tv Discussion on President Obamas Counterterrorism Strategy CSPAN December 5, 2015 2:13am-3:46am EST
>> i don't think the players are going to be satisfied with a couple thousand dollars. andair going to look around see where the money is and how much is there, what the coaches are getting paid. announcer: joe did the conversation is tom mcmillan, former representative from maryland. sunday, a live discussion with political commentator cookie roberts and she has authored several books. join the conversation as we take your phone calls, e-mails, facebook comments, and tweets. watch book tv all weekend on c-span2. national security strategists discuss counterterrorism policies at the
heritage foundation and whether it can prevent attacks by isis and al qaeda. they also discussed the san bernardino shootings. announcer: >> we have about an hour and a half scheduled for this event. i would like our panelists to speak about their area and then we will have time for questions and discussion at the end. end. so if you have questions, please keep those in mind. i will come back up after panelists talk and then i will recognize people. we have microphones, so if you would wait for a microphone, before you ask your question. just state your name and affiliation. hopefully, we will have plenty of time for a great exchange. i really believe there will be so many things worth talking about. this is something i have really wanted to do for a long time. when president obama first came
into office, they first asked me and other analysts about what was changing. we used to joke and say it is kind of bush-like. in many ways, you see many of the instruments and practices that the obama administration used were virtually identical to what the bush administration does, except the use different -- they use different verbiage. but it looked pretty much the same. over the course of the first half of the president's administration, i really think you saw the president put his stamp on how to combat transnational terrorism around the world, with taking troops out of iraq. with the surge shaped in afghanistan. publishing a new counterterrorism strategy, which i think was not just a piece of paper, it really reflects how the administration sought to combat global transnational terrorism worldwide. and, when we analyze that
document we were actually quite critical and we said, to be blunt, we do not think this will work. we think that transnational terrorism will be a bigger problem down the road then it is today. so, i have long wanted to bring together a panel of experts, not just to say, got you. who is right and who is wrong. but to really kind of honestly assess what is the state of the threat today, this is long before we had the tragic shooting in san bernardino or the events in paris, we have been working on organizing this. it so happens that this panel happens at a time when we have some very high profile events going on. this is a terrific panel, what i would like to do is very briefly introduce you to them in the order in which i will ask them to speak. after they each have an opportunity to make some
comments we will get into a broader discussion. first is katherine gorka. she is the president of the threat knowledge group as well as the council on global security. from 2009-2014, she was executive director of the westminster institute, which has done some really great work. both her and her husband, seb, who i think are recognized, really two of the most thoughtful analysts. there is synergy there when you marry people like that, you get more than the sum. it is great to have her here. you might be familiar with a very important book that she co-edited, "fighting the ideological war -- winning strategies from communism to islamicism." and she just has a recent research report out which has gotten a lot of press. we ask her to talk about the domestic terrorist threat. that is something on our minds. after her, lisa curtis who is our analyst here at the heritage foundation who covers south asia issues. south asia is a particularly important piece of the puzzle,
when we think about the future of the transnational terrorist threat. lisa is a remarkable analyst, not just because of her analytical abilities, but because she has had long service in that part of the world. everybody knows her. when i go there, everybody says, look there is lisa curtis. and some guy. and, really she is without question one of the most well-respected analysts, not just here but really in the region in which this matters. people there turned to her to understand what is going on. and jim phillips is also here at heritage. he is the oldest analyst here. the longest-serving, i mean. [laughter] he is not older than the middle east, but he has been studying the region for a great deal of time and he is without question one of the most sought after and respected analysts. not just in the greater middle east, but including north africa. having bruce hoffman here is just a particular honor. i have been waiting to say this
all day, bruce is actually -- bruce has actually been studying terrorism as long as i have known my fiancee, over 40 years. which says a lot about both of us. in terms of our perseverance and our ability to conclude things. [laughter] and also, truth in advertising, bruce is also my boss, he is the director for strategic studies at georgetown university, one of the premier national security education programs, not just in washington but the entire country. he has had long service there, and ran, literally one of the most recognized experts in the world and he just completed an important term as a commission that improved workings of the fbi and how they have adopted to dealing with transnational terrorism and radicalization after 9/11. and so to have him here to play -- put a capstone on all that,
that is really important. and then, to round out the panel we have sarah carter. you have probably heard about her, the character on marvel, maybe not. this is the real carter, she goes to all of the dangerous parts of the world and she is one of the bravest investigative reporters you could ask for. and so, i asked her to come. really, we want her to bring a kind of first-person narrative to this, because we will talk about the trends in the world and she has been there to see how these touch people on the ground. and that is an important perspective, said that is great. i will turn this over to katy. you can come to the podium, whatever you want to do. please join me in welcoming the panel. [applause] delight to beis a here, thank you for bringing us all together. i am happy to be here.
preciouswant to use my time to run through the proofs that isis is a threat domestically. i think everybody in the audience knows that and does not need to be convinced of it, but if you do, we have written a report on and i suggest you go on our website, threat knowledge group, isis is a threat to the united states and what we argue is that they have the means my the intent and the domestic supporters. san bernardino was evidence of that. i would like to leave that aspect aside for the moment and aspectsstead on three of this conversation that i think need to be amplified. three ways to look at this, three issues to be thinking more about and why we're having such a hard time with this. i would like to start by
1970 -- 1972 olympics. i am trying to gauge the age of the audience, a good number of you might remember this. the terrible attacks on israeli athletes. the aspect of that event that is interesting for today's purpose, this is largely forgotten today, the germans asked a forensic psychologist, prior to the olympics, to map out 26 potential terrorist scenarios. george seaver was the man who was tasked with this and he did it, and a surprisingly his scenario 21 matched very closely to what ended up happening. even though he was able to give to the german government these various scenarios and they had even asked for it, they still do not act on it.
why did they not act on the information when they knew there could be a very real threat to some of the members, some of the participants? the reason was, if you remember, germany was trying to get over the terrible image of the 1936 olympics, so these were supposed to be the happy games, the carefree games. so they did not heed any of the warnings of the psychologist they had employed. in a sense they politicized the threat assessment. i would argue that we are doing the same thing today. theave really downplayed nature of this threat for political reasons and i think, you can trace it back to various points in time, but for me an important turning point was the fall of 2011. when the administration sent out a directive both to the department of justice as well as
to the department of defense, saying all caps or terrorism training needed to be reviewed, all the slides had to be reviewed and counterterrorism trainers themselves had to be scrutinized. many of the people who spent careers or at least a good decade if not longer, studying the trend and the threats come over there -- were then henceforth further than from training and we lost many of our best experts on the topic. and prophecies were implemented. if you want to go in now and train the fbi on terrorism, you have to be scrutinized by an anonymous reviewer, we do not know their expertise. as some of the people, people who are presenting training our phd's, they have been studying this their entire careers and
they are being challenged on the content of what they are training for political reasons. why does it matter? i think most importantly it is because it has left our law enforcement unprepared for the threat we are now facing. because this administration has downplayed the seriousness of this threat, both abroad much probably you will hear about from other panelists, i will just focus on the domestic threat. a law enforcement has not been adequately trained, so we have two issues. on the one hand, the narrative has been put out that the real threat is from right wing extremism. if you look at surveys of law enforcement and you ask them, probably not true anymore, but if you had asked a year ago, there were surveys were law enforcement would say their biggest concern was right ring extremism -- wing extremism can't because that is what they were told.
so law enforcement was not prepared today to face the threat we are facing, that is a disservice to them and the american people. one last piece, the department of justice, with all the training they have been carrying out, rather than focus on the nature of the threat, they are focusing on protection of civil rights. they are so concerned about people not being offended, that this is what they are going out and training on, not the seriousness of the threat. so i would say my first message is, we need to stop downplaying and politicizing the threat. my second is, and i am so glad to share this, let's stop focusing on the reasons why people engage in terrorism. ask whyody ever wants does a person become a white supremacist? did we ever ask why does a
person become a knotty -- nazi? it is ludicrous, we did not ask that question, we did not care about that question. what we knew, they were engaging and something that was evil and we had to condemn it and we have to stop it. really, it seems like a simple thing to say, but it really is actually a deeply, located problem and i think it will be a difficult one for us to tackle. the reason for that, in a sense, goes back to munich. after that terrible attack in 1972, as well as the general rise in terrorism, if you remember that wave of hijackings, many hijackings in cuba in the 60's and subsequent hijackings, a very sharp rise in terrorism in the 1960's and 1970's, so people naturally started asking questions, why do
people engage in terrorism. i think there was the hope or desire that there might be some psychological explanation. these people are demented, they have been abused by fathers, abandoned by mothers, there were a lot of theories. all of which have subsequently been disproved. so that angle of inquiry, is there a psychology of terrorism, it has not yielded anything useful. and then, equally at think frustrating, there is a desire to go after that question, but also the sociology of terrorism and this has become more prevalent in the last two decades. there was a time in the 1980's were people who were sort of working on social movement started saying what if we applied a social movement theory to a form of radicalism and it
became islamic activism. again, the focus was, let's look for causes. let's look for upstream causes, why did engage in terrorism? you are hearing it, this is also what we have been hearing over the last couple days, what is it about this couple that they did these things? is it because he had an abusive father, a mother any relationship with an alcoholic? it really does not matter. i think the problem with that it takes thery is sense of judgment away from what they are doing. it is like we are looking for justification and in a sense we are turning them into victims. if you think about the term, for somebody to be radicalized, it is like something has been done to them, right? there is no free will or agency in it and i think it is the wrong way to look at it and it is leading us down the wrong
path, it is not instructive for law enforcement and it will not help us stop terrorism. i like to see us get away from that. lastly, we need to think a lot harder about the ideology. and if that is what we are not doing. again, by focusing on things like the psychology of terrorism, these factors, these sociologist of terrorism, what we are doing is we're not talking about the ideology that is driving people into terrorism. what is interesting is, if you look at different cases, for example our study focuses on the case within the united states since march, 2014, people who have been dashed by law enforcement. this is broader than most others, most other people talk about the rest -- arrests. we talk about people who have been killed, seven unnamed minors and others who have been
arrested. and there is another study that has been done that goes through each individual case and the conclusion is, every cases different. right? this is what you will find, the motivations are very different. love.dy was looking for summary else is angry. someday feels disenfranchised. he will not find it there, but the commonality is the ideology. it is one of the areas we have really neglected, it is an area that i think a lot enforcement is feeling very frustrated by, because they are not being allowed right now to go after the ideological aspects. people in this country, there are people who really -- we have isis recruiters, but more importantly people who are promoting ideas that justify
what isis and other groups are doing. we need to pay more attention to that. say it iswant to important to remember that what is going on now, the terrorism going on now in this country, this is war. this is not crime. they are very different things and we have to keep sight of that. be an extreme of privatetool parties. paramountf not, the achievement of western civilization, is that warfare instrument.al it became part of the course of -- coercive power of law itself and that is how we brought an end to the dark ages. it is incredibly important and we are not talking about a dimensionort of moral
to what is going on. terrorism, the act of terrorism going on in the world, but especially the act of terrorism inspired by isis my going on in -- isis, going on in this country is a direct result of what is happening. it will threaten to disrupt a lot, it is not merely a terrible thing for innocent victims, but it is the broader construct of our civilization and state control of power that that -- that is at risk and we need to have a broader conversation about how important it is we recognize the seriousness of these threats and these attacks that are going on in our country. i didn't mean to end on such a serious note, but there you have it. thank you. [applause] [applause]
lisa: hello, thank you for coming. thank you, jim for the nice introduction. so, i want to emphasize what jim 4.5ed with, which is that years ago after the elimination of osama bin laden, what we saw is the obama administration start to downplay the international terrorist threat and we saw the administration view the in -- of the elimination of osama bin laden justify troops in afghanistan. in 2013, president obama -- his leadership on the path of defeat. around the same time, in august 2011, the heritage foundation released a report and in the report we warned against underplaying the international terrorist threat that continued
to threaten the country and it we began efforts to fight the threat. and we noted that despite the fact that drone strikes have ,egraded al qaeda leadership they are adapting to the threat and they are beginning to spread their deadly ideology through affiliated and associated organizations throughout the middle east and north africa. isisoday, al qaeda and control more territory in this region them they have at any other time in history. so i am going to talk about the terrorism threats that come from south asia. i will start with afghanistan. the afghan security forces still require u.s. support to fight the taliban. they require training, our ourlefield, are -- intelligence and especially our
air support and i think that became evident when the taliban a city ino overtake northern afghanistan for two weeks in september. and i think it was that takeover of can do -- kandu which finally convinced the president that he needed to extend troop presence beyond 2016 and he committed in mid-october to leave 5500 troops in afghanistan when he departs office. , butis a welcome step frankly it would have been better if he simply would have said the we are keeping the 9800 troops that are there now and we will reassess the situation next year. it would have been better if he would have dropped all arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal. admittedly, it was a step in the right direction. one of the most important things happening in afghanistan right crisis in leadership
the taliban. and i think the u.s. should take advantage of this. some people would argue that it is easier to negotiate with a unified taliban, but i would argue that while it may make it more difficult in the short run to negotiate with a fracturing taliban, over the longer term, a fractured taliban is a weekend taliban and it will post a less of a threat to u.s., nato and afghan forces. what has been happening? the taliban leader has rejected the leadership of another leader who was named a successor when it was announced that the previous leader was dead for two years. what they are saying is he thinks that month your
--monseur is lying. he accuses him of being too close to pakistan's intelligence service. making himself out to be more patriotic, and not cooperating with foreign intelligence service. fighting has broken out. some reports say that 100 people have been killed in the fighting between the taliban factions. there have even been reports the successor may have been wounded or killed just this week in quite a during a shootout. the taliban is denying just come we have to see what exactly is happening. are is clear, is there problems in the taliban.
isis is taking advantage of this. see like in syria, where we al qaeda affiliates fighting isis, we are starting to see .sis elements fighting taliban isis has been able to establish some presence, particularly in eastern areas, as well as some pockets of influence and solve -- in another province. some are admittedly disgruntled taliban. some are pakistan ladies -- leaders that have fled the fighting from the pakistan military operations. clearly, isis has its sights on afghanistan. and is seeking inroads there. this started back in january, when isis launched what it calls
the core is on group in salvation. -- south ossetia -- asia. this area encompasses it is now afghanistan in the bordering states of afghanistan. according to the sayings of the south asiaammed, maintains a key role in establishing a global. the pakistan ambassador to the u.s. and a prominent writer on developments in this part of howworld has written about one person refers to a battle of india. this is the final battle between muslims and non-muslims which would occur before the end times. says anore, another army with black flags will emerge to help the redeemer of islam establish mecca.
isis is using these references in the head deeds to recruit in south asia and justified a presence there. isis faces obstacles and afghanistan to pakistan -- and pakistan. the al qaeda and taliban are well-established in this region. the al qaeda leader has nurtured al qaeda's relationship with the taliban. he pledged allegiance to the successor of omar. obstaclesdefinitely in the long-term for isis to make serious inroads. order to send off this isis meant, in -- inroad september 2014, he was seen in a video. now we are seeing the launch of
al qaeda and the indian subcontinent -- in the indian subcontinent. in this video he assures people that quote the organization did not forget you. they are doing what they can to rescue you from injustice, oppression, persecution, suffering. recent series of attacks in bangladesh has raised fears that indeed international terrorist might be making inroads into that country. inlet -- in attack late september on an italian aid worker. five days worker a japanese agricultural worker in northern blank -- -- thing with -- with gunned down. -- was gunned down. there was horrific machete attacks on bloggers. another indication that isis is trying to make inroads into
bangladesh was the publishing of a five page article in its flagship magazine called the revival of jihad in bengal. during congressional testimonies that i have given in april, i warned that political turmoil in bangladesh threatened to derail social and economic gains that country has made over the last decade. couldat islamic extremist take advantage of increased political polarization there. i think that is what is playing out. while extremist attacks are having in bangladesh, the government is executing its political opponents. it is doing this through the war crimes stricken a process, that has been criticized by the international community for flaws anyways these trials are in the waysd out -- these trials are being cared out -- carried out. recently in bangladesh there has been no resolution to the problems there.
back to the january 2014 elections where the current prime minister moves forward his elections, despite the fact the opposition boycotted them. half of the seats in parliament went uncontested. bangladesh, this country that we had previously held up as a model muslim majority, democracy, having made important social and economic gains of the worriedade, now we are it will become the next hotbed for terrorism and extremist. i think it certainly deserves more u.s. attention. i would like to see the u.s. become more assertive in encouraging political dialogue between the current government and political opposition so we can avoid the situation. i will stop there. thank you very much. [applause]
>> i think will speak from here -- i will speak from here. iraq andic state in syria, my mic is on. can you hear ok? isis is primarily a regional threat, but it is metastasizing rapidly and extending tentacles. soon it could be a long-term global threat, if it is allowed to consolidate its power and control territory. , in theargue that isis long run poses a greater potential threat than the al qaeda courtroom presently hunkered down in the tribal badlands of pakistan and afghanistan for at least three reasons -- first, it is lodged in the heart of the arab world, unlike the al qaeda core group, which is the back of beyond the french. inge.
that is important because al qaeda and isis are terror organizations. this control of territory, smaller than maryland, enables isis to attract, recruit, and train not only arabs from the surrounding area, but muslim militants from europe and the u.s.. it -- although it hasn't staged to the kind of terrorist attacks al qaeda has in the past, i think it's soon could surpass and eclipse al qaeda on the front. secondly, isis is the richest terrorist group in the world, or it has been called that. it is located close to enormous oil resources. primarily in eastern syria. also some in iraq. it was estimated at its height
to be making about $3 million in oil smuggling profits a day. this amounted to more than a billion dollars a year at its peak in midpoint 14. -- in the mid-2014. now it is reduced to half of that. revenues are now approximately $500 million a year according to the new york times. more important, it makes a roughly -- up to $900 million a year through its control over people, property, and economic life in western syria, western iraq and eastern syria. it attacks individuals and businesses. farmers, crops, livestock. it collects rent from government but dust buildings, and collects payments for utilities. it has looted banks.
confiscated the property of religious minorities that it despises. also sunnis that oppose its harsh rule. it has kidnapped hostages, and collected millions in ransoms. they enslaved women and sold them as sex slaves. it has smuggled artifacts. it imposes fines for traffic forations for smoking, and addressing -- bad dressing. the islamic state would argue it has an economic model to -- close to the mafia. it should not be surprising, given that its founder was extremismto islamic in a jordanian prison where he was a gang enforcer.
islamic movement has recruited other criminal networks, and recruited in prisons, not only in iraq, or qua.become -- kambu we saw the current leader in a u.s. prison. now we know from the paris attacks that isis has recruited among criminal networks in france and belgium. have beenstorically an important factor for the spreading of islamic extremist in many countries, including our own. that is something that needs to be watched. airdly, the islamic state is greater religious appeal than i height of -- then al qaeda. last year they claimed to be just not an islamic state, but the islamic state founded by prophet muhammad.
this dubious claim has triggered a backlash among any religious sunnial leaders -- among religious leaders. even from al qaeda. this claim of religious legitimacy has helped it to attract and recruit followers among impressionable young muslims. more than 30,000 supporters from over 100 countries have flocked to this so-called group. the leader represents a new generation of leadership who claims more religious credentials than previous al qaeda leaders, including dissent from the prophet mohammed. he is charismatic and mysterious, and able to excite the imaginations of young muslims. he has far more probably appeal -- more popular appeal than the
leader of the old guard. his message is magnified by a sophisticated propagation on social media platforms that appeal to young people. they specifically appeal to young muslims in the west. like osama bin laden, seeks to transform what essentially is a class within islamic civilization into a clash of civilization. islam against the west, with him leading as a champion of islam. he fashioned himself not only as a successor to bin laden, but also a successor of prophet muhammad. he has renamed himself caliph im. regime -- ibrah magnet forde it a
foreign fighters, and enables isis to feast on the corpses of failed and failing state. not just in iraq and syria, but it has spread and claimed the allegiance of pre-existing islamic groups, and libya, egypt -- in libya, egypt, jordan, lebanon, saudi arabia, and afghanistan, and pakistan. even boko haram in nigeria has pledged allegiance. qaeda and itsl affiliated organizations command more terrorism control, more territory in the middle east to north africa and around the world than ever before. the u.s. policy response, unfortunately has been too little, too late. from the beginning, the obama administration is understood and underestimated the threat posed by al qaeda and its isis offshoot in iraq. allowedt obama
short-term political considerations to trump long-term national security interests and he abruptly ended the u.s. military presence in iraq in december 2011. that deprives the iraqi government of intelligence, military training, counterterrorism, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets that allow isis to grow and a much more progressive -- permissive environment. the administration downplayed the threat of isis laster when the president told a new yorker reporter that isis was the jv team. after this complacent disdain was exposed as wishful thinking when isis took muzzle, iraq's second-largest city in june, the white house reacted with a series of half measures that were carried out in a piecemeal fashion. they initially committed a few military advisers to retrain the
iraqi army. gradually they have increased the number of advisers to about 3500. combat remains under resourced. this is no way to win a war. indid not like -- worked vietnam, and it is not working in iraq and syria today. the ministers and has launched a limited air campaign that has proceeded at a leisurely place -- pace. up to three quarters of u.s. warplanes at one point returning to base without dropping bombs is of type restrictions -- tight restrictions on targeting. also a lack of reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities. the ministrations lack of a certain -- sense of urgency has been breathtaking. the president even proclaimed isis was contained the day before the paris attacks. it is all the more disturbing
because the long string of isis victories has given it an aura of invincibility -- and attracted a steady stream of foreign fighters who boost its strength by about 1000 fighters each month. this is why the chairman of the joint chief of staff of staff, general dunford admitted earlier this week in a congressional hearing that isis has not yet been contained. this is a conflict against a global islamist insurgency. and that kind of a conflict, if you're not winning, you're losing. we are not winning. the white house needs to reconsider its incremental half measures in iraq, and devise and implement a coherent strategy that would more effectively match in a means in the struggle and meansis -- ends in the struggle against isis. initially it barred combat
operations by american ground troops. it dragged its feet on deploying advisers. restricted them from being deployed in close proximity to the front lines. they put tight restrictions on the use of airstrikes to avoid casualties. the long run, pulling punches in the air war has enabled isis to kill more civilians, and attract more fanatics -- fanatic followers. the ministration recently announced the deployment of 50 special operation personnel to syria. and a larger expeditionary targeting force to iraq. those are fine steps, but should have been done long ago. we need to ease some of these political resistance -- restrictions that have hampered the military effort. we need to apply a more extensive and intensive air campaign against isis.
u.s. military advisers should be embedded in iraqi military units, closer to the front lines. u.s. special operation forces should be deployed in greater strength, and embedded with kurdish and sunni tribal militias to enhance effectiveness and coordinate u.s. airstrikes. we need to expand the size and the role of u.s. ground forces to include combat missions. to end isis's reign of terror. iraq needs more help in defeating isis. a growingdy poses regional threat and a significant threat to the u.s. homeland if it is allowed to consolidate. tougher was very strategy needs to be wedded to a long-term political and ideological effort. it is important that the islamic state -- it is important to note that isis does not lead a
monolithic insurgency, but there andlayers of ad hoc allies it has acquired them, including some of the remnants of saddam hussein's military. sunni tribal leaders who saw which way the wind was blowing, a marriage of convenience with isis. not for ideological reasons, but because they saw isis as a lever left -- lesser evil compared to unresponsive governments in baghdad and damascus. although it gets all of the headlines, isis relies on these allies. they need to be peeled away is isis will be defeated. theink we need to exploit fact that is extremism alienates all of the people forced to live under its rule. should bellies driving wedges between isis and
less radical groups to siphon off support, particular the from the sunni arab tribes who are increasingly under isis rule. defectbes will not unless they see a concerted and effective signs that the u.s. is involved, and the tide is turning. and they can count on sustained u.s. support and protection in the aftermath. ultimately the obama administration i think is right that the iraqis and syrians need to do the heavy lifting on the ground, but firm u.s. leadership is needed to escalate the coalition of military efforts and provide more effective support for them in their anti-isis efforts. washington also must leave harder on baghdad to pressure it to rein in shia militias. reach out to you tribal leaders, and give them a reason to turn against isis. the war in syria will be more
difficult because we do not have -- we lack valuable allies we have already worked with on the ground. the u.s. needs to strengthen the elements of the syrian rebel coalition that are opposed isis, and prepare for and in game that will cement a sustainable political structure within syria. after the geopolitical kaleidoscope's twisted once again, with more effective military action against isis. -- hopefully in this ministration, but if not, the next. the bottom line i would say is that this ministration has been in denial about the persistent threat posed by islamic extremists, particularly isis. has done too little too late to halt the troubling trends we see today. thank you. [applause] >> i will follow jim's example
and remain seated. my challenge is to avoid repeating what my fellow colleagues on the panel said. by saying, gosh, how different everything looks today compared to 4.5 years ago. we were repeatedly assured that al qaeda was on the verge of strategic collapse. i suppose i disagree slightly from jim and his perspective, i think that al qaeda remains as much of a threat is isis. one can see that in the fact that al qaeda is present in more places today than it has ever been before. currently may have at least 70 major networks, or affiliate and associates -- affiliates and associates. that is more than double than 2008. it is a particularly dangerous threat, despite the fact that a couple of years ago it was announced, it was dismissed as a
place -- publicity stunt. even more worrisome than al qaeda's longevity is the emergence of isis. whether it is al qaeda or isis, my third point is that the jihadi message remains unfortunately compelling -- and both bands resonate. case their message is simple, but it means that it is difficult to encounter. there is a classic text that describes a cathartic cleansing of striking a blow at a hated enemy. today we see that same sort of ideology taking root. in fact the bloody year, the more shocking and heinous the violence, the more attractive it is to those who rally to isis
and al qaeda. at the end of the day, how do you effectively counter a narrative based on a message of the cleansing and positive effects of violence. this feeds off of the increasing sectarian basis of the messaging of both groups that see themselves in this apocalyptic against-- struggle their foremost enemy, the shia, but also the western united states. unfortunately, the past couple of years we have seen the enormous power on social media. it underpins, facilitate, and encourages foreign fighters. a recent report from the u.s. house of representative homeland security committee estimated the number of foreign fighters that are rallied to syria and lebanon -- i'm sorry, syria and iraq is upwards of 25,000 individuals from some 80 countries threat the world. -- throughout the world.
these developments, the resident of the -- the resonance of the jihadi message continues in the large number of foreign fighters. this ensures the struggle will continue for years. finally, we have to look at ourselves. obviously from the events in san bernardino, demonstrate we are in a highly fluid and complicated environment. consultations are greatest because this thread has --wn up, and is growing complications are greatest because this thread is growing. recently in aote brief, if bin laden were still alive he would likely be a very happy man. in 1998 and a newspaper interview he said that he welcomed his death. he looks forward to his
opportunity for martyrdom because he was confident his death would produce thousands of more. certainly with the foreign fighters we have seen around the world -- and -- a greater problem. al qaeda was active in afghanistan, that is proof the realization of one of his hopes. thatdly, if you recall thimble full of documents released in may 2012. , a lot of was made from one where bin laden complains about al qaeda is misunderstood, and he has to rebrand to show it was not only , and usingrism force, but they also have a political agenda. i would argue that dream, or that in -- imperative has been realized. look how we use the name, al qaeda.
we collect -- we call it the n ussra fund. groups in syria are clearly jihadi and ideology, a clearly allied with al qaeda, but yet we refer to them in these far more obfuscating terms. he has obviously achieved the rebranding of al qaeda. in september 2010, bin laden called on al qaeda's affiliates to carry out attacks in europe. there were no group capable of mounting those types of attacks. of course with the attacks lastst charlie hebdo january, and more recently last month with the attacks in paris, those style of the tax have materialized.
-- of attacks have materialized. finally we see his plea from his -- heus prophets banner ,alled on al qaeda followers supporters and sympathizers throughout the world to carry out attacks on behalf of the al qaeda cause. spokespersonis's adopted for himself. we potentially see this having serialized in the u.s. recently and in other countries in recent months. against they very happily sea ice is garnering all the attention. in the backeared pages of newspapers.
they've seized to more cities in yemen thereby extending their control. let me wrap up here. we can talk about what should be our policy responses. the distinction between terrorist insurgency and the conventional warfare capabilities of our adversaries is eroding. they are now is capable if not more capable than the established militaries of the region. each of them has been able to hold territory. and exercise some form of governance and sovereignty. there is no real sign of any of them being pushed back. has resulted in
a series of destabilizing activities. now it has ledt to a renaissance of the terrorist threat. 30 years ago, prime minister margaret thatcher said that publicity is the oxygen upon which terrorism depends. the 21st century, sanctuary and safe haven is the oxygen upon which terrorism depends. it has only increased rather than diminished. that most in his past history is that once these type of adversaries have access to sanctuary and safe haven they develop the capability for research and development to engage in experimentation of unconventional weapons. isis onready seen
innumerable occasions used tactical weapons. is foreign fighters problem one that is not exclusive to the love on tour to iran. this is a problem that will not go away. it will remain intractable for years to come. response, jimr went over quite a bit of this so i don't want repeated. the special operations task force. the point is that if i'm right we face this hybrid threat of and conventional warfare entities with those capabilities. the problem is that direct action and special operations really overwhelms the
counterterrorism. foremost, our policy must be decisively rolling back isis from the territory that has. without having its territory and weds taken away from it cannot diminish its power and allure. a is allbing of oilfields to the good, but i would argue that the anemic level is currently being conducted is having no long-term strategic effect. it costs them only about $200,000 to be able to draw oil
out of the ground again. we have to work with our partners especially our nato allies to view the threat. argue that turkey is going to be an enormously important test case. the problems and travails with experience with pakistan are now rising a relationship with turkey. turkey of course is a nato ally. we have to develop a effective strategy. the most important element is their ability to spawn franchises or branches. we will know we are winning with a number of affiliates drops. recognize and behave
i can't even imagine the horror for a mother seeing a child executed. even look at their own grave before they died. i only wish i could take area to of y to that see the atrocities for yourselves. sony times we spend watching television. we are very disconnected. it seems like a movie. we tell ourselves that this will never happen in america. or in paris.
have seen what has evolved from this. their capabilities from having a sanctuary that they have established. a territory and the terrain that has not been challenged. metastasizelowed to . that has become our most difficult objective. ground theon the most important thing to me is a reporter is to tell you the truth. what i am seeing. not to deliver a narrative. not to listen to what the white house is saying or the defense department. i am to tell you what gathering as information to deliver to the american people or to lawmakers so that they can make their own decisions. as i spoke to the peshmerga fighters.
.nd i spent sometimes with them some who lost their family members. some who their daughters and their children. and they still don't even know where they had. i began to put together a picture of how the narrative shifts. last year the president, they were going to rescue people off mount sinjar. we're going to make a difference. we trust some aids. some people made off the mountain. everybody was not fine. than 5000 people were executed in mass graves. these were not just men who were fighting them. these were small children and
women and the elderly. they couldn't get away fast enough. bodies were piled on top of each other. thedren were slaughtered rest of them were left to die. let me bring you a message. from a young girl i met on the road. her car had broken down. it was a beat-up suv. her family was making its way back from turkey. they were heading to u.n. camp just outside of sinjar hoping that they would find some help for some food. she said we want the world to declare what happened to us a genocide.
the islamic state capture lots of people when they arrived. many did not escape. they killed lots of children. we asked where is the world? where is the great usa? aren't they a threat to your nation as well? where was europe? we all turned a blind eye to what was happening on the ground. force was trying to do their jobs. flyovers and they would call for airstrikes. we would hear that there was no authority to strike. there could be civilians.
there are no civilians driving that humvees straight at us loaded with ammo. we are sure there are no civilians telling you there are none. one of the things that this happened is a breakdown in trust. overseas andllies america. with is little pieces of information. so many people are afraid. they are afraid to share information with us. they are afraid that they are going to ask for help and no one will arise. and who can blame them? our military are frustrated they want to be able to do this job. they volunteered to fight for this country they don't want
these radicals to be able to grab the people or to come into attackstry and conduct as atrocious as we just saw in my hometown of san bernardino. or in turkey or in lebanon. we're going to be adding more attacks. i thought what is the first step. the first step is admitting what the problem is. even if it doesn't fit the narrative. they would've told me know everything is great. the americans came in and we were rescued.
that's what i would've reported to you. that is the truth from the ground. very few people are telling that truth. the media perpetuates a narrative. it is easier to do that than to go there and see for yourself. to try to find someone who speaks the language well enough that they can help you. information that we get from the ground is from the reporters that live there. their lives are so threatened. 181 reporters and bloggers have been killed in syria. assetre a highly valuable to the islamic state it has its own narrative to get across.
we have not been able to come back this. fighters are up against 35,000 islamic state militants. they have former iraqi military equipment. donated.hich we they are willing to fight. they were willing to go out there and take on islamic states. just like they did in sinjar. with strong air support. it is very difficult for them. they move straight through a battalion of humvees. are ready to take out a whole slew of fighters. we have troops on the ground. they may be iraqi special forces.
they may be syrian army guys who still trust us. i haven't been to syria. i can't tell you about that narrative. know, they have lost their trust in us. they are trying to rebuild that trust. we know the islamic state has gained such a powerful force. as you have seen from these trueng panelists, is quite , even in south asia. i hope to visit there soon. we are seeing this expand. there has been very little we have done to actually stop this. it actually tell the stories. the reality what is happening on the ground. --mosul is the
second-largest city in iraq. it is still getting money to pay for electricity and their supplies from the central baghdad government. who is collecting all that money? the islamic state. they are in control of most mosul. whether things that could be a major problem the fact that sectarian divides have increased so much over the past year particularly with shia militia. it is a hotbed right now. disaster ontential our hands inside iraq.
some people say it is already there. i say it hasn't gone to the apex yet. we will know that when it starts going to the news. and we see people slaughtering each other again. if there is anything that i can deliver, we have to listen to the people who were living with this every day. listen to their stories. we can't distance ourselves from the people of iraq or the people of afghanistan and pakistan. there are people out there who are good and they want the truth to come out. they want us to be there ally again. their experts out here, but it is up to the administration and
to the lawmakers to say what the strategy is. right now nobody knows. [applause] >> we can open up to questions. here are couple of resources. a very powerful analytical tool. ofinteractive timeline islamists terror plots aimed at the united states. it is on our website. particular the things that katie talked about. look at the nature of the threat against the united states. technique that potentially could be available has been aimed at the united states. this is important when you think all the easy answers out
there. none of these, the terrorists just move on to something else. somehow it will put a plug in this part of the that. the wrong way to do you could do more damage to yourself. by fixating on that. ,he report that we did in 2011 counterterrorism for the next wave. i would commend that to you. a report that we did look at the ideological element.
and the political version of islam. how do you combat that? that is also available online. looks at theer foreign fighter threat. this is something that bruce and several others have written about. it is shocking that we don't have a strategy on that. that paper will be out in the near future. we are happy to take questions. >> this may be for catherine. on the san bernardino incident. the discussion has largely been on gun control. they are saying it could be terrorism.
that has not been at the forefront of the discussion. catherine: i think law enforcement and fbi have been unfairly criticized. they need to know and they didn't know. i think they've done everything right. the media is another problem. the administration is another problem. guns as well as to jump to causes is really the wrong way to go about it. we have got a big problem on our hands. >> this is a plot that is kind of different than anything we've seen. bruce: terrorists shooters like
this are extremely rare. team ifband-and-wife not completely unprecedented, it is somewhat unprecedented. last year there was a husband-and-wife team in las vegas. reported, which suggest this is about a lot more than gun control, this cache of , clearly they were intent on a more sustained campaign. it leads one to think that involve terrorism. what struck me is why does it have to be either/or. they could become a nation of workplace violence and ideological motivation. those things are not mutually exclusive. people become terrorists for all sorts of reasons.
the most common meme of the is thatonal wisdom injustice motivates people to engage in workplace violence. sure that wesarily have to do and either/or approach. we have had an increasing number in the last two years. the trouble is we often only pay attention to terrorism when the blood has already been spilled. in my view the plot that fbi director james comey talked about on july 4, that clearly had an isis involvement.
publicly, a lot of the details have not been released. theon't know exactly what motivation was. that plot failed. thanks to the sophisticated abilities of the fbi in recent years. lisa: there have been several attempted plots in the u.s.. the attempted car bombing of times square. there were connections to pakistan. the new york subway plot. there were also international connections with that as well.
>> thank you very much for the wide-ranging presentation. i spent many years in the state department counterterrorism office. one thing that he be overlooked this both the offense of in the defensive. the training doesn't really depend on the nomenclature. the swat teams that we so visible yesterday. other types of training we provide to countries overseas. much.don't matter as i think there's too much overemphasis on the semantics of what the administration calls it.
the other thing that is reaganked, president following the beirut bombings said terrorism is a crime matter what their motivation is. department has conducted about 270 prosecutions under the material support provision. it is a mistake to look at this purely as a war because we have to think and use all the tools available. you kind of downgraded the psychology aspect. trying to understand the terrorists whether through
border security are possible suspects. i don't think we can overlook it is fashionable to say one way to get rid of gun violence, here we have a situation where they would never been picked up on the screen of mental health professionals. ofre is that other aspect how to make it more difficult is thethe problem psychology angle has not yielded anything useful so far. we are putting too much effort into that and we are completely ignoring the aspects that are valuable. you look at the cases of the isis supporters in the last few months.
see theatedly behavioral indicators of radicalization. we saw this in san bernardino as well. the suspicious activities report list. they are not allowed to even talk about those activities. i would push back. the psychologists who want to keep pursuing it. maybe they will unlock something useful. they haven't done so yet. let's pay more attention to the other things. patrick: i have a question regarding syria. views of the panel on political and diplomatic options that haven't been leveraged yet on president assad? jim: ultimately as long as assad
that will only redound to the benefit of isis. any long-term strategy for defeating isis has to include removing aside from power. somenot as optimistic as in the administration appear to be about the prospects of having put the skids under assad. they have been dropping hints tout, we are not weighted assad. the iranians are much more clearly is supportive of assad. these tend to be diplomatic links of the eye. u.s.ing to get the
participation in a brokerage process that in the long run is needed. i don't think it will come about in the short run. >> was the mass in san bernardino and i can war? -- whater convictions are the conditions of victory? is nice to see eli in person. it is nice to see eli in person. i would argue against calling an act of war because that implies that our enemy is a state. it may mean that our response has to be warlike. it does have to involve the military.
i think the answer to terrorism is there goes in opposite directions. for a long time we thought was entirely a criminal phenomenon. it is much more than that. thee is no police force in world's the could have taken on al qaeda or other taliban. we have to use all the tools available. in san bernardino, whether it is terrorism more work place violence, it is handled best and treated best as a criminal problem. the difference is that we still have to unravel what the pedigree of the background is. it has lots of different applications. was there a process of radicalization?
there was some contact with individuals overseas. that may account for the smashing of cell phones and deleting the files. it has been treated with both a law enforcement had a criminal issue. >> we always end on time. there is a private lunch in the davis term. we have some sandwiches and things outside. aroundurage you stick
and enjoy the sandwiches and discuss these issues. please join me in thanking the panel. [applause] >> on the next washington journal, discussion about changes to the nsa stone metadata program. we will talk to stuart baker and neema guliana. then a look at sports related concussions with dr. cardone. and david savage -- >> this weekend, the c-span cities tour hosted by our comcast cable partners takes us to monterey, california to explore the literary culture of the area. monterey served as inspiration for author john steinbeck. it is known for its spanish heritage and was the capital of
alta, california before becoming part of the united states after the mexican-american war. theook tv, we will tour national steinbeck center which houses a collection of books and artifacts from the nobel prize winning author. next, donald porter discusses howard hughes' experiment till helicopters and other aviation first. then we would join stephen polumbi, author of the death and life of monterey bay, as he shows us the bay and talks about his recovery from a polluted body of water to one that is healthy and teaming. >> 80 years ago, this is a place you would not be standing on this beach doing anything, because the water was polluted. the air was foul. the seals and whales were gone. the otters were gone. fishing was bad. the sardines were
eventually leaving as well. that was all happening 80 years ago. the difference is monterey bay got better. >> we will visit the customhouse and learn about the importance this is the work building had on trading to both california and mexico. next, we will go to the carmel mission will hear about the mission of the priest. it was a bring the catholic faith to the native peoples. then california's first constitutional was held. the significance of this historic call along with items related to the convention. >> we have original documents from the constitutional convention in colton hall on display. this is one of them. this is the registration sheet for all the delegates. and, it is a great source of information. this was every delegate, where
they are from, what state or country, how old they are and which district of california they represent. piece, quite an amazing obviously unique. >> watching c-span cities tour today at noon eastern on c-span two's book tv and on american history tv on c-span3. s visiting's city tour cities across the country. >> c-span presents landmark cases, the book. a guide through the landmark cases series which explores 12 historic supreme court decisions, including barberi , brown versus the board of education, miranda versus arizona and roe versus wade.
landmark cases, the book, features introductions, highlights and the impacts of each case. written by veteran supreme court journalist tony morrow and published by c-span. availableases is for $8.95 plus shipping. get your copy at c-span.org/landmarkcases. from u.s. customs and border control, air canada and the toronto airport authority along with security experts talked about the process for prescreening travelers who visit the u.s. by air from canada. they talked about the department of homeland security's preclearance facility and how it might change in the future. from the city for strategic and international studies, this is one hour and a half.