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tv   Conference on Counterterrorism Nathan Sales  CSPAN  September 8, 2017 11:09am-11:25am EDT

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are about 5000, 5400 dialysis patients that it can provide to this date, over 20,000 electricity dependent, and about 6700 patients who are electricity dependent on oxygen concentrator. i want to just echo the words brock stated by the governors leaning in. governor scott has been remarkable partner in all of this. they have come along with the governors in georgia and south carolina, they have been very, very aggressive in making certain that they're getting the word out to the population. we'll have a couple of rough days, a number of rough days, and whatever befalls us because of the storm i can assure the american people that your federal government is working as diligently as a can to make certain we can respond whatever needs arise. thank you. >> such as to recap -- >> is everybody, please take a seat, want to first turn over to
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governor king for a couple of quick remarks. >> this ithis is a very quick r. it's just that we have been joined by somebody who has been very important to me and to us who was active members of the 9/11 commissioner richard was an watergate prosecutor and brought the skills to the commission. and we have also to people testify before the 9/11 commission. the one commissioner they were sort of scared of was richard because his questions were always good, always to the point, and always penetrating. they didn't want to always be penetrated. so i just want to welcome him here. richard, thank you for your contributions. it's wonderful to have you. [applause] >> thank youthank you, governork you to richard for joining us
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today. it's not a pleasure to introduce nathan, the newly confirmed and appointed coordinator for characters of the u.s. state department. he was sworn in about four weeks ago on august 10 pick is a think one of the first assistant sectors of the state department. before joining the state, he was a law professor at syracuse university college of law where he taught and wrote in the field of characters of national security law, constitutional law and administrative law. before that he was deputy assistant secretary for policy of the department of homeland security and has a long career in helping keep america safe there were very honored to have him resent today's keynote. ambassador sales. [applause] >> well, thank you for the introduction. thank you to the bipartisan policy center for inviting me to speak today. i'd like to start with a special word of thanks to governor jane,
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congressman hamilton for the excellent work, for their leadership on the 9/11 commission. the 9/11 commission drove the nation's debate about how to respond to the dark day in our history. it also served as an needed voice for families of the victims. so governor, congressman, thank you for your vital work which continues to play a central role in how we as a nation understand the terrorist threat and how we respond to it. i mean that in a very literal sense. two of your former staffers actually work for me at the state department and i can assure you i am keeping them very busy. i'm also grateful to the bipartisan policy center for inviting me and for keeping washington's focus on these vital issues. you have put together a really extraordinary program today, and it's a real honor and a real pleasure for me to be part of it. i was just reading the tenth teh anniversary report card the other day and i was struck by the continued relevance of the
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report and its 41 recommendations. one sense in particular stood out to me. we must constantly assess our vulnerabilities and anticipate new lines of attack. that's basically our job at the bureau. the run up to the anniversary of 9/11 is a time to take stock to reflect and analyze our counterterrorism efforts. but it's also important and perhaps even more important to reflect on our enemy has evolved. in these remarks i will outline the different threats we face since 9/11. al-qaeda, isis, and the emerging trend of what we might call self-directed terrorism. these are attacks that are inspired by terrorist groups not necessarily ordered or controlled by them. after that i will explore our responses to date and what we think we should focus our efforts going forward. so let's start with the evolution of the terrorist
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threat over the years, gaining with al qaeda. in the 1990s up until the present day, al qaeda has had two salient features. the first maintains a hierarchical centralized command structure. osama bin laden at the top, terrorist operatives at the bottom who receive orders and carry out instructions. second, al qaeda seek to carry out large-scale spectacular attacks on high-profile targets. in the late 1990s we saw al qaeda stability to make good on these threats. the 1998 bombings of bombings of two of our embassies in east africa killed over 200 people and injured more than 4500 others. two years later on october 12, 2000, al qaeda attacked the uss cole as it was refueling in aden harbor killing 17 american sailors and injuring 39. all of this led up to the planes operation. on september 11, 2,001,001, 19
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al qaeda operatives hijacked for commercial jetliners and turn them into missiles. two of the planes were flown into the twin towers. symbols of our nation's economic might causing them to collapse. a third hit the pentagon, nursing for the world's most powerful military. a fourth perhaps bound for the capital building crashed in a field near shanksville pennsylvania. when the 40 passengers and crew of flight 93 aerobically storm the cockpit in an effort to overcome the hijackers. in all nearly 3000 people were killed that day and more than x thousand injured. it was our nation's deadliest day since antietam. fast-forward to 2014, after we killed osama bin laden and degraded al qaeda is central leadership, a new form of the same threat emerged. like its predecessor in afghanistan isis develop a centralized command to order attacks outside of its false
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caliphate in iraq and syria. we witnessed its work in paris. on november 13, 2015, a group group of suicide bombers and gunmen dispatched by raqqa committed a series of six coordinator attacks. the targeted a soccer stadium, cafés and restaurants, and a theater during a rock concert at 100 people were killed, including 89. 89. nearly 400 others were injured. yet alongside these and other centrally planned plots, new threat has arisen. terrorist attacks increasingly are being carried out by individuals in small cells who are inspired by isis and al qaeda, but who are not acting on the groups orders. they are self-directed. these smaller scale individually planned attacks often involve soft targets, like hotels, tourist resorts and cultural sites but we've seen this deadly new trend across the world,
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places like berlin, jakarta, london, manchester and nice. we've also seen it closer to home, think of orlando and san bernardino. so what accounts for this increasing rise of self-directed terrorists? i think there are two factors at work. first, isis is losing, the so-called caliphate is crumbling. with support from the defeat isis coalition, local forces have liberated more than three-quarters of the territory isis once held in iraq, and about two-thirds of the territory it held in syria. this loss of safe haven makes it harder, not impossible, but harder for isis to click external operations. second, isis is prolific use of social media has expanded the groups reach. the group is capable of radicalizing and giving advice over the internet on how to conduct attacks. aspiring jihadists, therefore, are able to attack soft targets
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at home instead of traveling to the conflict zone. the question then becomes what do we do about it, how should the united states and its allies respond to these different kinds of terrorist threats? after 9/11 we adopted a number of new tools that were geared at disrupting and degrading a a hierarchical centralized adversary like al qaeda. for instance, we improve the intelligence community ability to intercept terrorist communications. one example is section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, or fisa which meet easier to collect e-mails and phone calls of non-americans who are located overseas. we also ramped up our efforts to block terrorist financing. and would make for security a top priority we started collecting fingerprints from visitors to this country we signed agreements with partners around the world to share information about known and suspected terrorists, so-called
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-- and richard analyzing airline reservation data. this is known as passenger name records to flag people might deserve a little extra scrutiny at the customs checkpoint. these measures have proven extraordinarily effective against centralized adversaries like al qaeda and isis. and make no mistake, we'll need them for as long as the centralized threat persists. but in an age of self-directed terrorism, they are not enough by themselves. we need to retool our approach in light of the more decentralized adversaries we face. why do i say that? consider surveillance. self-directed terrorists are not necessarily communicating with headquarters. so they can be harder to monitor. or consider financing. self-directed terrorists don't need the deep pockets of a large organization to commit atrocities. they can simply rent a truck and drive into a crowd or consider border security. self-directed terrorists don't
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need to travel. there had to cross borders to receive training, to receive funding or to carry out attacks. many of them are operating on their home turf. so what do we do about it? what we do about the rise of self-directed terrorism? at bottom we need to ensure that our counterterrorism toolkit is flexible and nimble enough to address evolving terrorist tactics, technologies, and trends. let highlight a few specific measures that i think will be instrumental as we confront an increasingly decentralized self-directed terrorist threat. first, the protection of soft targets. last months attacks in barcelona were only the most recent reminder of the challenges of securing locations that by design are supposed to be open and inviting. that's why the ctb or is working with international partners under the global counterterrorism form to draft a set of good practices on the protection of soft targets. we plan to finalize and
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announces liquidations publicly in the near future. stay tuned. in the meantime we've been training partner countries around the political will to protect their soft targets who may lack the necessary resources to do so. for example, last year in response to an attack on the radisson hotel in bali, the ct bureau funded the program to build effective crisis response teams in that country. on june 18 of this year terrorist attacks again come to some of the hotel -- the ct trained team let the counter assault, killing the attackers and more important freeing siblings were trapped in the hotel. second, there's information sharing. after 9/11 we tore down the information sharing walls that kept our copts and spies and soldiers from sharing information with one another and talking to one another. our friends and allies around the world need to do the same
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here for instance, the amount of the sin of the barcelona plot was a convicted criminal -- the imo. he had been ordered to be removed from the country of spain. but he wasn't on the radar of counterterrorism officials because none of his past offenses involved terrorism. this was also the case of the nice attacker woul but a seriesf arrests and convictions of his own. these are not coincidences. a recent study by the george washington university found that 57% of the people who were involved in terrorist attacks in europe and north america between 2014-2017 have prior criminal histories here so we've got some work to do. we need to step up our work with foreign counterparts to dismantle the stovepipes, to tear down the walls that block the free flow of this kind of counterterrorism information. third, is capacity building. at the ct bureau we're helping our partner countries improve
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their handling of terrorism cases. in particular we are building their ability to investigate, to prosecute and to adjudicate terrorism related crimes. a good example comes from the balkans, teache key transit rour foreign fighters were heading to syria or iraq heading back home after having served in the conflict zone. in the past few years 131 people have been convicted under newly passed foreign terrorist fighter lost in the balkans. justice department lawyers funded by the ct bureau have assisted those local prosecutors and evidence organization, analysis, prosecution strategies, in case specific challenges to a case-based mentoring program. there are now about 33 more defendants have been indicted or already on trial, all of them in kosovo. in conclusion, the terrorist threats is constantly evolving, aand along with her friends and partners around the world, we
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must evolve to meet that challenge. we must remain vigilant against an al qaeda on the rebound, and an ever adapted isis. and we must update our toolkit to ensure that we have the capabilities we need to confront the new scourge of self-directed terrorism. the 9/1 9/11 commission had it exactly right. we must constantly assess our own abilities and anticipate new lines of attack. and so governor kean, thank you, thank you colleagues for that charge. and thank you for the inspiration to continue your indispensable work of securing our homeland of protecting our people here thank you. and thank you all. [applause] >> so i want to thank ambassadr sales for his remarks, and take this opportunity to also thank the people whose hard work made both this project in this even

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