tv Hearing on Combating Anti- Semitism Domestic Terrorism - Part 2 CSPAN February 4, 2020 8:58am-9:28am EST
captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 >> as well as the nypd's efforts to address that. an attack on a member of a particular community, because of their race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation is an attack on all new yorkers. new york city is the epicenter of diversity and stands as an example of how distinct cultures, religions, nationalities can exist side by side, learning from one another, and enrichg each other. unfortunately, last year, in new york city, we saw 428 hate
crimes. that's a 20% increase in hate crimes over 2018, which in and of itself is concerning, and a 26% increase in anti-semitic hate crimes which comprised a majority of the total hate crimes in our city. that would be 234 anti-semitic hate crimes. now we see that the lion's share of that number are things like graffiti or broken window or a property crime as a hate crime. these are very challenging to solve because oftentimes nobody knows when it occurred or who did it or how long it's been there. it is a challenge when these things are in bathrooms or in a school classroom or on a wall, to find video evidence or witnesses. i would underline in the smaller personal that involve an assault, a physical attack on another person, our clearance
rate there, our solve rate is over 80%. that's significant. we pull out alls the stops. by now you have all heard of the brutal machete attack in new york miles north of the city which injured five, one very seriously. these were people happily celebrating hanukkah and the brutal attack and the shootout in jersey city you also heard of which killed six, including a police officer, it turned a quiet neighborhood into a battlefield in an afternoon. but these days, it also seems like every news cycle carries another story of violence targeted at jewish new yorkers including children. what are we doing about it in new york city? what are we doing about it specifically as the nypd? first of all we're ramping up our uniformed presence in the city, particularly in neighborhoods that have been targeted by anti-semitic violence. the first line of defense is our
most valuable asset in the nypd and the fight against violent extremism. that's our highly trained, dedicated, and extraordinarily diverse personnel of the nypd. they collectively make up our department and they make it stronger because the nypd has worked very hard for a long time to stand up a force of officers who reelect the city they are charged with policing and we're succeeding. the department is now a majority/minority police force with each zepts graduating police academy class reinforcing that trend. we have members of the service hailing from 161 different countries and 22,000 members who speak more than one language with 168 languages represented among them. that encourages -- that is encouraged by the support of a myriad of fraternal
organizations across all those ethnicities, religions and language. we embrace our diversity in new york city, we embrace our diversity as the nypd. we expend significant resources to ensure those who commit crimes motivated by hate are apprehended and brought to justice. the numbers bear that out. last year hate crime apprehensions increased by 38%. criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, robbery, assault, grand larceny, murder and attempted murder. this is the job of every member of the new york city police department but the folkle point of our efforts is the detective borough's hate crimes task force. its personnel, our detectives and state troopers who are trained to identify and investigate hate crime, it's the largest such municipal unit in any police department in the country. now the nypd, of course, saw the
disteshing upward trend of violent bias crimes sweeping across the country and moved very early on. between the time of september and december, we moved to form the racially and ethnically motivated extremism unit within our intelligence bureau. this unit has about 25 nypd personnel. detectives, analysts, police officers, working side by side with members of the new jersey, new york and pennsylvania state police, as well as agents from the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. reme is specifically dedicated to investigating not just hate crimes, but more specifically the actions and the growth among violent hate groups as they spawn across the country and across the internet. the idea is to identify groups with a propensity to violence and those individuals who may
carry it out and to stop those incidents before they happen. to do this, we go by the same rule book and the same tactics and techniques we use to thwart attacks by isis and al qaeda and the lone wolfs they inspire. we've already opened dozens of investigations within reme in the short time since it was formed. reme streamlines efforts against this landscapes and facilities with our federal, state, local and private sector partners, some of whom you spoke to today. the anti-semitic and hateful violence we see in surrounding communities touches on new york city even if they do not start in new york city. because of this, wherever there's a high-profile incident anywhere in the country or world, such as we discussed a moment ago, the pittsburgh synagogue attack, or the christchurch shootings on the other side of the world in new zealand, the nypd goes on high
alert and further increases ours visibility around houses of worship and customizes a deployment plan to discourage any potential copycat attacks that may be inspired. the value of our collaborative efforts to guard against violence imported into new york cannot be undersold. remember, jersey city is literally on our doorstep. the attack arrested by our officers in harlem has no connections to new york city that are current, but begs a question, why did he flee that scene and come to new york city? what was he doing there? we still don't know. that investigation continues. what his intentions were, we're still working tirelessly with our partners to find out. most of the proud boys are not from new york city but it presented too attractive a target for them when they decided to engage in violence. the white supremacist neo nazi group patriot front have taken their recruiting efforts to new
york city. last week, they brazenly hung a banner with anti-immigrant language over an overpass in brooklyn. the same freedom and diversity that are new york's strengths is the same reason it's the number one target for violent, foreign and domestic extremists at the same time. finally, part of the new york city's holistic approach to combatting hate crimes, hate crimes will be included in our statistical analysis. as we generally follows the fbi's ucr, hate crimes will be in that lineup that we watch very closely within the numbers and the mapping and the crime strategies for any uptick or change. anti-semitism manifests itself in many forms, well organized groups, lone wolf actors, the diluted individuals and everything in between. anti-semitism in all its forms are steeped in ignorance and
bred of muddled and incoherent conspiracy theories some of which were discussed at this table this afternoon. it is more easily spread and consumed these days, however, because of social media. for these reasons, a lasting solution to bigotry and hatred will never be grounded solely on law enforcement and heightened security. that will only be achieved when every citizen works collectively to educate each other and reinforce our shared values of tolerance and unity. new york city and the nypd will continue to be at the forefront of this movement. thank you again for the opportunity to testify to this committee. i would be happy to answer any questions. >> mr. miller, thank you. just a quick -- how much longer do we have you for? is you're out of here in ten minutes. i'm going toic ta a point of privilege, reme, how many cases are connected to neo nazi
organizations, the base that also have global linkages? you mentioned that you're following the same rule book that you've used over the course of the last decade, two decades to attack jihadist trichls but you don't have the same tool kit, particularly designations of foreign terrorist organizations, which as you know is a very -- almost a singular focus of mine at this point. can you give us a brief analysis, high level of what you're seeing and how much this is hurting you, the absence of an fto designation as you continue to tackle neo nazi threats, anti-semitism threats and the threat of domestic terrorism? >> the reme cases are by and large involving white supremacists and neo nazi groups to date. what we see is a trend that that activity is rising. what we also see, it's dynamic in that you have organized
groups, some of them to answer the core of your questions, have overseas connections with foreign groups of the same ideology. others are purely domestic and beyond that, part of the groups that follow them on-line and act out as lone actors. we encompass all of that. it is disturbing when you see people who are part of supposedly domestic groups, who are training overseas, and domestic groups that are planning actions that, if they were doing the same action on behalf of isis or al qaeda, would be squarely within the terrorism statutes, even though those actions are political driven and using violence and the fear of violence, are not considered terrorism under the statutes as they stand. >> do you think that we can seriously take on this fight against anti-semitism without interesting fto designations for global neo nazi organizationses?
>> i don't understand why we're torturing the subject. a terrorist should be regarded as a terrorist as a terrorist. i don't understand why we have to decide it's terrorism but domestic. but it's terrorism, but it's foreign. terrorism is terrorism. the statute should reflect that. >> not to make this overly informal but considering mr. miller is a bit constrained, does anyone have any questions that they would like to ask of mr. miller? miss clarke? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you commissioner miller for all of your hard work and dedication to the people of the united states of america and, of course, our beloved city, new york city. as you know there have been a number of incidents in my district. i've urged the nypd and other law enforcement agencies to
monitor this situation closely. i'm very happy to hear what you're doing with comstat because that may help us to get to the core of the matter. can you discuss nypd strategy to combat violent hate crimes and in particular, incidents targeted towards the orthodox jewish community? >> these incidents began to rise, congresswoman clarke, to increase the police presence in those neighborhoods and around houses of worship and in the areas where we were seeing the hate crimes. and that was a combination of precinct personnel, house of worship personnel, specially trained precinct personnel who can literally change their uniforms and become counterterrorism officers and be placed out there because they do have that training and that's a select group, as well as the crc, wisconshich is the critica response command. our forward leaning uniform counterterrorism force. we pushed all of that into those
neighborhoods when this started just as we pushed those forces towards mosques during the christ clutch attacks and christian churches after the attacks in sri lanka. this is something we're trying to get a handle on as to is it a trend, is it a fad, does it have an end? we've seen a disturbing uptick and we're there. sorry. >> be safe on the flight. >> thank you very much. >> next, we are joined by general john r. allen, co-chair of the hold security subcommittee for the prevention of targeted violence against faith-based organizations. finally we have mr. paul goldenberg, co-chair of the same advisory committee. we thank you and we look forward to hearing your statement. >> thank you, chairman rose and ranking member walker. members of the subcommittee and thank you for your leadership.
as noted my name is john allen, i'm retired marine and more than slightly self-conscious i'm not from new york this afternoon. it's a really great pleasure to be before this subcommittee this afternoon, to be joined by paul goldenberg, the homeland security advisory subcommittee, on the prevention of targeted violence against faith-based organizations. we're exceptionally grateful for your continued leadership on this issue before us today, that of anti-semitic violence, to include the threat of domestic terrorism and are doubly appreciative of your support of our recently released homeland security advisory council report which i concluded, added to our submission for inclusion in the record. this is a critical moment for your leadership and it's shining through. more needs to be done as a collective approach to this
problem. it's a broader problem than just anti-semitism as we found in our research, but we focus on that today and it's absolutely crucial we have this conversation and future conversations of this kind. let me turn the floor at this moment, since you have given us the latitude of doing a joint statement, to paul goldenberg who will speak for the next several minutes on the nature of the threat that we face. paul? >> thank you, general. good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. let me mirror general allen's thanks to you all. we're here today because of your leadership. i also do want to add to the record that i am from the state of new jersey. our recent mission tasked us coming considering the rise and attacks of places of worships. the security of faith based organizations across the country and in particular the subcommittee we chaired was tasked to provide findings and recommendations on how dhs can
best support state and local governments and faith based organizations to keep houses of worship safe, secure, and resilient. our final report, which was released a month ago today, details our findings and recommendations in full. our work was significantly aided by the advice and counsel of representing offices and entities from across all of dhs which has a vast array of highly dedicated men and women and the broader u.s. government, including the doj, the fbi and the united states secret service. as alluded to earlier, i believe notable is that our members took to the field, we went to the field, to the ground, visiting synagogues, mosques, temples and churches, meeting with communities impacted by targeted violent attacks committed by
some very heinous violent extremists. these engagements were literally eye opening, even for a very jaded senior former police officer from the state of new jersey. our nation's faith-based communities are one of the few institutions that has the resources and will to bring together people of contrasting political opinions, races, religions and ages. uniting communities from a variety of backgrounds and interests, and offering a range of competencies not often found in a single community or organization. for that matter, police force or government agency. they have the fundamentals to empower people developing a sense of ownership among all members of the community. and for some, they see it as an achilles heel. unfortunately, the question of whether faith based communities and certainly the jewish community is targeted by hatred and terror is not up for debate.
synagogues here and abroad remain targets. to the threat itself, the primary inspiration behind many of these targeted violent attacks is to force us to not merely question our fundamental safety and security, as well our ability to protect our nation, neighborhoods, families, and to look to change our behaviors. success in the eyes of these domestic terrorists comes when we retract from our daily routines, ways of living, and even spiritual and political beliefs. we need to further explore the impact of these hate-filled messag messages with public trust, as well as attack perpetrated from white violent extremist actors and groups that grow in number, we should all be concerned that an adverse public reaction may generate something that these violent extremists could never have achieved on their own. this complex, psychological
progression, becomes an enabling tool for those who seek to derail our way of life. indeed, citizens immunized against the psychological influence of targeted violence and terrorism have a much greater ability to resist such manipulation. that is our perspective and that was our mission, and i would like to turn it over to general allen to discuss the recommendations for how we respond to these threats. general? >> ladies and gentlemen of the subcommittee, thank you, paul, what he's described as no ordinary threat. it's a national security issue for the united states and it's a threat to our way of life. that's the truth, plain and simple, and i think the testimony of the first panel, that of mr. miller, that of what we discovered during the course of the research for this report, subtan yates the nature of this problem. we're here to discuss what we can do about it. to that end, much of this is
reflected almost verbatim from our recent report. we need to be thinking about these issues at a strategic level and have a tactical framing as well. rather, there are efforts that can be undertaken at the national level with the congress and the administration leading the charge, but there are also many efforts that can be undertaken at the local levels also. our report contains 46 recommendations overall and we lay out seven key recommendations in the executive summary in response to the unique nature of the issue. we're happy to go into greater detail during the q&a. i would add a bit of personal framing from my own experience in counterterrorism. we looked at how communities can prepare themselves prior to the terrorist incident or attack, what we call to the left of the incident, we looked at how communities can prepare and react to the incident itself during its course, what we
sometimes call at the bang, and we also talked about and researched what can be done on the other side of the incident, the right of the incident, where resilience and reconciliation and recovery is essential. we looked at those measures across all of those. at the incident itself -- excuse me, at the point to the left of the incident before it occurs, many preventative measures are available to these communities, and consistent training and community outreach which we discussed in the first panel, especially between state and local law enforcement officials and first responders is essential with our faith based communities. at the attack, there are protective measures which can range from deployment of protective security advisers to increased coordination with responders and, of course, increased defensive capabilities hardening the infrastructure within the communities themselves.
in this category, funding, especially through the fema non-profit security grant program, is crucial and i have to commend this committee and the congress for not just enlarging that funding, but being open to a discussion to increase it even more. finally, to the right of the incident, after it has occurred, this can include anything from resiliency efforts with the community to efforts focused on healing and reconciliation and justice and accountability. it's the response with social workers and community advocates and law enforcement and healers, playing such an important role alongside our police and first responders as well as civil leadership and legislators. it's that response that can carry the community through the trauma of that attack and to some form of normalcy in the aftermath. very importantly, i said legislators because i believe that for the congress, it means three things. this is a personal plea as much as a recommendation from the
co-chairs of the subcommittee. first, i believe that no other body today in the united states can maintain focus on this threat and protection of our faith communities as can the u.s. congress. you are of the people, you represent the people and your attention on this matter as evidenced by today is extraordinary and your attention continuing into the future will be absolutely essential. second, you have the power of the purse. and there is a need for increased funding, not just in the form of grants but increased assistance to law enforcement at all levels. and third, our laws. we've talked a lot this afternoon about proposed legislation and legislation that is in the process of being enacted. i could not more strongly associate myself with all of that conversation because we have to have the laws to hold those accountable when they perpetrate these kinds of crimes. but there needs to be a formal discussion, a full discussion,
on the nature of a domestic terror law. i believe we've reached that point in this emergency, where we not only talk about a domestic terror law, but we also talk about designating domestic terrorist organizations and domestic terrorists themselves. it's an unsettled conversation. wave not found our way to a final conclusion, and there are complexities about this associated with the first amendment and constitutional rights and civil rights which are fraught, but we have to have this conversation now given the uptick in the violence against the jewish community, but the other communities, communities of color, the muslim communities, the sikh and hin dui communities, our black communities in the context of the christian church, we have to have these conversations. i believe it's the time now to have that conversation about whether we have a domestic terror law and domestic terror des sig nagsz. with that i will turn it back to paul for his closing remarks. >> thank you, general.
>> as the list of recent attacks against american faiths based communities grows almost daily, we have seen a rekindled call for domestic terrorism laws as the general just referred to, to provide federal law enforcement agencies similar tools that are available to combat targeted violent attacks by international terrorists and i think we heard that several times today from law enforcement experts. it's been resonating. many believe that these bills specifically would provide required resources to federal law enforcement officials, some of which have indicated they do not possess the suitable tools -- >> mr. goldenberg -- >> my apologies. we've stretched this, we have to vote right now. so what we're going to do is the committee will stand in resource to allow members to vote on the floor and the committee will reconvene ten minutes thereafter and continue this very, very important conversation. thank you.
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