9/11: Ten Years Later

Description

Session One: Keynote Speaker
Philip Zelikow
, Graduate School Dean and Professor of History,
University of Virginia; Former Executive Director, 9/11 Commission
Welcoming Remarks: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on
Foreign Relations
Presider: Garrick Utley, President, SUNY Levin Institute
12:30 to 1:00 PM Buffet Lunch
1:00 to 2:00 PM Meeting

Session Two: Assessing the Threat: Is the United States Still Vulnerable?
Richard A. Falkenrath, Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis Adjunct Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism, New York City Police Department
John McLaughlin
, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Former Acting Director of Central Intelligence
Juan Zarate, Senior National Security Analyst, CBS News; Senior Adviser, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Former Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Combating Terrorism
Presider:
Gideon Rose, Editor and Peter G. Peterson Chair, Foreign Affairs
2:15 to 3:30 PM Meeting                                           

Session Three: Counterterrorism and Homeland Security: Does the United States Have the Right Strategy?
Henry A. Crumpton
, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Crumpton Group LLC; Former Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State
John F. Lehman
, Chairman, J.F. Lehman & Co.; Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy
Frances Townsend
, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Government, Legal, and Business Affairs, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.; Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
Presider:
Thom Shanker, Pentagon and National Security Correspondent, New York Times; Coauthor, Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda
3:45 to 5:00 PM Meeting
5:00 to 6:00 PM Cocktail Reception

Related Readings:

Global Governance Monitor: Terrorism

9/11 Perspectives: Pursuing a Global Response to Terrorism

Ten Lessons Since the 9/11 Attack, Expert Roundup Videos

"Al Qaeda's Challenge," by William McCants, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2011

"9/11 in Retrospect," by Melvyn P. Leffeler, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2011

CFR Contingency Planning Memo, “A Pakistan-based Terrorist Attack on the U.S. Homeland” by Stephen Tankel

Audio
Transcript

RICHARD HAASS: If people would take their seats, we could get started.

Well, welcome. Good afternoon and welcome to the Council on Foreign Relations, and thank you for joining us for this symposium, "9/11: 10 Years Later." For those of you were in New York or Washington or Pennsylvania the last few days or near a television set, we've had an extraordinarily powerful set of events over the last few days about the -- focusing on the people, the families that suffered so much and lost so much a decade ago.

We debated when to hold this event here, and we thought what made the most sense was to do it sequentially -- essentially, to do it after the memorials. Because the purpose of this is to be slightly more detached, to look back a bit, but really more to look forward, to look at the future of the threat and to look at the potential range of responses.

Looking back for a minute, there have been important successes in the fight against terror. The Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan; a number of important terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, were captured or killed; there's not been a successful large-scale attack on this country; and we've also seen a real evolution in what we can do against terrorism, whether it's increasing and refocusing America's intelligence, a revolution in homeland security, and all sorts of new means of going after terrorists -- including, but not limited to, drones.

Yet despite these changes and despite these advances, the reality is that the terrorist threat not only endures, but evolves. Pakistan remains the epicenter of global terrorism, giving a -- given a mixture of a limited capacity and, at times, limited will.

There's new real estate for terrorists to exploit in the greater Middle East as governments have lost, in some cases, an ability to control their own territory. Certain governments which were particularly robust against terrorism are either weakened or no longer in power. And the threat is evolving.

We now have cyber threats that are more acute than they were a decade ago. There's the continuing challenge of the potential of WMD and there's greater interest, for good reason, on homegrown threats. So the reality is obviously that the -- terrorism cannot be eliminated any more than we can eliminate our vulnerability.

There's also the reality that we have to be smart and restrained in what we do, and I would argue -- and I'm speaking personally here -- that while counterterrorism and a global war on terrorism must be an element of American foreign policy, it cannot be -- they cannot be its central element.

I would also argue, and this would probably not come as a surprise to many of you, that what we did in Iraq or, as of two and a half years ago started doing in Afghanistan, cannot be a template for our future response. We will need something, I would argue, more focused, more modest and more scalable.

And here at home we're obviously going to have to balance defensive and homeland security-related measures against the price they exact in economic output, inefficiency and in civil liberties.

Let me say, on behalf of the institution, that the subjects we're talking about today have been an important part of this institution's agenda for -- now for more than 10 years. Just recently the Council on Foreign Relations actually published a book, a Foreign Affairs e-book titled "The United States versus al Qaeda." The Global Governance Monitor just does that, monitors and measures our global efforts against terrorism, we've had an independent task force recently on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

All told, the numbers are quite interesting. Over the last decade, this organization has published more than 500 articles on 9/11, on terrorism and its consequences -- or just about one a week, for this decade. And that doesn't include the extensive commentary on the wars in Afghanistan or in Iraq.

This afternoon's program will take stock of where the United States stands a decade after 9/11 and the strategies being used to keep the country safe. The first panel, which will come at 2:15, will assess the threats facing the United States. And there we will feature Richard Falkenrath, John McLaughlin, Juan Zarate, and Gideon Rose, the editor of Foreign Affairs, will preside.

And then for the second panel, or the third and final session today at 3:45 or so, we'll have the panel discussing counterterrorism and homeland security, and that'll include Harry Crumpton, John Lehman and Fran Townsend, and Thom Shanker of The New York Times will preside.

Starting off, however, I'm glad to welcome these two gentlemen sitting here on the stage patiently -- Philip Zelikow and Garrick Utley. Philip is currently dean of the graduate school and a professor of history at UVA, University of Virginia. He served as the executive director of the 9/11 commission which produced the definitive history of the attacks and has just produced an updated version including an extensive afterwards written by Philip. And Philip, just to get my conflicts out, is a friend and former colleague, which is not to be confused with those who are former friends but still colleagues. (Laughter.)

Last but not least is Garrick Utley, who is currently president of the Levin Institute at the State University of New York. He's an experienced and well-known journalist. He -- I learned when we were putting together these notes that he was the first full-time reporter in Vietnam during the war there and has since reported from 75 countries, anchored a number of programs including "Meet the Press" and the weekend edition of "NBC Nightly News."

So I want to thank all of you for joining us. It really is an extraordinarily rich program and I'd be hard pressed to think of anyone better than Philip Zelikow to launch us, given the important service he has done for this country and his years in government and, in particular, in his work in the 9/11 commission report. So, sirs over to you.

GARRICK UTLEY: Thank you, Richard. Thank you very much and good afternoon, everybody. First things first -- we promised to be done at 2:00 o'clock -- 1:59:59, as we used to say in the network days. We have to be slaves of the clock. This is on the record today, again, and please silence your cell phones or other electronic devices and I'm told that today that includes even those you have on vibrate. That somehow can interfere with what we are doing here.

The subject -- and to have Philip here is really a particularly important opportunity for us to get this symposium under way this afternoon because among the many things that Richard described in the -- about his career and what he is doing today -- and the full bio is in your program -- Philip just told me that just a few days ago last week you were appointed for a second tour of duty on the intelligence -- the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, which used to be Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board until a couple years ago. Now, it's just plain Intelligence. So, obviously, the president recognizes his value experience and I think that's all in the good service of the nation.

What I'd like to do is spend a few minutes just in conversation as a keynote exercise on the part of Philip tackling some of the issues that are on the symposium agenda today, others which may not be directly pertinent there too but we think are -- he thinks are of relevance, and then we get into the discussion, as we usually say, and it used to be called question and answer. In the digital era, we call it the interactive period, and, again, we'll be done at 2 o'clock.

So thank you, Philip, very much for being with (it ?). Let me just go as a former journalist and ask some of the questions that may be on our minds. 9/11 -- 10 years ago and one day -- we probably recall that amid all that terror and tragedy it was a beautiful day like today -- same temperature, not a cloud in the sky. It couldn't have been a more lovely September day. And then, of course, it happened. We know what happened. What do we not know about what happened? What do you not know after these years investigating this that you would still like to know?

PHILIP ZELIKOW: Let me highlight three things. Number one, and one point that has received almost no press attention in the rivers of ink that have been spilled in the last week, is that the 9/11 conspirators haven't been brought to trial. These are the people who carried out the worst mass murder in the history of the American republic. They're held in the custody of the United States and they have not formally been brought to justice.

I actually find this offensive -- profoundly so. There are arguments about how they should be brought to justice. My own view, actually, is military tribunals are just fine and actually probably appropriate. No need to get into that but the bottom line and the point of view I had when I was last in government arguing that they need to be taken out of the CIA black sites so that they could be brought to trial is that these people should be brought to justice, and under the law of armed conflict they would be considered mass murderers and war criminals and could be tried, indeed, capitally tried, on that basis and there are ample precedents.

So they should be brought to trial. Now, I stress this, Garrick, in answer to your question because as an old trial and appellate lawyer myself one thing that I have learned is that usually trials bring out new evidence. I think the 9/11 commission report has held up over the last seven-plus years as, I think, a healthy and strong foundation of knowledge of what happened and why.

I actually hope that the trials, when they occur, will bring up new things that are not in our report and will provide some additional supplementary evidence. I think the prosecution team actually has assembled some interesting new material that the commission did not have. It may not be earthshaking and I don't know exactly what it is but I think they've done some interesting work. So the first point I'd make, Garrick, is it really is important to have the trials in part just to complete the factual and historical record of what happened in more detail.

UTLEY: And how many people would you count as co-conspirators? Everybody at Guantanamo or do you have a number in mind that you think are the real key ones?

ZELIKOW: Oh, no. You're talking about a group of four to six people in the -- the mastermind of the entire attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is in custody awaiting trial. The person who managed the entire financing of the attack is in custody awaiting trial, plus several others who -- you know, the key intermediary between Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the killers, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, is in custody awaiting trial.

By the way, the issues of well, you know, maybe they were mistreated in custody by the CIA and is that a hindrance -- remember that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh bragged about having masterminded the attacks on television before they were captured. So making the evidentiary case here for a prosecutor is not the hardest thing in the world.

UTLEY: So we look at today --

ZELIKOW: But if I could just finish the answer with two more points, as the first one is remember the trials. Second is -- and I mentioned this in the afterward -- we do not this day, actually, have an adequate understanding of whether the hijackers had a support network inside the United States. That's a big deal. There are some -- there have been some recent things lately that have resurfaced some stuff that got a lot of publicity in '02 and '03 that are mostly red herrings about Saudis and things like that, and that's actually not the most interesting stuff.

The most interesting stuff has to do with names like Anwar al-Awlaki -- a name now back in the news -- another name named Mokhtar Abdullah, both of whom are Yemenis and therefore were less interesting to the press, although the difference between a Yemeni and a Saudi is, actually itself, a rather arbitrary distinction in some ways. But there actually are some really odd and interesting threads, and maybe this is another thing a trial could bring out. So that's point two is the issue of a support network in the United States with a particular focus on this group of Yemenis who mainly were centered in a suburb of San Diego, and then al-Awlaki moved to a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, and, lo and behold, the future hijackers happened to show up at that mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, where they got some more help to help them find a place to stay in the East Coast and so on. The details are in the report.

Third point and last -- the commission, in our terse, low-key way -- because we were -- we were very careful when we used words that talked about complicity in mass murder -- and -- but we did say that there were actually very significant unanswered questions about the role of the Iranian government. The commission actually played a fairly important role in putting to bed the theories about Iraq and 9/11. The Iraqi government had flirted with al-Qaida in the 1990s but it never, in our view, came to fruition as a collaborative relationship on operations.

The Iranian relationship actually is a more difficult puzzle. The Iranians -- there was a conventional wisdom that Shia extremists wouldn't cooperate with Sunni extremists. We concluded that that was wrong -- that they actually had -- they had common enemies, especially in the Saudi regime, and that there was evidence of cooperation on various things in the 1990s. And then it turns out the majority of hijackers traveled to the United States to stage for the attack with their passports and travel records laundered, in effect, by the Iranian government -- that this was actually a habitual practice in which al-Qaida operatives would routinely travel through Iran and the Iranian governments wouldn't mark their passports and would kind of obscure where they were coming from as a favor to al-Qaida.

We found no evidence that the Iranian government was witting to the 9/11 attack plan. I want to be clear about that. But we found some suggestive circumstantial evidence that the Iranian government had continuing links with al-Qaida and we said this is something the U.S. government needs to investigate further, and to the best of my knowledge the U.S. government did not do much investigating further.

There is some stuff being done in federal courts in New York and other places to keep this issue afloat, and I'll just note I think there is something to this that's still a loose thread.

UTLEY: Following up on this, why hasn't there been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil in 10 years?

ZELIKOW: Well, the honest answer of course is that anyone who says they know the answer to this question is wrong. But what you can say for sure is it ain't because the motive isn't there.

All right, so usually -- back 30 years ago when I used to do criminal work, we used to talk about motive and opportunity, so here is -- we hold the motive constant, right? So this clearly has to do with the opportunity variable.

And so, obviously we have disrupted their operational capability to some degree, because even the stuff we've captured from bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad confirms he's desperately trying to find some way of getting at the Americans.

And, in a way, a pathetic marker of al-Qaida operational prowess is the best they could do to launch an attack at the end of 2001 was to send Richard Reid with explosives in his boots. And then, you know, kind of eight years later, the best shot they could take of us was to essentially repeat the Richard Reid attack plan again, but with the explosives in the underwear. And both fizzled.

Now, there was actually a fairly serious attack planned that almost came off in '06 that the British intelligence helped discover and the Americans and the British worked together to thwart. That's the reason that you have to have those liquids checked when you get on airplanes.

So they actually had a little bit of, I think, a rise in capability around the middle part of the decade, then some things done at the end of the decade, at the end of the Bush administration. The Obama administration I think kind of knocked them back again and are still knocking them back.

But the bottom line first is we greatly disrupted their operational capability overseas. Instead of an archipelago of terrorist camps in Afghanistan in which, at leisure and with deliberation, they could receive and process thousands of recruits -- evaluating and training, deliberating -- now they're hunted and on the run. There are fewer core members of al-Qaida even in Pakistan than you would see on the set of the average Hollywood film set. You know, so it's important to get this in perspective. That's one.

Two, remember, in the 9/11 attack story, which was the third major intercontinental operation that they had carried out -- and they've carried out none on that scale in sophistication since. They've been mainly regional, local stuff. Remember, the hijackers actually staged and trained inside the United States.

The United States was such a safe operating area that they could deploy here months before the attack in order to further perfect and elaborate their training, and, by the way, living, in many cases, under their true names inside the United States. So the United States is clearly a less hospitable operating environment for al-Qaida than it was 10 years ago.

So both disrupting them where they live and keeping them off-balance offensively, but also in a layered defensive system all the way to making the United States a far more difficult place, and making it much more difficult for terrorists to travel. Cumulatively, clearly this massive outpouring of resources and energy that we've witnessed has had an effect.

UTLEY: So, if there is no longer this monolithic terrorist organization under bin Laden as there was, but rather it becomes more of a splintered, fragmented, maybe almost, you know, individual series of organizations, miniscule though they may be but with a motive, does that, ipso facto, make us more secure?

ZELIKOW: It does make us -- it does make us somewhat more secure. It doesn't make us, quote, "secure." I mean, just to use an analogy to air travel, when I was a kid, if you look at the statistics on how many airliners crashed let's say in the 1960s -- you know, they didn't crash all the time but it was a regular occurrence somewhere in the world.

Actually now, if you look at the statistics for how many airliners crash, it still happens from time to time -- you know, the Air France and the South Atlantic and so on -- but it's a fairly infrequent occurrence, maybe except for Russia -- (laughter) -- and parts of Africa, but in general it's a highly infrequent occurrence.

Now, people still boarded airliners in the hundreds of thousands in the '60s, and now they board airliners every day in the millions. So you wouldn't say that air travel is perfectly safe today, but you'd say that over time, constant systemic improvements have kept making it incrementally safer. And I think that's a useful way of thinking about endemic dangers of this kind.

If I can digress on this theme just for a second, Garrick, I was filming at Ground Zero yesterday morning live. I was being interviewed on television on a terrace overlooking that elegant, somber and dignified memorial and that remarkable ceremony.

You know, and I'm giving my facile explanations of what 9/11 means, like we all can, right? But I have to say that as I was there, I had some humbling reflections that I'm actually not sure I'm smart or good enough to articulate what 9/11 means. There is a point where I sensed the overwhelming sense of collective grief and disruption that we all see, and there's almost a level to me at which it's meaningless. That is, is that the act is so ridiculously disproportionate to the pathetic group of zealots who carried this out that, you know, we struggle, you see, to make that fit into a grand narrative that somehow fits the calamity.

And what we did -- and the reason I digress in this way is, a little bit of what we did after 9/11 is we made the enemy big enough to fit the narrative that made logical sense to us and somehow seemed like an appropriate narrative for all of this. And we actually -- we made bin Laden and Islamist fanaticism bigger than it was. We made it sound like some kind of world historical force, like Stalinism or Hitlerism. I actually saw speeches that President Bush gave, where I tried to fight this and it went forward anyway. You know, the fourth world war, to borrow a phrase that one of my old friends once used. Things like that. World war four. No, this was not that.

You can't -- it's too facile to try to kind of somehow make this fit into our narrative so that -- we all grew up, you see, in an era where we were in great danger, apocalyptic nuclear danger, but in the narrative that had a sort of grand, logical coherence to it. And now we live in an era of vulnerability that's not really quite susceptible to same sort of epochal narrative conventions.

This is much more to me the kind of vulnerability and narrative we need to adapt to for this generation. Don't ennoble them by making them the grand villain, the Dr. Moriartys of this little fable. Instead, think about this as one more kind of a series of systemic problems in this highly globalized and interdependent society that includes right-wing Norwegian nut cases, that includes a variety of other different kinds of problems. Noticing, for instance, that transnational criminals in Mexico have murdered more people in the last two years than have been murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan put together, which, again, doesn't fit in any of the conventional narratives.

And then, I think , you can get a better sense of how to try to frame this than try to struggle a little bit with, why does a 9/11 event feel so important, yet at the core of it somehow have a quality of meaninglessness that we struggle to articulate?

UTLEY: Well, quite far from being a digression, this takes us right to the heart of what I think we're going to be discussing this afternoon and follow up on that. Obviously 9/11 altered policy, the atmosphere in the United States, the amount of anxiety with all of its various colored lights and warnings, and even organization and bureaucracy. Let's just take a couple of these.

The first one was calling it the war on terrorism. We've already addressed that. But then we have Department of Homeland Security. We have TSA. It's in our lives every time we go through an airport. Personally I feel quite -- this is when it really comes home to me. Maybe it's my own selfish little inconvenience, but when you stop to think the number of people working on security in airports around the world, not just in the United States, to stop an attack which probably, if it were to occur, would be carried out by no more than a few people sitting in the first few rows here who are actively involved in plotting that.

But that's the whole meaning of terror. You create the state of terror in mind but you end up, understandably, with a Department of Homeland Security and TSA.

Which leads to two questions. If there is a dynamic in any organization and policy where nobody is going to say this is enough, we have enough security, because nobody wants to take the blame and see his or her career ruined, how do we discuss this? How do we decide what level of vulnerability we are expected to accept? Israel, for example, said, we're not going to search every bus, but we will build a wall. There are other approaches you can take.

So how do you view what our homeland security has grown into, TSA, all this has grown into, the mindset there? Have we created a monster or something that's essential, and how do we debate and discuss this?

ZELIKOW: This is a great question, Garrick. Before 9/11 we had what I've called in print a paradox of prevention. It's a classic paradox, by the way. The paradox of prevention is that if you need -- at the time when massive action can readily prevent the oncoming danger, you can't mobilize the support you need to undertake the massive action because the danger isn't manifest enough. And therefore, it's obvious what you should have done after.

I mean, to give an illustration, pre-9/11 illustration. On September 10th, 2001, a massive action in Afghanistan was literally inconceivable in two previous administrations. I mean, literally in the sense that no one even wrote it down as a policy option. By the afternoon of September 11th, not only was it utterly conceivable, it was obvious, and immediately it seemed, well, this should have been obvious to us for the last two years. That's the paradox of prevention at work.

And the paradox of prevention for terrorism, that's gone. Actually it now applies to several other problems. Now for the terrorism problem we're in what I call the paradox of adjustment. The paradox of adjustment is, once you're fully mobilized around a risk and a threat and it's embedded in mass consciousness, it actually then is actually very difficult to turn.

The institutional momentum, all the interest groups and just accumulated weight of activity that grows up around that paradigm is so hard to change. And then for the president to change it would require a big exertion of political capital. But to make a big exertion of political capital to downsize or rightsize the threat, naturally (feels it ?) risks the humiliation if there is an attack the next day. You fear you're going to dull the edge of alertness and invite complacency. You don't want to do that. So oddly it's -- I can't talk about the risks going down because it would be too risky to say so.

That's the paradox of adjustment. Yet that's precisely the paradox we need to face. Maybe the killing of bin Laden gives you the vehicle you need in order to turn the page.

Now, all of the folks here, you're very sophisticated about these issues. And so you'll have already noticed that in discussions of this issue, basically I'd say it falls into two categories:

The first is, we've inflated the nature of this threat and we need to snap back to some sort of idyllic pre-9/11 period. We need to snap back to the status quo ante of, say, where we were in the 1990s before we'd done all this. For a variety of reasons, that's probably not wise or likely.

Then their second paradigm is, it's still really dangerous and bad, and we -- you know, we're very comfortable in this track we're in now and we just ought to stay there.

When you look at both of those, you don't like either of those paradigms very much. So you clearly need something in the middle. But that's really hard to find. And it actually requires some creative thinking about, where do we go now?

Let me give a concrete illustration for this. I don't think we're going to do away with the Department of Homeland Security or TSA, though I think they're rapidly, and will continue to get smarter and smarter. And actually some of the capabilities they've built for 9/11-style contingencies, like National Incident Management Systems, have actually already proven their worth in some national emergencies. Most recently -- actually, some of that worked pretty well in the Gulf oil spill case. So just -- that works fine.

The concrete illustration I'll give you is how we fight these future wars. I call the war we've been in a twilight war. Suppose you conclude that we're not going to have another set of wars like we had in Iraq and Afghanistan -- that we're not likely to want to do that quite again any time soon, which actually is where I think most of the country is, in both parties. Does that mean that really the wars we're going to fight now --that what we're doing in Pakistan, in Yemen, and Somalia and Libya, that's really the future of warfare. It's all going to be mainly these twilight wars.

And you know, of course, the combatant commander in these twilight wars is the director of the CIA. They're running the big guided missile program that is leading the way in the twilight wars. And actually they're going to become really the -- we're going to have this very large Department of Defense that's kind of out there for those formal wars that we need to be prepared for, but we're not really going to fight. Then we're going to have this other department of defense over in Langley; it's called the CIA.

And, by the way, a lot of people at CIA are going to -- they're going to like -- (chuckles) -- this role. It's a very exciting role to play. It's a compelling subject. And by the way, recently some of the stuff they've been doing, they're doing really well. So you don't really kind of want to mess with success.

So if you would then ask yourself, if you're the president and you say: OK, I see where we are today, and this is good, we're doing good things. Where do I want this to be three years from now? When we're drawn down in Iraq and we're drawn down in Afghanistan, what's the posture I want to have in 2014, for the long haul? And what roles and missions do I want to allocate?

Man, that is an interesting and difficult question. And it's not a question that -- and if you're on, say, the liberal side of this, Mark Danner has just written a piece in the New York Review, one of a series he's written, called "State of Exception," in which Danner says -- he's very angry about this, he says: We're now in a semi-permanent state of twilight war, on which we have a semi-permanent netherworld, a semi-permanent legal and policy netherworld that we're never going to get out of, that increasingly is important.

This troubles him a lot. And my answer to that is, I think we are going to be in a twilight world war for a long time, therefore you need to figure out how to normalize that and shine enough light on it that you get this in a mode where it really works well with the norms of our societies, and that we're comfortable living with this, and get it into the sunlight a little bit more and regularize it.

But that means you actually have to think about these roles for the future in a more serious way than we've done so far in the state of emergency.

UTLEY: Let's go to questions. But let me just pick up on this, because also you have really raised a very interesting and important subject here: the extent to which, in this ongoing twilight war or struggle, the Department of Defense really becomes sited more and more in the CIA; what implications that has, in terms of allocation of natural resources. B, it's interesting to note that the secretary of defense was, until recently, the head of the CIA; and the head of the CIA, until recently, was a four-star general. We'll leave that for another occasion. (Laughter.)

Questions, please. Please identify yourself. Stand up and offer a question. Make it succinct so we can get as many comments in as possible. Start all the way at the back -- there's a microphone that will come to you -- all the way at the back. You don't have to raise your voice. But please stand up and identify yourself.

QUESTIONER: Hi, I'm Laurie Garrett from the Council on Foreign Relations.

I've spent seven years trying to figure out how much of the billions of dollars of readiness and preparedness money that was spent, and the changes in our legal system were due to -- you could say, were actually because of 9/11, and how many were because of anthrax?

And it's very clear to me they were inseparable, and yet we talk about them as separate entities. And I wanted to ask you about it because you were (harking ?) on some of the issues that, we might say, were inappropriate spending, or inappropriate readiness post-2001. I found everywhere I went, in 48 states across America, that people would say: Yes, we do get -- it is appropriate that here in Wyoming we get 10 times more per capita bioterrorism preparedness money than New York City, because we have a Costco over here, and we have a really big Walmart, and we have a civil war memorial on a bridge over here. And somewhere in Tora Bora, you know, the bad guys are planning to blow them up.

We seem to have gone completely off kilter here to a crazy space. How do we pull out of that crazy space into something that's realistic assessment, realistic risk spending, and that reflects on both what 9/11 and anthrax did to us?

UTLEY: And in this particular case, obviously, there's a political dynamic. (In Congress, it was. ?)

QUESTIONER: (Off mic.)

ZELIKOW: Laurie, thank you, because few people have done more than you, Laurie, to publicize the biohazard threat consistently over the years. I see you've very shrewdly managed to enlist Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon to help you out. (Laughter.) A cute move there. (Laughter.)

No, it actually -- people forget that for a while -- for a while we didn't know who'd done the anthrax attack in October of 2001. And what they also don't know is that the leading people in the White House had some really unnerving bio-alarms. Both Vice President Cheney and Condi Rice believed for several hours in October, 2001 that they had been exposed to a lethal biological agent, because a sensor in the White House had gone off. And there was no antidote. They thought they might be -- they might not live out the day there for just a little while.

A few things like that happen to you in your life, it makes an impression. (Laughter.) And so a lot of money has been spent on biohazards. You're in a better position than others to evaluate how important it is. But the key point of your question was: Yeah, but we spent a lot of that money; it gets allocated in this political process.

Well, welcome to the United States government. If you create a massive, multi-billion-dollar program to give out money around the country, this is a government in which power is shared. It is a fundamentally fragmented form of government; power is very broadly shared and diffuse; a lot of people have stakes and get a say. And so the decisions will inevitably be somewhat driven by the tug and pull of political interests.

I am philosophical about that. You cannot get, kind of, the -- you know, if Laurie Garrett and Philip Zelikow can get together in the room, and then come out in their pristine white robes to announce to the assembled humble multitude exactly how the money should be spent, maybe it would be spent better. But that ain't this country, or any country we will ever live in.

So accepting that, what you then need to set up is a dynamic in which there are people who say, here's what the rational allocation of risk is, and they then become a powerful pull that offsets to some degree the inevitable tug of the political interests on the other side, so that the resources are allocated somewhat more rationally that would otherwise be the case. And the attention of people like you, and a few in the journalism world, to the way money is actually spent, therefore, plays a rather healthy service.

UTLEY: Question down here. The microphone is coming.

QUESTIONER: Yeah, Dick Garwin, IBM fellow emeritus.

It's not so much we've created a monster, I think, as a Maginot Line. And the solution is not on a line, different line, between that and a lesser amount of it. It's probably someplace else in the plain -- not the airplane.

But to go back to the airplane, in 1968 a committee I chaired in the White House to look at airplane hijacking said it would be solved if you locked the cockpit door. Now, that would also have solved the problem of hijacking an aircraft to crash it into buildings, but we didn't do it. It would have cost the airplanes a little bit of money. Instead we had much more costly alternatives.

So nowadays the question is learning from the Internet. We see that from the Norwegian example, which empowers even an individual, empowers organizations also, because you can separate the thinking from the doing. And although al-Qaida never was the threat that we made it out to be, there are threats out there which are unnamed, which are individuals, which are small groups that I think we have to watch out for and we have to be aware. On the Internet, we have to make small changes rather than big ones where we can, which might have broad impacts.

UTLEY: But if I could give a quick follow-up on that comment with --

ME. ZELIKOW: All right.

UTLEY: Go ahead. But I also would like to know what's out there that you think about that we're not thinking about.

ZELIKOW: Well, actually, I think the way Dick puts it is very wise and good. If you begin to basically say I'm not going to elevate al-Qaida into being a world historical force to create this kind of -- so I can make it fit into a narrative that I'm comfortable with at a cognitive level, and instead adopt the kind of point of view that Dick is saying -- well, there are a lot things like this, because lethality is now much more diffuse and dispersed in this age we're living in; we're no longer threatened solely by accumulations of men and metal as we were in the industrial age.

Then you're really into a science of risk management in which the essence of Dick's comment is to say, all right, I then need to think about, with the least amount of spending, identify -- identifying risk pathways. Where can I make the best interventions that dramatically change my risk calculus?

And actually, engineers are very used to thinking in these terms. And policymakers also ought to be used to thinking in these terms. And a lot of what we're doing in some areas now use this. And the risk-management concept is a layered concept in which no one of the layers is relied upon as being 100 percent effective, but the accumulation of layers really changes the odds.

And I actually think that we've done some really good things in risk management and that this is one of the reasons we're safer. Juan Zarate, who's here, has seen a lot of these evolutions in the last few years and has overseen some of them.

And I'd like to just pick up on your comment and underscore it and urge that a risk-management concept of the kind Dick is describing is a really useful way of trying to think constructively about many problems of this kind without getting caught up in hysterical swings of public mood.

UTLEY: Question right here; the gentleman with the glasses.

QUESTIONER: Thank you.

It's a very good presentation. My name is Roland Paul. I'm a lawyer.

Two things that I'm kind of personally easy with and not opposing, though it may sound it from my question. Did you think the message for getting bin Laden was, although publicly we'll say capture or kill him, we really meant kill him? And is that OK?

And the second is -- I think it was public here that Ray Kelly said to us or confirmed a public statement that aggressive interrogation techniques did prevent at least one threat to New York, which had to do with the Brooklyn Bridge. So is that your view that aggressive interrogation techniques in some cases is not such a bad idea?

ZELIKOW: OK, let me -- on the first question, it's simply a historical question. I don't know -- I don't know for sure what the rules of engagement were for the team that hit Abbottabad. I know a little bit about how those folks operate in some other cases, and they make decisions very quickly.

And, you know, whether or not it's dialed a little more toward one end of the dial or a little more toward the other end, I'm sure they were not told, kill him no matter what. And so then it just moves into, well, if it's -- if there's this degree of uncertainty -- I just don't know enough about the facts to have an opinion, but nor am I deeply troubled by the question. (Laughter.)

On the second issue, of aggressive interrogation techniques, first of all, again, I have a point of view on aggressive interrogation techniques that I've been public with now for some years, but on the inside and the outside, in which I thought the adoption of the rules and approaches that we adopted was a grave mistake. It was profoundly counterproductive and ended up hurting us not only publicly, but actually began to interfere with coalition intelligence operations in the war on terror itself by the middle part of the decade. I experienced this personally; so counterproductive and hurt us on many, many levels.

So then the extreme version of that argument says yes, and we never get good intelligence from them. My answer -- and I've looked at examples of this in Britain and Algeria and a lot of other cases, and Israel. My answer to this is sometimes you do get some help from them. Sometimes you don't. It's -- sometimes you break people faster, but sometimes what they tell you is crap. Sometimes also you've lost the chance to turn someone into someone who's cooperative and can become an agent for you.

I mean, but so sometimes it helps, sometimes not. You really need to work the case. And also no one, no one, to my knowledge, has actually scrubbed all the different claims about what intelligence led to what successes and what was uniquely available only from extreme techniques and could not have been obtained through other things.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been spending years trying to work this problem over in a serious and professional way and hasn't yet come up with a good outcome.

When I was in government, I actually looked into a couple of these allegations and cases, because I was reading the talking points that were being given to the vice president too, which is the same stuff the vice president's been using in his speeches and in his memoir and Liz Cheney has been using. And I actually tried to dig into what was underneath that.

And what you discover is a typical intelligence-case story. Most intelligence cases of this kind are mosaics, where you have a number of pebbles and leaves going into them. It's usually not just kind of one aha moment, like, I got this, and then that maybe cued me to something else, which allowed me to bring that to bear, and these fairly patiently constructed and often incomplete mosaics that begin then cueing you to other things.

And then what you want to do as an organization is everybody who contributed a pebble to the mosaic, you say, great job; you're responsible for us getting the case. And as a manager of the organization, you want to do that, because you want everybody to feel like they contributed to the success.

But the point is, when you really dig into it, there are these very complicated stories, and often the case officers in the field know how complicated they are and are kind of (dismissive ?) if the claim is being made by one person or another. And it's -- and then, even when you dig into that, is -- and in that particular case, did we have to use those techniques to get that particular nugget of information, or that nugget of information confirmed and corroborated something we'd gotten from another source?

So, for instance you've seen that Leon Panetta stated unequivocally, after the public thing surfaced, that we did not rely on EITs to get the intelligence that led to bin Laden. Maybe Panetta overstated it. Maybe he was wrong. But I don't think he would have said that if he didn't at least have a plausible argument to make.

But the bottom line -- I'm just trying to underscore that do not get too caught up in the thicket of these rival claims, because until you really sweat the details of the cases, it's mostly just rival talking points. Acknowledge that maybe these techniques buy you a little bit at the margin, but there are significant costs and uncertainties that go with them, even in the intel world, and then huge tradeoffs beyond that.

And now let me underscore it with another story, which most of you don't know, I suspect. We actually ran the most remarkable natural experiment on interrogation techniques against al-Qaida without meaning to do so. By `04 and `05, we basically had adopted a completely different set of rules for interrogations in Iraq than we were adopting in the CIA program against al-Qaida worldwide, because the military redid its interrogation program in Iraq during 2004 and into `05.

By the way, they had different rules and they had different interrogation teams in Iraq. And I visited these centers in Balad, where we were doing this. We were using FBI guys and CIA guys and NSA guys. It's a really interesting interagency team they've put together, and operating under Army Field Manual rules. And at the same time, the CIA was insisting that, against al-Qaida worldwide, they had to use their set of rules.

We hadn't meant to run a natural double-blind experiment in this way, but we did. And it's interesting because the guys that we were hunting in al-Qaida and Iraq are pretty bad guys. I mean, if anything, they were more seasoned and hardened killers than the guys we were chasing in al-Qaida worldwide, more guys who had been personally killing people themselves on occasion after occasion.

So this was a very serious group of people, and we broke al-Qaida in Iraq with this interrogation program. I was sitting in the White House Situation Room when the head of JSOC told President Bush in the presence of all of his advisors, when asked point blank do you need extra interrogation rules to do your job in Iraq -- no, Mr. President, we do not -- we can do a perfectly adequate job of interrogating them and getting what we need fast under the Army field manual rules.

Now, my own view is that there are a couple little footnotes you need to make to the Army field manual rules to get them to work the best, and actually they were making a couple of little footnotes in terms of when you notify the Red Cross and a few little things like that. But in terms of how you actually treat the prisoners and the abrogation of reliance on physical torment, they were running a pretty clean interrogation program and one the American people would be comfortable with, and it was highly effective in an interagency team against a very dangerous group of people.

UTLEY: Question back there. One more, and then we'll come back up.

QUESTIONER: (Inaudible) -- and thank you for this fascinating presentation. I just want to pick up on a couple of things you said, the last of which is Iraq. Did al-Qaida come to Iraq after the war started -- after President Bush said, you know, come on -- we'll have you there -- because there was not really that much in Iraq. And as far as Iran, having spared Iran accountability, do you think this has contributed to what they later have gone on doing including developing a program -- you know, the nuclear program feeling that they had been spared. And on Saudi Arabia, do you think that what they have done actually by breaking al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia it helped in -- as far as defeating a large part of this movement?

UTLEY: All right. So Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia. If we can make this pointed answers.

ZELIKOW: All right. Iran is a, I think, mainly a different narrative altogether and I don't think they're -- I think they were on -- they made some key decisions about their nuclear program that I date, personally, to around 2004 -- 2004, 2005 -- for reasons I'm not confident I understand yet. I have my hypotheses but I just want to confess my humility. I think I can kind of sense where the key decisions were made. I'm not sure why they were made. I think it mainly has to do with the internal ideology of the people who were seizing power inside Iran and the internal dynamic in Iran in those years and is really a separate narrative that is substantially independent of the Iraq narrative.

The Saudi Arabia narrative -- the Saudis, who have a highly ambiguous record on how they dealt with Islamist extremism in the 1990s for complex reasons that are understandable in the Islamic world of the 1990s, but they essentially found they could no longer tolerate this level of extremism in their midst and it was coming home to roost because, after all, they really hated the Saudi regime more than any other, and the Saudis now played a critical part in breaking them. And al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is mainly now in Yemen and lots of Saudis have been killed now fighting these folks.

A lot of Saudi policemen have got -- have had funerals. So their role has been very significant although, of course, belated. On the Iraq point and, you know, did the Iraq war attract a lot of these people? Yes, but you have a conglomeration of different Sunni extremist groups who were all attracted to the situation.

A, you have a civil war in Iraq that was bound to happen as soon as the Sunni tyranny was overthrown because what happened then was a gigantic revolution in Iraq itself in which the longstanding oppression of the Shi'a majority was being overturned and the Shi'a were going to reclaim every element of political, social and cultural influence in a society that had been denied for centuries by what they regarded as a Sunni tyranny.

That was -- that kind of revolution -- internal revolution was going to happen and was, in my view, bound to be accompanied by violence in which the Sunnis fought back to preserve some measure of their role against this new -- against the revolutionary government. The United States happened to play a central role in that revolution but the revolution would have happened anyway and there would have been huge Sunni violence associated with it that therefore was significantly focused on the United States and with al-Qaida running to the combat zone to help out, because follow the narrative line of al-Qaida just for a second. You have a whole set of Islamist extremists growing up in the Muslim world mainly for local reasons.

The problems about how the Muslim and Arab world was coping with modernity the confusion and conflict within that civilization about that. The global Islamists get their purchase in the late 1990s with an argument that says that outsiders are attacking Islam. They're recruiting people using film footage from the Balkans, from Chechnya. Very useful to remember Mohammed Atta and the Hamburg cell, when they first volunteered to serve for al-Qaida they came to fight Russians in Chechnya, and then they were turned to divert against the American enemy that the al-Qaida leadership actually felt was most interesting to them.

But in other words, all this spun narrative in which people who knew nothing about the United States were convinced that the United States enemy was behind a general assault on Islam. That narrative, by the way, is increasingly decrepit and it's more and more falling back again onto local agendas in which the global Islamist agenda is fading a little bit to the side and into the background.

And so, yes, Iraq, because Iraq was one more occasion for the narrative that these people had been believing in for years, and so if you deprive them of that particular occasion and don't offer them another then they're going to not have any place to go to to fight. But increasingly, what we're seeing is the narrative of how Arabs and Muslims are defining their problem and defining the menu of solutions is now moving, I think, down much more interesting and healthy channels than has been the case any time in the last 20 years.

UTLEY: You've given a very vivid portrait of what's happening abroad which is fuel for a lot of thought for the symposium this afternoon. Let's conclude on -- by bringing this back home. You articulated this concept of the twilight war and struggle. You talked about what Mark Danner and others have been thinking about and addressing and no doubt you will be addressing this afternoon as to how do we manage this in our country in terms of legality, of a sense of anxiety, how much security is necessary, and how we discuss or decide some of these questions going forward.

Now let's just add 2012 -- presidential campaign -- politics. The Republicans, for a long time, have claimed the national security mantle. You can argue this goes back to George McGovern in '72 when the Democrats really lost it in the Vietnam Era -- largely regained in the Clinton years where there were no tremendous security crises. Some embassies in East Africa were bombed and the retaliation was carried out. And now you have Obama -- President Barack Obama there.

How do you see this playing in terms of Democratic Party concerns for the real legitimate issues of national security and what needs to be done? He has not closed Guantanamo, et cetera, et cetera. On a national security basis, to what extent do you sense there being a political dynamic here that Obama and the Democrats don't want to give up what appears to be a national security mantle regained and how this might or might not play out in a presidential campaign?

ZELIKOW: Garrick, I think you're exactly right. As a historian now -- putting on my historian's hat -- the great Republican term -- we associate Republicans with being the great hawks on national security. If you ask yourself when did that start, I can date it almost precisely. It started between 1949 and 1952. Remember, before that, Republicans had been ambivalent about foreign engagement and actually they were generally in favor of cutting the defense budget. And then for -- a variety of things happened where they saw an opportunity on what they regarded as the great sins of the Truman administration.

That became their defining issue in the congressional campaign of 1950 and the presidential election of 1952, and they never looked back. Those were political catastrophes for the Democrats, and Democrats and Republicans alike carried these Korea memories with them all through the 1950s and 60s. You just see it again and again in the discourse of that period. They're all carrying that memory back and so the Democrats are being more hawkish on Vietnam than they might have otherwise been because they're carrying memories of Truman and China and Korea and all of that.

You can hear this on -- in the White House tapes from the -- from the period, and now we've got a -- and the Republicans became extremely comfortable with this issue. It became a defining issue for them in the Cold War, and now they're -- this is now a routinized habituated pattern of thought among most Republicans though not all. You now increasingly see for the first time in a long time the resurgence of a group of Republicans who are really tempted by disengagement. I don't think, though, that that's a dominant wing yet but it's noticeable and it's interesting for that -- for that -- the Ron Paul Libertarians and the like.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are still afflicted by the same dynamic that you're capturing. Obama has made absolutely sure that no one's going to be able to get to the right of him on toughness on terrorists. I don't think -- and I think -- I'm not saying that his motivations are political and cite his bin Laden decision which was, I think, a difficult decision on the facts that were in front of him and a courageous one in many ways.

But, therefore, the paradox of adjustment I talked about I think is going to run pretty strongly all through 2012 because it's going to be very hard for the Obama administration to do anything that appears to be softening this as they're making a variety of difficult decisions to push ahead with pulling mainly out of Iraq and beginning now a steady path of withdrawal out of Afghanistan.

Therefore, the last thing they can do is cede ground on this one. Even if they think they need to rebalance it's going to be very hard for them to do this in any political sense. The Republicans, though, are going to find it very difficult to make an issue out of it. I mean, they could kind of say well, let's make the litmus test whether or not we're willing to beat up captured terrorists -- you know, that's the one thing we can seize on that Obama won't do. I just don't -- I don't think that's the sexy political issue of 2012.

HAASS: Well, we have to wrap up right now. And I want to thank you, Philip, very much for being with us. (Applause.) You'll all have our takeaways here but you mentioned two words -- maybe paradox gets elevated to a policy issue. So thank you very much.

ZELIKOW: You're welcome.

HAASS: And good luck with the symposium.

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

RICHARD HAASS: If people would take their seats, we could get started.

Well, welcome. Good afternoon and welcome to the Council on Foreign Relations, and thank you for joining us for this symposium, "9/11: 10 Years Later." For those of you were in New York or Washington or Pennsylvania the last few days or near a television set, we've had an extraordinarily powerful set of events over the last few days about the -- focusing on the people, the families that suffered so much and lost so much a decade ago.

We debated when to hold this event here, and we thought what made the most sense was to do it sequentially -- essentially, to do it after the memorials. Because the purpose of this is to be slightly more detached, to look back a bit, but really more to look forward, to look at the future of the threat and to look at the potential range of responses.

Looking back for a minute, there have been important successes in the fight against terror. The Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan; a number of important terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, were captured or killed; there's not been a successful large-scale attack on this country; and we've also seen a real evolution in what we can do against terrorism, whether it's increasing and refocusing America's intelligence, a revolution in homeland security, and all sorts of new means of going after terrorists -- including, but not limited to, drones.

Yet despite these changes and despite these advances, the reality is that the terrorist threat not only endures, but evolves. Pakistan remains the epicenter of global terrorism, giving a -- given a mixture of a limited capacity and, at times, limited will.

There's new real estate for terrorists to exploit in the greater Middle East as governments have lost, in some cases, an ability to control their own territory. Certain governments which were particularly robust against terrorism are either weakened or no longer in power. And the threat is evolving.

We now have cyber threats that are more acute than they were a decade ago. There's the continuing challenge of the potential of WMD and there's greater interest, for good reason, on homegrown threats. So the reality is obviously that the -- terrorism cannot be eliminated any more than we can eliminate our vulnerability.

There's also the reality that we have to be smart and restrained in what we do, and I would argue -- and I'm speaking personally here -- that while counterterrorism and a global war on terrorism must be an element of American foreign policy, it cannot be -- they cannot be its central element.

I would also argue, and this would probably not come as a surprise to many of you, that what we did in Iraq or, as of two and a half years ago started doing in Afghanistan, cannot be a template for our future response. We will need something, I would argue, more focused, more modest and more scalable.

And here at home we're obviously going to have to balance defensive and homeland security-related measures against the price they exact in economic output, inefficiency and in civil liberties.

Let me say, on behalf of the institution, that the subjects we're talking about today have been an important part of this institution's agenda for -- now for more than 10 years. Just recently the Council on Foreign Relations actually published a book, a Foreign Affairs e-book titled "The United States versus al Qaeda." The Global Governance Monitor just does that, monitors and measures our global efforts against terrorism, we've had an independent task force recently on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

All told, the numbers are quite interesting. Over the last decade, this organization has published more than 500 articles on 9/11, on terrorism and its consequences -- or just about one a week, for this decade. And that doesn't include the extensive commentary on the wars in Afghanistan or in Iraq.

This afternoon's program will take stock of where the United States stands a decade after 9/11 and the strategies being used to keep the country safe. The first panel, which will come at 2:15, will assess the threats facing the United States. And there we will feature Richard Falkenrath, John McLaughlin, Juan Zarate, and Gideon Rose, the editor of Foreign Affairs, will preside.

And then for the second panel, or the third and final session today at 3:45 or so, we'll have the panel discussing counterterrorism and homeland security, and that'll include Harry Crumpton, John Lehman and Fran Townsend, and Thom Shanker of The New York Times will preside.

Starting off, however, I'm glad to welcome these two gentlemen sitting here on the stage patiently -- Philip Zelikow and Garrick Utley. Philip is currently dean of the graduate school and a professor of history at UVA, University of Virginia. He served as the executive director of the 9/11 commission which produced the definitive history of the attacks and has just produced an updated version including an extensive afterwards written by Philip. And Philip, just to get my conflicts out, is a friend and former colleague, which is not to be confused with those who are former friends but still colleagues. (Laughter.)

Last but not least is Garrick Utley, who is currently president of the Levin Institute at the State University of New York. He's an experienced and well-known journalist. He -- I learned when we were putting together these notes that he was the first full-time reporter in Vietnam during the war there and has since reported from 75 countries, anchored a number of programs including "Meet the Press" and the weekend edition of "NBC Nightly News."

So I want to thank all of you for joining us. It really is an extraordinarily rich program and I'd be hard pressed to think of anyone better than Philip Zelikow to launch us, given the important service he has done for this country and his years in government and, in particular, in his work in the 9/11 commission report. So, sirs over to you.

GARRICK UTLEY: Thank you, Richard. Thank you very much and good afternoon, everybody. First things first -- we promised to be done at 2:00 o'clock -- 1:59:59, as we used to say in the network days. We have to be slaves of the clock. This is on the record today, again, and please silence your cell phones or other electronic devices and I'm told that today that includes even those you have on vibrate. That somehow can interfere with what we are doing here.

The subject -- and to have Philip here is really a particularly important opportunity for us to get this symposium under way this afternoon because among the many things that Richard described in the -- about his career and what he is doing today -- and the full bio is in your program -- Philip just told me that just a few days ago last week you were appointed for a second tour of duty on the intelligence -- the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, which used to be Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board until a couple years ago. Now, it's just plain Intelligence. So, obviously, the president recognizes his value experience and I think that's all in the good service of the nation.

What I'd like to do is spend a few minutes just in conversation as a keynote exercise on the part of Philip tackling some of the issues that are on the symposium agenda today, others which may not be directly pertinent there too but we think are -- he thinks are of relevance, and then we get into the discussion, as we usually say, and it used to be called question and answer. In the digital era, we call it the interactive period, and, again, we'll be done at 2 o'clock.

So thank you, Philip, very much for being with (it ?). Let me just go as a former journalist and ask some of the questions that may be on our minds. 9/11 -- 10 years ago and one day -- we probably recall that amid all that terror and tragedy it was a beautiful day like today -- same temperature, not a cloud in the sky. It couldn't have been a more lovely September day. And then, of course, it happened. We know what happened. What do we not know about what happened? What do you not know after these years investigating this that you would still like to know?

PHILIP ZELIKOW: Let me highlight three things. Number one, and one point that has received almost no press attention in the rivers of ink that have been spilled in the last week, is that the 9/11 conspirators haven't been brought to trial. These are the people who carried out the worst mass murder in the history of the American republic. They're held in the custody of the United States and they have not formally been brought to justice.

I actually find this offensive -- profoundly so. There are arguments about how they should be brought to justice. My own view, actually, is military tribunals are just fine and actually probably appropriate. No need to get into that but the bottom line and the point of view I had when I was last in government arguing that they need to be taken out of the CIA black sites so that they could be brought to trial is that these people should be brought to justice, and under the law of armed conflict they would be considered mass murderers and war criminals and could be tried, indeed, capitally tried, on that basis and there are ample precedents.

So they should be brought to trial. Now, I stress this, Garrick, in answer to your question because as an old trial and appellate lawyer myself one thing that I have learned is that usually trials bring out new evidence. I think the 9/11 commission report has held up over the last seven-plus years as, I think, a healthy and strong foundation of knowledge of what happened and why.

I actually hope that the trials, when they occur, will bring up new things that are not in our report and will provide some additional supplementary evidence. I think the prosecution team actually has assembled some interesting new material that the commission did not have. It may not be earthshaking and I don't know exactly what it is but I think they've done some interesting work. So the first point I'd make, Garrick, is it really is important to have the trials in part just to complete the factual and historical record of what happened in more detail.

UTLEY: And how many people would you count as co-conspirators? Everybody at Guantanamo or do you have a number in mind that you think are the real key ones?

ZELIKOW: Oh, no. You're talking about a group of four to six people in the -- the mastermind of the entire attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is in custody awaiting trial. The person who managed the entire financing of the attack is in custody awaiting trial, plus several others who -- you know, the key intermediary between Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the killers, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, is in custody awaiting trial.

By the way, the issues of well, you know, maybe they were mistreated in custody by the CIA and is that a hindrance -- remember that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh bragged about having masterminded the attacks on television before they were captured. So making the evidentiary case here for a prosecutor is not the hardest thing in the world.

UTLEY: So we look at today --

ZELIKOW: But if I could just finish the answer with two more points, as the first one is remember the trials. Second is -- and I mentioned this in the afterward -- we do not this day, actually, have an adequate understanding of whether the hijackers had a support network inside the United States. That's a big deal. There are some -- there have been some recent things lately that have resurfaced some stuff that got a lot of publicity in '02 and '03 that are mostly red herrings about Saudis and things like that, and that's actually not the most interesting stuff.

The most interesting stuff has to do with names like Anwar al-Awlaki -- a name now back in the news -- another name named Mokhtar Abdullah, both of whom are Yemenis and therefore were less interesting to the press, although the difference between a Yemeni and a Saudi is, actually itself, a rather arbitrary distinction in some ways. But there actually are some really odd and interesting threads, and maybe this is another thing a trial could bring out. So that's point two is the issue of a support network in the United States with a particular focus on this group of Yemenis who mainly were centered in a suburb of San Diego, and then al-Awlaki moved to a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, and, lo and behold, the future hijackers happened to show up at that mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, where they got some more help to help them find a place to stay in the East Coast and so on. The details are in the report.

Third point and last -- the commission, in our terse, low-key way -- because we were -- we were very careful when we used words that talked about complicity in mass murder -- and -- but we did say that there were actually very significant unanswered questions about the role of the Iranian government. The commission actually played a fairly important role in putting to bed the theories about Iraq and 9/11. The Iraqi government had flirted with al-Qaida in the 1990s but it never, in our view, came to fruition as a collaborative relationship on operations.

The Iranian relationship actually is a more difficult puzzle. The Iranians -- there was a conventional wisdom that Shia extremists wouldn't cooperate with Sunni extremists. We concluded that that was wrong -- that they actually had -- they had common enemies, especially in the Saudi regime, and that there was evidence of cooperation on various things in the 1990s. And then it turns out the majority of hijackers traveled to the United States to stage for the attack with their passports and travel records laundered, in effect, by the Iranian government -- that this was actually a habitual practice in which al-Qaida operatives would routinely travel through Iran and the Iranian governments wouldn't mark their passports and would kind of obscure where they were coming from as a favor to al-Qaida.

We found no evidence that the Iranian government was witting to the 9/11 attack plan. I want to be clear about that. But we found some suggestive circumstantial evidence that the Iranian government had continuing links with al-Qaida and we said this is something the U.S. government needs to investigate further, and to the best of my knowledge the U.S. government did not do much investigating further.

There is some stuff being done in federal courts in New York and other places to keep this issue afloat, and I'll just note I think there is something to this that's still a loose thread.

UTLEY: Following up on this, why hasn't there been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil in 10 years?

ZELIKOW: Well, the honest answer of course is that anyone who says they know the answer to this question is wrong. But what you can say for sure is it ain't because the motive isn't there.

All right, so usually -- back 30 years ago when I used to do criminal work, we used to talk about motive and opportunity, so here is -- we hold the motive constant, right? So this clearly has to do with the opportunity variable.

And so, obviously we have disrupted their operational capability to some degree, because even the stuff we've captured from bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad confirms he's desperately trying to find some way of getting at the Americans.

And, in a way, a pathetic marker of al-Qaida operational prowess is the best they could do to launch an attack at the end of 2001 was to send Richard Reid with explosives in his boots. And then, you know, kind of eight years later, the best shot they could take of us was to essentially repeat the Richard Reid attack plan again, but with the explosives in the underwear. And both fizzled.

Now, there was actually a fairly serious attack planned that almost came off in '06 that the British intelligence helped discover and the Americans and the British worked together to thwart. That's the reason that you have to have those liquids checked when you get on airplanes.

So they actually had a little bit of, I think, a rise in capability around the middle part of the decade, then some things done at the end of the decade, at the end of the Bush administration. The Obama administration I think kind of knocked them back again and are still knocking them back.

But the bottom line first is we greatly disrupted their operational capability overseas. Instead of an archipelago of terrorist camps in Afghanistan in which, at leisure and with deliberation, they could receive and process thousands of recruits -- evaluating and training, deliberating -- now they're hunted and on the run. There are fewer core members of al-Qaida even in Pakistan than you would see on the set of the average Hollywood film set. You know, so it's important to get this in perspective. That's one.

Two, remember, in the 9/11 attack story, which was the third major intercontinental operation that they had carried out -- and they've carried out none on that scale in sophistication since. They've been mainly regional, local stuff. Remember, the hijackers actually staged and trained inside the United States.

The United States was such a safe operating area that they could deploy here months before the attack in order to further perfect and elaborate their training, and, by the way, living, in many cases, under their true names inside the United States. So the United States is clearly a less hospitable operating environment for al-Qaida than it was 10 years ago.

So both disrupting them where they live and keeping them off-balance offensively, but also in a layered defensive system all the way to making the United States a far more difficult place, and making it much more difficult for terrorists to travel. Cumulatively, clearly this massive outpouring of resources and energy that we've witnessed has had an effect.

UTLEY: So, if there is no longer this monolithic terrorist organization under bin Laden as there was, but rather it becomes more of a splintered, fragmented, maybe almost, you know, individual series of organizations, miniscule though they may be but with a motive, does that, ipso facto, make us more secure?

ZELIKOW: It does make us -- it does make us somewhat more secure. It doesn't make us, quote, "secure." I mean, just to use an analogy to air travel, when I was a kid, if you look at the statistics on how many airliners crashed let's say in the 1960s -- you know, they didn't crash all the time but it was a regular occurrence somewhere in the world.

Actually now, if you look at the statistics for how many airliners crash, it still happens from time to time -- you know, the Air France and the South Atlantic and so on -- but it's a fairly infrequent occurrence, maybe except for Russia -- (laughter) -- and parts of Africa, but in general it's a highly infrequent occurrence.

Now, people still boarded airliners in the hundreds of thousands in the '60s, and now they board airliners every day in the millions. So you wouldn't say that air travel is perfectly safe today, but you'd say that over time, constant systemic improvements have kept making it incrementally safer. And I think that's a useful way of thinking about endemic dangers of this kind.

If I can digress on this theme just for a second, Garrick, I was filming at Ground Zero yesterday morning live. I was being interviewed on television on a terrace overlooking that elegant, somber and dignified memorial and that remarkable ceremony.

You know, and I'm giving my facile explanations of what 9/11 means, like we all can, right? But I have to say that as I was there, I had some humbling reflections that I'm actually not sure I'm smart or good enough to articulate what 9/11 means. There is a point where I sensed the overwhelming sense of collective grief and disruption that we all see, and there's almost a level to me at which it's meaningless. That is, is that the act is so ridiculously disproportionate to the pathetic group of zealots who carried this out that, you know, we struggle, you see, to make that fit into a grand narrative that somehow fits the calamity.

And what we did -- and the reason I digress in this way is, a little bit of what we did after 9/11 is we made the enemy big enough to fit the narrative that made logical sense to us and somehow seemed like an appropriate narrative for all of this. And we actually -- we made bin Laden and Islamist fanaticism bigger than it was. We made it sound like some kind of world historical force, like Stalinism or Hitlerism. I actually saw speeches that President Bush gave, where I tried to fight this and it went forward anyway. You know, the fourth world war, to borrow a phrase that one of my old friends once used. Things like that. World war four. No, this was not that.

You can't -- it's too facile to try to kind of somehow make this fit into our narrative so that -- we all grew up, you see, in an era where we were in great danger, apocalyptic nuclear danger, but in the narrative that had a sort of grand, logical coherence to it. And now we live in an era of vulnerability that's not really quite susceptible to same sort of epochal narrative conventions.

This is much more to me the kind of vulnerability and narrative we need to adapt to for this generation. Don't ennoble them by making them the grand villain, the Dr. Moriartys of this little fable. Instead, think about this as one more kind of a series of systemic problems in this highly globalized and interdependent society that includes right-wing Norwegian nut cases, that includes a variety of other different kinds of problems. Noticing, for instance, that transnational criminals in Mexico have murdered more people in the last two years than have been murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan put together, which, again, doesn't fit in any of the conventional narratives.

And then, I think , you can get a better sense of how to try to frame this than try to struggle a little bit with, why does a 9/11 event feel so important, yet at the core of it somehow have a quality of meaninglessness that we struggle to articulate?

UTLEY: Well, quite far from being a digression, this takes us right to the heart of what I think we're going to be discussing this afternoon and follow up on that. Obviously 9/11 altered policy, the atmosphere in the United States, the amount of anxiety with all of its various colored lights and warnings, and even organization and bureaucracy. Let's just take a couple of these.

The first one was calling it the war on terrorism. We've already addressed that. But then we have Department of Homeland Security. We have TSA. It's in our lives every time we go through an airport. Personally I feel quite -- this is when it really comes home to me. Maybe it's my own selfish little inconvenience, but when you stop to think the number of people working on security in airports around the world, not just in the United States, to stop an attack which probably, if it were to occur, would be carried out by no more than a few people sitting in the first few rows here who are actively involved in plotting that.

But that's the whole meaning of terror. You create the state of terror in mind but you end up, understandably, with a Department of Homeland Security and TSA.

Which leads to two questions. If there is a dynamic in any organization and policy where nobody is going to say this is enough, we have enough security, because nobody wants to take the blame and see his or her career ruined, how do we discuss this? How do we decide what level of vulnerability we are expected to accept? Israel, for example, said, we're not going to search every bus, but we will build a wall. There are other approaches you can take.

So how do you view what our homeland security has grown into, TSA, all this has grown into, the mindset there? Have we created a monster or something that's essential, and how do we debate and discuss this?

ZELIKOW: This is a great question, Garrick. Before 9/11 we had what I've called in print a paradox of prevention. It's a classic paradox, by the way. The paradox of prevention is that if you need -- at the time when massive action can readily prevent the oncoming danger, you can't mobilize the support you need to undertake the massive action because the danger isn't manifest enough. And therefore, it's obvious what you should have done after.

I mean, to give an illustration, pre-9/11 illustration. On September 10th, 2001, a massive action in Afghanistan was literally inconceivable in two previous administrations. I mean, literally in the sense that no one even wrote it down as a policy option. By the afternoon of September 11th, not only was it utterly conceivable, it was obvious, and immediately it seemed, well, this should have been obvious to us for the last two years. That's the paradox of prevention at work.

And the paradox of prevention for terrorism, that's gone. Actually it now applies to several other problems. Now for the terrorism problem we're in what I call the paradox of adjustment. The paradox of adjustment is, once you're fully mobilized around a risk and a threat and it's embedded in mass consciousness, it actually then is actually very difficult to turn.

The institutional momentum, all the interest groups and just accumulated weight of activity that grows up around that paradigm is so hard to change. And then for the president to change it would require a big exertion of political capital. But to make a big exertion of political capital to downsize or rightsize the threat, naturally (feels it ?) risks the humiliation if there is an attack the next day. You fear you're going to dull the edge of alertness and invite complacency. You don't want to do that. So oddly it's -- I can't talk about the risks going down because it would be too risky to say so.

That's the paradox of adjustment. Yet that's precisely the paradox we need to face. Maybe the killing of bin Laden gives you the vehicle you need in order to turn the page.

Now, all of the folks here, you're very sophisticated about these issues. And so you'll have already noticed that in discussions of this issue, basically I'd say it falls into two categories:

The first is, we've inflated the nature of this threat and we need to snap back to some sort of idyllic pre-9/11 period. We need to snap back to the status quo ante of, say, where we were in the 1990s before we'd done all this. For a variety of reasons, that's probably not wise or likely.

Then their second paradigm is, it's still really dangerous and bad, and we -- you know, we're very comfortable in this track we're in now and we just ought to stay there.

When you look at both of those, you don't like either of those paradigms very much. So you clearly need something in the middle. But that's really hard to find. And it actually requires some creative thinking about, where do we go now?

Let me give a concrete illustration for this. I don't think we're going to do away with the Department of Homeland Security or TSA, though I think they're rapidly, and will continue to get smarter and smarter. And actually some of the capabilities they've built for 9/11-style contingencies, like National Incident Management Systems, have actually already proven their worth in some national emergencies. Most recently -- actually, some of that worked pretty well in the Gulf oil spill case. So just -- that works fine.

The concrete illustration I'll give you is how we fight these future wars. I call the war we've been in a twilight war. Suppose you conclude that we're not going to have another set of wars like we had in Iraq and Afghanistan -- that we're not likely to want to do that quite again any time soon, which actually is where I think most of the country is, in both parties. Does that mean that really the wars we're going to fight now --that what we're doing in Pakistan, in Yemen, and Somalia and Libya, that's really the future of warfare. It's all going to be mainly these twilight wars.

And you know, of course, the combatant commander in these twilight wars is the director of the CIA. They're running the big guided missile program that is leading the way in the twilight wars. And actually they're going to become really the -- we're going to have this very large Department of Defense that's kind of out there for those formal wars that we need to be prepared for, but we're not really going to fight. Then we're going to have this other department of defense over in Langley; it's called the CIA.

And, by the way, a lot of people at CIA are going to -- they're going to like -- (chuckles) -- this role. It's a very exciting role to play. It's a compelling subject. And by the way, recently some of the stuff they've been doing, they're doing really well. So you don't really kind of want to mess with success.

So if you would then ask yourself, if you're the president and you say: OK, I see where we are today, and this is good, we're doing good things. Where do I want this to be three years from now? When we're drawn down in Iraq and we're drawn down in Afghanistan, what's the posture I want to have in 2014, for the long haul? And what roles and missions do I want to allocate?

Man, that is an interesting and difficult question. And it's not a question that -- and if you're on, say, the liberal side of this, Mark Danner has just written a piece in the New York Review, one of a series he's written, called "State of Exception," in which Danner says -- he's very angry about this, he says: We're now in a semi-permanent state of twilight war, on which we have a semi-permanent netherworld, a semi-permanent legal and policy netherworld that we're never going to get out of, that increasingly is important.

This troubles him a lot. And my answer to that is, I think we are going to be in a twilight world war for a long time, therefore you need to figure out how to normalize that and shine enough light on it that you get this in a mode where it really works well with the norms of our societies, and that we're comfortable living with this, and get it into the sunlight a little bit more and regularize it.

But that means you actually have to think about these roles for the future in a more serious way than we've done so far in the state of emergency.

UTLEY: Let's go to questions. But let me just pick up on this, because also you have really raised a very interesting and important subject here: the extent to which, in this ongoing twilight war or struggle, the Department of Defense really becomes sited more and more in the CIA; what implications that has, in terms of allocation of natural resources. B, it's interesting to note that the secretary of defense was, until recently, the head of the CIA; and the head of the CIA, until recently, was a four-star general. We'll leave that for another occasion. (Laughter.)

Questions, please. Please identify yourself. Stand up and offer a question. Make it succinct so we can get as many comments in as possible. Start all the way at the back -- there's a microphone that will come to you -- all the way at the back. You don't have to raise your voice. But please stand up and identify yourself.

QUESTIONER: Hi, I'm Laurie Garrett from the Council on Foreign Relations.

I've spent seven years trying to figure out how much of the billions of dollars of readiness and preparedness money that was spent, and the changes in our legal system were due to -- you could say, were actually because of 9/11, and how many were because of anthrax?

And it's very clear to me they were inseparable, and yet we talk about them as separate entities. And I wanted to ask you about it because you were (harking ?) on some of the issues that, we might say, were inappropriate spending, or inappropriate readiness post-2001. I found everywhere I went, in 48 states across America, that people would say: Yes, we do get -- it is appropriate that here in Wyoming we get 10 times more per capita bioterrorism preparedness money than New York City, because we have a Costco over here, and we have a really big Walmart, and we have a civil war memorial on a bridge over here. And somewhere in Tora Bora, you know, the bad guys are planning to blow them up.

We seem to have gone completely off kilter here to a crazy space. How do we pull out of that crazy space into something that's realistic assessment, realistic risk spending, and that reflects on both what 9/11 and anthrax did to us?

UTLEY: And in this particular case, obviously, there's a political dynamic. (In Congress, it was. ?)

QUESTIONER: (Off mic.)

ZELIKOW: Laurie, thank you, because few people have done more than you, Laurie, to publicize the biohazard threat consistently over the years. I see you've very shrewdly managed to enlist Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon to help you out. (Laughter.) A cute move there. (Laughter.)

No, it actually -- people forget that for a while -- for a while we didn't know who'd done the anthrax attack in October of 2001. And what they also don't know is that the leading people in the White House had some really unnerving bio-alarms. Both Vice President Cheney and Condi Rice believed for several hours in October, 2001 that they had been exposed to a lethal biological agent, because a sensor in the White House had gone off. And there was no antidote. They thought they might be -- they might not live out the day there for just a little while.

A few things like that happen to you in your life, it makes an impression. (Laughter.) And so a lot of money has been spent on biohazards. You're in a better position than others to evaluate how important it is. But the key point of your question was: Yeah, but we spent a lot of that money; it gets allocated in this political process.

Well, welcome to the United States government. If you create a massive, multi-billion-dollar program to give out money around the country, this is a government in which power is shared. It is a fundamentally fragmented form of government; power is very broadly shared and diffuse; a lot of people have stakes and get a say. And so the decisions will inevitably be somewhat driven by the tug and pull of political interests.

I am philosophical about that. You cannot get, kind of, the -- you know, if Laurie Garrett and Philip Zelikow can get together in the room, and then come out in their pristine white robes to announce to the assembled humble multitude exactly how the money should be spent, maybe it would be spent better. But that ain't this country, or any country we will ever live in.

So accepting that, what you then need to set up is a dynamic in which there are people who say, here's what the rational allocation of risk is, and they then become a powerful pull that offsets to some degree the inevitable tug of the political interests on the other side, so that the resources are allocated somewhat more rationally that would otherwise be the case. And the attention of people like you, and a few in the journalism world, to the way money is actually spent, therefore, plays a rather healthy service.

UTLEY: Question down here. The microphone is coming.

QUESTIONER: Yeah, Dick Garwin, IBM fellow emeritus.

It's not so much we've created a monster, I think, as a Maginot Line. And the solution is not on a line, different line, between that and a lesser amount of it. It's probably someplace else in the plain -- not the airplane.

But to go back to the airplane, in 1968 a committee I chaired in the White House to look at airplane hijacking said it would be solved if you locked the cockpit door. Now, that would also have solved the problem of hijacking an aircraft to crash it into buildings, but we didn't do it. It would have cost the airplanes a little bit of money. Instead we had much more costly alternatives.

So nowadays the question is learning from the Internet. We see that from the Norwegian example, which empowers even an individual, empowers organizations also, because you can separate the thinking from the doing. And although al-Qaida never was the threat that we made it out to be, there are threats out there which are unnamed, which are individuals, which are small groups that I think we have to watch out for and we have to be aware. On the Internet, we have to make small changes rather than big ones where we can, which might have broad impacts.

UTLEY: But if I could give a quick follow-up on that comment with --

ME. ZELIKOW: All right.

UTLEY: Go ahead. But I also would like to know what's out there that you think about that we're not thinking about.

ZELIKOW: Well, actually, I think the way Dick puts it is very wise and good. If you begin to basically say I'm not going to elevate al-Qaida into being a world historical force to create this kind of -- so I can make it fit into a narrative that I'm comfortable with at a cognitive level, and instead adopt the kind of point of view that Dick is saying -- well, there are a lot things like this, because lethality is now much more diffuse and dispersed in this age we're living in; we're no longer threatened solely by accumulations of men and metal as we were in the industrial age.

Then you're really into a science of risk management in which the essence of Dick's comment is to say, all right, I then need to think about, with the least amount of spending, identify -- identifying risk pathways. Where can I make the best interventions that dramatically change my risk calculus?

And actually, engineers are very used to thinking in these terms. And policymakers also ought to be used to thinking in these terms. And a lot of what we're doing in some areas now use this. And the risk-management concept is a layered concept in which no one of the layers is relied upon as being 100 percent effective, but the accumulation of layers really changes the odds.

And I actually think that we've done some really good things in risk management and that this is one of the reasons we're safer. Juan Zarate, who's here, has seen a lot of these evolutions in the last few years and has overseen some of them.

And I'd like to just pick up on your comment and underscore it and urge that a risk-management concept of the kind Dick is describing is a really useful way of trying to think constructively about many problems of this kind without getting caught up in hysterical swings of public mood.

UTLEY: Question right here; the gentleman with the glasses.

QUESTIONER: Thank you.

It's a very good presentation. My name is Roland Paul. I'm a lawyer.

Two things that I'm kind of personally easy with and not opposing, though it may sound it from my question. Did you think the message for getting bin Laden was, although publicly we'll say capture or kill him, we really meant kill him? And is that OK?

And the second is -- I think it was public here that Ray Kelly said to us or confirmed a public statement that aggressive interrogation techniques did prevent at least one threat to New York, which had to do with the Brooklyn Bridge. So is that your view that aggressive interrogation techniques in some cases is not such a bad idea?

ZELIKOW: OK, let me -- on the first question, it's simply a historical question. I don't know -- I don't know for sure what the rules of engagement were for the team that hit Abbottabad. I know a little bit about how those folks operate in some other cases, and they make decisions very quickly.

And, you know, whether or not it's dialed a little more toward one end of the dial or a little more toward the other end, I'm sure they were not told, kill him no matter what. And so then it just moves into, well, if it's -- if there's this degree of uncertainty -- I just don't know enough about the facts to have an opinion, but nor am I deeply troubled by the question. (Laughter.)

On the second issue, of aggressive interrogation techniques, first of all, again, I have a point of view on aggressive interrogation techniques that I've been public with now for some years, but on the inside and the outside, in which I thought the adoption of the rules and approaches that we adopted was a grave mistake. It was profoundly counterproductive and ended up hurting us not only publicly, but actually began to interfere with coalition intelligence operations in the war on terror itself by the middle part of the decade. I experienced this personally; so counterproductive and hurt us on many, many levels.

So then the extreme version of that argument says yes, and we never get good intelligence from them. My answer -- and I've looked at examples of this in Britain and Algeria and a lot of other cases, and Israel. My answer to this is sometimes you do get some help from them. Sometimes you don't. It's -- sometimes you break people faster, but sometimes what they tell you is crap. Sometimes also you've lost the chance to turn someone into someone who's cooperative and can become an agent for you.

I mean, but so sometimes it helps, sometimes not. You really need to work the case. And also no one, no one, to my knowledge, has actually scrubbed all the different claims about what intelligence led to what successes and what was uniquely available only from extreme techniques and could not have been obtained through other things.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been spending years trying to work this problem over in a serious and professional way and hasn't yet come up with a good outcome.

When I was in government, I actually looked into a couple of these allegations and cases, because I was reading the talking points that were being given to the vice president too, which is the same stuff the vice president's been using in his speeches and in his memoir and Liz Cheney has been using. And I actually tried to dig into what was underneath that.

And what you discover is a typical intelligence-case story. Most intelligence cases of this kind are mosaics, where you have a number of pebbles and leaves going into them. It's usually not just kind of one aha moment, like, I got this, and then that maybe cued me to something else, which allowed me to bring that to bear, and these fairly patiently constructed and often incomplete mosaics that begin then cueing you to other things.

And then what you want to do as an organization is everybody who contributed a pebble to the mosaic, you say, great job; you're responsible for us getting the case. And as a manager of the organization, you want to do that, because you want everybody to feel like they contributed to the success.

But the point is, when you really dig into it, there are these very complicated stories, and often the case officers in the field know how complicated they are and are kind of (dismissive ?) if the claim is being made by one person or another. And it's -- and then, even when you dig into that, is -- and in that particular case, did we have to use those techniques to get that particular nugget of information, or that nugget of information confirmed and corroborated something we'd gotten from another source?

So, for instance you've seen that Leon Panetta stated unequivocally, after the public thing surfaced, that we did not rely on EITs to get the intelligence that led to bin Laden. Maybe Panetta overstated it. Maybe he was wrong. But I don't think he would have said that if he didn't at least have a plausible argument to make.

But the bottom line -- I'm just trying to underscore that do not get too caught up in the thicket of these rival claims, because until you really sweat the details of the cases, it's mostly just rival talking points. Acknowledge that maybe these techniques buy you a little bit at the margin, but there are significant costs and uncertainties that go with them, even in the intel world, and then huge tradeoffs beyond that.

And now let me underscore it with another story, which most of you don't know, I suspect. We actually ran the most remarkable natural experiment on interrogation techniques against al-Qaida without meaning to do so. By `04 and `05, we basically had adopted a completely different set of rules for interrogations in Iraq than we were adopting in the CIA program against al-Qaida worldwide, because the military redid its interrogation program in Iraq during 2004 and into `05.

By the way, they had different rules and they had different interrogation teams in Iraq. And I visited these centers in Balad, where we were doing this. We were using FBI guys and CIA guys and NSA guys. It's a really interesting interagency team they've put together, and operating under Army Field Manual rules. And at the same time, the CIA was insisting that, against al-Qaida worldwide, they had to use their set of rules.

We hadn't meant to run a natural double-blind experiment in this way, but we did. And it's interesting because the guys that we were hunting in al-Qaida and Iraq are pretty bad guys. I mean, if anything, they were more seasoned and hardened killers than the guys we were chasing in al-Qaida worldwide, more guys who had been personally killing people themselves on occasion after occasion.

So this was a very serious group of people, and we broke al-Qaida in Iraq with this interrogation program. I was sitting in the White House Situation Room when the head of JSOC told President Bush in the presence of all of his advisors, when asked point blank do you need extra interrogation rules to do your job in Iraq -- no, Mr. President, we do not -- we can do a perfectly adequate job of interrogating them and getting what we need fast under the Army field manual rules.

Now, my own view is that there are a couple little footnotes you need to make to the Army field manual rules to get them to work the best, and actually they were making a couple of little footnotes in terms of when you notify the Red Cross and a few little things like that. But in terms of how you actually treat the prisoners and the abrogation of reliance on physical torment, they were running a pretty clean interrogation program and one the American people would be comfortable with, and it was highly effective in an interagency team against a very dangerous group of people.

UTLEY: Question back there. One more, and then we'll come back up.

QUESTIONER: (Inaudible) -- and thank you for this fascinating presentation. I just want to pick up on a couple of things you said, the last of which is Iraq. Did al-Qaida come to Iraq after the war started -- after President Bush said, you know, come on -- we'll have you there -- because there was not really that much in Iraq. And as far as Iran, having spared Iran accountability, do you think this has contributed to what they later have gone on doing including developing a program -- you know, the nuclear program feeling that they had been spared. And on Saudi Arabia, do you think that what they have done actually by breaking al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia it helped in -- as far as defeating a large part of this movement?

UTLEY: All right. So Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia. If we can make this pointed answers.

ZELIKOW: All right. Iran is a, I think, mainly a different narrative altogether and I don't think they're -- I think they were on -- they made some key decisions about their nuclear program that I date, personally, to around 2004 -- 2004, 2005 -- for reasons I'm not confident I understand yet. I have my hypotheses but I just want to confess my humility. I think I can kind of sense where the key decisions were made. I'm not sure why they were made. I think it mainly has to do with the internal ideology of the people who were seizing power inside Iran and the internal dynamic in Iran in those years and is really a separate narrative that is substantially independent of the Iraq narrative.

The Saudi Arabia narrative -- the Saudis, who have a highly ambiguous record on how they dealt with Islamist extremism in the 1990s for complex reasons that are understandable in the Islamic world of the 1990s, but they essentially found they could no longer tolerate this level of extremism in their midst and it was coming home to roost because, after all, they really hated the Saudi regime more than any other, and the Saudis now played a critical part in breaking them. And al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is mainly now in Yemen and lots of Saudis have been killed now fighting these folks.

A lot of Saudi policemen have got -- have had funerals. So their role has been very significant although, of course, belated. On the Iraq point and, you know, did the Iraq war attract a lot of these people? Yes, but you have a conglomeration of different Sunni extremist groups who were all attracted to the situation.

A, you have a civil war in Iraq that was bound to happen as soon as the Sunni tyranny was overthrown because what happened then was a gigantic revolution in Iraq itself in which the longstanding oppression of the Shi'a majority was being overturned and the Shi'a were going to reclaim every element of political, social and cultural influence in a society that had been denied for centuries by what they regarded as a Sunni tyranny.

That was -- that kind of revolution -- internal revolution was going to happen and was, in my view, bound to be accompanied by violence in which the Sunnis fought back to preserve some measure of their role against this new -- against the revolutionary government. The United States happened to play a central role in that revolution but the revolution would have happened anyway and there would have been huge Sunni violence associated with it that therefore was significantly focused on the United States and with al-Qaida running to the combat zone to help out, because follow the narrative line of al-Qaida just for a second. You have a whole set of Islamist extremists growing up in the Muslim world mainly for local reasons.

The problems about how the Muslim and Arab world was coping with modernity the confusion and conflict within that civilization about that. The global Islamists get their purchase in the late 1990s with an argument that says that outsiders are attacking Islam. They're recruiting people using film footage from the Balkans, from Chechnya. Very useful to remember Mohammed Atta and the Hamburg cell, when they first volunteered to serve for al-Qaida they came to fight Russians in Chechnya, and then they were turned to divert against the American enemy that the al-Qaida leadership actually felt was most interesting to them.

But in other words, all this spun narrative in which people who knew nothing about the United States were convinced that the United States enemy was behind a general assault on Islam. That narrative, by the way, is increasingly decrepit and it's more and more falling back again onto local agendas in which the global Islamist agenda is fading a little bit to the side and into the background.

And so, yes, Iraq, because Iraq was one more occasion for the narrative that these people had been believing in for years, and so if you deprive them of that particular occasion and don't offer them another then they're going to not have any place to go to to fight. But increasingly, what we're seeing is the narrative of how Arabs and Muslims are defining their problem and defining the menu of solutions is now moving, I think, down much more interesting and healthy channels than has been the case any time in the last 20 years.

UTLEY: You've given a very vivid portrait of what's happening abroad which is fuel for a lot of thought for the symposium this afternoon. Let's conclude on -- by bringing this back home. You articulated this concept of the twilight war and struggle. You talked about what Mark Danner and others have been thinking about and addressing and no doubt you will be addressing this afternoon as to how do we manage this in our country in terms of legality, of a sense of anxiety, how much security is necessary, and how we discuss or decide some of these questions going forward.

Now let's just add 2012 -- presidential campaign -- politics. The Republicans, for a long time, have claimed the national security mantle. You can argue this goes back to George McGovern in '72 when the Democrats really lost it in the Vietnam Era -- largely regained in the Clinton years where there were no tremendous security crises. Some embassies in East Africa were bombed and the retaliation was carried out. And now you have Obama -- President Barack Obama there.

How do you see this playing in terms of Democratic Party concerns for the real legitimate issues of national security and what needs to be done? He has not closed Guantanamo, et cetera, et cetera. On a national security basis, to what extent do you sense there being a political dynamic here that Obama and the Democrats don't want to give up what appears to be a national security mantle regained and how this might or might not play out in a presidential campaign?

ZELIKOW: Garrick, I think you're exactly right. As a historian now -- putting on my historian's hat -- the great Republican term -- we associate Republicans with being the great hawks on national security. If you ask yourself when did that start, I can date it almost precisely. It started between 1949 and 1952. Remember, before that, Republicans had been ambivalent about foreign engagement and actually they were generally in favor of cutting the defense budget. And then for -- a variety of things happened where they saw an opportunity on what they regarded as the great sins of the Truman administration.

That became their defining issue in the congressional campaign of 1950 and the presidential election of 1952, and they never looked back. Those were political catastrophes for the Democrats, and Democrats and Republicans alike carried these Korea memories with them all through the 1950s and 60s. You just see it again and again in the discourse of that period. They're all carrying that memory back and so the Democrats are being more hawkish on Vietnam than they might have otherwise been because they're carrying memories of Truman and China and Korea and all of that.

You can hear this on -- in the White House tapes from the -- from the period, and now we've got a -- and the Republicans became extremely comfortable with this issue. It became a defining issue for them in the Cold War, and now they're -- this is now a routinized habituated pattern of thought among most Republicans though not all. You now increasingly see for the first time in a long time the resurgence of a group of Republicans who are really tempted by disengagement. I don't think, though, that that's a dominant wing yet but it's noticeable and it's interesting for that -- for that -- the Ron Paul Libertarians and the like.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are still afflicted by the same dynamic that you're capturing. Obama has made absolutely sure that no one's going to be able to get to the right of him on toughness on terrorists. I don't think -- and I think -- I'm not saying that his motivations are political and cite his bin Laden decision which was, I think, a difficult decision on the facts that were in front of him and a courageous one in many ways.

But, therefore, the paradox of adjustment I talked about I think is going to run pretty strongly all through 2012 because it's going to be very hard for the Obama administration to do anything that appears to be softening this as they're making a variety of difficult decisions to push ahead with pulling mainly out of Iraq and beginning now a steady path of withdrawal out of Afghanistan.

Therefore, the last thing they can do is cede ground on this one. Even if they think they need to rebalance it's going to be very hard for them to do this in any political sense. The Republicans, though, are going to find it very difficult to make an issue out of it. I mean, they could kind of say well, let's make the litmus test whether or not we're willing to beat up captured terrorists -- you know, that's the one thing we can seize on that Obama won't do. I just don't -- I don't think that's the sexy political issue of 2012.

HAASS: Well, we have to wrap up right now. And I want to thank you, Philip, very much for being with us. (Applause.) You'll all have our takeaways here but you mentioned two words -- maybe paradox gets elevated to a policy issue. So thank you very much.

ZELIKOW: You're welcome.

HAASS: And good luck with the symposium.

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

GIDEON ROSE: Ladies and gentlemen, one of the hallmarks of Council on Foreign Relations events that makes them somewhat more tolerable is that they begin on time and they end on time, so we are going to keep to that track record. I am delighted to welcome you to the second session of the CFR Symposium on 9/11: 10 Years Later. The title of this particular session is "Assessing the Threat: Is the United States Still Vulnerable?" Or, probably better, how vulnerable are we?

A couple of introductory remarks. Please turn off -- don't just put on vibrate or silent, but turn off your cell phones, BlackBerrys, blueberries, anything else you might have -- (inaudible) -- all wireless devices, to avoid interference with the sound system.

This meeting is on the record -- just want to remind everybody of that. And I'd also like to particularly thank Shelby Cullom and Katherine W. Davis for their generous support of this symposium.

We have a really great panel today. We have three people who combine serious expertise, serious experience and real brains, which is -- and sense, I should say -- all of which are unique qualities that are not necessarily widely distributed and certainly not necessarily linked together. Their full bios are in your packets that you have available to you, and I don't want to go through them in too much, but let me just take you through, of course.

We have John McLaughlin, who, after an extremely impressive, lengthy career at the CIA and in the intelligence community is now the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Nitze School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins. He was formerly the acting director of Central Intelligence.

Richard Falkenrath, who's the Shelby Collum and Katherine W. Davis Adjunct Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at CFR. Nice mouthful there. Richard has had a long career studying and acting on these issues and is the -- was the former deputy commissioner for counterterrorism at the New York City Police Department and was a very high muckety-muck in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush years.

And Juan Zarate, who is a senior national security analyst now for CBS News and a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic International Studies, who also has a long track record of dealing with these issues at the highest level of government. He was the former deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, and has worked on terrorist financing and a variety of other issues.

So it's really hard to think of another panel they could have put together that would've had significantly greater practical experience and intellectual substance to tackle these issues. So with that suck- uppy lead-in -- (laughter) -- let me now play my role as devil's advocate and put your feet to the fire.

Many people who had not paid attention to the terrorist threat were dramatically surprised by 9/11, because they'd never imagined such a thing. All of us had been involved with terrorism studies or terrorist assessments and we knew there was a possibility of something like this happening. Right after the attacks, people who had never thought one could happen were immediately convinced there were going to be many more.

My question to you, each of you: Why in the decade since has there not been another significant, catastrophic terrorism attack in the United States since then? John, let's go left to right here. Or, right side, right to left.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I would say first off your caveat, significant terrorist attack, is important. We haven't been successfully attacked. We've had a couple of near misses, but we have not had a major terrorist attack. We all know that. I would say the reasons are 90 percent hard work, aggressive work, and 10 percent luck. And let me break that down a little bit for you. Let's go to the hard-work part.

Most people don't realize that we were much better prepared after 9/11 to counterattack than was commonly understood. At the end of the Clinton administration, we actually had been asked to put together at CIA a plan to attack al-Qaida in a -- without respect to resource considerations; what would we need to do that? And we had that plan on the shelf. It was never implemented, but it was on the shelf. When 9/11 happened, it came off the shelf. And so by the 15th of September, at Camp David, we were able to put that on the table and it was basically the core document from which the counterattack was mounted.

Second, I think we haven't been attacked because there was, after 9/11, an inflow of resources and an inflow of authorities, if you will -- what we were permitted to do and not permitted to do was much clearer. And also there was great clarity of mission.

Before 9/11, I think I could make the case that there was, if you will, a climate of disbelief that this could ever happen. That climate did not exist in CIA; we were expecting a spectacular attack, but we failed to understand or to detect when and where it would happen. But that all went away; there was clarity of mission.

Third, I think we also in this period of time brought together with the military a kind of integration that had never happened before and which accelerated over the decade and saw its culmination in the bin Laden operation. So that fusion of intelligence and military power brought about kind of unprecedented precision of lethality, which has helped to disrupt that movement.

And finally, I think -- there are many, many things one could say, but finally I would say putting together a worldwide coalition was very important. You heard Phil Zelikow talk about the 2006 attempted airline attack that was -- well, I've talked to the British service about this. The Brits and the Americans worked together on it. This attack was well along; it was serious. Had it succeeded, it would have brought down 10 aircraft over the Atlantic. That would have been the equivalent of 9/11, but it was prevented -- largely because of this coalition, if you will, of intelligence services and governments working together very robustly after 9/11.

And the package bomb attempt that you've heard about, which was thwarted largely because of information provided by the Saudis. I'm not sure we would have gotten that information or even had the relationship to get it in the years before 9/11. That's the hard work part.

The luck part -- remember, we have had -- and I would not be as dismissive of these two attacks as, I think, Phil tended to be in his remarks. The underwear bomber -- had that plane gone down over Detroit, more than 200 people would have died and we would be having a different conversation. Yes, we need to be resilient as Americans and not go into a paroxysm of panic every time something happens, but I don't think we're there yet.

The Times Square bomber -- had that bomb gone off, there would have been shrapnel traveling at 14,000 feet per second through four or five blocks of New York City. The detonators didn't work. And in those two cases, nothing the U.S. government did prevented those attacks. We were lucky; the detonators didn't work.

So I think it's a combination of those things that account for the fact we haven't been attacked again successfully.

ROSE: OK. Juan.

JUAN ZARATE: You know, if I could just amplify, I think despite Phil's admonition that to try to answer this is folly, I think you can answer it in part. And just to build on John's good remarks, I think it has been a combination of extreme counterterrorism efforts, not just in the U.S., but abroad. I think we have to remember the number of plots, arrests and disruption that have happened since 9/11 -- in the dozens, often not spoken of.

Second, I think it's been luck, but certainly, I think you make your own luck. I think in the two failed attacks, you have to keep in mind that these were operatives who were less skilled, less trained, less supported by an infrastructure, were attempting to circumvent measures that have been put in place.

So even in the worst-case scenario -- for example, Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, where authorities weren't aware of him, weren't aware that he had been deployed by the Pakistan Taliban. He had been deployed undertrained, not well resourced, not well supported. You look at the underwear bomber. He'd had to circumvent the existing airport security measures -- as weak as they may be in a place like Nigeria or Yemen or elsewhere. So I think you make your own luck in some ways and we've made it harder for people to get goods, support structure and people in.

Finally, I think it's very important to keep in mind al-Qaida itself. I think al-Qaida has hamstrung itself in terms of its ability to hit the United States in a significant way and I think in two regards. First, I think bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and others were still wedded -- and I think perhaps to his dying days, bin Laden was still wedded to the notion of a spectacular attack. You look at the history and trajectory of al-Qaida, it was a history of escalatory violence toward the United States and the need to have politically, strategically significant attacks on the homeland.

Again, you have to keep in mind their strategy. Their strategy is to actually change U.S. policy, change U.S. opinion. So in the documents in Abbottabad, for example, you have bin Laden musing not only about an attacking on 9/11, but attacking economic targets that would have a ripple effect during the crisis that we're facing economically. And so al-Qaida itself has wanted bigger attacks, has not necessarily adapted as quickly to the notion of using small-scale attacks.

In addition, I don't think al-Qaida anticipated the ferocity of our response. And by "our," again to John's point, I mean as well the international response. They had sleeper cells around the world. They had sleeper cells and agents in the United States. Recall the case of al-Marri, who pled guilty about a year and a half ago.

He was sent forward by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be a post-9/11 sleeper cell agent to attack. Iyman Faris was here. There are others. There are people in Istanbul, people around the world who were prepositioned.

But I don't think al-Qaida anticipated not only that we would go into Afghanistan with such ferocity and displace their training camps and displace the Taliban regime, but that we would be able to drive an international coalition that would actually suck up, disrupt and dismantle the networks that they'd established. So they weren't prepared for that period.

And so I think all of that played to our benefit. So I think it was a matter of being good, being aggressive, being lucky -- making our own luck -- and al-Qaida's own shortcomings.

ROSE: Richard?

RICHARD FALKENRATH: Well, Gideon, I think the premise of your question was correct. We were shocked by the scale of destruction. I think al-Qaida was almost as shocked as we were. And they exceeded even their own expectations of the sort of damage they could cause.

I think there are -- I'd point to four factors why this happened again. One is -- as Juan and John indicated -- offensive action against core al-Qaida in -- originally in Afghanistan just made it impossible for them to operate with the same ease that they could prior to 9/11.

Two, border security. It's just a lot harder for them to get an operative into this country than it was pre-9/11. Three, our own domestic population -- for whatever combination of historic and cultural factors -- just not highly susceptible to terrorism, militancy and extremism. Not absent completely, but it's not like it is some other places in the world.

And four, in the conflicts that have played out in Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, Europe -- al-Qaida has shed a lot of Muslim blood too. In fact, far more Muslim blood than any other religion's blood. And that fact has rebounded against it and made it more difficult for them to exist in other places where previously they could exist more easily. The fact that they've been just as willing to kill Muslims as they have to kill Westerners has hurt them long term.

ROSE: You know, Yankees have just been going through a slump over the last few days -- it ended last night, thank God. (Laughter.) But when this happened and they hit pathetically, as they do, there's always this debate among the announcers: Is it because they're facing such spectacular pitching or because the hitters are just pathetic schmucks; they shouldn't have a job and so forth. And you know, before we break our arms patting ourselves on the back about our fantastic skill in pitching, I'm wondering -- I mean, I realize that the counterterrorism community and the national security officials and the intelligence and security areas are fantastic, wonderful, patriotic public servants.

It seems to me that my guess is that at least some of the people doing immigration -- at least some of the people doing the drug war -- are also pretty competent and dedicated. And there are probably a lot more of them. And yet, it seems we had millions and millions of immigrants who manage to come across the border illegally. It seems to me we have bales and bales of counterfeit drugs. It's like the old joke about how do you get a nuclear bomb into the United States? Smuggle it inside a bale of marijuana. (Laughter.)

Why -- is it really our ability to stop things that have been the problem or is it just that there aren't that many people out there trying to get in and attack us? If they -- why aren't they smart enough to know to go to Mexico first and then just walk across the border?

MCLAUGHLIN: Look, I think -- I'm from the school of thought that says we're still vulnerable. So by no means do I -- from what I said earlier, want to imply that we're out of the woods here.

I always ask myself: What don't we know? And here's an area where -- Phil and I disagree on a number of things, but one area where I agree with him is anyone who's really confident about this, don't believe them, because there are still things we don't know.

Just look at this movement -- whether you call it al-Qaida or whatever. There's at least three layers here. There's the central group, there are the affiliates and then there are the sort of lone wolf people we have to worry about. And in each of those areas, there are some unanswered questions that give us pause. Look at the central group. Yes, they've been hit hard; bin Laden's been killed. You don't want to be the number three guy in that organization. That's a very bad career choice. (Laughter.) But there are still important people on that bench that we can't account for. Saif al-Adel is one. Abdullah al-Masri is another. These are guys with explosives abilities, with WMD knowledge.

Don't underestimate Zawahiri.

Yeah, we all go around saying he's not the charismatic leader that bin Laden was. No one is making Zawahiri t-shirts. But he may be more disciplined. He may be more focused.

Bin Laden was a kind of ethereal figure in many ways. This guy is a street fighter with prison credits and affiliates like the most dangerous one, the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have pledged fidelity to him. They signed up. They said, we're not the leader, he is.

And, remember, Zawahiri is a guy who has always been interested in carrying out a WMD attack and also carrying out smaller attacks than bin Laden wanted to carry out. So don't write those guys off yet.

Then when you come to the affiliates, just take a look at the most dangerous one I mentioned. They do things on the cheap. They bragged in their magazine that it only cost them $4,200 to put together the package bomb operation, but how many millions are we spending to counter that?

This is, second, their strategy -- strategy of a thousand cuts. They have a very explicit strategy.

Third, they do things fast. They were the guys behind this underwear bomber, Abdulmutallab. They got him off the ground in a matter of weeks. This wasn't a long, complicated operation. And as I say, if the plane had blown up, we'd be having a different conversation.

And, finally, they're connected. They're connected to Al-Shabaab in Somalia and so forth. So the affiliates, these guys are serious. They're serious.

And then you have the whole lone wolf issue that we could talk about. And I think I should -- I don't want to go on too long. We could talk about that extensively, but if you just look at the trends over the last 10 years since 9/11, you can count at least 125 individuals in the United States who have been involved in some kind of terrorist attempt, imagination, whatever, an average of about six per year serious, and that average has sort of doubled in the last three or four years.

So there's an escalating tendency in our own country for people -- American citizens like Faisal Shahzad, to get involved in terrorism, inspired by all of this stuff that they read on the Internet and so forth.

So I'm not saying we're out of the woods here, which is not to say we should panic and -- you know, because another important point to think about is that as a country we need more resiliency than we have shown up until this moment in the face of terrorist threats and terrorist incidents.

So we need to be -- maybe take a chapter out of the Israeli book there and understand that the world doesn't come to an end when one of these things happens. But that's where I think we are.

ROSE: Juan or Richard, do you think that the number of potential attackers has been underestimated -- overestimated?

ZARATE: I think so. I think what has happened over time is that their level of capability, their numbers, their ability to recruit particularly in the U.S. has been affected.

But I think John raises a very important point, which is though their level of capability to attack at the high end of the scale, to do another 9/11-style attack may be degraded, what they have done, and what you've seen in particular with the affiliates is an adaptation, an adaptation that's not just based on taking opportunities that are available but also seeing what can be effective.

What is amazing about what strategic innovations are coming out of Yemen -- and I think very dangerous -- is the fact that they're reading the political and social tea leaves very well in the United States, and they saw how aggressively -- how emotionally, how politically we responded to the failed attacks.

And so, as John said, they have thought very clearly about a strategy -- they called it Operation Hemmorhage -- to force the United States -- to bait and bleed and bankrupt the United States in a way that is quite aggressive.

And so, in a sense, the capabilities for that don't need to be extremely high. What you need to do in that context is to remain, from an al-Qaida perspective, very focused on continuing to get around security measures, continuing to attack, continuing to force the United States to expend, and that is a core part of the strategy.

The other thing that they've done very well -- and they've read just as much as we have all of the very good reports that all the think tanks put out -- is the uptick in Americans who have been drawn to the ideology. They've seen it clearly -- obviously -- in the highest of the ranks -- Anwar Awlaki the best example of them -- but they know that the ideology has some purchase, even though it's less popular, even though al-Qaida has less political weight than it once had in the Arab world.

There's something resonating in Western populations, or in subcommunities, and they're trying to draw on that. And so that's why you've seen the new Inspire magazine. That's why you've seen what I call sort of the casting-the-net-widely approach to try to get people to attack where they are as opposed to fighting in the hinterlands in Chechnya or Yemen or Somalia, fight and attack your fellow citizens.

And so, in some ways we have to adapt our sense of the threat taxonomy.

You still have to worry about the high-end attacks. You still have to build defenses against potential WMD, potential flash-point attacks that are strategically relevant. But you have to then contend with the smaller-scale attack.

And, as John said, you have to, as a society and, I think, a polity, be prepared for how you respond and make sure that you do not overreact, that you're not baited and bled into overreacting in a way that actually benefits the enemy.

ROSE: Richard, do you really think that we're -- are we facing the -- you know, the threat that we have been told we're facing, or is it less than --

FALKENRATH: Well, we've been told a lot of different things. I'm not sure what conventional wisdom to react to.

The interesting thing about this problem, though, is the extent to which the assessment of the threat can vary with the actions of literally a handful of young men. So one to four, 20 or something men can pull off a plot that results in casualties and vividly portrayed on the media, and our assessment of the problem can shift radically as a result of that.

So our assessments are extremely sensitive to very, very small events in the grand scheme of things. So I tend to not pay a whole lot of attention, frankly, to, you know, gross counts of how many potential radicals there are. We're dealing with the extreme tail of the distribution; you know, five, six standard deviations from the norm, as the part of the spectrum that we actually have to worry about in counterterrorism.

ROSE: OK, let's actually now take it from there, which is, to the extent that that is the case, are the best measures to deal with that tiny little stretch at the far end of the tail, are they ones that necessarily involve leveraging the math of ordinary citizens and ordinary lives?

One guy tried to light his shoe on fire and billons of man-hours are lost in the successive decade because everyone is taking their shoe off at airports. Another guy tried to light his underwear on fire, and I'm surprised we still are allowed to go on with our underwear on. (Laughter.)

Is that really the best -- whereas anybody could get on a private plane and do whatever they want and probably could fly it into something if they wanted to, or put it in a container and so forth. Are the measures -- are the best ways to stop that tiny handful of people by making everybody else's life incredibly inconvenient?

ZARATE: If you wanted to describe this as a public health problem, which your question suggests you should, then clearly no. I mean, no way does that aggregation of lost hours justify the potential expected loss. But it's not public health, right? It's something different.

It's a geopolitical threat to our sovereignty and our sense of who we are in the world that's caused by deliberate action on the part of a few people who hate us. And the bureaucratic response to it is not done by, you know, Harvard sociologists weighing pros and cons and expected values versus expected losses.

The fact is, is that when you are in a position of responsibility in the counterterrorism apparatus -- say, running airport security -- and John McLaughlin walks in and says, guess what, they just figured out how to put a bomb in their shoe that's big enough to bring down a pressurized airframe at altitude that our current metal detectors can't detect -- over to you, pal; figure it out. And you're like, well, thanks a lot, John, for telling me this. Now I have to go figure out something else to do.

So what do I do? Everyone takes your shoes off, put them through the thing, because that's how decisions get made in security bureaucracies. And the same thing happened after Abdulmutallab.

There's a bomb-maker in Yemen, or maybe he's in Saudi Arabia, who knows how to make a non-metallic bomb that is -- you know, can be molded in various anatomical ways that are not obvious, right, that is big enough to bring -- it was almost used to assassinate the Saudi minister of interior. And the exact same bomb, same bomb-maker, same ingredients were used by a Nigerian flying to Detroit; almost brought that thing down.

And now the guys, the poor guys who run TSA, one of the most thankless jobs in the world, have to figure out how to deal with this latest little innovation. And if they had the luxury of doing an expected value calculation, they could probably say, OK, I'm not going to worry about this one. But they don't. They have this assessment right there. And the assessors are really good at describing it, so they have to respond.

MCLAUGHLIN: You know, another way to ask your question, Gideon, might be, how will we know when this is over? And I don't -- it can't be over yet. And I think the reason is there's a pattern in what Richard was just talking about. And the pattern is they figure out our vulnerability and then they operate on it.

So they figure out that you can't bring box cutters through and metal things through the detector anymore, so they go to liquid. We figure out the plot in 2006, that you can bring in liquids and make a bomb on a plane in the men's room or whatever. So now they can't bring in liquids. That's harder.

So then they go to things like, you know, C-3 explosives in your underwear, which, until we had these new detectors -- and even they aren't completely reliable, I think, in picking that up -- now they know we're looking for that. So then they go to package bombs because they know it's hard to get into the passenger compartment, but we're not as good at what goes into the cargo hold. So you go -- you know, you take the next step. OK, now we're on to that, and what's the latest thing you've heard? Bombs implanted surgically. That's weird, but they're serious about that. That's a serious report. That is not a fantasy. So they've gone to that.

So it kind of takes you to the -- and I think if we were to relax our standards on aircraft, we'd had aircraft going down all over the world because that's still their weapon of choice, if they can get to it.

And you come to this question of, well, when is it over, when does it end? That's the one that I don't think any of us know. I mean, my way of thinking about it is a little bit analogous to the way we think about communism, which is, it's over. There are still a few communists in the world but no one believes anymore. That's gone. It's over. It's a nuisance, although one could worry a lot about what the North Koreans could do with, you know, their weapons and so forth. But fundamentally the communist threat as a communist threat is gone.

And we're not yet at the point where the terrorist threat has become the nuisance or the insignificant thing that no one believes in any more, that one could say about communism.

ZARATE: if I can just riff off that point, because I think ideally where you'd want to be -- and you hear, for example, John Pistole, the head of TSA, talking in these terms, and you hear Secretary Napolitano speaking more and more about resilience, is counterterrorism is risk management, to Rich's earlier point. That assumes, though, you can adjust the risk calculus.

You know, the predominant risk calculus post-9/11, built on the notion of prevention at all costs, never again in the homeland, provides a maximalist framework. And to draw that back -- and this is something Phil was talking about earlier -- to draw that back, to reframe that risk calculus has social and political cost.

So certainly I think an ideal screening, airport screening program has more intelligence built into it if you have it available, more targeted in terms of who gets extra scrutiny, et cetera. It affects who you decide to let go from Guantanamo, are they going to return to the battlefield or not, how risky is it. It affects, you know, everything about the counterterrorism framework and approach.

The trick, though, is, how do you move that rheostat? How do you affect that risk calculus, especially in a post-10-year anniversary environment where you've killed bin Laden, you've weakened the al- Qaida core, you've done just about everything possible to create these layers of defense. What does that readjusted risk calculus look like? And I think we have to ask ourselves that, and I think we have to allow a little bit of political space for that discussion to happen.

I think it's just very risky politically. You can't imagine -- I would never have when I was at the White House, and I can't imagine anyone at the White House now would advise the president to be talking in these terms or even acting in those terms to change policies to affect it. But at a certain point you have to have, as I said, a threat taxonomy and risk that's attached to it.

But to John's point, when the enemy, or even scraps of the enemy are continuously trying to affect your economy, your sense of safety, I don't know when that rheostat happens.

FALKENRATH: Gideon, to something John said -- see, in this country people tend to think about this problem this way, but I think we should recognize that we are sort of unique this way. I mean, most other countries in the world don't think about the terrorism problem the way we do and are perfectly happy to make the, you know -- if they could choose not to have to comply with U.S.-led airport screening regulations, they probably wouldn't, and in fact many do not.

Now, there's a lot of other parts of the world that their government apparatus and their people are just far more relaxed about this and willing to treat it more like one of many, many risks they face and they just have to sort of live with.

MCLAUGHLIN: But to adjust that risk calculus, one of the prerequisites would be a much closer consultative relationship between the executive branch and the congressional branch than we have today, and that's -- that's part of what you were talking about --

ZARATE: And a much less risk averse environment in government, which -- (inaudible, background noise) -- penalized if there's ever any kind of --

MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly.

ZARATE: And a willingness on the part of Congress to actually take some responsibility for what happens, right? You look at the votes for the Patriot Act, for the authorization for use of military force, post-9/11, these were resounding majorities, and yet people tend to run away when responsibility has to be laid somewhere.

ROSE: Richard, a dozen years ago you wrote a book, or more than a dozen years ago, a book on WMD terrorism, and I wanted to ask you. Afterwards when you got interested in terrorism, you said, I don't really care about terrorism. I care about the WMD aspect because that's -- only with that could it really get huge and powerful and important, and I'm a security guy, not a terrorism guy.

FALKENRATH: Gideon, I was 27 years old when I said that. I mean, you do dumb things when you're -- (laughter).

ROSE: No, no, no. But I'm -- on serious point. I shouldn't put it that way. Back then we thought of terrorism as a relatively small thing, as relatively limited kind of threat, and we thought of major national security threats as the big gig. And so WMD terrorism represented the nexus of those two things together, and that was of course the nexus that Iraq represented supposedly to the administration.

What we've been talking about now has not been WMD terrorism. It's been old-fashioned hijacking or an old-fashioned bomb, or the combination of the two. The question of WMD terrorism, I'd like to put that back on the menu. Do you think that we are more or less -- what is the risk level of WMD terrorism, not just a C-4, you know, in your crotch, something like that, not just a plane going down, but something truly catastrophic. How is that risk now compared with what it was, let's say, before 9/11?

FALKENRATH: A complicated question. It obviously hasn't been eliminated. It's still there. Much of what we do to counter ordinary terrorism is also useful for countering the most high-end conceivable terrorism, weapons of mass destruction terrorism. They're not exclusive in any way. There's a few specialized things that you do that help.

And so I think, you know, al-Qaida had an anthrax program pre- 9/11. It continued a little while after 9/11, actually two anthrax programs. It's conceivable that that, if it had advanced a little further, they'd have been as successful with that program as they were at training pilots in U.S. flight schools, that we would be now in a complete counterbioterrorism world, if that is what had happened. And that day still may come. I mean, this is -- the fundamental aspect about these technologies is they permit mass destruction when someone crafty enough and capable wants to use them that way. So that threat will never go away.

The means of accessing those weapons is rising, meaning it's getting easier and easier to do this over time, and that is a trend which I believe is essentially inexorable, so it will continue. And so we have to remain vigilant and counter these threats whenever they crop up. But we live with this risk, along with a bunch of others.

You know, in the '90s there was a small group of people who paid any attention to terrorism, a few academic experts and then a few folks like John McLaughlin and Richard Clarke in the executive branch who were focused in on it, but it was by no means a top-tier issue, in truth, for the United States, for the U.S. government, as it became later.

Weapons of mass destruction were, but we had odd areas of focus. And so in the '90s there was this enormous focus on the acquisition of ballistic missiles by Iran or North Korea or whomever, as a potential delivery vehicle for weapons of mass destruction. And back when I wrote that book in the late '90s, I was actually reacting more to the debate about proliferation and what seemed to me an odd preoccupation with ballistic missiles as a means of delivery as opposed to sticking it in the cargo container or anywhere else, not some deep insight about al-Qaida or terrorists, that's what they might do. It was more like a response to what we were arguing about in Washington in 1996.

ROSE: (Inaudible) -- see the WMD terrorist threat now.

ZARATE: Let me just make a quick point about it is important when we look back to 9/11 to remember that, you know, part of the reason it was such a deep and resonant tragedy for us, and made it different in kind from the European experience, was the magnitude. And then in understanding response, the counterterrorism framework put in place, and then other policies and the Iraq war, et cetera, it was the context of the concern about the WMD intersection with terrorism.

If this cataclysmic attack as it had been growing over time should be taken to its maximalist form, it had WMD context. At the same time, you had the anthrax threat, you had A.Q. Khan being revealed as a major proliferator, not only to nation-states but potentially nonstate actors. And so it was in that context, then, that you had the counterterrorism framework, the prevention framework emerge as the predominant national security paradigm. So I think that has to be kept in mind in terms of the response.

I think -- you know, one of the dangers we have moving forward, especially if we grow too al-Qaida-focused or too al-Qaida-centric, is you lose the potential threads that are happening beyond that network, so to speak. For example, we know that Lashkar-e-Taiba has had interest in nuclear capabilities. They are closely tied with the Pakistani establishment. We know that a flash point of an attack of any sort -- any magnitude between India and Pakistan always runs the risk of escalation and war. And so -- and potentially nuclear war. So that becomes incredibly important.

If you look at the proliferation of biolabs and the ability of even two or three, you know, well-schooled bio-scientists and experts to create pathogens with mass effect -- you know, again, have contagion coming out here in theaters -- to do that on a broad scale doesn't necessarily require an al-Qaida, it just requires some motivated, dedicated individuals with enough resources.

And so I think one of the dangers moving forward is that we start to lose the potential for these more dramatic threats emerging from places that we're not looking and that may be outside the al-Qaida framework.

MCLAUGHLIN: I'll just add a couple of small thoughts to that. It's a tough question. It's -- if you ask any major political figure or counterterrorism figure today, what's your biggest worry, you just almost automatically get the response: the conjunction between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. But we can't visualize this yet, just like people couldn't visualize a major terrorist attack, really, until 9/11 happened, or in cyber, we haven't had a cyber Pearl Harbor yet, so it's all kind of theoretical. It sounds scary, but we haven't seen it.

And so that makes it a little hard to think about the question, Gideon, except that -- so many years in intelligence, I worry about everything. You know, Bob Gates used to say that the definition of an intelligence officer is someone who, if they smell flowers, they start looking for a coffin. (Laughter.) So I have to fight that tendency all the time.

But having now yielded to it, let me say -- (laughter) -- you know, there's about 2,300 tons of highly enriched material in the world -- uranium and reprocessed plutonium. It's scattered among at least 40 countries. We know it leaks out. The IAEA can document at least 15 cases that I know of.

In 2003 and 2006, we, the intelligence community working with foreign assistance, picked up amounts of highly enriched uranium coming over the Georgia border about the size of a deck of cards, I would say. It takes something about the size -- what would fill a typical water pitcher to actually make a bomb, and something that would fill -- of plutonium, a glass about that size, I think, to make a bomb.

That's the long pole in the tent in getting to a nuclear capability, is the material. And that's what we know. So, again, as an intelligence officer you're always saying, well, what don't we know? Those are the things we've detected. And might we be surprised someday? It would come as a terrible surprise that they could do this.

I can tell you all the reasons why it's hard to make a nuclear weapon, and there are articles now -- scholarly articles -- being written on why terrorists can't do this. And certainly for an implosion device it would be extraordinarily difficult. For a simple gun device, I'm not sure, with proper help, or could you use that material in a dirty bomb? Yeah, you could.

So, you know, I don't want to be the "nightmare scenario" person here, but I think a serious answer to the question has to be it's still worth worrying about. And as a policy matter it's -- I very much support what the president is seeking to do, and I think what his predecessor sought to do as well, but particularly Obama has sought to -- through his nuclear initiatives -- to document, locate and have policies intended to help secure all of this material that's in the world out there, because not all of it is -- some of it's secured well, some of it's secured by a night watchman.

It all has to be transported. When you transport something, that's when you can steal it. So that's my --

ROSE: That's very cheery, John.

MCLAUGHLIN: I can tell a joke now, if you'd like. (Laughter.)

ROSE: I guess at least we can be confident that they're not going to get the water pitcher on the plane.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. (Laughs.)

ROSE: So at this point we have to turn it over to our wonderful members and guests who are going to jump in with their own views and thoughts and questions. I want to invite members and guests to join the conversation now. Please wait for the microphone and speak directly into it; stand, state your name and affiliation, and limit yourself to one concise question. We'll get as many as possible.

Yes, over here first.

QUESTIONER: Hi, I'm Roger Haviv (sp). I am an ordinary citizen.

John, being part of the policy that is shaping counterterrorism into the future, I would like to -- I would like to draw a parallel between what has happened the past 15 or 17 years or so with what is happening today as far as our national security is concerned and terrorism and counterterrorism. The 9/11 attack was a climax of a series of events that took place, as we all know, starting -- not to go back into history any further, back in 1982 when 200 and some odd change Marines were massacred in Beirut. And I would like to pay a tribute here to those souls that went to defend freedom in that part of the world.

Other more serious or less serious events took place, including not to -- not to forget the bombing that took place at the World Trade Center, at the foundation of the World Trade Center, and then followed up by --

ROSE: And the question --

(Cross talk.)

QUESTIONER: There is a socioeconomic event that is taking place and has been taking place and is reaching a climax again, and yet we -- for some reason or another, we defy reason by ignoring it, and that socioeconomic opportunity that has been developing and has been a fertile ground for terrorists, both organizations and otherwise, is what we are calling to be a "spring" -- the millions and millions of people that have demanded political and socioeconomic changes in that part --

ROSE: The Arab Spring. OK. But we need to keep moving --

QUESTIONER: -- (inaudible) -- we are doing with that as far as policy to mitigate the risk, knowing that it is not as sexy or as measurable as, you know, airplanes and --

ROSE: Does the Arab Spring generate or spur or combat terrorism? What are -- what is the relationship between the Arab Spring and the terrorist threat?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the conventional view is that the Arab Spring demonstrates the bankruptcy of al-Qaida's appeal, because al- Qaida has encouraged people to overthrow by violence and by attacking, whereas in the Arab Spring they overthrew by showing up in the street and demanding things that we would all call universal values -- liberty, freedom, so forth. So in a way, it demonstrates the bankruptcy of al-Qaida's appeal, many, many people say. And articles are being written making that point.

The caveat that has to be put in that is something Henry Kissinger said, which is -- I'll quote two people, Henry Kissinger who said: This is act one of an act three play -- OK -- and my friend Bruce Riedel in Washington who said: These people are now where France was in 1789 -- the point being this is the opening move. And given the aspirations and given the depth of societal problems in a place like Egypt -- I have a lot of friends in Egypt, where you've got -- well, I don't have to go through all the data for you, but you have very high unemployment. If you put in all the underemployment and the fact that they don't measure female employment, it's probably 50 percent. It's high. So the potential for disappointment and disenchantment at some point in this process is very great. And that's where al-Qaida could find opportunities to exploit. And already the group that Juan and I have talked about, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is already in its Inspire magazine writing articles about how they're preparing for that day.

So bottom line is, this doesn't look good for al-Qaida now. There might be opportunities for them in the future, I think.

ROSE: Juan --

MCLAUGHLIN: It's the biggest subject of our time, so one could go on and on about it, but --

ZARATE: I think that's absolutely right. I wrote a piece on this called "The Battle for Reform with Al-Qaeda."

MCLAUGHLIN (?): OK.

ZARATE: It came out this summer in the Washington Quarterly -- little plug, sorry --

MCLAUGHLIN (?): Yeah.

ZARATE: -- but exactly that -- I think the question of when does disillusionment, chaos, frustration actually benefit al-Qaida at a time when al-Qaida has actually been marginalized, but is this potentially a strategic moment for them?

The one thing I would say is, from a counterterrorism perspective, I think this is the most important period that we've seen since 9/11, in part because you have the death of bin Laden, which is strategically relevant, has the ability to create fractures and fissures within the movement that have been under the surface but that bin Laden has sat atop. So his removal is not just a symbolic act. It actually affects the cohesiveness of the global Sunni jihadist cause.

Secondly, you have the Arab Spring erupting, with the ideology of al-Qaida playing no apparent part, and with the potential for democrats and dissidents to actually take an upper hand in a way that marginalizes this ideology and the notion of reform by violence or by jihad, which is really at the core of what al-Qaida's talking about, including -- Ayman al-Zawahri has put at least seven statements about what the Arab Spring means to al-Qaida and how the Western puppeteers will no doubt not allow real reform to happen. So they're already setting the stage, from a narrative perspective, to take advantage of the disillusionment.

But I think this is a key strategic moment for the United States where we have to continue to hit them with all of the aggressive kinetics, continue to defend, but also hit ideologically and support the democrats and dissidents in ways that doesn't taint them inadvertently.

ROSE: Down here in the front. Which -- either of you. (Let's -- both of you ?) down here in the front.

QUESTIONER: Yeah. My name is Roland Paul. There's one form of terrorist technique that you haven't addressed, and I wondered how you would, let's say, quantify it, and that's the MANPAD(S) technique, meaning the shoulder arm -- shoulder-mounted attack on a(n) aircraft.

ZARATE: I'd say -- OK, you take that, because, you know, you hear all the -- we used to do, back in the '90s, all these terrorism things, and you'd have every kind of technique mentioned that somebody could think of, and you'd think, that can't happen, and you realize, oh, my god, it can happen, you know --

FALKENRATH: Well, this was --

ZARATE: This doesn't seem to happen --

FALKENRATH: -- his was attempted against an Israeli airliner in the Horn of Africa, and is another case where John and his, you know, intelligence colleagues would come over and have these assessments of how many shoulder-fired infrared heat-seeking missiles have been lost from wherever and, you know, where the grip stocks are, are their batteries still charged and whatever.

We would actually -- I remember doing a briefing for Bush on this, and at some point you get inured to these threat scenarios that come up, and yes, I -- you could construct a really bad MANPADS scenario where you take down a civilian airliner or two or you cause the spontaneous self-grounding.

If of civilian in an area where you think the MANPADS are on the loose -- there are reports coming out of Libya that they've lost a bunch more too. And you know, chances are eventually, you know, someone will take down an aircraft like this and there's -- from a(n) immediate defensive system, all the defensive techniques on civilian aircraft -- totally impractical. We -- that's -- at least it was studied eight years ago when I was still in federal government.

MR. : Studied again.

MR. : Studied again.

MR. : (Absolutely ?).

FALKENRATH: So totally impractical. There is no option there. And when an aircraft takes off and it's flying, it is a great, big hot signature, and if your heat-seeking missile can lock in and hone on it, you will likely bring it down. And that's one risk among many that we face.

ZARATE: But wait a second. Now --

MCLAUGHLIN: One other thing I could add -- just would say that there's some consolidation in the face that, as Rich indicated, our government has spent a lot of time thinking about this and focusing on it. I don't know that everyone came up with great solutions, but I think we've sensitized airports around the world to the issue.

And the problem is, you could design an aircraft with equipment that would -- as a military aircraft, would deflect that attack. It's too expensive. Just can't do it. Just cannot be done.

FALKENRATH: And it -- they don't like putting them on the aircraft, because they are often active heat-countering devices. I mean, they generate heat themselves, in many cases, which can interfere with the operation of the aircraft.

But this study, John, that you referred to -- I remember when we were doing this in federal government --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.

FALKENRATH: -- then at the NYPD I was on the other end of it, and it was silly. They -- I remember briefing this and then -- and now seeing on the other side of it, it is like someone did a study of JFK airport, of all the places you're most likely to stand to shoot down the aircraft that's taking off --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

FALKENRATH: -- and why don't you guys go send a patrol car around there every so often -- a little more often?

Right? And -- (laughter) -- OK. Is it really -- affecting the risk that our aircraft are facing, if someone has a MANPAD? I don't think so.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there's two -- there's two things that counterterror specialists wonder about; and this is in the category of, as Phil was indicating earlier, things that no one can know: Why haven't they done this? They tried it, as Rich indicated. Why haven't they done it successfully? It may simply be that they're not that good at it, that they aren't -- who knows. We don't know why they haven't tried this more successfully.

And the second one is: Why haven't they made more progress with biological weapons? Because all of the barriers to culture, acquisition, delivery techniques and weaponization are basically down, with advances in biology that are commonly available these days to a technician, not to say a Ph.D.

So those are two sort of puzzles that I don't think anyone has the market cornered on answers.

ZARATE: Well, wait -- thank you, Roland (sp), for that question, because it's a -- this is a -- you could multiply that question by a dozen, because there are at least a dozen ways you could commit terrible acts of sabotage or heinous terrorism --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.

ZARATE: -- that you could sit there and say, you know what? That's plausible; yeah, that's possible; no, we can't really defend against it, but we choose not to obsess about it, or whatever. And figuring it -- that's why this whole question that I got into before about what -- if you don't use a cost-benefit analysis in gauging the response, how do you decide which campaign? Well, let's get more. But that's a -- you know, it's really easy -- everybody here could be as blase as Richard was about the heat-seeking, you know, shoulder- fired missiles, about a variety of other things, but we choose not to be blase about some.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, terrorists calculate what your response is going to be. I mean, they -- this is one reason why I think they called off -- I believe -- some earlier attacks they were planning in the United States -- we know that from some reporting -- because they thought it was too small, that it wouldn't -- they -- this was back years ago. And their thought was: Look, you attack the United States, they're going to come at you big-time. This -- we don't want to draw that kind of response with a small attack.

But this MANPAD thing kind of fits the model of hitting us where it hurts economically, because it would induce a fair amount of panic and it would probably oblige us to spend a lot of money. So I hope they're not listening now -- (laughter) -- because it's one of those things we could all have a theory about why they haven't done it, but thankfully, they haven't.

ZARATE: And just one final about -- we did not not address this in some way.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

ZARATE: You know, there were all sorts of things that were done to talk about risk mitigation around airports. There's all sorts of things -- buy-back programs, destroying a lot of MANPAD stockpiles.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, yeah.

ZARATE: We had a dedicated envoy for just this issue, to travel around the world and meet with officials to get them to agree to hand over MANPADS. So there was a whole effort. That said, you know --

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's a very important point, though, that Juan is making, that people have not been complacent or dismissive about this.

ROSE: I'm not sure I can see a MANPAD, (but I certainly like saying "MANPAD" ?). (Laughter.)

Over here, in front. Lots of jokes come from that. (Laughs.)

QUESTIONER: Anne Nelson, Columbia University. We've been talking about this pretty much in the American context, but targets have included Britain, Spain, Africa. Do we have any sense of relative shifts in targets in their evaluation?

ROSE: Juan?

ZARATE: Well, I think you've consistently seen Europe being a target for al-Qaida -- both from al-Qaida core. For example, think back to just last winter, when we were worried about a Mumbai-style attack in Europe -- quite worried about it; and by the way, a threat that hasn't been fully dismissed yet -- coming from al-Qaida core; combined with the fact that you have groups like al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, in North Africa, that in some ways has as its far enemy left the United States, and more the French and more Southern Europe as part of their modus operandi.

And so Europe in particular remains in the mythology of al-Qaida or al-Qaida affiliates a very rich target base, combined with something Rich alluded to earlier: the notion that you have ready recruits in a more radicalized environment; and especially, you talk about the British populations that have been exposed to the ideology since the '90s at a grassroots level. You know, there's more opportunity in places like Europe, and certainly we continue to see attacks around the world.

I think it bears mentioning, just this week you had arrests in Germany, arrests in Sweden, related to potential al-Qaida-related plots; consistently, arrests in Turkey, which never go well reported -- arrests around the world that demonstrate that there still is activity that you need to worry about.

Again, I think it can be viewed as manageable, but I think you have to keep in mind that this is really an international effort and continues in many ways abroad just as much as it does here.

ROSE: And one of the things you see with the al-Qaida franchises outside of sort of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the ones in the Horn of Africa or Maghreb, Arabian Peninsula is often a debate internally about whether they should be attacking, as Juan says, the far enemy or concentrating with local grievances. And one of the really interesting things about the Abdulmutallab plot was that was the time when a franchise, in Yemen in this case, decided to reach -- sort of project its threat abroad, into the continental United States in that case.

The best case study of this was actually in Saudi Arabia in 2003, 2004 where there was a real vicious debate among the al-Qaida cell in Saudi Arabia about whether they should sort of be patient and stage from there against Europe and the United States or attack the horrible Saudi regime. And it finally -- this is a gross oversimplification -- the local affiliate, the franchise in Saudi Arabia said: Forget you guys who want to attack the foreign enemy; we're going after the royal family. Fateful error on their part because once they did that, the royal family got serious and decimated them quite quickly, whereas before they were more or less willing to tolerate their existence. That says interesting things about the Saudi royal family as well, which we won't get into right now.

Yes, over here.

QUESTIONER: Hi, Bob Lifson (sp). On the cost-benefit issue, it's not sexy to talk about it, but one of the huge costs in this process has been the cost of banks on the Bank Secrecy Act and the cost of monitoring the movement of money around the world, though I don't think people appreciate the enormous cost on banks and the burden on small banks particularly from -- for that. In fact, I would -- I would just add parenthetically that it might be that the FDIC agents who were so involved in that were not focused on what they should have been focused on in terms of the banks at the time in derivatives and the like. And so I would ask you all whether, in your experience, that's been valuable or warranted and whether the cost-benefit analysis would call for more of the same.

ROSE: Juan, I'm going to direct that one to you since you're the guy who put all those nasty, costly regulations into effect.

ZARATE: Yeah. (Chuckles.)

QUESTIONER: By the way, Juan, Philip said -- yeah, you are the guy who knows the answers.

ZARATE: Yeah. (Chuckles.) Not sure if I know the answer, but I'll try to answer.

I think the government, especially the folks at Treasury who broadened and deepened the Bank Secrecy Act -- Title III of the Patriot Act is basically an expansion of the anti-money-laundering system: Know your customer, new segments of the financial sector now subject to the same types of regulations that banks were in the '80s and '90s for the drug trafficking, et cetera -- enormous cost on the -- on the private sector, in particular, as you said, smaller businesses, money-service businesses like the Western Unions and even smaller organizations. So I think there's -- this is an area where you always need to be calibrating.

That said, the system actually has worked quite well. If you look at not just folks like me who work in the system, but, you know, objective views of whether or not we've actually done a good job of protecting the financial system and disrupting terrorist financing, it's actually been enormously effective. And frankly, it's been enormously effective most of all because of the enlistment of the private sector. The fact that the private sector has been viewed as a partner in the effort has been incredibly important.

This is now translated, by the way, to how we apply financial pressure to rogue regimes, Iran and North Korea. Part of the reason these things are biting -- not to say they will ultimately be successful, but part of the reason they're biting is that the private sector has taken it upon themselves to determine that they're not going to do business with people they don't like or don't -- can't account for or otherwise are engaged in bad business practices. So in a sense, the system has shifted. It's put a burden on the private sector, but it's been enormously successful.

The reporting requirements, by the way, are enormous on the private sector. And one of the sort of distortions that has been created, unfortunately, is sort of an incentive for the banks simply to report everything and let the -- let the government figure it out. That's a system that always has to be tweaked because that is a problem. But those reports turn out to be valuable not just for terrorism but for other -- (inaudible).

FALKENRATH: And that's the key point. It's valuable for lots of things.

ZARATE: Right.

FALKENRATH: For terrorism alone, the countering terrorism finance work I think is well past the point of diminishing marginal returns to investment. So there -- it's not worthless by any means -- quite useful -- but the marginal investment there gets you less and less because these plots are pretty cheap. The one -- the area in contrast -- and I've been a broken record on this for eight years -- where you have increasing returns to investment is countering terrorist travel, where you target the travel documents and the passenger screening systems and the manifests and that sort of thing, where there's still a ton more to do and is much, frankly, more lightly regulated than the global financial system.

ZARATE: Just one quick point. Rich's point about the cost of these attacks: Part of the reason you engage in this, from a strategic standpoint, is not just to prevent the attack. You want to do that; you don't want money to flow into an operative's hands, clearly. But the real reason you do this is to cut the budget of these organizations, to hurt their bottom line so that they're less able to have global reach. Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah -- these group have budgets. They have line items. They have to spend on recruits, on widows and orphans within their organization, infrastructure. What you want to do is force them to make strategic choices about what they're spending money on. You want to cut their money so that they're not able to develop a WMD program; instead, they have to worry about paying the widow of one of their fighters.

So I think that's important to keep in mind when we think back over the last 10 years, that we've used this tool to actually strategically impact al-Qaida's ability to operate globally.

ROSE: You don't usually get a chance to get a bomb maker in your discussion, so let's go to Richard Garwin. (Laughter.) A real terrorist.

QUESTIONER: Dick Garwin, IBM fellow emeritus. Sometimes an agenda actually interferes with effective counterterrorism. So I'd like to pick up Richard Falkenrath's emphasis on the ballistic missile acquisition by foreign countries in the 1990s.

I was a member of the Rumsfeld Commission in 1998 on the ballistic missile threat to the United States. And we did get into our report, but we didn't emphasize, that any of these countries we were talking about who might in five years acquire long-range ballistic missiles -- any of them already had hundreds or thousands of short-range ballistic missiles or cruise missiles that from ships either of their flag or other flags could threaten U.S. cities with all of these agents of mass destruction by firing from a few hundred kilometers of the shore. Sure, they wouldn't get Omaha, but there are a lot of cities on the West Coast and the East Coast.

But I do believe that the reason there was this emphasis was because of the ballistic missile defense lobby, which ignored the existing short-range threat in favor of the long-range threat -- which we couldn't counter -- in favor of building something that would be effective against China or maybe Russia -- (chuckles) -- even though our government has always denied that was the purpose. So I think that interferes with effective defense, with effective counterterrorism as well.

Another example is that the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in the early days said: We have this threat; ballistic missiles could deliver nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons. Then it was shown that the right way to deliver biological weapons with long-range missiles -- with multiple -- hundreds of little bomblets. And now you don't hear from BMD that they can eliminate the biological threat from ICBMs, because they can't. They're being honest, but they're not being candid.

ROSE: Well, this is a good point. There is -- there are some who would argue -- and sometimes I think this myself, although I wouldn't cop to it today -- that there's a bit of threat inflation going on from a domestic lobby, either political or the industrial or so forth, that hikes the terror threat or suggests that we respond to it in extremely hyped-up ways. Do you guys see -- not that any of you would be involved in that, obviously -- but do you see any pressure in the discussion of these issues from groups with issues other than purely security concerns at stake?

MCLAUGHLIN: I don't.

FALKENRATH: I don't really. I suppose you could find some contractor somewhere who, you know, advocates a point of view for the motives you suggest. But by and large, I don't think that's a big factor in counterterrorism.

It really comes down -- I mean, I -- to me, it always was just after 9/11, the motivation was: This can't happen again, end of story. And so you did whatever you had to do to prevent it from happening again. And now we're at a time when the calculus is murkier, for some of the reasons we've discussed here. I don't see anyone advocating pumping up the counterterrorist budget for questionable purposes.

ROSE: But you see that --

FALKENRATH: Maybe on the homeland security side it's --

ZARATE (?): You see it in the media, in the popular media some. And certainly, there are some people who do it who are -- who are as -- (they're cleared in the truth ?) about it and talking about it. It's not like -- I think the only time that it's really been directly politicized was probably the 2002 midterm elections, when it is -- really was a big issue in those elections.

Today, between the parties, there is substantial consensus on how to deal with this problem. And you look at some of the harshest things that certainly the Bush administration was doing on counterterrorism in the second term: The Obama administration has continued every one of them, and in fact, in certain areas, intensified it.

So the use of drones in Pakistan; that not only has it continued, it's up. The targeting of terrorists by name; not only has it continued, Americans are now on the list.

Anwar Awlaki. I mean, think about it. A constitutional law professor of the Democratic Party adds a U.S. American to a list of people who can be targeted by name. All right?

Electronic surveillance. The FISA Modernization Act of 2007 essentially ended the debate over that one. Military tribunals. The congressional actions, again, of 2007, 2008, basically confirmed this is the law of the and, and now President Obama, despite an early effort by the attorney general to end the Guantanamo process, has embraced it and is proceeding with that process.

So when you get to the nuts and bolts of counterterrorism, there's substantial consensus these days.

MCLAUGHLIN: Although something Rich said leads me to say, are -- maybe to take your question a slightly different way -- are we really responsible in our public discourage about counterterrorism? Probably not entirely. In other words, there is a certain hysteria that comes into it versus the kind of clinical discussion that you really want to have about it.

But I think we're becoming sensitive to that. I see signs of that.

ZARATE: Just very quickly, I think there's also sloppiness as to how we talk.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

ZARATE: You know, we equate a "Jihad Jane" threat with a Najibullah Zazi New York subway threat.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that's what I --

ZARATE: They're not the same. So I think that's right. I think we're getting more sophisticated.

The one area where I would say you see the private sector reacting to the government is this notion that the government is in a zero-tolerance mode. And so to Rich's earlier point about particular incidents that then drive a reaction from the government, you see the private sector then react to that impetus. but I don't see it being driven by the private sector. I see the private sector reacting to that political calculus, profiting from it, no doubt, but also then trying to help the government deal with what it's trying to deal with.

ROSE: We have time for just one more, in the back there.

QUESTIONER: This will be a good ending question. I just wonder are we both maximalizing and minimalizing the threats; minimalizing in that terrorism's just a tool that non-state actors use to achieve whatever ends. And if we're focusing entirely on the radical Islam element of it that's most familiar, you know, we'll never protect against the Norway or the Terry McVeigh or any of the others. So are we even attempting to think of it in terms of a threat that is one that any non-state actor anywhere in the world, including at home, will use?

And then maximalizing it on the -- is there any possibility, from any of your views, that the will o' wisp of perfect security -- and Gideon will remember this from -- you know, Joe Nye used to say the only perfect security exists in a maximum security prison and the grave, and we don't want to live in either place.

So is there any sense that that maximalist agenda of perfect security or "never again" is or will be shifted, particularly in light of the first part of what I asked, which is, this is a ubiquitous reality, not a Muslim or a group of non-state actors confined to a certain religious and geographic part of the world?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's kind of what I meant --

ROSE: And your final remarks. Bundle them in.

MCLAUGHLIN: It's kind of what I meant when I said a big question is when is this over, when does it end. And I think your question has part of the answer, which is, terrorism as a phenomenon will probably never end, just like crime will never end. We stamp it out, we get it to a manageable level, but there will always be some level of -- it will be a tool that someone, for some aggrieved purpose, will always use. So that's that.

Then in terms of perfect security, no, we're never going to have that. Not in my lifetime have we had it. I can't imagine that we will.

Again, if you want an intelligence officer to fantasize about future threats, I'm happy to do that, because, you know, we're in the midst of a technological revolution now that is unprecedented in world history. And I could go into some details on that, but fundamentally the question to ask about that is, if ill-intentioned minds have been able to do things with the technology we've had up till now, what might they able to do with the things that are coming about through miniaturization of circuitry, robotics and all of the unimaginable technological advances we're going to have in the future? But at some point we'll have computing power that you've got now in your cell phone in something the size of a dime, and Lord knows where that will lead if you have an ill intention to use it. So.

I don't think I have any concluding remarks, other than to say that I think this has been a pretty good discussion. And I would end by just saying there's a lot we don't know. You know, as an intelligence officer, I'm always schooled to ask, what do I know, what don't I know, what do I think?

I think today I've tried to tell you kind of what I know and what I think, but there's a lot we don't know about this phenomenon yet. And we have a tendency to fall into -- all of us, the media and people in the government and people like myself who speak publicly, we have a tendency to fall into a higher level of certainty in our talking points, if you will, than I think the case merits.

So I think we all need to kind of keep our eyes open. And maybe the most important thing right now is something the Homeland Security Department is actually stressing, which is, trite as it may sound, this idea of "See Something, Say Something" is really important, really important, when you think that's how we detected the bomb in Times Square. And if one of the big threats coming onstream is the potential for, if you will, one-off terrorism, the "Lone Ranger" terrorism, that kind of thing, not to turn us all into informants -- this isn't East Germany -- but you understand my point. It's very important for people, I think, to keep their eyes open and to be aware and to say something if they have suspicions.

ROSE: Juan?

ZARATE: I think it's absolutely necessary for any society, but in particular our society, to consistently evaluate our sense of the risk: how we manage it, what that risk calculus is -- again, as we said earlier, I just think politically very difficult to do in the context of what we can imagine the future may bring in terms of what al-Qaida or other terrorist groups may try to perpetrate. So I think, you know, that's a very difficult task, but one that we have to be conscious of all the time and try to (rheostat ?).

I think one of the things we need to do is, you know, have a sense of what is, you know, a fundamental threat to our national security -- what is existential, in many ways.

One thing we haven't talked too much about here is this notion of Americans who are being radicalized. And the one thing I wanted to point out is I think we cross the Rubicon the moment we have an American citizen commit a suicide attack of significance in the homeland -- which we've never had. We've had American suicide attacks in Somalia, from the American Somali community. And we've certainly seen that evolution in the British context -- British citizens, obviously, with the 7/7 attack. We have not yet dealt with that as a country.

And I think one of the things I stress when I talk about these issues is that we need to be very careful about how we as a society deal with each other, so that al-Qaida in its various permutations, or other groups, don't succeed in strategically renting our society, to the extent that Muslim Americans, for example, feel targeted, feel to be other, and that becomes a persistent sense of identity other than the identity of being an American citizen first and foremost. That to me is a strategic victory for al-Qaida, at the end of the day.

Recall that bin Laden on 9/11 wanted to create a Muslim awakening, where he wanted people to question their identity; for them to be Muslim, violently, and to the exclusion of others, in the first instance, to -- in the opposition of others. And so we can't allow our society to do that. And so, you know, I put that in the same ring of threats as WMD terror. We can't allow ourselves to fall prey to a renting of society.

The final thing I would say to the -- to the minimis point -- and this will sound as an apologist view, but it's more a philosophical view -- post 9/11, I took not only the war on terror to be a framework to allow legally, bureaucratically, politically, internationally, a more aggressive approach to what we were doing, but it was also a philosophical statement about the unacceptable nature of terrorism in the 21st century. Given the ability of a small group of actors to have cataclysmic geopolitical impact with terror, which we've seen in the past with the anarchists and others, but with the ability and the potential for WMD terror, what the administration -- I think what the U.S. government was trying to drive was a sense that terror should go by the way of slavery and piracy, and should no longer be viewed as a legitimate form of political expression or a means of national liberation.

If there's going to be attacks against civilians, cataclysmic attacks, as we saw on 9/11, that should be marked as unacceptable, it should be fought, it should be ideologically rent from all of those things that are acceptable in international societies. So that's one thing that I think is often lost in the debate about the terminology of the war on terror, and something we need to keep in mind.

ROSE: Richard, last word.

FALKENRATH: The maxim was perfect security point: I think there are really only a handful of sectors in American society where we expect perfect security. The airports are one; presidential protection is another; maybe nuclear power plants are a third. They're -- and they're sui generis. But by and large, this is still a largely wide-open country that doesn't look -- seek perfect security in any way, and never will.

Second, I think this problem of counterterrorism is a serious problem. I've worked on it extensively in the last decade or so. But I think it's ultimately a manageable problem, and it's something that when professionals are properly organized and equipped with resources and legal authorities and show up at work serious about their jobs, this can be handled and the issue can recede from the top tier of American foreign policy and domestic politics. And frankly, I think that's desirable. This is certainly not the central organizing principle of American foreign policy. Ultimately I think it'd be ideal for it not even to be in the top tier, as long as professionals are showing up into the jobs with the tools and equipment and authorities and skills they need to do their job well, and then we can manage it and get on with the many other challenges that we face.

ROSE: I think that's a great note on which to end. I want to thank all of our panelists and I want to thank -- (applause, inaudible).

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

GIDEON ROSE: Ladies and gentlemen, one of the hallmarks of Council on Foreign Relations events that makes them somewhat more tolerable is that they begin on time and they end on time, so we are going to keep to that track record. I am delighted to welcome you to the second session of the CFR Symposium on 9/11: 10 Years Later. The title of this particular session is "Assessing the Threat: Is the United States Still Vulnerable?" Or, probably better, how vulnerable are we?

A couple of introductory remarks. Please turn off -- don't just put on vibrate or silent, but turn off your cell phones, BlackBerrys, blueberries, anything else you might have -- (inaudible) -- all wireless devices, to avoid interference with the sound system.

This meeting is on the record -- just want to remind everybody of that. And I'd also like to particularly thank Shelby Cullom and Katherine W. Davis for their generous support of this symposium.

We have a really great panel today. We have three people who combine serious expertise, serious experience and real brains, which is -- and sense, I should say -- all of which are unique qualities that are not necessarily widely distributed and certainly not necessarily linked together. Their full bios are in your packets that you have available to you, and I don't want to go through them in too much, but let me just take you through, of course.

We have John McLaughlin, who, after an extremely impressive, lengthy career at the CIA and in the intelligence community is now the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Nitze School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins. He was formerly the acting director of Central Intelligence.

Richard Falkenrath, who's the Shelby Collum and Katherine W. Davis Adjunct Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at CFR. Nice mouthful there. Richard has had a long career studying and acting on these issues and is the -- was the former deputy commissioner for counterterrorism at the New York City Police Department and was a very high muckety-muck in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush years.

And Juan Zarate, who is a senior national security analyst now for CBS News and a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic International Studies, who also has a long track record of dealing with these issues at the highest level of government. He was the former deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, and has worked on terrorist financing and a variety of other issues.

So it's really hard to think of another panel they could have put together that would've had significantly greater practical experience and intellectual substance to tackle these issues. So with that suck- uppy lead-in -- (laughter) -- let me now play my role as devil's advocate and put your feet to the fire.

Many people who had not paid attention to the terrorist threat were dramatically surprised by 9/11, because they'd never imagined such a thing. All of us had been involved with terrorism studies or terrorist assessments and we knew there was a possibility of something like this happening. Right after the attacks, people who had never thought one could happen were immediately convinced there were going to be many more.

My question to you, each of you: Why in the decade since has there not been another significant, catastrophic terrorism attack in the United States since then? John, let's go left to right here. Or, right side, right to left.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I would say first off your caveat, significant terrorist attack, is important. We haven't been successfully attacked. We've had a couple of near misses, but we have not had a major terrorist attack. We all know that. I would say the reasons are 90 percent hard work, aggressive work, and 10 percent luck. And let me break that down a little bit for you. Let's go to the hard-work part.

Most people don't realize that we were much better prepared after 9/11 to counterattack than was commonly understood. At the end of the Clinton administration, we actually had been asked to put together at CIA a plan to attack al-Qaida in a -- without respect to resource considerations; what would we need to do that? And we had that plan on the shelf. It was never implemented, but it was on the shelf. When 9/11 happened, it came off the shelf. And so by the 15th of September, at Camp David, we were able to put that on the table and it was basically the core document from which the counterattack was mounted.

Second, I think we haven't been attacked because there was, after 9/11, an inflow of resources and an inflow of authorities, if you will -- what we were permitted to do and not permitted to do was much clearer. And also there was great clarity of mission.

Before 9/11, I think I could make the case that there was, if you will, a climate of disbelief that this could ever happen. That climate did not exist in CIA; we were expecting a spectacular attack, but we failed to understand or to detect when and where it would happen. But that all went away; there was clarity of mission.

Third, I think we also in this period of time brought together with the military a kind of integration that had never happened before and which accelerated over the decade and saw its culmination in the bin Laden operation. So that fusion of intelligence and military power brought about kind of unprecedented precision of lethality, which has helped to disrupt that movement.

And finally, I think -- there are many, many things one could say, but finally I would say putting together a worldwide coalition was very important. You heard Phil Zelikow talk about the 2006 attempted airline attack that was -- well, I've talked to the British service about this. The Brits and the Americans worked together on it. This attack was well along; it was serious. Had it succeeded, it would have brought down 10 aircraft over the Atlantic. That would have been the equivalent of 9/11, but it was prevented -- largely because of this coalition, if you will, of intelligence services and governments working together very robustly after 9/11.

And the package bomb attempt that you've heard about, which was thwarted largely because of information provided by the Saudis. I'm not sure we would have gotten that information or even had the relationship to get it in the years before 9/11. That's the hard work part.

The luck part -- remember, we have had -- and I would not be as dismissive of these two attacks as, I think, Phil tended to be in his remarks. The underwear bomber -- had that plane gone down over Detroit, more than 200 people would have died and we would be having a different conversation. Yes, we need to be resilient as Americans and not go into a paroxysm of panic every time something happens, but I don't think we're there yet.

The Times Square bomber -- had that bomb gone off, there would have been shrapnel traveling at 14,000 feet per second through four or five blocks of New York City. The detonators didn't work. And in those two cases, nothing the U.S. government did prevented those attacks. We were lucky; the detonators didn't work.

So I think it's a combination of those things that account for the fact we haven't been attacked again successfully.

ROSE: OK. Juan.

JUAN ZARATE: You know, if I could just amplify, I think despite Phil's admonition that to try to answer this is folly, I think you can answer it in part. And just to build on John's good remarks, I think it has been a combination of extreme counterterrorism efforts, not just in the U.S., but abroad. I think we have to remember the number of plots, arrests and disruption that have happened since 9/11 -- in the dozens, often not spoken of.

Second, I think it's been luck, but certainly, I think you make your own luck. I think in the two failed attacks, you have to keep in mind that these were operatives who were less skilled, less trained, less supported by an infrastructure, were attempting to circumvent measures that have been put in place.

So even in the worst-case scenario -- for example, Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, where authorities weren't aware of him, weren't aware that he had been deployed by the Pakistan Taliban. He had been deployed undertrained, not well resourced, not well supported. You look at the underwear bomber. He'd had to circumvent the existing airport security measures -- as weak as they may be in a place like Nigeria or Yemen or elsewhere. So I think you make your own luck in some ways and we've made it harder for people to get goods, support structure and people in.

Finally, I think it's very important to keep in mind al-Qaida itself. I think al-Qaida has hamstrung itself in terms of its ability to hit the United States in a significant way and I think in two regards. First, I think bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and others were still wedded -- and I think perhaps to his dying days, bin Laden was still wedded to the notion of a spectacular attack. You look at the history and trajectory of al-Qaida, it was a history of escalatory violence toward the United States and the need to have politically, strategically significant attacks on the homeland.

Again, you have to keep in mind their strategy. Their strategy is to actually change U.S. policy, change U.S. opinion. So in the documents in Abbottabad, for example, you have bin Laden musing not only about an attacking on 9/11, but attacking economic targets that would have a ripple effect during the crisis that we're facing economically. And so al-Qaida itself has wanted bigger attacks, has not necessarily adapted as quickly to the notion of using small-scale attacks.

In addition, I don't think al-Qaida anticipated the ferocity of our response. And by "our," again to John's point, I mean as well the international response. They had sleeper cells around the world. They had sleeper cells and agents in the United States. Recall the case of al-Marri, who pled guilty about a year and a half ago.

He was sent forward by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be a post-9/11 sleeper cell agent to attack. Iyman Faris was here. There are others. There are people in Istanbul, people around the world who were prepositioned.

But I don't think al-Qaida anticipated not only that we would go into Afghanistan with such ferocity and displace their training camps and displace the Taliban regime, but that we would be able to drive an international coalition that would actually suck up, disrupt and dismantle the networks that they'd established. So they weren't prepared for that period.

And so I think all of that played to our benefit. So I think it was a matter of being good, being aggressive, being lucky -- making our own luck -- and al-Qaida's own shortcomings.

ROSE: Richard?

RICHARD FALKENRATH: Well, Gideon, I think the premise of your question was correct. We were shocked by the scale of destruction. I think al-Qaida was almost as shocked as we were. And they exceeded even their own expectations of the sort of damage they could cause.

I think there are -- I'd point to four factors why this happened again. One is -- as Juan and John indicated -- offensive action against core al-Qaida in -- originally in Afghanistan just made it impossible for them to operate with the same ease that they could prior to 9/11.

Two, border security. It's just a lot harder for them to get an operative into this country than it was pre-9/11. Three, our own domestic population -- for whatever combination of historic and cultural factors -- just not highly susceptible to terrorism, militancy and extremism. Not absent completely, but it's not like it is some other places in the world.

And four, in the conflicts that have played out in Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, Europe -- al-Qaida has shed a lot of Muslim blood too. In fact, far more Muslim blood than any other religion's blood. And that fact has rebounded against it and made it more difficult for them to exist in other places where previously they could exist more easily. The fact that they've been just as willing to kill Muslims as they have to kill Westerners has hurt them long term.

ROSE: You know, Yankees have just been going through a slump over the last few days -- it ended last night, thank God. (Laughter.) But when this happened and they hit pathetically, as they do, there's always this debate among the announcers: Is it because they're facing such spectacular pitching or because the hitters are just pathetic schmucks; they shouldn't have a job and so forth. And you know, before we break our arms patting ourselves on the back about our fantastic skill in pitching, I'm wondering -- I mean, I realize that the counterterrorism community and the national security officials and the intelligence and security areas are fantastic, wonderful, patriotic public servants.

It seems to me that my guess is that at least some of the people doing immigration -- at least some of the people doing the drug war -- are also pretty competent and dedicated. And there are probably a lot more of them. And yet, it seems we had millions and millions of immigrants who manage to come across the border illegally. It seems to me we have bales and bales of counterfeit drugs. It's like the old joke about how do you get a nuclear bomb into the United States? Smuggle it inside a bale of marijuana. (Laughter.)

Why -- is it really our ability to stop things that have been the problem or is it just that there aren't that many people out there trying to get in and attack us? If they -- why aren't they smart enough to know to go to Mexico first and then just walk across the border?

MCLAUGHLIN: Look, I think -- I'm from the school of thought that says we're still vulnerable. So by no means do I -- from what I said earlier, want to imply that we're out of the woods here.

I always ask myself: What don't we know? And here's an area where -- Phil and I disagree on a number of things, but one area where I agree with him is anyone who's really confident about this, don't believe them, because there are still things we don't know.

Just look at this movement -- whether you call it al-Qaida or whatever. There's at least three layers here. There's the central group, there are the affiliates and then there are the sort of lone wolf people we have to worry about. And in each of those areas, there are some unanswered questions that give us pause. Look at the central group. Yes, they've been hit hard; bin Laden's been killed. You don't want to be the number three guy in that organization. That's a very bad career choice. (Laughter.) But there are still important people on that bench that we can't account for. Saif al-Adel is one. Abdullah al-Masri is another. These are guys with explosives abilities, with WMD knowledge.

Don't underestimate Zawahiri.

Yeah, we all go around saying he's not the charismatic leader that bin Laden was. No one is making Zawahiri t-shirts. But he may be more disciplined. He may be more focused.

Bin Laden was a kind of ethereal figure in many ways. This guy is a street fighter with prison credits and affiliates like the most dangerous one, the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have pledged fidelity to him. They signed up. They said, we're not the leader, he is.

And, remember, Zawahiri is a guy who has always been interested in carrying out a WMD attack and also carrying out smaller attacks than bin Laden wanted to carry out. So don't write those guys off yet.

Then when you come to the affiliates, just take a look at the most dangerous one I mentioned. They do things on the cheap. They bragged in their magazine that it only cost them $4,200 to put together the package bomb operation, but how many millions are we spending to counter that?

This is, second, their strategy -- strategy of a thousand cuts. They have a very explicit strategy.

Third, they do things fast. They were the guys behind this underwear bomber, Abdulmutallab. They got him off the ground in a matter of weeks. This wasn't a long, complicated operation. And as I say, if the plane had blown up, we'd be having a different conversation.

And, finally, they're connected. They're connected to Al-Shabaab in Somalia and so forth. So the affiliates, these guys are serious. They're serious.

And then you have the whole lone wolf issue that we could talk about. And I think I should -- I don't want to go on too long. We could talk about that extensively, but if you just look at the trends over the last 10 years since 9/11, you can count at least 125 individuals in the United States who have been involved in some kind of terrorist attempt, imagination, whatever, an average of about six per year serious, and that average has sort of doubled in the last three or four years.

So there's an escalating tendency in our own country for people -- American citizens like Faisal Shahzad, to get involved in terrorism, inspired by all of this stuff that they read on the Internet and so forth.

So I'm not saying we're out of the woods here, which is not to say we should panic and -- you know, because another important point to think about is that as a country we need more resiliency than we have shown up until this moment in the face of terrorist threats and terrorist incidents.

So we need to be -- maybe take a chapter out of the Israeli book there and understand that the world doesn't come to an end when one of these things happens. But that's where I think we are.

ROSE: Juan or Richard, do you think that the number of potential attackers has been underestimated -- overestimated?

ZARATE: I think so. I think what has happened over time is that their level of capability, their numbers, their ability to recruit particularly in the U.S. has been affected.

But I think John raises a very important point, which is though their level of capability to attack at the high end of the scale, to do another 9/11-style attack may be degraded, what they have done, and what you've seen in particular with the affiliates is an adaptation, an adaptation that's not just based on taking opportunities that are available but also seeing what can be effective.

What is amazing about what strategic innovations are coming out of Yemen -- and I think very dangerous -- is the fact that they're reading the political and social tea leaves very well in the United States, and they saw how aggressively -- how emotionally, how politically we responded to the failed attacks.

And so, as John said, they have thought very clearly about a strategy -- they called it Operation Hemmorhage -- to force the United States -- to bait and bleed and bankrupt the United States in a way that is quite aggressive.

And so, in a sense, the capabilities for that don't need to be extremely high. What you need to do in that context is to remain, from an al-Qaida perspective, very focused on continuing to get around security measures, continuing to attack, continuing to force the United States to expend, and that is a core part of the strategy.

The other thing that they've done very well -- and they've read just as much as we have all of the very good reports that all the think tanks put out -- is the uptick in Americans who have been drawn to the ideology. They've seen it clearly -- obviously -- in the highest of the ranks -- Anwar Awlaki the best example of them -- but they know that the ideology has some purchase, even though it's less popular, even though al-Qaida has less political weight than it once had in the Arab world.

There's something resonating in Western populations, or in subcommunities, and they're trying to draw on that. And so that's why you've seen the new Inspire magazine. That's why you've seen what I call sort of the casting-the-net-widely approach to try to get people to attack where they are as opposed to fighting in the hinterlands in Chechnya or Yemen or Somalia, fight and attack your fellow citizens.

And so, in some ways we have to adapt our sense of the threat taxonomy.

You still have to worry about the high-end attacks. You still have to build defenses against potential WMD, potential flash-point attacks that are strategically relevant. But you have to then contend with the smaller-scale attack.

And, as John said, you have to, as a society and, I think, a polity, be prepared for how you respond and make sure that you do not overreact, that you're not baited and bled into overreacting in a way that actually benefits the enemy.

ROSE: Richard, do you really think that we're -- are we facing the -- you know, the threat that we have been told we're facing, or is it less than --

FALKENRATH: Well, we've been told a lot of different things. I'm not sure what conventional wisdom to react to.

The interesting thing about this problem, though, is the extent to which the assessment of the threat can vary with the actions of literally a handful of young men. So one to four, 20 or something men can pull off a plot that results in casualties and vividly portrayed on the media, and our assessment of the problem can shift radically as a result of that.

So our assessments are extremely sensitive to very, very small events in the grand scheme of things. So I tend to not pay a whole lot of attention, frankly, to, you know, gross counts of how many potential radicals there are. We're dealing with the extreme tail of the distribution; you know, five, six standard deviations from the norm, as the part of the spectrum that we actually have to worry about in counterterrorism.

ROSE: OK, let's actually now take it from there, which is, to the extent that that is the case, are the best measures to deal with that tiny little stretch at the far end of the tail, are they ones that necessarily involve leveraging the math of ordinary citizens and ordinary lives?

One guy tried to light his shoe on fire and billons of man-hours are lost in the successive decade because everyone is taking their shoe off at airports. Another guy tried to light his underwear on fire, and I'm surprised we still are allowed to go on with our underwear on. (Laughter.)

Is that really the best -- whereas anybody could get on a private plane and do whatever they want and probably could fly it into something if they wanted to, or put it in a container and so forth. Are the measures -- are the best ways to stop that tiny handful of people by making everybody else's life incredibly inconvenient?

ZARATE: If you wanted to describe this as a public health problem, which your question suggests you should, then clearly no. I mean, no way does that aggregation of lost hours justify the potential expected loss. But it's not public health, right? It's something different.

It's a geopolitical threat to our sovereignty and our sense of who we are in the world that's caused by deliberate action on the part of a few people who hate us. And the bureaucratic response to it is not done by, you know, Harvard sociologists weighing pros and cons and expected values versus expected losses.

The fact is, is that when you are in a position of responsibility in the counterterrorism apparatus -- say, running airport security -- and John McLaughlin walks in and says, guess what, they just figured out how to put a bomb in their shoe that's big enough to bring down a pressurized airframe at altitude that our current metal detectors can't detect -- over to you, pal; figure it out. And you're like, well, thanks a lot, John, for telling me this. Now I have to go figure out something else to do.

So what do I do? Everyone takes your shoes off, put them through the thing, because that's how decisions get made in security bureaucracies. And the same thing happened after Abdulmutallab.

There's a bomb-maker in Yemen, or maybe he's in Saudi Arabia, who knows how to make a non-metallic bomb that is -- you know, can be molded in various anatomical ways that are not obvious, right, that is big enough to bring -- it was almost used to assassinate the Saudi minister of interior. And the exact same bomb, same bomb-maker, same ingredients were used by a Nigerian flying to Detroit; almost brought that thing down.

And now the guys, the poor guys who run TSA, one of the most thankless jobs in the world, have to figure out how to deal with this latest little innovation. And if they had the luxury of doing an expected value calculation, they could probably say, OK, I'm not going to worry about this one. But they don't. They have this assessment right there. And the assessors are really good at describing it, so they have to respond.

MCLAUGHLIN: You know, another way to ask your question, Gideon, might be, how will we know when this is over? And I don't -- it can't be over yet. And I think the reason is there's a pattern in what Richard was just talking about. And the pattern is they figure out our vulnerability and then they operate on it.

So they figure out that you can't bring box cutters through and metal things through the detector anymore, so they go to liquid. We figure out the plot in 2006, that you can bring in liquids and make a bomb on a plane in the men's room or whatever. So now they can't bring in liquids. That's harder.

So then they go to things like, you know, C-3 explosives in your underwear, which, until we had these new detectors -- and even they aren't completely reliable, I think, in picking that up -- now they know we're looking for that. So then they go to package bombs because they know it's hard to get into the passenger compartment, but we're not as good at what goes into the cargo hold. So you go -- you know, you take the next step. OK, now we're on to that, and what's the latest thing you've heard? Bombs implanted surgically. That's weird, but they're serious about that. That's a serious report. That is not a fantasy. So they've gone to that.

So it kind of takes you to the -- and I think if we were to relax our standards on aircraft, we'd had aircraft going down all over the world because that's still their weapon of choice, if they can get to it.

And you come to this question of, well, when is it over, when does it end? That's the one that I don't think any of us know. I mean, my way of thinking about it is a little bit analogous to the way we think about communism, which is, it's over. There are still a few communists in the world but no one believes anymore. That's gone. It's over. It's a nuisance, although one could worry a lot about what the North Koreans could do with, you know, their weapons and so forth. But fundamentally the communist threat as a communist threat is gone.

And we're not yet at the point where the terrorist threat has become the nuisance or the insignificant thing that no one believes in any more, that one could say about communism.

ZARATE: if I can just riff off that point, because I think ideally where you'd want to be -- and you hear, for example, John Pistole, the head of TSA, talking in these terms, and you hear Secretary Napolitano speaking more and more about resilience, is counterterrorism is risk management, to Rich's earlier point. That assumes, though, you can adjust the risk calculus.

You know, the predominant risk calculus post-9/11, built on the notion of prevention at all costs, never again in the homeland, provides a maximalist framework. And to draw that back -- and this is something Phil was talking about earlier -- to draw that back, to reframe that risk calculus has social and political cost.

So certainly I think an ideal screening, airport screening program has more intelligence built into it if you have it available, more targeted in terms of who gets extra scrutiny, et cetera. It affects who you decide to let go from Guantanamo, are they going to return to the battlefield or not, how risky is it. It affects, you know, everything about the counterterrorism framework and approach.

The trick, though, is, how do you move that rheostat? How do you affect that risk calculus, especially in a post-10-year anniversary environment where you've killed bin Laden, you've weakened the al- Qaida core, you've done just about everything possible to create these layers of defense. What does that readjusted risk calculus look like? And I think we have to ask ourselves that, and I think we have to allow a little bit of political space for that discussion to happen.

I think it's just very risky politically. You can't imagine -- I would never have when I was at the White House, and I can't imagine anyone at the White House now would advise the president to be talking in these terms or even acting in those terms to change policies to affect it. But at a certain point you have to have, as I said, a threat taxonomy and risk that's attached to it.

But to John's point, when the enemy, or even scraps of the enemy are continuously trying to affect your economy, your sense of safety, I don't know when that rheostat happens.

FALKENRATH: Gideon, to something John said -- see, in this country people tend to think about this problem this way, but I think we should recognize that we are sort of unique this way. I mean, most other countries in the world don't think about the terrorism problem the way we do and are perfectly happy to make the, you know -- if they could choose not to have to comply with U.S.-led airport screening regulations, they probably wouldn't, and in fact many do not.

Now, there's a lot of other parts of the world that their government apparatus and their people are just far more relaxed about this and willing to treat it more like one of many, many risks they face and they just have to sort of live with.

MCLAUGHLIN: But to adjust that risk calculus, one of the prerequisites would be a much closer consultative relationship between the executive branch and the congressional branch than we have today, and that's -- that's part of what you were talking about --

ZARATE: And a much less risk averse environment in government, which -- (inaudible, background noise) -- penalized if there's ever any kind of --

MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly.

ZARATE: And a willingness on the part of Congress to actually take some responsibility for what happens, right? You look at the votes for the Patriot Act, for the authorization for use of military force, post-9/11, these were resounding majorities, and yet people tend to run away when responsibility has to be laid somewhere.

ROSE: Richard, a dozen years ago you wrote a book, or more than a dozen years ago, a book on WMD terrorism, and I wanted to ask you. Afterwards when you got interested in terrorism, you said, I don't really care about terrorism. I care about the WMD aspect because that's -- only with that could it really get huge and powerful and important, and I'm a security guy, not a terrorism guy.

FALKENRATH: Gideon, I was 27 years old when I said that. I mean, you do dumb things when you're -- (laughter).

ROSE: No, no, no. But I'm -- on serious point. I shouldn't put it that way. Back then we thought of terrorism as a relatively small thing, as relatively limited kind of threat, and we thought of major national security threats as the big gig. And so WMD terrorism represented the nexus of those two things together, and that was of course the nexus that Iraq represented supposedly to the administration.

What we've been talking about now has not been WMD terrorism. It's been old-fashioned hijacking or an old-fashioned bomb, or the combination of the two. The question of WMD terrorism, I'd like to put that back on the menu. Do you think that we are more or less -- what is the risk level of WMD terrorism, not just a C-4, you know, in your crotch, something like that, not just a plane going down, but something truly catastrophic. How is that risk now compared with what it was, let's say, before 9/11?

FALKENRATH: A complicated question. It obviously hasn't been eliminated. It's still there. Much of what we do to counter ordinary terrorism is also useful for countering the most high-end conceivable terrorism, weapons of mass destruction terrorism. They're not exclusive in any way. There's a few specialized things that you do that help.

And so I think, you know, al-Qaida had an anthrax program pre- 9/11. It continued a little while after 9/11, actually two anthrax programs. It's conceivable that that, if it had advanced a little further, they'd have been as successful with that program as they were at training pilots in U.S. flight schools, that we would be now in a complete counterbioterrorism world, if that is what had happened. And that day still may come. I mean, this is -- the fundamental aspect about these technologies is they permit mass destruction when someone crafty enough and capable wants to use them that way. So that threat will never go away.

The means of accessing those weapons is rising, meaning it's getting easier and easier to do this over time, and that is a trend which I believe is essentially inexorable, so it will continue. And so we have to remain vigilant and counter these threats whenever they crop up. But we live with this risk, along with a bunch of others.

You know, in the '90s there was a small group of people who paid any attention to terrorism, a few academic experts and then a few folks like John McLaughlin and Richard Clarke in the executive branch who were focused in on it, but it was by no means a top-tier issue, in truth, for the United States, for the U.S. government, as it became later.

Weapons of mass destruction were, but we had odd areas of focus. And so in the '90s there was this enormous focus on the acquisition of ballistic missiles by Iran or North Korea or whomever, as a potential delivery vehicle for weapons of mass destruction. And back when I wrote that book in the late '90s, I was actually reacting more to the debate about proliferation and what seemed to me an odd preoccupation with ballistic missiles as a means of delivery as opposed to sticking it in the cargo container or anywhere else, not some deep insight about al-Qaida or terrorists, that's what they might do. It was more like a response to what we were arguing about in Washington in 1996.

ROSE: (Inaudible) -- see the WMD terrorist threat now.

ZARATE: Let me just make a quick point about it is important when we look back to 9/11 to remember that, you know, part of the reason it was such a deep and resonant tragedy for us, and made it different in kind from the European experience, was the magnitude. And then in understanding response, the counterterrorism framework put in place, and then other policies and the Iraq war, et cetera, it was the context of the concern about the WMD intersection with terrorism.

If this cataclysmic attack as it had been growing over time should be taken to its maximalist form, it had WMD context. At the same time, you had the anthrax threat, you had A.Q. Khan being revealed as a major proliferator, not only to nation-states but potentially nonstate actors. And so it was in that context, then, that you had the counterterrorism framework, the prevention framework emerge as the predominant national security paradigm. So I think that has to be kept in mind in terms of the response.

I think -- you know, one of the dangers we have moving forward, especially if we grow too al-Qaida-focused or too al-Qaida-centric, is you lose the potential threads that are happening beyond that network, so to speak. For example, we know that Lashkar-e-Taiba has had interest in nuclear capabilities. They are closely tied with the Pakistani establishment. We know that a flash point of an attack of any sort -- any magnitude between India and Pakistan always runs the risk of escalation and war. And so -- and potentially nuclear war. So that becomes incredibly important.

If you look at the proliferation of biolabs and the ability of even two or three, you know, well-schooled bio-scientists and experts to create pathogens with mass effect -- you know, again, have contagion coming out here in theaters -- to do that on a broad scale doesn't necessarily require an al-Qaida, it just requires some motivated, dedicated individuals with enough resources.

And so I think one of the dangers moving forward is that we start to lose the potential for these more dramatic threats emerging from places that we're not looking and that may be outside the al-Qaida framework.

MCLAUGHLIN: I'll just add a couple of small thoughts to that. It's a tough question. It's -- if you ask any major political figure or counterterrorism figure today, what's your biggest worry, you just almost automatically get the response: the conjunction between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. But we can't visualize this yet, just like people couldn't visualize a major terrorist attack, really, until 9/11 happened, or in cyber, we haven't had a cyber Pearl Harbor yet, so it's all kind of theoretical. It sounds scary, but we haven't seen it.

And so that makes it a little hard to think about the question, Gideon, except that -- so many years in intelligence, I worry about everything. You know, Bob Gates used to say that the definition of an intelligence officer is someone who, if they smell flowers, they start looking for a coffin. (Laughter.) So I have to fight that tendency all the time.

But having now yielded to it, let me say -- (laughter) -- you know, there's about 2,300 tons of highly enriched material in the world -- uranium and reprocessed plutonium. It's scattered among at least 40 countries. We know it leaks out. The IAEA can document at least 15 cases that I know of.

In 2003 and 2006, we, the intelligence community working with foreign assistance, picked up amounts of highly enriched uranium coming over the Georgia border about the size of a deck of cards, I would say. It takes something about the size -- what would fill a typical water pitcher to actually make a bomb, and something that would fill -- of plutonium, a glass about that size, I think, to make a bomb.

That's the long pole in the tent in getting to a nuclear capability, is the material. And that's what we know. So, again, as an intelligence officer you're always saying, well, what don't we know? Those are the things we've detected. And might we be surprised someday? It would come as a terrible surprise that they could do this.

I can tell you all the reasons why it's hard to make a nuclear weapon, and there are articles now -- scholarly articles -- being written on why terrorists can't do this. And certainly for an implosion device it would be extraordinarily difficult. For a simple gun device, I'm not sure, with proper help, or could you use that material in a dirty bomb? Yeah, you could.

So, you know, I don't want to be the "nightmare scenario" person here, but I think a serious answer to the question has to be it's still worth worrying about. And as a policy matter it's -- I very much support what the president is seeking to do, and I think what his predecessor sought to do as well, but particularly Obama has sought to -- through his nuclear initiatives -- to document, locate and have policies intended to help secure all of this material that's in the world out there, because not all of it is -- some of it's secured well, some of it's secured by a night watchman.

It all has to be transported. When you transport something, that's when you can steal it. So that's my --

ROSE: That's very cheery, John.

MCLAUGHLIN: I can tell a joke now, if you'd like. (Laughter.)

ROSE: I guess at least we can be confident that they're not going to get the water pitcher on the plane.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. (Laughs.)

ROSE: So at this point we have to turn it over to our wonderful members and guests who are going to jump in with their own views and thoughts and questions. I want to invite members and guests to join the conversation now. Please wait for the microphone and speak directly into it; stand, state your name and affiliation, and limit yourself to one concise question. We'll get as many as possible.

Yes, over here first.

QUESTIONER: Hi, I'm Roger Haviv (sp). I am an ordinary citizen.

John, being part of the policy that is shaping counterterrorism into the future, I would like to -- I would like to draw a parallel between what has happened the past 15 or 17 years or so with what is happening today as far as our national security is concerned and terrorism and counterterrorism. The 9/11 attack was a climax of a series of events that took place, as we all know, starting -- not to go back into history any further, back in 1982 when 200 and some odd change Marines were massacred in Beirut. And I would like to pay a tribute here to those souls that went to defend freedom in that part of the world.

Other more serious or less serious events took place, including not to -- not to forget the bombing that took place at the World Trade Center, at the foundation of the World Trade Center, and then followed up by --

ROSE: And the question --

(Cross talk.)

QUESTIONER: There is a socioeconomic event that is taking place and has been taking place and is reaching a climax again, and yet we -- for some reason or another, we defy reason by ignoring it, and that socioeconomic opportunity that has been developing and has been a fertile ground for terrorists, both organizations and otherwise, is what we are calling to be a "spring" -- the millions and millions of people that have demanded political and socioeconomic changes in that part --

ROSE: The Arab Spring. OK. But we need to keep moving --

QUESTIONER: -- (inaudible) -- we are doing with that as far as policy to mitigate the risk, knowing that it is not as sexy or as measurable as, you know, airplanes and --

ROSE: Does the Arab Spring generate or spur or combat terrorism? What are -- what is the relationship between the Arab Spring and the terrorist threat?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the conventional view is that the Arab Spring demonstrates the bankruptcy of al-Qaida's appeal, because al- Qaida has encouraged people to overthrow by violence and by attacking, whereas in the Arab Spring they overthrew by showing up in the street and demanding things that we would all call universal values -- liberty, freedom, so forth. So in a way, it demonstrates the bankruptcy of al-Qaida's appeal, many, many people say. And articles are being written making that point.

The caveat that has to be put in that is something Henry Kissinger said, which is -- I'll quote two people, Henry Kissinger who said: This is act one of an act three play -- OK -- and my friend Bruce Riedel in Washington who said: These people are now where France was in 1789 -- the point being this is the opening move. And given the aspirations and given the depth of societal problems in a place like Egypt -- I have a lot of friends in Egypt, where you've got -- well, I don't have to go through all the data for you, but you have very high unemployment. If you put in all the underemployment and the fact that they don't measure female employment, it's probably 50 percent. It's high. So the potential for disappointment and disenchantment at some point in this process is very great. And that's where al-Qaida could find opportunities to exploit. And already the group that Juan and I have talked about, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is already in its Inspire magazine writing articles about how they're preparing for that day.

So bottom line is, this doesn't look good for al-Qaida now. There might be opportunities for them in the future, I think.

ROSE: Juan --

MCLAUGHLIN: It's the biggest subject of our time, so one could go on and on about it, but --

ZARATE: I think that's absolutely right. I wrote a piece on this called "The Battle for Reform with Al-Qaeda."

MCLAUGHLIN (?): OK.

ZARATE: It came out this summer in the Washington Quarterly -- little plug, sorry --

MCLAUGHLIN (?): Yeah.

ZARATE: -- but exactly that -- I think the question of when does disillusionment, chaos, frustration actually benefit al-Qaida at a time when al-Qaida has actually been marginalized, but is this potentially a strategic moment for them?

The one thing I would say is, from a counterterrorism perspective, I think this is the most important period that we've seen since 9/11, in part because you have the death of bin Laden, which is strategically relevant, has the ability to create fractures and fissures within the movement that have been under the surface but that bin Laden has sat atop. So his removal is not just a symbolic act. It actually affects the cohesiveness of the global Sunni jihadist cause.

Secondly, you have the Arab Spring erupting, with the ideology of al-Qaida playing no apparent part, and with the potential for democrats and dissidents to actually take an upper hand in a way that marginalizes this ideology and the notion of reform by violence or by jihad, which is really at the core of what al-Qaida's talking about, including -- Ayman al-Zawahri has put at least seven statements about what the Arab Spring means to al-Qaida and how the Western puppeteers will no doubt not allow real reform to happen. So they're already setting the stage, from a narrative perspective, to take advantage of the disillusionment.

But I think this is a key strategic moment for the United States where we have to continue to hit them with all of the aggressive kinetics, continue to defend, but also hit ideologically and support the democrats and dissidents in ways that doesn't taint them inadvertently.

ROSE: Down here in the front. Which -- either of you. (Let's -- both of you ?) down here in the front.

QUESTIONER: Yeah. My name is Roland Paul. There's one form of terrorist technique that you haven't addressed, and I wondered how you would, let's say, quantify it, and that's the MANPAD(S) technique, meaning the shoulder arm -- shoulder-mounted attack on a(n) aircraft.

ZARATE: I'd say -- OK, you take that, because, you know, you hear all the -- we used to do, back in the '90s, all these terrorism things, and you'd have every kind of technique mentioned that somebody could think of, and you'd think, that can't happen, and you realize, oh, my god, it can happen, you know --

FALKENRATH: Well, this was --

ZARATE: This doesn't seem to happen --

FALKENRATH: -- his was attempted against an Israeli airliner in the Horn of Africa, and is another case where John and his, you know, intelligence colleagues would come over and have these assessments of how many shoulder-fired infrared heat-seeking missiles have been lost from wherever and, you know, where the grip stocks are, are their batteries still charged and whatever.

We would actually -- I remember doing a briefing for Bush on this, and at some point you get inured to these threat scenarios that come up, and yes, I -- you could construct a really bad MANPADS scenario where you take down a civilian airliner or two or you cause the spontaneous self-grounding.

If of civilian in an area where you think the MANPADS are on the loose -- there are reports coming out of Libya that they've lost a bunch more too. And you know, chances are eventually, you know, someone will take down an aircraft like this and there's -- from a(n) immediate defensive system, all the defensive techniques on civilian aircraft -- totally impractical. We -- that's -- at least it was studied eight years ago when I was still in federal government.

MR. : Studied again.

MR. : Studied again.

MR. : (Absolutely ?).

FALKENRATH: So totally impractical. There is no option there. And when an aircraft takes off and it's flying, it is a great, big hot signature, and if your heat-seeking missile can lock in and hone on it, you will likely bring it down. And that's one risk among many that we face.

ZARATE: But wait a second. Now --

MCLAUGHLIN: One other thing I could add -- just would say that there's some consolidation in the face that, as Rich indicated, our government has spent a lot of time thinking about this and focusing on it. I don't know that everyone came up with great solutions, but I think we've sensitized airports around the world to the issue.

And the problem is, you could design an aircraft with equipment that would -- as a military aircraft, would deflect that attack. It's too expensive. Just can't do it. Just cannot be done.

FALKENRATH: And it -- they don't like putting them on the aircraft, because they are often active heat-countering devices. I mean, they generate heat themselves, in many cases, which can interfere with the operation of the aircraft.

But this study, John, that you referred to -- I remember when we were doing this in federal government --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.

FALKENRATH: -- then at the NYPD I was on the other end of it, and it was silly. They -- I remember briefing this and then -- and now seeing on the other side of it, it is like someone did a study of JFK airport, of all the places you're most likely to stand to shoot down the aircraft that's taking off --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

FALKENRATH: -- and why don't you guys go send a patrol car around there every so often -- a little more often?

Right? And -- (laughter) -- OK. Is it really -- affecting the risk that our aircraft are facing, if someone has a MANPAD? I don't think so.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there's two -- there's two things that counterterror specialists wonder about; and this is in the category of, as Phil was indicating earlier, things that no one can know: Why haven't they done this? They tried it, as Rich indicated. Why haven't they done it successfully? It may simply be that they're not that good at it, that they aren't -- who knows. We don't know why they haven't tried this more successfully.

And the second one is: Why haven't they made more progress with biological weapons? Because all of the barriers to culture, acquisition, delivery techniques and weaponization are basically down, with advances in biology that are commonly available these days to a technician, not to say a Ph.D.

So those are two sort of puzzles that I don't think anyone has the market cornered on answers.

ZARATE: Well, wait -- thank you, Roland (sp), for that question, because it's a -- this is a -- you could multiply that question by a dozen, because there are at least a dozen ways you could commit terrible acts of sabotage or heinous terrorism --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.

ZARATE: -- that you could sit there and say, you know what? That's plausible; yeah, that's possible; no, we can't really defend against it, but we choose not to obsess about it, or whatever. And figuring it -- that's why this whole question that I got into before about what -- if you don't use a cost-benefit analysis in gauging the response, how do you decide which campaign? Well, let's get more. But that's a -- you know, it's really easy -- everybody here could be as blase as Richard was about the heat-seeking, you know, shoulder- fired missiles, about a variety of other things, but we choose not to be blase about some.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, terrorists calculate what your response is going to be. I mean, they -- this is one reason why I think they called off -- I believe -- some earlier attacks they were planning in the United States -- we know that from some reporting -- because they thought it was too small, that it wouldn't -- they -- this was back years ago. And their thought was: Look, you attack the United States, they're going to come at you big-time. This -- we don't want to draw that kind of response with a small attack.

But this MANPAD thing kind of fits the model of hitting us where it hurts economically, because it would induce a fair amount of panic and it would probably oblige us to spend a lot of money. So I hope they're not listening now -- (laughter) -- because it's one of those things we could all have a theory about why they haven't done it, but thankfully, they haven't.

ZARATE: And just one final about -- we did not not address this in some way.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

ZARATE: You know, there were all sorts of things that were done to talk about risk mitigation around airports. There's all sorts of things -- buy-back programs, destroying a lot of MANPAD stockpiles.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, yeah.

ZARATE: We had a dedicated envoy for just this issue, to travel around the world and meet with officials to get them to agree to hand over MANPADS. So there was a whole effort. That said, you know --

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's a very important point, though, that Juan is making, that people have not been complacent or dismissive about this.

ROSE: I'm not sure I can see a MANPAD, (but I certainly like saying "MANPAD" ?). (Laughter.)

Over here, in front. Lots of jokes come from that. (Laughs.)

QUESTIONER: Anne Nelson, Columbia University. We've been talking about this pretty much in the American context, but targets have included Britain, Spain, Africa. Do we have any sense of relative shifts in targets in their evaluation?

ROSE: Juan?

ZARATE: Well, I think you've consistently seen Europe being a target for al-Qaida -- both from al-Qaida core. For example, think back to just last winter, when we were worried about a Mumbai-style attack in Europe -- quite worried about it; and by the way, a threat that hasn't been fully dismissed yet -- coming from al-Qaida core; combined with the fact that you have groups like al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, in North Africa, that in some ways has as its far enemy left the United States, and more the French and more Southern Europe as part of their modus operandi.

And so Europe in particular remains in the mythology of al-Qaida or al-Qaida affiliates a very rich target base, combined with something Rich alluded to earlier: the notion that you have ready recruits in a more radicalized environment; and especially, you talk about the British populations that have been exposed to the ideology since the '90s at a grassroots level. You know, there's more opportunity in places like Europe, and certainly we continue to see attacks around the world.

I think it bears mentioning, just this week you had arrests in Germany, arrests in Sweden, related to potential al-Qaida-related plots; consistently, arrests in Turkey, which never go well reported -- arrests around the world that demonstrate that there still is activity that you need to worry about.

Again, I think it can be viewed as manageable, but I think you have to keep in mind that this is really an international effort and continues in many ways abroad just as much as it does here.

ROSE: And one of the things you see with the al-Qaida franchises outside of sort of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the ones in the Horn of Africa or Maghreb, Arabian Peninsula is often a debate internally about whether they should be attacking, as Juan says, the far enemy or concentrating with local grievances. And one of the really interesting things about the Abdulmutallab plot was that was the time when a franchise, in Yemen in this case, decided to reach -- sort of project its threat abroad, into the continental United States in that case.

The best case study of this was actually in Saudi Arabia in 2003, 2004 where there was a real vicious debate among the al-Qaida cell in Saudi Arabia about whether they should sort of be patient and stage from there against Europe and the United States or attack the horrible Saudi regime. And it finally -- this is a gross oversimplification -- the local affiliate, the franchise in Saudi Arabia said: Forget you guys who want to attack the foreign enemy; we're going after the royal family. Fateful error on their part because once they did that, the royal family got serious and decimated them quite quickly, whereas before they were more or less willing to tolerate their existence. That says interesting things about the Saudi royal family as well, which we won't get into right now.

Yes, over here.

QUESTIONER: Hi, Bob Lifson (sp). On the cost-benefit issue, it's not sexy to talk about it, but one of the huge costs in this process has been the cost of banks on the Bank Secrecy Act and the cost of monitoring the movement of money around the world, though I don't think people appreciate the enormous cost on banks and the burden on small banks particularly from -- for that. In fact, I would -- I would just add parenthetically that it might be that the FDIC agents who were so involved in that were not focused on what they should have been focused on in terms of the banks at the time in derivatives and the like. And so I would ask you all whether, in your experience, that's been valuable or warranted and whether the cost-benefit analysis would call for more of the same.

ROSE: Juan, I'm going to direct that one to you since you're the guy who put all those nasty, costly regulations into effect.

ZARATE: Yeah. (Chuckles.)

QUESTIONER: By the way, Juan, Philip said -- yeah, you are the guy who knows the answers.

ZARATE: Yeah. (Chuckles.) Not sure if I know the answer, but I'll try to answer.

I think the government, especially the folks at Treasury who broadened and deepened the Bank Secrecy Act -- Title III of the Patriot Act is basically an expansion of the anti-money-laundering system: Know your customer, new segments of the financial sector now subject to the same types of regulations that banks were in the '80s and '90s for the drug trafficking, et cetera -- enormous cost on the -- on the private sector, in particular, as you said, smaller businesses, money-service businesses like the Western Unions and even smaller organizations. So I think there's -- this is an area where you always need to be calibrating.

That said, the system actually has worked quite well. If you look at not just folks like me who work in the system, but, you know, objective views of whether or not we've actually done a good job of protecting the financial system and disrupting terrorist financing, it's actually been enormously effective. And frankly, it's been enormously effective most of all because of the enlistment of the private sector. The fact that the private sector has been viewed as a partner in the effort has been incredibly important.

This is now translated, by the way, to how we apply financial pressure to rogue regimes, Iran and North Korea. Part of the reason these things are biting -- not to say they will ultimately be successful, but part of the reason they're biting is that the private sector has taken it upon themselves to determine that they're not going to do business with people they don't like or don't -- can't account for or otherwise are engaged in bad business practices. So in a sense, the system has shifted. It's put a burden on the private sector, but it's been enormously successful.

The reporting requirements, by the way, are enormous on the private sector. And one of the sort of distortions that has been created, unfortunately, is sort of an incentive for the banks simply to report everything and let the -- let the government figure it out. That's a system that always has to be tweaked because that is a problem. But those reports turn out to be valuable not just for terrorism but for other -- (inaudible).

FALKENRATH: And that's the key point. It's valuable for lots of things.

ZARATE: Right.

FALKENRATH: For terrorism alone, the countering terrorism finance work I think is well past the point of diminishing marginal returns to investment. So there -- it's not worthless by any means -- quite useful -- but the marginal investment there gets you less and less because these plots are pretty cheap. The one -- the area in contrast -- and I've been a broken record on this for eight years -- where you have increasing returns to investment is countering terrorist travel, where you target the travel documents and the passenger screening systems and the manifests and that sort of thing, where there's still a ton more to do and is much, frankly, more lightly regulated than the global financial system.

ZARATE: Just one quick point. Rich's point about the cost of these attacks: Part of the reason you engage in this, from a strategic standpoint, is not just to prevent the attack. You want to do that; you don't want money to flow into an operative's hands, clearly. But the real reason you do this is to cut the budget of these organizations, to hurt their bottom line so that they're less able to have global reach. Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah -- these group have budgets. They have line items. They have to spend on recruits, on widows and orphans within their organization, infrastructure. What you want to do is force them to make strategic choices about what they're spending money on. You want to cut their money so that they're not able to develop a WMD program; instead, they have to worry about paying the widow of one of their fighters.

So I think that's important to keep in mind when we think back over the last 10 years, that we've used this tool to actually strategically impact al-Qaida's ability to operate globally.

ROSE: You don't usually get a chance to get a bomb maker in your discussion, so let's go to Richard Garwin. (Laughter.) A real terrorist.

QUESTIONER: Dick Garwin, IBM fellow emeritus. Sometimes an agenda actually interferes with effective counterterrorism. So I'd like to pick up Richard Falkenrath's emphasis on the ballistic missile acquisition by foreign countries in the 1990s.

I was a member of the Rumsfeld Commission in 1998 on the ballistic missile threat to the United States. And we did get into our report, but we didn't emphasize, that any of these countries we were talking about who might in five years acquire long-range ballistic missiles -- any of them already had hundreds or thousands of short-range ballistic missiles or cruise missiles that from ships either of their flag or other flags could threaten U.S. cities with all of these agents of mass destruction by firing from a few hundred kilometers of the shore. Sure, they wouldn't get Omaha, but there are a lot of cities on the West Coast and the East Coast.

But I do believe that the reason there was this emphasis was because of the ballistic missile defense lobby, which ignored the existing short-range threat in favor of the long-range threat -- which we couldn't counter -- in favor of building something that would be effective against China or maybe Russia -- (chuckles) -- even though our government has always denied that was the purpose. So I think that interferes with effective defense, with effective counterterrorism as well.

Another example is that the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in the early days said: We have this threat; ballistic missiles could deliver nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons. Then it was shown that the right way to deliver biological weapons with long-range missiles -- with multiple -- hundreds of little bomblets. And now you don't hear from BMD that they can eliminate the biological threat from ICBMs, because they can't. They're being honest, but they're not being candid.

ROSE: Well, this is a good point. There is -- there are some who would argue -- and sometimes I think this myself, although I wouldn't cop to it today -- that there's a bit of threat inflation going on from a domestic lobby, either political or the industrial or so forth, that hikes the terror threat or suggests that we respond to it in extremely hyped-up ways. Do you guys see -- not that any of you would be involved in that, obviously -- but do you see any pressure in the discussion of these issues from groups with issues other than purely security concerns at stake?

MCLAUGHLIN: I don't.

FALKENRATH: I don't really. I suppose you could find some contractor somewhere who, you know, advocates a point of view for the motives you suggest. But by and large, I don't think that's a big factor in counterterrorism.

It really comes down -- I mean, I -- to me, it always was just after 9/11, the motivation was: This can't happen again, end of story. And so you did whatever you had to do to prevent it from happening again. And now we're at a time when the calculus is murkier, for some of the reasons we've discussed here. I don't see anyone advocating pumping up the counterterrorist budget for questionable purposes.

ROSE: But you see that --

FALKENRATH: Maybe on the homeland security side it's --

ZARATE (?): You see it in the media, in the popular media some. And certainly, there are some people who do it who are -- who are as -- (they're cleared in the truth ?) about it and talking about it. It's not like -- I think the only time that it's really been directly politicized was probably the 2002 midterm elections, when it is -- really was a big issue in those elections.

Today, between the parties, there is substantial consensus on how to deal with this problem. And you look at some of the harshest things that certainly the Bush administration was doing on counterterrorism in the second term: The Obama administration has continued every one of them, and in fact, in certain areas, intensified it.

So the use of drones in Pakistan; that not only has it continued, it's up. The targeting of terrorists by name; not only has it continued, Americans are now on the list.

Anwar Awlaki. I mean, think about it. A constitutional law professor of the Democratic Party adds a U.S. American to a list of people who can be targeted by name. All right?

Electronic surveillance. The FISA Modernization Act of 2007 essentially ended the debate over that one. Military tribunals. The congressional actions, again, of 2007, 2008, basically confirmed this is the law of the and, and now President Obama, despite an early effort by the attorney general to end the Guantanamo process, has embraced it and is proceeding with that process.

So when you get to the nuts and bolts of counterterrorism, there's substantial consensus these days.

MCLAUGHLIN: Although something Rich said leads me to say, are -- maybe to take your question a slightly different way -- are we really responsible in our public discourage about counterterrorism? Probably not entirely. In other words, there is a certain hysteria that comes into it versus the kind of clinical discussion that you really want to have about it.

But I think we're becoming sensitive to that. I see signs of that.

ZARATE: Just very quickly, I think there's also sloppiness as to how we talk.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

ZARATE: You know, we equate a "Jihad Jane" threat with a Najibullah Zazi New York subway threat.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that's what I --

ZARATE: They're not the same. So I think that's right. I think we're getting more sophisticated.

The one area where I would say you see the private sector reacting to the government is this notion that the government is in a zero-tolerance mode. And so to Rich's earlier point about particular incidents that then drive a reaction from the government, you see the private sector then react to that impetus. but I don't see it being driven by the private sector. I see the private sector reacting to that political calculus, profiting from it, no doubt, but also then trying to help the government deal with what it's trying to deal with.

ROSE: We have time for just one more, in the back there.

QUESTIONER: This will be a good ending question. I just wonder are we both maximalizing and minimalizing the threats; minimalizing in that terrorism's just a tool that non-state actors use to achieve whatever ends. And if we're focusing entirely on the radical Islam element of it that's most familiar, you know, we'll never protect against the Norway or the Terry McVeigh or any of the others. So are we even attempting to think of it in terms of a threat that is one that any non-state actor anywhere in the world, including at home, will use?

And then maximalizing it on the -- is there any possibility, from any of your views, that the will o' wisp of perfect security -- and Gideon will remember this from -- you know, Joe Nye used to say the only perfect security exists in a maximum security prison and the grave, and we don't want to live in either place.

So is there any sense that that maximalist agenda of perfect security or "never again" is or will be shifted, particularly in light of the first part of what I asked, which is, this is a ubiquitous reality, not a Muslim or a group of non-state actors confined to a certain religious and geographic part of the world?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's kind of what I meant --

ROSE: And your final remarks. Bundle them in.

MCLAUGHLIN: It's kind of what I meant when I said a big question is when is this over, when does it end. And I think your question has part of the answer, which is, terrorism as a phenomenon will probably never end, just like crime will never end. We stamp it out, we get it to a manageable level, but there will always be some level of -- it will be a tool that someone, for some aggrieved purpose, will always use. So that's that.

Then in terms of perfect security, no, we're never going to have that. Not in my lifetime have we had it. I can't imagine that we will.

Again, if you want an intelligence officer to fantasize about future threats, I'm happy to do that, because, you know, we're in the midst of a technological revolution now that is unprecedented in world history. And I could go into some details on that, but fundamentally the question to ask about that is, if ill-intentioned minds have been able to do things with the technology we've had up till now, what might they able to do with the things that are coming about through miniaturization of circuitry, robotics and all of the unimaginable technological advances we're going to have in the future? But at some point we'll have computing power that you've got now in your cell phone in something the size of a dime, and Lord knows where that will lead if you have an ill intention to use it. So.

I don't think I have any concluding remarks, other than to say that I think this has been a pretty good discussion. And I would end by just saying there's a lot we don't know. You know, as an intelligence officer, I'm always schooled to ask, what do I know, what don't I know, what do I think?

I think today I've tried to tell you kind of what I know and what I think, but there's a lot we don't know about this phenomenon yet. And we have a tendency to fall into -- all of us, the media and people in the government and people like myself who speak publicly, we have a tendency to fall into a higher level of certainty in our talking points, if you will, than I think the case merits.

So I think we all need to kind of keep our eyes open. And maybe the most important thing right now is something the Homeland Security Department is actually stressing, which is, trite as it may sound, this idea of "See Something, Say Something" is really important, really important, when you think that's how we detected the bomb in Times Square. And if one of the big threats coming onstream is the potential for, if you will, one-off terrorism, the "Lone Ranger" terrorism, that kind of thing, not to turn us all into informants -- this isn't East Germany -- but you understand my point. It's very important for people, I think, to keep their eyes open and to be aware and to say something if they have suspicions.

ROSE: Juan?

ZARATE: I think it's absolutely necessary for any society, but in particular our society, to consistently evaluate our sense of the risk: how we manage it, what that risk calculus is -- again, as we said earlier, I just think politically very difficult to do in the context of what we can imagine the future may bring in terms of what al-Qaida or other terrorist groups may try to perpetrate. So I think, you know, that's a very difficult task, but one that we have to be conscious of all the time and try to (rheostat ?).

I think one of the things we need to do is, you know, have a sense of what is, you know, a fundamental threat to our national security -- what is existential, in many ways.

One thing we haven't talked too much about here is this notion of Americans who are being radicalized. And the one thing I wanted to point out is I think we cross the Rubicon the moment we have an American citizen commit a suicide attack of significance in the homeland -- which we've never had. We've had American suicide attacks in Somalia, from the American Somali community. And we've certainly seen that evolution in the British context -- British citizens, obviously, with the 7/7 attack. We have not yet dealt with that as a country.

And I think one of the things I stress when I talk about these issues is that we need to be very careful about how we as a society deal with each other, so that al-Qaida in its various permutations, or other groups, don't succeed in strategically renting our society, to the extent that Muslim Americans, for example, feel targeted, feel to be other, and that becomes a persistent sense of identity other than the identity of being an American citizen first and foremost. That to me is a strategic victory for al-Qaida, at the end of the day.

Recall that bin Laden on 9/11 wanted to create a Muslim awakening, where he wanted people to question their identity; for them to be Muslim, violently, and to the exclusion of others, in the first instance, to -- in the opposition of others. And so we can't allow our society to do that. And so, you know, I put that in the same ring of threats as WMD terror. We can't allow ourselves to fall prey to a renting of society.

The final thing I would say to the -- to the minimis point -- and this will sound as an apologist view, but it's more a philosophical view -- post 9/11, I took not only the war on terror to be a framework to allow legally, bureaucratically, politically, internationally, a more aggressive approach to what we were doing, but it was also a philosophical statement about the unacceptable nature of terrorism in the 21st century. Given the ability of a small group of actors to have cataclysmic geopolitical impact with terror, which we've seen in the past with the anarchists and others, but with the ability and the potential for WMD terror, what the administration -- I think what the U.S. government was trying to drive was a sense that terror should go by the way of slavery and piracy, and should no longer be viewed as a legitimate form of political expression or a means of national liberation.

If there's going to be attacks against civilians, cataclysmic attacks, as we saw on 9/11, that should be marked as unacceptable, it should be fought, it should be ideologically rent from all of those things that are acceptable in international societies. So that's one thing that I think is often lost in the debate about the terminology of the war on terror, and something we need to keep in mind.

ROSE: Richard, last word.

FALKENRATH: The maxim was perfect security point: I think there are really only a handful of sectors in American society where we expect perfect security. The airports are one; presidential protection is another; maybe nuclear power plants are a third. They're -- and they're sui generis. But by and large, this is still a largely wide-open country that doesn't look -- seek perfect security in any way, and never will.

Second, I think this problem of counterterrorism is a serious problem. I've worked on it extensively in the last decade or so. But I think it's ultimately a manageable problem, and it's something that when professionals are properly organized and equipped with resources and legal authorities and show up at work serious about their jobs, this can be handled and the issue can recede from the top tier of American foreign policy and domestic politics. And frankly, I think that's desirable. This is certainly not the central organizing principle of American foreign policy. Ultimately I think it'd be ideal for it not even to be in the top tier, as long as professionals are showing up into the jobs with the tools and equipment and authorities and skills they need to do their job well, and then we can manage it and get on with the many other challenges that we face.

ROSE: I think that's a great note on which to end. I want to thank all of our panelists and I want to thank -- (applause, inaudible).

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.

THOM SHANKER: Good afternoon, and welcome to the third and final session of the Council on Foreign Relations symposium on "9/11: Ten Years Later." This session will be teleconferenced, so will -- there will be a number of members and guests joining us virtually and electronically.

My name is Thom Shanker. I'm Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times. And in addition to thanking the counsel for hosting us, I wanted to point out there's a number of council materials on the back table exploring all of these exciting issues. They are there for free. If you want to stimulate the American economy, also out there is a book called "Counterstrike" by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker -- (laughter) -- Eric's my colleague here as well -- which explores the past 10 years of American counterterrorism strategy.

The title of our session this afternoon is: "Counterterrorism and Homeland Security: Does the United States Have the Right Strategy?"

But before we start, a couple of the usual housekeeping matters. Please turn off your cellphones and BlackBerries and all electronic devices not just to the silence mode but off because the signal interferes with the technology here. I'd also like to note for our panel and for the audience, both here and those joining us via teleconference, this session will be on the record.

The schedule will be we'll have a discussion from here, then I will welcome questions from members and guests here and electronically. And I've embedded often with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I've learned the most dangerous place a reporter can stand is between an audience and cocktails. So we will -- we will end promptly at 5 p.m.

All of the biographies of our guests are available here, but I'd like to just briefly introduce them, and also note that even if Standard & Poors downgrades the rating of the United States, the counsel's ability to achieve an absolute blue chip AAA panel is once again sustained this afternoon, as it has been throughout the day.

Our speakers are Fran Townsend, currently senior vice president, Worldwide Government, Legal and Business Affairs, with MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Incorporated. And she of course is former assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

We have Henry Crumpton, chairman and chief executive officer, Crumpton Group LLC. He is former coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State, has also held significant positions in other government agencies.

And John Lehman: currently chairman, J.F. Lehman & Company, a former U.S. secretary of the Navy. Thank you all for joining us.

Fran, I'd like to start with you, if I could. If the goal of our discussion this afternoon is assessing whether America has the strategy right, I think the best way to approach that is through a case study, and that would be this past weekend. Prior to Wednesday, there was really no specific or credible intelligence about a threat on the 10th anniversary. Suddenly on Wednesday, radars go hot, things pop up, the nation responds accordingly.

Use those examples, which I'm sure affected everybody in this room in their transportation around town here in Washington to -- use that as a (case aid ?) to assess. Do we have the strategy right and the underlying pillars of our counterterrorism work?

FRANCES TOWNSEND: Sure. I mean, let me start by what I think was right about what we saw. Ten years ago, would we have had the intelligence to have cued us? It's hard to -- it's hard to know -- you know, when I was in government, I didn't do hypotheticals -- but likely not.

And so, I mean, I think our human intelligence, our signals intelligence, our bilateral relationships with foreign services, that whole mix in the prevent category, are bigger, better, stronger and more effective.

And so the fact that, you know, 48 to 72 hours before a very significant national day, we could get that intelligence, and then that we had the capacity to turn quickly on that intelligence all speaks well, and I think we ought to be proud of that.

Second, you say, OK, once you get it, what do you do with and how do you handle it? Nine -- eight, nine years ago, we would have been going to orange and red, and we would have had duct on the windows, probably, right? We're not there anymore. I mean, I helped -- I co-chaired with Bill Webster, a former CIA and FBI director, a panel for the current secretary about how do you speak to the American people. We can argue about whether or not the words were exactly right, but they could say it was specific and credible but unconfirmed.

Now here is the problem with -- I would take issue -- I think what we learned in this last go-around was the order of the words was bad, right? In retrospect, I wouldn't say: Specific and credible, but unconfirmed.

I would say: We have unconfirmed intelligence. It is specific and credible, and we're running it down, because what happened was, when -- it was so funny, because they were very frustrated inside the administration. Once they said "specific and credible," everybody stopped listening.

And so I think we learned, right? People do. And -- but it was -- the fact that we could say that was good. People have asked me: Should they or shouldn't they gone public? Because of -- there's a couple of things going public achieves. One, you get the help of the American people, if they have something of value. Two, it's brushback pitch to the bad guys: We know you're out there, we're looking, and we're on alert. This would be a bad time to try it.

And in the end, I think that they handled it, in terms of the communications, about as well as you might expect.

Now all that said, we didn't have an event. So of course you then have to say to yourself: Well, was the intelligence not good? How costly?

I will tell you absolutely, because of reimbursements the federal government gives when they put out these alerts to state and locals, tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars were spent on countermeasures this weekend, and nothing happened. That's almost inevitable, because if -- of course if they hadn't reacted and something had happened, if they hadn't made it public, they would have been criticized.

But there is -- let me just talk now, for just a second, about what I see as the downside. We know from al-Qaida's statements when bin Laden was alive, we know it from Zawahri's statements, part of the objective of al-Qaida's core is to bleed us economically. It's not only to kill Americans, but it's to bleed us economically. And when you look at the cost of this and you realize that even intelligence that may turn out not to be valid or, in the case of a failed attack, the cargo planes, where you're literally shutting down all cargo movement for a couple of days -- what they learn is, they don't even have to be successful to have a impact. They can fail and have an impact. They can fail and have a propaganda victory when they see every boxcar -- box truck coming across the GW Bridge being stopped.

And so, look, we've gotten better. Our capability is better. Our ability to react is better. And we will continue to learn, I think, and get better at this as we move forward.

SHANKER: Hank, I'm just curious for your thoughts as you look back on the past 10 years. You've been in positions where you've overseen the implementation of hard power and soft power, intelligence and diplomacy as well.

At the strategic level, do we have that mix about right today? And where do you see places where the messiness of our government and the barriers between departments are still a detriment to our counterterrorism strategy?

HENRY CRUMPTON: I think we've made great progress on the hard-power side. We're more calibrated. We're more integrated, particularly if you look at the intelligence and the military bringing the sensors and shooters together. The best example, of course, was the bin Laden raid, and enormous progress, I think, in the last 10 years in that regard. We can -- we can find and fix and engage the enemy far better than we ever have. And I think that will continue. So on operational level, on the hard-power side, I think we're doing really well. It's not perfect, but it's certainly very good.

If you look at the nonhard power, the nonkinetic side of how we project power, particularly into these expeditionary environments where the enemy has safe havens, places like Yemen, the Maghreb, parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, I think we've done a very poor job there. And part of that is how we're organized in our national security community. The military, the CIA can project power into these areas, but we're not doing so well on the soft-power side. And you say that can trend into nation building and -- it's more about empowering the locals so they are able to engage and to provide an opportunity -- economic opportunity, some degree of hope and some degree of security.

The late speaker of the House Tip O'Neill talked about all politics being local. Well, so is counterterrorism. And I think a critical part -- the first part is the projection of force when and where needed. But you need to follow that up to secure the victory. And Afghanistan is an example. We failed to do that after the initial '01, '02 success. The president talked about the Marshall Plan, the international community said a lot of nice things, but basically nothing was done. And right now if you look at Yemen or other places, we can find and fix the enemy -- at what cost -- but the bigger question is, well, how do you secure that victory for the long term?

SHANKER: (Inaudible.)

And John, I'd like for you join the discussion. I know it's a topic of great interest to you, which is sort of the infrastructure from barriers to bandwidth. The 9/11 commission made a lot of recommendations that simply have not been implemented. And I was just curious -- your assessment, you know, as you look at those parts of our nation that need to be strengthened and need to recover after an attack, whether the investment is in the right place, whether we have that piece right?

JOHN LEHMAN: Well, I think that a lot has been accomplished. It is more than a half-full glass. More of our recommendations in spirit and specifics have been enacted and implemented than those that have not, but there are still some glaring problems that need to be addressed. And you mentioned the waveband. The Block D issues are so obvious. And I mean, to have still today all the first responders confined to a tiny narrow band of bandwidth while there's a huge swath going unused because lobbyists in Washington want to keep it for future availability -- that's ridiculous. And there are -- there are troubling things also from -- I mean, I think most of us on the commission were not believers that you can fix things by moving organization charts around.

It -- we are safer today, and I agree with what Fran said about being much safer and much more effective. And I think that's because we've seen a surge of really first-class people into the government in -- particularly in the intelligence community, at State Department, military. And good people can make a huge difference no matter how unwieldy the bureaucracy that they go into is.

Nevertheless, I don't think we've done anything to improve the obstacle course that our bloated bureaucracy was so obviously in preventing effective action before 9/11. It's only gotten worse. It's gotten bigger. We recommended a DNI be established with a small staff with real power over budgets and personnel. Instead, the Bush administration turned this on its head and created a big bureaucracy with essentially a DNI with no power except hortatory and whatever the personality involved is.

And so the bureaucracy has grown bigger. It's harder and harder for good people to do things without breaking procedure and getting hotline calls made on them. Good people still do really good things. And -- but we have not improved the huge bloat in our bureaucracy that makes it so un-agile, except in extraordinary cases where extraordinary people do great things.

SHANKER: Well, on the specific case of the office of Director of National Intelligence, what is to be done? Should it be eliminated? Can somebody go in there and just start, you know, mowing the grass across the top and eliminating positions?

LEHMAN: Well, I think that it should either be abolished or given the power that we called for. I think we have the worst of both worlds now. We have yet another layer, another set of people that have to be on distribution lists, another group of people with at least the power to call people together in meetings, which just adds more (treacle ?) and more friction to what needs to be done.

A DNI given the power to really have the final say on budgets, where the allocation of money in the intelligence community should go, and the power to move people -- to bring people in from the outside, to promote people to see that the right kind of -- the right personalities are put into the 15 different slots to have a major say -- he doesn't have to - he or she doesn't have to have the final say, but they have to have real power, especially to veto top appointments in the intelligence community. If the president's not going to do this, then the job should be abolished, because it's yet another layer in the many-layered cake that has slowed down and interfered with the proper flow of intelligence.

SHANKER: We began this talking about infrastructure and its resilience. There's another kind of resilience that's become a popular topic to discuss lately; that's the resilience of the national psyche.

Before 9/11, the White House prepared some talking points for the anniversary that for the first time at the presidential level talked about how this nation needs to be resilient. A lot of senior leaders have been very reluctant to use that phrase, because if you unpack what resiliency means, it's a statement that we're going to get hit again. And in a polarized political environment, especially a Democrat couldn't say that, and even Republicans who predict that weakness would get in trouble.

So talk about -- any of you three -- what should our senior leaders be communicating to the American people. There's so much talk about strategic communications to the Muslim community in outreach and to adversaries and allies, but not as much about how our senior leaders 10 years after the attacks should be talking to the American people about what they need to do.

Fran, what do you think?

TOWNSEND: Well, look, I actually -- I do buy into the notion of resilience. But here's the problem. There's a difference -- it depends on who's saying it and who the audience is. Even -- the American people's a big audience, right? And so I think it's a difficult thing for the president of the United States to appear -- even if it's not his intention -- to appear as though he is resigned to the idea that we're going to get attacked again. Let's put aside the facts -- right? -- because we live in a kind of "gotcha" environment.

On the other hand, he's got an assistant to the president for counterterrorism, he's got a national security staff. I mean, I think -- you know, let's take -- you took this weekend as an example. Let's just talk about that for a second, because if you lay alongside the tragedy of 9/11 the notion, even if it had been successful, of three morons in a car with fertilizer, it says to me we've been incredibly successful over the course of 10 years. Could they have killed people? Yes. Could they have brought down the memorial or the -- no.

And so, look, not only are we stronger; they're weaker. But even a weak moron may have a good day. And so we need to have that conversation. Frankly, I think when you talk about what should the conversation with the American people be, it ought to include -- and I was an advocate during the Bush administration, I continue to be an advocate -- we need to have a public conversation about the balance between security and privacy and civil liberties, because if we don't have that conversation, what happens is those that we elect and those that they then appoint make that judgment to the best of their ability -- you know, I'm assuming good faith on everyone's part -- and you may not like the way they make those trades.

And so if you want to influence them, members of Congress, members of the administration need to engage the American people in that conversation, as opposed to what we do -- I won't say "we" -- what happens in Washington, which is the political "gotcha" game, which is not terribly helpful to advancing the substance, which is the president has not appointed the PCLOB, the president's Privacy and Civil Liberties Board. OK, he hasn't. Yes, he should. But even having that board is not the end-all-be-all to the answer. What you need is, if you care about the issue, is to engage the public in that conversation.

SHANKER: Right.

Hank, what is your sense of that? If terrorism is one of the primary threats to American national security, isn't it the job of the commander in chief to be forthright with the American people and say we're going to get hit again, deal with it?

CRUMPTON: Yes, and I think, sadly, we will. And it is about communication. It's about education. It's about leadership. And there have been some poor examples of that. And probably the most egregious is when the White House under the previous administration convinced the American public that Iraq had something to do with 9/11. This is about the American people, and they not only need to know, they are often the answer.

Yesterday 10 years ago, the only effective counterattack against those al-Qaida operatives was a group of American citizens, the passengers on United 93. It was the only effective counterattack that day 10 years ago. They collected intelligence on their cell phones from friends and family on the ground. They analyzed it. They knew what was going on. They knew what was going to happen. They organized and they responded.

And if you, again, look at John's point about how do you have a more resilient society, it's not about having a Washington-centric response, which has been primarily how we've reacted to 9/11, not only the DNI but the National Counterterrorism Center, you know, other examples, Department of Homeland Security -- is very Washington-centric, yet if you have more of a field bias, more of a network approach, it's not only more effective, but your society is more resilient. But that's also about communication, education and leadership.

SHANKER: As you look to the coming budget fight, where do you think the priorities, John, should be in counterterrorism spending? As you reflect back on the past 10 years, how much should the taxpayers have trusted, you know, Congress and the executive branch to spend their money, and was there a lot of painful waste?

LEHMAN: Well, sure, there was huge painful waste. Where the priorities should be is first, just as in the Defense Department, you have allowed the bureaucracy to grow to such a huge size and expense that that's the first place to look for cuts. You could save 40 billion (dollars) a year in the defense budget just by going back in size for the support bureaucracy to the pre-Iraq levels, and similarly in the intelligence community. We're now spending twice as much on the intelligence community as we were in -- when the 9/11 commission reported.

SHANKER: Aren't they twice as good? (Chuckles.)

LEHMAN: No. (Laughter.) The -- you'll note of the 41 recommendations, not one even hinted at spending more money. We didn't see that the intelligence community was short of money. It was just going all to the wrong places, driven mainly by Congress, you know. And we decried and railed against the fact that Homeland Security had to report to 88 different committees. Now it's up to 106. I mean, you know, in ancient days -- in days of iron men and wooden ships when I was SECNAV -- I reported to four committees, two in each house. And you could make coherent policy and compromise and deals, and the deals would stick.

Now it's just chaos in Homeland Security. I mean, there's -- every subcommittee chairman needs to get his constituency, whatever industry or special interest it is, a piece of the pie. And poor Homeland Security and its 22 agencies are just driven crazy trying to do anything in a coherent sense.

So the first thing would be, in my judgment, we have to cut budgets. We've allowed bloat, which soaks up so much. You know, we -- in the Pentagon we have to budget $484,000 for every MILPERS -- that is every active duty person per year -- to fund the huge expense of entitlements and so forth for that. It's a little less but not a whole lot less for civilian employees. And we've grown from 50 by law in 1947 to 750,000, while the fleet is now a quarter the size it was in 1947; the Army is about a quarter the size; the Air Force is half the size it was at the height of the Reagan years and is costing twice as much. So, you know, the intelligence community is all part of that phenomenon.

SHANKER: Fran, if you were a supercommitee of one, what would you do?

TOWNSEND: Let me -- I'd like to address -- I -- there is plenty of bloat that needs to come out. I agree with that. But I'd like to talk for a second at a little bit of peril, because my colleague and John McLaughlin is sitting in the front -- (inaudible) -- knows this even -- the numbers better than I.

I will tell you, in a post-9/11 world, I mean, so I'm going to make the case for the place I would not take it from is human intelligence. In a post-9/11 world, what we understood was how important it was to get inside our enemies' intentions, right? Because if you can understand their intentions, you can begin to then focus the rest of your capability to defeat them before they're like in the car driving it to the target.

And so -- and to -- that capability had atrophied seriously after the end of the Cold War and the peace -- the elusive peace dividend. After 9/11, you want to torque that back up. And we say, in the Bush administration, we're going to double the size of our human intelligence collection capability, to which they say: K, well, you give us the money and come to us back in, like, five years if you're lucky. And by the way, we can't -- we can't do all you want to do that quickly.

I mean, this is -- when you're making cuts, you have to understand the consequences of the cuts. It's not some -- this is not a light switch. When you turn off certain capabilities, you can't turn them back on when you need them. And so having lived through the absolute agony of seeing a capability that we had given away, given up and then have to rebuild it to get to the place where we are, if you think human intelligence collection is expensive, look at the cost of a 9/11. I'm just going to tell you, I am a ferocious advocate. That's a -- that's a piece -- you can cut technical programs. You can cut fat out of a bureaucracy. The place not to cut is from -- (inaudible).

LEHMAN: I totally agree. And the -- when we made our recommendations, human made up 2 percent of the $40 billion intelligence, and so that's being used all around Congress as why we had to double the entire 40 billion (dollars) to 80 billion (dollars), which is what it is today, so we could increase the 2 percent. Certainly human -- we should not be cutting human; in fact, we should not be making across-the-board cuts. What's got to be done is to go in and say, there should no longer be this function and that function and that bureau and that office. And you've got to do it intelligently rather than with a meat axe.

But human -- you know, the way the bureaucracy in Washington does human, compared to, say, the NYPD, is a perfect case study. The NYPD is, I think, the most efficient human organization that I've had any exposure to in the world. I think they make Mossad look like amateurs. (Laughter.) And that's because they don't -- you know, to try to clear somebody to recruit a human in CIA today, with all the regulations and congressional oversight, the only place they can go is to get corn-fed Aryans in Kansas that have never been out of the country, because trying to clear a kid who is -- who may have been born in Persia and traveled back and forth three or four times, it just takes too long, and so recruiters say, well, we'll keep your name on file. So there's a lot that needs to be done. But throwing money at it is not the way to do it.

SHANKER: Right.

Hank, one of the criticisms when the U.S. government shifted its attention from Afghanistan to prepare for war with Iraq was that a lot of important intelligence assets and special operations forces pivoted along with that. In this tight budget environment, are there opportunities, as forces pull out of Iraq by the end of this year and draw down in Afghanistan, to put capabilities against other problems, other safe havens you discussed earlier, and if you were to tick off the one, two or three priorities that you would use -- any, you know, freshly rediscovered intelligence assets -- where would you put them?

CRUMPTON: First let me address the earlier question, because it extends into that part of it. The value of HUMINT is not only about finding the enemy and stopping the threat. It's about mapping the human terrain so policymakers know which instruments of statecraft to select and employ, whether it's kinetic or non-kinetic, or some mixture.

And it's also about finding your best allies or potential allies. So when we think of HUMINT or intelligence more broadly, it's not just about the enemy, the threat; it's about all the variables out there that policymakers or war fighters or diplomats or law enforcement officers have to think about. That's part of the challenge.

To answer your question, if you look at the array of threats -- and we've focused on al-Qaida for obvious reasons, and their affiliates -- but there are many others related to this human terrain. Cybersecurity -- and it's not just technical. In fact, if you look at some of the most effective human operations, it's linked into cyberoperations. There's a very close direct blend. That would be near the top of the list, you know, given cyberspace and how it's growing and how it's reaching into these otherwise remote expeditionary environments, places like Somalia, places like Yemen.

The other piece I would focus on is building alliances among these nonstate actors in these areas of safe haven. Afghanistan in '01 -- which alliance was more effective, NATO or those local Afghani militia the CIA had on its payroll? I think that's going to hold true for the future, because, as I noted earlier, counterterrorism is local. So counterterrorism, building local alliances in terms of human assets, to understand how to build those alliances.

And a third area I would stress, of course, is going to be related to the WMD, which the panel earlier spoke about, a biochemical or nuclear/radiological threat, and particularly bio -- I don't know how you're going to find it without a human source. If you've got two smart guys in a kitchen with the right amount of material, you've got a problem.

SHANKER: Before I invite the members and guests to offer questions, I have one last for each of you. After bin Laden was killed, the scenes on Times Square were reminiscent of the end of World War II: Sailors were kissing nurses. People chanting at the White House. There was a sense that -- call it the war on terror -- was over, but we'd all agree that there won't be a wall coming down, there won't be an armistice signed aboard a battleship.

So for each of you, starting with John, tell me how this is going to end.

LEHMAN: Well, I know -- I don't -- it's -- I think it's going to be hard for historians to find a date where it ends. Again, back to the point of resilience we talked about earlier: I think the American people -- not so much in the leaderships and elites, but the American people have, I think, settled to a very good place in their attitude towards it. They put up with whatever they have to put up with at airports. They put up with roadblocks here in my neighborhood in Tribeca. They put up with a lot. They don't feel panicked. They know it's going to be a long pull. It's already been 10 years.

And so I don't think we're going to see an end to it. I think that it's -- it is going to gradually peter out. There will be new groups that come up, because Islamist extremism is a continuing phenomenon.

But I think that this is -- that we've achieved quite a bit over the last 10 years. And yes, the federal government's been part of it in -- particularly in what they've done militarily, but the American people themselves -- and the locals -- I mean, I keep returning to what's been done here in New York City. I mean, this -- New York City is a poster child for what local action can achieve when given, you know, clear direction and communication from the federal government.

So I'm fairly optimistic.

SHANKER: Fran, tell me how this ends.

TOWNSEND: Yeah, I tend to agree. I mean, this is -- it's an evolutionary process. And so I don't think it ends so much as what you hope you can do -- look, terrorism was around before 9/11. We had Hezbollah, the bombing on the Beirut barracks. You had -- and then you had al-Qaida in the '90s. So I don't think that there's a date that we're going to have on our calendar and know it ended.

What you hope it looks like is we have defeated, discouraged those targeting Americans to kill us, in the first instance here at home, in the second instance around the world, because they fear our reaction to it. And if you can get to that place, the fact that there will continue to be Islamic extremists who espouse hate, who hate us and disagree with our freedoms and our ideas is irritating, but it's not threatening. And so that's -- my vision is, you get to a point where they stop trying to kill us because we -- you've discouraged and defeated them.

SHANKER: Right.

Hank?

CRUMPTON: I think al-Qaida will be defeated at some point. I think their affiliates also will be defeated or diminished into irrelevance. But what is not going to happen is having a V-E Day. We won't necessarily know when it happens.

More broadly and more deeply, I think al-Qaida represents a fundamental shift in the nature of warfare. Terrorism has been around since the beginning of human conflict, and that's not going to go away. But what makes it different, I think, is the environment. The asymmetry of power has fundamentally shifted now where the targets, from a terrorist perspective -- they're more dense. I mean, for the first time in human history, more people live in urban areas than not. The migration is to these cities. These densities are becoming more complex; therefore less resilient, not more. They're juicy targets for a terrorist. But moreover, the weapons are becoming more powerful. We talked about WMD and others. So on both sides, the asymmetry is growing. That trend is not only growing, it's accelerating.

The second part is the role of nonstate actors. It wasn't very long ago, when we thought about threats and the enemy, we thought of -- in terms of nation-states. Now, more often than not, we're thinking of nonstate actors as threats -- and not necessarily just al-Qaida, but what's going on in cyberspace, what's going on south of our border with these proto-narco insurgents, many examples of nonstate actors that are populating this landscape.

And the third issue, too, is that it really is a global battlefield, and not just at a strategic level, but at an operational, even a tactical level. And we've never seen that in the history of human conflict, where a small cell can plot and plan on one side of the world and then execute on the other in days, hours, or if we're talking cyberspace, seconds.

And I see these variables emerging, converging, and it's changing the way we think about war -- more like managing disease. You'll eradicate one disease, but it may mutate, and you'll have other threats; which is even more reason to have outreach and education of the American public, and not just the American public, but the global community, because it is a global battlefield now.

SHANKER: Lots to think about. Thank you.

It's a pleasure now to invite members and guests to join the discussion. Please wait for the microphone, stand and state your name and affiliation, and please limit yourself to a concise question so we can get as many as possible.

Yes, sir, on the aisle here.

QUESTIONER: Thank you for this lovely panel. I agree with everything you've said. However, I wanted --

SHANKER: That was on the record, right? (Laughter.)

QUESTIONER: (Chuckles.) We are on the record.

My question is more a geopolitical one, so I want you to put on State Department, White House, Defense caps. There were talks about reducing our troop presence in Afghanistan to 3,000. They're talking about leaving Iraq. I wonder how you all see this in terms of either allowing -- and keep in mind we've got Pakistan, too, but -- that's not where the troops are, but it's important that that be part of the equation. How do you feel about this reduction, and how do you think that might just affect our security?

SHANKER: Who wants first crack at that? John?

LEHMAN: Well -- (chuckles) -- I think the sooner we are able to get down to a very low-visibility advisory presence, the better.

We talked -- the first question was about: Do we have the right strategy? I think we do, as long as it doesn't include in the future nation building and counterinsurgency as a fundamental building block. I don't -- (chuckles) -- I don't think that is the right strategy. I think that the pace of withdrawal needs to be really set by the on-scene commanders.

We can't be pulling rugs. But to be -- trying to continue to pretend that we can create a democracy in Afghanistan I think is delusional, and that we should have another set of parameters for how we continue to deal with preventing Afghanistan from becoming a base of attack against the United States. And Iraq similarly. I think that, again, we should be guided by the on-scene commanders as how quickly we do it, but we should not maintain a force there that can -- that will appear to be an occupation force. And the sooner we get to that point the better.

TOWNSEND: Look, I tend to agree. I mean, it has to be conditions-based. I don't agree with setting -- it goes back to the Washington-centric comment. I don't think anybody in Washington is in any position, whoever they are, from the president to his staff, to be picking numbers out of thin air. I mean, I do think it's got to be conditions based.

And while I understand the concern about nation building and COIN strategies, what I would say to you, the most important piece to what you do when you have troops there is capability building, right? In the end what you want is a strong, capable military and law enforcement capability in these countries so that they can protect their own people and patrol their own borders. And then they're accountable for being able to do that and preventing it from becoming a safe haven. And so I think the key here is capability building as opposed to nation building.

SHANKER: Yes, in the third row here.

QUESTIONER: I'm Dan Sharp with the Eisenhower Foundation and also Resilience LLC, which leads me to ask you a question about resilience. I was struck by your saying that the government has been hesitant to talk about resilience because it implies that we're anticipating a terrorist attack. But resilience also is how we respond to Katrina, to tsunamis, to all kinds of violent weather. And if you don't think the most serious threat to the United States is not (sic) in the public-health area, go see "Contagion," which the CFR helped very much to produce. It's a terrific movie about the worst thing that could possibly happen. What about the economic collapse?

So if you're talking about national resilience, isn't the way to talk about anti-terrorism within national resilience -- is to say there are a lot of black swans out there that are going to hit us, sudden shocks; overall national resilience requires being prepared for a wide range of them, including terrorism. And therefore, you don't have to say that -- you don't have to avoid the subject, which is critical, simply because you don't want to acknowledge the likelihood of a terrorist attack.

SHANKER: Comments?

LEHMAN: I would certainly agree with that. I think that resilience has been demonstrated. I mean, you know, my building was evacuated -- there wasn't a murmur -- because of the hurricane. American people adapt. They woke up in 9/11, and I think they're much more mature than the government itself in how they're going to deal with crises. Everybody I know has done their own planning of where they're going to meet their kids, and they're not depending on Uncle Sam to tell us where to meet the kids and how to communicate. So I think that, again, it's -- we've really grown a lot in maturity over this last 10 years.

SHANKER: Is part of that the language to describe terrorism? Understandable in the hours after 9/11, the horror and the shock, but from the White House on down, al-Qaida was described as an existential threat to America, on a par with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. That's no longer the perspective today. Did that set our nation on a series of wrong strategies, until there was the self-correcting resilience that you're talking about?

LEHMAN: As we say in New York, you talking to me? (Laughter.)

SHANKER: I'm talking to all three of you, actually.

LEHMAN: Yes, I think -- I think it was not clear to anybody just how widespread the threat was, how many cells there were and what their capabilities were. And there were a lot of fears that they were getting access to nuclear weapons. There were credible reports of loose Soviet nuclear weapons that had gotten adrift into possibly terrorist hands.

There were -- it was reasonable right after 9/11 to use the term "existential THREAT." I don't think we need to use that anymore. But I think it is important -- now the success we've had is to reduce the probability of a major attack way low, but the consequences of what we know they're planning on, of a weapon of mass destruction going off, particularly in New York, is enormous. So it's, you know, low probability; high consequence of failure. And I think the American people realize that.

SHANKER: Hank, did you have something you want to say on the recalibration?

CRUMPTON: One point early on the resilience here in the homeland: The foundation for resilience is good intelligence. And I think we still have a long way to go in the homeland in terms of our intelligence here. Our conversation has been primarily about foreign intelligence. We've got thousands of different jurisdictions here. Some are very good, like New York; others are basically nonexistent. And how we link these local communities into the state, into the national, we're just beginning to do that, and I think we have a long way to go. And without that, you're not going to have a resilient society. So that's another discussion point.

In terms of the policy, it's pretty remarkable, if you look at policy prior to 9/11, when both Democratic and Republican administrations frankly did very little about the al-Qaida threat, despite the attacks on our embassies in East Africa in '98, despite the attack on the USS Cole, despite the averted millennium threat -- I mean, example after example -- strategic warning from the CIA repeatedly; and then, you see the response after 9/11. Thom, your newspaper projected total costs of more than $3 trillion. Al-Qaida spent maybe half a million on the 9/11; there were 19 guys with box cutters. I think that we did overreact, particularly related to Iraq. That was a mistake.

And, now, how do we calibrate this? How do we have the right kind of leadership and the right kind of discipline and intellectual rigor to look at threats and to make the right decisions, not based on fear but, you know, based on the threat?

LEHMAN: And could I just take one addenda to that? On the issue of domestic intelligence, I couldn't agree more. I think our domestic intelligence is very, very inadequate. And in the 9/11 commission, I think all of us were, as the weight of evidence grew, convinced that we should split the FBI, that a cop shop should not be a domestic intelligence agency. And we decided not to recommend that, because it was just too much going on. You couldn't -- that kind of major surgery right after 9/11, with all the new changes that had to be done, was just not very wise.

But I think absolutely we should relook at that and reopen that issue, because most of our effective intelligence allies have that split function. They don't let the intelligence, domestic intelligence, have prosecutorial powers, and they don't trust cops to be good intelligence tradesmen.

A perfect example was in our televised hearings -- which I'm sure you all watched -- which was when we asked the acting director -- we referred to the evidence that had been gathered during the investigation from the intelligence communities of the five operatives in Saudi embassies who were clearly enablers for the -- for the 19, and who were -- helped them, you know, find apartments, drove them from one place to another, got them into flight schools. And there were five named individuals that were clearly very friendly to these 19 people. And so we said: What has happened with them?

And the acting director said: We did investigate them, but we found insufficient evidence to get an indictment, so we terminated those investigations. Now, can you imagine an intelligence professional saying a thing like that? I mean, here were some of the most valuable targets in the United States after 9/11, and FBI dropped -- didn't -- so we followed up, said: Well, where are they now? Well, we don't know. We -- didn't I hear -- didn't you hear me? I said we terminated the investigation. That is the prosecutorial, law enforcement mentality which makes FBI such a fine law enforcement agency, and makes them unable effectively to do real intelligence tradecraft, in my judgment.

SHANKER: Interesting point.

There in the back, please.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. My name is Rory Lancman. I'm a member of the New York State Legislature, and I try to participate in CFR's state and local government initiative.

A question was asked earlier from a geopolitical perspective. I want to take it down to the granular level and follow up on what Mr. Crumpton said, which is, I'd be interested in hearing what local government policymakers should be doing to make their local homeland security apparatuses more efficient, more effective, and any comments you have on -- I know you spoke glowingly of New York, but anything that we should be doing that we're not, and is what we are doing that is good replicable in other locations across the country?

CRUMPTON: Great question. It goes to local civic leadership and having outreach to different communities, different ethnic communities, different religious communities, and understanding what their needs and aspirations are, what their fears are, what their concerns are.

We talk about intelligence and we often think of some Orwellian surveillance, but the best intelligence is the local beat cop, with civic and religious leaders, understanding your communities. And to the extent that you can facilitate, encourage that type of communication and education, that's probably the best intelligence you can generate. And maintaining that takes hard work; it just doesn't happen. I would -- I would stress that.

And having discussions about what's going on in other parts of the world and how it impacts your community, because that's our great strength, because we are made up of all parts of the world, but we need to make sure that that cohesiveness that the panel earlier talked about -- that cohesiveness in our society remains strong and grows stronger.

TOWNSEND: The one thing I would add to that -- oftentimes when I was in the White House, I'd meet with local sheriffs and local police chiefs, who complained they didn't have -- I would agree with John; New York City is the gold-plated standard, but there are very few New York City police departments, and state and local little sheriffs don't have those sort of resources.

But what they can do, in addition to what Hank said, is leverage the big guys that are around them. The NYPD has a very active program where they try to help -- exchange information, training, all sorts of things with local police departments. And once you have those relationships, you're able to share information collected by the bigger guys, understand what patterns or threats that they're seeing, so you can target your limited resources. So sometimes it's about leveraging a larger capability by you and not necessarily the federal government but the local PDs around you.

SHANKER: Thank you.

Yes, sir.

QUESTIONER: Michael Skol, Skol & Serna. Having served 30 years in a federal bureaucracy, I agree completely with John Lehman about the DNI and about the FBI. My question is, can the same be said for the Department of Homeland Security, in your opinion?

LEHMAN: Well, I'm less familiar with the -- with Homeland Security. I think it's a different -- a different kind of a problem. I think that trying to put together 22 independent agencies with their own histories and culture so forth is a daunting task to begin with. We've had some very capable leaders that have done that. And certainly bureaucracy -- they've all, when I've talked to them, complained the too many people problem and not enough people of -- for what they need doing. But I wouldn't characterize that as the -- as the -- I can say without the slightest question the biggest problem of our national defense with the Defense Department is bureaucratic bloat. The staff's gotten impossible to have any effective operational capability in the -- in the -- in the department.

But that -- I would not say that about Homeland Security. I think Homeland Security -- biggest threat right now is the chaos in Congress and the pulling and tugging from 106 different directions for what the money gets spent on and what the oversight is. And that would be the top priority, in my judgment.

SHANKER: Thank you.

Yes, ma'am. All the way in the back row. Please.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Laurie Garrett from the council again. Sorry.

Secretary Lehman, you mentioned that the 9/11 commission had considered the necessity of splitting up the FBI into two agencies. And in light of that, I wanted to ask you -- we never really had anything like the 9/11 commission to investigate the anthrax mailings.

We've actually never had any public assessment of any kind except the National Academy of Sciences' very narrow report, which ended up saying that they were not convinced that Bruce Ivins was, in fact, the culprit, and they felt that the FBI had prematurely closed down the possibility that al-Qaida was responsible for it. And there's a lot of circumstantial evidence supporting the idea that it was executed by the same people that hijacked the jets on 9/11.

So I wonder if there's some way -- would you advocate or think it was important to have some way of re-examining the possibility of the connection between the two events, and secondly, how government responded to anthrax?

LEHMAN: Well, I think that certainly that issue, since it is potentially an augury of possible future weapons of mass destruction, and the fact that it really is unsolved, regardless of what the FBI says, should -- it should be continued to be monitored. I wouldn't recommend setting up a commission to do that, but certainly the relevant agencies have to continue to keep that as an open case file. And it is very, obviously, worrying, those kinds of biologics and chemical weapons of mass destruction.

SHANKER: Yes, sir.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Dick Garwin, IBM fellow emeritus.

My question is how we implement "if you see something, say something." If I'm driving in my car in the countryside and I see a wreck, I pick -- I call 911 on the cell phone, tell them what I know; just go on. I can't help very much.

If I see a package in the airport, maybe I can find somebody. But if I could twitter, whom do I twitter? And on the CIA's national resource division, whom do I communicate with on an anonymous website? My neighbor is acting strange. I don't know whether he's a foreign agent or he's a domestic terrorist. And you don't know whether I just have a peeve against my neighbor. But whom do I write?

When we proposed such things years ago, you know, people gave it up. They said it's too hard to winnow all this; there'll be too much possibility of deception and what not. But now that we've moved from months to weeks to days to seconds on signals intelligence and you can see the impact, what can we do to implement "if you see something, say something"?

LEHMAN: Well, I -- we had a local case. I live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and there were some cell members who were reported by their neighbor to the local township police. And the police immediately talked to the liaison in the county office, the FBI liaison, and it led to an effective operation.

So, you know, I think education, as we've all been saying; constant communication about the nature of the threat without being alarmist. And I have to say, I don't find any fault with the way the Obama administration has been talking about threats. It's not been alarmist and it's not been fairy godmother. It's been fairly realistic. And the more you can communicate that there are real threats, there are people trying to get into Grand Central Station with a satchel charge, and that there's no other, you know, clever technological answer, I don't believe.

CRUMPTON: Let me underscore what John has said. You need a local response. It goes to my field boss; goes to your question about, you know, what can local authorities do. If you're in New York or if you're in Laramie, Wyoming, you want to go to the local cop if you have a problem, because he can do something about it, or the local fireman or the local emergency responder. It's not going to be the FBI. It's not going to be the CIA. So there needs to be a local response, because they can get there, whether it's 9/11 or something on the border.

Your question about national resources -- the CIA's national resources division writ is foreign intelligence in the U.S. So if you know something about the Iranian nuclear weapons program, call the CIA. But that's their focus, not on the domestic security side.

SHANKER: Yes, sir.

QUESTIONER: Even I am a citizen. I love the thought about building capacity, especially on the domestic side. This is a notion that came out of the heart and spontaneous reactions to the 9/11 event. I personally took part of it with my bishop in the Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst area, along with the 68th precinct, back in September `01.

I'm disappointed that it never became a policy or a procedure or a way of life. But now that the conversation is about building capacity rather than building nations, how do we go about it? What are the forethoughts about these? What is the mechanism that needs to be in place to build these communities and to build a tolerance and to build so many other sophisticated issues, including those that were raised just now about who do I tell if I need to tell?

TOWNSEND: Yeah. You know, you remind me, as you were speaking, one of the things we had hoped would take hold were called CERT teams, citizen emergency response teams, the sort of thing out of your local -- not federally run, but out of local communities.

And the reason that we had -- we put emphasis on that was because if there's an emergency in your community, if the package is there or the disease is there, it's because it's some other not terrorism-related, you will most trust not the secretary of homeland security, if she comes out and tells you what to do, but your local fill in the blank; your local religious leader, your local community leader, your citizen board leader.

And so resilient communities really need community leadership to empower citizens so that, if there's an emergency on your block, it's your neighbor who knocks on your door. And you all understand that if that neighbor's not there, it's the guy next door who's going to go around and knock.

And I don't know the answer to the question about why that didn't take hold. There are some places where it's a very strong -- I remember meeting with some community leaders up in Harlem, and it may be that because New York was so directly affected, there are more pockets of that here. But it didn't take hold as a national effort.

And frankly, you know, when I think of resilience, to Hank's point, communities and local efforts are what will make this nation resilient. And so more people are talking about "if you see something, say something." And I wish that that would translate into more communities talking about citizen emergency response teams participating and supporting local law enforcement and first responders.

QUESTIONER: (Off mic.)

SHANKER: Yes, please.

QUESTIONER: The notion is not -- I'm sorry. The notion is not simply resiliency only. The building capacity, it's like -- you just reminded me of the school system, our education policy, the education policy being focused on building capacity for the teachers and the principals.

Hank started down -- his thought line started down, yes, empowering, and it was systematic from the state down to the local. You started down from with the -- you started up, actually, with the civic leaders and the community building up the commands. And it's not only about seeing a package. It could be a tornado. It could be --

TOWNSEND: Right.

QUESTIONER: -- a natural thing that I'm going through. This is the support system that is missing in here in this link. That's what I think. How do we go about building it? How do we make it a policy? That's a socioeconomic opportunity, I think.

TOWNSEND: I don't disagree with you. The question then becomes one of resources. Inevitably all these things boil down to is somebody willing to invest resources in building that, whether that's your local police department, your state and local legislature. But somebody's got to be willing to invest in that.

And it's interesting; there's been real talk, in this time of budget constraints, about the federal grant program that would -- you could apply to get funding for it. I think those are likely to go away in the current budget environment. But that's the sort of thing that could have been applied for for a grant. But somebody's got to invest resources to get it started in communities, I think.

QUESTIONER: (Off mic.)

LEHMAN: Yeah. I mean, I don't think that -- I would not accept the fact that this doesn't exist around the United States. I mean, if you look at the reaction in neighborhoods around New York City right after 9/11, if that wasn't community, I don't know what was.

Look at particularly in Queens and Brooklyn and the neighborhoods that lost high numbers of firemen and cops and traders. You look at the way those communities have come together. And certainly, you know, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania there is a sense of community. And when -- now that we get flooded every year, it's very much visible.

So I think it varies around the country, but I wouldn't accept the fact that this is a major national problem that has to be dealt with. I think those communities do exist, are real, and even right here in River City.

SHANKER: Thank you.

Before we move to our last question, a couple of final housekeeping things. One, our sincerest thanks to all of you members and guests for joining us; to our panel members for such an enlightening discussion; to the council, who will be hosting a reception after this.

And also, just on a much more personal note, earlier I gave a somewhat -- a bumper-sticker view of Admiral Mullen's comments on the economy. He routinely speaks about the importance of economic strength to our national security, but my summary should in no way be viewed as a reflection or be cited as anything that Admiral Mullen might have said in a private discussion.

And with that, the last question, please.

QUESTIONER: I'd like to return to the question of bandwidth for emergency and first responders. This is a very specific recommendation that has emerged time and time again. And to my knowledge, it has not been improved. Police and fire can't communicate with each other across the country. People can't communicate across county and state lines.

And it seems like it would be a relatively simple question to address on a national level that would be in everyone's self-interest. What is the obstacle beyond lobbyists, who should be obliged to recognize the national interest?

SHANKER: Fran, do you want to talk to this?

TOWNSEND: Let me say, this is -- I spent all of last week in a series of anniversary events. I must have talked about this a dozen times, including raising it with John Brennan, my successor at the White House.

There is a bill before Congress that the president supports and has publicly said he supports. There is no good reason for this bill not to pass. You know, my question to John Brennan was, but will the president put his personal capital behind getting it passed? That's a more difficult question when he's got a budget and all sorts of other things he's got to put his personal capital behind. It is -- I regard it as absolutely shameful.

There is -- in addition to lobbyists, I would say to you, in all candor, that there's also an element of politics being played with this. The question that has been debated is whether or not the available bandwidth goes directly to the first responders or goes to the telecom companies to manage on the first responders' behalf. That is an ideological question. But it won't matter if they can't communicate and they're dying, right?

So the bill before Congress, if I remember this right, gives it directly to the first responders to manage. The president supports it. It ought to pass. And everybody in here ought to become an apostle when they have the opportunity to advocate for it.

Sorry.

LEHMAN: No, no. I was going to say the same thing, except I kind of like the other version. (Laughs.)

The problem with the bill that's before Congress now -- there are several bills. I mean, John McCain's introduced a bill every year for the last six years. But if it goes to the control of the federal government, then it's going to take a lot of investment of federal funds, which are not exactly flowing these days, to build the infrastructure for the locals, whereas the advocates of the other point of view are that this should be allocated with very strict requirements that the first responders in every area have the first call whenever and however they want to use that extra bandwidth. So it's one or the other, but one of the systems has to be implemented. It's just crazy.

I mean, here in New York they have the money, and very few people have the kind of money available revenue that New York has. But they have spent -- invested close to a billion dollars now on a much more sophisticated radio system that can -- where the firemen can talk to the cops.

But they're still restricted within that narrow bandwidth, so they've got a much more expensive and sophisticated technology to do frequency hopping and other more sophisticated techniques, because it wasn't so much the bandwidth as the fact that the bandwidth was so saturated that there were 300 people talking on every single channel that was available to them on 9/11. That's why the firemen died.

SHANKER: Hank, a final thought before we adjourn this evening?

CRUMPTON: No. Just thank you for the opportunity. I enjoyed seeing my friends again, and wish you all the best.

SHANKER: Thanks to the council and to all of you for joining us today. (Applause.)

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