tv Hearing on European Terrorist Attacks CSPAN April 10, 2016 11:30am-1:51pm EDT
on c-span two. >> monday on the communicators. tom wheeler in his first interview with c-span since being nominated by president obama in 2013. he talks about issues facing the fcc including net neutrality. and the spectrum incentive auction is just beginning. he discusses how he views the future of telecom and the internet. a technologyy reporter for the washington post. enough to beunate able to do in the cable industry to bereless industry involved as they were bringing great change to the american economy and the way people lived their lives. that's what were dealing with at the fcc. we are now in the middle of one of the great revolution of all time and the job the fcc is to say, how do we deal with the kind of changes that are
happening all around us as a result of new technology? >> watch the communicators monday night on c-span2. now a look at the terrorist attacks in europe and what's being done to prevent similar attacks here in the u.s. and other places around the world. this hearing from the senate homeland security committee focused on recruiting efforts by isis and the need to improve information sharing among european countries. it's just under two and half hours.
ron johnson: good morning. this hearing will come to order. i want to welcome the witnesses, certainly thank you for your thoughtful testimony. we're going to be looking forward to hearing it and have an opportunity to ask a number of questions. this hearing originally was planned and we were going to be talking about an issue that senator carper and i are also very concerned about, is just biosecurity and the threats that we face, and, you know, with the unfortunate tragic events in brussels, we thought we'd maybe expand it. we maybe can still pick up on some of those bio-threats as well, but we thought we'd like to hold a hearing and really take a look at, you know, what is the root cause that is driving this activity in europe? you know, what are the implications here in america? in january 2016, we had a foiled
plot in milwaukee, wisconsin against a masonic temple by an individual named samy mohammed hamzeh. now, i'd say this was a real success story on the part of the fbi and those individuals, the informants that worked to foil that plot. in the complaint filed against samy mohammed hamzeh, i've just got 4 little sentences. and i, they're disconnected, but it certainly reveals what's on the minds or the mind of an individual that actually plot to slaughter innocent human beings. this is what he was quoted as saying. i'm telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world. the people will be scared and the operations will increase. this way, we will be igniting it. i mean, we are marching at the front of the war and we will eliminate everyone. now, in his plotting, he was
trying to accomplish killing 100 people. and in the complaint, he also said he'd be 100% happy if he was able to kill 30. these threats that europe is facing, these threats that america are facing because of islamic terrorists are real and they're growing. and the purpose of this hearing is really to, again, take a look at the root cause of those problems, see what we do here in america to try and keep this nation, our homeland, as safe and secure at possibly. i also do have to say we, on march 22, we did reach out the day after the brussels hearing to the fbi, also to dhs, and the national counterterrorism center, to have witnesses appear before this committee today. unfortunately, nobody from any of those departments or agencies agreed to testify, which is disappointing to me. i know secretary johnson's on
the hill today, having a press conference on additional funding for dhs which, listen, we want to support the department having the tools and the resources they need to keep this nation safe. i think probably a pretty good way to try and secure those resources would be coming before a committee like this to lay out the reality of what the problem is. so i'm disappointed that we don't have a government witness today, or witnesses, but i certainly appreciate the, the fact that you've come here today and are willing to testify. so with that, i'll turn it over to senator carper. tom carper: thank, thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for pulling us together today, to each of our witnesses. good to see you, and thank you for your preparation and for joining us on this occasion. our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the victims of those who died two weeks ago and my hope is that something good can emerge from something awful. and this hearing is part of that process. as with the paris terrorist attacks and similar attacks in places around the world, like pakistan, like turkey, as well
as the boston marathon in our own country, san bernardino attacks, and more recently what happened in brussels exposes yet again the vulnerability that we face in public places, places that are hard to defend, malls, trains, train stations, airports, and the like. with today's 24/7 news cycle, americans are seeing these attacks unfold literally in real time. from our living rooms we can see the devastation that these attacks have caused and the pain that they inflict on the victims and on their loved ones. so, americans are understandably easy, and they are concerned for their safety, for the safety of their families and friends, and their neighbors. it's important, though. i think it's important for us to remember that the most potent weapon that terrorists, like those who committed these attacks, have is fear. they want to scare us into turning against one another and against our neighbors in this country.
they want to make us afraid to go about our everyday lives. we might feel a little bit safer if we saw more obviously security at every single public place we visit, even if that were possible. but those measures come at a very high price, and don't necessarily deter terrorists who do not value other lives or even their own life. and many would argue, i believe correctly, that turning every public place into a heavily guarded fortress would restrict americans' own personal freedom, even if we could afford to do so. instead, we need to be smart about how we combat these ever-evolving terror threats. we must continuously sharpen our ability to predict and prevent terrorist plots through the use of our robust intelligence and law enforcement capabilities, and our ability to share information. refining these tools and ensuring that we keep pace with the evolving threat we face is an important responsibility of our federal agencies and congress, and also for the folks at the local level.
we have a responsibility as well, along with our international partners, to continue to take the fight to isis in iraq, in syria, and many other places. isis' recent losses have been severe. it has lost at least 40% of the territory that it once held in iraq. coalition forces have killed more than 10,000 isis fighters and 20 key isis leaders in recent months, including isis' chief propagandist and executioner. and just over a week ago, american forces carried out a strike that lead to the death of isis' finance chief and second-in-command. simultaneously, we continue to enhance the capabilities of the iraq counterterrorism forces. iraqi forces captured ramadi from isis just two months ago. and a battle to seize the isis stronghold in mosul is well underway. and with the cease-fire in syria holding so far, more guns are being turned on isis. isis is being pushed back on its heels in iraq and in syria. consequences may very well be
that the group, out of desperation, will seek to project a facade of power and momentum by directing or inspiring terrorist attacks against unprotected targets in europe, in the united states, and other places around the world. we must not let these cowardly acts deter our resolve. to the contrary, we must redouble our efforts to destroy isis, take away its safe havens, but we must also learn from the brussels terror attack to ensure that our intelligence and law enforcement authorities at all levels of government are ready and able to identify and stop similar attacks both here at home and other places before they're set in motion. i just want to mention the last thing. there are lessons to be learned from what happened, the tragedy in brussels, lessons for people who live there, people who live in belgium, who live in the e.u., other places as well. and there are lessons for us to learn, too.
and for us, the need to do a, to better understand what happened there and figure out what can we do to help deter attacks, not just here in this country, but to help them better defend their own people and their own places. thanks so much. ron johnson: thanks, senator carper. i would ask consent to my opening statement being entered into the record. without objection, so ordered. it is a tradition of this committee to swear in witnesses, so if you'll all stand and raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, god? please be seated. our first witness is mr. juan zarate. mr. zarate is the chairman of the financial integrity network, chairman of the center on sanctions and illicit finance for the foundation for defense of democracies, senior adviser for the center for strategic international studies, and senior national security analyst for cbs news. mr. zarate. juan carlos zarate: chairman johnson, thank you very much for that introduction. ranking member carper and distinguished members of this committee, thank you for
inviting me to testify today. i'm honored to be here with my fellow panelists, to discuss the current terrorist threat environment in europe and security implications for the united states. in the wake of the horrific attacks in brussels and paris, this is a critical moment to take stock of what i consider to be the quickening terrorist threat and adaptation spurred by the islamic state of iraq and syria, along with the continued threat from, and intent by al qaeda and its affiliates to hit the west. the rise and reach of isis have continued to outpace expectations and surprise authorities. dangerously failing to understand and anticipate isis's intent and capabilities have led to some misguided assumptions that have now been shattered in the wake of the recent attacks in europe. isis has intended to confront the west. it has used western operatives flowing into the conflict zone by the thousands, and has attempted to inspire singular attacks by sympathetic radicals in western societies. it has built these capabilities
over time, and taken advantage of intelligence and security gaps to implant operatives in europe. this should not have come as a surprise. over two years ago, my colleague at csis, tom sanderson, witnessed parts of the foreign fighter pipeline when he visited a shabby cafe at a turkish-syrian border crossing. this was a final stop for those slipping into syria to join terrorist groups. passports were for sale, and such fighters could exchange their passports for cash. at that time, a belgian passport was for sale for $8,000. a buyer could have it altered, and new passport photos were being snapped in the parking lot. european authorities are now coming to grips with the realization that isis is targeting the heart of europe with dozens of operatives. but unfortunately, europe suffers from 3 fundamental and inter-related terrorist problems. first, there is the
immediate threat of isis' european networks. isis has trained and deployed europeans back into the heart of the europe to perpetrate sophisticated attacks. second, isis and al qaeda have taken advantage of long-standing radicalized networks in europe as a baseline for recruitment and plotting in the heart of europe, relying on a lineage of radical islamic terrorism to tap into criminal, prison, and other radical networks for their purposes. third, europe suffers from long-standing deep pockets of radicalization affecting their nationals and embedded in particular communities and neighborhoods. throughout europe, such nodes of radicalization have served as micro-safe havens and they persist in particular prisons, universities, and apartment blocks. now, isis has been able to take advantage of the weaknesses and seams in the european system. even the best authorities in europe are overwhelmed by the number of new and historical terrorists and radicalized individuals for whom they need to account. fortunately, the united states
has not faced the same kinds of threats from isis and al qaeda that europe does, but these threats are real for u.s. citizens and interests abroad and in the homeland. let me just describe them quickly. the most immediate threats to the united states are to our citizens and interests and europe. isis would like to target americans wherever possible. the visa-free travel for europeans and others creates a gap that could allow an isis or an al qaeda operative into the country unknowingly. the lack of information and real-time information sharing are major impediments to western security. the united states also has to be concerned about the demonstration effects of successful or attempted terrorist attacks, especially in the west. and new technologies and methodologies could spur innovation in how terrorists and operatives operate in the united states, to include new technologies that allow lone wolves to act as packs to attack here in the homeland.
and finally, the most strategic impact of the european threat, perhaps, is whether it ultimately weakens or strengthens european resolve and capabilities to counter the terrorist threat from isis and al qaeda, and the radicalized citizens from within. we need a strong europe, and we need to work together with them. we're facing a common enemy, and we're all at war together. the u.s. must, therefore, work closely with its european partners to enable, support, and lead where necessary, and to disrupt isis and al qaeda safe havens, gather and share intelligence, disrupt terrorist networks and plots, and continue to build layers of defense with our western partners. in the wake of the terrorist attacks in brussels, this is an important moment to reflect on our counter-terrorism capabilities. we need to do this in concert with our european partners. and we should never underestimate the ability of our
terrorist adversaries to innovate and to adapt, especially when they have time and space to plot and to plan. thank you, mr. chairman. ron johnson: thank you, mr. zarate. our next witness is ms. julie smith. ms. smith is the senior fellow and director of the strategy and statecraft program at the center for a new american security. previously, she served as the deputy national security adviser to the vice-president. with her, before her post at the white house, she served as the principal director for european and nato policy in the office of the secretary of defense in the pentagon. ms. smith. julianne smith: thank you, chairman johnson, ranking member, oh. sorry. thank you, chairman johnson, ranking member carper, and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning. it's an honor to be here. the brussels attacks revealed a number of worrisome trends and policy gaps inside belgium, across europe, and among the transatlantic partners. any successful strategy moving forward is going to require
changes in all 3 of those categories. and i want to take each of them one by one over the course of the next few minutes. let me start with belgium. the attacks, as juan pointed out, have confirmed what experts have been stating for years, and that is that belgium has one of the largest home-grown extremist problems in the west. five hundred belgians have travelled to iraq and syria in recent years, and 20% of those individuals now have returned to european soil with sophisticated training and unknown intentions. the brussels and the paris attacks also revealed a number of intelligence and law enforcement shortfalls and failures. these are primarily rooted in part in incompetence, but also crippling budgetary constraints and severe personnel shortages. belgian, belgium also has not had a functioning federal system for some time now, so its ability to uncover and dismantle jihadist networks has been severely hampered. in terms of wider europe, of course, belgium is not facing this challenge alone.
preventing the radicalization of muslim minorities across europe has become a priority for a number of european countries over the years, but the tools with which national capitals can actually counter radicalization or slow recruitment, or arrest terrorist operatives, has suffered from a chronic lack of investment over the years. europe's most glaring problem, though, is its inability to share information among its member states. and here, this was highlighted by the fact that one of the 3 bombers in the brussels attacks was someone that turkey had actually warned the belgians about in advance, as they were deporting him to the netherlands. unfortunately, and rather tragically, that information was not followed up on, and it was certainly not disseminated across the european continent. from a transatlantic perspective, we also need to strengthen our transatlantic cooperation with the e.u. and european countries. we've done a lot since 9/11. we've done a lot to ensure that we can halt terrorist financing.
we've worked together to enhance our intelligence sharing. we've worked to safeguard border controls, but serious gaps remain. most notably, the primary obstacle here is differences that we have over privacy, data sharing, data privacy. these concerns obviously were more pronounced after the 2013 revelations that the nsa had been tracking a number of world leaders, most notably chancellor merkel. and these differences have hampered the e.u.-wide implementation of the passenger name recognition system, which would enable us to enhance our intelligence sharing. going forward, obviously belgium is going to have to make a lot of changes. europe as well, but we also have to focus on the transatlantic relationship. from a belgian perspective, they're going to have to undertake a complete audit of their security procedures. they're going to have to overhaul their surveillance
laws. i think they need to review security staff at major transportation hubs, and certainly they're going to have to invest more in their very small security budget. europe also is going to have to do more from an e.u. perspective, but the individual member states that make up europe, all of them are going to have to do more to invest in their own security. and they'll also going to have to address the grievances and the isolation of the muslim minorities that exist inside their borders. but i would also urge our european friends not to view this strictly as an internal challenge. they tend to focus on homeland security measures and counter-radicalization efforts, but we have to ensure that europeans are working with us in faraway places, like the middle east and north africa, which, by the way, are not that far away from european soil. so, for that reason i would urge more europeans to join us in the anti-isis coalition. some are already doing so over iraq and syria, but also think about how they can do more to invest in the future of the region. lastly, on e.u.-u.s. cooperation, we have to get past our differences on data
protection and privacy. i think, as juan pointed out, this is going to require significant u.s. leadership. i know some occasionally urge the united states to pull back and withdraw from europe and the threat that exists inside europe. but to be frank, this is a threat that we face together, and the biggest hand and card we have to play is e.u.-u.s. counterterrorism cooperation. thank you very much. ron johnson: thank you, ms. smith. our next witness is mr. daveed gartenstein-ross. mr. gartenstein-ross is a senior fellow at the foundation for defense of democracies, an adjunct professor in georgetown university's security studies program, and a lecturer at the catholic university of america. he is also the chief executive officer of valens global, a consulting firm focused on the challenges posed by violent non-state actors. mr. gartenstein-ross. daveed gartenstein-ross: thank you, chairman johnson, for that introduction. ranking member carper and distinguished members, it's an honor to appear before you at
this very grave time. we've had, obviously, in a span of about four months two major attacks strike europe. it's a watershed for a variety of reasons, but one of which is that this is the first time that a european jihadist network has succeeded in not only carrying out one major attack, but then, bearing the brunt of law enforcement resources being drawn down upon it and then succeeding in carrying out a second major attack. if you look at what's been said following the brussels attack about the scale of the network, it's striking. you have investigators saying that only now, four months after paris, are they starting to get their heads wrapped around this network. you have, according to a recent wall street journal report, about 22 members of this network are still at large. now, other media outlets have not been able to verify that specific number, but it seems to be roughly accurate. one analogy i use a lot to describe the problem of trying to combat terrorist and militant groups is that of start-up firms versus legacy industries in the economic sphere.
i use this not to be cute or trite, but because i think it explains something about ability to innovate, ability to adapt, and the problems that we have in dealing with these kinds of organizations. today, it's very clear that start-up firms have some inherent advantages over their larger competitors. they're de-bureaucratized. they're able to innovate quickly. they're able to shift their strategy very quickly, while larger firms are often encumbered by their own weight, with too much bureaucracy, unable to maneuver at the same kind of speed as their smaller adversaries. julie, i think, did a very good job of talking about the kinds of incompetence and problems that occurred, that helped to allow the brussels attackers to succeed. if you go, when we go back through them, and it's important to do so, one thing that looms large is bureaucracy, lack of internal coordination, an organizational structure that isn't suited well for the challenges of the 21'st century.
you know, according to open source reporting, one thing that may have allowed salah abdeslam to be free as long as he was is restrictions in belgium on what time raids can occur. you had other incidences in which intelligence was not acted upon. the fact that ibrahim el bakraoui, one of the suicide attackers at the brussels airport, wasn't picked up after turkish authorities revealed that he'd been arrested in gaziantep, which is a major entryway into syria that foreign fighters frequently use. that obviously, as the european officials now indicate, should have raised a red flag. so what to do about this? in the short term, europe needs to be able to scale the problem that it has. not just this one network, but authorities have been all but waving their hands around and saying that they're overstretched. in belgium just before this attack, basically all of their resources, amongst investigators, detectives, were used to try to deal with their jihadist problem. likewise in france, likewise in
britain. there are many indications that this problem has overwhelmed the system. in the short term, europe should be encouraged to undertake a much more disruptive policing model. a good example is from the united states, and our own experience with the mob. al capone, who was the u.s.'s first celebrity criminal, was ultimately arrested, indicted, and convicted not for being a mobster, not for being a killer, not for being a bootlegger, but rather for not paying taxes on his illegal income. it was said, under robert kennedy's justice department, that he would arrest a mobster for spitting on the sidewalk. ultimately, finding lesser offenses is important. and within european jihadist networks, which are identifiable and under surveillance, there's often financial fraud and other small crimes, where they can pick people up. this isn't ultimately a perfect solution, but in the short term, where we've had these two major attacks and more would-be
attackers who are at large right now, i think it's very important to disrupt and thin down the networks that you're trying to monitor. in the longer term, looking at the problem i raised of bureaucracy is very important. there need to be reforms within the e.u., including within countries. and we also need to be very much apprised of those that affect the united states. this is a very unique time, because the schengen agreement has all but fell apart. and in the past, the europeans' interpretation of schengen has detracted and served as a barrier from our own measures that we have tried to take to uphold our own border security. we need to understand just how must this system is in play right now. we need to recognize, as senator carper has said, that perhaps something good can come from something awful. and that something good can be that we should push for the necessary reforms, both within europe and also in the transatlantic relationship to better protect our own homeland. thank you. ron johnson: thank you, mr. gartenstein-ross. our final witness is mr. clint watts. mr. watts is a robert a. fox fellow in the foreign policy
research institute's program on the middle east, and senior fellow with its program on national security. mr. watts has served as a u.s. army infantry officer, an fbi special agent on the joint terrorism task force, and as executive officer of the combating terrorism center at west point. first of all, thank you for your service, and thank you for your testimony. clinton watts: thank you. thank you, chairman johnson, ranking member carper, and members of the committee. in 2012, many researchers and i watched as thousands of young men flocked to syria to join the ranks of those fighting against the assad regime. and most of those had eventually coalesced around the islamic state. i personally, along with others, flew with lists of names of europeans that we knew were operating there, because all you had to do was watch them on twitter. they told you they were there. not only did they tell you, they flaunted it. they would turn on their location beacon as soon as they got in those countries, to let everybody know they were there.
we've known these boys were there for a long time. and we should have known, and we did know, they were always going to come home. this problem wasn't probable, it was inevitable. and so we are now flat on our feet and, while we talk about disrupting isis recruitment, it's already happened. it is over. we are now on the defense. we are reacting rather than preempting, and that's a position we never want to be in. so today, the situation in europe is, we have terrorists operating without borders, and we have counter-terrorists operating with all borders. isis has done in europe what al qaeda never did. in one year, they have achieved a level of violence al qaeda couldn't do in 10. and they do that because they have a volume of foreign fighters, passport holders, e.u. citizens, or people who have resided there, who have traveled together, cemented long standing relationships they had in their homelands, in diaspora communities, and they have traveled to syria and iraq and gained unprecedented combat experience. we always heap credit on the old
al qaeda members. they didn't see near the battles that these new isis boys have seen. and they brought that experience home. not only are they more connected socially than ideologically, they're more criminal than they are pious. and so they have less reservations about committing violence. and they operate with autonomy we never saw with al qaeda. al qaeda tend to micro-manage their recruits. isis does not. they issue a little bit of, what we call in the military, commanders' intent. they pick targets that they know well. they don't pick large symbolic targets. they hit a soccer stadium, a transportation hub they know, and they plan those plots and put them together almost, it seems like, at random. and they do it aggressively and quickly. they move faster and communicate more freely than our counter-terrorists do in europe. and so when we look at the situation we have today with the counter-terrorists, we have them operating with all borders. they are way over capacity. they can't follow all the leads for every isis member that might be returning to europe. not only that, they have uneven capability. france, the u.k., germany, they all have significant experience and a lot of specialty in terms of counter-terrorism and
intelligence. but that isn't shared with a lot of these smaller countries. belgium is the prime example, but many others have had foreign fighter recruits like they've and at the same born, they have much more limited capacity to deal with these you have specialties. they have a lot of rules around intelligence sharing going to prevent them from doing technical collection and human intelligence the way we would do in the states. when you look at the patchwork we have in terms of the bureaucracy, it is heavy. europe will and interval are great. the excellent coordination in research, but they cannot stuff across borders as fast so they have run while through europe today. my fellow testify and appeared today talking about the dangers to americans abroad with the most dangerous result of the situation is that every success
the islamic state has in europe brings more success at home. the successful attack in istanbul inspires adherents in .he united states we have seen that with san bernardino and maybe 50 disrupted plots that our fbi has disrupted since then. by andime we stands watch an attack, it only inspires people. which look at defensive measures. we have to go on the offense in europe the way we did here after to help i would push the european union make an aggressive approach now. we are looking at what i call the iceberg theory of terrorist plots. for every eight you see participating in a plot, there is three or four times as many that are helping support or are somewhere in that network. we saw that with paris, and then it extended to brussels.
the other thing we can really help out europe with is intelligence sharing, both pushing to them and then helping them integrate their own systems, and the last part, i would say, is better risk assessment and travel warnings for our american citizens. we tend to issue travel warnings after an attack happens. but we could sit right now and tell you where the foreign fighters are that are in these european countries, where the targets have been hit, and which ones are most likely. i think that's a service we should make sure and provide to our citizens. thank you for having me. ron johnson: thanks. mr. watts, i want to start with you, because you mentioned, i think, the key point here. most of the testimony has been talking about being on defense. you talked about going on offense. but even in talking about going on offense, you're talking about helping, going, having america going offense to help european be on defense. i want to talk about actually going on offense. i want to talk about the fact that you said that this has been building in syria and iraq, and it was inevitable. and as we watched the events unfold here, and, yes, we're pushing isis back in iraq, but
they're gaining territory in syria. they're setting up a stronger base in libya. they're getting into afghanistan. we've having boko haram and other terrorist organizations affiliate themselves with isis. this is growing. i want to talk about an effective offense. and, again, i want to just give some indication here. there's a state department report called the start report, study of terrorism and response to terrorism. and let me caveat. i realize these statistics are very uneven. but if you take a look at prior years up to 9/11, on average, and this is largest measure. on average there were about less than 5,000 fatalities due to terrorism prior to 9/11. in 2012, that report shows there were about 15,000. in 2014, there was about 43,000. again, i realize those are, the -- the measurement is very difficult on this. but it gives us some indication on how terror, global terrorism
is a growing threat. and so if we're all going to just be on defense, i don't see how we can succeed. i mean, just speak about what is a real offense to wipe out this threat? and how long is it going to take? clinton watts: what i would say is i do like how we're approaching counter-terrorism in a lot of these affiliates already. we've already started to take action against the islamic state in libya. that's the second most important affiliate that's out there. we will have to pursue special operations force attacks if aggressive joint terrorism task force investigations here in the states and robust intelligence sharing across europe, north africa, and the middle east, for as long as we live. everybody in here will have to do that. we will have to watch that. this won't go away. there is no beginning and there is no end. there's only degrees of winning and losing. so i think the notion that we need to put forth, both in our country and particularly in europe, who seems to only react to these situations, is that a constant offense is the only way to keep them on the defense.
i would say that foreign fighter task force tracking is the most essential thing we should be doing, and we should have done. this is what i call countering terrorism now from the third foreign fighter glut. we had a massive ingress of foreign fighters to afghanistan, that later mutated into al qaeda, 20 years ago. we then had a massive ingress into iraq and afghanistan last decade. that eventually mutated to become the al qaeda/islamic state split, and now we're looking at the islamic state being squelched in iraq and syria. there'll always be some sort of militant organization there, because we can't restore any sort of governance, or we have no plan for it. and therefore, this will mutate into what could be a more dangerous scenario, which is not al qaeda or the islamic state. those are just washington terms we sort of throw around on cnn, because it gives people a label to understand it. we very well may be facing five
to seven regional terrorist nodes across the entire world, that have varying degrees of connection. they communicate and cooperate when they need to, and then they don't. they may choose different parts of the ideology to pursue, mostly based on local political environments. but the one thing that you can look at across all these regions is the lack of governance. we thought the arab spring would bring about an opportunity for democracy to grow. and as a democratic nation, for some reason we really helped everyone vote, but we never helped them after voting. and so we have safe havens stretched all the way from western africa to southeast asia, at this point, where they can operate. the islamic state label, they'll pick up that label and use it whenever it's convenient for them. if they think they can pull in money or recruits, they will. but they will pursue their own objectives. the dangerous part for us is when they pursue their own objectives, it creates a capacity and capability problem for us in the u.s. and the globe as an entirety. how do we track that many
threats that are out there if they spread? ron johnson: when i witnessed, when we witnessed isis just roll up to cities in iraq, that, to me, indicated an organization that's pretty strategic. clinton watts: absolutely. ron johnson: it had a game plan and they were able to execute that game plan. that's, that's no fly-by-night. that's just no jv team. now they're setting up training centers. and they're training youth, and they're training the next generation. and can anybody speak to the real danger there? clinton watts: what i would say is this is going to happen routinely because there's a lack of governance. there's no opposing force. and so we've gotten into a situation where we did clear, hold, and build. let's deploy massive military force last decade, at great expense, which ultimately created a security vacuum in itself, and we've retreated to the other end, which is hoping that drones and special operations forces will keep everyone down, and sort of keep this problem at bay. in between, in the middle, is how do we work with foreign nations and proxies? and if you look at our competitors around the world, they're picking their proxies as they see fit to pursue the
interests they want. our greatest problem in the united states, in counter-terrorism is we don't really know what we want. all we know is that we don't want anything bad to happen. and if all you know is what you don't want, you'll never get what you do want. and we haven't picked out what our strategic objectives are. so we're constantly in a patchwork, moving and chasing. the one thing i do like is we are pursuing the threat. i think it is a great testament to our counter-terrorists who, over the past 15 years, have gone where the threat is. our special operations forces have pulled off amazing feats in recent months. but that alone won't get us there. we'll always be vulnerable until we pick out where we want to focus. right now i think libya and north africa is the place that we need to be very concerned about. that will be a natural expansion point for them. i think yemen is another big issue as well. ron johnson: mr. zarate, real, very quickly. mr. gartenstein-ross talked about the difference between big bureaucratic organizations versus small start-up companies. i'm one of those small start-up companies, and you know exactly
what you're talking about. it's easy to compete against big companies. in your testimony, you talked about the innovation of isis. juan carlos zarate: yes. ron johnson: and one of my concerns, i want you to speak to this is, we know that two of the terrorists involved in brussels, in their apartment we found surveillance videos of a nuclear facility can you speak to the dangers, and what might be on their minds there? juan carlos zarate: absolutely, mr. chairman. i think one of the dangers you see with the islamic state is they have been adapting very quickly new methodologies. and so in the field, in places like iraq and syria, the use of tunnels and multiple sophisticated attack prongs as part of their attack vectors, the use of chemical weapons. reports just today of another chemical attack against some of our allies on the ground. and certainly a real question as to whether or not they have ambitions to engage in wmd terrorism. the reality is they've set up a unit to develop chemical weapons capabilities. they're obviously using it now, multiple times. chairman johnson: they have the
labs to access. that'srlos zarate: right. and, mr. chairman, just to touch on the conversation you were just having, i think one of the major differences from the safe haven of today versus the safe havens of the past is that we're not talking about the jungles and mountains and deserts in the hinterlands of the safe havens of old that we worried about. we're talking about real cities, real urban environments. the second largest city in iraq. mukalla, in yemen which is controlled by al qaida in the arabian peninsula. these are real cities with real resources, real populations, financial systems, all of which they're taking advantage of, to include universities, labs, scientists, and experts, much of which we are blind to. show i think one of the major dangers we have to keep in mind is the safe havens and the ink blots that are emerging, that are tied to the islamic state is qualitatively different. and that's leading to strategic innovation. and you've seen this not just in the context of wmd, potentially, but you've seen it with even naval attacks in egypt. you saw it with the attack on the civilian aircraft out of the sinai.
you are going to continue to see adaptations to the extent that they have fighters to train and resources to apply. they have space in which to plan, and leadership that's intended to attack the west. chairman johnson: that is the offense i was talking about, is we have to take those resources, that territory away from them. sen. carper: thanks very much. this is an exceptional panel of witnesses. they give for joining us. i spent a number of years of my life in the navy. i remember being in southeast asia, and the office of our commanding officer of our squadron had a cartoon up on the wall. and the cartoon was a depiction of a man on a very small island, trying to climb up a single tree, surrounded by alligators. and the caption under the cartoon was, "it's hard to remember that your job was to drain the swamp when you're up to your eyeballs in alligators."
our friends in europe are up to their eyeballs in alligators. and we're trying to help them and help themselves. how do we go about draining this swamp? root causes. just spend a minute, each of you, a minute on those causes, please. zarate: i think first and foremost, being very open and honest about where these pockets of radicalization have existed. these are not new in europe. neighborhoods like molenbeek, neighborhoods in the u.k. like luton, have developed radicalized environments, ecosystems that have allowed radical clerics to recruit, and pipelines of generations of radicals to continue to be enlisted and mobilized. first and foremost identify what are those hotspots. when you look at the map in europe or africa, you will see
there are particular notches countries and not his regions, but also neighborhoods where particular segments of communities that are the most at risk. you look at the neighborhood of tetouan out of morocco that has produced the vast bulk of foreign fighters over the course of the years dating back to the iraq war. and so there are these pockets that need to be identified. and and in many ways, then focused on for law enforcement and intervention purposes. then you have the general problem of integration and assimilation. this is a problem that's only going to grow worse in europe, given the refugee crisis. and so working with european authorities on understanding how best they and we can help them integrate these populations better, so that you don't have a new generation of radicals emerging out of these refugee populations. chairman johnson: i will ask you to hold it there so the other witness has a chance to respond. julian smith: sure. there are about 30 million muslims in europe from the 1960's and 1970's to respond to a labor shortage.
many of them did not expect to stay. now we have dealt with second and third generations of these communities and they have several grievances. toy don't have access educational opportunities. unemployment is very high. the nature of the challenge is very enormous. this is not just indulgent but in several countries across europe. what makes this particularly challenging right now is the fact that european public opinion of muslims is worsening. european citizens, as you well know, are incredibly worried about their own employment numbers, about their own opportunities. they have a complete loss of faith in institutions like the european union. and so you've seen the rise of these populist parties that are actually more discriminatory. they're more anti-immigrant. and and so, just as european governments need to double down on these integration programs, you're finding a resistance and push-back from european society. and so i can't stress how challenging this is going to be. chairman johnson: thank you very
much. daveed gartenstein-ross: i find that when looking to answer questions like this, it's often useful to look at it through the eyes of the adversary. so, if we take an enemy-centric perspective, if i'm isis or al qaida, and trying to grow larger and stronger in europe, the first thing this panel has remarked upon is weak law enforcement, which allows me to operate transactionally, operate fairly openly. they can't -- they don't have surveillance resources to cover the network. secondly, given the integration problem that was just mentioned, and this massive influx of migrants who will also have trouble integrating, just as the problem already exists, there's the potential for recruitment there, especially if you can trigger a nativist backlash. we we are, of course, already seeing that nativist backlash. every time you carry out an attack, that increases hostility towards the muslim population and, as isis has said, they want to destroy what they regard as the gray zone, that zone between isis and the european population, where european muslims can exist.
the final thing i'll mention about looking over at european politics is, one of the things that is happening with the rise of far-right parties is other parties aren't addressing these issues. like, when you cede the discursive environment to the worst of the worst, they're the ones who are going to seem like they speak to people's concerns. so i think understanding why they're rising is an important part of understanding this very dangerous environment that exists within europe. tom carper: thank you. i would say we can't fix european politics or the integration problem. and so i would instead focus on the issue of why it's attractive to these young men, and some women, to join the islamic state. and i and i would focus on two messages. one, can you turn the islamic state and its leaders into villains rather than martyrs? and that really is about how you change the narrative in terms of how they are perceived by those people that are seeing it.
th the second one is the message that the leading killer of an isis member is a fellow isis member. right now we're watching defectors, you know, flee from syria and iraq. they are killing the defectors, they're killing internal spies or people that are starting to ask questions about the direction of the group. i think it's important to put that into the mind of those young people. they're believing one narrative. you need to offer them another one which is more full of truth. so i would instead focus on the iraqi legions which are within the islamic state, who are very much pushing away the foreign fighters now, not giving them much respect and fellow rights to their foreign fighter brothers. and how can you drive a wedge between them? i'd focus on defectors and their messages when they come back from the islamic state. there are a lot of them right now, talking about what happened to them when they were in iraq and syria. it was not the fantasy that they had had in their mind. then i would absolutely publish
the silly and pointless deaths of every european foreign fighter. they use them for personal scores, suicide bombings against, you know, adversaries locally. that would be -- there wouldn't be a google search that would happen in one of those hot spot communities . towns that sent fighters come from the same towns that produced fighters in the afghans in the 1980's. it is about are we going to do something to produce in those situations. tom carper: secretary johnson has been before us and one of the issues he is pushing is a partnership really with the muslim communities to counter violent extremism in our country. is this in terms of responding cause inially a root this country, is this a smart policy to pursue or not? i thinklo zarate: absolutely. in fact we've established a
commission at csis, led by tony blair and secretary panetta, to look at precisely this issue and provide policy guidance on -- for the next administration. absolutely right. these are issues not just of safe haven abroad, but also questions of identity and dislocation. one thing we need to look at, and this is something i was going to mention with your last question the last element is , family and networks. we find that family and networks are critical to the support of extremism, as well as to counter. and it's often family members that are able to intervene, and we're not finding ways of enlisting them aggressively enough. yes, absolutely. i think it is critical for us to pursue those types of programs here in the united states, but we also need to work with our european partners. we face different challenges, but we can share lessons learned and see what works and what doesn't. tom carper: thank you. daveed gartenstein-ross: yes, with the caveat that a lot of the early efforts will certainly be awkward and faltering. so some of the benefit will be learning from what doesn't work.
clinton watts: i would not put much effort into it to be honest. from are some values building trust with the community that you respect, i don't think it will be a great weapon in rewarding recruitment. communities, these people are already disenfranchised from it. i think it is good for a community policing purposes in general, i don't think it really will get at big problem. i think it is a transitional effort. kelly a. ayotte: this is an excellent panel. i want to thank the german. the fact that we had a major attack in europe and we can't get before this committee an official from the department of homeland security, fbi, or the national counter-terrorism center to me speaks volumes. if this administration thinks they're doing a good job fighting isis, then come and make their case before this committee. so i want to back the chairman up on the point that he made, i think very respectfully,
earlier. youuld like to ask each of one of the things i heard coming loud and clear is the lack of intelligence sharing in europe. and the problems we have with that lack of intelligence sharing. as you know, most -- the european countries, in fact, we have about 38 countries that are part of our visa waiver program, and to be part of that program, you have to essentially meet certain basic standards of information sharing you have to . you have to enter into an agreement with the u.s. to report lost or stolen passports and, most importantly, have an agreement with the u.s. to share information regarding whether a national of that country traveling to the u.s. represents a threat to u.s. security. show as i hear your testimony today, i see a huge glaring flag because at the end of december, we passed a law here which i was glad we did that essentially
said individuals who had traveled to iraq and syria and iran and also now the homeland security secretary, which i support has added some other countries like libya to that list. but here's the problem. if we if we don't have good information sharing, as highlighted but would help in belgium, we can put that in place all we want. but if we don't know that someone traveled to iraq and syria, in fact if you look what happened with paris, and obviously one of the individuals had come over with a -- from greece with a fake passport. we we also know now with the situation from belgium that, in fact, the information that came from turkish authorities was not properly acted upon so i would , have to think that they weren't exactly sharing that information with us if they weren't acting upon it fully themselves. so what does this mean in terms of what we should be doing to protect our citizens with the lack of information sharing?
obviously, it needs to be a priority with us to get information sharing between us and the transatlantic relationship, better information and sharing among europe, but i think our citizens need to understand, what do we need to do to protect our citizens, to make sure that someone doesn't travel to iraq and syria, we are unaware of it because the information has not been shared, and then is able to travel to the united states without a visa? you want to comment on that? juan carlos zarate: great questions and very important concerns. i think, as you mentioned, you have a problem of lack of information sharing, lack of real time information sharing, lack of details of the information, as well as gaps of information just generally. you have seen that the
terrorists have adopted around it. you have seen some of the plotters in recent attacks that they have used methodologies of returning to europe using routes tos avoid countries of concern so i think there are two things we need to do. one is we have to engage in self-help. we've got to gain more intelligence on our own. we've we've got to be aggressive about what we're doing on the ground in these places, as well as along the routes where we suspect the foreign fighter pipelines are operating. the the turkish-syrian border, we know exactly where that strand of border is, where they're -- continue to move in and out. i'm i'm hoping and expecting that we are on that like hawks, trying to get as much information about people moving in and out there. and understanding then where they're flowing elsewhere. uan secondly, i think we need to spur the europeans to work more closely together. and i think and i think that means we have to collect them together,
whether it's a clinch point in a task force model or some other fashion. kelly a. ayotte: one of the things i called upon when this happened is, i asked the president to bring nato together. don't you think nato could be a helpful avenue to at least bring the members together that are parts of nato? juan carlos zarate: nato could be but you need the special forces that focus on counterterrorism and a british are very good at this. the germans are very good. what you need is a mechanism to knock heads. there is something to the fact that passenger name records are shared in a real-time basis, but passenger name records are not shared within the european union, so just think about that area we've developed a protocol to understand where there are suspect actors trying to access the commercial aviation system. europe-wide doesn't even have that internally. in a sense, we're going to have to catalyze a lot of this innovation and a lot of what my fellow panelists have talked about. we're going to have to do it. and we have to take a leadership role, frankly, like it or not, because we have vulnerabilities of the type that you described, senator.
yes, senator,: that's an excellent question. i i would just add to that that the u.s. has a number of bilateral relationships, so the cooperation we have with europe is completely uneven. there are there are some that are wonderful, others that are in complete disrepair, and we've got to bring everybody up to the same standard. there are improvements that need to be made to our intelligence sharing with europe, but jaun is exactly right -- juan is exactly right. the fact that they are not going to move forward with an e.u.-wide implementation of pnr until our election is ridiculous. they're waiting to see who the next president is to get our views on intelligence when they need to move out on this yesterday. and so we should push them not to wait for our election, but to advance this agenda as soon as possible. i mean, david ignatius in a recent piece really put it best. the europeans are very interested in our intelligence, for all the obvious reasons, but they have this real distaste for collection.
and we've got to break past this, and break through it, to say, "enough is enough. we need we need to make progress on these issues and work through these issues you have on data privacy and data sharing." kelly a. ayotte: i see mr. watson wanting to make a comment and i saw on your testimony that you believe we need better warnings as well based on what we know. clinton watts: yes i think one , thing the u.s. can do for the european union is, we just spent a decade building the national counterterrorism center, all these integration functions, and doing intelligence sharing both up and across. so we do it from the federal, state, to local level, and we know how to manage that and push it, and we know how to do that with partners and any interagency. i think that's something that we can help them do. and i think it's -- how do we develop those relationships. they are all bilateral. so why should we, as the u.s., provide the french, and then the u.k., the same intelligence to ? each of them individually
-- intelligence to each of them individually? they need to somehow synchronize their systems, so maybe we can offer a way for them to do that, or provide support to them in a way to do that. my fear is the europeans don't want to do with their data privacy issues and collection issues until they haven't attacked, so i can we communicate that to them? this is what you are facing. do you want to wait to see what happens with you want to come to this intelligence i? -- sideza/ -- side? so i think it is a way we can work with all of those countries, you know, germany, brokered -- >> i know my time is up but i did not want to leave the doctor. daveed gartenstein-ross: since
the question was about visa waiver and ensuring our own borders, i would just point out that u.s. customs and border protection is ultimately the last line of defense. when you have somebody who doesn't -- where the search doesn't correlate with iraq, syria, libya, et cetera, it ultimately comes down to the counterterrorism response team. . one thing i would but some focus on is did the counterterrorism response team, do they have enough resources? do they have the training they seeking ife under somebody is suspicious. and moreover, do you have enough professionalization and enough incentive to get the best and the brightest to stay in that program as opposed to going to another agency? that, i think, is something that is entirely appropriate for the legislature to look into. kelly a. ayotte: i thank you all for your answers, and i would just say, based on what you said, i think that we have to take the leadership role here. i
i don't see another country that will be able to bring this -- bring everyone together and get them to act. johnson: while we're on this topic, i just want to quickly ask a very simple question. because the theory is the visa waiver program, there are 38 countries on that program right now, that there is a threshold level of information sharing that, you know, should be sufficient. anybody want to express an opinion of those 38 countries? are they at the threshold level or should we seriously be taking a look at pulling some of those programs: or really evaluate tha -- waiver programs or evaluate that? juan carlos zarate: i think it's worth reviewing, especially in light of the recent attacks. i i think we should look at belgium. there's no question about that, given the highest level per capita of foreign fighters coming from belgium, their own
difficulties of information sharing internally and some of the deficits, i think it's wholly appropriate to look at some of these countries -- without prejudice, obviously, understanding the deep economic, and social and diplomatic importance of the visa waiver program. i think a healthy review and some skepticism is worth it. chairman johnson: anybody else want to chime in on that? i would agree. i would say start with the countries that have the most foreign fighters per capita. that is where i would begin with and then moved down the list. chairman johnson: thanks. senator ernst. senator ernst: thank you, mr. chair, and thank you for joining our panel today. this has been very helpful for all of us i think. i've noted my capacity on the senate armed services committee, i do share concerns that have been expressed about the lack of measuresor protection for civilians and their families
and the of the. a couple of examples of that. the u.s. military recently ordered military family members to exit turkey. we have a state department that ordered the departure of family members of staff at a u.s. consulate, and recently, the wife of an air force officer was killed in the brussels attack. so if we can focus just on belgium for a moment. reports reports are suggesting that the dod has about 1,300 military personnel and dependents and about 600 civilian employees in belgium, which of course, we all know is home to nato. i would like to start with you, mr. watts, please, and then if the rest of the panel can answer as well. do you share my concern and general breedlove's about u.s. force protection in europe? and and what do we need to do to make sure that force protection is adequate, and how do we move forward on that? clinton watts: i would start off in terms of concern. i am
i am concerned in particular for one big reason. so what we have seen is two big attacks in paris and brussels, and so, now counterterrorism is out aggressively. we know also that there is, as daveed mentioned, there's other parts of the network that are still at large. and so if you believe that you are being closed in on as the terrorists, what do you do? you rapidly but together a hasty attack. there is no target better than a military person deployed overseas, and we saw that with the two airmen killed in germany. that is a target of opportunity. and so if you are either an inspired recruit or someone in the network that knows that you are on your last few minutes, this is a great target of opportunity. same with embassies and consulates. so i think there is a huge risk for that as these investigations progress. if they can't operate as cells or as groups the way they have in the past, they are going to pick targets of opportunity. maybe they pick europeans, but the most vulnerable i think, the most targeted u.s. people are going to be state department employees and department of
defense employees. i think it is a concern and we know the network is there and we know they will look for targets of opportunity as things get tougher. in terms of how you protect them, it is extremely challenging. you have to challenges. one for from our active defense measures in place. this is increasing diplomatic security and surveillance of those sorts of things. very tough to do. the other part is you remove them from those countries. and when you talk about removing 1,300 servicemen and women's families from those countries, that's a major signal, and it also has impacts on europe, we . we believe that europe is insecure and it creates a ripple effect. i don't know that i have the right answer for what to do. i i do think we can do risk forecasting much better than we're doing. we kind of wait for an attack to happen and then we say, oh, ok, there's like something bad out there. travel travel warning. it's like, great, i'm already
here. we can map that out as a risk forecast and say here is the risk of traveling in these nations based on the number of foreign fighters, the capacity we assess the european countries at in terms of counterterrorism law-enforcement which also sends a signal to them and then where we see attacks. what are high-traffic location attacks? what are, you know, high-traffic locations attacks. we've seen the subways, we've seen, you know, popular western venues. this looks a lot more like what we used to see in the middle east or north africa, hitting targets of opportunity where there are lots of westerners at. i think we can indirectly send some signals to europe by setting up our own assessment, and i would make it public. i would have a map to -- just like you see with disease control maps, be like these other places that we are worried about the most. and then the europeans will figure out on their own that they have their own problem as as well. ernst: that is very good. i would like to hear from the other panelists as well, if you would. juan carlos zarate: a look
around government surveillance of family members and soft targets tied to military personnel because i wouldn't worry where he so much about the heart interfaces and other sites around which we have security that we can flex aggressively if need be. those are always targets, but there is a hard time executing against those. i worry more about the soft targets outside of the rings of security and understanding where the terrorists maybe surveilling, doing a little counter terrorism is important. one other note, keep in mind that from a cyber perspective, what some of the followers and adherents of isis have tried to do is to expose military personnel and their family members with personal data, addresses, etc. so there is a very real effort underway to at least threaten, if not put at risk, family members and personnel outside the bounds of classic security. so, we have to be quite conscious of that, and counter
it if we can. senator ernst: very good. anyone else wish to respond? daveed gartenstein-ross: yes. i would echo these concerns. and and piggybacking on what juan said, i think that one of the emerging tactics that isis in particular is trying to use is stalking and killing its foes, especial those who are affiliated with governments. basically taking them out of the government's sphere, making them individuals who can easily be tracked. and you know, when i was in germany fairly recently at the base in stuttgart, i saw service members, in contravention to regulations, leaving the base still wearing their uniforms. that's a concern. i think that making family members and members of the military aware of a few things is important. one is just basic online security, something which is definitely drilled in within these institutions.
making them aware of how much information they are giving off on social media. a lot of the information isis got when it put out addresses of service members who are on their kill lists was easily gleamed not from hacking, but i going to social media accounts and finding this information about them. but ultimately, i think this is a very high level concern that fits both with what the organization has done and also the direction that it is moving in, in terms of its evolving tactics. ernst: well, i appreciate that very much. i i know my time is expiring. when when my husband was serving in saudi arabia in the late '90s, you know, he was considered a combatant commander -- excuse me, part of a combatant command. those family members could not live in saudi arabia at that time. however, he had, next door, in the next set of quarters over, a non-combatant commander, but those families could live there.
it was ironic to us. i don't think terrorists distinguish between who is a combatant and who is a non-combatant in situations like that. but i do think this is something the united states needs to take very seriously. we need to measure we are protecting our servicemembers as well as civilians serving overseas. thank you very much for being here today. chairman johnson: thank you. senator peters. senator peters: thank you mr. chairman and thank you to the panelists. i am sure we will continue to find this hearing very interesting and appreciate your expertise. i like to pick up on some questions that senator carper had related to the community and what we have seen certainly of the attacks in paris and brussels and the individuals involved were home-grown, folks were radicalized in their own country. they went off in some cases to be foreign fighters. came back. you have already talked about some of the conditions in those european neighborhoods that these individuals are exposed
to. given the fact that we also have a very vibrant muslim-american, arab-american community here in the united states, in michigan, my state in particular, could you comment a what you see as the differences between the united states and europe, and what lessons because we, thankfully, have not seen those types of incidents here in our country, what lessons can be learned from the united states that may be helpful to the europeans? so what is happening here? is it is it different? elaborate on why that could be a good lesson for others areas. i'll start with mr. zarate. juan carlos zarate: thank you. i think it is a difference. first, a difference in the numbers. capitak at th per number of individuals who have gone to fight in a variety of foreign terrorist conflicts, and the numbers are quite low per capita in terms of the u.s..
in terms of foreign fighters and syria and iraq, we are looking at 200 or so. now, given we don't have full information about foreign fighters, and in fact, that american who recently turned himself in to the kurdish authorities that played on video, i think was not known to u.s. authorities. and so i think we don't have a full picture, but the numbers are much smaller than what we see in europe, which is in the thousands. second, our muslim-american communities are incredibly diverse. they are spread geographically and they are well integrated, , and historically have done incredibly well socially and economically. if you look at the figures in terms of per capita income, the numbers are very high. and in and in general, the notion of integration has been very natural and organic in the american context. is last thing i would note that the very notion of an is a commonntity form of definition of individuals and communities. the fact that anyone from any , creed, religion can
call themselves an american be they first-generation or 12 generation is incredible powerful. and the notion, i think, and several social scientists have pointed this out, that there is actual sort of gravity to the idea of the american dream, the american ideal is actually a counterweight to the counter narratives of these terrorist groups, and even the dream of the islamic caliphate, which is animating so many to fight in iraq and syria. and so the one thing i would argue for america is we have got to make sure we recognize that, we embrace our diversity, we tackle the challenge of communities like the somali-americans, where you have seen a higher percentage of individuals going to fight, and ensure that you don't have the ghettoization or even the sense of targeting ghettoization of muslim-american communities or any other community. that's a bedrock of american power and identity, and frankly, will hold us in good stead against this ideology. gary peters: thank you
julianne smith: thank you for that early good question. is exactly right. i agree with him 100%. we benefit here in the united states from the fact that it is very easy to have a hyphenated existence. you can be whatever it might be, and in europe, these migrants that have arrived, many from north africa, for example, feel neither french nor moroccan, right. so they have been in this country, many of them were born there, but they don't feel part of society and there is no path , for them forward to integrate into these societies. so it so it makes them very susceptible to someone who comes along, either over social media or in a coffee house, to say, "i've got an identity for you. this is where you belong. come join us in the islamic state. this will be your home, because france is not your home, and you are not going to go to morocco either or algeria or wherever it might be, and so let us provide
that sense of identity to you." and that is an entirely different challenge than what we have here in the united states. it's not to say that we don't have folks that are susceptible to radicalization, but it is a very different challenge than what we see on the other side of the atlantic. gary peters: thank you. you canartenstein-ross: see some of this bear out statistically. this might be a little bit dated, but the last time i looked into this, the average muslim have a higher level of education than the average american. the average muslim in the united states had also a higher level of employment/socioeconomic status, which speaks to relative levels of integration. i'd also caution, i think that there are lessons that europe could learn from the united states, but the u.s. is fairly unique in its identity as being a nation of immigrants. i mean,
i mean, i travel the world a lot, as does everyone on this panel, and i can't think of many other societies other than canada where you don't have integration problems and i don't mean muslim integration problems, but from, you know, any sort of class. just in general throughout the world, you have a much more rigid set of identity than we have in the united states. and so, i wouldn't think of there being a quick fix in terms of lessons from america, but rather i see this as being a systemic problem that will be with us, i think, for decades to come that most countries do not integrate new populations the way the u.s. has been successful in doing. gary peters: thank you. clinton watts: i would like to shift just a little bit to show why europe's problem is worse now than ever and then compare it to us. the best router of a foreign fighter is a former foreign fighter, and that is about the physical relationship, the way you recruit people into your
ranks. .t is the same in the states they say the best way to recruit a marine is with a former marine area i. it motivates you and get you going. and right now europe has what's called bleedout, foreign fighters leaving syria and iraq, they are bleeding back into your area at the same point, -- back into europe. at the same point, they had the other problem with the inspired folks, which i call bottled up. so they want to go to syria and iraq, but can no longer do that. and you had these catalysts, former foreign fighters working with inspired recruits, and we see this in the paris and belgium attacks. it is almost half-and-half. you've got some foreign fighter veterans and some inspired recruits that are working together, and that's the worst case scenario. they are in these disenfranchised communities. we we are lucky here in the united states we don't have the foreign fighters coming back the way that we see in europe, and most of our recruits are virtual recruits. probably 90% of them are online. they don't have a direct connection with it. they work to build a connection with the group. that takes longer, it's more difficult, and you get a different style of recruit. they
they are more ideological in recruitment, whereas those neighborhoods are more social in terms of their recruitment, and this is a different dynamic that plays out, so we are lucky, with the exception possibly of minneapolis, which was mentioned before we don't have that same , dynamic here, which allows us to detect them online, you know, as well as on the ground, much faster. they send out signals that are much easier to detect in many ways, whereas in europe they got a huge problem. a lot of the recruitment is never seen by law enforcement or intelligence because it's happening face-to-face on a one-on-one basis. >> thank you. i appreciate your responses. to bends as if we have vigilant. we have to have strong intelligence and make sure we are being offensive in our actions, but ultimately, the strongest field we have is our american values and a special place we are as a nation of immigrants were everyone can come here and have opportunity to pursue the american dream. if we ever let that slip, we truly are vulnerable. senator booker: thank you.
thank you for this hearing. mr. watts, i'm a little -- you said something which seemed like you were sort of downplaying the effectiveness of c.v. of efforts , to counter the propaganda. do do you think that that is not as fruitful of a pathway? i don't clinton watts: i don't believe that most of the c.v. efforts that i've seen, at least -- comparing the states and europe is a little bit challenging, but i believe it is an indirect way to sort of get at the motivations which are recruiting these young people. part of the reason they are recruited as they are not connected to the community. they are not connected socially or with their parents not listening to what their parents are saying a lot times. we just saw two weeks ago where a mother in europe found out that her son was in the islamic state because the records were diagnosed online. she did not know until a newspaper essentially contacted her, so parents are not good at
doing with their young people are doing. that is normal. with these communities, they seem to not be aware or are not on board in terms of preventing this. so i think it's a good effort to do for a lot of reasons, regarding violent extremism but also just building relationships with the communities to break down those borders between them. but if you want to get at the problem right now of radicalization and recruitment, you have to change, and this is where we come to the communications part of it, the sort of mindsets, the narratives, you've got to change how they view opportunities to become a jihadist. jihadists are fickle. foreign fighters are extremely fickle recruits. we watched online for years al qaida recruits, "you should go to yemen." they would go to yemen until things weren't going well in yemen. then we saw molly. "you should go to mali." that that lasted about three days until the french invaded. "you "you should go to syria." that that has gone on for four years because the islamic state was being successful. that narrative wasn't propaganda. it was truth.
we are advancing on these cities, in the way we said our strategy would. we are achieving success, we are building a state. as soon as we start to erode that, and i think it's happening now, you start to see fewer recruits and fewer affinity for it. but i think the key point is to focus on the individuals and why they are wanting to join, rather than trying to go through the community. i'm not sure that they are the best lever for it. i would rather change the image than the method. booker: at the same time, focusing on trying to show that isis is making victories, so pushing perhaps a more fertile ground for trying to do for an .v.ack, but you really take c efforts and separate them into buckets. they are trying to create better networks within was a -- muslim communities. trying to battle that exposing
them for the shams and frauds they are. clinton watts: yes, and i think it is a funnel. so usually we talk about vulnerable, radicalizing and committed roots. there is more at the vulnerable stage. these are the communities we want to reach out to. that's that's where a community program, like you suggested, we might focus that. there is right laughing. these are people we already know are already connected to foreign fighters. they look like they are mobilizing, they are taking on the image and the talk of those that they want to join. and then the committed. these are guys that are either trying to do an attack at home or trying to make their way to syria and iraq. i would focus more effort at the bottom of the funnel. cory booker: so that is law-enforcement. you are telling me to have as much confidence in seeing folks whoicalize come back to have no converted them andanity engaging telling the truth to others that are in the second part. clinton watts: i'm a big fan of them, and that's where i would focus those, towards the
radicalizing members. what i am not so interested in is this massive vulnerable audience where we try and -- i call it pushing the "let's buy the world a coke," message where we try and say, let's reach out to you. we will build stronger communities. we can integrate and we can solve some of your problems. so, i would rather look at those that are closely connected to foreign fighters in their communities, and that's where i would aim that message. focus to the radicalizing audience. sometimes we get one part right by not focusing in the right place. i would rather look at those that are closely connected to foreign fighters and their communities and that is where i would aim that message. . >> do you want to add to that? julianne smith: i guess i have a youhtly different view area need multiple lines of effort, obviously. you've got the military angle, you've got the law enforcement, but i think we do have to invest in some of these cve measures. i i mean, ultimately the research shows that to pull someone off the path of radicalization, you've got to give them an
alternative path. they have to have a network of individuals that they trust, and a mom, or a teacher, or a parent or a neighbor that can persuade them to make the right choice. and they have to obviously have some element of doubt about going down this path. but i think some of the cve measures that have been launched to date are trying to do just that, to provide a network of individuals that can lay a hand on someone as they are wavering. obviously, some of them are too far to pull back, but for the young kids that are on the brink of packing it in and taking a flight to turkey and crossing the border into syria, we have to look at some of these programs . of them produce results and we definitely have to understand what is working and what is not i think we have to keep trying to working with our allies, whether it is the folks in the uae or our european allies. yo i think it is an important component of the wider strategy.
cory booker: really finding the ones that are working, investing in those, obviously not undermining the law enforcement efforts and the like, but finding the ones that are targeted? and just out of curiosity in the few minutes i have left, because this is the great night i had going to bed listening to npr, but they talked -- it was a good article my staff sent me about why some neighborhoods are very radicalized, but some are not. you have sort of a moroccan neighborhood where they are, and then you have a turkish neighborhood that's not. but yet, they have some of the same characteristics -- not integrating yet into european society. if yould you say that have thoughts on that? aan carlos zarate: it is great question and one that bears a lot more investigation because you have to have these hotspots of radicalization. you also have a situation, senator, and this is part of the difficulty of the efforts, and one bears the scars of doing
work in this space for years, i can attest to it, but the reality is you have family members themselves growing up in the same homes, same neighborhood. one goes off to fight, the other doesn't, and doesn't fall prey to the ideology. and the question is why? and i i think sociologists, archaeologists, anthropologists are all looking at this. there's sort of a social scientist sort of surge on this, to figure out what is the difference. and one of the things, to clint's point earlier, is the personal connection between the radicalizers, the ideologues and the lineage of both ideological and operational networks. i i think where you have seen these groups continue to persist, where they continue to produce radicalized individuals and foreign fighters, conflict after conflict, year after year is in these communities where there are people who are actively trying to recruit as a part of their mission. you've seen it in llah krekar in norway, you've seen it with, you know, preachers in the u.k. and you've seen it obviously in france and belgium, where you have this ideological lineage
that embeds in communities. that becomes a hotbed. so, i think that's one factor. i think scientists are trying to figure this out because not even within families themselves can we figure out exactly what radicalized as one individual versus another. cory booker: in the external thin line and i'll stop here, of , this sort of radical right that's growing in europe, that actually is creating more combustible fuel for radicalization, and does that concern you about rhetoric here in the united states that might be potentially doing the same? i am verymith: worried about political developments inside europe, where we have seen the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-e.u. parties really in countless countries across the european continent, and what it's doing to then fuel the grievances that these muslim communities have against the societies in which they live. i think similarly we have to be careful here about our own
rhetoric and active dissemination and alienation. we want to be as inclusive as possible. we have to recognize we also dealing with a very small percentage even in europe of the muslim community, and it is not fair to say that all of the muslims in europe are susceptible to radicalization. we have to keep that in check. so most importantly, i think i'm watching developments inside europe very closely, trying to figure out how this is going to unfold and change their approach in the coming months and years. but i think we have to watch ourselves as well this side of the atlantic. juan carlos zarate: senator we , cannot move to a position where in this country, we are propagating and echoing the narrative of "other," right? we we are americans, right, all americans. muslim, christian, jewish, agnostic, right, we are all americans. and to the extent that our political discourse drives us into the alienation and divide, that's not only destructive but it's dangerous. chairman johnson: senator portman. senator portman: thank you for
holding this hearing. of course, you once again had a great panel. i am sorry we did not have administration officials because when we had them before us, we learned a lot about what is going on and we have been constructive about giving and ideas of what should be happening in addition to what is already happening on the international site and the global threat here and winning the hearts and minds, which is a good conversation today. you know, we are told by the in ohio, people are worried. they see what happened in brussels. they remember paris and san bernardino. we are told by the experts in washington that the threat is increased in the united states. we face an increased threat today. i would wonder whether you agree with that. some of you seem to be saying that may be recruiting is down, that isis is not as successful because of the military victories. someone said they are by us. a lot of victories are by the syrian military army.
there are consequences to that that may create additional refugee flows, if that makes any sense. my question to you is, one, do you think that somehow the threat has ebbed? two, i would like to dig deeper into the ideology. i think there's more consensus, even though it is not entire consensus, but there's more consensus on what we ought to do in terms of protecting the homeland. there's less about how to actually get at the hearts and minds. one data point that has been reported to us, then you may dispute, but is very interesting as it relates to our conversation about what is happening here in the muslim community and young people, recruits, is that 38% of u.s.
citizens who have been charged with isis related offenses are converts. we sometimes talk about the lone wolf. often, it is a convert. i couldn't agree more that we need to do more in the muslim community. i will tell you, the first foreign fighter i believe who came back was in columbus, ohio. he was somali. part of the reason that we were able to apprehend him was because of cooperation between the police and the somali community. is this figure accurate, that almost 40% of those arrested
here on isis charges are converts, and what does that mean in terms of dealing with this issue? is it even broader than the importance of going into these muslim communities and having the leadership provide that alternative path and letting people know that as mr. watts said, these people are villains rather than heroes -- those are my questions. one, what do you think about the threat overall, in second, what do you think about dealing with the challenge we have in this country of people who are becoming radicalized and particularly those who are converts to islam becoming radicalized. juan, i'll start with you. mr. zarate: great questions as always. first, i think the scope, scale, and sophistication of terrorist threats are more significant now than ever before. part of this has to do with the diversification of nationalities of the citizens involved. a lot of it has to do with geographies. with isis establishing these layouts, these geographical areas applying to be part of isis, we seen it in southeast asia, the geographic scope, the diversity, the numbers are still there and the sophistication is increasing.
this is a group that is thinking about the next generation. you've seen recruitment of women, attempts to engage in education and schooling. all as a way of breeding a new generation of radicals as part of an isis 2.0 perhaps. finally, the idea of the caliphate, the fact that it is beginning to spread in other parts of the world, the very notion of it being a reality and persisting, continues to animate the movement in very dangerous ways. i mentioned southeast asia. you mentioned the reanimation of terrorist networks that we worked so hard to suppress now resurrecting because the idea and animation of the caliphate is driving some of these things.
i think we are in a more dangerous, animated time for terrorism. sen. portman: how about here in the united states? mr. watts, you could take a crack at that. mr. watts: we have a lot more ones and twos rather than community recruitment in the states. of those, many of them have deep psychological issues. maybe not part of this radical ideology for very long. how do you detect them if they are not part of a community? many of the converts that are finding islam and going to the extreme and mobilized to support isis, that can happen in months or years. the only real way to do that is online electronic surveillance. that is your best bet at picking those people up. they are self-medical rising. you don't have a community that can help you detect them. you don't have a law enforcement issue that can protect them. your best chance is online. that comes to the point of how
comfortable are americans watching that. i'm no longer in government. i can sit at my house and watch extremists online and know that they are mobilizing, but yet law enforcement in many ways has more hurdles to hop over to monitor that sort of information. oftentimes, i can provide it easier than they can do it themselves. how do we work through the system? that 40% worries me because i feel like they have a propensity to violence. sen. portman: those are good points. our time is expiring, but one thing we did not get into earlier is what is going on online. our inability to counter the narrative in an effective way is a real concern even at our center in ohio. that is very important. it seems to me we should be increasing our efforts.
this committee has talked about this with administration officials. we have helped nudge them toward this, to go online come away those individuals who may be converts or lone wolves are finding this information. it is not a physical contact. the young man from cincinnati who was a convert was working online to become radicalized. i think this is an area where we have a real gap in terms of our ability to project. any thoughts on online messaging and how to counter message? ms. smith: i would just note that we've seen different stages in hell crisis has taken the fight away from the region and into europe. they first wanted to inspire attacks. then they tried very hard to enable them and now they are working to direct the attacks. our efforts to counter their efforts have to be driven towards every single one of those efforts through law
enforcement, through the use of our military, to give them back home in the safe haven where they exist. you are exactly right. the online presence, their ability and sophistication online, is something that should worry all of us a great deal. sen. portman: if i could add one thing, because i failed to mention it earlier, senator booker's question was, there are online programs that do have merit. one is called one-to-one online interventions. moonshot is a group that has done it. i think that is an effective example of how you can do that in the online space. what tends to happen is that is more expensive. we tend to shy towards, if we do this program with 10 people, it might reach 1000. i would rather go heavier on those that we know our closest to getting on that airplane for
showing up here with an explosive device and invest heavier in those programs. sen. portman: that is one of our challenges. i couldn't agree more. thank you all very much. >> thank you. mr. watts, you indicated that as a private citizen, you can do more to identify these individuals than government officials can. talk about the handcuffs that are actually on government officials from trying to do what we need to do. mr. watts: i think it is twofold. i teach with the new jersey state police a lot. you can show them these accounts that are wide open. it comes down to two issues. what are the rules around me collecting this information on private citizens? law enforcement and federal systems have different comfortability with it. the second part is capacity to do it. state and locals can benefit a lot from protecting people online but have the least capacity to do it. the federal government has the most capacity, the most technology, but may have trouble communicating that information to state and locals. the other part is, if i have to go to a government location and do a briefing, it is almost impossible to use the technology just to access the information, all for good reasons.
as soon as that get introduced into the government, whether it is bureaucracy, capability, access, everything tends to go sideways. it becomes very difficult to do. sen. johnson: do you see a solution to that that protects american civil liberties? mr. watts: i do. i just feel there's needs -- there needs to be some sort of legislation. the snowden leaks did nothing for us in terms of helping the government, accessing that information, but i think a more forward approach saying, the best way we can secure our nation and safeguard you is if we watched what is going on online. when people talk about mobilizing toward violence, we need to talk to them. but if you can't see that information, it is hard to have a preemptive law enforcement approach. sen. johnson: mr. zarate, you
talked about what the goal is. we held a hearing based on graham woods, what isis really wants. my conclusion is two things. world domination and they want to set up this apocalyptic final battle. somewhat conflicting goals. i want to ask all the panelists, what is behind this? it is baffling to americans. al qaeda, the narrative was they wanted the west out of the middle east. this is different. can you first speak to that? what do you think they are after? mr. zarate: i think the next evolution of the violent sunni extremist ideology, and they've given life and manifestation to the mythology of reestablishing the islamic caliphate. they want to establish not only this caliphate, but demonstrate that they can govern and this is a place where it is the only
place where you can practice true islam. so, they've morphed the al qaeda narrative, which is the west is a war with islam, into, this caliphate and the way we are governing it is the only place where you can actually live as a true muslim. it is that that is the core of their message. that animates outward, because their job is to kill and convert infidels. they understand the west, along with our allies, will not allow them to do this long-term. sen. johnson: you talked about, as long as that caliphate exist, it inspires and prompts additional action.
i was interested in you talking about the application process. it sounds like a gang initiation. mr. zarate: what you've seen his that different terrorist groups, the moment the caliphate was announced, there was a moment of strategic decision for al qaeda as well as other violent extremist groups. they had to determine, do we believe in it? this is part of the strategic renting and division you've seen between al qaeda core and the islamic state. what a number of groups have done, to include boko haram, was to then send messages to the islamic state, initiating membership, in essence pledging allegiance and then applying to actually be an official province of the islamic state. this is a reality for them. they see this as a governing reality. you've seen this in libya, in egypt, in afghanistan and pakistan, in saudi arabia, in yemen. these are very real individuals thinking they are something bigger than themselves. that has dangerous implications because they have to prove that they are worthy, which is why you've seen these attacks in places like jakarta, with people trying to be part of this
broader caliphate. it is animating the movement and resurrecting these networks that we had long suppressed. sen. johnson: so the inescapable conclusion of this from my standpoint, if you want to go on offense versus continued defense, where defense is incredibly difficult, almost impossible, don't you have to destroy that caliphate? don't you have to deny them that territory? vista gartenstein-ross. mr. gartenstein-ross: i agree with that. it was mentioned earlier in the hearing that messaging that diffuses their image, their image which i call a winner's message, is a very important thing. the ammunition is there to do that. if they lose their caliphate, the have some explaining to do as one would say. you have at least a couple different kinds of people who are recruited to islamic state,
those who are heavily ideological and those who are a more criminal element. for both of them, if the caliphate is lost, those who are more ideological will understand that that destroys isis' interpretation of islamic prophecy. those who are criminal elements will just see them as losers. right now, they are not weak. they just carried out a couple of major attacks. but one thing that our messaging apparatus has done poorly is broadcasting those losses they've experienced in afghanistan, in algeria, and elsewhere. a lot of that comes back to the bureaucracy question. sometimes, when you look at our messaging apparatus, for some parts, it is how you even have a tweet approved. for others, there are limitations where they can't go beyond their immediate theater, which hinders the strategy of our messaging.
sen. johnson: again, messaging is all about reality. the reality is the caliphate remains. it has been described, then and work is growing. they've gone from inspiring to erecting. the reality is, they are not losing yet. they have not lost yet. i would argue that until they are overtly losing, they are going to continue to inspire and the threat continues to grow. mr. gartenstein-ross: i would add one thing. ultimately, isis has understood in particular the potential of social media to mobilize people to carry out attacks.
they have and have had more of an image of strength in certain theaters than is justified. if you look back to how they convinced boko haram to join their network, part of that story is convincing people that they controlled the city in libya, which they never did. as they start to lose more, i think it is in our interest to amplify that message of their losses. that will give them doubly hard. they will have more trouble drawing in recruits. we need to think about getting our messaging right. when they do start to lose the caliphate, we want to put that out in a message that is effective. sen. johnson: i'll give you all a chance to have some final thoughts at the end of this. i want to be respectful of my ranking members time.
>> i'm very much interested in the line of questioning we just had with the chairman. i was going to pursue that myself. one of the things we've not touched on today is the issue of real security in this country. in china, a bunch of our colleagues had an opportunity to ride on some of the most beautiful, comfortable, attractive, timely trains that i've ever ridden on in quite a while. i ride the trains quite often. coming down from new york city to washington today was, compared to china, eye-opening. it was not encouraging, let me just say. they are doing a pretty good job over there investing in infrastructure and we are not. speaking of rail, i want to ask you if you would help us rate the security of our rail system relative to maybe our aviation system, and what lessons do you think we might learn from the brussels attacks? mr. watts.
mr. watts: i would say rail as compared to air is always going to be far less. we've always had a very open system with rail, as do almost all countries. i think it is logical. i don't even just mean amtrak. the subway systems, the vulnerabilities are impossible really to defend against. that is why the best defense is the offense, the investigations, running down leads. i'm not sure that even if we wanted to secure it that there is a good way we could do it. i think it is a feasibility issue. anyone really can get to the amtrak or subway systems, whatever rail system it might be. i don't have a good answer, but i see it as a vulnerability worldwide, not just the u.s. sen. carper: thank you. esther gartenstein-ross. mr. gartenstein-ross: i think there's two problems. the problem is, number one, the
more you harden it like with checkpoints, the more you defeat the purpose. the reason why so boys are so effective is because you can up on. it doesn't take you hours to get across town. have to wait in the tsa line. the second thing is the very problem we saw in the brussels airport. even if you have a checkpoint, terrorist cannot check right outside the checkpoint. the checkpoint outside, you have a line of waiting passengers outside and that puts car bombs into play. one exception is good human policing. that is what amtrak tries to do. you have the teams with dogs going around amtrak trains to make sure nothing is amiss. it is far from being as effective as airline security, but that is the last line of defense for our rail security. ms. smith: i would just know
that i was in brussels two days before the attacks. i took the train over to london and they have hardened their rail security because of the differences between the u.k. in mainland europe. it did create an incredible vulnerability. i felt as i stood there that you had this huge mass of people waiting to go through security to get on a train to go through the tunnel to london. i agree with the point that in some ways, these fixes can make a bad situation worse. in europe, on the aviation security point, we have a pretty dire situation in that past the
security checkpoint, those areas are regulated and mandated to meet a certain level of security standards. but before the checkpoint, each individual country can handle security as they wish. which as you can imagine creates a whole array of standards and levels of security. i think europeans have to have some sort of discussion on how they want to collectively set standards on how they handle those areas before the checkpoint. sen. carper: thank you. mr. zarate. mr. zarate: i think deploying more behavioral analysts is important in an open system. i think dhs and tsa have tried to do that at airports and train facilities.
there are new technologies coming online that allow for better detection to a certain extent, as you mentioned, senator, even prediction around anomaly detection. dhs has invested at mets as you know. some of these technologies, it if applied in addition to these other behavioral analysis could give you a better sense of what the threats might be. but the long-term is the risk of mitigation and that is what we have in our train system. >> if you could quickly give me one important issue for consideration on which you think there is near-unanimous agreement. mr. zarate: i would say two of them if you give me the indulgence. one is the paradigm of the post 9/11 environment. it has to be operationally applied. they talk about it. but they have to move to an operational preventative mindset to and we have to help them get there. the second thing, for dhs purposes, moving toward systemic defense key critical infrastructure. water, electrical grid, we need to build redundancy around the systems because we know not only terrorists but state and nonstate actors are looking for
fun or abilities. only dhs can help drive that in this country. >> in wake of the paris attacks, a new european counterterrorism center was created. what happens when these new initiatives in the eu happens is they become largely informational and we have to work with them to ensure the counterterrorism center is in fact operational. >> i think there is near unanimous agreement that the sanctity of our intelligence processes are important. as senator johnson said, privatization of territory is the best way to craft a safer future from mass casualty
attacks. it is extraordinarily disturng to read the new report. you have now not only allegations by numerous analysts, dozens of them, about the politicization of intelligence. it is discouraging me for -- it is discouraging to me to see mr. clapper dumpsite that. if you have actual retaliation ongoing and leadership is not acting, then we have a tremendous problem. >> last word. >> more action the and talk. we saw paris, we saw brussels for months later. some of the same attackers, same network. nothing has happened. anything short of moving or word, putting together a actual resources and a plan with stated
objectives about how they will deal with the threat has to happen within 30 days. within two weeks. it is obvious this problem is not going to go away. >> you have been exceptional, panel. there is going to be another panel in a couple weeks. your panel sets up the next panel. >> i want to clarify what i said, i did not invite secretary johnson. we invited some top officials but not secretary johnson. >> thank you mr. chairman. it hurts me to say this, but thank you senator booker for allowing me to go. the fbi is not here because they are in the middle of an investigation. on the 26th you are going to have a hearing which should be a very good hearing. i think homeland security and so on are not here because the fbi could not be here. we will get there but it is important for them to do their job. thank you all for your testimony and for being here.
secretary johnson is going to be pushing for new legislation coming to the senate. there has been a lot of conversation today about the eu and how certain countries are not doing what they need to do to share information. which is a problem. i do not know how to solve it without writing a big old that check that will not help us with our debt here. security is important, make no mistake but those folks have to step up. these are questions that were brought about taking potential countries off that list. mr. chairman, you ask that question. maybe we ought to bring some folks in here who know what reasonable is and what is not. who is not cutting the mustard and make recommendations. that is appropriate when it comes to the security of this country. >> it you can tell me your opinion. is the security we have in the airports in this country where it needs to be? >> a could always be better, but i think it is where we needed to be in this country.
>> can and if you tell me why we have full body scanners. are not the magnetometers good enough? >> the full body scanners allow you to determine if there are other types of explosives on the body of the person. >> thank you. so, if we have airports that to do not have full body scanners, just magnetometers, are we opening up ourselves for a security risk push mark >> potential it. i think would tsa is trying to do is to apply a risk-based model and approach. >> where do we apply them? which airports are most vulnerable? ask that approach i assume is based on population. the number of people going through. no you think the trorists would know that?
>> they would. they are constantly probing for vulnerabilities. working outside of the rings of security. trying to infiltrate. trying to get access with insiders into the system as we have seen in the past with radicalized individuals who work on the tarmac or within security layers. >> that is true and that is why i have made the point. they will go to the weakest link and they will find it in the eventually there there. even though you base initially on volume, the and goal should be to make sure we have them there asap or why would we have the scanners? let me ask about perimeter security. what happened in belgium did not happen on the other side of the tsa checkpoint if that is what they call them in belgium. it happened outside, where there is lots of people. is there a solution for that? in our system that you can see that it would not be cost-prohibitive? >> senator, i was just in roman saw and in brussels and saw the measures they were employing for the terminals where american carriers and americans were likely to trouble and they had deployed a couple of key checkpoints. in essence, chill points. they have a lot of visible security online and overhead. i can't imagine you have seen this in major u.s. airports in
terms of heightened threat where you can apply these regular searches and checks at particular sites without causing too much commercial or vehicular or traffic disruption. more random checks around points of -- for example, check in -- and perhaps even more behavioral analysis and canines and others deployed in key airports. but it is difficult without disrupting traffic and commercial activity. >> is this -- and look, i think there is some merit to doing that. i guess the question is, does anybody know what kind of appropriation it would take to maybe not have it to all the time, but have enough so that they would not know? >> i do not know, senator. i think this has to do with local authority and others that have to deploy resources as well. >> that's good. >> i think you could probably do it with very little
>> senator i would only add one thing which is that we would go all out on passengers in terms of screening but the real vulnerabilities we have seen in the last two attacks is about, can they blow up an airplane in flight. we saw al qaeda did that threaten insider. and it was done in somalia, it is not clear if it was by an insider. if i was going to invest now in airport security at would not look at re-hardening the passenger line but other vintages. >> which gets to my next question, are we certifying? are we testing, however you want to put it, the folks that work
qaeda and affiliates in the field of play every day around this country. in syria and iraq we are sort of shrinking the territory and making considerable gains. i love that you said it is a matter of when not if and i do believe that is the case. we are looking at places like libya and algeria where they are starting to set up other outposts. the second level not equally important is to undermine the terrorist network and that is a lot of what we talked about today to be clearly, i agree with what i think the panel said that we need to be a lot more aggressive. it is outrageous to me that they are sharing communication transatlantic lay but not within europe. they have sort of pre-9/11
problems have not worked through. i believe we are very vulnerable because it is far more so than a refugee program to me being a lot more aggressive with our posture. that is obviously something we have a lot of work to do i want to get back with my final few minutes the efforts which i now realize mean so many different things to so many different people so let me just say what i think it means. it is not talking about the work of law enforcement but the other efforts going on to stop people from falling prey because i am concerned about what is happening in the field of battle. the field of battle for network terrorists. also homegrown radicalization
right here at home. in and i do agree as was said by the panel that this is not something that is a matter of when. this is something we will be dealing with for a very, very long time. so how we deal with them is one tool in addition to a defensive tool creating a stronger defensive extremism and i am curious and open it up to the panel. we have the administration launching their task course. as these get off the ground, could you please distill for the panel what specific recommendations would you have the panel focus on? what are the top and should and must? let's go to my left which is something as a democrat i often do. >> the first thing i would say is where to focus that. in my experience over the past few decades we have done a lot that has been broadly applied. i would focus on those very few communities where we know there is a lot of people being recruited from and there is strong sentiment. then i would focus on online. sometime they overlap sometimes they are the virgin. we should pinpoint where we want to focus those programs. before we were all over the place. then is how we will apply them. where on the spectrum of extremism do we want to apply. the better way to bring it up is we have a pyramid but your investment should be the reverse. heavier on the engagements which is maybe an eye mama or cleric that does that physically or it is online. then, the radicalization how do we undermine the mission to make villains not martyrs. another foreign fighter, that
radicalizing population and that is where we use vectors or peers. our lowest investment is winning over the community focus. 10 years ago we were the reverse. let's get out in the community and make people feel good about our approach like public affairs. i would rather see better engagement >> thank you very much.
real quick, want no over there is hoping he can talk. >> two quick ones. the first is fast and de-bureaucracy eyes with metrics for success. the second idea, the big idea, is self-image in and what makes a hero in multiple parts of the world. i was talking to a colleague in the east africa who set hyperbolically, if you are a hero here, you could be a rapper, a businessman, or in isis fighter. not a member of the u.s. forces they are not a rope. if you think about the united states, anyone can be a hero. a soccer coach, a senator, a member of the armed forces, a policeman, a firefighter. in the rest of the world that is not the case. so i would think about self image because isis and other groups are definitely tapping into self image into giving people a route to become a hero. >> as we know, dod has invested in a new office to try to tap technology. all over the world they are facing this. the state department is opening a tiny presence in silicon
valley and utilizing this office to do the same thing but to use existing technology with the amazing kids in california to apply this end know how to with the challenge is one of the better ways in which you can use this to man office. but trying to use that state department presents to tap into what already exists and apply it to the sophistication we are seeing in terms of encryption, surveillance, document forgery, the list goes on. i think it would be a wise investment. >> three things. i would commend the department for naming george as the head of
the task force because he is a professional. he understands the challenges ahead and is great for this major challenge. three ideas. we need a network of networks. this is something government agencies unto themselves cannot do. you need the sisters against violent -- violent extremism. you need the entrepreneurs and muslim communities to be part of not creating only a sense of hair was am but a sense of identity in the 20th century. how do we animate those networks of networks.
it is a huge challenge for the government because we do not like to give up control. how do you give micro grants to these efforts. we have to figure this out because that is at the grassroots level. we have to figure out where the manifestation of the precursor of the ideology begins to take place. we have to have an inhospitable ecosystem for the ideology. we cannot find ourselves in a position where we have a arming ham or somewhere where these radical ideologies take root. it's cannot happen.
how do you counter online? how do you he radicalize for people to come back and tell you leverage them? and finally and this is where community engagement is so important, how do you define identity and opportunity for these? the government cannot define that. families, friends, communities have to play a role in defining that. at the end of the day it is a problem of identity. >> thank you senator booker. listen, i want to second what the other senators said. this has been an exceptional panel and hearing. laying out a reality, defining problems. admitting we have a problem. i want to commend my colleagues for asking good questions and the staff for assembling the panels. this has been an extremely good hearing. i will give you all a chance to make a concluding comment. one question they did not get answered, i alluded to it in terms of the hints that nuclear facility. if anybody wants to address critical infrastructure, i am highly concerned about it we saw the cyber attack against ukraine, we saw the physical attack in california i am highly concerned about that.
let me reiterate on the dhs mission because it is more critical now than any time since 9/11. dealing with particular groups it is the role of dhs to ensure our critical national system and infrastructures are not only secure but they are resilient and redundant. no other agency has that mission. dh has a critical role to make sure our systems are redundant. that goes a long way in making a strong and deterring terrorist attacks. the second point is i do not think we can downplay the strategic impact. we have seen this in places like paris and brussels and we run the danger if we define the
threat to a current lens of whether it is existential and directed to the homeland, we run the risk of the strategic impact over time of what these groups can do to our societies and laws and function of our economy. >> i cannot agree more. i do not want to give anyone ideas, but in my mind coordinated smaller attacks could have greater impact on our economy. >> let me say briefly these attacks could not have come at a worse time for brussels for the european union, for europe as a whole. not only are they facing very severe counterterrorism threats but as you well know they are under the weight of a migration
crisis, a resurgent russia actively trying to destabilize the continent. they have week economies. the potential exit of one of their biggest. we are not a member of the european union and cannot do everything for them but it is in our interest to support the project. we help support the european union so rather than pulling away we have to invest in the relationship and do what we can to help them with the very real security challenges. >> thank you mrs. smith.
i would focus on system design. we have put our fingers collectively on a number of problems. a password of systems, no central law enforcement body and it means that terrorists who operate transnational he are at an advantage. the u.s. system is better than the european system but it has its problems. the question, i would say is our bureaucracy, our internal system designed to keep up with this? are we ready to keep up with the startups that will be challenging us and trying to kill our citizens? >> my final points would be, what do we want in terms of counterterrorism. we held al qaeda, now we have the islamic state, today we are talking about europe. i think we're likely to be talking about north africa maybe six months or a year from now. and yemen is on the horizon.
we go through these accelerated weeks and valleys where we get mobilized and get it fleshed out and the we get upset when it comes back a year later. what is our tolerance and objective for risk i don't think we have a good handle. we get to these emotional points where we react and take aggressive actions, but what are the four or five things we can do in counterterrorism on the horizon to get this to a steadier state. i do not think there is an and to the islamic state because i
think it will just be called something else. what do we want to achieve over the horizon i would love to see the government come to terms. at a practitioner level, the fbi, the cia, they are pursuing counterterrorism on a day-to-day basis, but what steady state do we want to achieve? i could not agree more. >> we have got to have a commitment to offense and be relentless. we cannot act off. this is going to be a generational problem and you have didn't step-by-step. the fact that caliphate exists, the fact they hold that territory, is incredibly dangerous. we have to defeat that caliphate. we have to defeat basis. -- isis. it already has metastasized it already has spread. you have to continue to be relentless, do not back off, it will be a long-term struggle. this has been a good hearing. the record will remain open until april 25 at 5 p.m.. this hearing is adjourned. [gavel] [indiscernible chatter] announcer: of next, a conversation on student debt and higher education.
senator ted cruz and senator -- president obama is on fox news sunday this morning. it was his first appearance on a network in more than two years and his first time on the sunday show since becoming president. also asked about the controversy over the hillary clinton e-mails and the ongoing investigation. president obama: here is what i know. hillary clinton was an thetanding secretary of stated she would never put america in any kind of jeopardy. what i also know because i handled a lot of classified is there is classified and then there is classified. there is stuff that is really top secret, and there is enough -- stuff that is presented to the president of ud