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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  June 15, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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the chair: on this vote the yeas are 164. the nays are 257. the amendment is not adopted.
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the chair: the committee will be in order. the committee will be in order. take your conversations off the floor, please. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise? >> madam chairman, i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
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mr. lance: the language of section 740 is in the energy and commerce committee, the committee which i serve, and we consider such language. the house should know and the food and drug administration should know that we agree with the spirit of the language and the goal of the members of the appropriations committee who supported its inclusion in the bill. after speaking with the sponsors of the language we know that together we share a concern about what is happening at the f.d.a. we believe that policy decisions at the f.d.a. should be based on science and not on any irrelevant consideration. as much as officials at the f.d.a. claim that their decisions are based on sound science, their recent actions give us pause. for example, two months ago chairman upton along with chairman lucas and chairman graves sent a letter to the
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f.d.a. regarding the potential banff anti-microbial animal drugs and the lack of scientific support for that action. this potential ban has caused significant worry among our nation's producers -- the chair: the gentleman will suspend. the committee will be in order. the house is not in order. the gentleman can proceed. mr. lance: thank you, madam chair. this potential ban has caused significant worry among our nation's producers, veterinarians and consumers. the chairman finally received a response from the f.d.a. last friday, and the f.d.a. refused to answer the questions about a scientific basis for their actions. claiming that the matter is still, quote, under consideration, closed quote. this response is unacceptable and makes us wonder why the f.d.a. refuses to discuss the
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scientific basis for its conclusions. we pledge that the energy and commerce committee will explore whether there are steps that congress should take to prevent the f.d.a. from pursuing regulatory actions that are not based on sound scientific analysis and fact. those at the f.d.a. should know that many in congress are watching and carefully studying whether the f.d.a.'s actions are justified. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from montana rise? mr. rehberg: i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rehberg: i rise to speak briefly about the language that is about to be stricken from this bill which has come to be called the hard science amendment. i offered this in committee for ranchers in montana. they sat across the table from me and talked about the lack of skibe tific basis being used by
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the f.d.a. in adopting rules and regulations affecting their ranches and the live stock industry. for me this isn't faceless regulations. -- for me this isn't baseless regulations. they raise 6.2 million cows annually, 230,000 sheep. i know of at least 600 goats. the cattle industry alone is responsible for $1.4 billion in sales every year. ranchers in montana and across the united states have a strong incentive to preserve a healthy food supply for the american public, and that means making sure their animals are healthy. the use of antibiotics in livestock significantly improves the health of animals which in turn lowers the risk of food borne illnesses which may show up later in the process. f.d.a. has refused to release risk assessments antibiotics may have on humans who consume these meats.
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although they have not released any credible evidence to support their efforts, f.d.a. bureaucrats are you pushing ranchers to remove these valuable antibiotics from livestock production. this is a grave concern for montana ranchers, and i'll keep fighting alongside montana producers to get this problem addressed. i want to submit letters from those organizations into the record, and i ask unanimous consent to do so. the chair: the gentleman's request will be covered under general leave. mr. rehberg: thank you. i hope to work with my members on the appropriations committee as well as the energy and commerce committee to work with f.d.a. in order to ensure they examine the facts before moving forward with negotiations on regulations that will significantly impact montana's number one industry. and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the chair will announce that the vote total on roll call vote number 421, the yeas were 226 and the noes were
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199. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? >> i move to strike the last word, please. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: i'd like to express my thanks to the chairman of the nest committee for their -- of the energy and commerce committee for their willingness to find the issue which serves the basis of this point of order, these regulations. we have cotton, peanuts and pecans in my district and we also have poultry. we have pork and we have cattle operations. the decisions of the f.d.a. have an enormous impact of the farmers in my district at many levels. many of the producers in my district are worried about some of the conclusions that f.d.a. seems to reach -- to have been
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reached regarding antibiotics. healthy animals means healthy food for consumers. there is scientific evidence that shows that current practices are not in the interest of public health. my farmers, of course, will change their practices. but there should and there must be clear evidence. not unnecessary regulation. certainly with the job situation today and the state of our economy, the f.d.a. must be very careful, very precise and very certain that any regulatory action must be supported by scientific evidence. so i very much welcome the involvement of the authorizing committee to help find a solution to this issue. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the chair will read. >> madam chairman.
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parliamentary inquiry. what section are we? the chair: it is section 740. the clerk is about ready to read. she will read it now. the clerk: page 77, line 18, section 740. none of the funds may be used to right -- >> i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey. mr. lance: it constitutes legislating on appropriations bill because it requires a new determination and therefore violates clause 2 of rule 21 of the rules of the house and should be struck from the bill. the chair: does any other member wish to be heard on the point of order? the gentleman from tennessee. then the chair will rule and the section therefore constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule 21. the point of order is sustained and the section is stricken from the bill.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee rise? >> i move to strike the last word. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. >> madam chairman, the american people are urging congress to review those rules and regulations which may stop innovation and job creation. i introduced house resolution 98, along with my colleagues from north carolina and tennessee to send a bipartisan, commonsense message to the food and drug administration to rely on scientific fact and its development of rules and regulations. mr. fincher: we are supporting this resolution now because the f.d.a. may be contemplating some regulations in the future that may ignore hard science when creating rules, regulating food, drugs, medical devices and cosmetics, among other products. this may harm industry and job
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creation in the future. the f.d.a. was set up to be a science-based agency, but american farmers, people i represent in tennessee's eighth congressional district, are crying out for commonsense regulations and urging congress to review those rules and regulations which may hamper innovation and american business. i know that f.d.a. is well-intentioned in their efforts. however, today's f.d.a. is not putting science first. instead, they are picking and choosing which scientific studies they want to use to support their original theory. the f.d.a. has been slowly expanding their efforts to regulate regardless if the science is there to back up their efforts. therefore, i also would hope that this body would be willing to investigate all efforts, guidelines and rules by the f.d.a. and review whether they follow the science to get their decisions. the f.d.a. is the leading agency but congress also needs to do its proper due diligence
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of oversight to ensure that american industry's prosper and the american population is safe. i yield back the remainder of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back and the clerk will read. the clerk: page 77 -- the chair: go ahead, madam clerk. the clerk: section 741. the secretary shall reduce the payment rate for unpaid costs as necessary to offset the costs incurred by the commodity credit corporation. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma rise? >> madam chairman, i make a point of order against section 741 which it fwins on page 78, line 8. and ends on page 78, line 15 in that it violates house rule 21, clause 2 by changing existing law and inserting legislative language in an appropriation bill and i ask for a ruling from the chair.
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the chair: does any other member wish to be heard on this? well, then the chair will rule. the chair finds that this statement includes language imparting direction, the section, therefore, constitutes language in violation of clause 2 of rule 21. the section is stricken from the bill. the clerk will read. the clerk: page 78, line 15, section 742. none of the funds may be used to enter into a contract or a cooperative agreement with any corporation that was convicted of a felony, criminal violation under any federal or state law within the preceding 24 months. section 743. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlelady from connecticut rise? ms. delauro: i rise in opposition because it puts the interests of brazilian farmers. it leaves the next section of this bill, section 743, subject
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to a point of order. as everyone knows, the women, infants and children's programs provides nutrition assistance grants to state. it serves nine million mothers and young children nationwide, including 58,000 in my state of connecticut. nearly half of the babies born in the united states every year participate in this program. it is a short-term intervention, but it can help to provide a lifetime of good nutrition and health behaviors. while in our subcommittee, this appropriations bill slashed w.i.c. funding by $650 million. that means as many as 300,000 women and children will be turned away and forced to go hungry. and the secretary of agriculture vilsack has warned our subcommittee that this number could be as high as 750,000.
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to alleviate this short fall, my amendment to restore $147 million to the w.i.c. program paid for with the $147 million currently provided to the brazilian cotton institute. it passed with a bipartisan vote during full committee consideration. but the rule for this bill ash temporarily took away the pay-for. and instead requires that $147 million be cut out from w.i.c. or other programs in this bill. already woefully underfunded. what are we doing here? we are giving the money back to brazilian farmers. the majority has decided that it's more important. where is our sense of justice to women and children in the united states? to be sure there are many egregious cuts in this appropriations bill, and not just to w.i.c., like commodity
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supplemental food program and emergency food assistance program, school lunches, food safety, the cftc, international food, all of these basic, commonsense solutions and think take a big hit so the majority can preserve tax breaks for the rich. to their credit, even republicans in our committee saw this $147 million handout as a bridge too far so they and democrats a like approved the transfer of these funds to w.i.c. until the republican leadership steps in and knee debated our vote. we cannot be taking food out of hungry people's at home to subsidize cotton production overseas. as mr. flake noted, it is quite ironic, we subsidize brazil and agriculture so we continue to excessively subsidize agriculture here.
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i urge my colleagues to abide by the vote of our subcommittee. stand up for women and children and reject this bill. this is not what we voted for and not what the american people. i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. the clerk: page 74, line 24. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma rise? mr. lucas: i make a point of order against section 743 which begins on page 78, line 24 and ends on page 79 line 2 in that it violates house rule 21, clause 2 by changing existing law and inserting legislative language in an appropriation bill and i ask for a ruling from the chair. the chair: anyone else wish to be heard? >> i wish to be heard. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: let me clarify what insisting on this point of order means. it means that the amendment that
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ms. delauro offered in committee, which was approved in the appropriations committee, is nullified, which means that brazilian cotton farmers get subsidies and poor, pregnant women and children do not get the money for w.i.c. now i have nothing against brazilian cotton farmers, but brazil's economy is doing pretty good right now. now, the rules committee, you know, could have protected the money for w.i.c. the rules committee waived points of order against a whole bunch of stuff except three provisions, so it wouldn't be unusual for the rules committee to protect this provision. many of us pleaded to do just that, to respect the work of the appropriations committee when it came to protecting w.i.c., when it came to protecting poor, pregnant women and children. and madam chair, my friends on the other side of the aisle say all the time that they are with
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us in trying to cut excessive subsidies and putting the focus back on the people here in the united states who need help. this would have been an opportunity. if not now, when are we going to do this? madam chair, i would hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would reconsider and not insist on their point of order. i think poor, pregnant women and children in this country who benefit from w.i.c. are more important right now than supporting brazilian cotton farmers. i yield back. mr. kingston: i move to strike the last word. my friend -- the chair: you may speak to the point of order but not strike the last word. the gentleman is recognized. mr. kingston: the gentleman from massachusetts says if not now, when and it is our intention to inrestore it in the proper place in the bill and we discussed that and intend to follow
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through with that. the chair: the chair finds that this section addresses funds in other acts. the section therefore constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule 21. the point of order is sustained and the section is stricken from the bill. the clerk: page 79 line 3, -- the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma rise? mr. lucas: i rise for a point of order against section 744 and ends on page 79 line 10 in that it violates house rule 21, clause 2 which inserts legislative language in an exropingses bill and i ask for a ruling. the chair: the chair will rule. the chair finds that this section addresses funds in other acts. it constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2, rule 21. the point of order is sustained and the section is stricken from
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the bill. the clerk: page 79, line 11, section 745, none of the funds may be used to enter into a contract with any corporation with any unpaid federal tax liability is not being paid pursuant to an greem. spending reduction account, section 746, the amount by which the applicable allocation of the budget authority made by the committee on appropriations -- the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from rise? mr. kingston: i move that the committee do now rise. the chair: those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion to adopt and the committee rises.
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the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings the committee of the whole house in the state of the union having had under consideration directs me to report that it has come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the committee reports that it committee has had under consideration h.r. 2112 and come to no resolution thereon. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable, the speaker, house of representatives, sir, due to my apointment to the house committee on transportation and infrastructure, i hereby resign my position with the house committee on small business. it has been an honor to serve as a member of the committee on small business and i have worked hard with my colleagues to find solutions to the problems that small businesses face in america.
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i look forward to representing the people of the third congressional district of tennessee as a member of the house committee on transportation and infrastructure. i appreciate the opportunity to have served on the house committee on small business and i look forward to working with you in the future. signed sincerely, chuck fleischmann, member of congress. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. without objection, the resignation is accepted. the chair declares the house
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>> i make a unanimous consent request, congressman keith ellison asked to have a statement submitted into the hearing and without objection, so ordered. does the ranking member have -- >> yes, mr. chairman. i would like to welcome our new member from new york, who is on the right side of the committee. but i would like to enter into the record letters regarding our hearing. and i would like to enter an article, age of sacred terror. >> so ordered. >> today we hold the second in a series of hearings in radicalization in the muslim
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american community secondly on the threat of islamic radicalization in u.s. prisons. i welcome our witnesses. they have firsthand insights into this proper problem and appreciate their willingness to share their experiences with our committee. the issue of islamic radicalization in u.s. prisons is not new. in fact, this is the third congressional hearing in this problem in recent years. it is a hearing which is necessary because the danger remains real and present, especially because of al qaeda's announced intention to intensify attacks within the united states. a number of cases since september 11 have involved terrorists who converted to islam or radicalized islam in american prisons and subsequently attempted to launch terror strikes here in the u.s. upon their release. they carried out attacks overseas. last year, senator john kerry,
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chairman of the senate foreign relations committee released a report that said quote three dozen u.s. citizens converted tos lamb have traveled to yemen possibly for al qaeda training. dozens of ex-cons who were radicalized went to yemen to join an al qaeda group whose terrorists attacked u.s. homeland since 2008 and germly acknowledged to be one of al qaeda's most dangerous affiliates. there is a case of a 27-year-old from minneapolis, who has been indicted in federal court for fighting in somalia. according to family members and court records, he was a gang member who had been convicted for a number of crimes. upon being release frd prison when he was radicalized he attended the islamic center in minneapolis and was on his way to fight in somalia.
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the obama administration realizes this is a serious threat and prisons are fertile ground for recruitment. the department of homeland security annoyanced the secretary janet mrs. napolitano: and other state and local are cooperating to develop a hit occasion strategy for terrorist use of prisons for radicalization and recruitment. the reality of the radicalization threat was demonstrated last month when michael fenton from illinois state prison pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. he was planning to assassinate aaron shock and destroy the federal court house in springfield, illinois. and he was -- another is scheduled to be sentenced for his leading role in the conspiracy to attack troop transports in new york and to
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attack a synagogue and jewish community center in new york city. they are not alone. today we'll hear about kevin james, a radicalized former member that formed a jihadi group and hatched a terror plot from behind bars at california's fulsome prison. spreading from the prison to a local mosque and resulting in a plot to a task a u.s. military recruiting center and a jewish temple. padilla, known as the dirty bomber plotter, on the inside, he made a fellow inmate who led him to a radical mosque. he moved to the middle east and joined al qaeda, who was sent back to the u.s. in 2002 to attack our homeland with a bomb made of radioactive material and ignite gas to apartment buildings to bring them down.
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last week, the british home secretary emphasized the growing threat of islamic radicalization and unveiled its counterstrategy to put recruitment behind bars. just as home grown al qaeda terrorist attacks in britain, including the 2005 subway attack in london, the 2006 liquid explosives plot to blow up american planes flying out of britain and 2007 car bomb attack on the airport where emulated several years later in the united states with the attempt to the new york subway bombings in september of 2009, fort hood murders in 2009 and the attempted times square bombings in 2010. we must assume the same with prisoner radicalization. the overwhelming majority of muslim americans are outstanding citizens but the first hearing we held was met by mindless hysteria led by radical groups
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and their allies and the liberal media. counting islamic radicalization should not be a partisan issue. i urge my democratic colleagues to raise above partisan talking points. i'm here to work with the obama administration. the president's deputy secretary adviser said quote, al qaeda is increasingly attempting to recruit and radicalize people to terrorism here in the united states. the threat is real and it is rising. al qaeda is trying to convince muslim americans to reject their country and their fellow americans. that was the president's deputy national security adviser. the department of homeland security is formulating a comprehensive plan to stop radicalization, terrorist radicalization and recruitment of america's prisoners. i ask the democratic members to acknowledge the reality and severity of these threats and work with us. we look forward to your
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assistance and again i thank the witnesses for being here today. i look forward to your testimony and i recognize the distinguished ranking member from mississippi, mr. thompson. >> thank you, very much, mr. chairman. i welcome my panel of witnesses today. as you know, the united states has the highest incarceration rate in the world, more than 2.3 million people are locked up in america. approximately one-third of these prisoners claim some form of religious affiliation. islam the fastest growing religion among prisoners. about 80% of those who join a religion while in prison turn to islam. multiple studies show that a typical inmate who converts to islam, is poor, black, upset about racism and not particularly interested in middle east politics. in preparation for this hearing, my staff spoke with the representatives from the bureau of prisons, state prison
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officials from across the country. i regret that none of them are here to testify today. the bureau of prison and state officials informed us that they routinely require religious staff, including imam, rabbis and priests to undergo rigorous vetting, including religious credentials, background checks and personal interviews. they told us that any religious book and recorded message used must be screened and their guards monitor the services. when we asked about radicalization by outside influences, they told us that prisoners do not have internet access and all nonlegal mail is opened, read and sometimes censored. it would seem that opportunities for radicalization are few. and the evidence bears that out. according to the congressional research service, of the 43
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violent attacks carried out by muslims since 9/11, there were only two clear cases of radicalized released prisoners plotting the terrorist act. judging from this evidence, i think it's safe to conclude that the risk of terrorism originating from muslim converts in u.s. prisons is small. limiting this committee's oversight of radicalization to one religious -- religion, ignore threats posed by violent extremists of all stripes. and there are other threats to be concerned about. according to the national gang intelligence center of a study on january, 2009, approximately 147,000 documented gang members are incarcerated in federal, state and local jails. an operational gangs within these prisons pose a squret
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threat not only within the prison walls, but also within our communities. the ability of leaders of these criminal enterprises to control and direct operations outside of prison should not be ignored. further, the violent right-wing ideology of many of these gangs must be discussed. let us not forget that james comburger was dragged to his death on a back road in texas by right-wing gang members who were radicalized in jail. clearly, the willingness to use violence undermine order and commit mayhem is not dependent on real louis -- religious belief. in may, the committee held a hearing assessing the threat of the nation's security following the death of osama bin laden. at that hearing, we learned about terrorists' aspirations to launch attacks in the u.s. earlier this month, an
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american-born spokesman released a video to commit violent acts against americans taking advantage of a gun show loophole. he said you can buy a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check at most local gun shows and he is correct. in march, the g.a.o. reported that almost 250 people on the terror watch list were cleared to purchase firearms last year alone. and that hearing, the expert testimony underscored that our greatest threat may be from lone wolves and solitary actors. the video has given these potential actors, encouragement, advice and a road map. as we consider threats to this nation's security, let's focus on eliminate nonsecurity gaps.
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we aren't in danger of people who are already locked up. we must look at the evidence. we are placed at risk by gangs who use prisons as a base for criminal operations. we are placed at risks by lope wolves exploiting the gun show loophole. i look forward to work with you on this legislation to close this known security gap. we can reduce the risk to our nation from the dangerous people roaming the streets in america. i yield back. >> i thank the ranking member for his statement and we will hear from the witnesses. i would ask each witness to try to keep their opening statement to five minutes and they will be followed by a series of questions from the members of the panel. our first witness is patrick dunleavy, retired inspector from the department of criminal inspections.
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he is the author of a book "fertile soil of jihad." i would add that he is long and distinguished record prior to his activities in countering terrorism and doing an outstanding job in the new york state criminal justice system. with that, i recognize you for five minutes. >> chairman, king, ranking member thompson, distinguished members of the committee, it is a privilege to appear before you to discuss the threat of radicalization in u.s. prisons. the prison population is vulnerable to radicalization by the same agents responsible for radicalizing americans outside the prison walls. despite appearances, prison walls are pourous. they access those from the ins and reach from the inside out.
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groups that subscribe to radical ideology have made sustained targets. in 1968, a group was founded. one of its goals was to establish a mosque in every prison that would adhere to its ideology exclusively. two of its first converts in the new york state prison system, one of which is a spiritual leader of the movement despite a life sentence for two officers. one in michigan was led by abdallah who died in a shootout with f.b.i. agents seeking to arrest him. he spent time in prison prior to his conversion. as this ideology moves through the correctional system through the 1970's and 1980's and gained converts. the ideology was a dominant force.
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then in the late 1980's and 1990's, there was influx of foreign-born some of whom committed violent acts. individuals who either killed, bombed or stolen money. they had international connections with terrorist organizations such as al qaeda, hezbollah and hamas. after they were arrested and incarcerated. they walked into the prison mosque and were hailed as heroes and were inspired by the muslim inmates and by the muslim chaplains and some of them given a position as administrative clerks. this gave them access to a phone that was not monitored by security personnel which allowed them to make calls throughout the united states and overseas. one of them, while serving his sentence in attica, conspired with other individuals on the outside to bomb the world trade
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center in 1993. the jihad had come to america and one of its act texts was an inmate. in 1999, several law enforcement agencies received information regarding radical islamic activity in the prison system detailing recruitment efforts within the prison. they learned of a jordanian-born inmate and said that his group was interested in recruiting inmates in the u.s. prisons. he stated that his group intended to get inmates trained in the middle east after their release from prison and then have them return to the u.s. to participate in jihad. not surprisingly, the jordanian-born inmate's prison job was a chaplain clerk. the exposure to extreme jid jihadi islam begins in prison but often after release. four inmates were arrested to bottom in new york.
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they did not know each other while incarcerated but met each other after their release while attending a local mosque. that mosque had been founded by humar. he gave an interview. he, at the time, had retired from the new york state state department of corrections where he was a director of ministerial services. he called the 9/11 hijackers heroes and said without justice, there will be warfare and can come to this country, too. he said the natural candidates to help press such an attack in his view are african americans who embrace this in prisons, prisons were a prime place to recruit terrorists. as a result of this, the department of justice launched an investigation into the hiring of islamic clearing. in its report among its recommendations, they said there was a need for a body that would
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certify islamic clergy prior to hiring. no organization has been appointed to fulfill that role, nor has there been any formal determination as to how if any process would take place or what the standards of vetting would be. the result of that inaction brings forth two cases. a new york city imam who was hired in 2007 was arrested in 2010 for attempting to smuggle dangerous contraband. in a hearing in march of this year, the imam asked for his job back. he was formerly known as paul pitts and spent 14 years in a new york state prison for murder. new york city corrections were aware of his background and said although a felony conviction would disqualify a person from becoming a correctional officer, that rule did not apply when hiring chaplains. the only civil service
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requirement was certification of an endorsement body and the city released relied on the authority. it is connected with the alliance of north america. the same organization certified another prison imam. in 2003, he was indicted by the u.s. attorney's office in new york for providing material support to a suspected sunni organization in iraq. the inmate's clerk at the time was a convicted islamic frirt. jihadi literature finds it its way into prison. anything can be gotten in prison including a p.d.a. or smartphone. i wouldn't be surprised to find an al qaeda magazine in any of the prisons. and i'll just my comments at
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that point. thank you for allowing me to speak. >> and i hope the ranking member now realizes i'm not the only one who has an accent like that. there are at least two of us. do you understand what he was saying? now we have a transplant to new york, next witness, seffin smith, who was raised in my district but had the good sense to move away. kevin currently serves as the department they district attorney for san bernandino, california and he prosecuted kevin james and his co-con spiritors who were convicted in one of the terror plots since 9/11. the highlight of his career was attending the university of notre dame. you are recognized for five minutes. >> chairman king, ranking member thompson and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. by way of background, i have
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worked in law enforcement as a local and federal prosecutor since 1996. from 2000 and 2007, i served as an assistant united states attorney with the united states department of justice working in the united states attorney's office for the central district of california nfment july of 2005, i became involved as the lead prosecutor in the investigation and prosecution of a group of individuals who were involved in a conspiracy to wage a war of terrorism against the united states government by murdering u.s. military personnel and jewish persons in southern california. these individuals were members of a group or j.i.s., which was created in the california prison system. i intend to discuss the j.i.s. case and the conspiracy which was engaged by its founder and leader, kevin james and his cell
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mate and two other cell members. let me begin by discussing kevin james and j.i.s. in approximately 1997, kevin james founded j.i.s. based on his preparation of islam while serving a prison sentence in the california department of prison system. he remained in prison throughout the conspiracy and the resulting investigation. james preached that it was the duty of j.i.s. members to target for violent attacks, any enemies of islam. james identified these infidels as the u.s. government and jewish and non-jewish supporters of israel. he recruited fellow inmates to join but sought to establish a cell or group of members to wage war or jihad against these per seffed infidels outside the
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prison walls. he created and disseminated throughout a prison system a document referred to as the j.i.s. protocol. in that, james stated that muslims must be allowed to govern themselves by shria and j.i. s must wage jihad. the prote coal described jihad as the only true anti-terrorist action and defensive battle against the aggression of theological impossible ters led by zionism and also wrote a document, which was a proposed press release to be disseminated following an attack by j.i.s. james wrote that omissions that were done to be leaving i am presentings, the document will be left behind and 187, section for murder, a videotape would be sent to all major news stations.
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washington, a convert to islam, met james in late 2004 after washington was transferred to fulsom, california. he recruited washington into j.i.s. and swore an oath to james. he was paroled in late 2004 and now had the ability to carry out a violent operation on behalf of j.i.s. outside of prison walls. james tapped washington with a document known as blueprint 2005. he required washington to recruit five special operation members, preferably felony three and train them in cowvert operations and acquire two pistols with silencers and find contacts to make explosives. armed with these instructions, he went to work. he wept to a mosque in
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california where he met patterson, a convert to islam and another. washington recruited them into j.i.s. and they swore an oath of loyalty to washington and to j.i.s. the operational cell now had three members and they began to select targets for their attacks. ultimately deciding on military recruitment centers in southern california and a jewish temple. they documented their selection of targets in a document known "modes of attack." to fund their jihad and to purchase an additional firearm, they engaged in a number of gas station robberies, a series of over 10 robberies in the southern california area. ultimately, during the investigation or during the conspiracy, pat ter son dropped his cell phone. local law enforcement were able to initiate an investigation based on that dropped cell
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phone. federal law enforcement, the f.b.i., u.s. attorney's office got involved and we were ultimately able to successfully indict james, washington, patterson on the charge of conspiracy to wage a war of terrorism against the united states government. each of these individuals pled guilty and received federal prison sentences, including 22 years for washington and 16 years for james. it is my opinion that the j.i.s. case is an excellent example of the ability of both federal and local law enforcement to work together to secure our homeland. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. smith. our next witness is michael downing, deputy chief and commanding officer for the los angeles police department counterterrorism and special operations bureau. he was appointed to the lapd in 1982 and may last year was
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elected as president of the leadership in counterterrorism alumni. one of your officers was killed in afghanistan in march of this year, a reserve officer who was serving in afghanistan. we look forward to your testimony and thank you for flying from the west coast to be with us today. >> chairman king, ranking member thompson and distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to discuss the los angeles police department's view and strategy of this most important fen no, ma'amon involving the islamic threat and radicalization in u.s. prisons. much has been written on this topic and just as we have seen a large surge in home-grown violent extremists targeting innocent civilians with violence or plotting against the united states, we have seen a surge in both converts and radicalization
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of those converts toward violent acts. fortunately, there still remains a phenomenon of low volume. however the radicalization of even a small fraction of this population holds high consequence for americans and innocent people around the world. we have the largest incarceration rate, the largest prison population of any country in the world and prisoners by their very nature are at risk and susceptible by extreme groups because of their violent tendencies and los angeles is known for its outreach to the muslim communities and strategy to overlay community policing on top of communities that are isolated or not zweggetted into the social integrated into the social society. in this context, we recognize
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that islam expresses itself differently in los angeles than it does in united kingdom or europe, even as it does in san diego, minnesota or new york. there is no one organization, institute or individual that speaks on behalf of the uma. the expression of islam in the prison system is a subject which brings great concern. it is generally known that the majority of prison converts assimilate back to what they were doing prior to going to prison. however, it is the exception cases and to that rule that have and will continue to strike fear in the hearts of america. it's of great concern that up to three dozen flynn american prison converts traveled to yemen to train with al qaeda. we talked about j.i.s., richard reid, all examples of prison converts, plotting to commit acts of violence against
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innocent people. there are several ongoing cases whose stories yet to be told. the common issue is converting to radical islam within prison. if islam expressed itself in the california prison system as it expresses itself in the los angeles region we would be talking about the strength and value that it brings to prisoners in terms of behavior and value-based living. this is not the case because the manner in which they are pokes exposed to islam carrying danger and exploittation. instead of providing a peaceful perspective of one of the great and peaceful religions of the world we are left with a hijacked as prislam. this has been allowed to continue through the three dynamic conventions of people, materials and associations.
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as a matter of practice, the american correctional chaplains recommends one chaplain per 500 inmates, but we are seeing four, five, six times that ratio. the qualifications are different. different standards. where some are allowed into a correctional institution, others refuse entry. the type of materials affected policies and practices designed to create understanding what they may utilize as far as materials. there are radical materials inside the prison system still. the koran, english version with the chapters entitled the call to jihad, holy fighting and lost cause is in the prison system. a spiritual philosopher of al qaeda wrote "the milestones
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along the road" is in the prison system. meetings are not properly monitored because of the ratios of chaplains and prison guards to these things. aligning people, purpose and strategy is a solution to mitigate this risk. in the policing world, the efforts to reduce crime, mitigate risks and teaching communities focus stake holder resources, high risk people, high risk places and high risk activity. this model can be translated into the prison system. it needs to be looked at from a whole of government, whole of community approach utilizing nongovernmental offices, vetted community volunteers and leadership organizations. . i would say in some cases they would be shocked and dismayed.
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and one of my greatest concerns is the issue of con never jent threats. we're againing -- beginning to see convergence in gadges, narcotics cartels, organized crime, terrorism and human trafficking. just as isolated and communities can become incubators of extremism, so too can prisons. if left unchecked, prisons can and do become incubators of radicalization leading to violent extremism. in 2005 after the london bombings, prior to that, after 30 years the british said we defeated the i.r.a. and they were ready to not fund terrorism, move on to other things and then the attack occurred and they realized they had this threat. americans at that time said, we're ok, we have good immigration policies, we don't have this threat. two years later we saw a huge ramp up in this threat. as we begin to uncover rocks we
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see more and more of the problem. we haven't uncovered the right types of rocks in the prison system. we have the fusion centers, we have t.l.o. infrastructure in the prison systems, we have suspicious activity and reporting system in the prison systems and today just in my seven-county area that the fusion center sits on, we are getting 15 to 20 suspicious activity reports in seven prisons a month that evolve into three to four open cases per year. and that's only seven out of 33 correctional institutions, correction alpha silts in the state of california. if we do have a problem, prisons are communities at risk. thank you. >> thank you very much. next witness, professor burton. is a professor of -- sociology and he worked in the same field at the university of new mexico for 13 years. he has published several books and papers and magazine articles
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which i read relating prison organization and violence and you're now recognized for your testimony. >> good morning. i thank the committee for its attention to this very important mat beer -- matter. the crux of my testimony is that prisons have not served as a major source of jihad radicalization. three sets of facts support this conclusion. first, u.s. prisons now confine 1.6 million people. each year 730,000 inmates are released. second, from 9/11 through the first half of 2011 178 muslim americans have committed acts of terrorism or were prosecuted for terrorism-related offenses. third, for 12 of these 178 cases , there is some evidence for radicalization behind bars.
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putting these three facts together, if prisons were a major cause of jihadist radicalization we would expect to see a lot of it, but we don't. why not? in my research i've identified seven facts that are inhibited prisoner radicalization. first, over the last 30 years u.s. prisons have been able to restore order and improve inmate safety. for example, prison riots which were once common in prison have all but disappeared. the homicide rate in prisons has fallen by 90%. a byproduct of this restoration of order is that the appeal of radicalization is reduced. second, correctional leadership has consciously and successfully
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fused the mission of observing signs of inmate radicalization into organizal practices. rather than waiting for the facilities to be penetrated by radicalizing groups, correctional leaders have fashioned, staffed and energized the effort to defeat radicalization. third, increasingly in recent years correctional personnel coordinate and share information with external law enforcement. fourth, inmates cannot communicate freely to potentially radicalizing groups on the outside. the internet is unavailable. mail is inspected and censored. fifth, in large body of evidence has shown that terrorists tend to come from better educated and vantaged backgrounds. u.s. prisoners tend to have low
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education and come from poor communities. the profiles of criminals and terrorists are different. a surprising finding that has come out of my research is that there exists a modest level of patriotism among inmates. it is the case that inmates are hyperconcerned with their own self-interest. still, inmates express some level of loyalty to the country. this makes prison a hostile environment for a jihad radicalization. finally, in recent years many correctional agencies have improved their screening and supervision of clergy and religious volunteers. if prisons were a major cause of terrorism we would see a large
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proportion of jihad terrorists linked to prison, that's not the case. still, a small number of prisoners have been radicalized behind bars and attempted terrorist activities. but as long as law enforcement continues to be alert and works collaboratively with each other, the threat of terrorist activity in and from prisons will continue to be diminished. >> thank you very much. for your testimony. mr. dunleavy. new your testimony talk about the -- what appears to be the lack of proper vetting for chaplains in state prisons. i know our staff has visited the maximum security prisons and we have been impressed by steps
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taken at the federal level. but 97% of prisoners are in state and local prisons and you gave the example of the imam chaplain, your prisoner was arrested and convicted last year for smuggling racer blades into rieker's island. you can certify as a chaplain by the islamic leadership council which is located outside of your district and know leaders are in my office but the fact is, an organization such as that certifying a chaplain who is a convicted murderer and yet he was certified to be a chaplain in the state prison system. is that situation improved at all? >> again, i don't think so. one of the recommendations after that investigation in 2004 was that to be a certified body that would do the vetting. >> but he was still serving in
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2007. >> that's correct. and so cities and states were relying on their own standards, in some cases no standards. in some cases there was no communication between a corrections department and a police department with respect to organizations or individuals that were then hired. >> professor useem seemed to say he did not believe the threat is as significant from the prisons and yet chief downey, you say the subject is great concern, it's an important phenomenon, the evolving threat of muslim radicalization in prisons and prisons are in fact communities at risk. as a person who is on the ground, who has to deal with this issue every day, do you consider it to be a serious issue? >> a very serious issue that i don't think we yet know the scope of the problem because we haven't had the collection mechanisms in place to really understand the depth of the problem yet. but in the l.a. region, in seven
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counties, with seven correction alpha silts, we get 15 to 20 reports a month, they may not all be terrorism reports but they do develop into open cases which is of great concern because we're looking for it now. we've educated the prison guards and the institutions on what to look for and how to report it. >> i'm not asking to you divulge new facts in ongoing investigations but you say there are several ongoing cases whose story is yet to be told. however the common denominator in these cases is convergence to a radical form of islam while in prison. are you concerned about ongoing cases? relating to islamic terrorism? >> indeed we are. we have ongoing cases. they involve convert prison radicals that are out in the community now and that story will be told when the case is prosecuted. >> mr. smith, in the kevin james case, there seems to be a perfect confluence of a radical form of religion, organized gang
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members and almost an assembly line of radicalization in the prison, going in post prisonen to a mosque to recruit and radicalize more and attempting to carry out terrorist plots. you can say what made it unique about a religious radical as opposed to a gang member, a skin head or a north korea nazi? >> i think the analysis needs to be a comparison, for example, between an individual who is committed to jihad that is on the outside of prison and one that has been in the prison system. in the state of california you can't be in the prison system unless you've committed a felony. so those individuals who are committed to jihad in prison have already stepped outside the norms of societal behavior. they've already crossed that line. often with is violent backgrounds, often with experience with weapons. so you have an individual who is committed to jihad and already
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has stepped out and has acted outside what we consider the norms of society in conducting criminal behavior. so the jihadist mentality is basically overlaid on an individual who knows how to handle weapons, who now nows how to access weapons, who knows how to communicate, even in the prison system and outside the prison system. so when that individual steps out of the prison as happened to lamar washington who paroled after being radicalized and being a member -- becoming a member of j.i.f., you're dealing with a very, very dangerous situation because this is an individual who already has operated on the criminal side of the law and is very committed to carrying out violent acts. and washington's a perfect example because within six months' time he had recruited two additional cell members. they had acquired weapon, they were committing armed gas station robberies to fund their jihad. and selecting targets.
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within a six-month period of time essentially which is very, very fast and shows the convergence of criminal sophistication as well as commitment to jihad. >> thank you. ranking member is recognized. >> thank you very much. mr. dunleavy and mr. downy, you both have talked about issues around prisons and the fact that so much of what's happening is because of lack of resources to do certain things. are you saying that in the state of new york the reason chaplains are not vetted like in the prison system, in the federal system, is a matter of resources? >> no. i don't believe that's the case. >> why aren't chaplains vetted? >> that's a good question.
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and i think that question has been asked since the i.g.'s report in 2004. what are the standards, who will establish the standards, is there an islamic organization, be it the islamic -- >> not justice lambic, chaplains period. my point here is that if you knew in 2004 that a problem existed where chaplains can be certified without the bureau of prisons in new york having some standards, here we are eight years later and we still don't. so do you know why the state of new york doesn't have any standards for chaplains? >> i have to go back to the fact that the i.g.'s report did not say all chaplains. it said islamic chaplains. >> is there a reason why islamic chaplains are not vetted? >> i think because of the fact that the individual had made the
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comments. he was not just an imam. >> i'm just trying to get to a point that is there a reason why new york doesn't vet islamic chaplains? just do you know why? >> i think new york does, new york state department of corrections does. but i think the need for standardization between new york state, new york city, county, you also have federal prisons within new york state, you need national standards for the vetting, not -- >> so, weakness or whatever the issue is is something those units of government have created by not coordinating the standards. >> agreeing on the standards, that's correct. >> thank you. we all agree that there are bad a people in prison. there was a comment about someone geth getting out of
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prison, robbing, trying to promote a terrorist cause. we understand that. but there's a lot of people who get out of prison and who do bad things. for a lot of reasons. so i think if we look at it from that perspective, we all agree, whatever it is that's causing people to do bad, we need to fix it. and if there's a terrorist nexus to it and we can close the loophole, we should. but if we look so narrowly at just that we have a real challenge. mr. downing, in your work in los angeles area, those counties you work, who are the most dangerous people in prison? >> i would say gang members certainly are dangerous. >> gang members. describe the gang members to the committee. >> well, in los angeles -- los
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angeles is probably the gang capital of the united states with maybe 60,000 gang members in the city of los angeles, county of los angeles rather. in 400 different gangs. they're violent, they're territorial, they have a culture that's developed that is exclusive and they're vulnerable and they're recruiters. >> from your experience, those really bad people are -- do those gangs continue to operate when they go to prisons? >> very much so. >> so basically we have a lot of gang activity that's an ongoing enterprise in a lot of prisons primarily the state prisons, am i correct? >> that's correct. >> so the issue is if we're looking at radicalization, are you saying that those radicals,
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bad people, are gangs members primarily in the percentages versus what we're looking at here today? >> the structure is interesting. when you go into a prison you're in the crypt side, the blood side, the liama side or this evolving muslim side which is getting more attention but not enough and many of the gang members are moving over to that side. as you know, kevin james is a rolling 30. he recruited a rolling 60 who on the outside were vicious enemies but on the inside became aligned with an ideology. >> i appreciate your indulgence. and we understand the evolving threat but the threat as of this day in terms of who the most dangerous people that we have incarcerated are many of those
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individuals who are affiliated with gangs, based on what you said. aryan brotherhood, aryan nation, those individuals, who basically operate their activity out of the prisons. am i correct? >> yes, you are. >> thank you. >> i recognize the gentleman from california and the former attorney general of california who knows this issue all too closely, mr. lungren, for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i must say the political correctness in this room is astounding. as someone whose district includes the new fullsome prison where the plot was hatched to commit the crimes in southern california and as someone who represented the areas at one time where those crimes were carried out, to ignore what that is to me astounding. absolutely astounding. let me ask the experts here that
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we have on gangs and terror, how many of the street gangs in either new york or california have an ideology which is dedicated to the destruction of the united states? mr. dunleavy. >> none. >> mr. smith. >> none think a know of. >> mr. downing. >> none that i know of. >> as serious as the gang problem is and i've spent most of my life working on that problem, have you come across leaders in the various gangs who have indicated that their specific purpose is to undermine the institutions of america and in any way society them sem -- themselves with in -- associate themselves with any transnational terrorist organizations? >> no, but i will say that both represent a type of insurgency. one is to overthrow the united states and kill innocent people. the other is to survive in the
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shadows of society. >> absolutely. mr. smith. >> yes, i think the disthangse needs to be made between a radicalized jihadist and a gang member serving a prison time, even a prison gang member like a mexican mafia gang member, a gang member, a criminal, is interested in enriching themselves personally with their criminal activity. it's a selfish motivation and so that is their aim and their general goal. when you contrast that with vits -- individuals like lamar washington from the j.i.s. case, they're not interested in engaging in criminal activity as anything other than a means to carry out violent jihad, to carry out their war of terrorism against the united states. and in that lies the difference and the danger. >> isn't the aim of a terrorist attack to produce the greatest amount of terror in a community, that is to try and do the greatest amount of destruction
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both physical and psychological as opposed to gaining economic benefit? >> that's absolutely correct. one of the certainly tenants or accepted tenants of terrorism is this need to create and exploit fear in the population and that is what a jihadist, that is what a terrorist seeks to do. by targeting innocent people as we had targeted in the j.i.s. case. >> mr. dun levy, you've been asked some questions about why we don't properly vet certain chaplains. isn't that the crux of the problem? i mean, we have a religion which is an accepted noble religion, one of the great religions of the world, that is being subjected to a radicalization by a certain percentage of advocates and there's no
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standard to make the judgment with respect to someone who is teaching or preaching in a prison that may be of a radical version versus a nonradical version, isn't that the crux of the problem and how do we as a government try and somehow sift through that? >> well, i think in getting back to the question where a question was asked, who is the most dangerous inmate in the prison, my answer is the inmate who you know little or nothing about. when you have an inmate who is of middle eastle eastern descent, who may have been someone, there was an ignorance, a lack of knowledge between correction administrators as to the actual religion of islam. what's the difference between a sunni, a sufi, a shi'a? so there was a need for education, there was a need to learn. if you don't know, you can't vet, you can't establish
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standards and that was the weakness that we've not come any further since that 2004 report. >> about five years ago the head of the prison system in california came to me and asked to have a meeting with the chairman at that time to talk of his concern about the radicalization of muslim prisoners in the california prison system. subsequent to that we had a hearing, actually it was a year later when the democrats had resumed the majority and congresswoman jane harman conducted a subcommittee hearing in california for the purpose of looking at the kevin james case. i might just note for the record there was no objection on the majority side and no suggestion that we were somehow involved in an improper pursuit of the truth there or that we were somehow wrongly confining ourselves to that particular case and not dealing with all the other cases in the united states.
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i salute congresswoman harman for her efforts on that. i just wish we would see reflected now the same concern and bipartisan support. i thank the chairman. >> the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee, for five minutes. >> i thank the chairman and i do thank the ranking member for both astute presentations as they gave their opening statements. i'd like to acknowledge a colleague, congressman keith ellison, who is here, whose statement was initially submitted into the record. and very briefly let me define what my political correctness is and it happens to be this document, the constitution. i won't read it because i know everyone probably knows it by heart. but john marshall said a constitution intended to endure for ages to come and cons consequently to be adapted for the various crisis of human
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affairs. he was one of the number of individuals who tried to interrupt why we needed this -- interpret why we needed this document because without having a stated vision of what america would become, he knew that we would be facing a number of crises and we face them today. and i want to thank the witnesses, each of them, for their service and i think their critical analysis that is extremely important. but my angst with this process is that the topic lends itself, -- itself to a myriad of analysis. i want to cite two individuals we have in a previous hearing, i think the parent of carlos bledsoe, he had a series of altercations with the law enforcement, drug traffic offenses, nothing that we would applaud. but he had not been a hard beed
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criminal or been in prison for a number of years but did he wind up in yemen, he had an overstay and wound up in the yemen jail and because became radicalized. or maybe we should talk about vernon j. merl who the chairman has listed for us, thank him for that, and he writes a letter and he says, prisons are fertile recruiting grounds for radical muslims and they're introduced to the subject by someone. but he was arrested for bombing an abortion clinic as a christian militant. so my point here today, information is welcome, condemn nation is not. -- condemnation is not. are you family with the christian militants? >> yes, i am. >> can one say that they might possibly want to undermine this country because right now constitutionally the right for women to choose is a
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constitutional right, people disagree with it, but here's an individual attempting to undermine the protections that are given to women. would you suggest that that might be compared to trying to undermine this country? that's a possibility, is it not? >> i think that anyone that goes about killing in the name of god is an ideologue. when i talk about daraa salaam, there are two worlds in the ideology of that. there is daraa salaam which is the world of islam and there's another which is the world of the infidel and there is no middle ground. there is no -- >> i understand that. what i'm saying is as we look to be informational, we should include an analysis of how christian militants or others might bring down the country. we have to look broadly, do we not? >> i don't know that christian militants have foreign country backing or foreign country financing. >> i don't think that's the
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issue. the issue is whether or not their intent is to undermine the laws of this nation. and i think it is clear that that is the case. so your distinction is not answering the question. let me go to mr. useem very quickly because i think he makes some very valid points. you indicate that we're more astute and i do want to ask this question about the nation of islam. do you know what the nation of islam is? >> yes, i do. >> do you view them as promoting in the current 21st century the undermining of this nation? >> no, i don't. >> you can just tell us what the nation of islam is? >> your microphone. >> nation of islam is a religious group that practices the muslim religion. >> and they recruit predominantly in the black community? >> that's correct. >> and now -- predominantly but not entirely. >> are there underpinnings to your knowledge about improving lives or trying to straighten out -- is that your assessment or do you know that? >> that's correct. >> all right. i don't want to put words in your mouth but that is the basic
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underpinnings as whether or not you agree or disagree. >> can i add a point here. very quickly, prisons in -- >> can i ask this question then. you can defend your position about the oversight, intensity of oversight in prisons today that would throw up a massive radicalization going on in our prisons? >> can i defend -- >> yes, you can defend your proposition? would you defend it now? >> that there's not a -- >> that there is an extensive oversight in prisons today, they're less violent, if you will, riots because of -- >> the gentlewoman's time has expired. you can ask a question if you allow him to answer the question. >> prisonness are much safer now, much more orderly, much more secure. the rates of violence are down. you walk into maximum security prison now, it's orderly, it's
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safe, not all but most. so that that's the case. that has promoted the ability of corrections officials to maintain and look closely at radicalization problem. >> the gentlewoman's time has expired. >> i was going to add on -- >> can i speak to the j.i.s. case? >> the time of the gentlelady has expired. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the time. and thank you for the witnesses today for coming in what i believe is discussing a very important issue of what's happening here in the united states prisons. what i'd like to first start off with is, mr. downing, if you could tell me more about the radicalization process within the prisons themselves. you can kind of comment on that and how someone becomes radicalized? >> inside the prison systems, it's not too far from how a gang goes through -- a gang member goes through the process to become a gang member. where there's an orientation, there's an identification,
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there's an indoctrineation process and there's the type of radicalization that goes through. but it's the people, it's the charismatic leaders, it's the materials, it's the places of association that contribute to that. and we have evidence where we've seen a little bit of convergence with the gangs. we have a higher african-american prison population that is being converted and we've seen this come out onto the streets in terms of convert mosques coming up in the different communities as well. >> thank you for that. mr. dunleavy, could you comment on that as well? >> the process of radicalization , particularly islamic radicalization,ed in the prison system is very, very selected. it's a filtering process. it does not occur with 500 inmates in the yard of at can
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yelling jihad. the facilitators and the recruits that are are in the system have the unique ability of profiling. they are able to spot an individual who walked into a cell block for the very first time and they can tell what that person, if he has -- first of all, they know he has a propensity for violence because he has already committed one. they know he's somewhat by himself so he wants a sense of purpose to his life. they do all this profiling within the first day that they meet him. and then they begin to disciple, to convert him, then to move him when he's going to be released to an islamic mosque within -- that they've recommended to him and from there he continues to move into an islamic area in virginia or florida and from there to filter him to overseas travel for continued studies. so it is a process that starts often in the county jail, moves through the state system and through the parole.
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>> could you explain in doing some research, we found that due to the instistence of the justice department, attorney general holder, the bureau of prisons is forced to play the nation of islam videos as sermons or chapel services for muslim prisoners. is that correct or incorrect? >> i'm not aware of that. >> can anybody comment on that? >> no. >> ok. the next thing, about shari'a law. radical islam, would you agree or disagree, go across the panel here, that radical islam would place shari'a law as the primary law for their religion, would you agree or disagree to that? >> absolutely. >> yes, it's my understanding that's the central tenant to their agenda. >> yes. and that's what some of the material is that is in the prison system. al-awlaki videos and struck turs are about worldwide muslim domination and shari'a law.
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>> that was in the kevin james case. he stated that explicitly. >> in shari'a law, could you also comment, does shari'a law supersede the constitution of the united states? >> in the committed islamic jihadist, absolutely. there's only one document. >> i agree. the reality is that for a committed jihadist, shari'a law is god's law and that's the only law that they have to follow. everything else is manmade law and that's not something that they feel has any authority over them and their actions. >> i would agree. however i would just offer this, that in our outreach and engagement with muslim communities, with he recognize and the muslim communities recognize that the law of the land is the constitution. and that there may be shari'a principles in their community that they look at similar to jewish laws, but the law of the land, the rule of law is the
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constitution of the united states. >> that's correct. i would sa add that the muslim community in the united states is relatively prosperous, middle class and well educated but they do -- and do accept the constitution as the law of the land. >> so specifically radical islam would -- you would agree then would -- shari'a law would supersede the constitution of the united states in radical islam. what that be a correct statement? i have four seconds. >> that's the distidges that needs to be made. what i'm talking about is from a radical jihaddest mentality, not mainstream muslims. >> thank you very much. >> i think you'd have to put violent radical islam. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from michigan, mr. clarke, is recognized for five minutes. i'm sorry, i didn't see that henry. my good friend, mr. kay yarks is recognized -- cuellar is recognized. >> thank you very much, mr.
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chairman. mr. thompson. let me just look at some of the conditions. when i was in the state of texas i used to chair the budget for the prison systems. texas has a pretty good sized prison system. i've gone through the prison system, i've spent a lot of time there trying to see what conditions there are and i think whether it's in texas or anywhere else, you have certain things that come into play. the conditions, recidivism rates that we look at, and i think all of you are very familiar with it. when you go in there, you know, we're talking about not only the prisons at a state level but you look at the federal level and i know you're at the federal level, we're looking at this particular issue, but when you look at the majority of the prisoners that we have, there are in the state prisons, is that correct? compared to federal? so how do we address the issues that you all want to bring in or the issues of criminal gangs,
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the mexican mafias, whatever it might be, how do we address the issue when is most of the prisoners are at prisons where we have to deal with budget cuts and have to deal with issues like that? how do we address this issue and not forget about the criminal gangs and especially most of them are going to stay here, not going to go abroad, they're going to stay here, they have to come back and get part of our society, how do we address this issue without, you know, i know this is an issue that is important to some folks, but i'm looking at the big picture, how do we address this with all the conditions we're facing right now? whoever wants to take it. >> i think the first thing you have to do is set a national standard. i mean, all prisons, as you said, have the same circumstances. but i think we have the resources in place, you have agencies, you have law enforcement agencies, you have correctional agencies, you have
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post parole and probation agencies that need to work together, but there has to be some sort of standardization. >> let me just -- i believe five years ago the senate homeland security held a similar hearing of prisoner radicalization. it was noted there was consistently, no consistently applied standards or procedures in state prisons that determine, for example, in this case what religious reading materials is appropriate for prisoners, have we seen any improvements in the last five years since that senate hearing? >> i don't think you have on the state level. you haven't found any is it is it -- standardization. each state is kind of marching to their own step. >> may i speak to that? >> yes. >> i think there have been significant improvements including in the state of texas. texas prisons now are much safer, much more secure. what hasn't been done is a documentation of these changes.
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50 state correctional agencies, fewer prisons and there is no work that i know of that compares or documents the standards that are used and that would be very helpful that if that were done. >> i don't think it's as potentially complicated as it might seem. the particular groups that we're talking about, this particular radicalized inmate represent a very small proportion. >> let me hold you. that's exactly my point. i can understand this might be important to the chairman and i respect his opinion, but that's a small portion, what about the larger amount of population, prison population that we have, i believe the united states still imprisons -- puts more people in prison than any other country. what about that larger picture? i know this is important. but what about the rest? >> well, i just wanted to say, it's a small portion with a much
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greater exponential danger -- danger to the community. ok? that's the point. the reality is that there are procedures in place in the state institution, they have institutional investigators to be able to look at all of these different crypts, blood, mexican mafia and the like. so it's not as if they don't have the institutional wherewithal to investigate these groups, this is just another group. so it's not as if we have to reinvent the wheel to be able to take a look at, evaluate and assess the danger presented by these radical prisoners. >> so your point then, because i have 30 second -- 30 seconds, plus an additional 30 seconds, the point is it's one group, many other groups we still have to look at. anybody that proposes -- poses a threat to our society, to make sure our streets are safe, correct? >> correct. as i said, it's my opinion, professional opinion, that this particular group of radicalized inmates presents a greater danger to innocent individuals and civilians out on the
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outside. >> right. thank you so much. i got just a few seconds, marriage -- mr. chairman. i can just -- >> i promised you an extra 30 seconds. >> may i introduce these into the record? >> could i yield to thely aly -- lady, just to introduce, no speeches. >> that can't be restrained. >> mr. chairman, i'd like to ask unanimous consent to submit into the record on the f.b.i., law enforcement bulletin, regarding two prison radicalization and show you that i'm balanced, an a.b.l. statement on texas-based white spremmist gangs growing and dangerous, a.d.l. bigotry behind bars and also gangs with cartel ties, aryan brotherhood, etc. black family and mexican mafia to show the balance and the need for an expansive review. i ask unanimous consent to have this submitted into the record. >> without objection, so ordered.
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i would just remind the members of the minority, the four years they controlled this, they could have held any hearings. i never heard any mention of any of these groups at these hearings until we heard our first hearing on muslim radicalization. i wish you'd been as attentive during the previous four years. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you for being here. and excuse my back and forth, because of the angle here. mr. useem, am i pronouncing that correctly? i have a couple of questions because of -- i applaud you and your study. i know how difficult it is to go into prisons and question people . i'm a former district attorney, i'm a former u.s. attorney, i've been in state prince, i've been in federal prison investigating cases interviewing people so i know how that operation works but have you utilized any studies involving conversion of nonmuslim gang members to jihadists? >> no, i don't know of any such
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studies. >> do you discern the difference between the mission of gang members and jihadists which is most dangerous? which one is most dangerous to the overall security of the united states? >> jihadists are mott most dangerous. the point was made earlier that gangs are out for themselves, they're out to promote their self-interest. jihadists are out to damage the country. and in some ways that explains why jihadist radicalization in prison is very difficult because they tend to come from individuals who are mainly guided by their self-interest. >> and just for the record, i do refer to gang members as being, in quotes, you know, terrorists to a certain extent as well. i don't mitigate their role in what they have tried to do. would you agree with me that for the most part inmates are not overly truthful when being interviewed and have a tendency to a degree to tell the interviewer what he wants to
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hear? because you did state here on your comment, i'm referring to page three, full paragraph two, that you were talking to one islamic inmate, for example, told there was no way you're going to have a rad ral california group in this prison for more than five minutes without corrections knowing it. while al qaeda has proclaimed that they seek to recruit. these people are going to tell you to a certain degree what you want to hear and certainly you're going to have to weigh that with a pound of salt. >> that is absolutely correct and our study was more than talking to inmates and it is a case that they may have dissembled and not told us the truth but we talked to not only inmates but security people and what was most striking to us was the consistency of responses. >> i just recently have visited
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two federal prisons that i have visited before, but concern among the officers who had private conversations with -- outside the discussion with administrative individuals, the conversion, the conversion of individuals who were not muslim, the conversion of gang members, the conversion of younger, not so well educated inmates into jihadists. >> mm-hm. >> now, do you actually believe that a terrorist will share with you his inner person hierarchy, mission and the execution of their recruitment/mission? >> no. i don't believe a terrorist would tell us that. >> and again, not to mitigate or pick apart your research because
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i know how difficult it is there , i want to go to mr. smith. we have somewhat of a parallel background. was the number one issue as a former u.s. attorney that you're faced with in the criminal justice system? >> as an assistant of the united states attorney, counterterrorism was our number one priority. certainly. and that spent the majority of my time, although i worked on other matters, certainly, as an assistant of the united states attorney, working on counterterrorism and national security. >> and, mr. dunleavy, and mr. downing, you each have 18 seconds, would you like to respond to that? >> i think the recognition that radicalization, as long as radicalization occurs in prison is necessary. first we have to acknowledge that something exists. to be able to effectively deal
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with it. >> and mr. downing, please. >> the two issues, one is targeting innocent civilians with violence and waging war on our country and the other is living in the shadows of society and conducting criminal enterprise for profit. >> gentlemen, thank you, i yield my time. >> i thank the gentleman and now i recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. clarke, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. just from the onset, i want to talk from personal experience, i grew up in the city of detroit, in the inner city, born and raised there. and that area has a reputation of being a tough place. maybe it was no tougher than growing up in new york or brooklyn or something like that. but there is one issue, that
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many, many young men and in my opinion too many young black boys end up going to prison. they would have been better off if they had gotten treatment for their mental illness, for drug addiction. they have a chance to learn how to read they wouldn't have ended up in prison. so we do have a problem, i believe, with our sentencing policy. but needless to say, in my closest childhood friend spent years, spent decades in the penitentiary. once these young kids go to prison, they become hardened criminals by virtue of their time in prison. so, the focus of this hearing in the sense that we're looking at what's wrong with the prison culture and how can we change it, how can we improve it, i
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think it's the right focus, but to put it in the context of islam, i think that distracts us. let me get right to the point. i have someone who served time in prison, why did they convert to islam and why do other young men convert to islam? essentially it's two reasons. number one, for protection. to protect myself from other inmates and the prison staff. and number two, because these young men were tired of their past, they wanted a to break away from their criminal past and to become a new man. so they became muslim. my question is this, how can we change the culture in prison so that for those convicted felons who will be released, if they're rehabilitated, we see a lot of
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them going back into prison or committing crimes on the street, because that's a waste of money, the taxpayers can't afford it. and not only is it a waste of money, it's a waste of lives. i've seen it happen. we talk about political correctness. you know what pisses me off? i'm a damn member of congress here and my friends have rotted in prison and those that have gotten out, they've never been the same again. some of them did commit crimes and they should have been punished for it. but others were in the wrong place at the wrong time. they wouldn't snitch on their friends. and they've never been the same again. i know this firsthand. we have a problem in this prison system, we've got to change it. we can't waste our money and we're housing these people, making them worse off, having them come out, commit crimes and then go back to jail, go back to prison.
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it costs the taxpayers billions of clars. look, political correctness aside, i'm a democrat, some of you who are tea party members, this is the waste we've got to stop. we're spending too much money incarcerating young men, young black men whose lives could be saved. it's not about islam, it's about the sentencing policy. it's about this prison system. we've got to change that. so i'm not really dissing where the chairman's coming from with this committee hearing, this is the right focus. what's going on inside our prisons is wrong, we've got to change it. we've got to stop this prison industrial complex. we're wasting too much of our taxpayers' money. tea party members, we need your support here. we've got to stop the waste. the waste of money and the waste of lives. these young men are going to islam, they're trying to protect themselves, they want to change themselves, are there some bad
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folks, yes, there are. like in every other faith and every other organization. i know i'm making a speech, but in that is the question. let's improve this prison's culture so that these young men are rehabilitated, if they're going to be released, if we're going to sentence them for life and punish them, that's a separate issue. >> the gentleman's time has expired. each witness will be allowed to answer. >> i'd just like to speak to that. having been a kid who grew up in brooklyn and it's a hard neighborhood to grow up in and if you would have talked to my friends when i was 16 years old and told them that i would be with the new york state department of corrections for 26 years, they would have had no doubt. they would have thought i would be on the other side. so i know what you're talking about, growing up in a bad neighborhood and going into prison and coming out and in need for rehabilitation. this is different.
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our adversaries, the committed jihadists, know the pools that they have in the prison environment. they are able to profile, they are able to select for that same individual that you're talking about, that wants to be rehabilitated, that wants to change, that want a purpose to his life and they select him and they convert him, they indock trin ate him and they send him over. >> the time of the the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from alabama is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate your willingness to have this issue today to focus on these issues that are such great national importance. my question is for either mr. downing or mr. dunleavy, i apologize for speaking to the side, but that's the way my table is set up. me being a freshman with the least seniority. after chairman king announced the subject of this hearing, he received the following letter from the state prisoner who
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converted to islam while serving a sentence for sexual assault of a minor. who now claims to serve as an imam to his fellow prisoners. committee staff confirmed the authenticity of the prisoner and his letter and referred to the f.b.i. it reads, and by the way, i had to miss a little bit so, if i cover things that have already been covered by others, please let me know. quote, i am in jail for eight more months and then i will be free. i am a muslim and i feel because of america's war on islam i am the enemy of the united states. quote, the profit said, all muslims are one brother and owe a duty to one another. the holy koran says fight those who fight you, so by virtue of my faith, the united states is my enemy and i feel commanded to fight for my muslim brothers and sisters. and the next, what do americans expect? major nadal hue san worked on a base and saw every day muslims being killed. what did you expect? i think he is a hero and i am
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sorry he ran out of bullets. and then further, i have heard kill americans, jews, christians, more in prison than i ever did in chechnya. and then finally, i will die for allah in your judgment, does this letter represent the sentiments of our radicalized prisoners in america's corrections system? >> in terms of violent radicalism, it does. i don't believe we're talking about islam here, we're talking about a hijacked radicalized cut and peast form that they call -- paste form that they call prislam. that's the difference. if it was islam he wouldn't have written that letter. i just question his credibility in terms of what he knows about islam, who are his teachers, how did he get accredited, where did he get his training? that's part of the problem we're talking about. some of the prison immates become spiritual advisors in very short-term and that's part of the problem. it is not islam.
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>> it's interesting that in the letter he mentions that he's an imam. how does an inmate become an i man in the -- imam in the prison system? we asked some service chaplains. if you get to this ideology this radical ideology, it states that the imam is selected by the congregation and inmates will elect their own imam to supersede the authority of the civil service chaplain. >> all right. next, please comment on the propensity of al qaeda prisoners and federal civilian custody such as the 1998 east africa embassy bombers to attack united states district judges such as lend sand and federal correction officers such as lewis peppy, as our judicial system and law enforcement under threat? >> i think it's quite apparent that that is definitely one of the threats that are posed by these violent cradcal jihadists.
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i mean, the reality is that whether they're behind bars or on the street, they don't turn off the belief system. the government of the united states is a target for violent radical jihadists so the representatives of that government, whether it's in the courtroom, as the united states district judge and in correction alpha silts, whether it's a state or federal correctional facility or staff, indeed they're at risk because they represent the government which is the enemy, if will you, of these radical violent jihadists. >> and finally a question for each of you on the basis of your extensive professional experience with the subject, what would you encourage the congress to do about the problem of prison radicalization? >> well, first i would try to meet the recommended ratio of chaplains to inmates. one in 500. i create consistent policies and
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procedures for the materials that are going into these prisons, monitor those and audit those. and i'd make sure that all the prison staff is educated and oriented to what this threat is and that they have a responsibility to not only share the information with federal, state and local authorities, but to know how to report these types of activities. >> do you have anything you wish to add? >> point i would said that we do much better if we improved our capacity to release inmates, to transition them out so they have a meaningful future when they leave. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady, our new colleague from new york, mrs. hokum, is recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate this opportunity to come and listen. this is my first congressional hearing and as i said when i was a candidate, i wanted to come with very open mind toward the issues that are facing our country and this gives me an opportunity truly to hear both
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sides of this debate and where i come down on this is i don't see a reason to draw distinction between -- distinction between the threats of gangs in prison and radicalized jihaddies because thever both -- they are both threats but they are different kinds of threats. there are more people killed on the streets of but low and rochevert as a results of gang activity that was generated in prisons. that's a problem we have to deal with. but that does not diminish our need to make sure that we are safe in the country. which is what i'm hearing the witnesses testify about here today. so the distinction has been made about the radicalized violent jihadies, because those are the ones i'm concerned about. i want to know, is there weighs to identify these individuals in prison and when they are released? what happens next? they're not going to cause much harm to us while they're sitting in prison, at least i suspect not. although they can be influencing others, no doubt about it. but what safeguards do we have in place to protect our citizens
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when they are released? and i come from the area where we had the lack wanta six case and i will tell you that the corporation that our law enforcement received from the muslim community was incredible. they brought the issues to our law enforcement. these people were identified, they were prosecuted, individuals who had actually trained under osama bin laden in training camps and came back before 9/11. this is the culture i come from. but we have to find solutions, not to have an us against them mentality when we're trying to protect the united states and its citizens. immaterial to know what's in place to assist in ensuring the safety of our country once people who are identified as being radicalized are released from prison. why do we have to wait for the first crime to occur before we protect ourselves? that does not take away from our need to have individual listens and make sure the gang members don't continue to wreak havoc on our streets and
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continue to slaughter individuals as well. in my judgment, we can hit both issues, it's not an either/or proposition. i want your opinion on that. >> one thing that has to be done is to recognize that correctional intelligence is a two-way street. corrections officials and administrators have to know about the inmates they receive, particularly if they receive foreign-born inmates from countries of interest. there was an inmate cleaning the cell block who had a degree in chemical engineering cleaning the cell block. again, corrections has to pass what they learn back to law enforcement on the street so they can know what's coming out. >> are there any prohibitions to sharing that information? >> not to my knowledge. >> is that sharing of information occurring? >> i think it is, but it could be better. >> if i can -- during the
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g.i.s. case, that mechanism was not in place. it has since been put in place. we have an excellent relationship with the f.b.i. in the l.a. region, joint terrorism task force model works very well an the fusion center model, the joint regional intelligence center, has a vetting squad and a prison radicalization squad in that fusion center. it is excellent. the f.b.i., jttf, hosts a monthly prison radicalization meeting and brings correction officers from state, local enforcement together to share intelligence and there is a mechanism in place where there's advance notice of a violent extremist re-entry into the community. i think that's a smart practice that needs to be shared across the united states. >> i was going to say, again, much of the mechanisms are in place for dealing, for example, with gang members. in my community, fwang members who have been identified by the institution, certainly in their pacts sent up with that -- in
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their packets sent up with them after the crime are identified as gang members. when they're released or paroled from prison, they go through orientation meet wrgs they are met with and discuss their situation with gang officers from the local police department. the mechanisms are in place. it's just a matter of expanding that process if you will to those that have been identified as violent radical jihaddists, for example, in the prison system that get paroled into the community. there's no reason that what we're currently doing can't be used, for example, identify those individuals that are being paroled into our communities and potentially threaten our safety. >> i've got five seconds left, i'm conscious of tracking my time, how do we identify them in prison? are we able to truly know who is going to become a threat when they leave prison cells? >> i'll defer to mr. dunleavy but i say the answer is yes, because we can identify members of prison gang the intelligence
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is there on these other groups. there's no reason, again, why the portfolio, if you will, can't be expanded to include violent radical jihaddists. >> thank you. >> the gentlelady has proven herself a true member of the committee by going over time on her first question. fit right in with everybody else. now i recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania and former united states attorney. >> thanks, mr. chairman. thanks to each of the distinguished panelists for your presence here today and your work in this important area. i want to follow up on the question from ms. hochul, because that's what i'm trying to distinguish, trying to comprehend here is how we look at distinguishing where the association is being created among people who are finding each other to share some sort of a growing prislam, versus those who are affiliating in some way into a prison culture,
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a gang culture, and is it distinguishable? mr. dunleavy, you've been in the prisons, mr. smith? >> i think it is distinguishable. i think one thing that would help is if corrections departments as a whole recorded the data for a change of religion. we talk about how many percentage of inmates are muslim, how many are catholic, how many are jewish but how many actually changed religion two or three times in a period of incarceration and then why. that would be something to be able to follow up on. why do we have an individual who has now been in prison three times? >> before you go on you touched on this earlier, or some of the panelists did, which is in a sense the qualification of those who are the teachers of the faith and are given access, materials, and other kinds of things in the prison. is there any kind of a standard
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by which it's appropriate or legitimate for the government to determine who should be sort of a shepherd of a flock? >> i think the government has the right to determine who can enter a correctional facility, be it as an employee or a volunteer. religious volunteers have the same sway and influence as a religious -- as a chaplain does, yet there's no vetting on them. there's no standardization, there's simply, come in. who invites them? how do they get in? >> i can speak to that issue, with respect to the kevin james case, there's some issues with individual imams coming in and meeting with prisoners but the problem we have and it's certainly illustrated in the j.i.s. case, was the fact that kevin james was self-taught, this cut and peys version of prislam, if you will, and then was able to, because of his
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charismatic personality, because of his toughness, was able to accrue a number of followers. so the prison system is not in a position to be able to dictate, no, sir, you cannot preach islam or your version of islam to your fellow inmates. the problem you have there is that someone in that situation, and this goes back to your earlier question, in j.i.s., for example, the radicalization, the creation of this group, was overlaid on the prison gang model. james as the shot caller or sheikh of the particular group. the protocol they use, they pass messages via kites. i don't know if you're familiar with that, but there's a clandestine communication system in probably every prison. they were able to get their information transinstitution. they weren't j.i.s. members just where james was but throughout the california department of crecks.
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they were not only able to communicate within prisons they were in via kites, james set up a system where he would send the protocol to mail on the outside because inmates couldn't send letters to each o'and the person on the outside would forward to it an inmate at the -- at another institution. he was able to get statewide coverage if you will, of that protocol. again they just took the prison gang model and just overlaid their radical islamic jihadism. >> what's the solution? in other words, we're constantly amazed at the way inmates are able to communicate and the ingenuity associated with it but is the real goal for us then not so much to be worried about the method of communication but identify those who seem to be sharing the philosophy and doon appropriate job of following them? >> i think that's right. the solution is vigilance in terms of identifying the members in the groups because the communication network, they're always going to find
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ingenious ways to communicate, that might be futile but follow the members in the groups. >> you made a comment that the pro files of terrorists and trillions are different. how? >> difference in education, difference in poverty, and the terrorists tend to be from better educated backgrounds and criminals -- prison offenders tend to have low education. the relevance of that is whether or not they act in their self-interest. to become a terrorist, one has to have broader goals and that comes with education. >> there's a lot of guys that are strapping bombs on their backs all around the world and walking into places because they've come under the influence of somebody who is charismatic or otherwise. do you think that those people are well educated? >> the time of the gentleman is expired. >> yes. there's strong evidence that that's the case. >> well educated people are the ones carrying bombs into
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buildings around the world. >> terrorists tend to be well educated, that's correct. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis is recognized for five minutes. mr. davis: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for appearing and being here with us. dr. yasim, i'm not proud of it, but i have one of the largest single site incarceration places in america. something called cooke county jail, where more than 10,000 people are often confined there. of course 6% to 7% of those are -- 67% of those are african-americans who are there and they pretty much mirror the state prison system, which is much larger and that's something we'd like to shake a little bit if we could in illinois but it's tough. a recent study suggested that
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the largest number of individuals who convert to islam are african-americans. are you familiar with this study or this kind of information? and whether or not you think those individuals are doing so for personal development or for terrorism? >> i'm not familiar with that particular study. >> do you have an opinion relative to the conversion itself? >> the conversion to islam tends to be among african-americans, that's the case, but not -- in terms of terrorists themselves, the dirty bomb carrier, potentially, was not african-american. so it's not exclusive. >> mr. dunleavy, mr. smith, mr. downey, let me ask you, how do you suggest that we monitor
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radicalization while simultaneously respecting the faith of islam? and i'm also concerned a great deal about what we do for individuals in terms of helping them reintegrate back into normal life, so what kind of support activity would you suggest for these individuals as they leave? >> i think the same way we have institutionalized reporting suspicious activity across the united states through indicators and warnings, we have used that process to educate people, where we used to get many reports of what would be called muslims with cameras, which have commit nod crime no indicator of a terrorist nexus but because people were afraid and uneducated, they would report this. so in the same sense to bring this into the prison system so that they know there's a distinction between somebody who is practicing a faith and somebody who is practicing a
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violent form of a hijacked faith or a cut and peys version of another faith and there are indicators and warnings that need to be ingrained in the prison system so we don't profile people but we profile behavior and that is a big distinction. as far as the release and the reintegration into society, that's just huge. in los angeles, we are involved in a parolee release program for job training and that's a big part of our prevention strategy. we're faced with early release because of the economy and the shortfalls so we're expecting to see 6,000 parolees enter the population, most of which is going to be in los angeles. so it's a big concern to us. >> thank you, sir. i couldn't agree more with chief downey. the way to do it properly so
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the individuals that are legitimately practicing their faith, whether it's islam or another faith, they have to be protected and they have to be given the right to do that. i spent my professional career upholding the constitution and i know the congresswoman from texas began her statement talking about that. that's something that i hold very dear, obviously, as a career prosecutor. the consideration has to be education in the correctional institution of the personnel there so they can be given behavioral indicators, behavioral indicators, not who people are but what they do and how they act so they may be able to separate any sort of radical hijack as chief downing said attempts of islam versus legitimate and true faith. >> ning a correctional facility that religion is a very positive aspect. it -- i think in a correctional facility that religion is a
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very positive aspect. it has a calming effect and helps an individual change his life. in the at ka riot and sing-sing riot, muslims were credited with creating additional deaths or injuries to staff. we have to recognize the foreign influences of this ideology which is different and the way that works. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. before i recognize the next member, i want to acknowledge in the audience, the father of one of our staff members, mr. meek. he's doing a good job and after many years as a reporter, he's finally earning an honest living. i recognize the gentleman from virginia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank all our panel of members for being here today. i first want to comment, i was a bit surprised and frankly a
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bit disappointed as well when some members of our committee are questioning why we're having this and it seems to me that we almost diverged into a discussion about prisons generally and i don't believe that that is the focus of our committee. our committee is homeland security and i think it's entirely appropriate that we're here today and i will go where the risk is and i believe other members of the committee will as well. if we need to look at other areas, other groups, i'm happy to do that. but i believe that radical islamists present a real threat and it's appropriate that we examine that today. now i'd like to direct the first question to mr. downing. sir, on maye 19, the committee staff visited the supermax prison where those al qaeda members who have been captured who are held in civilian prisons are kept and confined, and the staff there observed this, that at the insistence of
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the attorney general's department of justice, that some al qaeda prisoners are allowed to have unmonitored conversations with defense attorneys, and that despite repeated requests for available technology that the bureau of prisons and f.b.i. have requested or at least would be available to them, that that technology is not there and they are unable to monitor conversations wean al qaeda prisoners in their recreation times. so mr. downing, do those policies, which are -- they are not f.b.i. policies, they're not bureau of prison policies, but coming from the department of justice, do they degrade our safety here as americans and also for the personnel who work within the prisons? >> well, in terms of this threat, intelligence is absolutely key and we need to create an environment that is hostile to recruitment, to
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developing this ideology and also to executing plots or planning plots. so i think it does diminish our ability to further understand the planning. >> thank you. the second question, i'd like to direct to mr. dunleavy, thank you for being here, i want to revisit the letter sent to the chairman recently, just in part, it states this, i am a muslim and i feel because america's war, it's spelled a-m-e-r-i-k-a's war, what threshold of speech must be met when a salesperson a self-declared enemy of the united states a self-declare person who influences others as an imam. what threshold has to be met before we can isolate that person and keep him or her from influencing others? >> i think that that statement
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in itself is the threshold. if you have an individual who is going to identify themselves as an enemy of the united states and state that he's at war, then you have to recognize that. you have to know your enemy. if you're going to effectively fight him. >> for the record, i'm in full agreement. so i trust this is happening within our prison system, that this gentleman, i'm -- i was delighted to learn that that letter had been sent to the f.b.i. and i hope he is isolated and there's a serious consequence for the action that he's taking and the letter he sent and what he stated. any person who has declared themselves to be an enemy of the united states needs to be isolated, certainly within the prison system and maybe further actions. but i thank all of you for being here today and i yield back the remainder of my time. >> i thank the gentlelady for yielding. the gentlelady from california ms. richardson is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. first of all, i would like to
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request that you accept into the record by unanimous con sent a summary of the letters you submitted into the record. a summarycy knopp sthoifs letters in the record? >> without objection, yes. >> i want to highlight the letters submitted, there were 16 letters from 14 individuals submitted. two of those individuals are convicted of right-wing terrorist activity. two others have threatened to commit acts of terrorism. and three of the individuals are convicted of murder, one for killing two police officers on separate occasions and another for killing three people. one was on the f.b.i.'s 10 most wanted list, one was stated in writing to the l.a. times saying in a little more than 14 months, in all, i'll probably commit murder, perhaps mass murder and another one stated, while in prison for mailing a fwom a u.s. attorney, he attempted to send another
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improvised explosive device and a powdery substance labeled anthrax. what i want to say is consider letters from these individuals, i think is probably questionnaire in any court of law would be considered. the second thing, mr. dunleavy, according to webster's dictionary, the definition of radicalization is the process in which an individual changes from passiveness or activism to become more revolutionary, militant or extremist. would you agree with that webster's dictionary explanation? >> i guess if webster has it in his dictionary, it must be correct. >> that's right, sir. in light of that, i'd like to ask you yeah about new york. do you have asian gangs in new york? >> i'm sorry, what? >> do you have asian gangs in new york? >> do i have asians in new york i'm not in new york anymore and i'm not employed by the department anymore. >> when you were, would you say
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there are asian gangs in new york? >> yeah, i would say there is. >> would you say there are mexican gangs in new york? >> probably. >> would you say there are african-american gangs in new york? >> probably. >> would you say there are white supremacist groups in new york? >> absolutely. >>? light of that, i think the question would really be would you say that those groups kill people? individuals in those groups kill people? yes or no? i only have two minutes? >> sure. >> would you also say that individuals in those groups are radicalized in the definition that i just read from webster's dictionary, that those groups would be in the process of individuals changes or had changed from passiveness or activism to become more revolutionary militant or extremist? >> i think it's a generalization. >> i asked you a question, sir. >> that was my answer. >> that some of them, some of these grouped we alluded to that exist in prisons have also been radicalized?
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that's my question? >> again, as some of the groups -- >> is your answer yes. >> i just said my answer is that that's a generalization. >> ok i'm going to repeat it. my question sir, because you're here testifying on the record and you claimed some sort of knowledge and expertise, so my question is, based in the area that you worked in, would you agree that members of asian gangs, black gangs, mexican gangs, and white supremacists have also been radicalized according to the definition that i read in webster's dictionary? and the dictionary -- the definition of radicalized are individuals who may at one time have been passive or activists who have now become more revolutionary, militant or extremist in their actions and ideas? would you agree to that? >> yeah, i would say so. >> thank you, sir. so that brings me to the question of my point of what i'd like to say about this committee hearing.
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in california alone, there were 812 gang-related homicides in california. in 2007. so i'm trying to get the national number as we speak but i don't have that. i'd like to say this in light of some of the comments that have been made. i do not disagree that radicalization occurs. according to the definition that i read. i don't disagree, as mr. dunleavy said, that radicalization in fact occurs in prisons with various groups. what i disagree with, and i would say again with all due respect to the chairman is the scope of this committee's only focusing on one particular group. i actually believe that the focus of one particular group on the basis of race or religion can be deemed as racist and as discriminatory and i would ask for the record in the future that we as a committee, i agree we need to look at the prisons and i whole heartedly agree we need to
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examine all terrorist attacks and threats and you will have my 100% support but to can't -- but to continue discriminatory, of what i believe, against one race or religion is flawed and should not be done in the house of religion. >> since the charge is leveled at me, i disagree with the gentlelady, the fact is, this committee was set up to combat terrorism. it was set up after september 11. as the gentleman, mr. smith, testified, there are procedures in place which follow gangs when they leave prison. we have the protocols in place for that. unfortunately, because in too many instances of political correctness, we don't have protocols to follow those trinhed in jihad in prison. your party had control of this party for four years, not one hearing at all, anything at all involving prisons, skin heads, nazis, aryan nations at all. suddenly this issue emerges
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when we talk about muslim radicalization. we have a judiciary committee to deal with other issues in the prisons. i agree, gangs are very important. aryan nation is posh. neonazis are important. the purpose of this committee is to combat islamic terrorism. that's the terrorist threat to this country. if we find out the neo nazis are allied with a foreign power and come into this country, we'll investigate it. if we find out the aryan nation is allied with a foreign power, we'll address that. we are not going to spread ourselves out an investigate everything which means investigating nothing. we're going to focus on a target that threatens the security of this nation which is why we're doing it without minimizing other threats. our committee is set up to combat terrorism and that's what we're going to do. >> will the gentleman yield? >> no. the fact is, if it was so important you had four years on this committee and not once was a hearing held on those issues.
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i recognize the gentleman from florida, mr. bilirakis, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing, it's a very important hearing. we have been present with testimony of radicalization occurring in los angeles, illinois, and new york, among others. the dirty bomber, jose padilla, was radicalized and then associated with a radical mosque in my home state of florida. does radicalization associated with prisons seem to be more prominent in particular states, regions or hot spots? and then also to what extent do facilitators of prison radicalization move among and throughout various prison systems and areas and what can be done to curb geographic spread of prison radicalization? >> i don't think it's contained to certain cities or certain states. i think it moves nationwide.
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radicalization, particularly islamic radical ideology moved throughout. it can work in the county jails, it can work in a state jail, it can york in a federal prison. i think what has to be done is again to recognize it as a problem. we call it a problem not because there's 5,000 individuals being converted every five minutes or something like that. it's very selective, it's a process. we have to recognize the process, we have to be table interrupt the process and we have to be able to have some sort of standards nationwide in the vetting of clergy. >> i would say the way i look at the issue of prison radical shation we're talking about here today is it's part of an overall situation we've been experiencing in this country of homegrown radicalization and domestic jihaddists. this is an issue we once thought was never going to come
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to our shores or that we were going to have a problem with here, that that was overseas in great britain or in spain or some countries in europe or overseas. that was the thinking then even around 2005 when we had the j.a.f. case. certainly since that time, we've seen that there is a problem of homegrown radicalization and jihadism in this country. it's not only in the prison wall but outside in the community. just as you can have a homegrown jihaddist in every city or location or state in this country, the same is certainly true in any penal institution, state or federal, they're not mutually exclusive. they're part of the same overall evolving threat in my opinion. >> would you like to respond, sir? >> i think you saw in 2009, we had a huge ramp up in homegrown terrorists. we had 85 individuals involved in 3 plots.
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that signaled a -- in 13 plots. that signaled a trend. in the prison system we're beginning to establish collection mechanisms for these phenomena. i think when we put those in place, we're going to see what we see on the outside, inside prisons. it is still low volume but the issue is high consequence, high consequence and high intensity if we don't address this problem. i think we are on the front end of this problem right now. >> i would agree with mr. downing that my bottom line, that prisons are infertile grounds for radicalization. particularly the case of kevin james was not -- what's not clear is if kevin james had been outside the prison, whether or not he would have had the same orientation and been much more capable of acting on it. i believe that's likely to be the case. >> i'd like to address that point, having prosecuted the case. the issue that we have with kevin james was that he
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orchestrated this jihaddist plot to target jewish persons of southern california and the united states military personnel he quarterbacked the plot he created the plot from the prison. and so the reality is the danger wasn't whether he was inside or outside the prison. from prison, the key takeaway from the case is that from prison, he was able to set up and set out an operational cell of would-be jihaddists on the streets of southern california. there can be no question in my mind as to his commitment to wage that jihad based on the evidence in the case. >> thank you. >> i'd like to go further on that. with respect to the organization and the ability to operate, mark sageman wrote a book, leaderless jihad, talking about the future 21st century jihaddist that lacks leadership or organizational structure for organization. when you plug it into a system that has an ability to communicate, an ability to send messages, an ability to operate
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beyond the prison wall, it's like a u.s.b. port. the community of -- the committed jihaddist just has to plug his flash drive in and he can operate. >> i don't have any time left, thank you for holding this important, necessary hearing. i appreciate it. >> i thank the gentleman from florida. the chair recognizes ms. clarke. we had a bipartisan staff that visited the prison, the chaplain provided a list cataloging all the the nation of islam videos housed in the prison library, several of which feature louie far can. often these -- louis farrakhan. i'm asking unanimous consent that the document be included in the record however, because it's designated as law enforcement sensitive, i ask that it be included in an annex
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to the hearing railroad that reflecks its sensitivity. without objection, so ordered. with that,ry exnice my friend from new york, from brooklyn, which has come up in this debate, i went to high school in brooklyn, spent many of my younger years, long before ms. clarke was around, i was roaming the streets of brooklyn. i recognize the gentlelady for five minutes. ms. clarke: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for bringing -- >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for bringing this topic to bear. i share some of the sentiments of my colleagues on this side of the aisle. i'll share where i'm having difficulty. it has to do with the definition of terrorism. i understand the specific terrorism that we're talking about with regards to radical islam. and the purview of this committee, which is homeland security overall.
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my concern is that we don't minimize the terrorism that many communities face due to gangs in this nation. and in some of the response that i've heard, it kind of made it seem as though garden variety gang activity does not translate into terrorism. and i'd like us to not lose sight of that. while i understand the purview of this hearing for us to minimize what has happened, why have war on drugs, if -- which is the purview of homeland security if we don't see these criminal enterprises as undermining our nation. i'd like to assert that because i think that there is some convergence in a prison culture that breeds the type of challenges that we see in our civil society, whether it is the radicalization of an
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individual through a religious means or through a violent, organized crime means. i'd like us not to lose sight of that. i think it's going to be important that we address it comprehensively in our pursuit of thwarting any types of radicalization that comes from the -- from those individuals who are practicing prislam, as you stated. my question to you would be, what percentage of individuals have you been table identify at this stage? i don't know if there's been any national movement to identify individuals who are likely given the profile of activities that would be
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inclined to get involved in some sort of international plot. mr. dunleavy? >> i don't think you can put a number on it. i would say it's a very select, small group. again, we mentioned the senate report where it said that there was as many as 36 ex-inmates in yemen in training. we look how many ex-inmates are there in society? there's probably hundreds of thousands. so there's only 36, we're looking at a filtering process. but the committed jihaddist only needs one to strap on and to blow up and to create the most damage. so numbers, it's kind of a misnomer in trying to understand the situation. >> let me say then that if it only takes one, would we find some parallels, then, to
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massive gang recruitments and the taking of life over time? in various communities? the numbers of individuals, families, communities, that have been disrupted? how do we balance out, i guess, our mentality around the difference between someone who can to one single solitary act and wipe out 3,000 people in new york or that ongoing killing that is taking place by individuals who have been formally incarcerated and continue to recruit in communities around the nation? >> there's no question that gangs pose a serious danger to communities. however, there is a big distinction. i come from los angeles. it's known as the gang capital of the united states, where we have 60% to 70% of the homicides are gang related. there's no doubt that occurs. the distinction and difference is when you hear people refer to gangs as urban terrorists,
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it's not terrorists in the sense we know terrorists, in that their intent is not to target innocent civilians or wage war on our country. innocent civilians occasionally get hit by gunfire, but that's not the target. >> occasionally? >> that's not the target. that's not their intent. it's usually about territorial imperative, it's about controlling markets, it's about maintaining their gang status in their communities and neighborhoods. >> i would beg to differ. let me just close, because if we see this process as an isolated community issue, we lose the point that these are americans, right. this is an american threat. and i think that, you know, we've got to reorient ourselves if we're going to in fact get a handle on this type of activity in our nation. the types of dollars that we're spending fighting the war on crime, we continue to see this
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as an isolated, individual who ends up with collateral damage in a community, then we never really get to deeming with it adequately. mr. chairman, i just wanted to add, mr. rigell, i believe is his name, asked our panelist whether the prison yard of the supermax prison in colorado is monitored. i'd like to ask, mr. chairman if you were to join us in a letter to really get to the bottom of whether in fact the response we received with that is accurate as it should have been. >> show me the letter, i will consider signing it. >> thank you. >> i'm sure members on this side of the aisle are just as concerned about gangs, for
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example, mr. lungren who spent his career fighting gangs. i recognize the gentleman from south carolina. >> i thank the administration for working with you on this issue. according to the website, a news story today, the obama administration has been working with you to address this issue and notes that secretary napolitano is setting up a task force to look into radicalization in the prisons. it's a real issue. it's amazing that we can talk about gang activity in prisons but it seems to be off limits to talk about radicalization within the prisons when it comes to the muslim community. i'm reminded, as i look around the committee room and i invite the guest here's today to look at the pictures on the walls. remember that we are fighting as a nation an ideology that seeks to overthrow us as a nation. to attack the freedoms we have here in this country. 10 with that, i'll get into my line of questioning here. the 9/11 commission report
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recommended that the u.s. government's efforts to communicate and defend american ideals in the islamic world be as strong as they were in closed societies in the cold war. ronald way reagan once said the ultimate determinant for the world will not be bombs or rockets but a test of ideals. a trial of spiritual resolve, the beliefs we hold and the ideals to which we are dedicated. i'm concerned abthe distribution of radical materials within the prisons and the mosques. if we continue to allow the literature to prop began dies the hearts and minds of the american people with their extremist ideology, we will not succeed in today's curn test, as reagan said, wheels and -- wills and ideals. my question revolves arn that distribution of the material. i could go on and talk about the middle east forum which did a poll that looked that the e
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jihaddist based literature, the presence of violent type literature in the prisons and mosques but that would take a little while to go into percentages but it's very evident and i'd be glad to provide that to the panelists. my question, i guess is to mr. smith. can you explain the challenges correction officials face from extremist literature being introduced in the prison environment and the followup to that, are all these materials protected by the first amendment, if you could explain that. >> this is america, we have a first amendment, we have a freedom of speech and freedom of religion. so you have two different issues. you're dealing with the outside an then prethe prisons. prisons because of security reasons are going to have a much more restrictive veerment. i'll leave it to prison officials or those with the experience inside the department of crecks to talk about those challenges. i look at it from an investigative standpoint. if an individual in a
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correctional institution possesses these types of radical materials, it's actually in a way an investigative benefit because that person is then self-identifying as someone that bears further inspection and can be monitored by the correctional staff. the reality is just possessing a c.d. with sermons on them is not a crime. and so while it can be monitored and restricted because of the prison environment, we have to look at it in an overall situation as a potentially behavioral indicator that we may have someone on that path to radicalization and that may present a security threat and that may bear further inspection and further monitoring. >> do you not agree that the presence of that material and along with farrakhan's sermons entitled, which one would you
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choose the flag of islam or the flag of america, would you not agree that they don't lead down the path of the radicalization behavior? >> i'm not going to make that broad a statement. i take a look at evidence and facts. so i'm not going to give a policy, a broad policy opinion as to what that can or cannot signify. i think with respect to violent radical jihaddist literature, while it is not a crime in and of itself to possess, it can be a behavioral indicator that it's something we need to inspect further. i have to leave my answer at that. >> in the remaining time, would any other panelists like to comment? >> i would like to offer that on the other side of the coin, we should create opportunitiers in pure, good part of this to be in the religion, such as the n.g.o.'s, there's an n.g.o. who does the muslims for
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progressive values. this is what they say. values guided by 10 principles of islam, rooted in islam, including social equality, separation of religion and state, women's rights, gay rights, critical analysis and interpretation. she and her organization have been trying to get into the prison that is written by islamic academic scholars, so i think there could be more efforts on this front as well. >> if i could say something about the literature, you can look in new york state an see literature sent from a company located in the falls church, virginia, connected to the mosque where al-alawaki attended, they've been selling his lit lith rahture. you can see literature mailed from rerhee yaud, saudi arabia, sent directly to inmates in new york state. the problem is, there's a media
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review committee that's supposed to look over the literature. one of the persons who sits on the media review committee is the chaplain. so again, we get back to the chaplain who is not properly vetted who is watching this? who is looking at the literature? >> the gentleman from louisiana is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. i'm starting with a simple question, but we talked about our prison systems and in louisiana i'm privileged to be chair of the judiciary with power over the prison systems. would you say the overwhelming population of the prisons, the fact that they're overcrowded and all those things, is a hindrance to effective enforcement and monitoring of inmates and really allows for things to go un-- to go unnoticed? we talked about conducting and organizing a terrorist plot from prison, but we also have
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reaching out and intimidating witnesses, killing witnesses, so do you think that the overcrowded population in prisons there are breeds that type of activity because we don't have the resources to monitor it effectively? >> thing if you talk to prison administrators, their number one goal is to manage the system, to manage the system, reduce assault on staff, reduce the assault on inmate to inmate, reduce escapes and theft. that's their first priority. they're not looking at the individual who could be a good inmate but is also a jihaddist. he's well behaved but doesn't cause a problem, so why look at that? you're looking for assault, drug dealers, look for somebody doing that. >> the question is, are we spreading our resources too thin when we have overcrowding in the prison system to effectively monitor the things that we're talking about?
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we may have too many inmates in prison and there's been -- >> we may have too many inmates in prison, there has been a tremendous buildup in the population in the last 25 years and there's been a sharp decrease in crime, apparently attributable to that buildup. we may be at a point where reductions in inmate populations would not increase the crime rate and prisons become more manageable at that point. i think the key thing, and the thing driving all of this, is good leadership and good management within the correctional agencies and that has imprivated tremendously in the last 20 years. >> the next question, i think it was mr. dunleavy who mentioned, maybe it was mr. smith who talked about the fact that the issue we're dealing with today is exponentially greater and i guess my numbers show that we had 16,000 murders in the united states in 2008, 15,000 in 2009.
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so if we talk about the number of murders, and congresswoman clarke talked about it, i hope that we're not being desensitized to the victims of murder in the united states as opposed to who they are because now you see in newspapers and print media across the country to make us feel better about it, we always say, he was the intended target he may not have lived the right life. and what was alluded to earlier was the fact that when we talk about the crime rate, we talk about terrorism, depending on the definition that you use, that is one of my concerns because where i am and in most urban cities, our weapons of mass destruction are ak-47's, m-16's, all those assault weapons that are able to harm a lot of people at one time, including innocent victims. i would just want to stress that we don't let the victims and their perceived lifestyle or actual lifestyle desensitize us to the fact that 15,000
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people were murdered in the country last year. but i thank you all for what you're doing. i think what you're doing is incredibly important. i think this is an important issue. i think radicalization and what we're doing in the prison system is a concern. it is a home larned security concern. let's take louisiana, we release 15,000 people from prison every year. 50% go back. that's 7,500 crimes we know will be committed. so to the extent that we can't do anything on the front end to prevent those 7,500 crimes we know are going to happen, then i think that that's something we can also look to, to work with our prison systems and make sure we're just as effective. no matter what the title of the hearing is, doesn't concern me. what concerns me is the result that comes out of it and that's what's important and even opening myself up to a lecture from my chairman on what the democrats did or didn't do in the last four years, i think
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that the message given last election was let's look forward and let's continue to work. thank you for what you do and hopefully we can broaden the conversation and make sure that people getting out, rereduce the recidivism rate to make sure that people coming out of prison, no matter what religion they are or race they are are not a threat to hardworking american citizens. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. his time has expired. moving forward, we go to the gentleman from alabama, the distinguished gentleman mr. rogers. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony. it's been very helpful, it's been a very productive hearing. mr. dunleavy, to your knowledge do extremist groups and foreign governments sponsor the travel of prison imams and released prisoners to countries such as saudi arabia and yemen? >> i do know that foreign governments have provided funds for new york state chaplains,
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islamic chaplains, to travel to saudi arabia. how that money specifically made its way to the public servant i believe went through an islamic organization in the united states. i don't think it was a check directly from the saudi bank to imam so and so. with respect to the inmates that travel overseas, that's more elusive inch know of an individual that went from new york state to an islamic center to florida, and as soon as his parole provision was released, he jumped three different flights to egypt, saudi arabia, and yemen. where the funds came from that is cloudy. >> this would be for mr. dunleavy as well as, or mr. smith or others, is it true that members of three domestic terrorist recruit plots, the lack wana six, and others all had contact with prisoners in
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new york prison systems? >> yes, it is. in the lackawanna case, there were individuals tied to those six who were visiting inmates around taking phone calls from inmates in new york state. with respect to the virginia case and with respect to the ar gone case, names of inmates and islamic clergy, i believe were found on hard drives by those individuals. >> i'd like to ask each of you to briefly answer this. what would you, individually, like to see become the work product that results from this hearing? we'll start with you, professor. >> well, i think the first thing is the mission of the hearing is something that i agree with. >> but other than raising awareness, obviously the chairman has done a good job of that with this, but i would think that you're looking for
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statutory changes or -- >> more than just awareness, we need specific knowledge of practices and i think we've had conversations about this, that we know anecdotes, we know isolated incidents, but what we don't have is sufficient information on practices. i think it would be good if the committee would move in that direction. >> some sort of study. >> yes. >> i think an assessment of what is in place at this time and the regulations and policies that support that assessment would be helpful and from there, create a blueprint of -- and a road map of the way ahead. accredited, qualified, vetted spiritual advisors, a process to do that. where it's about contemporary america not about the middle east. they're creating universities across the nation to train american imams in the context of what it is to have american
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muslim identity, that's important. the material that comes in to the institution is critically important with an eye toward prevention of violent radicalization and better monitoring of meetings to ensure they are meetings and not a ruse for some other type of activity. >> mr. smith? >> i would echo the sentiments of both these gentlemen. i think what needs to be done from the state correctional institution in the 50 states of the united states of america, an assessment of what type of investigative and intelligence sharing apparatus that exists among the institutions in each of those states on this issue needs to be assessed. that's ground zero. and once that assessment is done, a panel of people that have the experience and the know-how to be able to produce a document that might give some best practices that should be followed by the institution so that we can monitor the threat
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and we can prevent any particular violent attacks on the outside of these prison walls. >> mr. dunleavy, you're batting cleanup. >> i think the first thing you have to do is recognize that it is a viable threat. and i think, again, going with my colleagues, that the collection, the methodology and the collection of data has to be standardized so that we can look across the board so that new york, the way new yorkers -- new york is recording its conversion or the way new york is recording its visitors or its literature is the same as california, florida, illinois, there has to be standardization in data collection. >> excellent. thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. let me thank the witnesses, this has been a terrific hearing. i thought all four of you gave extremely valuable information. i think the question at the end set the tone, we have to go
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from here to get some positive results from the hearing. certainly as far as setting some sort of standardization. i want to thank you for the testimony, members of the committee may have additional questions, we'll ask you to respond in write if you will. the hearing record will be held open for 10 days. without objection, the committee stands adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> presidential candidate and former house speaker newt gingrich speaking at the 2011 republican conference in new orleans. our live coverage of the three-day event begins tomorrow evening at 67:30 eastern on c-span3 and c-span radio. the house is coming back in shortly, for more debate on amendments to the agriculture spending bill. earlier today, members voted on 17 amendments. they took a break to go to the white house for a congressional picnic. picnic. they'll be back in shortly.

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