tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 31, 2015 8:00pm-10:01pm EDT
jeh johnson on national security at the aspen security forum and then a discussion about the iran nuclear agreement and from george washington university a look at how isis recruits fighters from the west and what happens when they return home. homeland security jeh johnson recently talked about terrorism, isis cyber security and immigration at the aspen security forum. he was interviewed by a new yorker correspondent. this is 45 minutes. [applause]
>> thanks clarke and the aspen institute have having me back. lucky to have the homeland security jeh johnson. not going through his bio. you have it in your pamphlet. the two things that struck me as the most interesting preparing for this. it is difficult to know where to start in an interview with the secretary. he has legal council at the pentagon was involved in the most important issues that the obama administration inherited from the bush administration and many of you know he was responsible for helping resend don't ask don't tell he was the last legal word on every drone strike outside of the main seeders of war at the pentagon, he was in charge of the fraught issue of figuring out how to shutdown guantanamo bay, and the
list goes on and on. with that background, it does make you realize why you were the guy for dhs which is another institution with a lot of problems when you inherited it. i want to ask you given that background you went from the pentagon and offense on the war on terror to homeland where you are almost purely playing defense. so one, i want you to start out telling us what are the lessons you learned dealing with all of those issues at the pentagon? and what issues did you have going from the pentagon to dhs? tell us a little bit about that transition. >> big question. first of all, lesson impression. 18-19 months into the job i
so you are correct. part of what i did at the legal egal counsel at the department of defense was to sign off on a lot of our counterterrorism operations legally, and i took that very seriously. i looked at each one of them very carefully, and that was on offense. we've taken the fight to the enemy overseas. homeland security, by its nature, is defending our borders, defending our aviation, defending maritime ports defending cybersecurity. it would seem as if we're on defense, and there are, in fact, ways in which we can be on offense. and so i am pushing our people very aggressively on a lot of different things. for example, pre-clearance capability, aviation security, i want to see us build more aviation security on
the front end of a flight coming from overseas into the united states. i want to see us build a customs' capability on the front end of a last-point-of-departure airport, so that we have more information, and we screen people, and we know what we know about them before they get on the flights bound for the u.s. and there are a lot of airports out overseas that have indicated an interest in working with us on that. i want to build more of that. cybersecurity, which i suspect we'll get into, we are on an accelerated timetable that i have set down to build our additional capabilities to block more intrusions in the federal, civilian dot gov world, and to enhance our continuous diagnostics and mitigation practices. i want to see us get to 100 percent of the federal civilian dot gov world by the end of the year. and we're on an aggressive mission to make our department function most efficiently. that's something that russ
our undersecretary for management, and i are doing. he is a retired business executive from johnson and johnson. and so we've got a lot of initiatives out there. and i, in many respects, believe that part of my job is, frankly being on offense to stay one step ahead of a lot of the threats that we know we face. >> you have talked about what you call the new normal, right? tell us what the new normal is and what is the new normal in the context of the threat from isis?
>> well, over the last 14 years, since 911, we're seen core al qaeda, as everybody knows, aqap, the al qaeda-affiliated elements of al shabab, which, while i was at dod, we were focused on in our counterterrorism efforts. we have done a lot to degrade core al qaeda, through our good efforts. we have done a lot to degrade aqap and al shabab through our good efforts. the global terrorist threat now, as everybody knows, and as jim talked about last night, has evolved, and it has evolved in a very significant way from those groups to more groups, isil being the most prominent example, obviously, and it has evolved from terroristdirected terrorist attacks to terrorist-inspired attacks. i disagree a little bit with jim last night, in that i think that the distinction between terroristdirected and terrorist-inspired is a significant one that the american people need to
understand - to understand why we are where we are in our efforts. and so if you catalog the terrorist attacks and attempted attacks in this country and in europe, for example, they almost fit neatly into one of two boxes, the terrorist-directed attacks, with an operative who has been recruited, trained, directed overseas and exported to someplace else to commit a terrorist attack, to terrorist-inspired attacks, which very often, most often involve a homegrown or even homeborn threat, and the individual has never even come face to face with a member of isil or aq, but is inspired, through the very effective use of social media, to commit an attack or attempt to commit a small-scale attack. and i think the american people need to understand how we have evolved to this new phase, because it does involve a whole of government approach, it does involve a lot of domestic-based efforts, in addition to
the good work of the fbi and in addition to taking the fight to the enemy overseas. and so we're doing a lot of things in dhs. we have enhanced our federal protective service presence in a lot of federal buildings around the country. there's a presence right outside here that i don't think was here last year. that's in addition to the three wild bears that were at my three wild bears that were at my we have enhanced our aviation security overseas at last-point-of-departure airports. we are, with frank taylor's leadership, enhancing the information sharing with state and local law enforcement, which i think is crucial. garland city is a perfect example of the importance of
sharing what we see and what we know with state and local law enforcement, so that they have the big picture. we have enhanced our cve engagements domestically, countering violent extremism which i know we're going to talk about a little bit more. that is a personal priority of mine. i have personally met with large numbers of muslim leaders in this country and communities >> first of all, i want to appreciate the security details because i am sleeping next to you so when the bears come i am glad you are there. i want to talk about the threat of the differents between the athlete from al-qaeda and the threat from ii mean in a sense, directed versus self-motivated. isn't the lone wolf or the inspired gunman who is random a better problem to have than al-qaeda when the self-directed threats that plotted spectacular attacks or do you see isis moving in the sim same direction
and that is what they will want to do? >> we are facing the prospect of smaller-scale attacks, given how this whole thing is evolving, but we face the prospect of that day to day in a lot of places in this country. as i think jim pointed out, um, abdul aziz was not on our radar, and i would not have considered chattanooga tennessee to be a high-risk area. and so we are facing smaller-scale attacks that are harder to detect day to day to day. the alarming longer-term phenomenon we have to be concerned about with isil is any time a terrorist organization with that level of resources in excess of
30,000 fighters, with foreign fighters pouring into syria, and that level of depravity establishing territory, an attempt to establish a caliphate in iraq and syria, so that this very large, dangerous terrorist organization has a place to base, train, send operatives, that is a huge homeland security concern to a number of nations. and so that is the longer-term phenomenon that we see, and we're very concerned about, which is why we're taking the fight to them in addition to the basic homeland security concerns that we see day to day. >> all right. now let's talk about cve, countering violent extremism. i think the first question i have about that, which you hear from many, many republicans, and is a criticism of the term itself, why do you and the obama administration describe this as violent extremism and refuse to use the phrase "islamic extremism"? what is the distinction that
you're trying to get at there? >> i believe strongly, and i hear this over and over again from muslim leaders in this country, that to refer to isil as islamic extremism concedes too much. it dignifies them as occupying some part of the islamic faith, which is about peace. and so when i go into the cve engagements -- >> well, tell everyone what you're talking about with the cve engagement. >> yeah. it's countering violent extremism here domestically. >> so you're going around, you're meeting with islamic communities in the united states. >> yes. and i did not invent this. this is something that our department, the fbi, and other parts of the federal government have been doing for some time, but i've taken it on as a personal mission. we go
to these roundtables, these discussions with groups, anywhere from 50 to 100 people. i've been to boston, brooklyn, new york, northern virginia, maryland, chicago, columbus, minneapolis, los angeles, houston, and i want to get to every single metropolitan area in this, major metropolitan area in this country that has a significant muslim population to talk to muslim community leaders about helping us if they see somebody going in the wrong direction. as jim said last night, it's almost always the case that there is someone else who knows. and we have seen success stories, where somebody in the community has intervened, and we need to see more of that. and so we go out, we do these things, and it's a two-way conversation 10 where people in the community have lots of issues they want to talk to me about. i am responsible for the enforcement of our immigration laws, for example, and things that happen at airports. so they want talk to me about things, and i want to talk
to them about helping us help them in our public safety homeland security efforts. and the message is it's your homeland, too. and i think people hear that message, and i think we've made a lot of progress in building trust, building relationships, and almost always have the local sheriff, the local police chief with me, and local sac of the fbi office, and we're building trust. we're getting some pushback. >> yeah. >> there is actually a ccve effort out there, countering our countering violent extremism initiative. and as mike leider (phonetic) pointed out to me yesterday, that's how you know you're having an impact. and so we are making progress. i'd like to see us take our efforts to the next level. we talk a lot about the counter message. the counter message actually does exist but it needs a larger microphone. counter messaging is not something domestically for the government, but it does
exist. there's some imams that have done some good work. it needs a larger platform. it needs a larger microphone. and so one of the things i want to do in this next phase is engage, frankly, foundations, philanthropies to support this kind of effort here in the united states. we want to engage the high-tech sector in helping us with the messaging, but i think cve is fundamental to our efforts. now at these engagements whether it's somalia-americans in minneapolis, or syrianamericans, or pakistani-americans, the one thing i hear consistently, irrespective of the socio-economics of these groups, and they're not a monolith, is isil is trying to hijack my religion. we can't let them do that. and so if you call it islamic anything, we are dignifying this terrorist organization with occupying a part of the islamic faith, which muslims in this country i know push back very strongly on. so if i went into these
communities calling it islamic extremism, i'd get nowhere. >> but aren't we, as a -- isn't the government denying the fundamental religious component of this kind of extremism by not using the word "islamic"? >> isil -- >> your analysts, i assume, in the government are trained to understand the religious dimensions of this kind of violence. to some people it sounds like political correctness, and that we're missing an important component of what's going on if we don't describe this -- if we don't understand the religious component. >> i could not disagree more. isil would like us -- >> it is called the islamic state. >> and many people believe that they do not deserve to be called islamic or a state. >> yeah. >> isil, i think, would like to be referred to as islamic extremism, because it, therefore, concedes that what they are
saying and what they are doing occupies legitimately some form of islam, which is about peace. and so here domestically i think it's critical that in order to build our relationship and build our level of cooperation with the islamic community here we have to say to them, look, we understand that what this depraved terrorist organization is doing is no part of your religion. >> some people believe that what we're witnessing in the middle east, though, is a civil war within islam. that sounds like it's not your view at all. >> look, i think isil believes that what it is doing is driven by their religion. the muslims that i know and that i have spent a lot of time with in this country believe just the opposite, and so it's important to remember that islam is one of the most -- one 12
of the largest religions in the world, and this band of terrorists and criminals does not represent what the overwhelming majority of muslims in this country believe islam is all about. >> let me ask you about violent extremism in general, and whether we overstate the threat from jihadism in the united states. we had two very, very tragic events recently, one in chattanooga and one in charleston, of course. the new york times recently reported on some very interesting findings from the new america foundation that show that since 911 there have been more attacks by violent extremists who were white supremists than people who were islamic extremists, which i think challenges a lot of the assumptions, especially at a conference like this. how does dhs grapple with homegrown extremism that, according to the times and according to some of this
reporting recently, local law enforcement is actually more concerned about than anything coming from the middle east? >> local law enforcement should be concerned about mass shootings, rampages, multi-victim acts of violence. a lot of our grant making in dhs, we put out over $2 billion in grants to state and local law enforcement, goes to readiness, first responder equipment, active shooter training that can be useful in a variety of different mass casualty situations. a lot of the first responder equipment that was used at the boston marathon, for example, was funded by our department, but a lot of that same equipment could be
just as effective, and is just as useful in any mass shooting event irrespective of the motive. you know, my mission, our mission at dhs is largely protecting our borders, land, sea, and air. chief fisher is here. he's our chief of the u.s. border patrol, but given how the threat has evolved, we also have to pay attention to the effectiveness of terrorist groups' ability not just to send an operative physically into this country, but to send a message into this country through social media, through the internet, and that is a mission that both dhs and law enforcement must undertake and must be mindful of. 13 >> but should the -- should the u.s. government be spending more
resources on tracking, identifying white supremist groups that, or as much -- should we be spending more resources on that than we are right now if -- >> i believe that -- >> if the numbers show that actually more americans have been killed since 911 from that sort of threat, rather than jihadism. >> look, i believe that we do spend and we do invest considerable resources in tracking violent white supremist groups, violent domestic-based groups that have an extremist purpose, and we do so very effectively. and we have to. we have to be mindful of that. the cornerstone of our department's mission is counterterrorism, you know, and it has evolved to a place where we have to be mindful of the overseas terrorist organization-inspired attack
here by a homegrown terrorist here. that's part of our mission. it is, and this goes to the point of your question. given how it's evolving, it is moving more closely to the purely domestic-based act of terrorism. >> yeah. >> so there's a mission there for both dhs and law enforcement, obviously. >> you were talking about isis and controlling territory in the middle east. the 911 report one of its core recommendations was never, ever should the united states let a group like al qaeda, or one of its affiliates, or group like isis, which obviously didn't know about at the time, gain territory. never let it build a state. that's when it has the resources and capabilities to launch a more spectacular attack against us. you were at the pentagon when we drew down the troops in iraq. ray odierno said this week that we could 14 have "prevented the rise of isis if we had left more troops in iraq. " do you believe that the obama administration could have prevented the rise of isis? >> well, i don't -- i don't really have -- i don't like to engage in second guessing. i fully support the direction that we have taken in our efforts overseas. i do believe that any time a terrorist organization sets up a caliphate or establishes territory -- >> yeah.
>> -- that needs to be a huge national security, homeland security concern, because it provides the basis for doing a lot of bad things, and it's difficult to root out once they have that kind of foothold. >> do you believe -- >> the best -- the best approach to keep these guys on the run, and hit them where they live, and hit them where they train, and we've done a lot of that in the last number of years, and we need to continue to do that. >> is there a -- is there a military component to defeating isis that we have not pursued that if you -- that you would -- that you would pursue? >> we continue to, through john allen's good efforts, build and support an international coalition to take on isil. we continue through dod's good efforts to work with the iraqi security forces, to train
them. so in that respect that is the national security military piece of that that is necessary to degrade and defeat isil. >> i want to ask you a version of the question that wolf asked director comey last night about iran. under the current agreement, iran is about to receiver over the next year or two a huge influx of cash from its frozen accounts, and end of sanctions. this is the number one state-sponsor of terrorism in the world. how, if at all, is dhs preparing for the changes that are about to take place in iran? a lot of people predict that iranian hardliners, who are not happy with this deal, will sort of make a show of aggression. how is dhs preparing for that, if at all? >> well, i'll give you a version of jim comey's answer --
>> -- which is it is a concern. >> i shouldn't have referenced that. >> and through our -- >> it is a concern. >> through our intelligence components in the intelligence is community, we keep a close eye on overseas threats that we see are emerging from a number of nations. one thing that strikes me, i've been at this now for six-and-a-half years, we have, since 911, i believe, come a long way in the level of sophistication of our intelligence community, and their ability to attract and detect potential threats to our homeland from overseas, to the point where it's very often an exercise between sorting out what's real versus the noise. >> yeah. >> and so we have developed good capabilities to detect plotting, to detect efforts to do something bad in our homeland. we do have the problem of going dark that jim talked about last night, very
definitely, and we have to find a balanced solution to that problem, but i think the good news here is that our intelligence capability since 911, our ability to connect dots is pretty sophisticated. >> all right. since you're responsible for -- >> which is why, you know -- which is why i think a number of us are so concerned about how this whole thing is evolving, because we've got to be now concerned about the homegrown threat, which is harder to detect in many respects. >> let's switch to a topic where the temperature is a little lower and it's a little easier to talk about. immigration. (laughter) >> there has been a lot of discussion in public recently, as you may have seen, if you've turned on cnn, about illegal immigrants coming into this country and committing crimes. what are the facts about that?
what are the numbers? what are the trend lines about undocumented immigrants and crime in america right now? >> interesting fact is that a few years ago pew took a poll of the american public and asked, "do you believe that more or less people are coming into our country illegally than ten years ago?" fiftyfive percent two years ago said more, when, in fact, it's far less. because we have invested so much as a nation, as a government in border security over the last 15 years, we've got more fence, we've got more technology. chief fisher has way more people. the border patrol is now the most funded it has ever been in our nation's history. apprehensions on the southern border, which are an indicator of total attempts to cross the border, have gone down dramatically. the high was -- >> apprehensions have gone down. so is that the best indicator of --
>> that is the best indicator we have of total attempts to cross the border. the high was fy- 2000. it was 1.6 million. and i'm on a mission to put these facts out there. over the last several years it's been down around 400, 450,000. this year it is considerably less than it was last year, and if the current pace continues this year it will be the lowest number since the early 1970s of total apprehensions on the southern border. that is a good thing. >> that's strange, also, because the economy is improving, so you would expect that illegal immigration would be increasing. no? >> that is correct, because normally apprehensions correlate to how our economy is doing. our economy gets better, more people want to come here. that's the pull factor. our economy is getting better, but apprehensions are going down. at the same time we are, and there's a report that was released today by the
migration policy institute, which is a non-partisan entity, that indicates that through our realignment of our priorities, we are focused more on the criminals. we are focused more on the threats to public safety. that is the direction the president and i want to take our enforcement resources. so we want to get at the criminals who are undocumented and remove them as opposed to somebody who's been here for years and has committed no serious crimes. and part of that effort is this new priority enforcement program, which we have created, which replaces the old secure communities program, which had become hugely controversial, such that a lot of communities didn't want to work with us anymore. san francisco, the killing of kate steinle is a tragedy, but it is also, in my judgment, exhibit a for why
we need the new priority enforcement program, so that we can work effectively with state and local law enforcement, for them to transfer to us convicted criminals who are undocumented. >> whose fault is it that her killer was released? >> look, there's a very elaborate timeline to what happened here. the fact is he was deported five times, he was prosecuted for unlawful reentry three times. he was serving his sentence in the federal bureau of prisons for his last unlawful reentry. our immigration enforcement personnel put a detainer on him when he was there. he was then transferred by bop to 18 the san francisco sheriff.
we put a detainer on him there, which was not honored, and he was released. our new program, if it works effectively, and i believe it will, would have brought about a different result, where the sheriff would have given us notice that they are about to release somebody who's undocumented, who is one of our priorities for removal, and he would have gone straight to us, and he never would have hit the streets. that's what the new program is intended to do to replace the old controversial program. it's an effort to promote public safety. we've had it out there now, and we're working with jurisdictions. we're getting good reception. and this is before san francisco. we're getting good reception from a lot of mayors, and sheriffs, and governors to the new program, and i believe we're going to be in a better place.
>> all right. one mischievous question before we go to the audience. donald trump is going down to the border today. (laughter) >> he has asked to meet with ice officials there. one, would you tell your employees, your ice officials down there, to meet with him, and, in general, what would your message be to him about what he does or doesn't understand about the immigration problem in this country? >> well, i'm not in the business of giving advice to candidates for president. >> but you're in the business of correcting misperceptions if they're out there. >> a lot of people -- a lot of people go to the southern border. a lot of members of congress go to the southern border, and i want them to see the good work of our immigration enforcement personnel and our border patrol. and the facts are that apprehensions have gone way down. we've invested a lot in border security. we are much better at border security than we used to be.
and the undocumented population in this country has stopped growing. it used to be up over 12 million. the best estimate is it's now about 11.3 million. it has stopped growing, and it is getting older. more than half of that population has been here over ten years. and we have to reckon with that population. they're not going away. no administration is going to deport them, because we don't have the resources to do that. they are becoming integrated members of our society, as long as they don't commit any serious crimes. we have to reckon with them one way or another. in a lot of states undocumented have driver's licenses. the california supreme court says an undocumented immigrant has the right to practice law. so we have to reckon with this population. and i want to see us, and we are focusing our enforcement resources on threats to public safety. that's what we need to do. >> all right. let's take some questions from the audience >> which, by the way, i have a harder time doing if congress does not repeal sequestration. >> we're going to get to this,
yeah. >> so when my friends in congress are here later this week, i hope someone will ask them how do you expect homeland security to do all the things that you want them to do if you are decapitating their budget, so anyway -- >> all right. josh? >> questions? >> josh probably has a follow-up on donald trump. (laughter) thank you. josh rogin, bloomberg view. thanks for taking the time today, and thank you for your service. i wanted to ask you about the drive to close guantanamo. we all read the articles, and the white house has talked about it yesterday, there's going to be a new plan, a new initiative. it's going to be written down. it's going to be given to john mccain. we're going to try to close guantanamo in the last 18 months. there's always been two big obstacles. one is can we safely release, or repatriate, or resettle the detainees who we're going to let go. that's something that you dealt with very closely at the od. the other one is can we safely house, prosecute, and keep the ones we can't let go? and that's something you're dealing with now as homeland security chief. what is your response to those two obstacles? what's changed? what's different now? why can we now do these things? as we read, the
defense department has been very, very weary of signing off on any of these releases, and you've been sympathetic to that position. what is the likelihood this is actually going to get done? thanks. >> the population at guantanamo, when this administration came into office, was 242. it's now down to less than half of that. with the appropriate security assurances we have moved a lot of detainees to a lot of different countries. we've got around 110, 115, or so, left at this point. these are probably the toughest cases. and in my view, and in the view of a lot of other people, there's going to come a point soon where it really makes no sense from a fiscal standpoint to keep this very -- put aside the fact that its recruitment tool, what it represents to the u.s.'s prestige -- >> is it still a recruitment tool, or is it still used against us? >> well, it has been, and it, in my
view, continues to be a black mark on what this country should be about, and we want to close it. but in addition to that, the numbers are getting so low that it really doesn't make any fiscal sense to keep this hugely expensive facility open in cuba. and we ought to have a plan for transferring the remaining detainees to the united states with the appropriate protections consistent with law, and those that can be prosecuted, and are being prosecuted, and we should continue with that. and eventually those that can be transferred should be transferred with the appropriate assurances. but it's an issue we have to grapple with,
and it's costing us millions and millions of dollars to house these people in cuba, and there are better, more efficient, effective ways to do that in the united states. >> do you think that president obama will be able to make good on his promise -- >> i know, i know -- >> -- to close it by the end of his term? >> i know, i know from numerous conversations that this president is very committed to closing guantanamo bay, and does not want to leave this to his successor, whoever that may be. >> okay. go ahead. thank you very much, mr. secretary. steve shapiro. many of the attendees here and you know that i work with an organization called bens business executives for national security, and we've recently finished a multi-year study with respect to domestic security processes, and procedures, and structures, sort of the boring org chart aspects of the domestic security world that you live in. entities that participate in domestic security and intelligence, and they're across the board. many of them are in your agency, and many of them are not. and that there is no real
central enterprise wide leadership or coordination of all of these wellmeaning and hardworking entities and agencies. and in that regard, as you know, and maybe the audience knows there's something called the intelligence community, which is a defined legal term that includes approximately 17 of these entities, many of which are, in fact, or some of which are, in fact, are on the domestic side, including the fbi, dea, coast guard, for example, but there are a number of entities performing domestic security and intelligence that are not included in this defined intelligence community, meaning that the director of national intelligence doesn't have the ability to help coordinate and shape a unified mission plan. those include, in your agency alone, customs and border protection office of intelligence, immigration and customs enforcement office of intelligence. >> sir, we're running a little low on time.
>> the punchline is. you know where i'm headed. would would you -- could you consider the inclusion of those five or six dhs entities that are now outside of the ic to be included inside the ic? >> well, let me say two things. i think that there is an intelligence capability of border security, for example, that is unique to border security, such that it doesn't necessarily need to become part of the larger ic. there are components within my department that have intelligence capabilities unique to our own set of missions. having said that, we are, in my department moving away from the stovepipes. we have a unity of effort initiative that i announced a year ago to bring
more centralized decision making. when it comes to budget acquisition we've created something called a joint requirements council and an acquisition form initiative -- reform initiative, as part of our overall unity off effort initiative. so one of the other things we've done, which i think goes to your question, is a southern border campaign strategy, which is modeled on the combat and command approach, where we bring to bear all of the assets of dhs in some part of the country to border security. so as a result we now have a joint taskforce east that is concerned about the maritime approaches in the southeast. we have a joint task force west, headed by commander robert harris, that coordinates all of the assets of dhs in the southwest on border security. and that's the direction that i've charged our leaders to go in, more centralized strategic focus on how we do our job. the department is a huge department, with 22 components, but it's been around just 12 years. and so i want to see us bring together in
a more strategic way our border security efforts, our intelligence collection efforts, our budget making, our acquisition decisions. that's the overall direction we're moving in, and we've made a lot of progress over the last year. my probably top priority, in addition to our substantive missions, is management reform of our department, so that it runs and it works more effectively and efficiently for the american people. and this is one of the things that we're doing to bring that about. >> we have time for one more. is that catherine back there? yeah, catherine? this will be the last one. thank you. thank you very much. catherine herridge, fox news. how many americans have either tried or successfully reached syria? i understood it's upwards of about 250 now. and isis has a compelling message. what is the u.s. government's message, and why isn't it more effective? >> well, catherine, the last number that i saw of those who have left or attempted to leave is 180, but i believe the number, the publicly disclosed
number is higher now. it's probably around 200. i'm not sure of the exact number. the message that isil puts out combines violence, it combines -- it has a very western slick appeal to it. it says join us. it brands itself as a form of islam that i believe is illegitimate. and it has a lot of appeal to a young person who may be prone to violence, who is looking for a cause. and so there is a counter message that is being developed. i think that part of that counter message has to be more than just don't do this, this is bad. there has to be a positive aspect to that counter message to show people a different way in which they can channel their energy. and so i believe that that message is being developed, but it needs a broader platform. and i think that's fundamental to our overall homeland security efforts.
>> thanks. go -- you have few more seconds if there's something you want to say. so the last thing i want to say to this very distinguished group is my overall assessment of where we are in our efforts, and in the threat we face, is this. this is what i say continuously to audiences. we have to find the right balance to strike between basic physical security, whether it's aviation security, border security, even in the world of cybersecurity, where absolute cybersecurity means you go on your system, and
there's no access to the outside world, and you're going to live in a prison. nobody wants that. so in a free society we've got to find, and we've got to strike the right balance. the most important part of our homeland security is preserving the things that are great in this country, and so in every message to the public that i deliver about where we are, i say but the public should continue to go to events, to celebrate this great country, whether it's july 4th, or otherwise because the nature of terrorism is that it gets nowhere if the people refuse to be terrorized. and so in things like the boston marathon, it's no accident that in this country we come back twice as strong, with even more runners the following year. and there are examples like that all over, in the u.s. military, in oklahoma city. and that's 25
truly the greatness of this country. and so all of us, i hope, who are in many respects leaders, i hope you will encourage the public to freely associate, freely travel and celebrate this great country. thanks a lot. >> it's a good note to end on. thank you, mr. secretary. (applause) scombl scombl >> matthew spence a former deputy defense secretary for middle east policy discusses the iran nuclear agreement featuring john mclaughlin. this an hour. >> good afternoon, i am a ph.d
student in the war studies department at kings college in london and a 2015 aspen scholar. i am delighted to introduce your next session on iran. we witnessed a deal this month but many questions remain. is this setting a new ingay marriage with iran and will it -- engagement -- with iran. what does it mean for the region broadly. michael crowley is the moderator
for this event. prior to joining politico he reported from a dozen countries including china, pakistan egypt, saudi arabia, turkey lebanon and ukraine where things are busy from time to time. thank you so much. >> hi, everybody, thanks for coming. [applause] >> i am glad to see a good turnout. anyone who decided to skip early and call it a day is making a mistake. we are going to go a little beyond some of the things you have been hearing over the ten days and look forward to what the iran deal means for the u.s. and iran and the rage n.
we will not spend too much time on centrifuge counts. let me introduce the panelist and get down to it. starting on my left is john mclaughlin, practitioner at the john's hopkins school. matthew spence is next to him. he is an advisor to national security advisors. we have ellen who spent 25 years in congress. john, starting with you back in washington secretary kerry got quite a grilling from the senate committee in which among other things he was told he was fleeced, bamboozled and likened to a hotel guest that left the hotel with nothing but the hotel robe on this back.
do you agree? give us your take on the deal. [laughing] >> i would say leaving aside of all of the details about centrifuges and percentage of enriched material, we can come back to that i would say this deal is not as bad a deal as the critics think. it is not as good a deal as we would like. i think on the whole it is better to have this deal than to not have a deal. and i can see it unfolding in about three different scenario and anyone who tells you they know where this is going to go in today's middle east is delusional. we can come back to scenario later. i think it is better to have this deal than not have it. >> alan we will move to you and
get you on the record. give you me your initial texas take on the deal and i will follow up with something you wrote. >> i think it is remarkable diplomatic achievement and its success will depend on how robustly it is implemented. i think the iranians have to decide if they will comply as they should. i look at it if it changes the dynamics of regional security and once we get past the drama and people having emotional reactions to trusting iranians or not i think people will september this is a net positive for the region. >> let me follow up from the get-go. you had an ambitious take on what it would become.
>> you said this is a chance for israel to strike a bubargain with iran. can you explain what you meant by that? >> the agreement is a technical agreement on some of iran's behavior we found problematic. for the united states it was about the behavior we thought was most directly to safety and we would have security obligations. the countries were saying it was a threat for them for iran to become a nuclear capability country. we have a robust and high risk strategy with un partners and got to the finish line on a plan that does limit iran and virtually prevents iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state
for a decade or decade and a half. people are not looking at the up side. watt are i was trying to do in april is look at the horizon and when we get over the initial period how might this change regional relations. i think the arabs should see a net security benefit to them to know there is not another nuclear weapon state in the region. but it will be a period of adjustment. it is not the first time the united states has tried to help the countries into the region establish a better notice of en envy. we have seeing the saudi arabians recalculate their agreement and how they take
about their relationship with iran. >> matt the first thing i want to ask you is did you expect the deal to come through? the president said it was a last-minute 50-50 proposition. were you surprised? >> first of all thanks for having me here. one conclusion is if the negotiations had been in aspen they would still be going on because no one wants to leave. it is a far better place to talk about the issues. the way i think about it i was pessimistic about a deal happening because i wasn't sure if iran could get to the place. if you look at the pressure they are under with the election of the president showing the
distrust and dissatisfaction. iran was under pressure. it was less clear if iran could reach a place to meet the red line. the way i think about the deal is the adage this is really at the very most the end of the beginning if only that. this is one important step for a huge amount of things that need to happen most. the two things i am concerned about is first verification and inspection and what happens if there is cheating and recognizing any arms control agreement is dealing with just that. arms control in one part. the nuclear pace is just one part of broader issues of iran's behavior in the region. the focus is how do we deal with iran's other bad behavior and deal with a strategy to task the initiative which is a huge but we have deal with the whole of
the issues iran is dealing with. >> let me ask you about events this week. i saw a meeting of benjamin netanyahu in israeli with the saudi arabian king. what do you think those conversations were like and what can ash carter be telling the israelis and the saudi arabians they have haven't heard 50 times. >> i think having been to israel 30 times in the last three years working on middle east policy is something similar to what they heard but they need to keep hearing. the united states knows a iran is more than an arms control issue. they are conducting terrorist attacks and been reported to
attempt to conduct cyber attacks. there is a huge amount of threats. what all of this means is the united states is not going anywhere just because the deal has been signed. in some sense, the likelihood of war has decreased and the likelihood of iran getting nuclear weapons declined, the work is beginning and america's commitment is there. the message to israel and the saudi arabians are the united states will continue to have a commitment in the region. we have a significant mount of military resources in the region. over 10,000 deployed troops some of the most advanced aircrafts, missiles and technology are the best that the region has known. that is not going anywhere. and because of that there is a huge amount of concrete manifestation of resisting a
iran's behavior. we will be there to show them cost fathers and deter them. >> talk about the role of the intelligence committee. there are two different kinds that will be important and maybe they are two different conversations. one is the close monitoring of iranian's abilities and suspected facilities with the question of verification and catching them if they try to cheat. the other is analysis about internal iranian domestic politics and what direction the regime is headed and what their intentions are and to the extent this might be a bet on reforming iran and if we have visibility to see which direction the country is headed. talk about the extent you can about the role of the intelligence committee having on back stopping the deal in a way the administration can't talk about in a lot of public detail. >> sure. before i do that let me elab
riot elaberate on one point. when i talk to my israeli friends i find the opinion is varied. most israelis, as far as i can tell, don't think this is a good deal but they don't all speak as harshly against it at benjamin netanyahu does. they see the short term advantage and the basic fact iran, after a 90-day transition period if all works out the dole doesn't take affect for a while, people need to remember that. but it will be less nuclear capable than it was before.
i want to say a few words about the iaea. there probably on demand for this job at this time. they they have a record and they're going to be by virtue of iran, in the next three months excepting the additional protocol for the nonproliferation treaty. they will have to be much more intrusive than they have been in the past. there would be more intrusive monitoring which is an advantage of this. if you look at now of course here's where the problem will come on that side the first
time we detect some sort of suspicious activity somewhere and iran doesn't want us to look there, there is an elaborate procedure that can stretch out over 24 days of negotiation with iran about whether we can look there. everyone is assuming in that period of time they would sanitize that site and when we got there there would be nothing there. i want to say the iaea have pretty good record of that sort of thing. for example there are instances in both iran and syria where they've gone and after in the case of syria, after israel had bombed a suspected nuclear facility there and managed still to detect the nuclear activity had gone underway their because of what they do in a circumstance like that is take minutes you'll swap of various things that could be nuclear. they did this in iran when iran was previously lying to us about an electrical factory that was
also nuclear. bottom line here is if all works as it's supposed to work intelligence and inspection part of this i think will be pretty effective but i also suspect there's a place work breakdown. because of iranian objectives to somewhere we want to go and one of the most worrisome aspects of the suspected program was a place at park in. it was thought they were doing conventional explosive testing that would be a substitute for nuclear testing. they have not allowed us to go there. in the agreement, it says very little except there will be a separate arrangement tween the iaea and iran on park in. there is a lot of negotiation left to discuss.
>> the iran issues may shift a bit in a good direction. as you all know what we think of those capabilities and intentions, at least on a softer human side of covering iran, there are now at least some relationships. we have now been able to establish some kind of human contact with at least some of the key players in iran. we are not getting anywhere close to the leader and we don't really know what happens in the inner sanctions in iran but at least now there are channels that will be aggressive relief after so many decades where we were following iran remotely and new we could follow large movements of military forces but we really felt very handicap at not knowing enough of the internal politics. we all know this agreement was negotiated by the good guys of iran, if you want to leave that,
but there's a whole lot of are part of the iranian system that probably takes a very different view on the desirability of the agreement. i'm not suggesting that just by all the time that secretary kerry has spent with their prime minister or their and on edgy minister that that is somehow sufficient but it is a big improvement over what we have had in 30 years. >> i think intelligence folks are aware of what others are aware of. those webb visited iran no that there is nothing in this agreement that guarantees a transformation in iran but having said that, iran has competing power centers. it has a quasi- democracy. 40% of the university and graduates. it is still very repressive at the top and we saw as recently as 2009 a reform movement that
is hovering. the expedient counsel determines who gets to run. in the last time they didn't let johnny run and he was thought to be more pragmatic. the one person that was allowed to run was a little off-center and he won. that tells me there is some sort of yearning there that visitors always report back. there is yearning the outside world. now that being said the people at the top call the shots and my point is there are can heating power centers there. if this agreement goes well what i mean by goes well, if
they get what they're really bargaining for, sanctions relief, which can also be seen as a detriment of course because we'll have more money to do the bad things, but if they get sanctions relief in the parliamentary elections scheduled for february i imagine he'll gain some votes. what does that mean? maybe a balance in the parliament begins to shift a little bit. these are all concepts but it's kind of what you're working with here. >> matt do you think that's too optimistic? from the pentagon point of view, people take a dimmer view view of these theories of reform then maybe some other folks. do you want to jump in? >> if i was doing my job right at the pentagon nobody would ever accuse me of being an optimist. i would say agree with what alan and john have said. i think we need to understand potential impact of having so many contacts between the united states and iran. if you put it in context at the beginning of this administration, the united states communicated with iranian
government through high-level letters. that was not much. now you have senior diplomats talking on their cell phones and weeks at a time in meetings. those are going to change international politics but a country we don't have an embassy in that we will now have 24 hour surveillance from the iaea, that provides channels to uncover issues that we can talk through. i shouldn't underestimate the fact that we want to talk to them. it's only in our interest, even if we recognize were not talking to the full spectrum of political leaders. >> you had some interesting thoughts that i read about our history of misjudging iran. we didn't really see islamic revolution coming. we continually overestimated the
moderates and been burned by it several times in the past decade. so is this time different? do you think these talks give us reason to think it's different or is there more we need to be doing or need to recognize our limitations? how do you think about it right now? >> actually it's very interesting when the revolution came, there was an after action and were talking late 70s or early 80s, there there was a very painful acknowledgment that we let them tell us that we couldn't talk to the opposition in iran. that's that's very hard in a country that had authoritarian to some and very unattractive revolution but there was a period of time where the u.s. was very important and we were had a military presence
and were a major part of iranian life. they were our great partner in the region along with saudi arabia and israel. think i much has changed. even with a a large embassy, we had censored ourselves a bit and didn't deeply understand the society. this is an ongoing challenge for analysts in democratic countries around the world, not not just ours but our european partners face some of the same dilemmas. you are always balancing how much you want to get along with the incumbent regine and how you want to make sure you're scanning the horizon for what might change and who are the other actors, and who are some of the rising voices in this
country question that we sometimes censor ourselves and sometimes we have no access. i'm not suggesting were suddenly switching hundred and 80°. this will be a very gradual incremental process to widen the lens. in this. during the negotiations, the state department and public and private world has been able to open the aperture a bit for civil society changes. there are some amazing things going on at the nongovernment level between the united states and iran. berkeley university and their university have an exchange. there is exchanges on public health, there's exchange of on environmental issues. there's some joint issues on teaching the iranians on urban resilience because their earthquake prone and have some of the same natural disaster issues that we have. we are trying which is why i think we want to go back even
though i think the president was very scrupulous in saying that this was just about the nuclear activity, we made no promises and it was not contingent on other items. they may have wanted a more comprehensive approach but that's not what we did. in reality, i think there is a bigger box it in which this is happening. that figure box is beginning a process in trying to engage more openly with iranians for the long-term. whether the revolution survives or eventually it is replaced by a more open regime. >> by the way, anecdotally this is probably a small part of it but i have seen journalist, american, european and iranian journalist getting to know each other on twitter and sharing notes and starting relationships. maybe there's a maybe there's a bit of twitter diplomacy happening. >> the journalist that go to iran are at high risk. >> having said all that i think about the fact that most if not all of iran's neighbors who are
in real proximity to them, for lack of better talk think this is crazy talk and naïve. despite that i was surprised to see ash carter say that he expressed his support for the nuclear deal. this comes comes after a year and a half or more of the saudi's railing against it and saying it's crazy. first of all were you surprised to hear that reaction and then i want to talk about some more specifically some things we are doing for the saudi's. >> in my experience i spent a lot of time speaking with the saudi's and other partners about it. they were never were never so hard up against the deal. they didn't throw down a red line and say we couldn't do this. the concern was much more in the sense of, look, if there's a deal we know how the defense resources are stretched
and with everything in sequestration that congress is doing are you really going to be here if the deal is done? i think they're very savvy to realize that the deal is happening right now. the question is what is next? to your point the what is next is the most important thing that's happening right now. everyone talks about president obama and the leaders at camp david and what does that mean. there is an effort that goes well past a year before or 18 months into years years before which i remember working a lot on which is what can we do about the abilities and dealing with the threats. the threats of these efforts that were worked on were cyber security maritime security and missile defense. all three of those things face a ronnie threats. we need to use this opportunity to get these countries to work more closely
together because all of those threats are collective actions. no one country can deal with them. i think we need to try to find an opportunity out of what happened here to bring about some of the operation that has been hard to do since the founding of the organization a long time ago. >> do you want to chime in quickly? >> security cooperation, i do do think the use has made a lot of progress in that area. the president's invitation to come to camp david made made a difference but let's remembered there are very different approaches to iran. the united arab emirates and other spectrum of views on the sectarians and the shiite problems in dealing with iran in general. if you give it a high level of security and deterrence they agree, but when it comes to economic interaction with iran they have very different policy. >> genre you going to jump in? >> no go ahead. >> let me ask you about how we strike a balance. it seems to me that's going to be a real challenge.
what matt is suggesting is that as a result of this deal, to some degree we have to flex more muscle in the region and use and reassure our allies that they just can't have the run of the place. how do you find the balance between doing that without stumbling into a confrontation that blows up a nuclear deal or whatever relationship we might have? do you think we can walk that line? >> it's going to be hard. one way to get at that question is to say, remember these negotiations have been going on since 2007 in one form or another. the middle east that we are seeing today is so dramatically different than the middle east we had in 2007. we have a middle east now that is in conflict on at least four or five dimensions. persian arab sunni shiite, reformer versus traditionalist,
terrace versus regine and i could probably add terrace versus terrace. you've never seen that before. the kind of task that your laying out for the united states is in credibly difficult. you could say say the middle east is experiencing something like i don't know, like the four year war in europe akin the 17th century which was about religion commerce, territory and ultimately it was sorted out after all those years. thirty years. it may be that's what were seeing in the middle east now. for the united states, almost, almost anything we do is going to be provoked and opposite reaction somewhere. i think we have to handle this very carefully and in the inspection process, but there are going to
be disputes. were talking about this as a relatively done deal the delicacy here is going to appear that sometime in the next 90 days for example, most people i don't think realize that iran still has to work out with the iaea a roadmap for how the iaea will behave and what it will have access to and how inspections will actually work. that's going to be contentious. then inevitably we are going to want to look at something they don't want us to look at. at that point i think we reach the crunch point. iran's view which they have expressed is if we back away from this agreement then all bets are off with them and they start enriching again. they quickly become, i think a nuclear threshold state again.
we have to calibrate all of this. >> what of things really go off the rails and there is talk about a military option? option? you warned in 2012 that a u.s. strike on iran would be a very bad option do you still feel that way? and i want to throw in one other question. what about the military that's penetrating this 15-ton weapon does that change the way you feel about it at all? could we still do it strategically questioning. >> yes i don't think so, you don't don't have to follow up with 20000 troops. although here's my first caution about that. when you look at the history of warfare, one thing stands out above everything else. when you inflict violence, you don't inflict violence, you don't know where it's going. you don't. you may think you do but you don't. that's the first thing. if we do that, do that, we
better prepare very carefully for option b, option c. [inaudible] what this agreement does is it buys us time. that's all it does. if you believe that ten or 15 years from now assuming the iranians follow the rules and play the agreement out they would then have the capacity, as the president acknowledged, to become a nuclear state. but we bought that time and given the turmoil i just sketched out in the middle id east, that's not a bad idea. we don't know where they're going to settle out. we talk about the saudi's and i'm not sure why the king is
saying what he's saying but they're in a interesting situation now because the close relationship that we have postdates the fall. prior to that iran was our big partner in the region. now the saudi's in saudi's in a gypsy and must be looking at this whole arrangement saying is there a tate tonic shift here? is our overall position in the middle east less than it is because as we look ahead here, if you were going to cite the certainties, i would say one certainty out of this is iran is going to become more powerful, for better or worse, more powerful in the region. either with this agreement or without it, but particularly with it. >> what is that going to mean? be specific.
i know you've spent a lot of time looking at these scenarios but what are couple of the friction points we will have to be really careful about question marks. >> we've already had some tension in the last month. as i going to escalate? >> i agree with what john said. when we look at iran, they will have an increasing population and increasing youth population. this is not a disarmament agreement. the thing you talked about is the major concerns are what they can do with fiber issues and other things. i remember being on an aircraft carrier in seeing these small iranian boats that either have contraband or a water skier behind them or something that could be very
deadly to ships going through. those are the types of things that iran will have that we need to be very wary about what they're doing. it's not in their view to shut down the straight because of oil doesn't flow, particularly now that they're getting back in the market, but still the fact that they can have that threat and uncertainty and were still not sure exactly what they're doing, those are the issues we need to be aware of. >> let me give you testament from an israeli foreman intelligence officer. this is what i agree with. it will also puncture the impression that i've may have given that i'm optimistic. i do see potential for good things coming, but this former intelligence officer, very senior see that this way. three scenarios all mention in terms of the league's likely first and the most likely last. first scenario, transformation
in other words what i think the administration is hoping and to a degree betting on, is what all of us talked about as a possibility and that is that iran through all of these contacts and through the changing nature of that society, 60% of that society have grown up transformation could occur. it's conceivable. second scenario he calls it the north korea scenario. in other words, they play along for a while. they follow the terms of the agreement for a year or two. things are going well but then they either break out of it or they're caught cheating and that the whole thing breaks down. that's essentially what happen what happened with north korea in 2002 after an agreement in
1994. then scenario number three, he calls it strategic patients on iran's part. what does that does that mean? he said they play the game. he said in his view this is probably the most likely. they play the the game with some minor bumps and hiccups along the way. they get through the inspection process, they do at this is supposed to do, they hold their enrichment to 3.67% for 15 years and in years ten through 15 they have the opportunity to experiment with some more sophisticated center fuses. they play it out and year 15 they become and they move toward becoming a nuclear power. the operational implication of all that is that even if i had or he had the order of things
wrong, we probably need to prepare in our operation are planning and diplomacy for all three of those scenarios. if you want transformation, how are we going to help bring that about? if we want to avoid the north korean scenario how do we do that. if they actually played out and become a nuclear power in 15 years from now what does that mean? we need to think about all of those scenarios. also i the invite someone who really doesn't like the deal to chime in here. there has been been some optimism. okay in the green shirt there,. >> there has been substantial evidence that the north koreans have been sharing nuclear technology with the rainy and since perhaps beginning of the century. that means that iran could have material in north korea and probably has plans that the
north koreans have developed devices themselves. the question is how does that affect our ability to inspect this agreement, especially because many people have said that is the critical factor going forward? the way to think about that. >> the way to think about that is what you need for a deliverable for a nuclear weapon? that's the biggest threat and that's what were stopping. the nuclear material and the enrichment and the nuclear device that is testable and works in a delivery mechanism. those are three very difficult things to have. we are incredibly paranoid to make sure that we are looking at this shortage intent and make sure they don't have any of them but the thing we need to realize is iran needs to get all three.
with iaea inspectors it is much harder for iran to do those types of things. even if you get that knowledge which once it's there, that knowledge exists. you can't eliminate knowledge to create nuclear weapons. at most we can do is to try and stop and regulate the behavior and even if we don't know what their intentions are, we can make sure we do everything we can to crack down on behavior. i think that's the approach we need to take with that. as i look at the agreement in the same way i approached iran, it was distress. in no way did the behavior depend on trusting iran, it was using leverage to get them to the table and do everything we can to keep them honest but we really don't know what the hell they're going to do.
>> i think in the broader, we haven't gone to the broader perspective on nonproliferation, but i can't help but say this sounds a little bit flaky, but flaky, but i think there is more the united states could do to delegitimize the weapons. i think were going in the other way. were re- validating that nuclear weapons are the market very advanced countries. i think there are final debates that happen inside the united states, were watching pakistan pakistan, india, china increase their arsenal and we miss the opportunity to change the aspiration for nuclear weapons. i'm not suggesting i believe everything they say, but they say all along we have not been listening, iran's goal is to be like japan. that is to stop short of actually assembling or deploying nuclear weapons, but or deploying nuclear weapons but to demonstrate the technological ability so only and extremist scenario, where they they felt their existence as a state was at risk they
would accelerate a programming go to the finish line. it took us a long time to trust japan. we are not ready to give iran that level of confidence but i think we may be making some very big assumptions that everybody in iran wanted to go all the way to a weapon and there is no internal constraints on that in terms of going that far. >> i think you're right there is a difference between nuclear power, nuclear threshold and going through all the cost to become a nuclear weapon state. i think for us this is the opportunity to test that. that is what it's built around to make sure we understand it's not a homogenous view in their population. >> general hayden has a question , but i don't know where he is. >> there he is.
>> matt i agree totally there are three critical paths to a weapon and how to assemble that the material the delivery system so if ballistic missiles are one of the critical paths and it's going into the negotiation we said quite publicly they had to be included in any final agreement and we took them off the table because of the iranian insistence, how did they enter backend in the last two weeks in vienna and now we are going to lift the sanctions on the ballistic missile program and eight years or sooner. >> i think to be frank and obviously i wasn't in the room and those parts of negotiations
the nature of the negotiation and what you can get and what you can't. there's a maximum position the united states wants and we remain very concerned about the ballistic missile program regardless of there's an agreement or not. i think the way i look at that is without an agreement they have the ability to accelerate and do much more. the fact that we are able to have some matter of reduction on that and at the same time, that's just within the terms of the agreement itself. while the agreement itself is going on, the united states potentially has more insight into the program even though were not inspecting military sites, just by having discussions with iaea. the other key part is, as you know, plans to increase the amount of integrated air missile defense and ballistic missile defense needs to proceed apace at exactly the same time. i think we need to see what's possible in the framework of sanctions and what we can hold together with international sanctions on that but while doing that, make
sure we are doing everything we can on the defensive side with our own technology to make sure we can moderate as much on the delivery side. >> i see eli lake who i think we can count on for some pessimism. >> the leader of iran has anyone ever seen it and why hasn't it been published? >> i understand they submitted it to the united nations as a formal document so it does exist i just don't know whether anybody knows how to legally and politically accepted as a legitimate document that would have influence on other countries. he's done it, but most people say you can also issue something to do the contrary. i do think there is there is a discourse in
iran that says nuclear weapons are not islamic. take that thought very seriously and sometimes i think it doesn't make the threshold of being an important development. >> it exists. it was submitted and i will try to find it for you. my understanding is it was submitted to the united nations even before these negotiations reached an active phase to explain the position of iran on the treaty. >> i'm in a take the next question. >> i want to thank you for a very thoughtful panel. i have have two quick questions. the first is what do you think this deal will have on the non-liberation regime? a lot of people are saying that at the end of the 15 years on where
iran stands that other entities will want to be threshold bike. two given given the length of the plan or the agreement, some say there might be requirements within usg to help monitor this over the next 15 years? maybe the creation of a legislative committee that we would have an ongoing group and an expertise. they talk about the lack of expertise and i'm curious how you feel about those two points? >> well i think that would be a good idea. particularly a group of knowledgeable people. that's a hard one. i can see it cutting both ways one positive thing with regard
to iran north korea quit as you know, if they accept the additional protocol and they stay in the npt regime at 15 years this particular agreement expires but there npt membership does not nor do the privileges of the iaea to inspect them and monitor. those those don't expire. if they stay in the agreement. part of what we have to do is monitor their adherence to the agreement very carefully. now if they shift to a threshold status at 15 years, yes others will want to do that, although it's although it's a little hard to appear into the future about nuclear technology 15 years from now. right now i would say why wouldn't iran want nuclear weapons? from the standpoint of their
national interest, countries look at what happened. by all accounts they are able to assemble nuclear devices and probably they can put one on a missile and that has to make us a little more guarded and how we view north korea. people observe that. i think i think that will be a constant struggle over time and it will require more constancy of commitment than we have shown to eliminating nuclear weapons. we make a few speeches and convene some conferences and go back to whatever else were doing. >> we have time for a couple more. hi pamela brown, fax news. fox news.
the following statement was given, personally i feel the uranian leadership has very wisely and pragmatically gave call this a disaster if you would like. personally i feel the uranian leadership has very wisely and pragmatically save their country from a very bad situation called a disaster. this is in response to me asking him a question. >> i don't know what others think but i'd have to assume what the intent was, in the absence of an agreement like this and in the presence of u.s. and really commitments that it was plausible part of the agreement that military operation might be carried out.
you asked before if i had the same opinion about that and i gave you half an answer but i think one of the problems with the military operation is that apart from not knowing where it's going to go is that you would probably drive the adrain and people together in support of the regime. i don't don't think you create anything else. i think that's probably what he's talking about. after all this agreement is a pretty good agreement for them. if anyone here wants to read the 159 pages, i encourage you to do it. if you need some shut eye. the last 50 pages the point i want to make his we sanctioned the hell out of them. when you look at the last 50 pages it is list of things we sanctioned. we sanctioned everything except for maybe children's toys and i'm not even sure about that.
that got under the table but it didn't take them from getting within two or three months of a nuclear weapon. think about that. >> let's take another question. >> high hello, hasn't the train left the station on this? what would happen if the united states congress, with congress with a vetoproof majority vetoed the deal? essentially china, russia and india have begun lifting sanctions for all intensive purposes. we couldn't put the genie back in the bottle. we couldn't get back the sanctions we are ready have. what is congress thinking about what's next because we can't reinstate those sanctions? >> i think you raise a really important conversation that's good to conclude with. i firmly believe that this could
make the united states safer now and in generations to come. i also believe we need to have a robust and open debate about what this means. this is an important part of the united states security and we need to have a debate where people on both sides can air their concerns. that said i think a be a tremendous mistake for congress to vote this down and for congress to hold back. we need to go in and part of the reason we need to have this debate is as we talked about on the panel, the types of resources the united states needs in the region are not free. under our budget problems that we have right now i think congress needs to debate this issue, understand what is in it and also understand what it means for america as a commitment to our own interest our allies within the region. i
think only by having that debate will it make us stronger and come out whole. >> i think were almost out of time. you want of time. you want to say a closing thought? >> this period of risk of sanctions is going to get complicated. it's not going to be black-and-white. i think the iranians themselves might be political backlash that hasn't been released to the average iranian citizen. your point is at least partly correct the other countries will abide by the agreement even if we were by a unilateral choice say we don't want to abide by this agreement. we still have lots of unilaterally imposed sanctions. >> do you want to bring us in for a landing john. >> no i agree with that, i think it's a good idea for congress to debate this because i don't know how you evaluate what we set up here, but i think most of us would personally say it's a pretty evenly balanced, if you add up the advantages and disadvantages of this agreement. there are disagreements to this agreement.
iran gets a lot out of it but we get something out of it. what it is is something were not very good at anymore and that's a compromise. [laughter] >> on that note, thank you so much to our panel, thank you for coming and great questions. thank you. thank you. >> that was a perfect ending. >> tonight on c-span to a look at how isis recruits fighters from the west and what happens when they return home. then military analysts and contractors talk about new defense technology. after that homeland security secretary jay johnson. >> on the next "washington journal" francisco chambers talk
about the latest state department issue of e-mails by then senator hillary clinton. then they discuss the economic outlook for the u.s. and expectations for the federal reserve to raise interest rates this year. as always we will take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> monday night on the communicators, democratic representative from colorado and rhode island on internet security and data breaches. >> we have seen attack after attack and most recent attack of course, on the office of personnel management, but, but also in private industry. target, home depot so many
other private corporations have had customer information stolen and so what we have realized is we can try very hard to keep ahead of the hackers, but what we need to do is think about how we minimize the need for customers to put their private information onto websites. >> right now there are legal prohibitions with the government sharing classified threat information with the private sector. there is legal prohibitions from the private sector sharing information backed with the government. then they would be acting as agents of the government and that's not allowed. what we want to do is allow those barriers to be removed so you could share your information very narrowly defined so your talking about a
small type of information. for example for the various hat's that have taken place out there, if we could share some of that information then when one hack occurs at one place hopefully we can widely share that vulnerability and protect everyone. >> monday night at aiden eight eastern on c-span2. >> not next a discussion on isis recruitment their tactics and motivation. the danger posed when foreign fighters return home. from george washington university this is one hour 30 minutes. >> good morning and welcome everyone to the university. thank you for joining us today.
we also welcome our viewers watching at home on c-span. obviously this is a timely set of topics and couldn't think of three other people anywhere to shed some light on the foreign fighter challenge. clearly it's not a new phenomena but in terms of the scale and scope it is unprecedented. the numbers are staggering and continue to grow. the various guises and forms in which it takes is relatively new. we did a major study on this about five years ago. at that time, it was a challenge but by no means in terms of the scope are dealing with today. we were looking largely at americans and somalia joining up with al shibata. also dozens at that highest point of americans joining up with the taliban. then we saw al qaeda in the
arabian poem peninsula in terms of. those numbers in terms of how significant they may have been are dwarfed and what were seeing today. in part due to technology and ease of travel and in part by other motives like we will learn much more about. i had the privilege of introducing lorenzo who is leading our new program on extremism. : : :
is thinking about. following lorenzo i had the privilege of welcoming a good friend of mine who is groundbreaking work on the foreign fighter challenge in the u.k. at icsr which he has been directing for how long now? for seven years and peter votes from germany but has been living in the u.k. and is one of the go two guy's on all things national security counterterrorism and his son some phenomenal and peered the base research and policy related research. last but not least i'm delighted
to also welcome hernando who bodes from spain. he has done tons of groundbreaking studies, papers research empirical and policy related in terms of not only the foreign fighter from mom and in spain but also more generally speaking counterterrorism. bottom line here is you were not going to get three better scholar practitioners shedding light on this issue and our hope with a ball of our offenses to shed more light on the topic and there is a lot of light and there is a lot of heat so i will turn it over to you lorenzo to kick us off so thank you. >> thank you very much frank. it's a pleasure thank you all for coming. this is a wonderful turnout. we were reluctant to have an event on a friday morning almost august.
peter was more optimistic about the turnout. you helped us to have this wonderful turnout so thank you for coming and the first event that broke them i had the pleasure to direct here at the center for homeland security here. the first event on such an important topic with wonderful colleagues and personal friends. it's really important for us so thank you all for coming here. we get to discuss the dynamics affecting virtually every country on the planet. we receive countries and regions that have never been affected by dynamics of foreign fighters and are seeing in small numbers of their citizens and other residents going to syria and going to iraq were at this point also going to libya and other places to join isis and isis affiliated groups.
it's not a new phenomenon. it dates back to the early 80s at least but the numbers are new. if we look at it or much much compared a point of view we are here to talk about the u.s. and the european perspective on this. the numbers are arguably different between the two sides of the ocean. european numbers of foreign fighters course the province empirically determining the numbers finding the right numbers, peter has done great work and trying to determine that but obviously it's ex effort with law enforcement and intelligence agencies having a problem doing that but the number of european foreign fighters are much higher than the number of american foreign fighters. the size of the problem is completely different. if we are looking at a european european -- we see countries like france with an estimated 1200 individuals, germany the u.k. and the six and seven
hundreds in smaller countries like elgin with a staggering 400 individuals. some eastern european countries like kosovo which is a tiny country three or 400 individuals , these are completely different numbers from the u.s.. the latest numbers given by the government by the fbi we are talking about 200 individuals either traveled or attempted to travel to syria so we are talking about and much smaller number because a lot of people have been intercepted so that 200 member should be further reduced. i think the numbers deceiving from another perspective. here in the u.s. there are legal tools and more in general a certain attitude from law enforcement which is significantly more aggressive than in most european countries. a lot of the very effective tactics that the fbi uses single variations that they have not used in europe and i would say
they skew the numbers significantly. i would probably suspect if any european law enforcement agency were to use those tactics the numbers of people they arrest rest in every country would skyrocket and be different. why are the numbers of different in europe and the u.s.? i don't think there's just one explanation. think they are a combination of factors. the first one is logistical difficulties. it's very easy to reach eventually syria. some people call it an easy jihad. it takes 100 euros. believe in the morning and for many countries you even need a passport. you just need your identity card and you reach the turkish border with syria. it's slightly more complicated and more expensive from united states. there's a second reason that has to do with the fact that in the u.s. we do not need the recruiting networks that we see in europe.
not that is completely nonexistent in the u.s. but in europe we have significantly more established and sophisticated structures of recruiting networks that do not exist in the united states and even though the internet for social media to some degree recruits networks a lot of people would argue nothing completely substitutes the face-to-face interaction. in most cases you can buy isis with an on line interaction. it does happen in some cases but the vast majority join isis and other groups because you have some personal connection to somebody who has connections there. there's a third reason on the macro level that has to do with a very different level of organization between european and other communities. i do not want to overstate the problem in europe. periodically when we see analysis for sample in the post-charlie abdel -- charlie
hebdo environment communities in the radicalization of segments were exaggerated but unquestionably there are problems on the organization europe where there are significantly higher numbers than in the united states. we do not see in the united states the groups that have been instrumental in a european setting and radicalizing immobilizing a lot of people from syria. we do not see them and i see too many cases of the numbers are the first big difference in the u.s. and europe. i would argue there are a lot of differences in terms of dynamics between the two. in europe and i'm simplifying things a lot and generalizing i think we see a lot of clusters and a lot of radicalization
mobilization. as i said the on line propaganda social media has a huge role to play here but the personal relations that people have earned questionable. people that eventually leave for syria and iraq. if you look at maps were into vigils go to syria and iraq from different european countries come from you will see they are not evenly divided many times but they come from certain towns, certain cities and certain neighborhoods in both cities. it generally there's a human factor connection two or three guys to go first and may call friends, cousins classmates. they talk to them through social media but it's the means for which they reach out to people back home but it's a personal connection that predates the conduct on social media.
that's a different dynamic in many cases from united states where were you see more scattered individuals here and there, less clusters and a greater role of the internet began in the united states there is a spectrum. on one hand we do see quite a few cases of individuals with no physical connection whatsoever. they radicalize on line and eventually decide to mobilize because of the interactions they have on line. if you have read some of the very good journalistic reporting that has been done in some cases the united states there was an excellent "new york times" article two or three weeks ago about this girl in washington state who was completely groomed that i think that's the right term that's been used often on line. this is somebody who had clearly no personal interaction with any
cluster but i do think we see in the united states there were cases of small clusters. not what we see in europe but we see groups of people to mobilize together. there has been a tension as frank was saying the problem that dates back to 2006 in and 2007 the somalis in minneapolis. he we are seeing clusters of somalis mobilizing with syria now there are but small clusters throughout the country have been dismantled senator daines st. louis. recently in the last few weeks a group of young individuals in new york and new jersey area. some of the smaller groups in the boston area, a group in brooklyn so we have seen the small clusters. again nothing of the size and the sophistication of the european dynamics that we have a
spectrum united states. just a american foreign fighter seen as scattered individuals here and there were radicalizing on social media is an oversimplification. it is indeed more difficult to travel to syria and we do not see the clusters we see in the u.s. and that's one of the reasons that explains why in the states we have seen in compared terms a disproportionately large number of loan at there's attacks. some of them in one way or another link to isis. for example the shooting attempt and the cartoon event in garland texas but they act that are difficult to