tv Conference on Counterterrorism Representative Mike Mc Caul CSPAN September 10, 2017 12:57am-1:34am EDT
hurricane irma in the last few days. betr, morer, powerful. winds up to 185 miles per hour, wind gusts to 25 miles per hour. we have never seen anything like this. we would be foolish to not continue to study these very catastrophic storms and understand the effects that climate -- or the role that climate change is playing in the streth of the storms that we are currently seeing. host: congresswoman deming's, we wish you well and florida well. please be safe. guest: thank you so much. we appreciate it. take care. >> next, a look at how terrorism has evolved since 9/11 with the homeland security chair michael mccaul. he talks about the state of the security, and having tech companies more involved.
posted by the bipartisan policy center. >> welcome, everyone. with the bipartisan policy center. it is a real pleasure to welcome a group of friends and experts to a conversation about a report we are releasing today. defeating terrorists, not terrorism. assessing counterterrorism policy from 11 to isis. our goal here today is to take a k at the united states' effort to confront and engage terrorism and the last decade and a half. a are also seeking to engage difficult question, which is to try to understand the role that extremist ideology plays in the ckolence that continues to wra the globe. at this is a question many folks
have wrestled with for a long time and is really the focus of this study. it is important to begin this that 16by remembering years ago, nearly 3000 innocent lives were taken in new york, washington, and pennsylvania through a vicious and senseless terrorist attack. that has forever changed the arc of american policy. question we have insted profound resources over the last 16 years to protect the homeland. while no amount of bloodshed is acceptable, it is notable that the toll of jihadist violence has been limited in the u.s. to 105 casualties over the past 16 years. while painful, this is an accomplishment, and it was made possible by a sustained and resilient and bipartisan approach, expressed and in part inspired by the 9/11 commission. the bipartisan consensus
achieved in the 9/11 commission was not inevitable. we have come to take it as a given, but it was a product of an unyielding commitment to evidence, respectful and often very animated and a steadfast commitment to the idea that the national interest is above expediency and ego. ngress has maintained much of this spirit when creating the department of homeland security, the director of national intelligence, and the center for counterterrorism, all three of which has been largely sustained and strengthened despite the remarkably careening politics of the last 16 years. the bipartisan policy center has been working with governor kane and congressman hamilton for years. we have been delighted to do it because the importance of the issue, but also the example they have set for achieving public policy.
of the issue but because the example they have set for achieving resilient public policy. for all the success we have had preventing major terrorist attacks in the united states, the picture around the world remains grim. died in roughly 11000 terrorist attacks in 104 countries around the world. that is three times as many deaths and five times as many attacks has occurred in 2001. our military, finest in the world, has been very effective in disrupting terrort networks, denying safe havens however, terrorist groups seem to be as capable of recruiting fighters as the military has been in taking them off the field of battle. these are, of course, estimates but it is believed that the right is forces have killed 60000 isis fighters. however, the us government estimates that the current fighting force of roughly 15000
fighters is only slightly less than isis maintained in 2014. it is a persistence of the threat that has motivated governor kane, congressman hamilton to undertake this new initiative. the task force on terrorism in ideology. we have brought together a diverse group of experts that rule in the room to assess of the threat and the role of ideology in viewing terrorism. to begin answering these questions report we are releasing today, again, defeating terrorist not terrorism is the first step in this process. the study contains the task force initial findings on the current state of the terrorist threat and their assessment of counterterrorism efforts. the group is now moving e-mailing to the harder work of providing recommendations for transforming those findings into a long-term strategy for policymakers. we are eager to get your views on this work today and of course, going forward.
to lead off today's discussion it is a great honor to be joined by chairman michael mccall, as you all know, he is a long-standing leader in addressing the pressing challenges to our nation security including efforts to reform, congresses fractured oversight of the homeland security and recently has achieved a remarkable success in passing the first reauthorization bill for the department of homeland security since its creation, legislation has moved out of the committee and passed the house. i'm sure we'll have a chance to talk about that. congressman mccall, please join us. [applause] >> it is an honor to be here today. i want to thank jason for that introduction. i want to thank governor kane for being here today, lee hamilton for your great work on the 911 commission which still
stands as perhaps the best product that has ever been produced to the congress and unfortunately there are still two recommendations that we haven't solved that we are working on. i also look forward to reading this report and it is always of great value to policymakers the type of thoughtful analysis that you provide. i was asked to speak for ten minutes and that is hard for any elected official about all the threats that we face but i will tell you that it has changed. i am going to new york on sunday and i'll be at the ceremony, as i always am, and it's a moving experience but the hijackers pulled off and that was a hateful day and it will be difficult thing to pull off today. i think our intelligence apparatus international security, homeland security apparatus has stopped and while
there have been terrorism is still on the rise i think we have been able to stop and prevent a lot of plots from happening in the united states and that is the good news. it is evolving and it is different. al qaeda, bin laden, we are looking at large-scale plots, very complex operations and didn't use cell phones. now we have a new generation of terrorism. [inaudible] a new generation that knows how to exploit the internet to recruit, to train and radicali radicalize. we have seen this profoundly and it is one of the greatest challenges we have. in 2014, 15, 16, about the time i wrote my book and i'd walk out
of my classified briefing room in the capital and it was terrifying about the tempo and the numbers of arrests in the number of plots. as the caliphate was growing in iraq in syria, in mosul and in rocca we were seeing people who was a master, a master on the internet with 150 different twitter handles and it went from the kinetic threat and we were looking at foreign fighters they were training and rack in syria and going into europe which is still a major threat to europe. i would say europe is still in the pre- 911 posture and they are starting to stand up to protect themselves but the idea of the foreign fighters coming in to the united states was at that time a paramount focus to prevent travel into united
states. if you can recruit training and radicalize over the internet, you don't have to travel to syria to conduct a terrorist attack. [inaudible] this new phenomenon of the internet came multiple messages, constantly, globally, all over the world and into united states to radicalize. as we have crushed the caliphatw for four years out of which they can conduct and did try to conduct external operations we have a current threat to the aviation sector out of the caliphate to bring down airlin airlines. this threat to aviation is not ended, has not ceased. that was the goal on 911 and it is still there goal today, to turn anything larger than this iphone i have into a bomb, to
take on an airplane and blow it up. we just had a recent arrest in australia, isis central, command and control, to bring a large ied device onto an airline originating out of australia into the arab nations. they have tested these devices. we are trying to get a handle on our protection capabilities to stop these devices from getting onto airplanes. we have a last part of departure airports we have a increase in ramp up the security to make it safer and we don't want to blow up over the skies of the united states. to this day, so many years later that is still one of their number on priorities. it used to be in the arabian peninsula and now isis has got a good handle on this. we saw. [inaudible] in the airplanes that was
brought down -- you know, out of that region. whether it was that threat -- again, the internet is different people asked me often what is the difference between bin laden, al qaeda and isis. i think the answer is very simple but very profound and it is the reach and bandwidth they have globally over the internet to recruit, train and radicalize. what we are seeing as we are collapsing the caliphate we have had military success in mosul and we've had military success in delta forces and in rocca in syria and bring down the threat that we know is coming out of their and as we squeeze that, the messages we are hearing from. [inaudible] , the guy who influenced and
inspired the bombs that tried to detonate, the message no longer is coming to syria and it's now stay where you are and killed by any means necessary, by vehicle, by knife, by any means necessary. we are seeing this play out in the streets of europe. almost on a weekly basis i get these reports. barcelona, just had one of these major events as well. i have been so proud and yet surprised how we have been able to stop this from happening in the united states given the fact that how difficult it is to detect, deter and distract these plots and we are seeing these messages every day on the internet. how do we stop this? how do we better protect americans? i have sat down with major technology companies, google,
facebook, twitter, it is something that is not being talked about a lot and it's something that we are trying to work with the technology companies but it is a little secret. the fact is whether it is childhood pornography is illegal on the internet, jihadist material, it gets in a gray area first amendment concerns. can the government shutdown this material? what i have been trying to advocate is the technology companies under their service in terms agreement is to eradicate isis material off of the internet through private means. to have the twitter -- when. [inaudible] says 150 twitter handles and is spreading and radicalizing people to kill all across the world, how can we stop that? [inaudible]
there are many others follow in his footsteps. when i met with these companies and they are patriotic but they also have a business. it's a delicate balance of who makes the decision as to what is jihadist material and what is not. we have been working in a partnership with them to try to remove material from the internet nine times out of ten when we have a lone wolf attack in the united states or elsewhere when we saw in orland. he is the prophet of al qaeda, profit prices. he is the inspiration and. [inaudible] was the inspiration. i think we can make a tremendous progress in the efforts and it's not only removing jihadist
material but that is their engine in their power and it is also winning the war of ideology at the end of the day. in the counter narrative and what ideology will prevail. isis was the winning team. they had the brand name. everybody wanted to be a part of isis. the younger generation didn't have a future. al qaeda has some pretty sophisticated, high-level educated people doctors and scientists. isis is not the case. it's more of a populist movement within the jihadist world. i think the counter narrative is we do prevail because of their ideology prevails over this destructive hate, hateful ideology and the half but we have to stay on top of this. i love jane harman's quote that terrorist don't check our political affiliation. this is a bipartisan center.
i don't see terrorism as a partisan issue and i don't manipulated for political means. basically, it is about protecting the working people to for both democrats and republicans. i applaud what this organization has done. to touch on the matter of governor king advocates so strongly for and that was we have implemented pretty much of the 911 recommendations, entry and exit is one of the last ones that is in a bill that i just found. [inaudible] the hijackers came in legally and they overstayed their visas. to this day, we still don't have that capability to know we kind of know who is coming in but we don't. is coming across the south of the border and we don't know who is leaving. we have to get a better handle on that and with respect to
jurisdiction i would go through a twitter process with the committee chairman to reauthorize the department since its creation. that was very important to do. imagine a department that doesn't exist in law. the homeland security act was passed but many of these and a series do not exist in law. i urge my senate partners inconvenience to pass it for the sake of the nation. it's a great testimony to around this time. i know we have a question-and-answer -- there is so much more that i could talk about but i'm an eternal optimist and i do think we will prevail. i don't think it happens in my lifetime -- i hope it happens in my children's lifetime. i will never forget being in
iraq and seen a structure and the soldier pointed to it and said that is the house of abraham. i thought out of that house came the three major world religions judaism, christianity and islam. i look forward to the day when those three religions can live peacefully under the same house. but this extremism, this is law must radicalized ideology -- while we have significant gain in victories, it is spreading like wildfire across the globe and it will continue to be a threat that we have to be ever vigilant to prevent and that his and a lot of my life's work and to stop those threats from coming into the united states and killing americans.
with that, let me say thank you to the center for the great work you are doing and i would think governor kane for his report and i look forward to reading and implementing policy and at the end of the day we will live under that house in peace. thank you. [applause] >> we are pleased that you have legislation to pass so we won't keep you here for too long. i have a few questions. we have a couple questions from the audience. one of the real challenges and talking about this is how you think about the avoidance of harm. we have not had any kind of large-scale terrorism attack in 16 years, which i think for people watching this closely, is a remarkable achievement. what do you attribute that to
push market to what extent is that the integration of intelligent services and that it's not a classified breathing but talk about what has enabled -- >> you have an inside pocket? >> i think the integration of our national security apparatus, creation of the homeland security and intelligence community -- is all about -- i was a federal prosecutor and it's the ability to affect, deter and advance that we've arrested about 150 isis followers in the united states and we do a terrorism threat snapchat shot every month and you can see the trendlines in this. we have a thousand investigations in all 50 states. i just got briefed on the cases that we brought down the potential terrorist for they could carry out the act of violence.
i really applaud the fbi and security and intelligence for the ability to stop this from happening. as i mentioned, in the 2015, 2016 timeframe it was a very frightening time and i would walk out of that classified room wondering if that next thought would happen or not and the good news is you would read about it and we were able to stop it. while the trendline went up the good news is were seen to sit see the trendline go down. i think our military success in the caliphate has something to do at this but if you look at europe, on the other hand, there trendlines is starting to go up. why is that? it is because of foreign fighters leaving the region and are going back to where they came from and they are not integrated as well as we are -- their muslim population in the
united states, we are better at integrating our muslim population. they are not good at this in france and germany. they have segregated and out of those pockets came to paris terrorist attack, i was there a month in brussels before it happened and you could see it coming. europe is starting to now get into -- while their pre- 911 posture there realizing that they have to deal with integration in their population and they have to deal with information and they weren't using our watchlist. they weren't using our intelligence. no one they didn't check the manifest of the flights that would come into europe. i think that is changing now and vice versa. they are coming into in simple and going into syria. i think turkey has realized that the threat to them as well and so were seeing a better cooperation on a global scale. >> the issue of integration we talked last night and it does
seem essential. one of the great things about this country is we've done a better job of that than almost any other country in terms of engaging from integrating into communities. it seems like while europe is doing a better job of it we are losing ground around the issue. do you think it is a fair assessment? do you think congress can do anything to make sure we don't lose that advantage? >> i think the classic al qaeda is from a compartmentalized endpoint very sophisticated, larger scale, more people involved in the cell, bigger and they're always looking for spectacular -- unfortunately i say spectacular events like 911 but you're seeing a change in this with isis kill out whatever you can. that takes you from a big cell that you're able to detect more easily and i would argue that
population in the united states. the question, how do you stop that from happening? that's why i go back to content on the internet. >> let me ask you about another aspect of integration. i think when the terrible attack happened, there was a lot of discussion about the failure of imagination. there was also discussion about the tyranny of democracy and the extent of which we had a dozen intelligence agencies and 50 different cultures. dhs was uncertain to succeed because people closest to the bureaucracies were not confident they could be overcome. because people who were close to those interactions were not confident that it could be overcome. how well have you done with that and do you think there's more work to do there or do we not have an integrated functioning intelligence community? >> it's far better than i was before 9/11. we always have progress to be
made. the department of homeland security is 22 different agencies and their one department. we are dealing with hurricanes right now and that's part of homeland security. and we have a counterterrorism in the cyber, homeland security and secret service and coast guard but integrating that i think over time it has become better integrated work but also it's got to be coordinated with the national security council, with the ic to get this real-time to stop the thread and dhs is more up the entity that that -- state local law enforcement depend on the homeland security to integrate with them because nine times out of 10 probably not going to be
the fbi agent on the street but it's going to be that local citizen or local trooper or state police officer, nypd guy that we'll see something on the streets that doesn't look right and that's how we have been able to stop a lot of bad things from happening but i think the unanswered question in my mind is how is the tempo of this? is it going to continue to trend down or does it scale backup? i can tell you the islet -- ideology still strong. you are seeing it pop up in asia. we are saying it pop up not just in afghanistan we know libya and tunisia we know that's a safe haven. they will look at afghanistan and a safe pace in -- as a safe haven and put more troops there.
even in the crib and we are seeing al qaeda and isis elements in places you wouldn't imagine before in latin america. >> we have time for a couple questions from the room. i want to talk about resources. it's hard to get one's arms around the magnitude of the investment that's been tremendous and we have had very expert folks saying frankly it's too much and it can't be sustained another saying it's inadequate. how do you think about the resources and also where it is directed? to what extent do you think it will shift away from kinetics toward i hate the word soft carpet the role of the state department and other dod and how do you feel will play out? >> first congress is really not so great at prevention on the front end. in a real responding crises and
that's how the homeland security department was put together was in response to a crisis. i do want to be in a reactive mode in the congress. i want to be proactive in terms of prevention to protect american lives. and i forgot the second half. >> it's a question of where resources go and how we divide between the two turn disrupt kinetic side of the equation. >> soft power is incredibly important. i was an advocate that said i think secretary mattis said it very well. you can cut my soft power. there is an element to killing the jihadists and prime minister netanyahu last week but there was also an element of drone strikes in a war of ideology and
drone strikes have a negative impact on the local community. so the soft power is a critical element. the soft power i think is the negotiation power and soft power drives this ideology off the face of the earth. the soft power is a counternarrative that extremism is not the way to go. a lot of these individuals have gone to more poverty environment and they don't have a lot of choices. it's like joining a glorified gang if you will under the banner of isis. they think it's cool and they join these groups. i'm a firm believer that we need to maintain our soft power. i think it's a combination always of soft and hard power and i think our leading generals in this fight would completely agree with that. if you take the soft power out then you are just going to be
dealing with the bullets in the drone strikes. >> this time for a couple of questions of them sure we have way more than we can address. we have time for one question and we have one person so you win the prize. please let us know who you are before asking the question. [inaudible] representative mccaul in one or two sentences could you state what you think is the cause of terrorism or is it monocausal or multi-causal or is it multicultural. >> a great question. we can go back to sixth century a.d. and study the mindset but i
think if i had to look historically at what was the pivotal years i would say in 1979. at that point you have the ayatollah. we have the shia and i run. if you get israel then we are concerned about the crescent moon effect they call it. coco vandeweghe 79 transforms the world. the ayatollah came into power and the bureaucracy of radical shia and permeates throughout the region and the saudi where you have the attack on the mosque of saudi arabia. saudi arabia which is somewhat more pro-western liberating women going back in time to the full burqa women who can't drive. it took i thank in 1979 interesting what happened that same year. the soviets invaded afghanistan and the mujahideen was propped
up and became a warrior for the mujahideen against the evil power of russia. interestingly we are seeing russia back in the region for the first time in syria primarily to have the ports in syria but also to maintain their dominance. i think so much of this as i study it and consider the western educated egyptian they came back into the prisons in egypt that al zawahiri came out of. anwr sevopolous assassinated and when they let them out you had the core al qaeda elements coming about their coupled with the mujahideen, bin laden. this was the change in history that gave the second wave to the jihadists movement that takes us back to sixth century a.d..
al-sisi they were worried about morrissey and the muslim brotherhood and they were releasing prisoners as he did at the time say you had another wave of these people out there. that has really fueled the fire and you cannot take this back in time now. we have to move forward. there's a new crown prince who will be king of saudi. i think we are making great strides with the arab world. qatar is still an ally and as i talked to prime minister netanyahu the crescent moon and that being iran and iraq in syria and lebanon and yemen all under -- they are filling that vacuum iran is and we talk about the sunni extremists which is isis and al qaeda, we have a shiite extremism element and they are not always on the same page. we have had a lot of bin laden forces in iraq so i mean this i
think is going to be our growing challenge moving forward. and this ideology is again with us in our lifetimes. i hope that we can move forward and get back to a place where we were before 1979. >> mr. chairman i want to thank you for your optimism. we now have a chance to hear from the leaders of this project governor tom kean and representative lee hamilton people who truly do not need any introduction. through the wonders of the internet we hope to have sergeant hamilton joining us remotely. chairman i want to thank you so much for joini >> the former chair and vice chair of the 9/11 cois