tv Discussion on Islamic State and Al- Qaeda CSPAN December 7, 2015 2:45am-4:16am EST
with the world trade center's. guest: absolutely. i was in washington, d c, in 9/11, and you think about the gridlock and the chaos and people ended up walking home. host: let's go to patricia in new jersey. caller: good morning. i love my show "washington journal." host: we love you. you are for phoning them. caller: i don't even know where to start. i am going to be 64 and i am really sad. i think what was not in the or what is missing, a lot of times, minorities are mistreated in the workforce. lawsnow they have work where you can fire them for no reason, and if they want to get rid of us, they can. that makes us angry. we are out here trying to survive.
errorey are judging people are muslim people -- arab people are muslim people, so i know what it feels like to be discriminated against. i think we should talk about why these people got upset and angry on their job. what part of the bosses or administrators play? we have to listen to the jokes that are inappropriate and favoritism. i love my country, i am still shocked. host: as i hear you, i almost get the sense that you are just a fine what may end up being workplace violence? caller: i am saying that if they don't look at the -- people are struggling and the continued to be unfairly fired. host: we will get a response. thank you. guest: i agree with what you are , that initially whe
discrimination is wrong, absolutely. employeesloyers and be subject to some sort of sanctioning for proving dissemination? absolutely. somehows commission excuse the fact that people lose their lives? absolutely not. one of the things that i talk about with companies is the concept of employee assistance program or eap, every company has a different name, and when i go places and asked them, it is one of the first questions i asked, physical security is great, but you also made the process for employees to report behavior. before the fbi study came out last year, the secret service in 2002 released a study in response to columbine called the states code initiative study.
they went back and studied active shooter of events from study had02, and the several groundbreaking findings, but one of the findings was in every single instance of a shooting, somebody saw something that did not know who to report it to. one of the things i talk about with businesses and companies is, hey, do have an appointment assistance programs? if the employee is always arguing with his wife on the phone, having anger issues, who do i talk to? when you go talk to your manager and you talk about the present worried to come at the manager does not know what to do and they go to hr. hr does not know what to do, so everyone is worried about the freedom of information and privacy laws, so let your eap handle that. make sure you have your employees systems programs and make sure it is publicized within the company. the phone number is there. a lot of times, that information is given to people when they are
hired and three years later, they do not know where that literature is or number is. i do think it is important and i agree with her in that aspect that there needs to be a program in place and every company should have an employee assistance program. host: one of our viewers is following up on the caller ansys, in my experience, it is true. absolutely is no help in creating the content and productive workplace. guest: that is true. when i talk to them, there is no partnership between hr and security. a lot of times it is because they have not thought about that or they're worried about the viability of a privacy law but you are not filing any privacy law by having a discussion with your security professionals. channelom the fox news reaction, one of the neighbors in san bernardino, california, saying that he had seen suspicious activity but did not report it. guest: i saw that headline as
well. once again, they probably were unaware of where do they reported to. if all this fails and you do not to, reportedeport to the local police department. i think james comey had a great press conference this week, as well as other members of the fbi, and one of the things they said was this would've handled these things confidentially and they will not go bursting down the door. these are handled with follow-up investigations and reports of suspicious behavior and their handled delicately. so people willd not be fearful of what will happen if they are reported. host: let's go to houston, texas. carl is next. welcome. caller: thank you particular call. -- thank youd of for taking my call. i find it strange or talking
about security, but it seems that these security measures only affect americans. who performed the you seem willing to hire them but you will not higher americans. it is crazy. american may have something in his record 10 years ago and that would exclude him from a job, but you go to these same where theor countries people want to kill us, and you hire them all day long. i am in houston, texas, and i see these people and i do not have a problem, but the reality is you all are acting like it is americans, it is not americans whog that, it is the people have made all the security acts for the people. host: you'll get a response. should be some sort
process.g i am not a legal expert, and if somebody has something in their background, some sort of criminal act where they have been convicted or arrested for, i do not necessarily think that that should exclude them from employment but that is not my decision. that is what local and federal levels have to determine. host: of course, that can be determined, but as we saw in virginia shooting, one month, two months, in this case, three months, they came back. guest: absolutely. and there is nothing to prevent that. one of the things i talk about, regardless of your religious belief, hindu, buddhist, atheist, i think we can all agree that when it is your time to go, it is your time to go.
takeesses or citizens can every step to ensure the security and something can still happen. one of the things i tell people, kiss your kids every day, tell them that you love them and live your life to the fullest because you never know. is former secret service agent, 12 years in that agency and is not a private security consultant, and we are talking about what to do if you are in an active shooter situation in the workplace, at home or any public location. kim joins us next from new york. welcome. caller: good morning. commentanted to call to on the comment he made about vetting people as they are being hired. i believe there should be some in fault, but somebody who had something happen 12 years, 30 years in the past and they do
not hire them for that without some kind of research on that because whether it be a misdemeanor or felony, they could have paid for the problem that they had and been rehabilitated and been an active citizen. i am not sure -- i think it really kills jobs or kills employment when you have companies that go to the extreme . if he is a felon, oh, my god, we will not hire him. i believe in vetting. guest: i agree with him wholeheartedly. a copy at should be -- the if someoneld be that has something in the background, especially a filing crime, regardless of whether or not they paid for that consequence, that should be investigated. how do you investigate that? well, someone needs to read the file and pulled the police report.
was it an adolescent mistake or something deeper than that? hardly with the caller that i do not think anybody should be excluded from employment because of something in their background but the incident should be investigated. host: let's go to kathy in new mexico. good morning. caller: thank you, c-span. love the show. i would like to take this to the comment he made recently -- thatg that would there really is no way we can foresee how these situations will be in the end. started based on christian values. people.ill we need to find out what in the this country so
violent as opposed to other westernized and civilized countries. where is the violence coming from? if you called yourself a christian nation, violence against violence. here and they were not immigrants, they were colonizers, and they murdered millions of native americans. now, here we have the situation where innocent people are being killed in the workplaces, in their schools, in restaurants, where is the violence in america coming from? violence.ves its i do not have any enemies. i do not know anybody. most people want to go to her, live their lives, raise their children and have a future. that is general across all
people of all lands and countries. that is what most people want. people do not want the violence, but as one of the previous callers said, we need to go back to the root cause. cane to not bible, kill his brother with a gun. are you going to outlaw clubs or sticks? until we get to the root cause of the violence in this country and what is making everyone so angry to the point where they go to these extremes, if we do not deal with this sickness pervading the nation, i would say we need to look at, very seriously, what we do in these companies, as the previous caller said, what is causing someone to be this angry? thank you for this gentleman this morning. host: kathy, i went to thank you -- i want to thank you ellie will give him a chance to response.
, steve, toe is a lot digest, but once again, as i said earlier in this interview, the second amendment debate in this country has really become a political issue, along the lines of abortion and other debate,. what causes -- debates. what causes these shootings and violent crime? i wish i had answer. if i had the answer, i would be a very rich man. i am reading a book right now about ballet police department -- about the l.a. police department and homicide investigations. one of the underlying trends is that a lot of the violent crime is caused by over and under urbanng in neighborhoods and i don't necessarily disagree with that. i think those are areas we need to look at.
specifically about active shooting events and acts of violence in the workplace, the two competing. , once again by these two prominent knowledges, one at texas and one at northeastern, i do not think -- i do not know if they will stop at the big way or the other. is it an increase in the violent crime because we are becoming more violent as the society? i do not know the answer. all i can do is sort of research what is out there and advise companies on these sort of current research. host: the final point from rick say that the call from new mexico is right because americans do not want to look at ourselves. afraid of what we might see. one quick call, john from illinois. 30 seconds. caller: thank you. my question was, in all the mass shootings that have taken place, how many times has a victim who actively carried a weapon
actually stopped issued or defended his life? guest: good question. i get asked that from time to time. the problem in answering that definitively is that there has been a number of editorials about that exact question. excuse me. i do not know the exact answer because i have questions about the exact statistic and about how the game about the statistic -- and how the kim about the statistic. even though i do not jump into the second amendment debate, one of the things i do say is that these events and in a few ways. one, the shooter kills himself, they either surrender or they are killed by law enforcement. what do law enforcement carry? firearms. i think there is no debate about how these events and and they are usually ended with people with guns. host: bill gage
on the report on issa supporters in america. political reporter on school improvement grants designed to raise performance on the worst-performing schools. as always, we take your calls, and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. live atton journal," 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> tonight on "the communicators," terrorism and the use of social media. we'll examine how social media is used by various terrorism groups to radicalize and recruit new members from around the world. we are joined by alberto
fernandez and mark wallace. both guests recently testified at a house oversight committee hearing on radicalization, social media, and the rise of terrorism. >> if you look at the world, if you look at the production of media worldwide, if you look at hollywood, madison avenue, there is no doubt that there are more of us than there are of them. but if you look at the narrow space where people are searching for this type of stuff, in this sub world, this e,bculture, in this nich they radically outnumber everyone. i think that we are to have a robust discussion in the united companies areese no really under their platforms. i think that they have two put policies in place that limit and deny the ability of terrorists.
if they don't, i think we have to have a real-world discussion. do these platforms become material for terrorist groups? >> watch "the communicators," live at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> the heritage foundation held a panel friday examining the president's counterterrorism strategy and whether it is enough to fight terror groups like isis and al qaeda in order to keep the homeland safe. the san bernardino mouse shooting was touched on. this is about 90 minutes. >> thank you for coming. we have about 1.5 hours scheduled for this event.
what i think we should do is each panelist should speak and and then we will have time for questions and discussion at the 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] katharine: it is a delight to be here, thank you for bringing us all together. i am happy to be here. i do not want to use my precious 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 focus instead on three aspects 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 recalling the 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. we have really downplayed the 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. did anybody ever wants ask why does a person become a white supremacist? did we ever ask why does a person become a 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. and 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
line of inquiry is it takes the 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. somebody was looking for love. 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. lastly, i want to say it is 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. warfare cannot be an extreme toll of -- tool of private parties. this is, if not, the paramount achievement of western civilization, is that warfare became a legal instrument. 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 broader, sort of moral dimension 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 this country -- 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.
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 to 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 degraded 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. and today, al qaeda and isis 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 battlefield, are -- our intelligence and especially our air support and i think that became evident when the taliban was able to overtake a city in 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. this is a welcome step, but
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 now is the leadership crisis in 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 he is saying is that there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of him and he thinks that he is lying about the circumstances of that death, even accusing him of murdering him. 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
that 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. what is clear, is there are problems in the taliban. isis is taking advantage of this. just like in syria, where we see al qaeda affiliates fighting isis, we are starting to see isis elements fighting taliban. isis has been able to establish some presence, particularly in eastern areas, as well as some pockets of influence in another province. some are admittedly disgruntled taliban.
some are pakistan 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 southeast asia. this area encompasses it is now afghanistan in the bordering states of afghanistan. according to the sayings of the prophet mohammed, south asia maintains a key role in establishing a global. and the pakistan ambassador to the u.s. and a prominent writer on developments in this part of
the world has written about how 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. furthermore, another says an 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 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. there are definitely obstacles in the long-term for isis to
make serious inroads. in order to send off this isis enrichment -- inroad meant, in 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. there was an attack in late september on an italian aid worker.
five days worker a japanese agricultural worker in northern blank -- 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. and that islamic extremist could 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 the ways these trials are being carried out. recently in bangladesh there has been no resolution to the problems there. these go 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 last decade, now we are worried
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 i will speak from here. the islamic state in iraq and 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. i would argue that isis, in the 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 fringe. 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. this makes 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 the mid-2014. now it is reduced to half of that. the oil 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 violations for smoking, and for addressing -- bad dressing. the islamic state would argue it has an economic model close to the mafia.
it should not be surprising, given that its founder was converted to islamic extremism in a jordanian prison where he was a gang enforcer. his islamic movement has recruited other criminal networks, and recruited in prisons, not only in iraq, kambuqua. 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. prisons historically have been an important factor for the
spreading of islamic extremist in many countries, including our own. that is something that needs to be watched. thirdly, the islamic state is a 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 sunni 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 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. baghdad he fashioned himself not only as a successor to bin laden, but also a successor of prophet muhammad. he has renamed himself caliph ibrahim. this has made it a magnet for 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, in libya, egypt, jordan, lebanon, saudi arabia, and afghanistan, and pakistan. even boko haram in nigeria has pledged allegiance.
today, isis, al qaeda and its 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. president obama allowed 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 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. the overall combat remains under resourced. this is no way to win a war. it did not work in 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 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 against isis -- ends and means 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 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 restrictions that have hampered the military effort. and a larger expeditionary 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.
that already poses a growing regional threat and a significant threat to the u.s. homeland if it is allowed to consolidate. a 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 are layers of ad hoc allies and 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, and pursued 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. i think we need to exploit the fact that is extremism alienates all of the people forced to live under its rule. u.s. and allies should be 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. the tribes will not defect 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. that might come -- 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. it 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. let me begin 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 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. in isis's 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 struggle against 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 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. perhaps the consultations are greatest because this thread has grown up, and is growing --
complications are greatest because this thread is growing. sadly, as i wrote recently in a 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. secondly, if you recall that thimble full of documents released in may 2012. 17 documents, 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 about terrorism, and using 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. any number of 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 against charlie hebdo last january, and more recently last month with the attacks in paris, those style of attacks have materialized. finally we see his plea from his infamous prophets banner -- he called on al qaeda followers, supporters and sympathizers throughout the world to carry out attacks on behalf of the al qaeda cause. of course, isis's spokesperson adopted for himself. we potentially see this having serialized in the u.s. recently
and in other countries in recent months. against this backdrop i would argue that al qaeda is quietly rebuilding. very happily we see isis garnering all the attention and taking all the heat. al qaeda has not gone away, and the fact that it is up scared in the back pages of newspaper, they have seized two more cities in yemen, extending its governance and control. let me move on to some of the implications for the future and wrap up here on what should be some of our policy responses. one of the dimensions of the current evolution of this struggle is that e distinction between terrorism ism insurgency is eroding. groups like al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and isis are
now as capable if not more capable than the established militaries of the region's conventional armies. territoryem has held and has exercised some form of government sovereignty. at the moment there are no real signs of any of them being pushed back or having any of that territory taken away. resulted in ag series of stabilized governments across north africa and the middle east, that we have to admit now, have led to a renaissance the terrorist threat, and not only a renaissance of the terrorist threat but the proliferation of sanctuary and safe haven. 30 years ago, margaret thatcher said that publicity is the oxygen upon which terrorists depend. that was the cold war formulation. in the 21st century, sanctuary is the oxygen upon which they depend. unfortunately, the past four and a half years, terrorist access
to sanctuary and safe haven across north africa and the middle east has only increased rather than diminished. what worries me the most is that e these types of adversaries have access to sanctuary and allows them to develop capabilities of research and development to engage in experimentation with unconventional weapons. we have already seen isis on innumerable occasions used chemical weapons against innocent civilians. one has to wonder how long that will remain confined to the levant. the foreign fighters problem is not one that is exclusive to the levant. foreign fighters are being trained in afghanistan and pakistan and mali. this is a problem that will remain intractable for years to come.
also the good now special operations task force more special operations forces in recent weeks are being deployed to iraq. if we face the hybrid threat of terrorists, conventional warfare, entities with those capabilities, the problem is that direct action of initial operations is really only relevant to counter terrorism not to taking on hybrid armies like the groups i described. first and foremost our imperltive must be decisively rolling isis back from western iraq. without its diminishment, without having territory and land taken away, that's the best way to counter its narrative and diminish its lure. secondly, we need a much more concerted effort to undermine the logistical infrastructure
that supports terrorism. the bombing of oil fields of isis' oil capacity is all for the well and good but i would argue that at the anemic level it's currently being conducted it's having no long term effect. it takes isis to two weeks to once again start pumping the targets and obble costs about $200,000 to be able to once again draw oil out of the ground and transport it. we have to join our regional partners and especially our nato allies to view the threat as seriously as it must be viewed. in this respect u.s. leadership is absolutely critical. i would argue turkey is going to be an enormously important test case. in many respects the problems that we experience with pakistan and south asia over the past decade-and-a-half are being replicated now. it's even worse that turkey of course is a nato ally. finally, i think we need to develop an effective strategy.
to measure effectiveness against the one important dimension, their ability to spawn franchises and afill yats or provinces and branches, as isis calls them. when know that winning proveances is diminishing. finally we need to recognize and behave if we are indeed in a long war that requires unceasing diligence and continued presence in key countries overseas. thank you. >> i don't know if we have the video that we were going to run. thank you so much for being here. i will stay here. the video that i am going to play is from my trip. it's just a small piece of a
i only wish i could take every one of you there to see the atrocities for yourself. soments we spend watching television, we're very disconnected. it seems like a movie. it doesn't seem real. we tell ourselves this will never happen in america. we'll never see anything like this in paris. but for the people of iraq -- and now we've seen what's evolved from this. from their capabilities. by having a sanctuary that they've established, a territory and a terrain that has not been challenged to the extent it needs to be. they were allowed to metastasized. and that has become our most difficult objective. when i was on the ground the most important thing for me as a reporter is to tell you the truth. what i'm seeing. not to deliver a narrative, not to listen to what the white house is saying is happening or
to the defense department. it's to tell you what i as a person on the ground am gathering as information to deliver to the american people or to lawmakers so that they can best make their own decisions. what was interesting was as i spoke to the peshmega fighters and spent some time with them up on the mountain right before the village was taken. and zeeties who escaped and some who lost their family members, who lost their daughters, their children to these people and still don't know where they are, i began to put together a picture of how the narrative shifts. how it is so different. i remember last year when the president had sent the neo's, they were going to send neo's and rescue people off mount sin jar.
islamic state had taken over, we were going to come in and make a difference. well, we didn't need to rescue them. we dropped some aid. everybody's fine. most of the people made it off the mountain. then i get there a year later and they were like no, everybody was not fine. more than 3,000 to 5,000 people were excuted in mass graves. these were not just men who were fighting them. these were small children and women and the elderly who couldn't get away from them fast enough. bodies were piled on top of each other. children were slaughtered. they were slaughtered. and the rest of them were left to die on the mountain. and then groups like the pkk, ypt, ykk they were helping them make it through the mountain path and to get into syria. let me as a reporter bring you a message. from a young girl i met on the road in sin jar, her car had
broken down, it was a beat-up suv. his family was making their way back from turkey. they had escaped and they were heading to a u.n. camp just outside of sin jar hoping that they would find some help or some food. she said, we want the world to declare what happened to us, a genocide, but where's the world? islamic state deash she called it captured lots of people when they arrived. many didn't escape. they killed lots of children. we ask, where's the world? where's the great u.s.a.? isn't deash a threat to your nation as well? where were we? where was europe? we all turned a blind eye to what was happening on the ground.
our air force, amazing air force pilots trying to do their job would literally fly over, get calls from peshmega fighters on the ground. they said we would call for air strikes. we would know that our air force pilots were up in the air we would call for air strikes and then we would hear no authority to strike. what? there could be civilians. we don't have authority to strike. there's no civilians driving that humvee straight at us loaded with amo. or a -- we're sure no civilians. we're telling you there's none. one of the things that happened i believe over the last few years is a breakdown in trust. between our allies overseas and america. and now what we're left with is little pieces of information. so many people i have traveled to afghanistan many times as well are afraid.
they're afraid to share information with us. they're afraid that they're going to ask for help and no one will arrive. well, who can blame them? our military. just being deported from the ground interviewing, our men and women in uniform are frustrated. they want to do this job. they volunteered to fight for our country. they don't want -- this is what thaw tell me -- for these islamic state fighters, these radicals to be able to radicalize more people or to be able to come into our country and conduct attacks as atrocious as we have seen my hometown of san bernardino. so my prayers and thoughts are with them. but like we saw in san bernardino or in paris or charlie has been dull or in dul. or in -- hand we could just keep adding more attacks. the first step when i came here
what is the first step? you know, the first step for anybody whether you're sick or whether you're facing an enemy is admitting what the problem is even if it doesn't fit the narrative. so even if i would have gone to sin jar proffance and i had heard little rumors here and there and they told me everything is great. u.s. came in, we were rescued, it was awesome. a lot of people's lives were saved. that's what i would have reported to you. because that's the truth from the ground. but the problem is now very few people are telling that truth. a lot of times the media -- it's our fault too -- per pet wuts the narrative because it's easier than actually go there, see for yourself, try to find somebody who speaks the language well enough that can help you with the interviews, put your life on the line. and remember, the greatest, the
greatest information that we get from the ground are from the reporters that live there but their lives are so threatened and so many have died, 181 reporters, bloggers, writers killed in syria. more than 29 still missing. because they're a highly valuable asset to islamic state which has their own narrative to get across. a narrative that we haven't been able to combat. you know, the kurdish fighters we're up against -- are up against, 35,000 plus islamic state militants -- you know who have former iraqi military equipment, much of which we donated or gave or left behind or sold to them -- what was interesting is that they -- they're willing to fight. they say we're willing to go out there, willing to take on islamic state. with air support.
with strong airplane support because it's very difficult for them because they're up against what happened to islamic state takes our hum vis, fill them up and move through straight through a battalion, ready to blow themselves up and take out a whole slew of peshmega fighters. we have troops on the ground. they may be peshmega they may be iraqi forces, free syrian army guys that for some reason or another still trust us. maybe they're there. i don't know. i haven't been to syria. i haven't been able to interview them so i really can't tell you that narrative. but the thing is one thing we know for sure is that they've lost their trust in us and they're trying to rebuild that trust. we know that islamic state has gained such a powerful force. it's metastasized itself across the globe. as you've seen from these
amazing panelists with all their information it's quite true even in south asia afghanistan and pakistan where i hope to visit soon. and we've seen this expand. and there's been very little that we have done to actually stop it. or to actually tell these stories. the reality of what's happening on the ground. you know, mosul -- and i think it was jim brought up a very good point here -- when we talk about mosul, the second largest city in iraq -- and i saw the signs on the way to mosul as i drove around mosul, not through mosul, to get to sin jar mountain. mosul is still getting money to pay for electricity, for their supplies, from the central bag dad government. whose collecting all that money? islamic state. they're in control of mosul. and it's true there are many civilians caught in the middle of this, there are many
disenfranchised sunnis on the ground. one of the things that potentially could be a major problem for us in this war against islamic state is the fact that sectarian divides are so -- have so increased over the past year and particularly with shia militias. within the sunni communities. that it's like a hot bed right now. so not only do we have islamic state but we have a potential disaster on our hands inside iraq. society people say it's already there. i say it hasn't gotten to the apex yet. we will know that when we start seeing it on the news, people slauthering each other again and disenfranchised sunnis living in the bad lands not able to go back to their villages. i'll wrap it up. if there's anything that i can maybe deliver to you is that twe really have to listen to the people who are living with this every day and we have to listen to their stories. and we can't distance ourselves
from them, from the people of iraq or the people of afghanistan and pakistan. there are still people out there who are good who want the truth to come out who want us to be their ally again. and there are experts out here who can tell the united states how to accomplish these missions. but it's up to the administration and it's up to the lawmakers to say what that mission is and what that strategy is. because right now nobody knows. >> thank you. [applause] >> so we have a bit of time to open it up to questions. while we're doing that i have a couple of resources i want to mention that are available to you. one of them is shown on the side screens here, a very powerful analytical. interactive time line. we have a data base