tv State Departments Counterterrorism Strategy CSPAN May 31, 2018 6:06pm-6:57pm EDT
. >> congress is back next week from the memorial day work period. the u.s. senate returns money to debate presidential in kentucky, texas and alabama. the house is back tuesday to work on its first federal spending bills for 2019. funding the energy and veterans affairs departments and how operations. members will also work on legislation to reauthorize water infrastructure projects. watch live coverage on the house on c-span and the senate right here on c-span2. commencement speeches all this week in prime time. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, jimmy carter, betsy devoss. representative mark meadows and atlanta major keisha lance bottoms. this week on c-span and
c-span.org and on the free c-span radio app. . >> next we'll hear from nathan sales. he is the ambassador at large and coordinator for counter-terrorism at the state department. he talked about the administration's strategy to counter violent extremism yesterday at the hudson institute in washington dc. this runs about 50 minutes. >> as well as our c-span viewers for our discussion this our with ambassador nathan sales, who is the state department's coordinator for counter-terrorism and encountering violent extremism. there is, i think, a basic consensus that the struggle with violent extremism is at its core a political and ideological one and we need robust and well supported civilian agencies, strategies and programs to compete in that space. over the years, the concept and practice of encountering
violence has come to mean many things to different people. it has had some high profile failures. it has thoughtful defenders, as well as thoughtful critics. and there's a vigorous and healthy policy debate in and out of government over the nature of the threat we're contending with, what more needs to be done with our many allies and friends around the world, the effectiveness of our capabilities and over what in the end realistic success in the political and eideological struggle looks like. we're here to speak about the administration policy on cve. ambassador sales is a noted scholar. before joining the state department nine months ago, he was a professor at syracuse university where he taught administrative law. constitutional law, counter tearism law. before syracuse, he had exclusive government experience as well, including his deputy
secretary for policy at the department of homeland security. and in the office of legal policy at the u.s. department of justice. he is with us for just under an hour. after he speaks, we'll have limited time for questions and discussion. if you have a question, please jot down on one of the index cards that's available in the back your question. precision is key. and my colleagues will be collecting the cards at the end of each of the rows and we'll do our best to have the questions addressed in the time we have remaining. with that, thank you and please join me in welcoming ambassador sales. [ applause ] >> well, thanks very much, eric, for that kind introduction and thank you for the invitation to be here for you at the hudson institu institute. as eric mentioned, i'm a recovering academic so it's a
pleasure for me to be here at the think tank world and dip my toa toes back into the water. i'm here to talk about countering violent extremism. we're at a critical moment, a turning point in our fight against terrorism. we've made extraordinary progress against isis over the past year. nearly all of the territory isis once held in syria and iraq has been liberated. this fight wasn't easy. our partners on the ground fought mile by mile, block by block, and sometimes house by house to free roca and the surrounding countryside of this threat. the fight wasn't easy, but we have persisted. and while our victories on the battlefield are significant, they're not a permanent solution. at the state department, we're focused on aligning our civilian responses to the terrorist threat with the military responses. because that is the only way to ensure an enduring defeat of our enemies. our civilian efforts include law
enforcement tools, things like prosecuting terrorists for the crimes they committed, collecting battlefield evidence and updating laws to more effectively target the threat. we'll need tougher border screening both within governments and between them. we'll need to designate isis affiliates and finance yooers to cut off the flow of money. in addition to countering the violence, we also have to counter the underlying ideas that animate it. isis, al qaeda and other terrorist organizations continue to radicalize and recruit. the messages transcend borders. over the last 20 years, this call to violence is resonated in the middle east, in asia, africa, in europe and here in the united states. despite our military successes,
young men and women across the globe are still being con vensed to join isis and al qaeda or to commit acts of barbarism in their name. the united states and our partners must persuade them otherwise. we must engage in a contest of ideas. today i'd like to talk about american values and the threat posed to them by terrorist etiology. then i'll discuss some of our natural allies and wrap up what we in the counter tearism bureau and the state department are doing to promote american values and american interests. the context of ideas is not unique to our fight against terrorism. throughout history, america's conflicts have often had ideological suggestions. during the cold war, we needed to show that the etiology of what the soviet system was based was false. that its teachings were
encountered to the most basic human desire for freedom and dignity. so we engaged in a vigorous debate for radio-free europe and other platforms to advance the values we share with our alleys and partners. we were out to persuade the world that the soviet world view was wrong, both morally and as a system of governance. and we succeeded. ideas matter. and where we find etiologies that reject human dignity, we must stand with our partners against these threats to our fundamental values. winston churchill put it best. arms are not sufficient by themselves. we must add to them the power of ideas. people say we ought not to allow ourselves to be drawn between naziism and democracy. but the antagonism is here now. it is this very conflict of spiritual and moral ideas which gives the free country a great part of their strength.
so what are the competing etiologies in today's context of ideas? america is committed to individual rights, and we recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. we are all in the words of a declaration of independence endowed by our creator with certain unail enable rights, including rights, liberty and a pursuit of happiness. from this we derive specific values. we're committed to religious freedom. this is not just as some would have it a so-called freedom to worship. our constitution guarantees us free sxers -- exercise of reej. we're also dedicated to the notion of equality before the law. we found a civil war for the principle and then we implanted it in our constitution in the form of the 14th amendment. we're committed to pluralism. we acknowledge our fellow citizens will often disagree with us on the great questions
of morality and reej and politics. and we're okay with that. we expect our government to be okay with it too. we deny officials any authority to mandate a uniformity of thought. here is how the supreme court put it in a world war ii era case. if there is any sixth star in our constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what should be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by words or acts or faith there in. these rights and liberties are the entitlement of every american, no matter their background or creed. let me tell you about a supreme court case from 2015 that i think nicely captures the idea. gregory holmes was an inmate in arkansas and he wanted to grow a half inch beard which he believed he was required to do as an observant muslim.
prison guards prohibited from doing so. he filed a lawsuit and the u.s. department took his side. the supreme court's decision in the case was arkansas's interest in prison discipline had to yield to the inmate's right to religious liberty. our adversaries reject all of this. isis and al qaeda deny the worth and dignity of the individual. here is how osama bin laden once put it, we love death. the americans love life. that is the big difference between us. indeed it is. today we see the toll this bloo bloody etiology is enacting on the world. on 9/11 close to 3,000 innocent people from 90 countries around
the world. its followers have enslaved women and girls from their families. they beheaded sons on stel vision. they burned people alive. thrown them from the tops of buildings and drown them. our enemies are not shy about the ideas that inspire them to this brutality. indeed, all liberty, as they seek to rule by constant blood shed. they reject equality and seek to empower themselves at the expense of those they regard as inferior. they regard any other religion. it's a crime that carries a death sentences. and so as we confront terrorists on the battlefield, in courts of law and in other theaters, we also must confront the twisted ideas they use to justify their violence. we have allies in this effort. many allies. and we need to work with them as they share our values and incredibly refute the violence
and intolerance of our enemies. we also need to partner with government officials. but just as importantly, we need to work with community leaders, religious figures and others who have the standing to credibly encounter tearist iderrorist id. i've met with many of them. let me give you a few examples, starting in indonesia. southeast asia, sadly, is no stranger to terrorism. last year we saw isis seize a city in the philippines and earlier this month isis-inspired terrorists carried out attacks on churches and a police station in indonesia. i recently met with independent any shans working -- indonesi s indonesians. they stand as a potent anecdote. last year a group of indonesian students published 8,000 word
declaration on humanitarian. their agenda focuses on three priority areas. they want to increase religious understanding and mutual respect, emphasizing what they term the humane and spiritual dimensions of their faith. they want to promote critical thinking skills to enable people to resist the song of radicalism. and they want to empower civil society to deter extremism. it's voices like these that must be amplified. they share the values that america holds dear and their critical partners in our efforts to defeat terrorist etiology. like indonesia, jordan is also a center of pluralism. top jordanian officials have supported interface dialogues that call for peace in the community and with other religious groups. they're also tackling the inconsistencies between religious texts that have been hijacked by isis and intellect and philosophical legacies
within islam. they're scouring scripture to expose terrorists claims from within their own tradition. for example, one scholar has said the following. a tiny minority are grossly miss representing it. true pie tee necessarily involves virtue and kindness towards others, all others, because kindness is the fruit of love. we were created to be kind to our neighbors, no matter who they are or what their faith. a natural partner, another natural partner. to stem the growth of extremism in 2015, the king established the institute for training. the institute also trains male and female religious guides. its mission is to promote religious scholarship and a message of tolerance, particularly in africa. today this school attracts
students from across the continent and from europe as well. a student body of over 12,000 people per year hails from people from morocco, guinea, and france. so what's the u.s. role in all of this? candidly i think we need to approach that question with a healthy dose of modesty. the federal government is not a religious authority. i certainly am not. and there are limits to what we can do to disprove our adversary's theological claims. what we can do, however, is partner with leaders and authorities who share our values and who share our interests. so let me tell you a bit about what the counter-terrorism bureau in particular and the state department in general has been doing to support our friends in this context of
ideas. first, we're working to promote a authentic voices committed to rights and speak credibly to those who are at risk of buying into terrorist etiology. one example is the salob center. it's an arabic word that means on the right path. the center develops and disseminates content that challenges isis narrative. recently it launched a campaign for giving to verified charities. it was viewed over a million times. we've also supported community leaders to develop tailored messages for audiences. in southeast asia, we trained university and high school students to create and share videos an peace, tolerance and alternative to terrorism and the ideology behind it. students learned how to operate video cameras, write a story board and edit their work. even more importantly, they then held video screenings and discussions that reached thousands of other students with a positive message.
in another initiative, we supported a documentary by mothers whose sons went to syria to fight for isis. this widely-viewed film showed the devastation that families experience when their sons and daughters abandon them for life of blood shed. they would think twice about their support for terrorism and to confront the false ideas that encourage them in the first place. the second thing we're doing is engaging with communities most affected by terrorist messaging. civic leaders often are the first ones to spot the early signs of radicalization. they can function as an early warning system as an early intervention mechanism. when young people are on a path to terrorism, it's important to connect them and to connect their families to religious figures and mentors and other stakeholders in their communities. they need to hear strong authentic voices whose messages of non-violence and tolerance will resonate with them. that's why the ct bureau supports the strong city's network, which now includes more
than 100 cities from every corner of the world. under the city pair program, we've matched cities in the united states with counter parts abroad and encouraged them to share information and good practices on how best to counter-terrorism and its underlying etiology. these exchanges are producing real results. a few years ago, we paired belgium with columbus, ohio. at the time, a city just north of brussels had one of the highest per capita numbers of foreign terrorist fighters who were traveling on to syria and iraq to fight for isis. the belgium delegation included the mayor, as well as the chief of police and other community leaders. in ohio, they met with a number of local figures, including officials from the city school district. hilliard has become one of most diverse cities in the country. columbus has worked hard to integrate these kids and build their resilience to harmful outside influences.
when he returned, the mayor implemented new community engagement and resilient strategies. a few months later, they noticed a drop in foreign terrorist fighters leaving. down to zero. they're now a member of the strong city's network and the mayor speaks regularly with mayors around the world about its efforts and its successes. third and finally, we're working at the state department to deradicalize those who have proved to terrorist etiology. one of the groups we're focusing on is prisoners. we all know the story of al qaeda's origins and others who are further radicalized in egyptian prisoners. in the past several years, we've seen former prisoners go on to commit attacks in denmark and belgium, as well as other places. and as we prosecute foreign terrorist fighters who have been taken often the battlefield and essen sentenced them to jail for the crimes they committed, we need
to prevent them from radicalizing their fellow inmates. at the same time, prisons can also present deradicalization opportunities as inmates can be cut off from their previous contacts. we're launching programs to help prison officials manage and rehabilitate terrorist fighters who have returned home, as well as other terrorist offenders. we're helping them develop standard operating procedures for managing terrorist inmates and instructing their officers how to monitor communications and other opportunities. of course, we can't just limit our efforts to prisoners. we also have to reach people before they commit the crimes that are going to land them in jail. that's why the state department helped create an international training center. one of the most important projects is its counter narrative library which includes narratives from former terrorists. many who left isis and other groups became disillusioned with them because of their brutality. particularly towards fellow muslims. and they have power stories --
powerful stories to tell that concern anecdotes to others who might be seduced by the terrorists. they have used this library to create regional training guides on crafting messages to dissuade would-be terrorists. wherever terrorist etiology begins to take hold, it's also possible for us to free people from its clutches. in conclusion, isis is down, but it's not out. in southeast asia, in east africa, europe and south america, the threat of terrorism and the ideas that animate it are very real. and they're growing. our military victory buys time to win a contest. a contest between competing etiologies. the essential work will require determination and patience. but with the will and commitment of our partners, our ideas will prevail. just as they always have in the past. again, thank you for hosting me.
thank you for listening. and i look forward to our conversation. [ applause ] >> great. thank you. we have a bunch of questions from the audience. but i wanted to begin by asking something of you about the rule of law. you have a background as a scholar and as a lawyer. what role do you see the promotion of the rule of law plague and helping to build resilience in societies that are protected by violence. >> i think it's a great question. and it's an incredibly important part of the tools we use to confront terrorists and the ideas that animate them. rule of law instruments can have
both tactical benefits and strategic ones. when you catch a terrorist who has committed a crime, a country needs to have the capability to investigate them, to prosecute them, for judges to adjudicate the charges against them and them for the inmates upon conviction to be incarcerated properly. so on a tactical level, building rule of law ins titutions that are capable of doing that is an incredibly important priority. those efforts also have broader strategic benefits as well. because we're not just talking about courts adjudicating cases. we're talking about a fundamental system of values. that this is the way you deal with disorder and violence and discord within society. not through arbitrary dictates issued by authoritarian governments but rule of law. it's no coincidence that governments that are characterized by high degrees of
rule of law commitments display higher levels of resilience to terrorism and terrorist etiology than other forms of government. and i think the reason is fairly intuitive. the reason why is fairly intuitive. democratic systems based upon the rule of law give lives to the claim that violence is necessary to achieve goals. it's never appropriate to use violence. in a system that gives multiple outlets for the expression of their concerns and opportunity to seek changes, it's even less appropriate. >> right. i'm so glad you mentioned the declaration on humanitarian islam and a lot of the other projects you singled out some of the work being singled out both by the government leaders there,
the work being done in jordan and the uae. you mentioned that the u.s. government has a role to play in amplifying some of those messages, perhaps providing resources and support. could you elaborate a little on that. and i take your point about the humility and modesty that the u.s. government needs to have in doing this work. this is not necessarily our fight. but beyond the role of the u.s. government, what can civil society, american civil society do. what would americans ask society to do? >> i think the government would ask the civil society to perform and behave as simple society does which is to say not at the direction of the government. >> yes. >> that said, private institutions, whether they are academic or religious or otherwise in the united states and elsewhere that share our national commitments to things like individual liberty, including religious liberty,
equality, tolerance, respect, organizations in the u.s. and around the world that share those commitments don't keep your candle under a bushel. these are important voices that can add to the conversation. and that can demonstrate the value of our system of government and underlying that our set of social norms and values. and the illegitimacy and violence on supremacism. >> okay. we had a question from the audience about the global engagement center. specifically is it still active? is it growing under this administration? and how much of the global engagement center's work focuses on terrorist recruitment via propaganda from countries like russia and china? >> the global engagement center
is a very important partner of ours in the bureau. it was originally conceived as a government body that could engage in the development of content and the propagation of content to address terrorist narratives and terrorist etiology. it has an even broader mandate now as your questionnaire noted focusing on other threats to the united states. state-based threats. . . on social media there has been a lot of criticism from american companies among other things as
far as how they serve as a platform for spreading radical ideas and sometimes under criticism for some critics claim they've been slow to take down and dismantle the networks and platforms. can you give us a sense of how important you see the involvement and the responsible behavior of businesses encountering violent extremism? >> certainly. radicalism in the process of radicalizing takes place through a number different channels. sometimes it's face-to-face. sometimes it's on line and we have to be mindful of various vaxxers through which a radicalizing content is targeted audiences. i think silicon valley understands the on line space is a department i think they have
an interest in their platforms not being seen as anonymous without qaeda or isis. >> nobody wants to be the platform of choice for ayman al-zawahiri so in recent years we seen them take a number of steps within the industry to sort of rally the industry behind a shared sense of obligation to do more. they found an organization and i'm going to forget the exact name of it but it's global and its counterterrorists. the point of which is to enable incumbents in the market to have well-developed capabilities to share information and also share techniques with some new entrants on how to spot terror and take it down and so on. we are encouraged by the steps of silicon valley is taken but we will continue to encourage them to do more.
we are trying to deny physical safe havens arises in places like afghan stereo. >> with another question from the advanced about korea and what advice he would give to young people who were seeking a career in counterterrorism. >> , and work for me. send the modern application. there's another dimension to that question. we are in a long struggle. spit, mantra but we are -- but it is true. when you think about how the u.s. government operates in their various nongovernmental agencies operate where else do we need in government to effectively -- .
>> i will answer that question but let me answer the first question first because it's the sort of thing that back when i was an academic days to get all the time and i quite enjoy answering it. there is no one path i think towards a career working on these issues. let me just say you don't have to work for the state department although we would love to have your any government agency. they are plenty of opportunities to engage on these issues in the air and academia think tanks. so i think it's simply a matter of remaining current in the literature coming to events like these as being mindful of unexpected opportunities that will present themselves and as an alteration of that i can offer my own background as an example. i started working on these issues by accident. i was a young lawyer fresh off of a clerkship year in washington d.c. with a federal judge when i got hired to work
on administrative law issues at the justice department in august of 2001 and three weeks later administrative law seemed like it was a bit less importance that we all had to get very smarter national security and counterterrorism issues pretty quick. it was just that happenstance of eating their in that moment of time that i began to develop an interest and a focus on these issues. of course we pray that there is never a comparably cataclysmic career ship for anyone watching on television but there are opportunities or opportunities not like that to move into a space that you find interesting. >> remind me of your second question. >> a long-term capabilities, there has been quite a bit of bennett innovation in our government but a lot of the information has been out of military. we have an enormous amount of talent in our civilian agency. i'm not always sure that they
have been properly led with the right qualities but beyond that where does innovation need to come from? what new civilian capabilities do we need to more effectively counter? >> it's part of it but i think we need to use a wider angle lens to answer that question. one of the sets of tools we need is border security particularly information about airline passengers traveling to the united states or to and from allied nations. you can't spot terrorists and interdict them at the border unless you know it's coming and going. what's important is collecting information about airline travel and using that data against matching it against watch lists for terrorists which other
countries need to do a better job of. develop those lists of known terrorists. we have been doing that since the early post-9/11 air. number of partners around the world are following our lead but we think such a useful instrument a useful tool to spot terrorist travel would step up to the plate as well. via metrics show that terrorists will try to masquerade, assumed new identities. it's a lot harder to pick up the fingerprint than using a biometric identifier at a port of entry is a very valuable way to verify that a person is presenting himself as joe smith is actually joe smith and not an isis operative. that's one suite of tools that think the united states will be looking for and other partners in other countries around the world to do more on.
financial tools is another really critical set of capabilities. we don't just want to stop the bomber. we want to stop the guy who buys them the bomb so working with banks, working with international institutions, working bilaterally with other countries. we need to be imposing sanctions on those individuals and entities that are funneling money to al qaeda to isis, to hezbollah and those that pose a threat to us and our friends. >> skipping around here but if i might look at the ideological. the isis propaganda these days which uses a lot of justification justifying his actions based on legality among others. do you think the leaders and the members of the islamic state generally believe in the principle of accountability or
is this simply designed to appeal to people for dignity and justice? >> i think you can judge them by their deeds. we set a man on fire in a cage. beheading people in boasting about it. those values are fundamentally inconsistent with those of the civilized world so i would judge them by their deeds and not their words. >> we have another question. how does cve fit in with the state department broader commission particularly in affected parts of the world like the middle east which would argue is experiencing a historical political and ideological convulsion. we have faith largest -- and west asia. part of this is connected to the
fact that there is a robust geopolitical and strategic competition in the region between saudi arabia and iran but beyond that the convulsion that we have seen revealed in a lot of countries are very fragile and very weak. the region has known that for some time but in the tumult that we have seen since the 2011 uprisings a lot of that has become more and more clear and it's being exploited by violent extremists. i guess my question is how does cve and your efforts in the counterterrorism bureau work with other agencies in the state and elsewhere to help build greater resilience and where do you see in the middle east situations of strength they can become political models and models of good governance going forward that can help show the constructive future?
>> i think you are exactly right that we are living through a very interesting time in that part of the world. the world is watching. the crown prince ambitious reform agenda. he has articulated he is pursuing a quite ambitious agenda not just reform his country's economy and push position it to compete on the global stage iv decades to come but more importantly for our purpose today to also address the ideological components that are important to us and also ensuring the long-term viability of the saudi system were encouraged by some of the steps. he has announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time in the united states.
we applaud these reforms and we look forward to continuing to see the progress it we have made in the region. >> we have another question for the audience which is dear to a lot of us here. what does the u.s. do when nondemocratic governments try to secure u.s. help or approval for what they called terrorist extremists who are in fact nothing more than peaceful critics but religious minorities >> when governments try to enlist us to help and they don't get it. let me take a step back and lay out the big picture before i answer the details of that question. since 9/11 the united states has worked hard with its partners to establish a rough, a rough
global consensus that terrorism is always and everywhere a legitimate. the boundaries of that norm are a bit fuzzy but i don't think there's any question that the norm exists. that creates great opportunities for the united states and like-minded countries that share our interests and share our values to cooperate together through alliances and coalitions around that principle of countering terrorism. also creates opportunity for adversaries to use contextual justification. it wasn't really terrorism but a domestic group seeking to -- that we united states have every day and are grateful war. we are always aware of the potential for counterterrorism and an important party to be hijacked the other governments that have alter your motives and we don't dissipate in that.
it is slightly more granule level there are positions in federal law that prohibits us from providing two countries who have a track record when it comes to respecting the rights and have a history of committing abuses particularly against domestic dissidents. it requires us to set u.s. assistance dollars to make sure the u.s. taxpayer is not subsidized. >> the other question as well is -- particularly in the counter as his coalition. what role does cbd play and places where government were and
terrorism has come to those areas. what role does your office playing? >> certainly one of the important object does, the most immediate object if, the most tactical need is to roll back false caliphate, the physical occupation of cities and countryside's and oilfields and entire swaths of land that isis once held and now for which we are grateful has been largely liberated. after the military gains have been achieved that doesn't mean the fight is over. the fight is just shifting to a new page. in order to achieve an during defeat of the isis we need to use in addition to the military assets that have achieved so much we also use civilian tools
to make these military gains durable and sustainable so things like the rule of law so building capacity not just in the region that isis fighters into syria and iraq enabling them and teaching them how to process a terrorism related case. when assptf's return home we need to stop them from recruiting in rationalizing others in their community. if they go to jail for a crime they have committed that's an opportunity to d program board deradicalized them. there's also the do no harm principle. even if that's not feasible in a particular case for particular inmate let's look at ways we can prevent them and their ideas from contaminating their fellow inmates. i think this cve nests into a larger civilian counterterrorism
that he comes increasingly important now that the fight against isis is moving in to the states. >> what is the new face? >> the new faces in all of government approach in which we will continue to apply military pressure were needed to ensure defeat on the battlefield but also looking at ways to sustain those battlefield victories over the long-haul through civilians who effect will law enforcement like cve. >> are there areas of the world where you are pursuing focused efforts as part of a preventative effort? >> essentially everywhere you see isis inspired violence it's important for us to use the full set of national tools there. law enforcement would be eight appropriate places like the
philippines. tools -- tools we important in the philippines or resolve liberation in the past year. cve will be an important part of that conversation as well. >> just a question about iraq. the house passed sanctioning iraqi militias. they won 14 seats in parliament earlier this month. do you see this hindering iraqi's? speak that such a fresh issue involving legislation on which the administration may or may not be in a position. >> okay fair enough and we have another question. continuity and disagreement between the obama administration 's cd policy and
that trump's cd policy. how does it -- deep in its? >> i think you see a continuity not just between the trump administration in the obama administration but during the trump administration and bush administration on certain hard power like military force. i think when it comes to cve in particular it's a matter of emphasis and at the risk of painting with too broad a brush one thing we are seeing is prior cve efforts of often emphasize the development aspect. if you build a schoolhouse in the country to create educational opportunities which creates better opportunities for advancement which means people
want the abuse by radicalism so it's a counterterrorism program. the chain approximation is rather elaborate. under the trump administration the focus is more on ideology and ideas. let's falsify, let's disprove and falsify the ideology that terrorists use to radicalize. it's more immediate, it's more direct and i think that's one of the major differences we have seen. >> there is an argument that some of our western efforts to falsify claims made by various violent extremists rests on the rationalist fallacy and the reasoning that we use empirical and now it's facts, doesn't work very well in some context. it certainly doesn't work very well in persuading the argument to radicalize.
do you agree with that analysis and what other ways might we go about neutralizing problematic ideas? >> i think human beings are rational creature. they are capable of giving reasons for their behavior and they are capable of listening to reasons for why they shouldn't do what they are doing. in order to fully develop that rational fallacy such that people are perceptive -- reset the tube persuade them from pursuing a path of violence it's important they cultivate the critical thinking skills that i mentioned it a little bit in my remarks about our educational institution and critical thinking skills. let me elaborate on that a little bit. what we found is that students in middle school and high school equivalence around the world
it's important for them to develop their ability to think critically but especially a claim made by a terrorist, abandon your mother, go to syria, strap on the best and end your life. it doesn't sound like a particularly appealing course of action to mayor anybody in this room or anybody watching on television. one of the ways that we can develop, reinforce people's natural instinct is by equipping them with critical thinking skills so they can spot logical fallacies, they can spot other false flags. that's one of the important things were doing in the educational context. >> is the best long-term strategy and something that i think is woefully uninvested in right now.
with that we are actually running out of time. are there any final things that you'd like to say? >> i just like to thank you again eric for inviting me to be here and i'd like to thank the audience here in the room and on television for staying an hour with us. it's a measure of how important these issues are confronting our terrorist adversaries and the idea that we animate them and i'm grateful to everybody for their excellent questions. >> thank you all for coming and thank you ambassador nathan sales. [applause]
next we will hear from rick driggers the deputy assistant homeland security secretary for cybersecurity and communications and jeff brown to chief information security officer for new york city's cybercommand. they were two speakers and a daylong cybersecurity and intelligence forum. this portion is about one hour. ♪