tv State Departments Counterterrorism Strategy CSPAN May 30, 2018 12:04pm-12:58pm EDT
questions on how and where to vote. please visit the utah debate commission website to view this debate again, or see any of 2018's primary election debates. thank you for tuning in. [applause] to the hudsonlive institute in washington, we will hear from ambassador nathan sales, the coordinator for counterterrorism talking about department strategy for countering violent extremism. there is, i think, a basic
consensus that the struggle with the violent extremism is inherently political and need robust and we and well supported civilian agencies to compete in that space. the concept and practice of countering violent extremism, or cve, has come to mean different things to different people. had important successes and high-profile failures. it has thoughtful defenders and critics, and a vigorous and healthy policy debate in and out of government over the nature of the threat, what more needs to be done, the effectiveness of , and whatlities success looks like. the ambassador is here to speak about the administration's policies on cve and related
matters. he is a noted lawyer, scholar, and public servant. he was a professor at syracuse university where he taught administrative law, constitutional law, national security law, and counterterrorism law. --had expensive -- extensive departntf homeland security and in the office of legal policy at the u.s. department of justice. he is with us for just under one hour. after he speaks, we will have limited time for questions and discussions. if you have a question, please yourown on an index card question, available in the back. key.sion is we will do our best to have your questions addressed in the time we have remaining.
please join me in welcoming ambassador sales. clause applause] >> thank you for the invitation to be here with you at the hudson institution. it is a real pleasure for me to be here in the think tank world, to dip my toes back in these waters. i'm here to talk about countering violent extremism, a critical counterterrorism tool. vital moment, a turning point in our fight against turning point. we make extraordinary progress in the past year. nearly all the territory they held in syria and iraq has been liberated. our partners fought mile by mile, locked by block, and sometimes house by house. the fight was not easy, but we
persisted. while our victories on the battlefield argnificant, they are not a permanent solution. arehe state department, we focused on aligning our civilian responses with military responses, the only way to of ouran enduring defeat enemies. civilian efforts include law enforcement tools, prosecuting terrorists for the crimes they've committed, collecting battlefield evidence, and updating laws to combat threats. tougher border screening and more robust information sharingg -- information between governments and within them. cutting off the flow of money. another key civilian tool is countering violent extremism, cve. i think we need to be more ambitious than the name suggests. in addition to countering the
violence, we have to counter the underlying ideas that animate it . isis, al qaeda, and other terrorist organizations continue to radicalize and recruit. over the last 20 years, this call for violence has resonated in the middle east, asia, africa, europe, and in the united states. our military successes, young men and women across the globe are still being convinced to join isis or al qaeda, or commit acts of barbarism in their name. the united states and their partners must engage them otherwise. like to talk about american values and the threat posed to them by terrorist ideology, then some of our this contest, in and what we in the counterterrorism bureau and state department generally are doing to promote american values and interests.
the contest of ideas is not unique to our fight against terrorism. american conflicts have often had ideological dimensions. during the cold war, our objective was to contain and rollback the soviet empire. but we had to go beyond that. we have to show the ideology on which the soviet system was based was false and its teachings ran counter to the basic human desires of freedom and dignity. so we engaged in a vigorous debate through voice of america, radio free europe, and other platforms. we were out to persuade the world that the soviet worldview was wrong, both morally and as a system of governance. and we succeeded. matter, and where we find ideologies that espouse violence, deny freedom, and reject human dignity, we must partners against these threats to our fundamental
values. winston churchill put it best. arms are not sufficient, we must add the power of ideas. allow say we ought not ourselves to be brought into theoretical antagonism between nazis and democracy, but the antagonism is here now. -- gives the free countries a great part of their strength. so, what are the competing ideologies in today's contest of ideas? america is committed to weividual rights and cognize e inherent worth we recogne the inherentorth and dignity of every human being. we are all, in the words of the independence, we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights. from this, we derive a number of specific values. religious liberty, our first freedom. call it, just, as some
a freedom to worship. the free exercise of worship. conduct, in addition to beliefs and expression. we are dedicated to the notion .f equality before the law we fought a civil war for this principle and implanted it in the constitution in the form of the 14th amendment. we are committed to a pluralism. we acknowledge our fellow citizens will often disagree on issues of morality, religion, and politics. we are ok with that and expect our government to be ok with it. we deny individuals the -- ority to mandate star, itis any fixed is no official, high or petty, who will decide what is orthodox or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. liberties are the
entitlement of every american no matter their background and creed. let me tell you about the supreme court case from 2015 that i think nicely captures the american commitment to liberty, equality, and pluralism. an inmate in arkansas wanted to grow a half inch beard, which he believed he was required to do as an observant muslim. prison guards prohibited him from doing so, citing the state's penal regulations. the u.s. government took his side. the supreme court's decision in the case was unanimous. it held that he was entitled to an exemption from the band. arkansas's prison system had to yield. adversaries reject all of this. isis and al qaeda denied the and dignity of an individual. here is how osama bin laden once
put it. open vote we love death, the americans -- "we love death, the americans love life." -- responsible for the death of iraqis, syrians, afghans, and on 9/11, close to 3000 innocent people from countries around the world. it's followers have enslaved women and girls, beheaded some on television, burned people alive, to run them from buildings and drowned them. .ur enemies are not shy they reject religious liberty and all liberty as they seek to .ule by constant bloodshed they reject equality and seek to empower themselves at the expense of those they regard as their inferiors, and they reject liberalism because they regard any other religion or tradition within islam itself a crime that
carries a death sentence. terrorists onront the battlefield, in courts of law, and in other theaters, we must confront their twisted -- they refute the violence, to premises him, and intolerance of our enemies. just as importantly, we need to work with community leaders, religious figures, and others who have the standing to credibly counter terrorist ideas. luckily, it is easy to find people like this. i met many since i took office a year ago. starting in indonesia, southeast asia is sadly no stranger to terrorism. we saw isis sees the city in the philippines, and this month, terrorists carried out an attack in indonesia.
i recently met with indonesians working hard to counteract terrorist the elegy in the region. it stands as a potent antidote to extremism. alarge muslim population with long and proud history of religious tolerance and pluralism. last year, a group of and an asian students declared -- the best of their country's traditions. three priority areas. increasing religious understanding and mutual respect , emphasizing the humane and spiritual dimensions of their faith. they want to promote critical to resist thes siren song of radicalism, and empower society to deter extremism. it is voices like these that must be amplified. they share the values that america holds dear and are critical partners. like indonesia, jordan is also a
center of pluralism. top jordanian officials have supported dialogues of peace and tolerance within the islamic community and with other religious groups. they are tackling the inconsistencies between religious texts highlighted by isis and -- in islam, to expose the illegitimacy of terrorist claims within their own tradition. one jordanian scholar said the following. a tiny minority of muslims have fundamentally misunderstood islam and are grossly misrepresenting it. true piety necessarily involves virtue and kindness toward all others because it is the fruit and result of love. we were created to be kind to our neighbors no matter who they are. morocco is a number -- is another natural partner with a strong commitment to pluralism.
in 2015, the king established the mohammed the sixth institute withhe training of imams, male and female religious guidance. its mission is to promote religious scholarship and a message of tolerance, particularly in africa. school attracts students from across continents and from europe as well. a student body of over 12,000 asple per year hail as far morocco, guinea, mali, senegal, -- voices that will ultimately drown out the extremism preached by isis and al qaeda. what is the u.s. role? candidly, i think we need to approach that question with modesty. the federal government is not a religious authority. there are limits to what we can
do to disprove our adversaries' theological claims. partner witho is leaders and authorities who share our values and interests. let me tell you what the counterterrorism bureau in particular, and the state department in general, has been doing to support our friends in this contest of ideas. promoting authentic voices committed to pluralism and human rights, that can speak credibly to those at risk of buying into terrorist ideologies. center.ple is the sawab it means "on the right path." they disseminate content that challenges isis narratives. they launched an internet campaign on the importance of giving to verify charities. we also support community leaders to -- to create tailored
messages -- tailored for specific audiences. alternatives to terrorism an the ideology behind it. to operatearned video cameras, write a storyboard and script, and edit their work. they lurk -- they help video screenings and discussions that reached thousands of others with a positive message. supported a documentary by mothers whose sons went to syria to fight for isis. this film showed the devastation that families experience when their sons and daughters abandoned them for a life of bloodshed. it forced would-be recruits to think twice about their support for terrorism and confront the false idea that encouraged them in the first place. the second thing we are doing is engaging in communities most affected by terrorist messaging. -- they can function as an early warning system and an early intervention mechanism.
when young people are on a path to terrorism, it is important to connect them and their families to religious figures and mentors and other stakeholders in their community. they need to hear strong, authentic voices with messages of nonviolence and tolerance. the strong cities network -- hundred sieve cities in every corner of the world. -- cities in the united states with counterparts abroad, encouraging them to share information and good practices counterterrorism and its underlying ideology. these changes are producing real results. ohio --d belgium with at the time, the city in belgium had one of the highest per capita numbers of foreign terrorist fighters traveling to syria and iraq. their delegation included the
mayor and chief of police. in ohio, they met with a number of local figures, including officials from the hilliard city school district. it has become one of the most diverse districts in the country, in large part due to an influx of somali immigrants. worked hard to build their resistance to harmful outside influences. when he returned to belgium, he initiated -- brazilian strategies. a few months later, the city noticed a precipitous drop in tohters leaving, dropping zero. the mayor now speaks regularly with mayors around the world about its efforts and successes. working at the state department to be radicalize those who seem susceptible to terrorist ideologies. one group we are focusing on his prisoners. qaeda, the origin of al
radicalization in egyptian prisons. we have seen former prisoners go on to commit attacks in denmark and belgium and a number of other places. as we prosecute foreign terrorist fighters taken off the battlefield and sentenced to jail for the crimes they committed, we need to prevent them from radicalizing their fellow inmates. canhe same time, prisons offer the radicalization opportunities, as inmates can be cut off from their previous networks and contacts. helping prison officials managed and rehabilitate terrorist fighters who return home. we are helping them develop standard operating procedures, instructing officers how to monitor communications and other activities. we cannot limit our activities to prisoners. we have to reach people before they commit crimes.
that is why the state department helped create an international training center taste in abu dhabi. one of its most important products -- projects is its narrative library. many who left isis and other groups became disillusioned by their brutality, particularly other muslims. they have powerful stories to tell that might serve as antidotes to others who might be tempted by the terrorists' siren songs. crafting messages to dissuade would-be terrorists. whatever terrorist ideology begins to take hold, it is possible for us to take people from its clutches. isis is down, but not out. africa,east asia, east europe and -- very real and
growing. our military victories by us fundamentala more contest between competing ideologies. -- this willp us require determination and patience, but i'm confident that with the will and commitment of our partners, our ideas will prevail as they have in the past. , thankou for hosting me you for listening, and i look forward to our conversation. [applause] >> thank you. we have a bunch of questions from the audience, but i wanted to begin by asking something of you about the rule of law. background as a scholar and lawyer. the promotionsee of the rule of law playing in helping to build resilience in violents affected by
extremism? how does the state department coordinate with other government agencies to promote that? that is a great question, and incredibly important part of the suite of tools we use to confront terrorists and the ideas that animate them. rule of law instruments can have tactical benefits and strategical ones. who you catch a terrorist has committed a crime, a country needs to have the capability to investigate them, prosecute them, for judges to adjudicate the charges against them, and for these inmates to be incarcerated properly upon conviction. buildingical level, rule of law institutions that are capable of doing that is an incredibly important priority. those efforts also have broader weategic benefits, because
are not just talking about courts adjudicating cases, but a fundamental system of values. disorderou deal with and violence and discord within a society, not through arbitrary dictates issued by a authoritarian governments. it is no coincidence that governments characterized by high degrees of rule of law commitments display higher levels of resilience to terrorism and terrorist ideologies. i think the reason is intuitive. systems based upon -- that af law gives call to violence is necessary to achieve political objectives. it is necessary that it is never necessary. multipleve citizens
outlets for expressions of their concerns, it is even less appropriate. >> i'm so glad you mentioned the declaration on humanitarian islam and other projects you had singled out, some of the work in morocco and by the government and religious leaders. the work being done in jordan and in the uae. you mentioned the u.s. government has a role to play. could you elaborate a little on that? i take your point about the humidity -- humility and modesty the u.s. government needs to have in doing this work. beyond the role of the u.s. government, what can american civil society do? i think the government would as civil society to behave
civil society does, which is not at the direction of the government. private institutions, whether they are academic or thegious or otherwise, in united states and elsewhere, that share our national commitments to things like , includingliberty religious liberty, equality, pluralism, tolerance, and respect. organizations that share those commitments don't keep your candle under a bushel. these are important voices that can add to the conversation and value of ourte the system of government. underlying that, our set of social norms and values. and inferiority of a system of ideas based on compulsion and violence, supremacy. >> the other question i will
, is it still active? still growing under this administration? how much of the global engagement center posit work -- engagement center's work -- >> the global engagement center is a very important part. it was conceived as a government body that can engage in the development of content and the propagation of content. it has an even broader mandate now. other trends through the u.s. state-based threats. disinformation campaigns launched by p or powers and powers. by peer it is addressing the full range of national security and foreign
policy that we face. we find the cbe and the counterterrorism issue we are talking about. >> we had another question about the fight in cyberspace and on social media. there has been a lot of criticism about some american companies. social media companies about how they have served as a platform for spreading radical ideas and organization. criticism, some critics claim they have been slow to dismantle the networks. sense of howus a important you see the involvement and the responsible behavior? radicalism and the process of radicalizing take place through a number of different channels. sometimes it is face-to-face.
sometimes it is online. we have to be mindful of the different vectors through which radicalizing content is disseminated to vulnerable populations. the online spaces are a huge part of that. i think silicon valley understands the online space is a huge part of it. i think they have an interest in their platforms as not being seen as synonymous with al qaeda. no one was to be the platform of choice. seencent years, we have them take within a number of steps within the industry to ally the industry behind shared sense of obligation to do more. they found organization. exactoing to forget the name of it. it is the global internet form
of counterterrorism. well developed capabilities to share information and to share techniques with some of the new entrance and how to spot terrorism. we are encouraged by the steps that silicon valley is taking. we are going to continue to encourage them to do more. we are trying to deny physical safe havens for al qaeda and isis. >> we had another question from the audience about careers and what advice you would give to young people who are seeking young -- who are seeking a career in counterterrorism. >> come work for me. another dimension to that question. we are in a long struggle. when you think about how the
u.s. government operates and various nongovernmental agencies, -- what does our government need to compete in this long-term struggle? where else do we need to make investments in and out of government to work with our partners? >> let me actually answer the first question first. thing that it of used to get for my students all the time. there is no one path towards a career of working on these issues. you do not have to go work for the state department. there are plenty of opportunities to engage on these issues in the private sector and academia and think tanks. ofis simply a matter remaining current in the literature. coming to events like these.
being mindful of unexpected opportunities that will present themselves. as an illustration, i can offer my own background as an example. i started working on these issues by accident. i was a little -- i was a young lawyer. i got hired to work on administrative law issues with e justice department which was in august of 2001. weekthree later, administrative law suddenly seemed less important. we had to get very smart on counterterrorism issues very quick. it was that happenstance of being there at that moment of time that i began to develop an interest and focus on these issues. we prayed -- we pray there is never a comparably cataclysmic career shift for anyone who in his room -- in this room.
reminds me of your second question. capabilities,rm there has been quite a bit of innovation and our government -- in our government. we have an anonymous amount of talent and expertise in our civilian agencies. i am not always sure they have been properly led with the right policies. where will the innovation need to come from in civilian agencies? what new capabilities do we need to counter extremism? angledeed to use a wider lens to answer that question. one of the sets of tools we need is order security. particularly, information about airline passengers traveling the u.s. or to and from allied
nations. you cannot spot terrorists and interdict them at the border. one of the things that is important is collecting information about inbound and outbound airline travel and using that data to match it against watch lists of suspected terrorists. other countries need to do a better job of developing those lists. we have been doing it since early or post 9/11 era. other partners are following our lead. we think that such a useful tool to spot terrorists travel. biometrics are a third issue. terrorists will try to masquerade and assume new identities. it is a lot harder to fake your fingerprints. using biometric identifiers.
it is a viable way to identify that the person identifying themselves as joe smith is joe smith. one suite of tools the u.s. has been a leader on and what we are going to be looking for an other countries to do more on is -- designation and financial tools. we do not just want to stop the bomber. we want to stop the mom -- we want to stop the money meant who buys the bomb. working with banks d international and visions -- internationalnstituons. we need to be imposing sanctions on those individuals and entities funneling money to al qaeda and isis and other entities. >> excellent. skipping around here.
ideological dimensions, we have a question about isil propaganda these days. of justification. do you think that leaders and members of the islamic state genuinely believe in the principles of accountability and fairness? is this designed to appeal to people? >> you can judge them by their deeds. when you set a man on fire in a cage, you are not concerned about fundamental values. when you behead people and host about it, your values are fundamentally inconsistent with those of the civilized world. i would judge them by the deeds and not the word. -- and not their words. >> we have another question. fit in with the
state department's broader diplomatic mission with parts of the world like the middle east that is experiencing an andecedented historical ideological convulsion. we have the largest displacement of humanity since world war ii in west asia. part of this is connected to the between saudis arabia and iran in particular. the convulsion we have seen reveals that a lot of countries are fragile. the region has none that for some time. in that tomorrow we have seen -- seen, aumult we have lot of that fragility. has become clear it is being exploited. efftses cve and your
work with other agencies to help build greater resilience in these societies. >> i think you are exactly right. we are living through a very interesting time in that part of the world. the world is watching. prince's ambitious reform agenda. he has articulated and is pursuing a quite ambitious agenda. not just to reform his country posse economy and to compete on economy andountry's to compete on the global stage, but more importantly to address the ideological components that
are important. struggling against terrorism and ensuring the long-term viability of the saudi system. we are encouraged by some of the steps the crown prince is taking. he has announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time. the united states applauds these reforms. we look forward to seeing the progress that will be made. >> we have another question from the audience, which is dear to a lot of us. do whens the u.s. nondemocratic governments try to ofure help or approval suppression of extremists who are in fact nothing more than peaceful critics? an example being -- >> when governments try to enlist us to help them, they do
not get it. back andke a step layout the big richard -- the big picture. since 9/11, the u.s. has worked tod with other countries establish a rough global consensus that terrorism is always illegitimate. the boundaries of that norm are a bit fuzzy. i do not think there is any question that norm exists. that creates great opportunities for the u.s. and like-minded countries who share our interests to build alliances and coalitions around that principle of countering terrorism. it creates opportunities for adversaries to use justifications. to say this is really terrorism when in fact it is a matter of a domestic group seeking to
exercise rights and liberties that we experience everyday. we are always aware of the potential for counterterrorism as an important priority to be hijacked by other governments that have alter your motives. we do not -- alter your motives. in a slightly more granular countries --are there are provisions in federal law that prohibit us from providing assistance to countries who have a poor track record when it comes to respecting human rights or have a history of committing abuses. law requires us to vet.-- to >> we had a question about the
in war-torn places like syria and iraq. in the context of the counter isis coalition. what role does it play in places failed --rnments has have failed? role is your office playing? >> it certainly is one of the important objectives. the most immediate objective, the most tactical need is to caliphate.he false the occupation of oil fields. land that isisof once held and is largely deliberated.
after the military gains have been achieved, does not mean the fight is over. in order to achieve an enduring defeat of isis, we need to use an addition to the military that have achieved so much, we need makee civilian tools to these gains durable. rule of law, building the capacity of governments not just in the region but countries that sent isis fighters into syria and iraq. teaching them how to prosecute a terrorism case. cve as part of this. home, we needrn to stop them from radicalizing their community. it is an opportunity to de-radicalized them.
there is the do no harm principle. feasible, tois not de-radicalized a particular inmate, let's look at the ways we can prevent their ideas from contaminating their fellow inmates. it becomes increasingly important now that the fight against isis is moving into this new phase. >> what is that new phase? >> the new phase is and all government approach in which we will continue to apply military pressure where needed to ensure an enduring defeat on the battlefield. also looking at ways to sustain those battlefield victories over the long haul. financial designations. labonte, the greater
-- beyond the greater levant, are there areas of the world you are focusing to prevent the spread of isis? >> everywhere you see isis affiliates or isis inspired violence. it is important for us to use the full suite of national tools there. suite of national tools there. law enforcement will be phportant in places like the ippines. military forces will be important in places like the philippines. tos will be important in that conversation. >> we have an interesting question about iraq. passed -- sanctioning two iraqi officials. 14 seats in parliament earlier this month. do you see this enduring u.s. hierarchy -- u.s.-iraq he
cooperation? >> that is a fresh issue involving pending legislation on which the administration may or may not have taken a position. >> fair enough. we had another question about continuity and disagreement between the obama administration and the trump administration's policy. how is what you are doing new? >> you see a lot of continuity between not just the trump administration and the obama administration, between the trump administration and the bush administration on certain hard power tools like military force like drones. when it comes to cve in particular, it is a matter of emphasis. at the risk of painting with too ,road of a brush, we are seeing
prior efforts emphasize the development aspects. a you build a schoolhouse in war-torn country, that creates educational opportunities, which means people will not be as easily seduced by radicalism. ratherf causation is elaborate. administration, the focus is more on ideology. ideas. let's falsify. let's work with partners to just remove and falsify -- two falsify -- to disprove and falsify. it is more immediate and more direct. that is one of the major differences. >> there is an argument that some of our western efforts to
falsify, claims made by violent extremists -- that the contacts free -- that the context free reasoning that we use does not work very well in some contexts. certainly does not work very well in persuading people who have been radicalized in pursuing their agendas. do you agree with that analysis? what other ways might we go about neutralizing problematic ideas? >> i think human beings are rational creatures. they are capablegivi ass for thei behavior. they are capable of listening to reasons for why they should not do what they are doing. and ordered -- in order to develop that faculty, people are receptive to arguments that would dissuade them from pursuing a path of violence.
it is important to cultivate the critical thinking skills. i mentioned in my remarks about educational institutions and critical thinking skills. let me elaborate. what we found is that students in middle school or high school around the world, it is important for them to develop their ability to think critically through any sort of claim. especially a claim made by a terrorist. you should abandon your mother and go to syria and strap on a vast and end your life -- strap life.est and end your develophe ways you can instinct is byl equipping them with critical thinking skills so that they can
spot logical fallacies. so that they can spot leaves in -- spot leaps in logic. i agree that education is the only long-term, well it is the best long-term strategy. it is something that is woefully underinvested in. we are actually running out of time. i know you have to get to another appointment. are there any final things you would like to say? >> i would like to thank you again, eric. i would like to thank the audience here in the room and on television. it is a measure of how important these issues are. confronting our terrorist adversaries and the ideas that animate them. i am grateful to everybody for the excellent questions. >> thank you all for coming. [applause]
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literature on wilson. i read it. i had the sense it just reduced things i does and not feel i could deal with on the strength of my own knowledge of the theory. some people have said his stubbornness in later life was a reaction to his father's strictness. they can point to one story where his father made him revise a little thing he wrote a whole bunch of times. the suppositions are that he resented this but that he was a good boy and put up with it. ofn you read every mention his father, they are worshipful. he never had an unkind word to say about his father. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern
on c-span's q&a. presidential speechwriters and poets look at speaking styles and speeches with politicians with the former speechwriter for president obama. former poet laureate robert pinsky. the chicago council on global affairs organized this event. there was a global affairs and limerick competition. it got 28 submissions from as far away as bahrain. the winner, with 451 votes was from chicago. is he here tonight?