[House Hearing, 111 Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] THE EVOLVING NATURE OF TERRORISM: NINE YEARS AFTER THE 9/11 ATTACKS ======================================================================= HEARING before the COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS SECOND SESSION __________ SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 __________ Serial No. 111-79 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on Homeland Security [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TONGRESS.#13 Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/ __________ U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 66-029 WASHINGTON : 2011 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, http://bookstore.gpo.gov. For more information, contact the GPO Customer Contact Center, U.S. Government Printing Office. Phone 202�09512�091800, or 866�09512�091800 (toll-free). E-mail, [email protected] COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi, Chairman Loretta Sanchez, California Peter T. King, New York Jane Harman, California Lamar Smith, Texas Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon Daniel E. Lungren, California Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Mike Rogers, Alabama Columbia Michael T. McCaul, Texas Zoe Lofgren, California Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Gus M. Bilirakis, Florida Henry Cuellar, Texas Paul C. Broun, Georgia Christopher P. Carney, Pennsylvania Candice S. Miller, Michigan Yvette D. Clarke, New York Pete Olson, Texas Laura Richardson, California Anh ``Joseph'' Cao, Louisiana Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona Steve Austria, Ohio Bill Pascrell, Jr., New Jersey Tom Graves, Georgia Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Al Green, Texas James A. Himes, Connecticut Mary Jo Kilroy, Ohio Dina Titus, Nevada William L. Owens, New York Vacancy Vacancy I. Lanier Avant, Staff Director Rosaline Cohen, Chief Counsel Michael Twinchek, Chief Clerk Robert O'Connor, Minority Staff Director C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Statements The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson, a Representative in Congress From the State of Mississippi, and Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security.............................................. 1 The Honorable Peter T. King, a Representative in Congress From the State of New York, and Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security.............................................. 2 The Honorable Yvette D. Clarke, a Representative in Congress From the State of New York: Prepared Statement............................................. 4 The Honorable Laura Richardson, a Representative in Congress From the State of California: Prepared Statement............................................. 4 Witnesses Mr. Peter Bergen, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation: Oral Statement................................................. 6 Prepared Statement............................................. 8 Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University: Oral Statement................................................. 19 Prepared Statement............................................. 21 Dr. Stephen E. Flynn, President, Center for National Policy: Oral Statement................................................. 28 Prepared Statement............................................. 29 Appendix Questions From Chairman Bennie G. Thompson for Peter Bergen...... 59 Questions From Hon. Yvette D. Clarke for Peter Bergen............ 60 Questions From Chairman Bennie G. Thompson for Bruce Hoffman..... 60 Questions From Hon. Yvette D. Clarke for Bruce Hoffman........... 62 Questions From Chairman Bennie G. Thompson for Stephen E. Flynn.. 62 Questions From Hon. Yvette D. Clarke for Stephen E. Flynn........ 63 Questions From Hon. William L. Owens for Stephen E. Flynn........ 63 THE EVOLVING NATURE OF TERRORISM: NINE YEARS AFTER THE 9/11 ATTACKS ---------- Wednesday, September 15, 2010 U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Homeland Security, Washington, DC. The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:08 a.m., in Room 311, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. Bennie G. Thompson [Chairman of the committee] presiding. Present: Representatives Thompson, Harman, Norton, Jackson Lee, Cuellar, Carney, Cleaver, Green, Himes, Titus, Owens, King, Smith, Lungren, Dent, Bilirakis, Cao, and Austria. Chairman Thompson [presiding]. The committee will come to order. The committee is meeting today to receive testimony on ``The Evolving Nature of Terrorism: 9 Years After the 9/11 Attack.'' September 11, 2001 was a day that changed America. Three thousand innocent people lost their lives in the most horrific attack on American soil. The attack was perpetrated by al- Qaeda, a group that most Americans at the time did not know existed. On those early days that followed the shock and pain of the attack we, as Americans, came together in an unprecedented fashion and made vows to our country, our neighbors, and the victims of the heinous attack. We vowed that we would remain resilient; we vowed to do what it takes to prevent an attack of this magnitude from happening again. We recommitted ourselves to respecting religious freedom. Nine years later, we have honored some of those vows with high regard. We honored our vow to be resilient. A great example came this past May when the people of Manhattan illustrated great vigilance and strength by preventing a terrorist attack in Times Square and then, in short order, getting back to work. We have honored our vow to take steps to help prevent an attack of this magnitude from happening again by reorganizing much of the Federal homeland security and intelligence bureaucracy. We created the Department of Homeland Security. We established the director of National intelligence and reformed the intelligence community. I am not by any means saying that those endeavors were a complete success, but they were done in the spirit of honoring that vow. Regrettably, one vow that some have shamefully and very publicly broken over the past few weeks is our vow to maintain respect for religious freedom. Just as we must stand vigilant against the threat of terrorism, so too must we stay vigilant against those who would seek to sow hate and divide us along religious or ethnic lines. I am reminded of the words of then-President Bush, just 6 days after the 9/11 attack, who, standing before religious leaders at the Islamic Center of Washington, stated, ``The face of terror is not the true face of Islam.'' Those words were echoed this past weekend by President Obama at an event commemorating the ninth anniversary of the attacks when he said, ``As Americans we are not at war with Islam.'' Reports of Americans being harmed just because they practice Islam are not only shameful but distract from the real threats of this Nation. Al-Qaeda has a stake in a divided America. Propaganda is the lifeblood of al-Qaeda. They need outrageous conduct and statements of the sort that we have seen in recent days to fuel their recruitment efforts. Importantly, the assessment produced by our witnesses challenges the lies that some have tried to spread about the people of certain ethnicities of religions being terrorists. It reveals that the face of homegrown terrorism is a diverse one. In 2009 alone they report that 21 percent were Caucasian, 9 percent were Black, and 4 percent were Hispanic. The report also finds that homegrown terrorists were just as likely to be educated and prosperous as illiterate and poor. Another noteworthy observation is that in the 9 years since 9/11 al-Qaeda and its affiliates have been able to infiltrate our culture. In fact, the assessment finds that more and more of their leaders and followers are Americans and that an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization, and operational infrastructure has taken root within our borders. Al-Qaeda has been able to do so by using one of America's strengths--the melting pot of values, ideas, and backgrounds-- to their advantage. The fruits of this effort have been the radicalization of recruits who know American culture because they have lived it. The magnitude of the homegrown threat must be given due consideration at all levels. One question for our witnesses and for our Nation is: What can we do to counter this insidious terrorist threat? Hopefully our witnesses can give us some answers to this growing problem. One thing for sure, stereotyping and fear-mongering are certainly not the answers. Thank you again for being here. I now recognize the Ranking Member of the full committee, the gentleman from New York, Mr. King, for an opening statement. Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the witnesses for being here today, and I regret the fact that I will have to be leaving the meeting after my opening statement. There is a series of meetings this morning on the 9/11 health care bill, which I have to be present at with the mayor of New York and others. But I want to thank the witnesses for being here today. I believe that this is a particularly significant aspect of homeland security we brought up today. There is no doubt that al-Qaeda has morphed; the threat of Islamic terrorism has adjusted, it has changed. We have scored great successes over the last 9 years, but in response to that al-Qaeda has also adjusted itself. While I doubt that another 9/11 attack would be possible-- certainly very unlikely--the fact is, we have seen a number of other attacks which have either worked or come close to working, and it is primarily--I see, and I agree with the general thrust of your report--that al-Qaeda is using people living within this country, using people under the radar screen, people such as Zazi, who was raised in the United States, went to schools in New York City, who was going to take part in the subway bombing on 9/11 last year. We also find with Shahzad, who had actually become an American citizen, who carried out the almost-successful attack in Times Square. These were two individuals who were under the radar screen. Perhaps they should have been found, but the reality is it would be very, very difficult to locate them, especially Zazi, who, my understanding is, we only learned about him because his name came up in the electronic surveillance of two other people who were carrying on a conversation. So it shows that we have to be so alert to this new threat within our society. Here is where I believe I at least have a nuanced difference with the Chairman in that I believe more should be done by the Muslim community in this country to be cooperating with law enforcement. I know from speaking to law enforcement at various levels they do not feel they receive enough cooperation from the leadership of the Muslim communities. I know, for instance, of Vinas, who was a terrorist who was captured in Afghanistan, who actually came from the district adjoining mine on Long Island. Prior to going to Afghanistan to fight he had gone to a number of mosques on Long Island, said he wanted to take part in jihad. He was told by those mosques they didn't do jihad but they never made any attempt to contact the police or the FBI regarding that. I use that as an example. Also, while the report notes that the homegrown terrorists come from a variety of races and ethnic groups the fact is they were all Muslim, and that is the reality. I think we make a mistake when we somehow don't truly identify enemies. The reality is the overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding people, great Americans, but I think we don't do either the Muslim community or ourselves any justice by ignoring the reality that this is an Islamist threat, and to me it makes much more sense to focus on that rather than try to be politically correct. Also, I don't think we should be exaggerating the number of--we talk about anti-Islamic incidents in this country. Every one of them is terrible; every one of them is wrong and should be denounced. But even in the worst years there are still five to 10 times more anti-Semitic incidents in this country than there are anti-Muslim. So I think we could end up giving it more credit than it deserves and giving more notoriety than it deserves, including the whole debate over the mosque in Lower Manhattan. The fact is there are real issues to be discussed there. No one denies the right of the mosque to be there, but I think in an open society people have the right to discuss what is appropriate and what is not, what is sensitive and what is insensitive, and I think sensitivity is a--it goes both ways and it shouldn't just be going in the one direction. I think if we can have a more open debate, a free debate, I believe we can do much more toward resolving these issues. Having said that, I want to thank the Chairman for the hearing. I want to thank the witnesses for being here. I really regret not being able to stay. We have some hearings that are good, some hearings, you know, we have to sit through. This is one I would love to be at from beginning to end because I can assure you that I would be learning a lot more from you than you would from me. Chairman, I want to thank you for having it, and I understand that Congressman Lungren is going to be filling in for me, and he will be more than adequate at the task, and that I know. With that I yield back the balance of my time. Chairman Thompson. Thank you very much. We do appreciate your participation and we will understand that you do have to go and we understand the reason why, but you do have an able filler-in. [The statement of Hon. Clarke and Hon. Richardson follow:] Statement of Honorable Yvette D. Clarke Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this important hearing. On September 11, 2001, we witnessed the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. As a New York City Councilwoman, I worked with my colleagues in the weeks and months following those horrific attacks to address the unique security threats facing New York City. As the only Member of the House Homeland Security Committee from New York City, I've continued to work in Congress to ensure that we as a Nation bolster the counterterrorim tools and resources to mitigate any potential attacks on our homeland. In combating terrorism we must understand that those who wish to do Americans harm and jeopardize our National interests are developing new ways to attack our country every day. This means that as terrorist tactics evolve, so must our preventative measures and responses. The threat that state-sponsors of terror, non-state actors such as al-Qaeda and nuclear proliferation must be part of our comprehensive anti-terror strategy. During the 111th Congress, I have introduced H.R. 2070, the Radiological Materials Security Act, which would enhance domestic preparedness for, and assess our vulnerability to, a terrorist radiological dispersion device. I've also introduced H.R. 4842, the Homeland Security Science and Technology Authorization Act of 2010, which would provide funds to review and enhance our Nation's security measures. With anti-Western rhetoric coming from some of the most dangerous parts of the world, rogue states seeking nuclear weapons and our military stretched thin across the globe, understanding and combating the evolving threat our Nation faces is critical to protecting the American people. For this reason, I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panel on the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Preparedness Group's the report entitled ``Assessing the Terrorist Threat.'' It is through a comprehensive understanding of this report that our committee, as well as the rest of the Nation can adequately address the forever evolving threat of terrorism. Again, I thank the Chairman for holding this important hearing and look forward to the witness testimony. ______ Statement of Honorable Laura Richardson Mr. Chairman, thank you for convening this hearing today focusing on the ever-evolving threat of terrorist attacks against the homeland and the current state of America's efforts to counter these threats. On Sept. 11, 2001, America and the world was changed. Nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airlines and intentionally crashed two of them into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon. These attacks resulted in a death toll of nearly 3,000 people and were the deadliest attacks on American soil since Pearl Harbor. One year after these attacks, President Bush and Congress established the ``9/11 Commission'' to prepare a complete report describing the circumstances that gave rise to the 9/11 attacks and recommendations that could be adopted by our Nation's security agencies to make sure a tragedy like this never happened again. In 2007, Chairman Thompson introduced the ``9/11 Act'', which codifies and mandates a number of the recommendations stated in the 9/11 Commission's report to Congress. This sweeping legislation created and implemented the initiatives and funding needed to drastically improve our homeland security preparedness against terrorist threats home and abroad. Despite the significant steps the Congress and Federal agencies have taken to deter and combat terrorist groups from attacking the United States, recent events have shown that the terrorist threats are still occurring and are more complex than many have previously thought. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the number of attacks and attempted attacks against the homeland between August 2009 and May 2010 surpassed the number during any previous year in our history. Moreover, the Bipartisan Policy Center's report identifies a disturbing trend by al-Qaeda in recruiting persons born or raised in America to carry out its evil ends. The 37th Congressional district is home to numerous potential targets because of the large concentration of critical infrastructure. That is why I am especially committed to ensuring our Nation has the tools and resources to keep our people safe! I am pleased that Chairman Thompson convened this hearing because it provides an opportunity for committee Members to not only reflect on the steps the Government has made with regard to homeland security, but to also understand the continuing challenges we face in eliminating terrorist threats. I would also like to thank our distinguished panel of witnesses for appearing before the committee today to discuss what progress has been made in this area and what else needs to be done. I especially want to commend the Bipartisan Policy Center for its outstanding report, ``Assessing the Terrorist Threat.'' The Bipartisan Policy Center has performed a valuable service to our Nation in documenting the nature and extent of the terrorist threat still facing our country. This goes to show what can be accomplished when people of good will work across party lines for the common good. I very much look forward to hearing from our distinguished panel of witnesses on these issues. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for convening this hearing. I yield back my time. Chairman Thompson. I welcome our distinguished witnesses of this bipartisan committee today, the Bipartisan Policy Center of National Preparedness Group, Mr. Peter Bergen, Dr. Bruce Hoffman, and Dr. Stephen Flynn. Mr. Bergen is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation where he co-directs the counterterrorism strategy initiatives. Mr. Bergen also serves as a research fellow at New York University's Center on Law and Security and as National security analyst with CNN. Born in Minneapolis and raised in London, Mr. Bergen has the distinction of producing Osama bin Laden's first TV interview in 1997 for CNN. Professor Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism and insurgency for more than 30 years. He is currently a tenured professor in the security studies program at Georgetown University's Law School of Foreign Service, Washington, DC. Among Dr. Hoffman's many distinctions is his role as a founding director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Stephen Flynn is the president of the Center for National Policy. Prior to being selected as president of the center Dr. Flynn spent a decade as senior fellow for the National security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. A 1982 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Dr. Flynn served in the Coast Guard on active duty for 20 years. Thank you for your service. Without objection, the witnesses' full statements will be inserted in the record. I now ask the witnesses to summarize their statements. Since there are three witnesses testifying jointly I have conferred in advance with the other Ranking Member and the witnesses, and the approach we will be taking is to allot Dr. Hoffman and Mr. Bergen 6 minutes each and allot Dr. Flynn the remaining 3. But I can assure you that if you go over there is no penalty. I thank the witnesses, and we will start with Mr. Bergen. STATEMENT OF PETER BERGEN, SENIOR FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION Mr. Bergen. Thank you very much, Chairman Thompson. Thank you to the committee for the invitation. It is really a privilege to testify here. I think there is some good news before moving to the bad news. You know, I completely agree with Representative King-- the likelihood of a 9/11 from al-Qaeda is vanishingly small. The last time al-Qaeda tried to mount such an operation was in the summer of 2006 when they had a plan to bring down seven American, Canadian, and British airliners over the Atlantic. But the plot was interrupted by excellent cooperation between the British, American, and Pakistani services--really good news. That is the last time we have seen al-Qaeda attempt to reach such a large, mass casualty-type attack. The other piece of good news is, if you look at the terrorism cases in the United States since 9/11 there are--we cooperated with Maxwell School of Syracuse and we looked at the 172 jihadist terrorist cases in the United States since 9/11. None of them involved chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons, and al-Qaeda's experiments in this area have been pretty either amateur, effectless, or both. A third piece of good news is, since 9/11 only 14 Americans have died in jihadist terrorist attacks. Of course, every death was a tragedy but I don't think that would have been predictable in the years after 9/11. If we had had this conversation in 2003 I don't think we would have said, well, almost a decade after 9/11 al-Qaeda or people inspired by its ideas would only be able to kill such a relatively small number of Americans. The fourth part of good news is, of course, the Muslim- American community has as a--you know, overwhelmingly rejected the al-Qaeda ideological virus, but there are some changes in that area, which I will move to next. One point, of course, al-Qaeda does retain residual capacity. If Zazi had gone through dozens of people would have died in Manhattan. If the Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had succeeded on Christmas day hundreds of our Americans would have died. But that is sort of limited to that capacity right now. I think one worrisome trend is the--well, what we call in the report the Americanization of the leadership of some of these groups. I mean, Shukrijumah, who grew up in Brooklyn and Florida, is now--it looks like he is the al-Qaeda's leader of external operations. Omar Hammami, a Baptist convert from Alabama, is playing a leadership role in al-Shabab. David Headley played an absolutely instrumental role in scoping the targets in Mumbai in 2008, a native--a Chicago resident. Then, of course, there is al-Awlaki, which I don't need to give him much more detail since he is so well known. Another worrisome trend is we have seen more terrorism cases--more jihadist terrorism cases--in 2009 than we had seen previously, by our count 43. We have had 20 this year. I am sure Dr. Hoffman will amplify this point, but we have seen a diversification of the kinds of groups that are recruiting American citizens or residents and also the diversification of the kinds of Americans how are joining, as Chairman Thompson pointed out, that don't fit any ethnic profile. The cases that we looked at in the last 2 years you can't really say there is any ethnic profile. There is a disproportionate number of Somali-Americans because there have been a lot of Somali-American cases in the recent--in the last couple of years. In terms of targets and tactics, these groups will continue with commercial aviation. It remains a total preoccupation. Smaller-scale attacks--we will see more of those. Western brand name businesses around the Muslim world, particularly hotels, have been a constant target of these groups. Recent examples, the Ritz Carlton and Marriott attacks in Jakarta in 2009. I think the possibility of American suicide attackers cannot be dismissed. We have seen American citizens conduct suicide attacks overseas and we know from the British experience that once that happens overseas it can come home. Attacks on U.S. military targets here, of course, if you are fired up by these ideas, soldiers fighting in two Muslim countries are a target, whether the Major Nidal Hassan case or Dix case, the allegations against the North Carolina Cluster regarding the Quantico plot, and other cases. Assassinations of people who are perceived to have insulted Islam I think is something we should be seriously concerned about. We have had two American citizens engage and allegedly plan to kill Danish and/or Swedish cartoonists who painted cartoons of the prophet Mohammed deemed to be offensive just in the last couple of years. I think a very serious concern that we should all be collectively worried about is the possibility of a Mumbai II attack. This would change every strategic calculation in the region. I think the Indians showed great restraint after the last Mumbai attack, but their populations are going to demand some kind of retribution if a large-scale attack happens on Indian soil by a Pakistani militant group, which I think is one of the more foreseeable foreign policy challenges we have going forward. The, just quickly, some factors that are working for al- Qaeda and against al-Qaeda: Al-Qaeda has infected other groups in South Asia with its ideas. Pakistani Taliban sent, as you know, a bomber to Times Square. Vashkar Itibur is acting in a more al-Qaeda-like manner. Al-Qaeda's regional affiliates are showing some are weak. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is weaker; al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is stronger. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is predictably back in a way that was--a lot of people were pronouncing its obituary, I think, prematurely. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are still out there. In fact, Ayman al-Zawahiri just today released a new video tape--audio tape--indicating that he is still alive, trying to influence things. Finally, our overreactions can play into the terrorist groups' hands. They understand that even near misses, as the Christmas day incident, can produce a very aggressive reaction both in the media and politically. Just a final thought, there are five items working against these groups. The drone attacks are interfering with them to some degree. Pakistani government, military, and public have turned against these groups to a large degree. That hostility is also true in the Muslim world at large. Certain key bin Laden allies have turned against him, people that he looked for for religious advice or former military allies. These groups have killed a lot of Muslim civilians, which is a huge Achilles heel for them. This is a good way of introducing Dr. Hoffman, because even though there is declining support for these groups--declining public support doesn't help them, but at the end of the day these are small groups of people and they can continue to operate with little public support. [The statement of Mr. Bergen follows:] Prepared Statement of Peter Bergen September 15, 2010 My testimony will consider four broad questions: A. What kind of the threat does al-Qaeda and its allies now pose to the United States? B. Who are the American recruits to these groups over the past couple of years? C. What kinds of targets are these groups likely to attack in the future, and what kinds of new tactics might they use? D. What factors are helping or hindering these groups? A. What is the threat? 1. Al-Qaeda and allied groups and those inspired by its ideas continue to pose a real but not catastrophic threat to the United States. Such groups might successfully carry out bombings against symbolic targets that would kill dozens, such as against subways in Manhattan, as was the plan in September 2009 of Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-American al-Qaeda recruit, or they might blow up an American passenger jet, as was the intention 3 months later of the Nigerian Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab, who had been recruited by ``Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.'' Had that bombing attempt succeeded, it would have killed hundreds. This level of threat is likely to persist for years to come, however, al-Qaeda no longer poses a National security threat to the American homeland of the type that could launch a mass-casualty attack sufficiently deadly in scope to reorient completely the country's foreign policy, as the 9/11 attacks did. 2. Al-Qaeda and likeminded groups have had minimal success in manufacturing, buying, stealing, or being given viable chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) weapons. Despite al-Qaeda's long interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons, on the infrequent occasions that such groups have tried to deploy crude versions of these weapons their efforts have fizzled, as was evident in the largely ineffectual campaign of chlorine bomb attacks by ``Al-Qaeda in Iraq'' in 2007. Militant jihadist groups will only be able to deploy crude CBRN weapons for the foreseeable future and these will not be true ``weapons of mass destruction,'' but rather weapons of mass disruption, whose principal effect will be panic but few deaths. Indeed, a survey of the 172 individuals indicted or convicted in Islamist terrorism cases in the United States since 9/11 by the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the New America Foundation found that none of the cases involved the use of CBRN. (In the one case where a radiological plot was initially alleged--that of the Hispanic-American al-Qaeda recruit, Jose Padilla--that allegation was dropped when the case went to trial).\1\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ Peter Bergen and Bruce Hoffman, ``Assessing the Terrorist Threat,'' Bipartisan Policy Center, September 10, 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- B. Who are the recent American recruits? 1. A key shift in the threat to the homeland since around the time that Obama took office is the increasing Americanization of the leadership of al-Qaeda and aligned groups, and the larger numbers of Americans attaching themselves to these groups. Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric who grew up in New Mexico, is today playing an important operational role in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,\2\ while Adnan Shukrijumah, a Saudi-American who grew up in Brooklyn and Florida, is now al-Qaeda's director of external operations. In 2009 Shukrijumah tasked Zazi and two other American residents to attack targets in the United States. Omar Hammami, a Baptist convert to Islam from Alabama, is both a key propagandist and a military commander for Al Shabab, the Somali al- Qaeda affiliate, while Chicagoan David Headley played a central role in scoping the targets for the Lashkar-e-Taiba attacks on Mumbai in late 2008 that killed more than 160. There is little precedent for the high- level operational roles that Americans are currently playing in al- Qaeda and affiliated groups, other than the case of Ali Mohamed, an Egyptian-American former U.S. army sergeant, who was a key military trainer for al-Qaeda during the 1990s, until his arrest after the bombings of the two American embassies in Africa in 1998. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \2\ Michael Leiter, Aspen, Colorado, June 30, 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Al-Qaeda and likeminded groups have also successfully attracted into their ranks dozens of American citizens and residents as foot soldiers since January 2009. Most prominent among them are Zazi and the Pakistani-American Faizal Shahzad who was trained by the Taliban in Waziristan and then unsuccessfully attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010. According to a count by Andrew Lebovich of the New America Foundation, in 2009 43 American citizens or residents aligned with Sunni militant groups or their ideology were charged with terrorism crimes in the United States or elsewhere, the highest number in any year since 9/11. So far in 2010 20 have been similarly charged or convicted. 2. It used to be that the United States was largely the target of Sunni militant terrorists, but now the country is also increasingly exporting American Sunni militants to do jihad overseas. Not only was David Headley responsible for much of the surveillance of the targets for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he also traveled to the Danish capital Copenhagen in 2009 where he reconnoitered the Jyllands-Posten newspaper for an attack. A year earlier Osama bin Laden had denounced the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in the Jyllands-Posten as a ``catastrophe,'' for which retribution would soon be meted out. Following his trip to Denmark, Headley travelled to Pakistan to meet with Ilyas Kashmiri who runs Harakat-ul-Jihad Islami, a terrorist organization tied to al-Qaeda. Headley was arrested in Chicago in October 2009 as he was preparing to travel to Pakistan again. He told investigators that he was planning to kill the Jyllands-Posten's editor who had commissioned the cartoons, as well as the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who had drawn the cartoon he found most offensive; the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb concealed in his turban. Similarly, Coleen R. Larose, a Caucasian-American 46-year-old high school dropout known in jihadist circles by her internet handle ``JihadJane,'' traveled to Europe in the summer of 2009 to scope out an alleged attack on Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who had drawn a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed's head on the body of a dog. By the end of 2009 14 American citizens and residents (all but one of Somali descent) had been indicted for recruiting at least 20 others to fight in Somalia, or for fundraising for Al Shabab. In addition to Zazi and Shahzad, five Muslim-Americans from northern Virginia volunteered for jihad in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theatre in 2009. They are now in custody in Pakistan charged with planning terrorist attacks. Similarly, a group of seven American citizens and residents of the town of Willow Creek, North Carolina led by Daniel Boyd, a convert to Islam who had fought in the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets, conceived of themselves as potential participants in overseas holy wars from Israel to Pakistan, and some traveled abroad to scope out opportunities to do jihad, according to Federal prosecutors. Boyd also purchased eight rifles and a revolver and members of his group did paramilitary training on two occasions in the summer of 2009. 3. Another development in the past couple of years is the increasing diversification of the types of U.S.-based jihadist militants, and the groups with which they have affiliated. Militants engaged in jihadist terrorism in the past 2 years have ranged from pure ``lone wolves'' like Major Nidal Hasan who killed 13 at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009 and Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (aka Carlos Bledsoe) who killed a soldier the same year at a Little Rock recruiting station, to homegrown militants opting to fight in an overseas jihad with an al- Qaeda affiliate such as the 20 or so American recruits to Al Shabab, to militants like David Headley, who have played an instrumental role in planning for Lashkar-e-Taiba, to those with no previous militant affiliations such as the group of five friends from northern Virginia who travelled to Pakistan in 2009 in a quixotic quest to join the Taliban, and finally those American citizens such as Najibullah Zazi and Bryant Neal Vinas, who managed to plug directly into al-Qaeda Central in Pakistan's tribal regions, or train with the Pakistani Taliban, as Faizal Shahzad did. 4. These jihadists do not fit any particular ethnic profile. According to a count by the New America Foundation and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, of the 57 Americans indicted or convicted of Islamist terrorism crimes since January 2009, 21% (12) are Caucasian-Americans, 18% (10) are Arab-Americans, 14% (8) are South Asian-Americans, 9% (5) are African Americans, 4% (2) are Hispanic- Americans and 2% (1) are Caribbean-American. The single largest bloc are Somali-Americans at 31%, (19) a number that reflects the recent crackdown by the Feds on support networks for Americans travelling to Somalia to fight with the al-Qaeda affiliate Al Shabab.\3\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ Bergen Hoffman op. cit. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- C. What kinds of future targets or tactics might jihadist groups attack or use? 1. Attacking commercial aviation--the central nervous system of the global economy--continues to preoccupy al-Qaeda. A cell of British Pakistanis, for instance, trained by al-Qaeda plotted to bring down seven passenger jets flying to the United States and Canada from Britain during the summer of 2006. During the trial of the men accused in the ``planes plot'' the prosecution argued that some 1,500 passengers would have died if all seven of the targeted planes had been brought down and most of the victims of the attacks would have been Americans, Britons, and Canadians.\4\ The U.K.-based planes plot did not stand alone: 4 years earlier an al-Qaeda affiliate in Kenya had almost succeeded in bringing down an Israeli passenger jet with a surface-to-air missile,\5\ while in 2003 a plane belonging to the DHL courier service was struck by a missile as it took off from Baghdad airport.\6\ The same year militants cased Riyadh airport and were planning to attack British Airways flights flying into Saudi Arabia.\7\ In 2007 two British doctors with possible ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq tried unsuccessfully to ignite a car bomb at Glasgow Airport. And if the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had brought down the Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit on Christmas day of 2009, it would have been al-Qaeda's most successful attack on an American target since it had destroyed the World Trade Center towers and a wing of the Pentagon. According to several counterterrorism officials, the skilled Yemeni- based bomb-maker who built Abdulmutallab's bomb is likely still at large. He is likely to try to bring down another commercial jet with a concealed bomb that is not detectable by metal detectors. And al-Qaeda or an affiliate could also bring down a jet with a surface-to-air missile as was attempted in Kenya in 2002. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \4\ Some fifteen hundred passengers would have died: Richard Greenberg, Paul Cruickshank, and Chris Hansen, ``Inside the plot that rivaled 9/11,'' Dateline NBC, September 14, 2009. http:// www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26726987/. \5\ Affiliate in Kenya almost succeeded: ``Al-Qaeda claims Kenya attacks,'' BBC, December 3, 2003. \6\ Struck by a missile as it took off: Agence France Presse, ``Civilian plane hit by missile over Baghdad,'' November 23, 2003. \7\ The same year militants: ``British Airways suspends flights to Saudi Arabia after threats,'' New York Times, August 14, 2003. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. Smaller-scale attacks. As one counterterrorism official put it, ``Abdulmutallab is not a very high barrier for terrorist groups to surmount. His attack demonstrated to other terrorists that you don't have to be [9/11 operational commander] Khalid Sheikh Muhammad to carry out an attack''. Another counterterrorism official said terrorist groups now see the United States as more ``gettable'' because of the failed plots on Christmas day 2009 and Times Square in 2010. 3. Armed with the belief that they can bleed Western economies, al- Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups also target companies with distinctive Western brand names, in particular American hotel chains. Since the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups have increasingly attacked economic and business targets. The shift in tactics is in part a response to the fact that the traditional pre-9/11 targets, such as American embassies, war ships, and military bases, are now better defended, while so-called ``soft'' economic targets are both ubiquitous and easier to hit. In 2002 a group of a dozen French defense contractors were killed as they left a Sheraton hotel in Karachi, which was heavily damaged. In 2003, suicide attackers bombed the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta and attacked it again 6 years later, simultaneously also attacking the Ritz Carlton hotel in the Indonesian capital. In October 2004, in Taba, Egyptian jihadists attacked a Hilton hotel. In Amman, Jordan in November 2005, al-Qaeda attacked three hotels with well-known American names--the Grand Hyatt, Radisson, and Days Inn.\8\ And five-star hotels that cater to Westerners in the Muslim world are a perennial target for jihadists: In 2008 the Taj and Oberoi in Mumbai; the Serena in Kabul and the Marriott in Islamabad, and in 2009 the Pearl Continental in Peshawar. Such attacks will continue as hotels are in the hospitality business and can not turn themselves into fortresses. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \8\ Grand Hyatt, Radisson, and Days Inn: Scott Macleod, ``Behind the Amman hotel attack,'' Time, November 10, 2005. http://www.time.com/ time/world/article/0,8599,1128209,00.html. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4. Attacking Israeli/Jewish targets. This is an al-Qaeda strategy that has only emerged strongly post-9/11. Despite bin Laden's declaration in February 1998 that he was creating the ``World Islamic Front against the Crusaders and the Jews,'' al-Qaeda only started attacking Israeli or Jewish targets in early 2002. Since then, al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups have directed an intense campaign against Israeli and Jewish targets, killing journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi, bombing synagogues and Jewish centers in Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey, and attacking an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, which killed 13. Al-Qaeda's North African affiliates attacked the Israeli embassy in Mauritania in 2008. 5. The fact that American citizens have engaged in suicide operations in Somalia raises the possibility that suicide operations could start taking place in the United States itself. To discount this possibility would be to ignore the lessons of the British experience. On April 30, 2003, two Britons of Pakistani descent launched a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, while the first British suicide bomber, Birmingham- born Mohammed Bilal, blew himself up outside an army barracks in Indian-held Kashmir in December 2000.\9\ Despite those suicide attacks the British security services had concluded after 9/11 that suicide bombings would not be much of a concern in the United Kingdom itself.\10\ Then came the four suicide attackers in London on July 7, 2005, which ended that complacent attitude. Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Palestinian-American medical officer and a rigidly observant Muslim who made no secret to his fellow officers of his opposition to America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, went on a shooting spree at the giant army base at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009, killing 13 and wounding many more. This attack seems to have been an attempted suicide operation in which Hasan planned a jihadist ``death-by-cop.'' In the year before his killing spree, Major Hasan had made web postings about suicide operations and the theological justification for the deaths of innocents and had sent more than a dozen emails to Anwar al Awlaki an American-born cleric living in Yemen who is a well-known al-Qaeda apologist.\11\ Awlaki said he first received an email from Major Hasan on Dec. 17, 2008, and in that initial communication he ``was asking for an edict regarding the [possibility] of a Muslim soldier [killing] colleagues who serve with him in the American army.''\12\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \9\ Outside an Army barracks: Emma Brockes, ``British man named as bomber who killed 10,'' The Guardian, December 28, 2000. http:// www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/dec/28/india.kashmir. \10\ Not be much of a concern: Peter Bergen, ``The terrorists among U.S.,'' ForeignPolicy.com, November 19, 2009. \11\ American-born cleric: ``Sudarsan Raghavan, Cleric says he was confidant to Hasan,'' Washington Post, November 16, 2009. http:// www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/15/ AR2009111503160_pf.html. \12\ Was asking for an edict: Anwar al Awlaki, interview by Abdelela Haidar Shayie, AlJazeera.net, December 23, 2009. Translation by Middle East Media Research Institute, http://www.memrijttm.org/ content/en/report.htm?report=3859%26param=GJN. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6. For Americans fired up by jihadist ideology, American soldiers fighting wars in two Muslim countries are particularly inviting targets. A few months before Hasan's murderous spree, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, an African-American convert to Islam, had shot up a U.S. military recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing a soldier and wounding another. Despite the fact that the FBI had had him under surveillance following a mysterious trip that he had recently taken to Yemen, Muhammad was still able to acquire guns and attack the recruiting station in broad daylight. When Muhammad was arrested in his vehicle, police found a rifle with a laser sight, a revolver, ammunition, and the makings of Molotov cocktails.\13\ (The middle name that Muhammad had assumed after his conversion to Islam, Mujahid, or ``holy warrior,'' should have been a red flag, as this is far from a common name among Muslims.) Daniel Boyd, the alleged leader of the jihadist cell in North Carolina, obtained maps of Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, which he cased for a possible attack on June 12, 2009. He also allegedly possessed armor-piercing ammunition, saying it was ``to attack Americans,'' and said that one of his weapons would be used ``for the base,'' an apparent reference to the Quantico facility.\14\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \13\ U.S. military recruiting station: District Court of Little Rock, Arkansas, County of Pulaski, Affidavit for Search and Seizure Warrant. http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/ 988.pdf. \14\ According to Federal prosecutors: USA v Daniel Patrick Boyd et al Indictment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, filed 7/22/09 http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/ case_docs/1029.pdf; and the superseding indictment in the same case dated September 24, 2009. http://www.investigativeproject.org/ documents/case_docs/1075.pdf --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7. Assassinations of key political leaders, U.S. officials and those who are perceived as insulting Islam. Because we rightly think of al-Qaeda and allied group as preoccupied by inflicting mass casualty attacks we tend to ignore their long history of assassinating or attempting to assassinate key leaders and American officials. Two days before 9/11 al-Qaeda assassinated the storied Afghan military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud; 2 years later they tried to kill Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on two occasions; in 2009 the top Saudi counterterrorism official Mohamed bin Nayef narrowly escaped being killed by an al-Qaeda assassin bearing a concealed bomb; Hamid Karzai has been the subject of multiple Taliban assassination attempts, the leading Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto succumbed to a Taliban suicide bomber in 2007; in 2002 American diplomat Leonard Foley was murdered in Amman, Jordan by al-Qaeda in Iraq, and 6 years later the Taliban killed American aid worker Stephen Vance in Peshawar who was working on a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. It is worth noting here that since 9/11 the U.S. consulate in Karachi has been the subject of three serious attacks; the U.S. consulate in Jeddah the subject of one large-scale attack and the U.S. embassy in Sana, Yemen the subject of two such attacks. As we have seen, Scandinavian cartoonist and artists who have drawn cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed are now frequently targeted by jihadists. For al- Qaeda and allied groups the Danish cartoon controversy has assumed some of the same importance that Salman Rushdie's fictional writings about the Prophet did for Khomeini's Iran two decades earlier. 8. ``Fedayeen'' attacks. The ``success'' of Lashkar-e-Taiba's 60- hour assault on Mumbai in late November 2008 that involved ten gunmen all willing to die in the assault is already producing other similar copycat operations. The long drawn-out attacks in Mumbai produced round-the-clock coverage around the globe, something other terrorist groups want to emulate. Known as ``Fedayeen'' (self-sacrificer) attacks we have already seen in Afghanistan similar Fedayeen attacks on Afghan government buildings and in Pakistan a similar attack in October 2009 against GHQ, the Pakistani military headquarters. 9. A frequent question after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was why didn't al-Qaeda mount an attack on a mall in some Midwestern town, thus showing the American public its ability to attack in Anywheresville, USA? For the Muslims around the globe whom al-Qaeda is trying to influence an attack on an obscure, unknown town in the Midwest would have little impact, which explains al-Qaeda's continuing fixation on attacks on cities and targets well-known in the Islamic world. That explains Zazi's travel to Manhattan from Colorado and al- Qaeda's many attempts to bring down American passenger jets in the past decade. That is not, of course, to say that someone influenced by bin Laden's ideas--but not part of al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates--might not attempt an attack in the future in some obscure American town, but the terrorist organization and its affiliates remains fixated on symbolic targets. D. There are four factors helping jihadist militant groups. 1. Al- Qaeda's ideological influence on other jihadist groups is on the rise in South Asia. One of the key leaders of the Taliban as it surged in strength several years after 9/11 was Mullah Dadullah, a thuggish but effective commander who like his counterpart in Iraq, Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, thrived on killing Shia, beheading his hostages, and media celebrity.\15\ In interviews in 2006, Dadullah conceded what was obvious as the violence dramatically expanded in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2006: that the Taliban had increasingly morphed together tactically and ideologically with al-Qaeda. ``Osama bin Laden, thank God, is alive and in good health. We are in contact with his top aides and sharing plans and operations with each other.''\16\ The Taliban also adopted the playbook of al-Qaeda in Iraq wholesale from 2005 forward, embracing suicide bombers and IED attacks on U.S. and NATO convoys. The Taliban only began deploying suicide attackers in large numbers after the success of such operations in Iraq had become obvious to all. Where once the Taliban had banned television, now they boast an active video propaganda operation named Umar, which posts regular updates to the Web mimicking al-Qaeda's production arm, Al Sahab. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \15\ Between 7,000 to 10,000: Author interview U.S. military official, Kabul Afghanistan, September 2006. \16\ Some 12,000 fighters: BBC News, ``Afghanistan: Taleban second coming,'' June 2, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/ 5029190.stm; In contact with his top aides: CBS News, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, December 29, 2006. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- In 2008 for the first time the Taliban began planning seriously to attack targets in the West. According to Spanish prosecutors, the late leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud sent a team of would- be suicide bombers to Barcelona in January 2008. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar confirmed this in a later videotaped interview in which he said that those suicide bombers ``were under pledge to Baitullah Mehsud'' and were sent because of the Spanish military presence in Afghanistan. In March 2009 Baitullah Mehsud threatened an attack in America telling the Associated Press by phone, ``Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world.'' At the time this was largely discounted as bloviating, but by the end of the year the Pakistan Taliban was training an American recruit for just such an attack. Faisal Shahzad, who had once worked as a financial analyst in the accounting department at the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics company in Stamford, Connecticut, travelled to Pakistan in the winter of 2009 where he received 5 days of bomb-making training from the Taliban in the tribal region of Waziristan. Shahzad, also met with the Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, and a video of the meeting shows the two shaking hands and hugging. Armed with his training by the Taliban Shahzad returned to Connecticut where he purchased a Nissan Pathfinder. He then built a bomb, which he placed in the SUV and detonated in Times Square on May 1, 2010 around 6 p.m. when the sidewalks were thick with tourists and theatergoers. The bomb, which was designed to act as a fuel-air explosive, luckily was a dud and Shahzad was arrested 2 days later as he tried to leave JFK Airport for Pakistan.\17\ Media accounts largely painted Shahzad as a feckless terrorist. In fact Shahzad did a number of things indicating that he had received some at least rudimentary counter-surveillance techniques; he eliminated one of the Vehicle Identification Numbers on his SUV, he purchased the type of fertilizer which would not trigger suspicions that he was building a bomb, and he avoided building a hydrogen peroxide-based bomb of the kind that al- Qaeda recruit Najibullah Zazi was attempting the previous year as large-scale purchases of hydrogen peroxide that don't appear to have legitimate purposes are now likely to draw law enforcement attention. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \17\ Armed with that training and $8,000 in cash: United States of America v. Faisal Shahzad, Plea agreement, Southern District of New York, June 21, 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The extent of the cooperation between the Pakistani Taliban and al- Qaeda could be seen in the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA officers and contractors in the American base at Khost in eastern Afghanistan on December 30, 2009. The suicide bomber, Humam Khalil Abu- Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor, was a double agent: Information he had earlier provided to the CIA was used to target militants in Pakistan.\18\ Two months after Balawi's suicide attack al-Qaeda's video production arm released a lengthy interview with him videotaped some time before he died in which he laid out how he planned to attack the group of agency officials using a bomb made from C-4.\19\ Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the No. 3 in al-Qaeda, praised the suicide attack targeting the CIA officers saying, it was ``to avenge our good martyrs'' and listing several militant leaders felled by U.S. drone strikes,\20\ while the chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, appeared alongside Balawi in a prerecorded video saying the attack was revenge for the drone strike that had killed Hakimullah's predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, 6 months earlier.\21\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \18\ The suicide bomber: Joby Warrick and Pamela Constable, ``CIA base attacked in Afghanistan supported airstrikes against al-Qaeda, Taliban,'' Washington Post, January 1, 2010; ``Bomber Fooled CIA, Family, Jordanian Intelligence,'' Associated Press, January 6, 2010. \19\ How he planned to attack the group: ``An interview with the Shaheed Abu Dujaanah al Khorshani (Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi),'' February 28, 2010, NEFA Foundation. \20\ Avenge our good martyrs: Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, ``Infiltrating the American Fortresses,'' December 31, 2009, NEFA Foundation. http:// www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/nefaAbul-Yazid0110.pdf. \21\ Was revenge: Stephen Farrell, ``Video links Taliban to CIA attack,'' New York Times, January 9, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/ 01/10/world/middleeast/10balawi.html --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Mumbai attacks of 2008 also showed that al-Qaeda's ideas about attacking Western and Jewish targets had also spread to other Pakistani militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which had previously focused only on Indian targets. Over a 3-day period in late November 2008 LeT carried out multiple attacks in Mumbai targeting five-star hotels housing Westerners and a Jewish-American community center. One of the more predictable foreign policy challenges of the next years is a ``Mumbai II'': a large-scale attack on a major Indian city by a Pakistani militant group that kills hundreds. The Indian government showed considerable restraint in its reaction to the provocation of the Mumbai attacks in 2008. Another such attack, however, would likely produce considerable political pressure on the Indian government to ``do something.'' That something would likely involve incursions over the border to eliminate the training camps of Pakistani militant groups with histories of attacking India. That could lead in turn to a full- blown war for the fourth time since 1947 between India and Pakistan. Such a war involves the possibility of a nuclear exchange and the certainty that Pakistan would move substantial resources to its eastern border and away from fighting the Taliban on its western border, so relieving pressure on all the militant groups based there, including al-Qaeda. In June CIA director Leon Panetta told ABC News that al-Qaeda's presence in Afghanistan is now ``relatively small . . . I think at most, we're looking at maybe 50 to 100.'' The following month Mike Leiter, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told an audience in Aspen that there were probably 300 al-Qaeda leaders and fighters in Pakistan. For some, these small numbers suggested that the war against al-Qaeda was already won (let's maybe cite one or two examples here). But this was to overlook three key points: First, al- Qaeda has always been a small elite organization. There were only two hundred sworn members of al-Qaeda at the time of the 9/11 attacks and al-Qaeda's role has always been as an ideological and military vanguard seeking to influence and train other jihadist groups. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, for instance, in the past several years small numbers of al-Qaeda instructors embedded with larger Taliban units have functioned something like U.S. Special Forces do--as trainers and force multipliers.\22\ The second point is that, as we have seen in the preceding paragraphs, al-Qaeda's ideology and tactics have spread to a wide range of large militant groups in South Asia all of which are relatively large--the Taliban in Afghanistan alone is estimated to number 25,000 men, while Lashkar-e-Taiba has thousands of fighting men in its ranks. Finally, al-Qaeda Central has seeded a number of franchises around the Middle East and North Africa that now are acting in an al-Qaeda-like manner with little or no contact with al-Qaeda Central itself; a phenomenon we will examine next. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \22\ Cite to Newsweek story by Sami Yousufzai and Ron Moreau. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. Al-Qaeda Central's influence has extended to jihadist groups beyond South Asia. In September 2009, the Somali Islamist insurgent group Al Shabab formally pledged allegiance to bin Laden \23\ following a 2-year period in which it had recruited Somali-Americans and other U.S. Muslims to fight in the war in Somalia. Six months earlier bin Laden had given his own imprimatur to the Somali jihad in an audiotape released titled ``Fight On, Champions of Somalia.''\24\ After it announced its fealty to bin Laden, Shabab was able to recruit larger numbers of foreign fighters, by one estimate up to 1,200 were working with the group by 2010.\25\ Today, Shabab controls about half of Somalia's territory. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \23\ Formally pledged allegiance: ``Somalia's Shabab proclaim allegiance to bin Laden,'' Agence France Press, September 22, 2009. \24\ His own imprimatur: Osama bin Laden tape, translated by NEFA Foundation, March 19, 2009. http://www.nefafoundation.org/ miscellaneous/nefaubl0309-2.pdf. \25\ Sudarsan Raghavan, ``Foreign fighters gain influence in Somalia's Islamist al-Shabab militia'' Washington Post, June 8, 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Al Shabab managed to plant al-Qaeda-like ideas into the heads of even its American recruits. Shirwa Ahmed, an ethnic Somali, graduated from high school in Minneapolis in 2003, and then worked pushing passengers in wheelchairs at Minneapolis Airport. During this period Ahmed was radicalized; the exact mechanisms of that radicalization are still murky but in late 2007 Ahmed he traveled to Somalia. A year later, on October 29, 2008, Ahmed drove a truck loaded with explosives towards a government compound in Puntland, northern Somalia, blowing himself up and killing about 20 people. The FBI matched Ahmed's finger, recovered at the scene of the bombing, to fingerprints already on file for him.\26\ Ahmed was the first American suicide attacker anywhere. It's possible that 18-year-old Omar Mohamud of Seattle was the second. On September 17, 2009, two stolen United Nations vehicles loaded with bombs blew up at Mogadishu airport, killing more than a dozen peacekeepers of the African Union. The FBI suspected that Mohamud was one of the bombers.\27\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \26\ Ahmed drove a truck: Spencer Hsu and Carrie Johnson, ``Somali Americans recruited by extremists,'' Washington Post, March 11, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/10/ AR2009031003901.html; matched Ahmed's finger: USA vs. Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax, Abdeiweli Yassin Isse, criminal complaint filed October 8, 2009 in U.S. District Court Minnesota. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/ packages/pdf/U.S./20091124_TERROR_DOCS/faarax.pdf. \27\ The FBI suspected: ``FBI investigating Seattleite in suicide bombing,'' Associated Press, September 25, 2009. http:// www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33025395/ns/world_news-terrorism/. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The chances of getting killed in Somalia were quite high for the couple of dozen or so Americans who volunteered to fight there; in addition to the two men who conducted suicide operations, six other Somali-Americans between 18 and 30 years old were killed in Somalia between 2007 and 2009 as well as Ruben Shumpert, an African-American convert to Islam from Seattle.\28\ Given the high death rate of the Americans fighting in Somalia, as well as the considerable attention this group received from the FBI, it was unlikely that American veterans of the Somali war posed much of a threat to the United States itself. It was, however, plausible now that Al Shabab had declared itself to be an al-Qaeda affiliate, that U.S. citizens in the group might be recruited to engage in anti-American operations overseas. Al Shabab has shown that it is capable of carrying out operations outside of Somalia, bombing two groups of fans watching the World Cup in Uganda on July 11, 2010, attacks which killed more than 70. Eight months earlier a 28-year-old Somali man had forced himself into the home of Kurt Westergaard--the Danish cartoonist David Headley was planning to kill--and armed with a knife and an ax tried, unsuccessfully, to break into the panic room where the Danish cartoonist was hiding. Danish intelligence officials say the suspect has links with al-Shabab and al- Qaeda leaders in eastern Africa. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \28\ Six other Somali-Americans: Spencer Hsu, ``Concern grows over recruitment of Somali Americans by Islamists,'' Washington Post, October 4, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/ 2009/10/03/AR2009100302901.html. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- In September 2006 the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat's leader Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, explained that al-Qaeda ``is the only organization qualified to gather together the mujahideen.'' Subsequently taking the name ``Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb'' (AQIM) the group, which had traditionally focused only on Algerian targets, conducted a range of operations; bombing the United Nations building in Algiers; attacking the Israeli embassy in Mauritania, and murdering French and British hostages.\29\ AQIM has hitherto not been able to carry out attacks in the West and is one of the weakest of al-Qaeda's affiliates, only having the capacity for infrequent attacks in North Africa. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \29\ Only organization qualified: Quoted in Peter Bergen, ``Where you bin?'' The New Republic, January 29, 2006. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- In 2008 there was a sense that Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was on the verge of defeat. The American ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker said, ``You are not going to hear me say that al-Qaeda is defeated, but they've never been closer to defeat than they are now.'' Certainly al- AQI has lost the ability to control large swaths of the country and a good chunk of the Sunni population as it did in 2006, but the group has proven surprisingly resilient as demonstrated by the that it pulled off large-scale bombings in central Baghdadin 2009 and 2010. AQI can also play the nationalist card quite effectively in the north, especially over the disputed city of Kirkuk, which is claimed by both Iraq's Arabs and Kurd, and Iraqi officials believe that AQI is entering into new marriages of convenience with Sunni nationalist groups that only 3 years ago it was at war with. It is worth noting that in the first 3 months of 2010 the National Counterterrorism Center found that there were more terrorist attacks in Iraq--566--than any other country in the world; attacks that killed 667 people. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was the group responsible for Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab's botched attempt to explode a bomb on Northwest flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas day 2009. Abdulmutallab boarded the flight in Amsterdam, which was bound for Detroit with some three hundred passengers and crew on board. Secreted in his underwear was a bomb made with 80 grams of PETN, a plastic explosive that was not detected at airport security in Amsterdam or the Nigerian capital, Lagos, from where he had originally flown. He also carried a syringe with a chemical initiator that would set off the bomb.\30\ As the plane neared Detroit the young man tried to initiate his bomb with the chemical, setting himself on fire and suffering severe burns. Some combination of his own ineptitude, faulty bomb construction, and the quick actions of the passengers and crew who subdued him and extinguished the fire prevented an explosion that might have brought down the plane, which would have crashed near Detroit killing all on board and also likely killing additional Americans on the ground. Immediately after he was arrested Abdulmutallab told investigators that the explosive device ``was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used.''\31\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \30\ On Christmas day: Anahad O'Connor and Eric Schmitt, ``Terror attempt seen as man tries to ignore device on jet,'' New York Times, December 26, 2009; 80 grams of PETN, prominent Nigerian family: Carrie Johnson, ``Explosive in Detroit terror case could have blown hole in airplane, sources say,'' Washington Post, December 29, 2009; recently graduated: ``Bomb suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on UK watch-list,'' BBC, December 29, 2009; originally flown from: ``Key dates surrounded the Christmas Day attack,'' Associated Press, December 30, 2009, http:/ /www.wtop.com/?nid=116&sid=1851004; carried a syringe: Richard Esposito and Brian Ross, ``Photos of the Northwest Airlines Flight 253 bomb,'' ABC News, December 28, 2009. http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=9436297. \31\ Quick actions, acquired in Yemen: ``Yemeni diplomat: Yemen can carry out airstrikes against al-Qaeda,'' CNN.com, December 30, 2009. http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/12/30/U.S..yemen.strikes/ index.html. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Northwest Airlines plot had been presaged in virtually every detail a few months earlier several thousand miles to the east of Detroit. On August 28, 2009 the Saudi Arabian deputy minister of interior, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, survived a bombing attack launched by AQAP. Because he leads Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda, the prince is a key target for the terrorist group. Prince Nayef was responsible for overseeing the kingdom's terrorist rehabilitation program, and some two dozen important members of al- Qaeda had previously surrendered to him in person. Abdullah Hassan al- Asiri, the would-be assassin, a Saudi who had fled to Yemen, posed as a militant willing to surrender personally to Prince Nayef.\32\ During the month of Ramadan, traditionally a time of repentance in the Muslim world, Asiri gained an audience with the prince at his private residence in Jeddah, presenting himself as someone who could also persuade other militants to surrender. Pretending that he was reaching out to those militants, Asiri briefly called some members of al-Qaeda to tell them that he was standing by Prince Nayef. After he finished the call, the bomb blew up, killing Asiri but only slightly injuring the prince, who was a few feet away from his would-be assassin. A Saudi government official characterized the prince's narrow escape as a ``miracle.''\33\ According to the official Saudi investigation, Asiri concealed the bomb in his underwear, which was made of PETN, the same plastic explosive that would be used in the Detroit case, and he exploded the hundred-gram device using a detonator with a chemical fuse, as Abdulmutallab would attempt to do on the Northwest flight. Prince Nayef's assassin also had had to pass through metal detectors before he was able to secure an audience with the prince. Shortly after both the failed attacks on Prince Nayef and the Northwest passenger jet, AQAP took credit for the operations and released photographs of the two bombers taken while they were in Yemen. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \32\ On August 28: Peter Bergen, ``Similar explosive used in Saudi attack,'' CNN.com, December 27, 2009. http://www.cnn.com/2009/U.S./12/ 27/bergen.terror.plot/index.html. \33\ Responsible for overseeing, traditionally a time or repentance, briefly called, only slightly injuring, a miracle: Peter Bergen, ``Saudi investigation: would-be assassin hid bomb in underwear,'' CNN.com, September 30, 2009. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/ WORLD/meast/09/30/saudi.arabia.attack/index.html. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- If Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had succeeded in bringing down Northwest Airlines flight 253, the bombing not only would have killed hundreds but would also have had a large effect on the U.S. economy already reeling from the effect of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and would have devastated the critical aviation and tourism businesses. And if the attack had succeeded it would also have likely dealt a crippling blow to Obama's presidency. According to the White House's own review of the Christmas day plot, there was sufficient information known to the U.S. Government to determine that Abdulmutallab was likely working for al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and that the group was looking to expand its terrorist attacks beyond the Arabian Peninsula.\34\ Yet the intelligence community ``did not increase analytic resources working'' on that threat, while information about the possible use of a PETN bomb by the Yemeni group was well- known within the National security establishment, including to John Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser who was personally briefed by Prince Nayef about the assassination attempt against him.\35\ As Obama admitted in a meeting of his National security team a couple of weeks after the Christmas day plot, ``We dodged a bullet.''\36\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \34\ White House's own review: Summary of the White House Review of the December 25, 2009 Attempted Terrorist Attack, p. 2. http:// www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/white-house-review-summary- regarding-12252009-attempted-terrorist-attack. \35\ Assassination attempt: John Brennan, White House press conference, Washington, DC, January 7, 2010. http://www.whitehouse.gov/ the-press-office/briefing-homeland-security-secretary-napolitano- assistant-president-counterterroris. \36\ Dodged a bullet: Jake Tapper, Karen Travers, and Huma Khan, ``Obama: system failed in a `potentially disastrous way,' '' ABC News, January 5, 2010. http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=9484260. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3. Preservation of al-Qaeda's top leaders. The two key leaders of the organization, bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, are still at liberty. Why does this matter? First, there is the matter of justice for the almost 3,000 people who died in the September 11 attacks and for the thousands of other victims of al-Qaeda's attacks around the world. Second, every day that bin Laden remains at liberty is a propaganda victory for al-Qaeda. Third, although bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri aren't managing al-Qaeda's operations on a daily basis, they guide the overall direction of the jihadist movement around the world, even while they are in hiding through videotapes and audiotapes that they continue to release on a regular basis. Those messages from al-Qaeda's leaders have reached untold millions worldwide via television, the internet, and newspapers. The tapes have not only instructed al-Qaeda's followers to continue to kill Westerners and Jews, but some also carried specific instructions that militant cells then acted on. In March 2008, for instance, bin Laden denounced the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish newspaper, which he said would soon be avenged. Three months later, an al-Qaeda suicide attacker bombed the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, killing six. 4. Our overreactions can play into the hands of the jihadist groups. When al-Qaeda and affiliated groups can provoke a massive amount of overwrought media coverage based on attacks that don't even succeed--such as the near-miss on Christmas day 2009--we are doing their work for them. The person who seems to best understand the benefits of American overreaction is bin Laden himself, who in 2004 said on a tape that aired on al Jazeera: All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations. American officials and the wider public should realize that by the law of averages al-Qaeda or an affiliate will succeed in getting some kind of attack through in the next years, and the best response to that would be to demonstrate that we as a society are resilient and are not be intimidated by such actions. There are five negative factors for al-Qaeda and allied groups: 1. Drone attacks. In 2007, there were three drone strikes in Pakistan; in 2008, there were 34; and, by the date of this hearing on September 15, 2010, the Obama administration has already authorized 114. Since the summer of 2008 U.S. drones have killed scores of lower-ranking militants and at least a dozen mid- and upper-level leaders within al- Qaeda or the Taliban in Pakistan's tribal regions. One of them was Abu Laith Al-Libi, who orchestrated a 2007 suicide attack targeting Vice President Dick Cheney while he was visiting Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Libi was then described as the No. 3 man in the al-Qaeda hierarchy, perhaps the most dangerous job in the world, given that the half-dozen or so men who have occupied that position since 9/11 have ended up dead or in prison. Other leading militants killed in the drone strikes include Abu Haris, al-Qaeda's chief in Pakistan; Khalid Habib, Abu Zubair Al-Masri, and Abdullah Azzam Al-Saudi, all of whom were senior members of Al-Qaeda; Abu Jihad Al-Masri, al-Qaeda's propaganda chief; and Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an insurgent group with long ties to al-Qaeda, and Baitullah Mehsud, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban. None of the strikes, however, have targeted bin Laden. Officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations have been leery of discussing the highly classified drone program on the record, but a window into their thinking was provided by the remarks of then- CIA director Michael Hayden on November 13, 2008, as the drone program was in full swing. ``By making a safe haven feel less safe, we keep al- Qaeda guessing. We make them doubt their allies; question their methods, their plans, even their priorities.'' This strategy seems to have worked, at least up to a point. Since the summer of 2008 when the drone program was ramped up, law enforcement authorities have uncovered only two plots against American targets traceable back to Pakistan's tribal regions (the Zazi and Shahzad cases mentioned above). However, Western militants have continued to travel to the tribal regions where, by one estimate, as many as 150 Westerners have sought training in recent years, including 30 or so German citizens or residents. The drone program has certainly put additional pressure on al-Qaeda's propaganda arm and its top leaders. Al-Qaeda takes its propaganda operations seriously; bin Laden has observed that 90 percent of his battle is waged in the media, and Zawahiri has made similar comments. In 2007, al-Qaeda's video production arm As-Sahab had a banner year, releasing almost 100 tapes. But the year the drone program was expanded the number of releases dropped by half in 2008, indicating that the group's leaders were more concerned with survival than public relations. According to IntelCenter, a Washington-based group that tracks jihadist propaganda in 2010 Layman al Zawahiri released the fewest number of tapes in 7 years--only two audiotapes as opposed to nine audiotapes and one video in 2009--while other al-Qaeda leaders like bin Laden and Abu Yaha al-Libi similarly have fallen relatively silent this year. According to a counterterrorism official the fact that bin Laden and Zawahiri are saying so little is causing some criticism of the leaders of al-Qaeda within the organization itself. These critics say that it is worrisome that their leaders are saying so little and are not managing the organization. Some have gone so far as to say ``it would be helpful if the boss gave a damn,'' according to this counterterrorism official. When Faisal Shahzad travelled to Pakistan to link up with the Taliban in the winter of 2009 he spent a total of 40 days in the Taliban heartland of Waziristan but he only spent 5 days actually being trained, which likely accounts for his lack of skills as a bomb-maker. This abbreviated training schedule may have been the result of the pressure that the drone program is putting on militants in Pakistan's tribal regions, including Waziristan. The well-known fact that the drones have killed hundreds of militants in Pakistan's border regions is also having an effect on where western militants-including from the United States--are seeking training, some increasingly opting to go to Somalia and Yemen, according to a counterterrorism official. 2. Increasingly negative Pakistani attitudes and actions against the militants based on their territory. If there is a silver lining to the militant atrocities that have plagued Pakistan in the past several years it is the fact that the Pakistani public, government, and military are increasingly seeing the jihadist militants on their territory in a hostile light. The Taliban's assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the country's most popular politician; al-Qaeda's bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad; the attack on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore; the widely circulated video images of the Taliban flogging a 17-year-old girl--each of these has provoked real revulsion among the Pakistani public, which is, in the main, utterly opposed to the militants. In fact, historians will likely record the Taliban's decision to move earlier this year from the Swat Valley into Buner District, only 60 miles from Islamabad, as the tipping point that finally galvanized the sclerotic Pakistani state to confront the fact that the jihadist monster it had helped to spawn was now trying to swallow its creator. The subsequent military operation to evict the Taliban from Buner and Swat was not seen by the Pakistani public as the army acting on behalf of the United States as was often the case in previous such operations, but something that was in their own national interest. Support for Pakistani army operations against the Taliban in Swat increased from 28 percent 2 years ago to 69 percent today. Support for suicide bombing has dropped from 33 percent to 8 percent in Pakistan over the past several years and the number of Pakistanis who feel that the Taliban and al-Qaeda operating in Pakistan are a ``serious problem'' has risen from 57 percent to 86 percent since 2007. After having suffered three defeats in the tribal region of South Waziristan over the course of the previous 5 years, the Pakistani army went in there again in October 2009, this time with a force of at least thirty thousand troops, following several months of bombing of Taliban positions.\37\ These operations were done with the support of at least half of the Pakistani public, which did not view them as being done solely for the benefit of the United States, as previous military operations against the Taliban had generally been seen.\38\ The changing attitudes of the Pakistani public, military, and government constitutes arguably the most significant strategic shift against al- Qaeda and its allies in the past several years as it will have a direct impact on the terrorist organization and allied groups that are headquartered in Pakistan. However, changing attitudes in Pakistan do not mean, for the moment, that the Pakistani military will do much to move against the Taliban groups on their territory that are attacking U.S. and other NATO forces in Afghanistan such as Mullah Omar's Quetta shura, the Haqqani network and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezbi-Islami.& --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \37\ At least 30,000 troops: Karin Bruillard, ``Pakistan launches full-scale offensive,'' Washington Post, October 18, 2009, http:// www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/17/ AR2009101700673.html. \38\ Previous military operations: For an account of those operations see Sameer Lalwani, ``The Pakistani military's adaptation to counterinsurgency in 2009,'' CTC Sentinel, January 2010, and for Pakistani public support of these operations see ``Military action in Waziristan: opinion poll,'' Gilani Poll/Gallup Pakistan, November 3, 2009. www.gallup.com.pk/Polls/03-11-09.pdf. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3. Increasingly hostile attitudes towards al-Qaeda and allied groups in the Muslim world in general. Hostility to militant jihadist groups is growing sharply in much of the Muslim world today. This is because most of the victims of these groups are Muslim civilians. This has created a dawning recognition among Muslims that the ideological virus that unleashed September 11 and the terrorist attacks in London and Madrid is the same virus now wreaking havoc in the Muslim world in countries like Pakistan and Iraq. It is human nature to be concerned mostly with threats that directly affect one's own interests and so as jihadi terrorists started to target the governments and civilians of Muslim countries this led to a hardening of attitudes against them. Until the terrorist attacks of May 2003 in Riyadh, for instance, the Saudi government was largely in denial about its large-scale al-Qaeda problem. There have been some 20 terrorist attacks since then in the Kingdom and as a result the Saudi government has taken aggressive steps--arresting thousands of suspected terrorists, killing more than a hundred, implementing an expansive public information campaign against them, and arresting preachers deemed to be encouraging militancy. A similar process has happened in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, where Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaeda affiliate there, is more or less out of business; its leaders in jail or dead, and its popular legitimacy close to zero. Polling around the Muslim world shows also sharp drops in support for Osama bin Laden personally and for suicide bombings in general. Support for suicide bombings has dropped in Indonesia, for instance, from 26 percent to 15 percent in the past 8 years and in Jordan from 43 percent to 20 percent. 4. Jihadist ideologues and erstwhile militant allies have now also turned against al-Qaeda. It's not just Muslim publics who have turned against al-Qaeda; it is also some of the religious scholars and militants whom the organization has relied upon in the past for various kinds of support. Around the sixth anniversary of September 11, Sheikh Salman Al Awdah, a leading Saudi religious scholar, addressed al- Qaeda's leader on MBC, a widely watched Middle East TV network: ``My brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocent people, children, elderly, and women have been killed . . . in the name of Al- Qaeda? Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions [of victims] on your back?'' What was noteworthy about Al Awdah's statement was that it was not simply a condemnation of terrorism, or even of September 11, but that it was a personal rebuke, which clerics in the Muslim world have shied away from. Al Awdah's rebuke was also significant because he is considered one of the fathers of the Sahwa, the fundamentalist awakening movement that swept through Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. Similarly, leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was once loosely aligned with al-Qaeda, in 2009 officially turned against the groups' ideology of global jihad and made a peace deal with the Libyan government. 5. Al-Qaeda's four key strategic problems. Encoded in the DNA of apocalyptic jihadist groups like al-Qaeda are the seeds of their own long-term destruction: Their victims are often Muslim civilians; they don't offer a positive vision of the future (but rather the prospect of Taliban-style regimes from Morocco to Indonesia); they keep expanding their list of enemies, including any Muslim who doesn't precisely share their world view; and they seem incapable of becoming politically successful movements because their ideology prevents them from making the real-world compromises that would allow them to engage in genuine politics. a. Al-Qaeda keeps killing Muslims civilians. This is a double whammy for al-Qaeda as the Koran forbids killing civilians and fellow Muslims. b. Al-Qaeda has not created a genuine mass political movement. While bin Laden enjoys some personal popularity in the Muslim world that does not translate into mass support for al-Qaeda in the manner that Hezbollah enjoys such support in Lebanon. That is not surprising-- there are no al-Qaeda social welfare services, schools, hospitals, or clinics. c. Al-Qaeda's leaders have constantly expanded their list of enemies. Al-Qaeda has said at various times that it is opposed to all Middle Eastern regimes; Muslims who don't share their views; the Shia; most Western countries; Jews and Christians; the governments of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Russia; most news organizations; the United Nations; and international NGOs. It's very hard to think of a category of person, institution, or government that al-Qaeda does not oppose. Making a world of enemies is never a winning strategy. d. Al-Qaeda has no positive vision. We know what bin Laden is against, but what's he really for? If you asked him, he would say the restoration of the caliphate. In practice that means Taliban-style theocracies stretching from Indonesia to Morocco. A silent majority of Muslims don't want that. Al-Qaeda is, in short, losing the war of ideas in the Islamic world, although as Bruce Hoffman has pointed out, even terrorist groups with little popular support or legitimacy such as the Baader-Meinhof gang in 1970s Germany can continue to carry out frequent terror attacks. Chairman Thompson. Thank you very much. Dr. Hoffman. STATEMENT OF BRUCE HOFFMAN, PROFESSOR, EDMUND A. WALSH SCHOOL OF FOREIGN SERVICE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY Mr. Hoffman. Thank you, Chairman Thompson, Members of the committee, for the opportunity to present the findings of the report prepared for the National Security Preparedness Group titled ``Assessing the Terrorist Threat'' that I wrote with Peter Bergen with the invaluable assistance of Stephen Flynn. Before I begin, let me say that I might disagree with the Ranking Member and, indeed, with my dear and old friend Peter Bergen. If I were sitting in this chair on September 10, 2001 I would have testified that it was very unlikely al-Qaeda had the capability to attack the United States. If I had been sitting in this chair exactly a year ago, September 2009, I would have told you that I am sure a group like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula similarly lacked the capability to attack the United States. So if 34 years of studying terrorism has taught me anything it is, it is not a state of pessimism, but it is the words of that great patriot and our hero, Thomas Jefferson, that ``the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.'' But let me tell you why I think the situation is one that is cause for concern. Last year was a watershed in terrorist attacks and plots in the United States with a record total of 11 jihadi attacks, jihadi-inspired plots, or efforts by Americans to travel overseas to obtain terrorist training. They included two actual attacks at Fort Hood, Texas, which claimed the lives of 13 people and the shooting of two U.S. military recruiters in Little Rock, Arkansas; five serious but disrupted plots; and four incidents involving groups of Americans conspiring to travel abroad to receive terrorist training. As Peter said, according to our count in 2009 at least 43 American citizens or residents aligned with Sunni militant groups or their ideology were charged or convicted of terrorist crimes in the United States or elsewhere, the highest number in any year since 9/11. So far in 2010 20 have been similarly charged or convicted. The conventional wisdom has long been that America was immune to the heady currents of radicalization affecting both immigrant and indigenous Muslim communities elsewhere in the West. That has now been shattered by the succession of cases that have recently come to light of terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States, and while it must be emphasized that the number of U.S. citizens and residents affected or influenced in this manner remains extremely small, at the same time the sustained and growing number of individuals heeding these calls is nonetheless alarming. Given this list of incidents involving homegrown radicals, lone wolves, and trained terrorist recruits the United States is arguably now little different from Europe in terms of having a domestic terrorist problem involving immigrants and indigenous Muslims as well as converts to Islam. The diversity of these latest foot soldiers in the wars of terrorism being waged against the United States underscores how much the terrorist threat has changed since September 11, 2001. In the past year alone the United States has seen affluent suburban Americans and the progeny of hardworking immigrants gravitate to terrorism. Persons of color and Caucasians have done so; women along with men; good students and well-educated individuals, and high school dropouts and jailbirds; persons born in the United States or variously in Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, and Somalia; teenage boys pumped up with testosterone and middle-age divorcees. The only common denominator appears to be a newfound hatred for their native or adopted country, a degree of dangerous malleability, and a religious fervor justifying or legitimizing violence that impels these very impressionable and perhaps easily-influenced individuals towards potentially lethal acts of violence. Al-Qaeda and its Pakistani, Somali, and Yemeni allies arguably have been able now to accomplish the unthinkable-- establishing at least an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization, and operational infrastructure in the United States with effects both at home and abroad. By working through its local allies the group has now allowed them to coopt American citizens in the broader al-Qaeda battlefield. It is fundamentally troubling, given this collection of new threats and new adversaries directly targeting America, that there remains no Federal Government agency or department specifically charged with identifying radicalization and interdicting the recruitment of U.S. citizens or residents for terrorism. As one senior intelligence analyst who we spoke with told us, ``There is no lead agency or person. There are First Amendment issues we are cognizant of. It is not a crime to radicalize, only when it turns to violence. There are groups of people looking at different aspects of counter-radicalization but it has to be integrated across agencies, across levels of government, public-private cooperation,'' which unfortunately we found it is not. America is thus vulnerable to a threat that is not only diversifying but, arguably, intensifying. Our long-held belief that homegrown terrorism couldn't happen here has thus created a situation where we are today, stumbling blindly through the legal, operational, and organizational minefield of countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States. Moreover, rather than answers we now have a long list of pressing questions on this emerging threat, on our response, and on the capacity of the National security architecture we currently have in place to meet it. In short, the threat that the United States is facing is different than it was 9 years ago. It has also changed and evolved since the 9/11 Commission presented its report 6 long years ago. Today America faces a dynamic threat that is diversified to a broad array of attacks, from shootings to car bombs to simultaneous suicide attacks to attempted in-flight bombing of passenger aircraft. Thank you very much. [The statement of Mr. Hoffman follows:] Prepared Statement of Bruce Hoffman 15 September 2010 Several disquieting trends converged in New York City's fabled Times Square entertainment district on Saturday evening, May 1, 2010.\1\ First, a foreign terrorist group, with a hitherto local agenda and otherwise parochial aims, once more stretched its wings and sought to operate on a broader, more ambitious global canvas. Second, the conventional wisdom, which has long held that the threat to the United States was primarily external; involving foreigners coming from overseas to kill Americans in this country as had occurred on September 11, 2001, was once again shattered. Third, the belief that the American ``melting pot''--our historical capacity to readily absorb new immigrants--would provide a ``fire-wall'' against radicalization and recruitment has fallen by the wayside. Finally, al-Qaeda and its allies have embraced a strategy of attrition that is deliberately designed to overwhelm, distract, and exhaust its adversaries. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ See United States Of America v. Faisal Shahzad, Defendant, Case 1:10-mj-00928-UA Filed 4 May 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thus, the Times Square incident, despite initial claims to the contrary, was not a ``one off'' event perpetrated by an individual variously described as ``isolated'' or a ``lone wolf'' but rather is part of an emerging pattern of terrorism that directly threatens the United States and presents new and even more formidable challenges to our National security.\2\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \2\ See the statements by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, `` `This Week' Transcript: McKay, Napolitano, Salazar and Allen,'' ABC News, 2 May 2010 accessed at: http://www.abcnews.go.com/ print?id=10532649; Denis McDonough, Chief of Staff of the National Security Council on ``News Hour,'' Public Broadcasting System, 5 May 2010 accessed at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour.bb/law/jan-june10/ timessquare2_05-05.html; and, General David H. Petraeus in Yochi J. Dreazen and Evan Perez, ``Suspect Cites Radical Iman's Writings,'' Wall Street Journal, 6 May 2010. See also, Joseph Berger, ``Pakistani Taliban Behind Times Sq. Plot, Holder Says,'' New York Times, 9 May 2010 accessed at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/us/politics/ 10holder.html; and, Associated Press, ``Gen. Petraeus: Times Square bomber acted alone,'' 7 May 2010 accessed at: http://www.google.com/ hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iXN8wcxfFxkTe1TWhZtNClI5XW3QD9FI85E00. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- LOCAL GROUPS WITH NEW GLOBAL AMBITIONS IN ALLIANCE WITH OLD ENEMIES This was precisely the message that Faisal Shahzad sought to convey when he appeared before a New York Federal District Court in June 2010. Declaring himself a ``holy warrior'' (mujahid) and a ``Muslim soldier,'' who had been deployed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP, or Pakistani Taliban) to wage what he called a ``war'' in the United States, Shahzad described himself as ``part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing Muslim nations and the Muslim people.'' He further promised that if Washington did not cease invading Muslim lands and did not withdraw from Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, still more attacks on the United States would follow. Americans, Shahzad explained, ``don't see the drones killing children in Afghanistan . . . [They] only care about their people, but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.'' In his view, this means that attacks on children and innocents are both justified and should be expected.\3\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ Quotes taken from Jerry Markon, ``Guilty plea in failed Times Square bombing; Shahzad warns of more attacks unless U.S. leaves Muslim countries,'' Washington Post, 22 June 2010; Ron Scherer, ``Faisal Shahzad calls Times Square bomb plot `war,' pleads guilty,'' Christian Science Monitor (Boston), 21 June 2010; and, ``Shahzad pleads guilty to Times Square bombing charges,'' CNN.com, 21 June 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- While it is perhaps tempting to dismiss Shahzad's threats as the irrelevant ranting of an incompetent wannabe terrorist, he and his likely successors present the most serious challenge to the security of the United States and the safety of its citizens and residents since the September 11, 2001, attacks. There are at least three good reasons for taking Shahzad at his word. One, Shahzad's attack may have been rushed and therefore botched, but that does not mean it was not deadly serious. The grand jury investigation into the Times Square plot revealed that the Pakistani Taliban--beyond any doubt a formidable terrorist force in Pakistan-- provided Shahzad with explosives and other training in Waziristan, Pakistan during December 2009.\4\ The training was arguably too cursory and too compressed in terms of instructional to provide Shahzad with the requisite skills needed to succeed in Times Square last May. But we can be certain that the terrorist movement responsible for deploying the next attacker to the United States will provide that person with the requisite training to ensure the success of that forthcoming attack. ``A successful Faisal Shahzad,'' a senior local law enforcement intelligence analyst told us, ``is our worst case scenario.''\5\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \4\ United States District Court Southern District of New York, United States of America v. Faisal Shahzad, 17 June 2010. \5\ Interview with NSPG, 8 July 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- In this respect, terrorists play the odds: thus perhaps explaining the seeming ``amateurish'' dimension of the Times Square plot. What appeared as ``amateurish'' to many Americans may thus in fact be more a reflection of the attack having been rushed and the perpetrator too hastily deployed. At a time when the capability of the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan are being relentlessly degraded by U.S. drone attacks this make sense. Both groups may feel pressed to implement an operation either sooner or more precipitously than they might otherwise prefer. Fears of the would-be attacker being identified and interdicted by authorities may thus account for what appears to be a more compressed operational tempo and faster ``soup to nuts'' process by which a recruit is radicalized, trained, and operationally deployed. The complaint sworn against Shahzad in Federal court revealed a very fast 4-month process from planning to training to Times Square.\6\ The Pakistani Taliban as well as al-Qaeda may thus be prepared to accept this trade-off of shorter training periods leading to accelerated plots though less reliable operations in order to dispatch ``clean skin'' recruits before they can be identified, detected, and stopped. For the terrorists groups behind such plots, this arguably represents an acceptable risk for a potentially huge return on a very modest investment. They will have expended little effort and energy training operatives like Shahzad who present them with new, attractive low-cost opportunities to strike in the United States. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \6\ United States of America v. Faisal Shahzad, Defendant, Case 1:10-mj-00928-UA Filed 4 May 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- These groups may also pin their faiths and hopes on eventually simply getting lucky. Over a quarter of a century ago, the Irish Republican Army famously taunted then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher after its bombers failed to kill her at the 1984 Conservative Party conference in Brighton, England with the memorable words: ``Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.''\7\ Al-Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban and their allies doubtless have embraced the same logic. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \7\ Quoted in Peter Taylor, Brits (London: Bloomsbury, 2001), p. 256. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Two, a Times Square-style plot is by no means an expensive proposition for any terrorist group to undertake. The grand jury indictment details how two payments totaling approximately $12,000-- roughly the same cost of the 7 July 2005 suicide attacks on London transport were effortlessly transferred from overseas bank accounts to Shahzad via locations in Massachusetts and New York State on two separate occasions. Given the minimal cost of orchestrating such an operation, foreign terrorist groups will likely continue to regard U.S. homeland operations as both desirable and at least financially feasible options. They also understand that even failed plots, such as Shahzad's bungled effort can still pay vast dividends in terms of publicity and attention. Such incidents again virtually guarantee a disproportionate return on a very modest investment given the febrile media coverage that they generate; the heightened security measures that invariably follow in their wake; and, the widespread fear and concern and that remain. Three, as Shahzad's own words proclaim, his attempted attack should not be regarded as a ``one-off'' or an isolated incident perpetrated by a lone individual acting on his own, but as part of a continuing effort by al-Qaeda and its allies to target the United States. This was made clear in the superseding indictment filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on 7 July 2010 in connection with the terrorist plot uncovered the previous September to attack the New York City subway. That indictment unambiguously details a plot directed by ``leaders of al- Qaeda's external operations program dedicated to terrorist attacks in the United States and other Western countries'' and involving an ``American-based al-Qaeda cell.'' It further describes how the plot was organized by three longstanding and well known senior al-Qaeda operatives--Saleh al-Somali, Adnan El Shukrijumah, and Rashid Rauf.\8\ All three are well known to al-Qaeda watchers. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \8\ United States District Court Eastern District of New York, United States of America v. Adis Medunjanin, Abid Nasser, Adnan El Shukrijumah, Tariq Ur Rehman, and FNU LNU, 7 July 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- According to the indictment, Al-Somali and Shukrijumah were directly responsible for recruiting Zazi, the Afghan native and former New York City pushcart operator turned Denver, Colorado airport limousine driver, as well as two of his fellow conspirators, and former classmates from Flushing, New York High School, Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin. While in Pakistan, Zazi, Ahmedzay, and Medunjanin received instruction from al-Qaeda trainers in the fabrication of improvised explosive devices using such commercially available materials as hydrogen peroxide (e.g., hair bleach), acetone, flour, and oil to carry out the suicide bomb attacks planned for the New York City subway in September 2009. Zazi pleaded guilty to his role in the New York subway plot last February 2010; Ahmedzay similarly pleaded guilty in April 23, 2010. It is significant that both Zazi as well as Shahzad had tribal and family ties in Pakistan that they used to make contact either with al- Qaeda or the Pakistani jihadi groups. These links greatly facilitated their recruitment. British authorities have always regarded the high- volume traffic between Britain and Pakistan, involving upwards of 400,000 persons annually, as providing prime opportunities for the radicalization and recruitment of British citizens and residents. These same concerns now exist among U.S. authorities given the ease with which Zazi and Shahzad readily make contact with both Pakistan-based terrorist movements.\9\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \9\ Interview with NSPG, 8 July 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Four, the Times Square plot marked the second time in less than 6 months that a local group whom it was believed lacked the capability to operate outside its traditional battleground has struck. On Christmas day, a young Nigerian student named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, acting at the behest of another close al-Qaeda ally, the aforementioned al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), nearly succeeded in bringing down a Northwest Airlines flight in the skies over America. As a senior Obama administration official responsible for counterterrorism explained shortly afterward, ``AQAP was looked upon as a lethal organization, but one focused [only] on the Arabian Peninsula. We thought they would attack our embassy in Yemen or Saudi Arabia''--not in the skies over America.\10\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \10\ Interview with NSPG, 26 January 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nor should we have been surprised by the Pakistani Taliban's role behind the abortive Times Square attack. This was not the first international terrorist operation that the same group has been involved.\11\ In January 2008 Spanish authorities thwarted a plot orchestrated by the late Beitullah Mehsud, then commander of the Pakistani Taliban and a close confederate of al-Qaeda, to attack the Barcelona subway system.\12\ As Spain's leading counterterrorism magistrate, Judge Baltasar Garzon, had stated, ``That these people were ready to go into action as terrorists in Spain--that came as a surprise. In my opinion, the jihadi threat from Pakistan is the biggest emerging threat we are facing in Europe. Pakistan is an ideological and training hotbed for jihadists, and they are being exported here.''\13\ Judge Garzon could just as easily have been discussing the Times Square plot and the threat from Pakistani jihadis to the United States. The Pakistani Taliban in fact had already repeatedly threatened to attack in the United States in retaliation for the escalated drone attacks that have targeted the group's leaders.\14\ Such threats were too readily dismissed. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \11\ See, for example, Karin Brulliard and Pamela Constable, ``Militant factions with global aims are spreading roots throughout Pakistan,'' Washington Post, 10 May 2010; and, Anne E. Kornblut and Karin Brulliard, ``U.S. blames Pakistani Taliban for Times Square bomb plot,'' Washington Post, 10 May 2010. \12\ Jean-Pierre Perrin ``Al-Qa'ida Has Lost Its Footing: Interview with Jean-Pierre Filiu'', Liberation (Paris), 6 May 2010; and, Douglas Farah, ``Analysis of the Spanish Suicide Bombers Case,'' NEFA, 22 February 2008. \13\ Quoted in Farah, ``Analysis of the Spanish Suicide Bombers Case''. \14\ See Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, ``The Taliban's Threats,'' Newsweek (New York), 1 April 2009; Zahid Hussain and Jeremy Page, ``Taleban: we will launch attack on America that will amaze the world,'' The Times (London), 1 April 2009; and, ``Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud threats U.S. months after `death','' Daily Telegraph (London), 3 May 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Obama administration has thus now twice been caught either underestimating or dismissing the possibility that local terrorist groups may harbour grander international aspirations--to attack in the United States itself as well as against American targets overseas. The Bush administrations similarly believed that al-Qaeda was not able to strike at the United States in this country before the September 11, 2001, attacks. AMERICA'S NEW--AND GROWING--HOMEGROWN THREAT Last year was a watershed in terrorist threats and plots in the United States. A record eleven jihadi incidents, jihadi-inspired plots or efforts by Americans to travel overseas to obtain terrorist training, and one tragically successful attack at Fort Hood, Texas, that claimed the lives of 13 persons, occurred. Furthermore, last year at least 25 persons were indicted in the United States on terrorism charges \15\--another record (according to CBS News ``60 Minutes,'' the number is over 40).\16\ Thus far in 2010 at least as many such episodes have already occurred as throughout the entirety of 2009. It is therefore difficult to see the Times Square incident as a ``one-off'' or an isolated phenomenon when an average of one plot is now being uncovered per month in the past 18 months--and perhaps even more are being hatched that we don't yet know about. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \15\ Interview with NSPG, 20 July 2010. \16\ Steve Kroft, ``Homegrown Terror,'' 60 Minutes, CBS News, 9 May 2010 accessed at: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/ ?id=6470178n&tag=contentMain;cbsCarousel. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- By any metric, this is an unprecedented development. While many of the incidents involved clueless incompetents engaged in half-baked conspiracies, as previously noted, some of the plans alarmingly evidenced the influence of an identifiable terrorist command-and- control apparatus. We thus see a spectrum of adversaries today arrayed against the United States. At the low end, they include individuals simply inspired, motivated, and animated to engage in terrorist attacks completely on their own--such as the plot by four prison parolees and Muslim converts to bomb two synagogues in New York City and an upstate Air National Guard base; the attempt by a Jordanian national who overstayed his visa to bomb a Dallas office building; or a similarly far-fetched plan by another Muslim convert to bomb a Federal courthouse in Springfield, Illinois. But in other instances, as we have seen, terrorist groups either actively recruited individuals in the United States, deliberately motivated others to carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil or directed trained operatives in the execution of coordinated strikes against American targets within our borders. These network-linked incidents are especially worrying. Think of Zazi and his al-Qaeda-directed plans to stage a ``Mumbai on the Hudson''-like suicide terrorist attack on, among other targets, the New York City subway; the aforementioned shooting last June outside a military-recruiting station in Little Rock that killed one recruiter and wounded another by a self-professed AQAP operative; and the November 2009 massacre at Fort Hood that claimed the lives of 13 people. Both shooters--Abdulhakim Muhammad and Major Nidal Hasan--were connected with this same local franchise of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda movement that was also responsible for the Christmas day bomb plot. And the American-born firebrand cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, now a key AQAP operative, was involved in the radicalization of Abdulmutallab, Major Hasan, Shahzad and several others persons arrested in locales as diverse as England, the United States, and mostly recently Singapore.\17\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \17\ See Nur Dianah Suhami, ``Local Muslim preachers need to modernize ways,'' Straits Times (Singapore), 31 July 2010; and Rachel Lin, ``Twisted teachings, twisted logic,'' Straits Times (Singapore), 31 July 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- It is hard to be complacent when al-Qaeda and its Pakistani, Somali, and Yemeni allies arguably have been able to accomplish the unthinkable--establishing at least an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization, and operational infrastructure in the United States with effects both at home and abroad. Al-Qaeda's grasp thus is deep and wide. And, by working through its local allies, it has now allowed them to co-opt American citizens in the broader global al-Qaeda battlefield. These accomplishments include the radicalization and recruitment by al Shabaab (``The Youth''), the Somali ally of al-Qaeda's, of nearly 30 young Somali Americans from Minnesota who were dispatched for training in their mother country and five young Muslim Americans from Alexandria, Virginia, who sought to fight alongside the Taliban and al- Qaeda and were arrested in Pakistan. Additional incidents involved the aforementioned sleeper agent, the Pakistan-born U.S. citizen named David Headley (who changed his name from Daood Sayed Gilani) whose reconnaissance efforts on behalf of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a long-standing al-Qaeda ally, were pivotal to the success of the November 2008 suicide assault in India; and both Bryant Neal Vinas and Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al-Adam, two American citizens arrested during the past year in Pakistan for their links to al-Qaeda. While it is easier to dismiss the threat posed by wannabes who are often effortlessly entrapped and snared by the authorities, or to discount as aberrations the homicides inflicted by lone individuals, these incidents evidenced the activities of trained terrorist operatives who are part of an identifiable organizational command-and-control structure and are acting on orders from terrorist leaders abroad. THE AMERICAN ``MELTING POT'' THEORY The wishful thinking that the American ``melting pot'' theory provided a ``fire wall'' against the radicalization and recruitment of American citizens and residents, arguably lulled us into a sense of complacency that home-grown terrorism couldn't happen in the United States. The British similarly believed before the 7 July 2005 London suicide attacks that there was perhaps a problem with the Muslim communities in Europe but certainly not with British Muslims in the United Kingdom who were better integrated, better educated, and wealthier than their counterparts on the continent. By stubbornly wrapping ourselves in this same false security blanket we lost 5 years to learn from the British experience. Well over a year ago we became aware of radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States when Somali-Americans started disappearing from the Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota area and turning up in Somalia with an al-Qaeda affiliate, al Shabab (``the youth''). The case of the Somali-Americans thus turned out to be a Pandora's Box. And by not taking the threat of radicalization and recruitment actually occurring in the United States both sooner and more seriously we failed to comprehend that this was not an isolated phenomenon, specific to Minnesota and this particular immigrant community, but that it indicated the possibility that even an embryonic terrorist radicalization and recruitment infrastructure had been established in the United States. Shahzad accordingly is the latest person to jump out of this box. AL STRATEGY'S OF ATTRITION In assessing the proliferation of terrorist threats to the American homeland, senior U.S. counterterrorism officials now repeatedly call attention to al-Qaeda's strategy of ``diversification''--mounting attacks involving a wide variety of perpetrators of varying nationalities and ethnic heritages to defeat any attempt to ``profile'' actual and would-be perpetrators and overwhelm already information- overloaded law enforcement and intelligence agencies. ``Diversity,'' one senior local police intelligence analyst opined, ``is definitely the word.''\18\ Similarly, in a 30 June 2010 interview at the Aspen Security Forum, Michael E Leiter, Director, National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) also identified this trend. ``[W]hat we have seen, which is I think most problematic to me and most difficult for the counterterrorism community,'' he explained, --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \18\ Interview with NSPG, 8 July 2010. ``is a diversification of that threat. We not only face Al-Qaeda senior leadership, we do face a troubling alignment of Al-Qaeda and some more traditional Pakistani militant groups in Pakistan, and is as well known to this group and most Americans, the threat of Abdulmutallab that has highlighted the threat we see from Al-Qaeda in Yemen, the ongoing threat we see from Al-Qaeda elements in East Africa.''\19\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \19\ Aspen Security Forum 2010 ``Counterterrorism Strategy with the Hon. Michael E Leiter, Director, National Counterterrorism Center,'' 30 June 2010. This is part and parcel of an al-Qaeda strategy that it also has pushed on other groups. It is a strategy that is deliberately designed to overwhelm, distract, and exhaust al-Qaeda's adversaries. There are two components: One economic and the other operational. In terms of the economic dimension, al-Qaeda has never claimed it could or would defeat U.S. militarily. Instead, it plans to wear us down economically by forcing the United States to spend more on domestic security and remain involved in costly overseas military commitments. Given the current global economic downtown, this message arguably has greater resonance now with al-Qaeda's followers and supporters and perhaps even with new recruits. The operational dimension seeks to flood already stressed intelligence and law enforcement with ``noise'': low-level threats from ``lone wolves'' and other jihadi ``hangers on''--e.g., the ``low hanging fruit'' who are designed to consume the attention of law enforcement and intelligence in hopes that this distraction will permit more serious terrorist operations to go unnoticed and thereby sneak ``beneath the radar'' and succeed.\20\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \20\ In recent years, writings as diverse as the 1,600-page treatise of Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Setmariam Nasar (writing under the pseudonyms of either Abu Mus'ab al-Suri or Umar Abd al-Hakim) titled The Call to Global Islamic Resistance and Anwar al-Awlaki's ``44 Ways to Support Jihad'' have forcefully explicated this strategy, amplifying and building on the similar call to arms in this respect first issued by Ayman al-Zawahiri in Knights Under the Prophet's Banner nearly 9 years ago. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- CONCLUSION It is troubling given this concatenation of new threats and new adversaries directing targeting the United States that there remains no Federal Government agency or department specifically charged with identifying radicalization and interdicting recruitment of U.S. citizens or residents for terrorism. As one senior intelligence analyst lamented, ``There's no lead agency or person. There are First Amendment [Constitutional] issues we're cognizant of. It's not a crime to radicalize, only when it turns to violence. There are groups of people looking at different aspects of counter-radicalization. [But it] has to be integrated across agencies, across levels of government, public- private cooperation''\21\ which, unfortunately, it is not. America is thus vulnerable to a threat that is not only diversifying, but arguably intensifying. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \21\ Interview with NSPG, 8 July 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our fervent belief that homegrown terrorism couldn't happen here has thus created a situation where we are today stumbling blindly through the legal, operational, and organizational minefield of countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States. Moreover, rather than answers, we now have an almost- endless list of pressing questions on this emerging threat, on our response and on the capacity of the National security architecture we currently have in place to meet it. On the threat. What do we do when the terrorists are like us? When they conform to the archetypal American immigrant success story? When they are American citizens or U.S. residents? When they are not perhaps from the Middle East or South Asia and in fact have familiar-sounding names? Or, when they are ``petite, blue-eyed, blonde'' suburban housewives who, as Colleen La Rose the infamous JihadJane boasted, ``can easily blend in''?\22\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \22\ Quoted in Carrie Johnson, ``JihadJane, an American woman, faces terrorism charges,'' Washington Post, 10 March 2010. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- On our response. Who in fact is responsible in the U.S. Government to identify radicalization when it is occurring and then interdict attempts at recruitment? Is this best done by Federal law enforcement (e.g., the Federal Bureau of Investigation) or State and local jurisdictions working closely with Federal authorities? Is it a core mission for a modernized, post-9/11, FBI? Or for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? Can it be done by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), even though it has only a coordinating function and relies on other agencies for intelligence collections, analysis, and operations? What is the role of State and local law enforcement? What is the role of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in homegrown terrorism and recruitment and radicalization? Will coming to grips with these challenges be the remit of the next FBI Director given the incumbent's impending retirement? On our current National security architecture. Despite the reforms adopted from the 9/11 Commission's report and recommendations and the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, have terrorists nonetheless discovered our Achilles Heel in that we currently have no strategy to counter this type of threat from home-grown terrorists and other radicalized recruits? Did ``the system really work,'' as we are repeatedly told? Or was a lot of luck involved because of the plot's rushed nature? And finally, can we deter al-Qaeda and its affiliates and associates from attacking in the United States? If even a ``hard target'' like New York City continually attracts terrorist attention, what does this tell us about vulnerabilities elsewhere in the country? The conventional wisdom has long been that America was immune to the heady currents of radicalization affecting both immigrant and indigenous Muslim communities elsewhere in the West.\23\ That has now been shattered by the succession of cases that have recently come to light of terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States. And while it must be emphasized that the number of U.S. citizens and residents affected or influenced in this manner remains extremely small, at the same time the sustained and growing number of individuals heeding these calls is nonetheless alarming. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \23\ See for example ``America's Muslims after 9/11,'' VOANews.com, 10 September 2006 accessed at: http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/ news-analysis/a-13-Muslims2006-09-10-voa17.html; ``Overview of Muslims in America,'' PBS series, ``The Muslims in America,'' accessed at: http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/about/ show_muslim_americans.html#top; and, ``Pew Study Sees Muslim Americans Assimilating,'' Barbara Bradley Hagerty, National Public Radio, ``All Things Considered,'' 22 May 2007 accessed at: http://www.npr.org/ templates/story/story.php?storyId=10330400 121 Department of Justice, ``Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Indicted for Attempted Bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas Day,'' January 6, 2010, http://detroit.fbi.gov/ dojpressrel/pressrel10/de010610.htm. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Given this list of incidents involving homegrown radicals, lone wolves, and trained terrorist recruits, the United States is arguably now little different from Europe in terms of having a domestic terrorist problem involving immigrant and indigenous Muslims as well as converts to Islam. The diversity of these latest foot soldiers in the wars of terrorism being waged against the United States underscores how much the terrorist threat has changed since the September 11, 2001, attacks. In the past year alone the United States has seen affluent suburban Americans and the progeny of hard-working immigrants gravitate to terrorism. Persons of color and Caucasians have done so. Women along with men. Good students and well-educated individuals and high school dropouts and jailbirds. Persons born in the United States or variously in Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, and Somalia. Teenage boys pumped up with testosterone and middle-aged divorcees. The only common denominator appears to be a newfound hatred for their native or adopted country, a degree of dangerous malleability, and a religious fervor justifying or legitimizing violence that impels these very impressionable and perhaps easily influenced individuals toward potentially lethal acts of violence. The diversity of this array of recent terrorist recruits presents new challenges for intelligence and law enforcement agencies, already over-stressed and inundated with information and leads, to run these new threats to ground. There seems no longer any clear profile of a terrorist. Moreover, the means through which many of these persons were radicalized--over the internet--suggests that these days you can aspire to become a terrorist in the comfort of your own bedroom. The threat that the United States is facing is different than it was 9 years ago. It has also changed and evolved since the 9/11 Commission presented its report 6 long years ago. Today, America faces a dynamic threat that has diversified to a broad array of attacks, from shootings to car bombs to simultaneous suicide attacks to attempted in- flight bombings of passenger aircraft. Chairman Thompson. Thank you very much. Dr. Flynn. STATEMENT OF STEPHEN E. FLYNN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR NATIONAL POLICY Mr. Flynn. Thank you, Chairman Thompson. I am honored to be before here today, and I believe my job is to highlight the implications of this assessment for the mission of this committee, that is the homeland security mission. I think there are three key findings that are quite sobering and important for that mission. The first is that the frequency of less-sophisticated terrorist attacks on U.S. homeland is likely to grow. The second is, these kinds of attacks are extremely difficult to prevent. The third, this trend reflects a change in al-Qaeda's tactics that arises from their conviction that any terrorist attack on U.S. soil, even a near miss, will generate a disproportionate political response that will contribute to their strategic objective, which is to sap the economic strength of the United States. In short, al-Qaeda and its affiliates are shifting to a war of attrition rather than concentrating their limited capabilities on organizing and executing catastrophic attacks on the scale of what was carried out on September 11. What that really means, though, is that fundamentally our strategy needs to adapt in a way that it has not. Succinctly stated, our overarching effort since September 11 has largely been an away game, to take the battle overseas, to rely on our National security and intelligence community assets to try to deal with the terrorist threats beyond our shores. So, as President-- former President Bush and Vice President Cheney often said, so we wouldn't have to fight them here. Well, as this document makes clear, they are here. When we are talking about less-sophisticated attacks they are not the ones that basically have the level of trip wires that our tools of National security intelligence have been geared to catch. So what this almost certainly means is that we will be seeing successful attacks on U.S. soil in the near- to medium-term. Good news, as Peter highlighted at the outset, is they are not likely to be of this catastrophic scale that we saw on September 11, but the fact is we will increasingly see acts of terror on U.S. soil. Now, what that really highlights is the fact that the new front lines are the streets of Bridgeport, Denver, Minneapolis, and other big and small communities across America, and it is the local cops on the beat and increasingly the American public at large who must be better-informed and empowered to deal with this terrorism threat. This committee is very well aware that we still have a lot of issues with sharing information at the local level, and we also have not done what we should have been doing since 9/11 to engage the American public. Very soberingly, when we looked at the May 2010 bombing attempt in Times Square it was the sidewalk t-shirt vendor--not the NYPD patrolman literally at the opposite street corner on 42nd and Broadway--that spotted the act in its making. We saw, of course, on the Christmas day bomber, and it was the passengers aboard the airline that actually wrestled the terrorist to the--ended up deflecting that attempt. Succinctly stated, the changing nature of the threat makes it critical that the Federal Government better engage local public safety agencies and everyday people. The other key point I would like to highlight for us is that since these acts of terror cannot always be prevented and because they are being motivated in no small part by a judgment by al-Qaeda and its affiliates that we will react or overreact in ways that are beneficial for them, it highlights the need for resilience as a part of our strategy going forward. That is, we as a society must be better able to withstand and rapidly recover from attacks not as an act of defeatism but as a way which we, as citizens, can provide a preventative quality to acts of terror by essentially taking away the motivation for this kind of attack. So let me conclude with a couple of recommendations to that regard. One is, I think we need a more frank acknowledgement by leaders of both sides of the aisle saying to the American people the reality: Terrorism is here to stay and it is something that we cannot always prevent and we need you, American people's, help in dealing with this going forward. Second, we have to be extremely careful of not allowing acts of terror, when they happen, to essentially take advantage of our 24-hour news cycle and the almost certain overwrought media coverage that comes with that to essentially fan a sense of anxiety without a whole lot of information flowing from it. This is going to take a commitment by political leaders, again, of both parties to studiously avoid making public comment which might elevate public anxiety in the aftermath of terrorist attacks until we get the facts straight so we are not feeding and fueling the very threat. So in closing, let me cite, I think, which is a key finding of this assessment--9 years after September 11 attacks on New York and Washington the changing nature of the terrorist threat makes clear we must be willing to reexamine many of our counterterrorism assumptions and approaches. Only then can we succeed at maintaining the upper hand in the face of an adversary who continues to demonstrate the ability to learn and adapt. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. [The statement of Mr. Flynn follows:] Prepared Statement of Stephen E. Flynn September 15, 2010 Chairman Thompson, Ranking Member King, and distinguished Members of the Committee on Homeland Security. I am honored to have this opportunity to testify alongside my National Security Preparedness Group colleagues, Bruce Hoffman and Peter Bergen. Bruce and Peter are two of the top terrorism experts in the world and they have written an outstanding report that provides a timely and comprehensive update of the terrorism threat, 9 years after the attacks on New York and Washington. I have been asked to provide my assessment on what the implications of this threat analysis are for homeland security. In my view, there are five findings that should command the attention of this committee. First, the incidence of radicalization and recruitment on U.S. soil is on the rise. Second, that the Americans that are attaching themselves to al-Qaeda and aligned groups do not fit any particular ethnic, economic, educational, or social profile. Third, the frequency of less-sophisticated terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland is likely to grow. Fourth, these kinds of attacks are extremely difficult to prevent. And fifth, this trend reflects a change in al Qaeda's tactics that arises from their conviction that any terrorist attack on U.S. soil, even a near-miss, will generate a disproportionate political response that will contribute to their strategic objective of sapping the economic strength of the United States. In short, al-Qaeda and its affiliates are shifting to a war of attrition rather than concentrating their limited capabilities on organizing and executing catastrophic attacks on the scale of what they carried out on September 11, 2001. This shift in threat has serious implications for how the United States has been prosecuting the war on terrorism. I need not remind this committee that the overarching emphasis of America's counterterrorism efforts since 9/11 can be summed up as waging an ``away game.'' Former-President George W. Bush often expressed it this way, ``We fight the terrorists overseas so that we don't have to fight them here at home.'' Former-Vice President Richard Cheney went further, arguing that, ``Wars are not won on the defensive. To fully and finally remove this danger (of terrorism), we have only one option--and that's to take the fight to the enemy.'' The Obama administration has continued this emphasis on overseas operations. Arguably the strategy of combating terrorism abroad has resulted in an important and constructive outcome that is noted in the NSPG report: It has put al-Qaeda central on the defensive and has eroded its capacity to carry out large-scale attacks using weapons of mass destruction. However, the Nation's post-9/11 strategy has not anticipated and adapted to the change in tactics that this outcome has helped to spawn. Succinctly stated, the homeland security enterprise is currently not up to task of dealing with the terrorism threat we face today. The senior intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security officials with whom we met over the past year acknowledged to us that their counterterrorism efforts are basically calibrated for dealing with sophisticated attacks with an international dimension that require significant organizational and logistical support. Attacks that seek to achieve catastrophic loss of life and/or mass disruption cannot be carried off by a zealous suicide bomber, operating on his or her own. Generally, there needs to be a cell of several terrorists with clearly assigned roles for which each operative has been carefully trained. The cell periodically will need to communicate with remote leaders who are providing financing and guidance to the operation. Potential targets must be scouted out in advance and typically attacks are rehearsed before being executed. All this takes time, money, and qualified people. In short, the more ambitious the attack, the greater are the opportunities for detection and interception by intelligence and Federal law enforcement officials. Less sophisticated attacks on the other hand, particularly those being conducted by homegrown operatives and lone wolves are almost impossible to prevent because their organizational and logistical footprint is so small. Let's be clear about just where things stand today. Quite simply, the National security, intelligence, and even the Federal law enforcement communities are not able to serve as our first line of defense. When terrorists are homegrown, it is the streets of Bridgeport, Denver, Minneapolis, and other big and small communities across America that become the frontlines. That translates into local cops on the beat and increasingly the American public at large who must be better informed and empowered to deal with the terrorism threat. Of course, the importance of better engaging the broader American society to help deal with the threat of terrorism is a lesson we should have learned long again. As we mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we should once again reflect on the sobering fact that the only successful counterterrorism action against al-Qaeda's attacks on that tragic day was undertaken not by our armed forces or Federal law enforcement agents, but by the passengers aboard United 93. By charging the cockpit and preventing al-Qaeda from striking the U.S. Capitol, they ended up protecting the lives of many Members of Congress and others who were here on that September day in 2001. Especially in light of the terrorism risk we are facing today, we should be troubled by the fact that the brave Americans flying aboard United 93 had to learn via their cell phones to friends and loved ones what many inside the U.S. Government knew but failed to share with even one another--that al-Qaeda was contemplating using airliners like cruise missiles. There is no way for us to know what the passengers aboard the first three planes that struck the twin towers and the Pentagon would have done if they had been provided that threat information. What we do know is that the protocol for passengers up until 9/11 was to stay quietly in their seats and wait until the plane had landed for the professionals to negotiate with the hijackers. In other words, the people aboard American . . . were deprived of the opportunity to take the kinds of measures the people aboard United 93 took to try and protect themselves and al-Qaeda's intended targets. Yet we continue to leave the American public largely on the sidelines despite even the events of this past year. In the May 2010 bombing attempt on Times Square it was a sidewalk T-shirt vendor, not the NYPD patrolman sitting in a squad car directly across the street, who sounded the alarm about Faisal Shahzad's explosive-laded SUV. Shahzad was not on any Federal or NYPD database that identified him as a suspected terrorist. On Christmas day 2009, it was not a Federal air marshal, but the courageous actions of the passengers and flight crew aboard Northwest Flight 563 that helped disrupt the attack once it was underway.& In short, the changing nature of the threat reinforces further the imperative for the Federal Government to better inform and engage local public safety agencies and everyday Americans in helping to detect and preventing terrorist activities. Unfortunately, as this committee is well aware, there still remain serious issues with sharing information and providing quality counterterrorism training to local police. And we have a very long ways to go when it comes to engaging the American public. But the changing nature of the terrorist threat highlights another important area which has been explicitly recognized in the new White House National Security Strategy, but for which far more attention needs to be devoted: our resilience as a society when terrorist events occur. Again, one of the primary motivations for terrorist groups to embrace less-sophisticated attacks is their growing confidence that these attacks will generate a big-bang for a small buck. Specifically, they are counting on even small-scale attacks that produce few casualties and modest destruction to generate fear, political recriminations, and a rush to put in place expensive and disruptive safeguards. If how we react--or more precisely, when we overreact-- elevates the appeal of carrying out these attacks on U.S. soil, it follows that there is an element of deterrence by denying these terrorist groups the return on investment they hope to receive. As a stepping-off point, it is important for senior Federal officials and responsible elected leaders of both parties to follow Secretary Janet Napolitano's lead in frankly acknowledging to the American people that it is simply impossible to prevent all acts of terrorism on U.S. soil. This is not an act of resignation or defeatism, but a mature recognition of the inherent limits of our National security, intelligence, and Federal law enforcement tools to detect and stop attacks by U.S. citizens or residents that originate within the United States. Further, by investing in better preparing for, responding to, and rapidly recovering from attacks when they occur, we end up communicating to terrorists groups that Americans will not be cowed by their attacks. It is also important that elected officials not inadvertently play into efforts by terrorists to exploit political fissures within our society. The 24-hour news cycle practically guarantees the kind of overwrought media coverage that terrorist groups are counting upon for amplifying the value of small-scale attacks. Therefore there should be an explicit commitment by political leaders in both parties to studiously avoid making any public comment which might elevate public anxiety in the aftermath of terrorist events. In closing my testimony, let me simply endorse the conclusion of the NSPC terrorist assessment: ``When we demonstrate an unwillingness to inflict damage on our way of life in the face of terrorism, terrorism becomes a less attractive weapon for our adversaries to confront the United States. When Federal agencies work well with each other and their counterparts at the State and local levels and reach out to the everyday Americans, we will be far better able to detect and prevent future attacks. In short, 9 years after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, the changing nature of the terrorist threat makes clear that we must be willing to reexamine many of our counterterrorism assumptions and approaches. Only then can we succeed at maintaining the upper hand in the face of an adversary who continues to demonstrate the ability to learn and adapt.'' Chairman Thompson and Ranking Member King, I thank you for this opportunity to testify today and look forward to responding to any questions that you might have. Chairman Thompson. Thank you very much. I thank the witnesses for their testimony. I will remind each Member that he or she will have 5 minutes to question the panel. I now will recognize myself for questions. Again, let me thank two of you gentlemen for the report, but also Dr. Flynn for your response. One of the issues, as you know, we are grappling with is this notion that somehow radicalization occurs here in the United States is more a threat to the homeland than previous threats or individuals trying to come. Now, from your report it appears that there is no one size that fits all kind of potential terrorist. What can you offer this committee as to how we should put something in place to address the emerging homegrown terrorist? One of the things is intelligence-gathering matrix that is kind of a hodgepodge of groups. Your comments talked about we don't have a specific entity to address it, and while we have been fortunate it is still catching up after the fact with those agencies. If you see the intelligence-gathering as a problem in this I would like for you to comment on this also. Mr. Bergen, if you want to---- Mr. Bergen. Chairman Thompson, I think that I would just offer two things that we shouldn't do. One of the conclusions of the report is there is no real ethnic profile here, so profiling is not a particularly helpful approach. Another thing I think we have to be quite careful of, learning from the British experience, if the only--if you securitize the relationship with the Muslim community so it is basically a police function entirely the Muslim community may well, you know, not be very happy about that and see that as sort of an intelligence-gathering exercise, so we have to be-- as you pointed out, there doesn't seem to be any entity that is really responsible for this. Obviously local police do have some role to play, but it can't just be local police. The relationship with the Muslim community can't be just a law enforcement relationship, and who that person or who that entity should be I am not really sure. Is that DHS? That is something, I think, that is up for discussion. Chairman Thompson. Well, I think one of the issues, Dr. Hoffman, if you would, is so many times it is the State and local entity that confronts the homegrown issue before the Federal entity, and to some degree there has to be a relationship, and we are not certain how that operates. But a homegrown situation probably will develop and get identified with State and local officials probably in a better sense than a Federal, but the perception is that terrorism is a Federal issue, and so somehow we need to connect the dots, and if you could kind of help the committee with that? Mr. Hoffman. Well, sir, as you well know, your efforts to enact the LEAP measures, the Law Enforcement Assistance Program, would have made an invaluable step forward in this process. I think the report reveals two important dimensions: No. 1, we are not necessarily saying that the Federal Government is asleep at the switch on this issue and we are not arguing that nothing is being done in this respect. I think our main criticism, or the main finding we perhaps identified is that it is not as coordinated as it should be and there doesn't seem to be any one agency or entity taking the lead on this and fashioning a strategy that would reach out to the community and that, as you just described, would also empower State and local law enforcements. The second point that we illuminate in the study is that the threat is becoming more diverse, and unfortunately we see it as one that is growing, at least over the past 2 years. It is beyond the capability of the Federal authority to know, you know, every plot everywhere in the United States. I think logic dictates that we have to better train and education law and-- local and State law enforcement to be part of this process. Now again, I think in snatches and snippets this is being done and this is an important priority that is recognized, but I don't think it has received the systemic and systematic attention that it requires as part of an overall strategy, and that the bits and pieces that I think do represent great progress over the past 9 years--our argument would be that they're stillborn. There needs to be greater coordination and, indeed, greater recognition of the roles of State and local authorities and jurisdictions. Chairman Thompson. Dr. Flynn. Mr. Flynn. I would just really like to reinforce Dr. Hoffman's recommendation. We really have to get the training and education pushed down to local law enforcement as a much more serious and concerted effort. It has got to be high- quality training. The second piece, though, I think is very important, and this is the least-sexiest problem but it is probably one of the most important, and that is the tendency to overclassify information, making it very difficult to get it to where it needs to go. So what we have when we have information at the very highest level under very strict rules of secrecy it makes it almost impossible to get it to the people on the front lines, and we really--the United Kingdom has made a very concerted effort from the top down saying the threat warrants us getting more information out; we need to look with far more--err on the side of sharing information than on controlling information. This is a big change from the Cold War mindset where we kept it all close to the chest to one where we need to go today. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. They had overclassification come up in a number of instances, as you know. I now yield 5 minutes to the Ranking Member, the next to the Ranking Member, Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would also thank Mr. Lungren for yielding as well. Dr. Hoffman, I have a couple of questions for you. The first is, according to your report you suggest that another attack on the level of 9/11 is not likely, but I would like to ask you whether you think attacks on a lesser of a scale are more likely or less likely. Mr. Hoffman. Well, certainly the pattern of the plots that we have unmasked over the past several years suggests that lower-level attacks but nonetheless highly consequential ones that would claim lives--perhaps not on the magnitude of---- Mr. Smith. That is my question. Are they more likely or less likely? Mr. Hoffman. More likely, sir. Mr. Smith. Okay. Thank you. That is not happy news but that is what I suspected. That goes to my next question, and this is a quote from you, I believe, in the report: ``It is troubling that there remains no Federal Government agency or department specifically charged with identifying radicalization and interdicting recruitment of U.S. citizens or residents for terrorism.'' We clearly should have done that, particularly considering the threat that you just mentioned of sort of the lower-level but nevertheless traumatic and terrifying type of attack. What agency should have been responsible for taking that initiative? Should it have been the Department of Homeland Security or another agency? Mr. Hoffman. I don't know the answer to that. I think one of the problems is that each of these agencies that have a counterterrorism mission brings both strengths and weaknesses to the table. I think first and foremost there has to be greater coordination and some overall strategy clearly directed from the White House. Rather than creating a new agency or rather than tasking one agency it is a question more of coordination. Mr. Smith. Speaking of the White House, should the White House have taken the initiative on setting up that kind of a structure? Mr. Hoffman. My personal opinion, and indeed testimony that I have offered before the subcommittee---- Mr. Smith. Yes. Mr. Hoffman [continuing]. In this room, yes. Mr. Smith. Okay. Thank you. Last question is this: The 9/11 Commission recommended a biometric entry-exit system that was also in a 1996 bill that I introduced and that was enacted into law. How important do you think that type of a system is to trying to either deter terrorists from entering or being able to determine whether terrorists might have overstayed and still reside in this country? Mr. Hoffman. Well, I am not familiar with the legislation. I think, though, what we have seen, though, unfortunately in recent years is an increasing traffic of individuals from the United States seeking to go abroad to receive terrorist training and then returning to the United States. So at least from your brief description I think something like that would contribute to the identification and the monitoring and interdiction of those individuals. Mr. Smith. That is something else I think the administration should be taking an initiative on, just as you suggested in the other area as well. I hope that we don't sustain any kind of a terrorist attack even on a lesser level than the 9/11 attack. As you just suggested, the administration should have been doing a lot more than it has been and I agree with that. Thank you, Dr. Hoffman. I will yield back. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. Chair recognizes the gentlelady from California for 5 minutes, Ms. Harman. Ms. Harman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this hearing. We have before us the trifecta. If I have to think of three white guys to talk to about terrorism this is my list, and I talk to all of them regularly. As you know, Mr. Chairman, and as they know, this committee's Subcommittee on Intelligence and Risk Assessment and Information Sharing has held a number of hearings where they have testified on the topics that they are speaking to today and I agree with virtually everything all of them said, even if there were some internal inconsistencies, about the threat against us and how it has changed and how it may be less catastrophic, but I think it more likely and it is much more difficult to detect and stop. So let me just focus on a couple of things that I think might be useful to tease out from this group. One is, this House passed something a few years ago called the home--Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act by an overwhelming vote. Some groups--outside groups--decided that for reasons that I believed were misguided that bill was not going to be helpful. I just wonder if any of you would make comments about that bill. I know that Dr. Hoffman in particular is very familiar with it. Let me just put my questions out and then you can use my time to answer them. The second is, you agree that terror groups are less likely to carry out an attack on the scale of 9/11 but--and more likely to deploy a crude weapon to cause panic and severe economic disaster. I just wonder what you think of the likelihood of a dirty bomb attack, especially one using, for example, ingredients that can be found in radiology machines in our domestic hospitals, something that concerns me. So that is my second question. The third question is, you have said that we can't stereotype who the attacker will be. I agree. Jihad Jane, as we all know--not named after me, I don't believe--was a petite, blue-eyed, blonde, suburban housewife. What should Congress do to get a better handle on this? Mr. Hoffman. Well, Representative Harman, as you know, at least twice sitting at this table I have not only endorsed but lamented the fact that H.R. 1955 was not enacted into law in 2007. I think, as I have said before, we missed an ideal opportunity at the time to get out in front of this issue instead of, as we have been throughout, I think, most of the war on terrorism, playing catch up and reacting to the terrorists. So I think we need it now more than ever. We need a solid empirical foundation to understand how people are radicalized, how they are recruited. We need to understand much better how other countries are responding to this so we firstly don't reinvent the wheel, but secondly don't repeat their mistakes. I think a bipartisan National commission like that would provide that foundation and I think it would direction feed into the type of coordination and strategy that we need as well. Secondly, the dirty bomb question. Two perspectives on it: As you know, when you have had Rita Katz, from the SITE Intelligence Group, testify before--this nongovernmental entity monitors jihadi chat sites, web rooms, communications, and so on. Interestingly, what they have found over the past few years in their own research is that terrorist interests in these unconventional weapons is actually rather small, that the vast majority of chatter, talk, plans, plotting, daydreams, and so on, is consumed with more traditional forms of attack--the weaponry the terrorists have mastered, guns and bombs. However, that is not to say that there aren't discussions of these issues. Interestingly, dirty bombs don't figure very prominently--at least that is the, you know, statistical, empirical evidence that they have found. But I think your point is well taken because what we have seen in the years since 9/11 in London, for example, was one plot in 2004 involving an individual named Dhiren Barot, who actually also plotted to attack targets in the United States in 2004--simultaneous attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC. But meanwhile he was also cooking up terrorist attacks in London and they were two-fold. One involved packing limousines with homemade explosives, much as we saw in Times Square last May, enhanced with fuel-air explosives, and he said that is what would kill lots of people. He also was planning to stage a dirty bomb attack and he said that probably wouldn't kill lots of people, but the appeal for him and presumably his terrorist masters is that that kind of unconventional attack would cause widespread panic and fear and have disproportionate and highly insidious and corrosive psychological---- Ms. Harman. I regret interrupting you but my time is expired. Mr. Chairman, could the other two witnesses answer my questions briefly? Would that be permissible? Chairman Thompson. Will the gentlemen answer the questions? Mr. Bergen. On the radiological--discussion of chem, nuc, and bio, as Dr. Hoffman indicated, is actually very, very low on jihadi web sites. On the other hand a radiological bomb, because the materials are fairly ubiquitous and the know-how is not that complicated, I think is something we should be concerned about. So any measure that we can take--I know that you have some proposals in that area, Representative Harman-- would be very useful. Mr. Flynn. I think I would reinforce the fact that--well, two overarching trends: We are moving to less sophisticated attacks, so the ones we are really scared about--a nuclear weapon, for instance--much more difficult, and one which our National security apparatus is more focused on, doing the bigger consequential ones. So therefore, that creates incentive to move to less sophisticated attacks, and one that you have domestic materials here to accomplish that attack. So the trends are pulling us in this direction even though we don't have all the empirical evidence that we have jihadists really working on this. But I would really put it like--when it happens, and it could likely happen, is it becomes a lot like what just happened in the Gulf of Mexico. People are going to be just-- well, what were the plans to respond and recover from those events? That is where we are woefully inadequate here. Our efforts being so geared to trying to prevent every bad thing from happening we really haven't thought through the morning-after problem, and that is where I think you will find the American public outraged at basically how little-prepared local-level law enforcements, public safety is to deal with this, and information--quality information--getting out about how to deal with that. So it is a big issue. It may be low probability, but for such high consequence it should be getting much more attention than it has been receiving. Ms. Harman. Thank you very much. Thank you for your indulgence, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. The Chairman now yields to the gentleman from California, Mr. Lungren, for 5 minutes. Mr. Lungren. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the three panelists. This is most interesting and we could spend hours going over the nuances of your report and your opinions. One thing I want to make sure we have clear on the record: Even though you are talking about the shift of al-Qaeda and their associates to a lower-consequential type of attacks there is no suggestion on your part that we stand down or even reduce our concern about the consequential attacks, correct? Right. So I want to make that clear, that we have got to maintain that. The question is, do we also have eternal vigilance with respect to the lower-consequence attacks that appear to be more likely and becoming more likely all the time because of the change in tactics by those who would do us such harm? I come a background in part from local and State law enforcement and one of the things that always intrigues me is the much larger number of law enforcement personnel on the State and local level than you have on the Federal level, and that in investigating certain organized crimes or gang activity it was often a lead that we got at the local level for an investigation that had nothing to do with what we ultimately came up with. That is, I remember we took down a major auto accident fraud based on an investigation by a CHP officer of an automobile accident, and then that led us to dealing with counterfeit products. If the officers involved had not been alert to what was out there and had then not had the ability to talk with officers engaged in other types of investigations we never would have taken down those separate organizations. So it is nothing really new in terms of the adaptability of the officer at the local level. The question is, do we establish the encouragement and the means by which that cooperation and collaboration can take place? From your standpoint, what more do we need to do, at least from the Federal level, to ensure that that occurs in the area of the terrorist threat? I would ask that to all of you. Mr. Flynn. I guess I will take the first stab at it, sir. I think you are absolutely right. Part of the recognition that I think this report really highlights for us is that we have been relying on a very Federal and basic National security-oriented effort since 9/11 to deal with this threat beyond our shores. Again, that is where the most consequential threat is likely to emanate from. Our good efforts over there in part has helped to reduce that risk but then drive the strategy in this direction. What I have not yet seen is a shift in research and focus that says the local, State--increasingly communities--are where we are going to find the intelligence we need and often the first prevention effort that is---- Mr. Lungren. For instance, I just visited in the last couple weeks the fusion center in Sacramento, which allows an opportunity for all levels of law enforcement to come together, share information, and in fact, gain confidence with one another, so that when they see something that may have an indication that could lead to an investigation of terror they act on that. Obviously we can always do more, but it seems to me fusion centers, the cooperation and the establishment of an experience level so that there is confidence that an officer on the Federal level from one of the agencies can pick up the phone and talk to someone at the local level so they have gained a confidence in the abilities of one another and trustworthiness of one another. Mr. Flynn. I think they are absolutely vital, sir. I mean, cops talk to cops; they don't talk to bureaucracies very well, and for good reason. So you would create those opportunities with fusion centers. One of the challenges that clearly many localities have is simply funding the officers to be a part of those fusion---- Mr. Lungren. Yes. Mr. Flynn [continuing]. Centers. Again, they are serving a National security imperative. I think finding more level of support for communities participate in those fusion centers is probably the logical next step, skipping the budget crisis that---- Mr. Lungren. Let me just ask another question about something that the gentlelady from California and I have worked on in the past, and that is the radicalization of our prisoners in the area of potential recruits for terrorists, lone wolf or organizations. Any comments on that? Are we doing what we need to do? Well, first of all, do you think it is a problem? Second, are we doing what we need to do? Mr. Bergen. Just to unify the two questions you had, I mean, something that Representative Harman is very familiar with because it happened, I think, in her district. I mean, Torrance, California was a very serious plot that was found by the local police who just paid attention to the fact that the documents in these guys' possession--they were knocking off gas stations--were indication of a potential attacks on Senegal's and U.S. military recruiting stations, and these guys had all been radicalized in prison. They were African-Americans, they saw themselves as al- Qaeda in California. So this is a real problem. I don't know if it is a really massive problem but it is certainly a problem. We have seen plenty of people convert to Islam in prison; 99 percent of them it is not a problem, but the 1 percent it may well become. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. The Chairman now recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania, for 5 minutes, Mr. Carney. Mr. Carney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the panel. Again, it is great to see all of you back. I just have three questions. Do we need something like an MI-5 in this country, first of all? Mr. Flynn. I will jump in on that here. I don't find it workable. The size of the country and one of its great strengths is that because there are distinct regions and cultures, frankly, as part of our country, that a top-down kind of centralized organization that could work on a scale of the United Kingdom. I don't think is workable here. I would like to see us just be much more forward-leaning and tapping the local capabilities we have and making sure they get the information they need and that they have a voice, at least regionally, beyond their own jurisdictions to continue to work these challenges. Mr. Carney. Well, how do we become proactive rather than reactive? Mr. Flynn. I think fundamentally it really is a case of getting information out to folks about what the threat is. We have not done that as well. This is why this hearing is so important and we hope the report is helping here, that the threat is different than one where we could just rely on our uniformed men and women and our intelligence apparatus to take care of us. We are now much more having to engage as a people in our local law enforcement, and we have to make sure they are resourced to do that. The information about how terrorist attacks work, you know, I made a pitch of--we have had five airline incidences where the passengers have been--that turns out the folks--two in the United States, but overseas. We should have--the how these bombs are made, what do the behaviors look like? Get the flying public engaged as part of this. So you have got to get the information pushed down, in other words. That is the only way you are going to get proactive. You are not going to do it by relying on the pros behind the, essentially, cone of silence. I think that is the direction we need to go. It is more than just policing. It is really a broad engagement of the American society. Mr. Carney. Dr. Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman. I would agree with my colleague that we don't need an MI-5. I think this is the kind of debate that might have been more useful some years ago, but given the reorganization of the intelligence community and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security I think probably the last thing we need is another bureaucratic organization added. What I would say, though, is that I think one reason that the Central Intelligence Agency has always functioned as effectively as it has is because there is the synergy between the Directorate of Intelligence and the National Clandestine Service that used to be the Directorate of Operations, at least from my observation. This remains a problem with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that the intelligence analysts there are still the very separate cadre; they are a cadre that is not equated with any sort of status or certainly the prioritization that often attends special agents, and that is where I think the major strides and improvement have to be made in strengthening that dimension of the FBI alongside the excellent special agents. Mr. Carney. You would agree, Mr. Bergen? I will ask, I suppose, a bit of an existential question here: How do we demotivate them? Mr. Flynn. I think one that I would highlight again is what has motivated, in part, the movement towards less sophisticated attack is the confidence they have that as a country we will overreact when things happen. That is, it will get--generate significant political fallout and they will get an almost spasmatic response, probably by this body, to put bandaids very quickly, and it will be very costly and disruptive. It follows, it seems to me, that the more resilient we are--and that means we acknowledge the threat is real but we take measures to be able to better deal with it. There is a crisis communications element sort of to rob them of the benefit they are expecting to get. That won't eliminate the threat but it will start to demotivate it. This is very much a strategy in Israel. It is very much a strategy in the United Kingdom. It is, ``We are not going to give them the bang for the buck that they are aspiring for.'' We need to show, as a country, that we will not be cowed by acts of terror, and we do that by being well-prepared and not losing our heads when these things happen. Mr. Carney. Dr. Hoffman, or Bergen. Mr. Bergen. You know, I would just make a sort of historical observation which is, I think 30 years ago Jihad Jane potentially would have joined the Weather Underground or something. I think for a certain group of people if you want to act out against the United States, give your life some sort of meaning, this is just a convenient way to do it. You know, so it is not, ``How do you demotivate them?'' There are always going to be people looking for a cause that gives them importance and for some people this is the cause. I mean, God is telling me what to do; I am an important person. You know, I think that is part of the motivation. How you take that away I think is very difficult but I think Dr. Flynn is correct: If you are not going to get the glory, you know, if it is sort of a dud when you try and do these things I think that takes away some of the excitement here. Mr. Hoffman. I would just add that one of the trends that we identified in the report is that increasingly the recruitment and radicalization processes are becoming more effective amongst our enemies. They have individuals like Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in the United States, who can communicate extremely effectively in a very familiar patois with Americans, people like Omar Hammami, from Mobile, Alabama, who has gone and joined al-Shabab. Rather than just, you know, the default being, ``Let's just go out and kill them,'' we have to find a better way, a more effective way of countering their methods. Again, I mean, go back--this is why we needed legislation such as Congresswoman Harman had proposed 3 years ago to understand how to do that. Mr. Carney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. I think one of the comments here is that, Dr. Flynn, you said terrorism is here to stay. I think part of it is: How do we as Americans incorporate that in our way of life so that we can go about our day-to-day activities but you still have to understand that the threat is real? I think that is--it is either the fear of the unknown or something that I think causes Congress and others to overreact when situations occur, just like the Christmas day event. We bought 1,000 new machines to go in some airports--not all airports--and the question is, was that the way to do it or did we need to incorporate that situation into the matrix of terrorism and try to address it in a different manner so that it is not a kneejerk response to a situation? I think that is the--what I feel so often is the discomfort with discussing terrorism is we are not sure how to address it. Mr. Bergen. Sir, can I make an observation? You can't have these discussions--political leaders like yourselves have to have these discussions with the American people before the event and not after the event. Here is what the speech, I think, should say. I think it is politically hard to say, but this is--all these things are true: Al-Qaeda is not 10 feet tall. By the law of averages al-Qaeda and its allies will get one through eventually and we are doing a lot to protect you. But I think that is a kind of complicated political message even though all those things are true I think it is hard for you--you can't have that speech after the event; you have to prepare the American public before. It goes to what Dr. Flynn is talking about, resilience. We have to prepare the society to be more resilient. Right now it is very brittle. Near misses are producing this enormously hysterical overreaction. Imagine what would happen if 253 had blown up over Detroit. Mr. Flynn. I guess I really want to just hold--I think that is exactly right, what Peter said, that the follow-through is, and we need your help. I think that is the message we failed to say after 9/11 and 9 years later we still not have actually done. We haven't gone out to the American people and said, ``We need your help.'' At its core fear works when first I become aware of a threat or vulnerability, but then when I feel powerless to deal with that threat or vulnerability. Chairman Thompson. Well, you know---- Mr. Flynn. The more we empower people and inform them the better, I think, we chip away fear. Chairman Thompson. I think this is where we are trying to go with it because the Department and others are talking a simple thing: See Something, Say Something. That hopefully will add to bringing everyone into the system of helping fighting this terrorist--potential terrorist threat that exists. In the past we have left it to State and locals and the Fed, and where the majority the eyes and ears just kind of go about their daily business. But I think to some degree we will have to get the public involved in this, and that--because we can't buy enough equipment, we can't do that to--and then it still won't guarantee that something won't happen, I guess is what I am trying to say. But for politicians that is difficult to say because we want to give the impression that, you know, we are guaranteeing with this appropriation that whatever the situation is won't happen. So---- Mr. Lungren. Mr. Chairman, if I could just mention one thing, and I think it goes on with what the three panelists are saying, we have to tell the American people that much of what we have done and we have asked for from them in terms of tax dollars has been successful. The only way you can engage people is if you recognize when what they have done has helped. You all talked about how we have made the likelihood of the more consequential act less likely precisely because of what we have done. We need to explain that to the American people so when we ask them for other things, including being involved, they understand that what they have done thus far has been helpful. I don't think we do enough of that to acknowledge the successes. As you say, talk about the fact that al-Qaeda has been damaged, is less likely to be able to have those consequential attacks precisely because of what we have done. That doesn't mean we don't do other things, but if you are going to ask people to do something more you have got to give them credit for what they have done already, I would think. Chairman Thompson. Gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Dent, for 5 minutes? Mr. Dent. Thanks. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for presenting to us today. There has been a lot of talk about al-Qaeda and how that threat has evolved and how it has diversified. We didn't talk so much, though, about other terrorist groups. Representative Harman and I just came back from Afghanistan. You hear a lot about the Pakistan Taliban, the Hikani network, LET, al-Shabab, and Somalia. How much of a threat do those groups represent to us in this country? For example, we know there have been reports of the Pakistani Taliban being involved with the Times Square attempt. But these other groups, particularly--I am interested particularly in Hikani and others. What is your sense of these other groups internationalizing their efforts, similar to al- Qaeda? Mr. Bergen. Thank you, sir. I mean, the Pakistani Taliban-- a real canary in the mine which people didn't look at was the fact that the Pakistani Taliban sent suicide bombers to Barcelona in January 2008, which should have demonstrated that these guys are willing to do attacks in the West. Spanish prosecutors say the Pakistani Taliban were behind it; the Pakistani Taliban have admitted their role. Luckily the attack didn't succeed. So Times Square was not an aberration; it was part of a pattern. So, you know, I think the Times Square incident speaks for itself. The Hikani network I don't really know. I mean, they have seemed very focused on Afghanistan. They don't seem to be interested in out-of-area operations. But you mentioned Shabab. Shabab tried to kill the Danish cartoonist responsible for the prophet Mohammed cartoon, almost succeeded. They did an attack in Uganda that killed 70 people. They have shown some ability to do out-of-area operations. I think we would be naive to think that they aren't--you know, they have self-identified as an al-Qaeda affiliate. I think they are potentially problematic. Finally, Lashkar-e-Taiba, I think, is really probably the more important of all these because it is the largest group. It is trying to educate its people--you know, the attack in Mumbai demonstrated that they were willing to hunt down Americans and Jews in the Nariman House and that they have adopted al-Qaeda's ideology. So I think that is quite worrisome. Mr. Flynn. I may want to add, I think, an important finding is, to the extent that these groups diversify geographically, and now we have a trend of Americans going overseas to get training, this is much more challenging for our intelligence community to keep on top of. Just the sheer geographic expanse and the nature of ethnic communities and travel associated with that makes it mean that that connection between domestically- motivated terrorists on the U.S. side can connect more with the training infrastructure that is now getting more sprawling. Mr. Dent. Can I just quickly ask, because I have one more question after this, do you see that the al-Qaeda threat, at least operationally, seems to have moved more to the Arabian Peninsula than the Afghanistan-Pakistan region? Do you see that as being the real al-Qaeda operations center now? Mr. Bergen. No, I think not. I mean, there is a lot of focus because of the Christmas day incident, but I think al- Qaeda central is still on the Afghan-Pakistan border. This is where the ideology is, training continues. The drones have taken some impact on them, but I think to sort of say just because we have seen a lot of activity from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as a story in the Washington Post said, that now that is the biggest problem, I just don't see that. Mr. Hoffman. I would say that al-Qaeda is as opportunistic as it is instrumental in where it sees the potential to spread and to expand to take advantage of those opportunities, wherever they may appear. For them I think the advantage is it used to be that if terrorists wanted to join al-Qaeda or an al- Qaeda-like group they had to go to either Afghanistan, until 2001, or in recent years to Pakistan. Now they have closer options from the United States to travel to Somalia or to Yemen as well, perhaps other countries. Mr. Dent. Now, can I just quickly pivot to one other issue? You know, I think we all saw--you know, we witnessed the move last week that was probably every bit as reckless as it was stupid when this Florida pastor, you know, was publicly weighing his options to burn the Koran to make some kind of statement. At some point someone really is likely to do something this stupid and put it on YouTube and then--or some other social networking site. Is there any way--is there any way that we, as a public, can inform the international community that while our laws don't prevent such serious acts, you know, they are being conducted by, you know, kind of a loony fringe element? Is there anything that we can do to help educate people about how our country operates when these situations arise? Mr. Bergen. I think it is not well understood in a lot of countries. I mean, we have seen riots in Afghanistan after the Koran-burning was cancelled that killed people. Since these are countries that aren't often free they don't really understand the First Amendment, where we can say whatever we want. As the gentleman has said, we could make those points but I don't necessarily think they are completely well understood in some countries, unfortunately. Mr. Flynn. I would just add that there really is a leadership element of this. If it is clear that our top political leaders are saying what President Bush said just a few days after 9/11, as Chairman Thompson quoted at the outset, that terrorism is not the face of Islam, then that is an important message, I think, in terms of when these acts happen. If we continue to potentially have that issue get mixed then people will point to those aberrant events as indications of a broader concern we have as a society with Islam itself, and that fuels the narrative. It is a very complicated issue, obviously, but I think more care needs to be happening at the leadership levels of our government as well as care of what we want our citizens to exercise, too. Mr. Dent. In this case it seemed like virtually every leader stood up and basically objected, and fortunately he didn't carry it out. Mr. Flynn. Again, in advance is the key, right? I think that is the thing where we have got to keep at it in advance of it, otherwise the image itself will carry the day. Mr. Hoffman. I would just say I think we have to in general be more effective in our overseas communication than we already are. For example, the Voice of--over 90 percent of the Voice of America's efforts are directed towards traditional media--print or radio or television--which appeals only to a certain demographic, whereas a lot of these messages of hatred and intolerance, mobilizing people in the streets, are communicated over the internet, yet less than 10 percent of the Voice of America's activities are directed at that medium, which has become so powerful. Mr. Dent. I yield back. Thank you. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. The Chairman now recognizes the gentleman from Texas for 5 minutes, Mr. Green. Mr. Green. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the witnesses for appearing this morning. I am interested in several things, and I will try to focus on two, possibly three. One is relationship. We have had some discussion this morning about relationship. If relationships are important with the Muslim community, and they are, then the question becomes: How do you perfect not just a relationship but a meaningful relationship with the Muslim community? How do you perfect that relationship? It requires more than simply showing up when there is a need to investigate a circumstance. You have to show up when the masjid, or mosque, is being dedicated. You have to show up when there is a special event taking place and be a part of the event. My experience has been that we don't do enough to extend ourselves to the community so as to let the community know that we want a meaningful relationship. I am curious as to whether or not there is some sort of how-to manual, if you will, that helps persons to understand how to build a meaningful relationship across cultural lines. Do we have that kind of intelligence that we can simply pass out to people in some meaningful way? Mr. Bergen. I want to endorse everything you have said, sir. I mean, I think that is incredibly important. How to perfect that relationship, I think, is a very big question that, I mean, I don't think we are all capable of answering right now. But I would like to make a comment which I think is illustrative of the strength of the Muslim-American community in this regard. The fact that these kids from Northern Virginia who wanted to volunteer for the Taliban were turned in by their own family I think speaks for itself. In some of the Somali cases around the country the same thing has happened; it is the family that has raised the red flag. So whatever our relationship is with the wider Muslim community, the Muslim community itself is the best trip wire for the kinds of things that we identify in this report, and we have seen that on several occasions, where it is what really worked. Mr. Hoffman. I would say that we need to equivalent--the American equivalent--of Quilliam Foundation, which exists in the United Kingdom, which enlists individuals who themselves have been radicalized and who themselves have been drawn into these movements to communicate with other young people and to communicate with communities and explain the processes and procedures, and the blandishments, and the entreaties that recruiters use and how to resist them more effectively. Mr. Flynn. I would just add one thing, and I think this is something that the New York Police Department has truly been exemplary on. One is, you work very early on and very actively to draw and recruit your members of those communities as part of your law enforcement community. There are more foreign- speaking police officers in the NYPD than the Federal Government apparatus combined because they make an effort to reach out to the communities, to engage them, to be a part of that community. The other very central piece is, you don't go to those communities for the first time when you are policing and say, ``We need your help fighting terrorism.'' You go to those communities and say, ``What do you have for problems in your neighborhoods?'' and you provide services for that. If it is car thefts, if it is kids getting beat up on the way to school--you engage communities by providing them services and making them feel that they are integrated and a part of that community, again, with the kinds of things you are saying up front. So there are ways to do this. We have done it. We just need to now magnify that effort, I think, in light of the threat that we have been talking about here today. Mr. Green. Let me thank you and compliment the NYPD, because you have moved to my next point about recruitment. But there is a third point: Language. Language is exceedingly important. Emily Dickinson, I believe, gave us this: ``A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.'' We have to be careful with the language so as not to want a relationship but show up with language that indicates we don't understand the people that we are trying to work with. If we are not careful with this broad brush language that we use on the National stage we find ourselves creating--putting chasm between ourselves and people who really want to work with us but the language creates an invisible barrier that makes it very difficult for them to step over and receive the hand of friendship that we desire to extend. I think that language has to be dealt with such that we pass that down--up and down, vertical as well as horizontally among leadership in this country. Finally, Mr. Chairman, I thank you. I am 9 seconds over. I just want to end with this: We talked about how people show up and they want to investigate them. Give you a supreme, superb example of something that happened in my presence. I was not the person speaking but I was privy to the conversation. An investigator came into the African-American community many, many years ago when we were having our civil rights movement, and his question to us was, ``Have you seen anything strange happening today?'' The young man who was among the group said, ``The only thing I have seen strange is a white man in this community asking me if I have seen anything strange.'' So my point is, we have to be sensitive to the people and have a relationship beforehand so as to be effective after a circumstance has developed. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thompson. Thank you for that instruction from the gentleman from Texas. Now recognize the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Cleaver, for 5 minutes. Mr. Cleaver. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Bergen, thank you for being here. Thank you, all three of you, for the work you do. What struck me, in your testimony you talked--about jihadists you talked about the 21 percent Caucasian, 18 percent Arab-American, 14 percent South Asian, 9 percent African- American. Of course that concerns me. So I am wondering if there is a common thread that runs through the groups that you mentioned that you believe led to their commitment to becoming jihadist. Is there some characteristic--is there something unique about them? I mean, are they high school dropouts, are they, you know, individuals who have been arrested once? Is there anything? Mr. Bergen. The short answer is no. I mean, Major Nidal Hasan was earning $90,000 a year; he was a medical doctor; he was, you know, a senior Army officer. Najibullah Zazi was a limo driver at Denver Airport, an Afghan-American. I mean, there is nothing--there is no profile ethnically, socially, and there is no--there is nothing you can really say. Correct me if I am wrong, Dr. Hoffman, but there is nothing you can really say that this is a common theme of all these people. You know Jihad Jane, who was a high school dropout with some failed marriages, you know, wasn't living large. But, you know, Nidal Hasan had everything going for him in his life, at least theoretically. So there isn't really some common theme, sir. Mr. Cleaver. Dr. Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman. I would say nor should we be surprised that that is the case. The British found the exact same thing in their investigations following the 2005 suicide attacks on London. The conclusion of the House of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee is that there is no profile of the British Muslim extremist either. Indeed, over there the diversity that Mr. Bergen has just described takes its, just as well, people from South Asia and North Africa, from the Middle East and from the Caribbean, young and old, single and married, converts, lifelong Muslims, university graduates, and high school dropouts. Mr. Cleaver. Dr. Flynn. Mr. Flynn. The only thing I would just add is that when we talk to the senior intelligence and National security officials about this issue the fact that we cannot, in fact, have this very clear profile of what these folks are makes these acts almost impossible to prevent up front. That is just a reality we are having to deal with, so--at the Federal level, again, relying on those tools. There are other things that we have been talking about here today--engagement of community, local law enforcement, public safety--those become key with dealing with this because the other tools are just not going to work for us. Mr. Cleaver. Thank you. My second and final question has to do with the fact that you have said in your testimony, Dr. Bergen, that al-Qaeda is focused on symbolic targets and--which is why they hit the World Trade Center. I am from the Midwest. I used to be the mayor of a Midwestern city, Kansas City, Missouri, and I have often thought if I were a terrorist I would absolutely avoid New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and go to the Midwest because we have pretty much declared the Midwest to be a place where there could be no symbolic success or target that would create the kind of umph that al-Qaeda apparently wants to produce. But Kansas City is one of the large rail centers in the country, and I don't know if there is anything symbolic in our transcontinental freight, you know, disrupting it that would attract al-Qaeda. But more than that, I just--I mean, are they so focused on symbolism that they would forego something that would be infinitely easier and less dangerous? Mr. Bergen. Yes. I mean, that is a very good question. Why don't they attack in Anywheresville USA in some mall, is one of the questions we addressed in the report. Al-Qaeda and aligned groups, you know, the people they are trying to impress and influence have never heard of Des Moines or Kansas City. I am sorry. They have heard of New York, Los Angeles, District of Columbia, blowing up an American passenger jet, and they keep returning to these targets again and again and again. You know, Najibullah Zazi drove from Denver, Colorado to Manhattan--he was living in Denver--to do the attack. So that is not to discount--we have seen some of the failed plots that Dr. Hoffman referred to. Springfield, Illinois was the target of a plot last year. So it is not to say that people inspired by al-Qaeda's ideas might not try an attack in Kansas City, but the al-Qaeda organization, I don't think so. Mr. Cleaver. He was not al-Qaeda, but keep in mind that the Murrah Federal Building was attacked in Oklahoma City, which is smaller than Kansas City, Missouri. Timothy McVeigh, of course, was not affiliated with al-Qaeda and so maybe he wasn't that concerned about symbolism. Mr. Flynn. Mr. Cleaver, I would say I have been to Kansas City, and I have looked at your rail issue out there, and I remain deeply concerned. Again, one thing we need to take is a more strategic perspective in this as well. 9/11 illustrated for any future adversary of the United States that the soft underbelly of this country is its critical infrastructure, and while the current group of folks that we looked at in this report don't show indications of that we can't proceed, I think, as a Nation with the illusion that we are not going to have folks who identify places where they could get profound economic disruption to our way of life, critical mills like in your backyard. Mr. Hoffman. I would say that one of the main conclusions of the report is that we face a diverse threat on multiple levels from multiple adversaries as well, and as the map on page 2 of the report indicates that in the United States there have been two extremely serious plots in the past year or 2 directed against New York City, which is worrisome enough because I think it calls into question our ability to deter our adversaries if they keep going back to the hardest target. But as the map shows there were successful attacks, tragically, in Fort Hood and in Little Rock, Arkansas. There were serious plots, as Mr. Bergen described, in Springfield, in Dallas, in Detroit, and elsewhere. So I think one of the challenges we face as a Nation is to understand that perhaps for a certain category of our adversaries a place like New York will always be, you know, undeniably attractive. At the same time, though, given the multiplicity and the diversity of the adversaries they will strike, as I earlier said, where they see the opportunity and where they see that the effects can be the most profound and the greatest. Mr. Cleaver. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. The Chairman now recognizes the gentleman from Florida for 5 minutes, Mr. Bilirakis. Mr. Bilirakis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Appreciate it very much. I apologize for being late. I was in a Veterans Committee meeting--actually a markup. First question to the entire panel: I have long been concerned that our visa issuance and oversight processes, particularly the student visa, is inadequate. In fact, I have introduced legislation that will help ensure that terrorists do not use our student visa process as a back door into our country. We know the terrorists involved in both the 1993 and the 2001 World Trade Center attacks were in the United States because they violated the terms of their student visas. The question, do you believe that terrorists are still able to exploit our student visa system to gain entrance to the United States to radicalize American citizens and/or engage in terrorist attacks? For the entire panel. Mr. Bergen. This is really a comment rather than a complete answer to your question. In the 2009 Manchester plot in the United Kingdom the people involved all were on student visas which they overstayed, so certainly this is an idea that is percolating with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, because these guys were all from that area. I mean, the counterargument would be we want to encourage people from Muslim countries to come to this country to study, and it is already pretty difficult for them to get in, and we don't want to penalize, you know, the 99 percent of the people who are coming legitimately. Already getting a visa in a country like Pakistan is pretty problematic, student or otherwise. So we have to balance those two things because there are two different goods at stake here. Mr. Flynn. I would reinforce Peter's point in the last regard. Certainly a more effective system, but it would have to be very well resourced for it to work more nimbly than it does. What we are doing overseas with consulate officials is putting lots of requirements on without much capacity, creating backlogs and challenges that keep the legitimate, good people we want in-process. So we have to really think about, when we lay that requirement, how we make sure we adequately manage it. We should be doing it very competently. But the deep concern is that at the end of the day our most powerful tool has been, for the overwhelming, I think, success of the American experience is having people experience it, to get here and be at conferences and schools and in our classroom. The overwhelming majority then go back home and bring those values with them. If we basically start to close that down it is so difficult, given the media that is out there, for people to validate the greatness of this country if they haven't experienced it, so it is a real difficult tension, I think, that is at work here. At the end of the day the threat does continue to--I think a key is not overselling what these tools can do. The diversification will happen; the recruitment is going to populations that are within our own society so we have to, I think, see it through a more encompassing lens. Mr. Hoffman. Well, it is a very pertinent question, particularly given the profile in the New Yorker this week of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who first--the mastermind behind the 9/ 11 attacks--who first came to the United States as a student. One of the cases we identified last year, of course, involved a student, although not a student in the United States, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. It has been, as Mr. Bergen said, more common, and I think the British authorities see it as a very serious problem in the United Kingdom. My point would be that unfortunately over the years trends in terrorism that we have seen elsewhere inevitably come to the United States even if they haven't manifested themselves in any significant way here yet, but the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, of course, is an indicator that people who come to the United States draw their own conclusions as well from their student experiences. Mr. Bilirakis. Thank you. Next question for the entire panel again: Terrorist organizations have become adept at using the internet to recruit, inspire, and motivate individuals in the United States to carry out attacks on their behalf. What are your thoughts on how to combat the use of internet and other technologies by terrorist organizations that seek to inspire and encourage terrorist attacks in our country by those who are already here? Mr. Bergen. Yes. I think there is a huge First Amendment problem and there is a huge technology problem, neither of which I think are very superable. The technology is always going to be better than what the Government can do, and so trying to close these kinds of things down, of course, is the intelligence-gathering that you can gather from these internet sites, which is useful. You know, while it might be desirable to try and do something about this I think in practice it would be very hard. Mr. Hoffman. I have testified in this room before Congresswoman Harman's subcommittee on this issue, and I think it is one of the biggest problems we face in the sense that the internet has become this vast vacuum that unfortunately the purveyors and communicators of hatred and intolerance have taken advantage of, not least, I think, to peddle often base, completely untruthful conspiracy theories that gain incredible traction. I see this as a problem that we have talked about, in essence for 9 years since 9/11, but there really hasn't emerged any strategy or any approach to how to deal with it. Under Under Secretary Glassman in the previous administration I think there was progress being made in the State Department on this because he was someone who understood that you have to knit together the various communications arms of the United States. But I think that was sort of a brief flurry of activity and prioritization that unfortunately has fallen by the wayside. Mr. Flynn. The only thing I would add is I think it is clear that we need the counter-messages, and we talked--Dr. Hoffman mentioned it earlier here, that this AID and the focus on our public communications abroad is primarily still traditional media and we have got to get to different media. But one message that I try to convey, again, to my domestic audience as well as overseas is this is a resilient country and we will not be cowed by those who want to threaten us. We have bounced back better and stronger when hit, and try, but we will bounce back better and stronger. We have to have messages that don't feed the sense that this--these acts of terror will give these folks great glory and opportunity. Chairman Thompson. So basically, resilience is important. Mr. Flynn. Absolutely. One of the challenges, I guess, Mr. Chairman, with that concept, I think, before was there was a sense that that would be an element of defeatism by saying that we have to be resilient. That means you are not working hard enough to prevent these things in the first place. Nonsense. When we communicate our resilience we are having a deterrent effect. It is a part of our strategy of prevention, letting people know that this is a strong country, a capable country, as it illustrated on 9/11 with the efforts of the folks in United 93 as well as how people responded in Manhattan to get people off. This is a country that has lots of stories to tell about our resilience and we need to do a better job of communicating them, I think. Chairman Thompson. I agree. The gentlelady from Nevada, Ms. Titus, for 5 minutes. Ms. Titus. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, when you are the last one often much of what you wanted to say has been covered, but I would like to go back to a couple of points as they relate to my district in southern Nevada. You talked about future attacks focusing on distinctive Western trademarks, and I heard you mention some major cities. You didn't mention Las Vegas, and Las Vegas is probably as quintessentially American--maybe in good and bad ways--as it comes, and so we often worry that we might be a soft target. I think, too, about trademarks as McDonald's and Starbucks. I have often thought that the way to have a really demoralizing effect on the country would be for 10 terrorists to walk into 10 Starbucks around the country at the same time and blow them up. It wouldn't be a lot of people but it would be in an area that would make us feel most vulnerable because it is everyday life where you don't expect it. A lot of people aren't ever going to go to the World Trade Center but they are going to send their children to McDonald's or they are going to stop at Starbucks, and they just wouldn't expect it to happen there. So I would ask you to comment on that. Also, in Las Vegas--the Chairman mentioned he was in the district with me recently to announce our ``See Something, Say Something'' effort. I think we need to put more resources behind that because it is very effective, especially if there is no set profile. In Nevada we are doing training of housekeepers and valet parkers and taxi drivers all to say, if you see something, you hear something, you smell something that is out of the ordinary don't be afraid to report it. It has been very effective. So more of that kind of programming, I think, would be a good idea. Then just finally, you have said we--excuse me--need to change the culture, we need to talk about being resilient, we need leadership that says they oppose activities like burning the Koran, but you haven't really given us something specific that we can do as a legislative fix. What can this committee do, or what can Congress do, or where should the money be redirected or the resources so that we can do the things that you are talking about? Is there anything specific you can tell us? Mr. Flynn. I will leave my colleagues to talk about the threat. But again, you know, I think for the reasons you identified Las Vegas certainly should fall in the list of areas that we should be concerned about. The effort to support the ``See Something, Say Something'' campaigns, I mean, the key is that it is useful information, that is credible information tailored for the communities that it is in, and also that when people report they have the confidence there is going to be a live voice and some response, they are going to be treated with respect. That is resources that clearly have to be committed to that at that enterprise. So the local public safety agencies need those resources and capacity, I think, to go there. I think one just woefully underfunded effort is built around things like Citizen Corp, and Citizen Corp where, you know, the more probable--the reality is the more probable consequential events in this country are going to be natural disasters, and yet the skill set we need to deal with those disasters are going to very much serve us well in dealing with this terrorist event as well. So really, efforts that move beyond just the terrorism focus but says, ``If you stay put in this country 95 percent of Americans are going to get hit by a natural disaster at some point.'' Building Citizen Corp kinds of capacity where you incorporate in that, as well, the, ``This is one of the hazards that we face as communities; we need capabilities.'' Then people, I think, will see a direct return, and we saw to get the kind of return of the social contract that we want to deal with emergencies going forward. So I think that is an area where we could focus, potentially, as a body more attention on. Thank you, ma'am. Mr. Hoffman. Well, I think one of the problems we face in this country is, unlike law enforcement officers in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or even Israel, where terrorism is a daily occurrence, here this isn't necessarily something that is front and center on their radar screen. I think except with some signal exceptions--NYPD, Los Angeles Police Department, Chicago, various others, and I would have to include in that Las Vegas P.D. and the Nevada State authorities. I have personally conducted many training sessions where I found Las Vegas Police Department members who were also members of the military who served in reserve intelligence units, but who take very seriously, exactly as you described, the potential threats to Las Vegas and are doing mostly on their own exactly the right thing--reaching out and seeking to improve and enhance their own education and training. This goes into your second question, as we have discussed and as the Chairman has been behind these moves is to bring those same--the NYPD model, in essence. I am speaking personally amongst all the meetings that we had with various officials as part of the National Security Preparedness Group but I am biased as a native New Yorker. I think one of the most inspiring, and informative, and certainly cutting-edge we heard was from Commissioner Ray Kelly and what NYPD is doing, and it is an acknowledged model but it is enabling other municipalities and other localities and States to have the same opportunities, even though they have--don't have the same budget that New York has, to partake in these opportunities with Federal assistance. Mr. Bergen. Just on the Starbucks question, I mean, these guys--they are mostly guys, of course--you know, if you look at what the targets have been--New York City subway with Zazi, Times Square with Faisal Shahzad, the Northwest flight 253 with Umar Farouk--they just keep coming back to the same targets. They are just not going to do Starbucks. Ms. Titus. I appreciate that. It is just interesting that you say they keep coming back to the same targets and yet you also make the same point that they don't do the same thing, they keep looking for gaps in our security to find opportunities to do different things. Isn't that a little contradictory if we are trying to be forward-looking as opposed to replaying the same scenario over and over? Mr. Bergen. Actually, I don't think those things are contradictory. They keep going to the same targets but they are looking for new gaps. Ms. Titus. Okay. Mr. Bergen. So, you know, the plastic explosives in the underwear, this is a new gap. I would raise for the committee a very important thing that I think we had mentioned in the report: Whoever built that bomb is still out there. The Yemeni bomb-maker who built that bomb--he almost succeeded in killing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef on August 28 of last year with a bomb that is exactly the same one that was used on Northwest flight 253, and according to a range of officials that we spoke to for the report there is no evidence this guy is out of business, and he will try and put a plastic explosive bomb on a plane somewhere in the world at some point. Mr. Flynn. I think what is key is that with this scenario is that we have plans and we think through how we would respond. These are very important company spots for our economy and we should have thought through, even though the probability remains, I think, killing lies. I would only add this: On its face it sounds pretty simple to send 10 simultaneous bombs into Starbucks but that is actually a lot of effort, and so it has an element of sophistication that requires a bigger group, more coordination and communication, that gives us some ability in the conventional law enforcement as well as intelligence to trip them up. So it is a lone wolf kind of attack that is probably more likely to be profitable, and the people may not draw the sense that there is a systemic vulnerability, so that is probably where it is in the in-between stage. Bottom line, a brand will be devastated by that so the company should have a vested interest. But we as a Government need to have a plan for, again, the morning-after problem. When this does happen how are we going to respond so we don't create an incentive for them to keep coming back to this same problem? Ms. Titus. Thank you. Mr. Hoffman. Could I address the apparent contradiction---- Chairman Thompson. Without objection. Mr. Hoffman. Thank you, sir. One of the salient conclusions of the report is that unlike in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 we don't face any longer one threat from one terrorist group in essence in one place, but it is rather a diversity and a multiplicity of threats, and I think at a certain level the most senior levels of al-Qaeda they are very much bent on symbolic targets, perhaps fixated on New York. But as the report points out, the threat has diversified and also increased, and as it has multiplied it has spread throughout the country and it has also, as we discussed a few minutes ago, zeroed in on different locations and different levels of targets, and I think that is the fundamental challenge we face in counterterrorism today, is we have to have a far more flexible and a far more dynamic approach than at any other time certainly that existed in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Ms. Titus. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thompson. Thank you. The Chairman now recognizes the gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee, for 5 minutes. Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I just want to take a moment to thank the panel, but as well to acknowledge I believe this committee has important work to do. Chairman, I want to thank you for both this series of hearings but the intensity of the oversight that we have had throughout the history of this committee. To the Ranking Member and to Mr. Lungren, who is sitting in place, I think none of us would underestimate the importance of hearings like this or having a committee called Homeland Security, which, as all of you witnesses know, we had no such thing prior to 2001 and we probably had some clue, but a limited clue. I co-chair the Pakistan Caucus, and I--and the Afghan Caucus--and I have watched as I have worked in those entities, and particularly the popularity of those countries rise and fall. So I want to say this without any comment that is disparaging on this committee or the work that we are doing, but I think it is important to say: I don't feel safe, and I think it is important that we acknowledge this question of the speculation of security and safety. As we do that it makes us more diligent, more faithful, and more responsible to these issues. So I am going to raise these questions on the grounds of not feeling safe, and Peter, if I might, Mr. Bergen, as we have listened to your commentary let me not--let you--don't perceive this as a critic--you are usually somber and straightforward in the message, because I think we should be serious about this. I frankly believe that we are franchising terrorism. I think the report said something about diversification. When you have someone who left Ghana and made their way through into the Netherlands and then to the United States; when you have a captain in Fort--in Austin--I am sorry, Killeen, Fort Hood, my State, and having gone to Fort Hood as well, getting information or being inspired negatively by someone in Yemen. I went to Yemen shortly after and I think my colleague, Congresswoman Harman, is one shortly after the incident in December, and what the Yemen leadership said is, ``We want help but we have thousands of unemployed young men that are fodder, if you will, for this issue.'' Would you comment on the franchise of terrorism, which means how do we pinpoint it? How does the committee that is fixed in time that sits in Congress, a department that is fixed that sits in Washington, address the question of the franchising of terrorism which gives no appointment, no notice other than, of course, the idea of human intelligence, which, of course, is very important? Would you add to that the issue of aviation as a major target, and is it attractive because it is a ``wow,'' and is there anything we can do to take away the wow? The last point is, this anti-Islamic feeling, movement, trend with the peak of the gentleman from Florida, who I never could imagine would exist in this country but did and captured the minds and hearts of the world for, like, 2 weeks? Mr. Bergen. Mr. Bergen. A lot to cover, but yes. I mean, certainly the franchising is a problem and we have seen, but we are--I think it is a problem we are aware of. I mean, the fact that Congressman Harman and Congressman--Congresswoman Harman and yourself have both been to Yemen I think speaks for the fact that, you know, whether it is General Petraeus, when he was at CENTCOM, and others, I mean, there is a focus there. Taking away the wow from aviation I don't think is going to happen. Ms. Jackson Lee. Taking away the---- Mr. Bergen. Taking away the wow. I mean, aviation is the lifeblood of the global economy and these guys have a narrative. They want to bankrupt us and, you know, if 253 had blown up over Detroit, I mean, we would have taken a huge hit in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, there is no doubt about it. So I think that is, you know, that is just going to remain the new target. As for the anti-Islamic fervor, I mean, this plays directly into the hands of the jihadis, there is no doubt. I mean, they use it constantly as a talking point, the fact that they can say, ``Well, look at the controversy that goes with the Manhattan mosque.'' This is a recruiting tool for them, the extent of which we--obviously having an open debate about these issues is the American way but we should be cognizant of the fact that our enemies are exploiting real anti-Islamic bias or perceived anti-Islamic bias, whatever the case, as one of their talking points. Ms. Jackson Lee. Dr. Hoffman. Thank you. Mr. Hoffman. I don't have anything to add. I think aviation, no matter what we do, will remain a salient target exactly as Mr. Bergen described, because our adversaries don't see as much defeating us militarily as undermining us economically, and they think that by focusing on commercial aviation that that will be a proven means to throttle our economy and certainly our global commerce. Mr. Flynn. I would just add on the aviation piece, at least, the biggest concern, of course, we rightfully had after 9/11 was using an airplane as a guided missile with passengers aboard. Two relatively straightforward things helped to deal with that--hardening the cockpit door and changing the behavior of the passengers on-board those planes. So yes, aviation will be targeted but not in the same way we saw after 9/11 and I think it is an important perspective to keep in mind. But broadly, I think as a challenge for this committee is, and I think again, it is a key thing to be taken away from this analysis: We have been doing something very expensive and working very hard at it, which is to use the conventional National security, National defense apparatus we have to conduct the war against terrorism. What we have not done nearly as well and with near the sense of priority or investment is to deal with the homeland security enterprise that 9/11 revealed. At the end of the day the attack happened here, and yet we basically invested in taking this to the enemy. What this report makes clear is that that effort of basically trying to keep this threat at arm's length is not something sustainable in the long run and we have to make investments commensurate with the threat and vulnerability and the need in the homeland security realm. Mr. Bergen. Sir, can I add just one thing about aviation which I think is important? In 2002 an al-Qaeda affiliate in Mombasa tried to bring down an Israeli charter jet with a surface-to-air missile and almost succeeded, and this is not a Chicken Little scenario. These guys do have surface-to-air missiles; they do have the intent and they have the capability. I think that that is--if you could bring down a commercial jet somewhere in the world-- it doesn't have to be American---- Ms. Jackson Lee. Right. Mr. Bergen [continuing]. We are in a kind of transformative moment, and unfortunately that is, I think, a predictable kind of attack that they will try and pull off in the future. Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, could I just ask you to yield? I would like to put something in the record and I would like you to hear it, please, because it adds to this point, and I won't call the city and it might be obvious. One of the things that we don't think about as we give Federal money is how local governments receive it and interact with it. There is an airport that is receiving AIP equipment-- advanced imaging technology. The placing of the equipment was delayed because of local government permitting problems to the extent that the equipment is not in today and it was supposed to be in almost a month ago. So when we think of the work we do here, how we interact with local officials--and of course we have heard a lot of compliments about good works that they have done and they do-- but just a building permit issue that they may think is not significant, or they are not focusing on what we are trying to do, which is terrorist equipment, and it is standing there waiting in a box, I think that is something that maybe we will look at or how we can do our outreach to the local communities and how our work here gets translated in the right way. So I just wanted to put that on the record, because even today the equipment is not in. Chairman Thompson. You sure you don't want to identify the city? [Laughter.] Chairman Thompson. The worst-kept secret in the hearing. Thank you very much, Ms. Jackson Lee. Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thompson. The Chairman now yields for a point of personal privilege for Ms. Harman. Ms. Harman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just failed to acknowledge, and I think we all should, the presence in the audience of Carrie Lemack, whose mother died on 9/11 and who has been one of the most active members of the 9/11 families behind responsible oversight and good legislation in Congress to deal with these threats. I call the group that she is part of the wind beneath our wings as we enacted some of the changes after 9/11, and I---- Carrie, I don't know how we would ever do this without you. I yield back, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thompson. Thank you very much. [Applause.] Chairman Thompson. Dr. Flynn, since we have you here I want to get a comment from you. You have talked a little bit about the diversity of the terrorist threat. What do you say to those out here who are still balking at this notion of 100 percent scanning of U.S.-bound cargo? Mr. Flynn. My biggest concern remains that the intermodal transportation system is still vulnerable to potentially--I think it is more in the realm of a dirty bomb as a scenario, that should it get into the system and go off that all the risk management tools that have been put together to date will be discredited and the response will be, like we have done offshore right now in the Gulf of Mexico, is a moratorium on the movement of goods till we can sort it out. The consequence of that would be cataclysmic. So we need to move beyond the status quo into something that gives us a far better range of confidence when--if this scenario plays itself out--than the tools we have today. I think it is possible, when you engage the industry, to get to a far higher percentage of scanning that is more toward the 100 percent end of the spectrum than it is the tiny fraction we do today, but the key is to move beyond the polemic that this-- everything was fine until this legislation came along and then that that is simply unachievable. There is a middle ground here where our overarching effort has to be. The resilience of the intermodal transportation system is exploited, and I am very much concerned that we have been stagnant for 3 years--no movement in this area--and a consequence could be really quite catastrophic for our economy. Again, for the analysis here do we have data that tells us this is a near and present? No. But it will take us a long time to put the system--the right system--in place, and there is more that can be done. Chairman Thompson. The reason I raised it is we continue, as a committee, to press the Department to follow the Congressional mandate rather than to interpret the mandate as they see it, and we basically say, ``You don't have a choice in the matter.'' So I guess I am just looking for an ``amen'' that Congress is doing right. Mr. Flynn. Amen. Chairman Thompson. Thank you very much. I thank the witnesses for their valuable testimony and the Members for their questions. Before concluding I would like to remind the witnesses that the Members of the committee may have additional questions for you and we will ask you to respond expeditiously in writing to those questions. Hearing no further business, the committee stands adjourned. [Whereupon, at 12:02 p.m., the committee was adjourned.] A P P E N D I X ---------- Questions From Chairman Bennie G. Thompson for Peter Bergen Question 1. You gave testimony before our intelligence subcommittee 10 months ago where you posited that: ``In sharp contrast to Muslim populations in European countries like Britain--where al-Qaeda has found recruits for multiple serious terrorist plots--the American Muslim community has largely rejected the ideological virus of militant Islam. The `American Dream' has generally worked well for Muslims in the United States, who are both better- educated and wealthier than the average American.''\1\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ ``Reassessing the Evolving al-Qaeda Threat to the Homeland'', Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment, November 19, 2009. Now, clearly a lot has happened since November 2009. The large number of terrorism-related incidents carried out by American citizens or residents certainly belies your observation. My question is, why hasn't the American Dream protected us against radicalization in the United States? What have you learned, through preparing this assessment, about how someone who by all outward appearances was living the American Dream--think Faisal Shahzad--could be radicalized in America? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 2. What is your opinion about reports that the United States is beginning a dramatic build-up of intelligence and counterterrorism operations in the Arabian Peninsula? Particularly, what do you think about the reports that the CIA is considering redeploying drones from Pakistan to carry out operations in Yemen (against AQAP) and Somalia (against Al Shabab)?\2\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \2\ Adam Entous and Siobhan Gorman, ``U.S. Weighs Expanded Strikes in Yemen,'' Wall Street Journal, (August 25, 2010), http:// online.wsj.com/article/ SB10001424052748704125604575450162714867720.html. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Through your research, you have noted that drone attacks can have some drawbacks and contribute to radicalization when there is collateral damage. To your mind, what considerations should be taken into account before commencing drone strikes against AQAP and Al Shabab on the Arabian Peninsula? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 3. Based on your assessment, how does the Federal Government's response and reaction to past terrorist attacks and attempts influence extremist behavior? For example, when aviation security policies and procedures are swiftly or drastically changed in response to thwarted attacks such as the Flight 253 incident on Christmas day 2009 or the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot; do violent extremists see this as a victory? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 4a. In your report you state that terrorism is inexpensive. You note that the Times Square plot cost approximately $12,000 to undertake, with the funds being transferred from overseas bank accounts to Faisal Shahzad via locations in Massachusetts and New York State.\3\ Although we have made reforms after the 9/11 attacks to monitor and punish financing of terrorist organizations and their operations, what can we do further to stem terrorists' financing? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ Bergen-Hoffman Assessment p. 25. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Question 4b. In your report you address one of the prevailing thoughts by some in the intelligence community that the threat of al- Qaeda is now low because its membership is currently in the range of around 50 to 300.\4\ From your testimony, you caution that focusing on the size of membership is a flawed way to look at the al-Qaeda threat. You explain that al-Qaeda remains a threat not because of the size of its membership--after all their core membership has always been small-- but because of it position as the ideological and military vanguard for jihadists around the world. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \4\ Bergen-Hoffman Assessment p. 5. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- What, if anything, is wrong with the way that the intelligence community is assessing the threat that al-Qaeda presents? Question 4c. If their assessment is wrong, how does this influence resource allocation and investigations? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 5a. The committee has received testimony from the WMD Commission that ``unless the international community acted decisively and with great urgency to counter this threat, the probability of using a weapon of mass destruction in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013 is very likely.'' Your report, on the other hand, asserts that the threat of a terrorist being able to pull of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack is remote. Can you expound on why you view the risk of an attack involving ``true weapons of mass destruction'' unlikely to happen? Question 5b. What would you say to those that argue that the potential high consequences of a WMD attack overrides the doubts or limited evidence that terrorists are capable of successfully deploying such an attack? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Questions From Hon. Yvette D. Clarke for Peter Bergen Question 1. In the wake of lapses in security, there is a tendency to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater with regards to the policies that we have implemented to keep our country safe. In light of the attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who have demonstrated the limitations in our homeland security, how can authorities be more proactive in our approach to what is possible, thereby enhancing our ability to not only eliminate sensational attacks such as 9/11 but also the attempts I just mentioned? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 2. Globalization has created a world in which events overseas have an immediate impact back home and vice versa as the recent Koran burning controversy demonstrated. In the case where individuals in America are radicalized or arrive in America with a radical agenda, what are authorities doing to work with domestic groups and communities to identify these individuals before they can cause harm to America? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 3. There is a fine line between keeping our country safe and staying true to our values as Americans. What are authorities doing to ensure that we are being proactive in identifying terrorist threats without racial profiling or zeroing in on a person due to national origin? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Questions From Chairman Bennie G. Thompson for Bruce Hoffman Question 1. According to the ``Terrorist Trial Report Card,'' produced by NYU's School of Law and Security, ``[n]either Miranda requirements nor the challenges of preserving classified information have proven to be insurmountable obstacles in terrorism cases''\1\ insofar as nine out of 10 terrorism cases result in convictions.\2\ Do you agree with this assessment? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ ``Terrorist Trial Report Card: September 11, 2001 to September 11, 2009,'' Center on Law and Security, New York University School of Law, (January 2010). \2\ Id. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 2a. You recently observed that our Government is ``able to focus only on one enemy in one place at one time''.\3\ Last month, the CIA stated that AQAP\4\--the Al Qaeda offshoot in Yemen--rather than the core terrorist group that carried out the September 11 attacks--is the most urgent threat to U.S. security.\5\ A major factor contributing to this assessment was the incredible speed--just a few months' time-- that it took for them to plan and carry out the attempted Northwest Flight 253 bombing. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ Bruce Hoffman, ``American Jihad,'' The National Interest, (May- June 2010), http://nationalinterest.org/article/american-jihad-3441. \4\ Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; pronounced ``A-Q-A-P''. \5\ Greg Miller, ``CIA Sees Increased Threat In Yemen,'' Washington Post, (August 25, 2010) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2010/08/24/AR2010082406763.html. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Given your observations about how our Government carries out counter-terrorism efforts, would you expect that this recent CIA assessment will necessarily result in a diversion of priorities and resources away from other terrorist threats? Question 2b. Shouldn't one of the major takeaways be from the Christmas day attempted attack that the threat has evolved and now an attack can be planned from anywhere, in a very short amount of time? Question 2c. Does it not stand to reason that as long as we continue to focus on where the last attack came from, we risk missing where the next one is being plotted? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 3a. According to your analysis of the 57 Americans whose ethnicities are known who have been charged or convicted of Islamist terrorism crimes in the United States or elsewhere since January 2009, the largest bloc were Somali-Americans at 31 percent. The next largest bloc was Caucasian-Americans at 21 percent, which underscores your argument that the threat has diversified and terrorists are not one color or ethnicity.\6\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \6\ Bergen, Peter and Hoffman, Bruce, ``Assessing the Terror Threat'', September 10, 2010, p. 16. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Would you elaborate further on how your statistical analysis discredited generalized stereotypes about the racial or ethnic make-up of a terrorist? Question 3b. To what degree does the the ``Americanization'' of the terrorist threat compel a rethinking of a terrorist stereotype? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 4a. Over the past year, there have been numerous cases of concerned citizens reporting suspicious terrorist activity or suspected radicalization of members within their community to the authorities. Given that these actions have, in many cases, led to successful investigations and arrests, there is a growing perception among some that community engagement can be a critical counter-terrorism tactic. At the same time, there are those that view a closer relationship between the Government and community groups and leaders borders as tantamount to ``sleeping with the enemy''. What do you think about ``community engagement'' as a counter- terrorism tactic? Question 4b. It seems today that engagement with the community remains on an ad hoc basis and a fully integrated relationship between communities of concerns and all levels of Government has not yet developed. Who, if anyone, do you think should be leading these efforts at the Federal level? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 5a. Prisoners--especially those in gangs--have long recruited other inmates to act as their collaborators upon release. But there is some evidence that prisons may be particularly fertile ground for violent radicalization--think Richard Reid, Jose Padilla, and Kevin James.\7\ Many American have not heard of ``Kevin James.'' His is a particularly disturbing case insofar it is the first identified case of a gang member radicalizing inmates into joining a prison gang with a terrorist agenda in a U.S. prison. How much of the U.S.-base threat-- which you identify as ``embryonic''--would you say emanates from our prisons? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \7\ On March 6, 2009, Kevin James was sentenced to 16 years in Federal prison after pleading guilty to ``conspiracy to levy war against the United States through terrorism.'' James and three other men were indicted on terrorism charges related to the 2005 Los Angeles bomb plot, a conspiracy to attack military and Jewish facilities in the Los Angeles area and of attempting to fund their campaign by robbing gas stations in Southern California over the previous 3 months. James, a Muslim convert, was accused of founding a radical Islamic group called J.I.S (Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, Arabic for ``Assembly of Authentic Islam'') from his cell in Folsom Prison in California, and of recruiting fellow inmates to join his terrorist mission. http:// losangeles.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/la030609ausa.htm. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our intelligence collection capabilities in prisons appear to be limited, and we have little or no infrastructure in place to conduct deradicalization efforts in our prison system. Other countries have taken much more proactive steps. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, an extensive prison deradicalization program connects the inmates back with their families and provides religious and job education to provide a path back to the mainstream. Should the United States be considering similar deradicalization programs for our prisons? Question 5b. What, if anything else, can we do to address the threat of radicalization in prisons? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 6. In your report, you list ``suicide operations'' as the most likely potential future terrorist tactic and note Americans have already been involved in suicide attacks--two of the Somali-American youths that left Minnesota for Somalia have blown themselves up.\8\ You recount how the British Security Service, months before the July 2005 suicide attacks on the London transit system, concluded that ``suicide bombing would not be much of a concern in the United Kingdom itself.''\9\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \8\ Bergen-Hoffman Assessment p. 3 and p. 26. \9\ Id at 26. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- I could not help but think that you shared that observation about the British to say something larger about this country. Is America ``stubbornly wrapping itself in a false security blanket'' about the threat of suicide attacks in the United States, as you claim the country is doing respect to the homegrown terrorism threat?\10\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \10\ Id. at 16. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Questions From Hon. Yvette D. Clarke for Bruce Hoffman Question 1. In the wake of lapses in security, there is a tendency to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater with regards to the policies that we have implemented to keep our country safe. In light of the attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who have demonstrated the limitations in our homeland security, how can authorities be more proactive in our approach to what is possible, thereby enhancing our ability to not only eliminate sensational attacks such as 9/11 but also the attempts I just mentioned? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 2. Globalization has created a world in which events overseas have an immediate impact back home and vice versa as the recent Koran burning controversy demonstrated. In the case where individuals in America are radicalized or arrive in America with a radical agenda, what are authorities doing to work with domestic groups and communities to identify these individuals before they can cause harm to America? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 3. There is a fine line between keeping our country safe and staying true to our values as Americans. What are authorities doing to ensure that we are being proactive in identifying terrorist threats without racial profiling or zeroing in on a person due to national origin? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Questions From Chairman Bennie G. Thompson for Stephen E. Flynn Question 1. Do you think that our extensive programs to push out the borders--like reforms to Visa Waiver Program, the Visa Security Program, etc.--naturally resulted in making terrorist organizations look to recruit U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents since they can move freely inside and outside the country? Do you think that these systems are operating adequately or do you think more reforms are needed? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 2. You clearly articulate in your report that the threat is evolving from foreign-based to domestic, where U.S. citizens and residents play a prominent role in planning and operations either here in the United States or globally. In your opinion, given this shift, to what extent should we continue to invest resources and energy in the name-based watch-listing system, as managed by the National Counterterrorism Center? Question 2b. As the threat is evolving to more domestic and homegrown, in what way, if any, should our watch-listing systems be adapted to track individuals who pose a threat to our National security? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 3a. Since Northwest Flight 253, there has been renewed interest in visa security. Not since after the September 11 terrorist attacks, when we took significant new steps to try and foster greater security in the visa process--given that all 19 terrorists entered the United States on valid visas--have we seen as much discussion about the vulnerabilities. Should we view the fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to travel to the United States on a valid visa even though he was identified as a ``known or suspected terrorist'' in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) as simply the result of a breakdown in our intelligence systems or do you believe that our visa system was exploited? Question 3b. How valuable is it for terrorist groups to recruit individuals with valid visas? Is there any indication that terrorists are actively recruiting these individuals? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 4. Some have suggested that DHS take over the visa issuance process from the State Department. What do you think about such proposals? How important is intelligence-gathering and information-sharing within the intelligence community in preventing terrorists with valid visas from entering this country? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 5. The Flight 253 incident illustrates aviation security is an international concern. In the wake of the attack, senior DHS officials engaged in a broad international outreach effort to meet with leaders from major international airports to review security procedures. What more should our Government do to engage our international partners in the interest of enhancing global aviation security and deny terrorists access into our country? What more should we expect of those international partners? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 6. When the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review was released earlier this year, President Obama said: ``The greatest threat to U.S. and global security is no longer a nuclear exchange between nations but nuclear terrorism by violent extremists.'' Do you agree? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Questions From Hon. Yvette D. Clarke for Stephen E. Flynn Question 1. In the wake of lapses in security, there is a tendency to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater with regards to the policies that we have implemented to keep our country safe. In light of the attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who have demonstrated the limitations in our homeland security, how can authorities be more proactive in our approach to what is possible, thereby enhancing our ability to not only eliminate sensational attacks such as 9/11 but also the attempts I just mentioned? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 2. Globalization has created a world in which events overseas have an immediate impact back home and vice versa as the recent Koran burning controversy demonstrated. In the case where individuals in America are radicalized or arrive in America with a radical agenda, what are authorities doing to work with domestic groups and communities to identify these individuals before they can cause harm to America? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 3. There is a fine line between keeping our country safe and staying true to our values as Americans. What are authorities doing to ensure that we are being proactive in identifying terrorist threats without racial profiling or zeroing in on a person due to national origin? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Questions From Hon. William L. Owens for Stephen E. Flynn Question 1. DHS has deployed technology to capture biometric data of travelers entering the United States at air, land, and sea ports. What procedures, if any, are in place to track high-risk individuals who are departing the United States to receive training in countries like Pakistan and Yemen? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication. Question 2. Can you point to any specific areas in security at the northern border that you think are in need of reform? What is your assessment of the TSA-run watch-listing system as it relates to the northern border? Answer. Response was not received at the time of publication.