were lone wolves. they killed four people. it was a tragedy, but it wasn't a national catastrophe, like 9/11 was. we have to frame the threat effectively, which is it is worrisome, but not existential and nothing on the scale of 9/11. ron johnson: our next witness is j.m. berger. mr. berger is the non-resident fellow in the project on u.s. relations with the islamic world of the brookings institute and the author of "jihad joe americans who go to war in the name of islam and isis, the state of terror." mr. berger. j. m. berger: thank you for having me. i think that i would like to start by talking about the lone wolf threat, because that's on everyone's mind after the events of this weekend. isis is in many ways appears to be the first jihadist group to kind of crack the lone wolf
formula. the idea of leaderless resistance and attack goes back to the 1980s, the white supremacist movement. and people had been trying to make it work ever since. and the problem with lone wolves is that it is too easy to stay at home, generally. people are not going to get adequately motivated to carry out an attack without having social reinforcement. and that defeats the purpose of being a lone wolf, to escape detection by not talking to anyone. isis has mixed up this formula and they -- there are a couple of reasons for this. the first thing that they have done is they have become a populist movement. they have a very low threshold for entry. and they're pretty undiscriminating about who they include in their group, relative to al qaeda. it was very difficult to join al qaeda. al qaeda was a vanguard and an elitist movement. so, that affords them access to more people. secondly, their propaganda is extremely violent.
and it is also very focused on presenting the group as dynamic, and action-oriented. relative, again, you look at comparison to al qaeda. al qaeda's propaganda, in recent years, especially tends more towards discourse. we're trying to convince people we have the right idea, that we reasonable people would agree with us, that this is the correct thing to do. and isis doesn't care about that so much. they're willing to just get people agitated and cut them loose. the third element of change is that isis has changed sort of fundamental underlying assumption that we see in the jihadist argument. al qaeda preceded from an assumption of weakness. its argument was of weakness. its argument was based on the proposition that muslims are weak and that they are unable to stand up to apostate regimes in the region.
as well as the reason they , couldn't stand up to them is because the west was behind them. the idea behind al qaeda and using terrorism as a tactic was that this is the tool of the weak. we have to degrade popular support in the united states for apostate regimes in the middle east. and the united states will withdraw its support, and then we'll be able to fight these guys directly. isis has skipped ahead to fighting these guys directly. their propaganda empathizes this. --their propaganda emphasizes this. they're taking the fight to the local regimes. their message is they're winners, and you should join us because we're strong. all of this is part of a very
complex set of problems. we're in a period of very broad social change. people have been talking about social media for a number of years, and often in very effusive terms about how it's changing the world. this is the first manifestation of how that really is going to work. what we're seeing is social media allows people to self-select the beliefs and information that they receive. if you have an interest in jihadism, you can find other people interested in that very easily, very quickly. and you can establish relationships with them. this is very different from, say, the 1950s. if you are a radical jihadist in the 1950s living in peoria, you might go your whole life before you meet somebody who shares your views. today, it takes 10 minutes to find someone who has your views. today, it provides a social context. it's reinforcement, personal validation of your beliefs. if you're acting out as a lone wolf, they're offering a degree of fame you wouldn't be able to achieve as a mass shooter, for instance.
and it's very reciprocal. there's a sense of remote intimacy on social media that can be hard to appreciate, if you don't use it a lot. when you talk to people on a social media platform and talk to them every day, you feel like you know them. you feel like they're somebody who is in your life. and so, somebody tweeting from syria who is a member of isis can develop a very emotionally powerful relationship with somebody who is sitting in the united states. and that is part of the reason that we have seen people are more willing to mobilize in the name of isis than they were in the name of al qaeda. isis' radicalization and recruitment practices take place over a spectrum. there's no one thing that they do to try and recruit westerners or try and recruit locally. they attack this from every channel in every direction using a variety of styles and using a very large number of people, because isis is a large organization.
it can afford to have 2,000 people who tweet 150 times every day. it can afford to have a ratio of two or three recruiters to every one potential recruit who may carry out a lone wolf attack. if there's an area in which we are trailing isis in this struggle, i think it's probably a question of resources. of course, the problem that we face with that is that nobody can really agree how to use those resources. our efforts at encountering violent extremists have a lot of problems that are inherent to them. and we also have a problem from a law enforcement perspective. if you're monitoring 60 or 100 people, it takes 500 people to do that, to monitor those people even on a partial basis, let alone 24 hours a day. if these guys jump in a car and drive to texas, there's not a lot you can do. i'll save most of the rest of my thoughts for the q and a.
i did want to talk about the prospect of an isis organizational terrorist attack. isis has money and manpower to spare. we have not seen that they have an intent to carry out a 9/11-style attack. there's reason to think they might not be as skilled or competent in such an attempt as al qaeda was because of the training cycles they use. i think we should not assume that that's something that couldn't happen, though, that they couldn't make an attempt. and i think we're much better prepared to prevent something like that today. i don't think isis is an existential threat, but i do think we need to have realistic expectations -- expectations of what they might do, so that when something happens, we don't overreact in fear. thank you. ron johnson: thank you, mr. berger. our next witness is mubin shaikh, an expert on radicalization and terrorism and encountering violent extremism. he's consulted on the topic of isis with the u.s. special
operations command, central command, nato, interpol, and other agencies. first of all, mr. shaikh, i certainly appreciate and thank you for having a change of heart after 9/11. and for all the help and support you've given this government in terms of trying to counteract this and also trying to help other young people who might be inspired. look forward to your testimony. mubin shaikh: in the greeting of jesus christ, peace be unto you. to the esteemed members of the senate committee, on september 11, 2001, i was driving to work when i first heard a plane struck the world trade center. immediately, i said god is great. i asked myself what if the , office building i was working in was similarly struck by a plane? i would have perished along with
everyone else, just as those innocent people perished on that day. for me, september 11, 2001 was for all intents and purposes the beginning of the end of the commitment to my extremist mindset. let me explained. i was born and raised in toronto, canada to indian immigrants. i grew up attending a very conservative brand of koran school, boys separate from girls, sitting at wooden benches, rocking back and forth reciting the koran in arabic but not understanding a word of what was read. my daily life, attending public school, the complete opposite of the madrassa. here, i could talk to girls and have a normal, functional relationship with them. when i left the koran school at age 12 and moved into middle school and high school, i wasn't discriminated against, bullied picked on, or anything of the like. i was actually one of the cool kids. but when i was 17, i had a house party which my hyper-conservative uncle walked
in on. my uncle and other family members were incensed that i would have brought non-muslim friends to my home and spent the next few days berating me. due to the guilt trip, hence the born-again type seeking to right the wrongs of their past. i would then travel to india and pakistan, and in the latter, ended up in a place. the center of the group, as i walked around the area, i chanced upon 10 heavily armed men. dressed in black turbans and sandals. one of them said to me, if you truly wish to bring about political change, it can only be done by using this. and he held aloft his ak-47. i was completely enamored by them then, a consistent theme in jihadist literature. in the years following, i absorbed myself in claiming that jihad was the only way to change things.
and when osama bin laden gave his thoughts, i was on board. then, 9/11 happened. wait a second. i get attacking combatants, but this? office buildings in which regular people work? i realized i needed to study the religion of islam properly. i sold my belongings and moved to syria in early 2002, when there was still some semblance of normality. i attended the class of a scholar who challenged me on my views on jihad, and subsequently spent a year and a half with him and studied the veries of the koran that the jihadists use to justify hate and destruction. i came to relinquish my views completely and returned to canada for a new-found appreciation for rights of muslims in the west. that year, individuals had been arrested in the u.k. with the london fertilizer bomb plot. one of those individuals was none other than my classmate at the madrassa. i thought this to be a mistake. i called to give a character reference to the family.
it was too late for him. as for me, i was recruited by the service as an undercover operative because i felt this was my religious duty. i can say that i conducted several infiltration operations, both online and on the ground, involving religious extremists. one of those cases went on to become a criminal investigation . i went to the mounted police enforcement team in what came to be known as the toronto 18 terrorism prosecution. i gave witness testimony in five hearings over four years at the superior court, where 11 individuals were eventually convicted. i've since worked with various mechanisms of the u.s. government. as you noted the national , counter-terrorism center, the security office of civil rights and liberty, three main outfits engaged in the study and practice of encountering violent extremism programming. in addition, i spent the last few years on twitter directly observing recruitment and propaganda by isis types online.
and i reference appendix a here, that the members should have. directly i've engaged with many , of them, male and female appendix b. as well as some of their victims that they have tried to recruit. my approach is to show how wrong they are and to criticize from the sources they misquote and mutilate. leslie,thusly, the correct term to describe these attacks in islamic costumes. i personally intervened in cases of an american girl these predators were trying to lure away by engaging her online, as someone who can show the real interpretation of islam. by this, i have a good understanding of what is happening in terms of recruitment. in terms of counter-messaging as well. as the military side of psychological operations which i conveyed at a recent conference held in new york, in which the commanding general himself was
present. finally, there remains a massive gap in all the areas i've mentioned. and that is a sustainable, meaningful approach needs to be created. i submit to you, it is not as hard as some may suggest. that we already have the talent, but just need the direction and guidance in order to get it going. just three quick points, some questions on terrorist recruitment on prisons. number one, terrorist recruitment in prisons is happening all over the world not just in the u.s. as for the u.s., the numbers are actually very low. in the western context, much of this recruiting remains unseen to the untrained ey. e. and also due to its covert nature and usually does not manifest openly in the prison institution, but afterwards when the individual has left the facility. number three, greater vetting of the types of imams that offer counseling is needed to ensure that pro-social messaging is delivered in the context of prison rehabilitation programs. by framing this under pro-social messaging, the state avoids having to declare which version of islam they approve of, since
we all approve of anything that promotes healthy, productive and rehabilitative components of counseling. i thank the members here with me and hope this is a start in the discussion in dealing with the challenges before us. thank you, and god bless. >> our next witness is daveed gartenstein-ross. am i pronouncing that correct? daveed gartenstein-ross: that's correct. >> that's very unusual, by the way. mr. gartenstein-ross is a senior fellow with the foundation of defense and democracies, adjunct assistant professor in georgetown university security's program, lecturer at catholic university of america, and author of the report "home grown terrorists in the u.s. and u.k." daveed gartenstein-ross: it's an honor to appear before you today. what i'm going to focus on in this testimony is the question of what has the u.s. done. ?
what can the u.s. role be in countering this violent messaging? with respect to isis, which i think right now is rightly at the center of our concerns we've seen the most dramatic brand rise of any jihadist organization. in large part because of the reasons that berger lays out. they are excellent messaging, go far beyond what al qaeda and others have done and take advantage of web 2.0 activity of the internet, which makes somebody who is alone a part of a group. they also are vulnerable, though it's not inevitable to the most dramatic brand reversal of any jihadist organization we've seen. you might have noticed that at times isis' messaging and the u.s. countermeasuring has been exactly the same. often the u.s. shows the islamic state brutality, people they're killing, people they've tortured. and they proudly proclaim the same thing. the reason is they have a winner's messaging. for them, it's not bad to show they're brutal because it shows
they're stronger in other groups, can impose their will. very recently, as the islamic state has increasing pressure on it, particularly being concerned about the pressure put on mosul, a statement by aboul suleman was very insightful. it asked people not to show the brutality of the islamic state enemies, not to show, for example, bombing to kill civilians, not to show the impact of a siege upon the cities. his argument is the islamic state in its messaging will show the brutality of its foes, but that's always connected to punishment. in other words, they want to show they can deal with their problems. that's what a winner's messaging is. they emphasize their strength, don't want to emphasize weakness. the reason we know they are vulnerable to a brand reversal is because we've seen that before with the exact same organization. back in 2005 to 2006, you had a
very similar dynamic, not identical, but very similar with al qaeda in iraq, which is isis's predecessor. they were known for brutality. it shocked people with its videos, where they beheaded their victims and thought it was a very romantic organization. people wondered if the amir of al qaeda had surpassed osama bin laden as the leading figure in the jihadist world. we remember in the 2007 through 2009 period they overplayed their hand, particularly in the anbar province, where right now, they're in the process of inflicting similar, although greater brutality on the people. you saw a grass-roots activity and you saw it combined with two other factors, a surge of u.s. stroops in iraq and also u.s. counter-insurgency tactics. this ended up defeating al qaeda in iraq at the time. their brand went from being sky high to suddenly the entire al qaeda organization wondering
what could they do to undo the damage that had been done by their losses in iraq. this was brand reversal. what had once been a symbol of strength, their brutality, was reversed into a symbol of having over-played their hands and turning the population against them. now with respect to isis, it's , experienced a trajectory of losses. it's been in a somewhat declining phase since october of last year. it's lost territory rather than gaining it. as a result, they started to emphasize other ways in which they're strong. one particular way has been their expansion into africa, which clearly is at the center of their current strategy. at times, they've exaggerated their games and gotten the media to report on this. i think the best example is their claim to control the city in northern libya. this is not true, it has never been true, but they've gotten the media to report it through multiple outlets including bbc and cnn.
the reason why is they were able to show a photo of an islamic state flag on a government building. and they showed a video of a parade with islamic state supporters. this is a city controlled by multiple factions. the fact that they could have a show of force is not determinative. it doesn't mean they control the city. but it was reported. you have the cycle in which the islamic state pushes out this message. the message goes to the media and it supporters. rather than the cognitive dissonance instead, both are reporting on the exaggeration. they are able to do this where social media penetration is low. facts put forward are the only relevant ones. how can the united states reversed this message?
one thing we have to fundamentally do, you are all in government. you understand that our bureaucratic processes would be hard-pressed to compete at the gutenberg bible. we need to democratize the process of competing with them. dealing with the islamic state as i've outlined, it has a vulnerability that other groups do not. in this case, what would be very effective, is a small cell that is able to -- able to see what the messaging is. what are they hoping to gain? with strategic communication's professionals. often the best voice, fact sheets emma that can be declassified information -- giving them information were
they could serve as the objective voice. if you get reliable information. right now, i know that this is not often being done. i put to the exaggeration, journalists whether print or broadcast, are hearing it from me for the first time. given that the media and the battle of perception is so central to what the islamic state is trying to do, the government has to be more quick to react. to understand the strength of this message, and to respond with the same kind of speed -- focusing on the key message at the same speed they push out their own message. overall, it does not defeat jihadist him. but this is an important point for a variety of reasons. i say on an optimistic note, i see promising signs we're starting to shift towards a paradigm of trying to shift the islamic state's strength.
but it is worth following up to make sure we're taking the appropriate steps. >> we may not have that rapid communication response, but most elected officials have gone through campaigns. presidential campaigns have that within the political world. rapid response -- maybe that could be a piece of legislation. trust me, we've got those capable individuals within our knowledge base. i would like to talk about the online process. i like to ask the question. isis is using social media to connect and talk -- by the way i would like to enter into the record without objection, the webpages divided. if you have not read them, it is pretty powerful in terms of the
ways isis is using social media. but what is a next step after that? whoever is more expert in talking about that. the talk online, then what happens? berger: there is a series of stages you go through. typically, someone is exposed to the propaganda that is being broadcast. this isn't just isis, this is how social media works. you find the subject you take an interest in it, and when you start following it, you see other people are talking about it. you start conversing with them. and so what we will stupidly see -- what we won't typically see if somebody is seriously interested and willing to take a step further, they will take it to a private format. that can be a direct message on
twitter, which cannot be read in the open source or on facebook. more often, they go through an encrypted at such as whatsapp or kick. which is text messaging with an element of encryption. >> the minute those individuals who are serious go off-line, we go dark. we lose our capability, and we have no idea. is that correct? berger: it is possible -- >> that is the problem. silicon valley is resistant to allowing us to decrypt. even if they would allow it there will be other sites offshore that will decrypt. we are losing our capability to follow this. berger: the ability of the government to follow is often murky.
people in different agencies have different understandings of what they are allowed to do when it comes to social media. that is somewhere where a government-wide initiative would be helpful. >> it wasn't in your testimony, but in my preparation, your best guess was there are 46,000 overt isis supporter accounts best. can you describe what you are talking about? berger: it is smaller now. >> why's that? berger: twitter started aggressively suspending his account. we had a series of steps, if your tweeting isis propaganda if you're not doing that, obviously, we look at who you followed. and who followed you.
and sort of analyze the network to see if there was a clear case. it was a very conservative approach. >> fundamentally, someone who is not actively trying to conceal -- >> mr. sheikh, as somebody who is trying to prevent young girls, for example, or other people that are making those connections, where are they going now? >> >> they will remain in the orbit of their particular networks. you are seeing people on the al qaeda side strangely arguing against isis on the larger theological side. they will continue to ordbit to their networks.
i don't follow them off-line but that is what they do. >> there are officials in the u.s. government going into muslim communities talking, one of the reports we got back, i was surprised to hear is because of the revelations of edward snowden. there seems to be a perception in america that the federal government knows all. and we have perfect knowledge of who is becoming radicalized. the members of those communities were very surprised that we had no idea. can you speak to that? in terms of the necessity of members of different communities to be policing themselves? and reporting that to dhs. >> hollywood has done this, as well. it has given the idea that the intelligence services are omnipresent. in some cases, that is a good thing.
that people think we can see everything. on the other hand, this is something that the government agencies are trying to achieve. to get into the communities and give them something by which they can convince their own communities outside of law enforcement -- look -- these are your kids. these are your parents are going to end up in front of the cameras as they attend court. these are your mosques that are going to see retaliatory attacks. it is an ongoing challenge with the level of mistrust. there are professional naysayers, community organizers that are obstructionists in the way they approach this. this is an issue that continues to play out. >> my final question really springs from a very interesting article written by graham would in "the atlantic."
i think amplified by your testimony, the territory held in the caliphate and how that is driving a narrative emma perhaps you could speak to that? bergen: that is completely true. they control about 9 million people, the size of switzerland it has an important strategic invocation, which is we need to keep chipping away or demolishing this. >> again what does that inspire in the minds, and the hearts of the followers? what is the call? and what is required what's the caliphate gets established? >> i think the call, and this is where it gets, located, for some, they may feel i want to be
supported. that doesn't mean i want to become a fighter for isis. and i think as a matter for the law enforcement community and the congress to think about, if somebody is not actually indicted for a potential act of terrorism, but merely for trying to go to syria, we should be thinking about off-ramps that art 15 years in prisons. the problems families have, they see a son or daughter radicalizing, the son or daughter make it 15 years in prison. in minneapolis, there is a case where something other than a long as an term for a 19-year-old young man is now in the process. it is a model we should be thinking about going forward. >> before i turn it over to the ranking member, anybody else want to respond to that? >> this speaks to what we had mentioned, the debate between al qaeda and isis supporters
online. the reason that al qaeda never declared a caliphate is because they did not think they could create something that would have staying power. if it gets shipped away geographically, you will see more people attacking the decision to declare the caliphate in the first place. they are susceptible to brand reversal. jihadists would turn on themselves if they lost the territorial advantage. for someone who believes that the caliphate has been legitimately declared, if they don't accept the caliphate's authority, they die in a state of sin. this is one of the debates, as to whether it is legitimate. for people who supported it can be anything from going over there and living in the caliphate. to those or not able to do so, or those were more well situated to carry out attacks, that is
one reason they have been so successful -- compared to other organizations and having a prompt to action. they have a lot of things going for them right now. and that makes them acting essentially from a position of strength and was in their very small target audience from a position of religious literacy. >> so you do not deny them that caliphate? >> i think so, yes. make sure those losses are being broadcast, being broadcast from civil society activists. as we improve our communications, one thing it does is allow those who are opposed isis to have a better vehicle to attack with. >> thank you, thank you for your responses to our questions. i think you used the word murky
in your comments. to describe the authority with which our officials have to do certain actions. go back to mention this again. berger: fundamentally, i don't think there is a consensus in government that you can do large scale monitoring of social media without a probable cause to investigate. in a lot of cases, we have seen some plots and people intending to travel who were detected on social media. more often, social media provides a trail to go after an arrest after you've identified a suspect. fundamentally, there are questions about how we collect and archive this data and who we collect and archive on it. do we need a reason to have to go after someone?
in the case of garland, if we had been sweeping those accounts, we would have a more clear idea of the suspect in open source. you can go after the stuff with subpoenas, try to retrieve the data in various ways, but when twitter suspends an account that information is no longer available. this user had seven print is accounts. and we don't have that available to us in the open source talk about that. and i don't know if law enforcement has an available, if they have been archiving it, if they have access to it these subpoena. i'm not entirely sure twitter saves the data, i'm pretty sure they do. these are the kinds of questions . i think the appetite in the country is not friendly to the fbi should be backing up thousands of social media accounts. these are the kinds of things that i think are in play. when you go from agency to
agency, there is a different kind of boundary issue that we run into over the course of some years. several years ago, there were issues in terms of military investigating americans who were in al qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan, military intelligence had to sometimes take names out of documents because these privileges that we are for american citizens in different contexts are sometimes not totally clear how you reconcile that with a pragmatic approach. >> this would really be for mr. ross, is it more advantageous for us to work with companies to shut down social media accounts that promote isis or like-minded messaging or to keep those open for intelligence purposes? >> j.m. berg has done some very
good worker on showing the disruptive impact. on the one hand, you have their ability to radicalize people to action. on the other hand, you have the ability to gather information on them. i think increasingly, that debate is becoming settled. we can see with isis the massive impact that these accounts have had. the amount of people who have been drawn to the syria iraq theater is greater already than it was during the afghan soviet war. in terms of the number of foreign fighters. social media plays a very big part in that. in general it is advantageous to shut these accounts down. this should be a company's decision. u.s. government has no authority, with one exception. if jihadists get frustrated with getting shut down, they may create their own version of twitter or facebook.
and which case, our superiority in terms of technological that's the kind of site we can shut down wholesale without any free speech or constitutional problems. >> mr. bergen, very quickly. >> the intelligence argument is important, but ultimately the the goal of intelligence is to stop terrorists from doing whatever they want to us. you take that into the context of an attack, you get a lot of intelligence if the terrorist successfully carries out an attack. in the same way in a lower scale, i think we shouldn't give them carte blanche to do whatever they want because it allows us to make nice charts and spreadsheets. >> this would be a question for all the panelists. i would like to focus on root causes, not just on addressing symptoms of problems, but
addressing the underlying root causes. what are the root causes or underlying causes that compel americans to engage in violence in the name of jihad? what common factors, if any, do these individuals share? mr. bergen? >> it's a tough one. i've looked at hundreds of cases of americans who have been drawn to jihadi activity. there is no ethnic profile. some of these people -- on average they tend to be slightly better educated than most americans. on the other hand you have people from criminal backgrounds. it's very hard to make a one size fits all description. in another era, in the 1970s perhaps these people might have been drawn to weather underground or the black panthers t promise to remake society through violence. we've seen that throughout history. but there is no really good answer to that question. it's a form of question of what draws people to crime? the answer is too complicated to say in a very quick and sound bitey kind of way.
>> i would agree with that. i think what we see is there are clusters of causality. in the al shabaab in minnesota you can see why that happened, so many from minnesota. you can look at towns, for instance, der nah, where an organization has a long history that gives you some insight into why that group of people goes. but when you look to sort of generalize, it's very difficult. who you know the probably the most important thing. that's where the social media comes in. if you can know somebody in isis very easily online, then that presents greater risk. >> thank you. mr. shaikh? >> i share the same caveats on the complexity. i will give a sound bite version. without grievances, ideology doesn't resonate.
without ideology, grievances are not acted on. i think the intersect between ideology and grievances do play a significant role in this. >> all right. thank you. >> i think we've been articulated very well. let me focus on one thing related to this question which is what can the u.s. do? >> that's always a good question. >> we're in the world right now where ideas catch on much faster, whether they're good ideas or bad ideas. it's easy to achieve a critical mass. that can play sauf of, as mubin says, grievances and ideology can intersect together. the question is what are we doing to ameliorate grievances? we live in a world that doesn't have perfect justice, a world of finite resources and a world of competition. if you look at what companies are doing, corporations in the united states, those who are prospering are transparent in terms of decision making, in terms of what they're doing. the companies that are more legacy type industries and floundering are less transparent
and more top-heavy. in many ways u.s. government looks like a legacy industry. there are many representatives who are good at this, is be much more transparent in terms of the u.s.'s decision making. there's a lot of hard choices to make. j.m. berger outlined before, the hard decision in terms of monitoring american's use of social media. on the one hand we understand that people who are on twitter and radicalizing can pose a danger. on the other hand, when we think of the fbi sweeping thousands and thousands of accounts and archiving them forever, that in many ways seems like 1984 by george orwell. i think it can help diffuse part of that grievance. moving forward, we're in a world where grievances, weather real or imagined can catch on quickly. the u.s. can feel what it should be to minimize the u.s. being a
target. >> good. thank you all. >> thank you senator carper. our vote that was scheduled at 10:30 has been moved to 2:00. so we won't have interceptions. senator sass. >> thank you mr. chair manned all of you for being here. after reading your testimony my mainline of questioning was going to be about how you create strategic brand damage to eye sill and future jihadi groups. before we go there, i'd like to have a detour. dr. gartenstein-ross, your comments about the interplay between traditional and social media and obviously the media cycles of people wanting to make news today on social media to be picked up by producers on traditional media. can you unpack your der nah comments. >> der nah was a case in which you didn't have much social media. isis essentially started out with information dominance that's because reporters couldn't get in to der nah to fact check. we've had two separate sets of
reporters who ventured in, both of these reporters, tunisians and have gotten executed in the last couple weeks. when they have this information about what's happening and they're pushing it out and others aren't pushing it it out on social media, the way the news cycle work nous, here is information and there's no competing information and maybe you'll check with a few sources. media moves much quicker, much less fact checking. it's easier to get an invented fact out there and to have it widely repeated which i think is exactly what happened in der nah. >> dr. bergen, this is not to put you on the spot because i don't know how cnn covered the issue. can you walk us through how decisions in a circumstance like that are made? >> i'm not familiar enough with cnn's reporting on that. as a general matter, cnn has got a very careful fact checking process.
>> but you don't know if you reported that isis had taken der nah. >> i'm not here to comment on cnn's reporting on that. >> dr. gartenstein-ross, one of the things that's unique about isil versus al qaeda in iraq is a more decentralized structure as opposed to a more top-down structure. obviously this creates unique opportunities for them to capture entrepreneurial activity on social media. at the same time it seems harder for them to control their brand. they have a deficit in terms of trying to have a territorial claim with the caliphate. to the degree they have a more decentralized structure and can exploit social media over time do you think that means their brand becomes diffuse, or if they can suffer losses because they'll eventually suffer territorial losses, what does that do to their larger social media strategy?
>> i conceptualize them as having both a centralized and also decentralized structure. on the one hand, they have a bureaucratic system, systems of government, official accounts. then you have the vast number of people who are fighters who are tweeting from the battlefield. they have put directives in place, it's actually very clear. to try to rein some of these guys in. at the end of the day, when you have a large number of people on twitter, it's difficult to fully control your message. that's something the u.s. military also grapples with as well. just like isis, we have directives, although we have an easier job of reigning our guys in obviously. with respect to isis' brand, it has a trajectory of its brand overall being affected by people of multiple layers, those central to the communications apparatus and those at the fringes. the answer is, yes, it happens more difficulty controlling its brand. i referenced before the
statement by al gentleman bad difficult, the supporter of isis trying to say don't broadcast the enemy's atrocities, don't broadcast how hard life is in cities under siege, only broadcast strength. if you look at my argument theirs is a winner's message. that's a very hard message to enforce when that's not actually what's going on. you don't just have isis fighters. you have people living in these cities and you can see some resistance movements have sprung up. they're going to have a hard time keeping their message the same, just like we have trouble controlling them on social media. they're increasingly as they're entrenched as a government force and failing government force they're experiencing something like insurgent activity. i don't want to overstate the dissension within the ranks but you clearly have it. they've had it for a while. it's increasing now.
>> mr. shaikh, i'd be interested in your thoughts on that question. >> thank you, sir. of course, i agree very much, of course with what daveed was saying. i think we need to continue to amplify the mistakes they make the weakness in the ranks, the dissension in the ranks, especially when it comes to educating potential recruits individuals, teenagers who may want to travel. in the beginning when a lot of this began, there was a concept called five star jihad where they were putting out -- they had taken over some guy's villa and they were swimming in a nice pool in the back and they were saying, hey, come on down. for a while i actually took a lot of screen grabs of food pictures they had posted. we had swedish gummy bears, guys posting -- kabobs? we got that. a mango milkshake saying how can i not take a picture of that. the epitome of a identity
crisis, u.k. resident living in syria referring to pizza as home cooked food. i think to educate people just by using their own mistakes, their own failing, this is another way in which we can achieve our objective. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator sasse senator peters. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you to the panelists for your testimony today. i want to explore a little bit more in depth about some of the countermessaging that we need to do, particularly with the broader muslim community here in the united states. i think it's important to remember when we're talking about folks engaged in these activities with extremism, it's just a tiny, tiny sliver of the muslim community here in the united states. i have a very large middle eastern population in michigan one of the largest populations outside the middle east as you know in my community. it's certainly an opportunity for us to harness that community which is strongly opposed to
isis and other extremist groups. in fact, there are regular protests against the activities of isis as a pre version of islam and not reflective of the broader muslim community, folks want to be engaged in that countermessaging which is ultimately the way you try to delegitimize the ideology associated with it. i know the white house has made this outreach with their empower local partners to prevent violent extremism efforts, also part of the sum many this year at the white house summit. a 2013 rand corporation report highlights challenges to countering violent extremism online including alienation and the u.s. approach to counterterrorism among american muslims as well as the over securitized approach. i've heard from some of my constituents concerned about pushing back against this violent extremism and these lies online because they think it might draw some undue attention to them personally as they engage, even though these are anti messaging that they're
doing. some of them have also experienced racial profiling other activities at airports because of their muslim heritage and so have certainly some level of distrust when it comes to law enforcement activities. yet, this is an incredible opportunity for us to use patriotic americans, muslim americans who live here in our country. if familiars can address a little bit, how can we engage this community, what would you suggest and what are the messages that would be important? mr. shaikh, we could start with you, but others who can weigh in, we'd like your comments as well. >> thank you very much. i'm actually doing my phd in psychology and looking at community interveners and what works in intervention programs. there is this -- i call them professional obstructionists community organizations who are
hyper defensive, they really mistrust the government and have portrayed any kind of even meaningful sincere interactions between law enforcement and the community as just as an excuse to intelligence gather. given that level of mistrust how can we do it? i think there's a way to do it. first and foremost, the muslim community understands -- as you observed, the muslim community doesn't want anything to do with isis. really if you look at the tens of millions of muslims living in europe, northern america, we have a maximum amount of 5,000 foreign fighters. that that's a small amount of people. first and foremost, the muslim community needs to understand that it affects us first and foremost i think. isis kills more muslims than non-muslims. when they do what they do, it's the muslim community that feels the retallization,
discrimination, marginalization. i think it's on behalf of the religion. we have a duty to speak up and give the correct understanding of the religion, lead by example. and there is a way to still work with law enforcement, but at the same time keep them arm's length. that is to use programming that is developed in house, in the communities where the law enforcement agencies understand what the communities are using so they can back off and say yeah, we understand they have this identifying vulnerable person's guide, let's say, and we understand they have a mechanism in place where they can give rehabilitative programming without it necessarily being a top-down approach.
just lastly, i think -- of course, people have their views, free speech, of course. but we have to be very careful not to perpetuate the isis ideology which is islam is to blame. if we do and this say muslims are terrorists and islam is all about terrorism, that is exactly what isis says. in fact, i've seen that you have people who are very anti muslim, they even use the exact same verses of the koran that isis uses. if you didn't see the name, you would swear it was an isis account doing the promoting. i think there are multiple layers to this. it can be done, but it needs solid direction i think and community leadership. >> and direction from within the community, that it's an organic process, but also in that process law enforcement here in the united states understand to let the community lead and back it up and to back off, if i'm paraphrasing what you said accurately. >> the closing point, local police are best suited for this. the local police are the ones who respond if somebody throws a rock through the mosque or if there's a crime that happens in the community. they're not seen as investigating terrorism like the fbi would be.
the fbi would have big problems in dealing with them at that level. there is a way to develop relationships that needs to be done. >> thank you. anybody else want to add to that? >> just to give a couple specific examples, we can't take down all bad speech even though that's desirable. but we can help reenforce better speech. rowdy chowdhry goes around training muslim american leaders and imams, many of whom who don't understand how to use it themselves, about how to use it, google rankings. it's hard to measure countering violent extremism. this is an example of something concrete and working. another is a woman called nadia from oxford who is aggregating all satirical content about isis in arabic online. satire is a very powerful weapon against this kind of group. finally the u.s. government can't engage in a theological
debate for all sorts of various reasons. this group positions itself as a defender of islam. the victims are overwhelmingly muslim. it's a statement that requires no special knowledge of islam. it's a powerfully undercutting message for what this group is trying to say about themselves to the muslim world. >> i'm out of time. >> thank you, senator peters. senator booker. >> i want to jump right in. in preparing for this hearing i was surprised, if not stunned, at how we're approaching our messaging and our countermessaging, frankly. i find it clearly there are 24.9 million muslims living in the united states and half of them are under 30. we're talking about a very young population. i agree with senator peters, the overwhelming 99 point whatever percent are good young people that reflect the rest of the population. but we're dealing with a
population of young people that are online and engaged in an extraordinary manner. in the middle east, you a greater percentage of people that are under 30 years old. and the new form of communication is social media. 90% of americans age 18 to 29 use social media. nine in ten 18 to 29-year-olds watch online video. almost half of them, that's where they get their news. i know a little bit about social media, i have to say. when i started going around to the sites that we have in our various agencies, dhs, national counterterrorism, state department, i was shocked at what we're doing in counter messaging. i want to pass this ipad around to my colleagues. two things to take note of. two tabs at the top and you can toggle between. one is a youtube video. hundreds of hours going up every minute on youtube. the videos they're doing are
incredibly slick, fancy and attractive. here a bunch of extremist terrorists giving things out to kids. if you toggle back over to the united states and what we're doing, here is the "think and turn away" website. if you know anything about social media, the one thing you should do is look at the engagement of people on our social media feeds. it's laughable. three retweets, two retweets. if you think about this, last year -- at least fiscal year '13, we spent $196 million on the voice of america. this is old school media. it's radio and the like. mr. gartenstein-ross, how much money are we spending on social media countermessaging.
>> it's a small percentage. as you point out, a lot of things what we push out via social media is crude. >> crude is a generous statement. you said a wonderful phrase. you said we need to compete at the speed of social media. mr. bergen, you said in your written testimony that the one thing that unifies these folks is their age and that they're online. you would think if this is one of the threats when you ask counterterrorism people here in the united states what's their biggest concern is domestic lone wolf individuals. this is where the majority of them are getting radicalized which is on line in social media. if we have an adequate response to that, it's very frustrating. mr. shaikh, your work sin credible. i see you online trying to push back on this.
there are easy tactics -- i know them, as you said, from politics, how to get more voice and virality to messaging. the data you're presenting as muslims killing muslims, and this is a group killing more muslims. look at their fancy means compared to what we're not doing. so i just want to start with mr. shaikh, it likes to me like you're trying to do countermessaging, but we have a government that's spending millions and millions of dollars on old school forms of media and, as you said, mr. gartenstein-ross, very crude social media efforts. what do you imagine could be done if we're going to do an effective social media online countermessaging effort? >> thank you very much. in some kind of defense to the center for strategic counterterrorism communications,
they have a very small group of people. they're trying to contest the space. they're trying to do something, and i get that. yes, crude is a very polite statement. look, at the end of the day, if you want to fight back against recruitment of 15-year-old kids, you need to work with 15-year-old kids. when i see my own kids showing examples of what affects them and what motivates them and what resonates with them, it tells me that this is exactly what you need to do. talk to the kids. they can do a really good job. with respect to producing material, one of the comments that i said, really, i feel it's unacceptable especially given -- you have hollywood in the u.s. you have people, you don't even need to go at that level. maybe this is something that should be done to go at that level. to blow the production capabilities out of the water. but even college levels, high school kids to be given projects for them to do just as part of a
school project, as part of a civic engagement process, even muslim organizations. maybe you have the ngos who can fund projects within the community to come up with these sorts of things. the government is really not well placed other than if you were to take it to the covert level of psychological operations and then you do have individuals who know, influence activities, who know to generate stuff which they can deploy but in a more covert manner. again, multiple layers. there is a way to do it. >> mr. bergen, very little time left. when i was mayor of newark, we saw the dimensions of our city were incredibly negative. we set out on social media and used a sentiment analysis that engagement in social media began to brand of our city. i'm just wondering. you talked a little bit in our testimony about crowding out negative messages.
i've seen people do this in negative forms and there's different strategies. how do you characterize what we're doing to crowd out the message to sort of compete within the space to begin to push other messages? how would you describe our attempts and is there a better way to centralize and coordinate across numerous agencies a better push for the united states? >> nctc has been doing some of this work and trying to wrk with some of the tech companies and there's a problem with the u.s. government being involved. it has to be hands off. it's not all doom and gloom. there are people out there doing the kind of work that's necessary. >> thank you very much. >> thank you senator. let's face it, we invented the internet, the social network
sites. we've got hollywood, the capabilities as he was saying to blow these guys out of the water from the standpoint of communication communication. we need to work on that and work on it quickly. senator. >> i want to thank the chairman and appreciate senator booker's comments as well. it strikes me though in hearing your answers. it makes sense that this isn't going to just be a government function. i think engaging the private sector and ngo's and others to help us do that, we can provide the support for that. i think that would be great to establish those partnerships to be able to make that happen. i was very interested in reading in your testimony about women that there seems to be an attraction for young women.
with more than i think a historical basis to isis and talking about that and it seems to me as i look at some of these on social media, they almost romanticize what is happening in iraq and syria and who these women want to join or i guess connect themselves in the u.s. or in some other western country with isis and so it strikes me the more we can get the truth out also whether it's embedding reporters or what's really the conditions are, i know it's dangerous so that's challenging. however we can get the truth out on what's happening on the ground that this isn't some kind of romantic endeavor you're probably traveling to or asking to engage in. i wanted to get thoughts on how we address this with women.
>> that's right, senator. 20% of the sample, we looked at it from the united states women and about 10% are from the west unprecedented. why they're going there they're told it's a perfect society. the average anyone is 19. how do we contest that? i think you're exactly right. we saw this in the minnesota case when people started saying it's not the promise land but it took two or three years but we're at the point there's enough bad stories coming out that's a reasonable idea. >> the information we have that undermines their strength is
mostly eyewitness testimony from defectors and that's not as compelling as photographs, video and audio. one of the things that i proposed is that in as much we can deploy intelligence assets is to get pictures, intercept communications and things that are much more dpripgripping and compelling instead of one person's story. radicals are convinced they have the right idea anyway. >> if i can jump in. on the flip side there's a side which is a twitter feed of what's going on. there's pictures of bread lines and they're saying it's only on for three hours a day. the point is there's an alternative universe on social media portraying what's really happening that exist and we should understand and know about. >> absolutely. we should promote it and encourage people to see what's really happening because i think
there's sort of a romanticized view pushed out there that's attractive to people. i wanted to get your thoughts on the leader of isis. using social media using information to put out a certain image of himself that is not line up with the truth and so how do we, what's your thought on the leader now? i understand we take out a leader and another leader can follow but he seems to have portrayed himself in a certain way. what thauthds do you have for us to undermine the leadership to show they're not really who they per port to be? >> i think he's an spresing