This session was part of the symposium, UK and U.S. Approaches in Countering Radicalization: Intelligence, Communities, and the Internet, which was cosponsored with Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies and King’s College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. This event was made possible by Georgetown University's George T. Kalaris Intelligence Studies Fund and the generous support of longtime CFR member Rita E. Hauser. Additionally, this event was organized in cooperation with the CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: Thank you very much. My name is Dina Temple-Raston, and I'm the counterterrorism correspondent at National Public Radio. And I want to welcome you to the third session of today's symposium, "Intelligence and Counter-radicalization."
Once again, if you could please completely turn off your cellphones -- not on vibrate, but completely turn them off. I'm always guilty of leaving it on vibrate.
And as a reminder, this session is on the record. The last session was off the record, so we can't refer to anything, please, that we heard in the last session. That goes for our speakers, too, because that was completely off the record.
So in this session, what we're going to do is we're going to compare and contrast the linkages between intelligence and law enforcement in the U.S. and the U.K., and generally see how violent extremism has changed the business of intelligence.
And for this session we have the world's most perfect panel, and that would be, to start with, Charles Allen, who was at the CIA for more than 40 years and basically was doing intelligence longer than I've been alive. And people that I have -- (laughter). It's a compliment. The people I spoke to about Mr. Allen referred to him as a legend. And I've never actually interviewed a legend before, so I'm looking forward to that.
Bill Bratton is known as the smartest cop in America. And if you don't already know a lot about him, it would suffice to say that he is the only person alive or dead to have led the two largest police forces in the United States: NYPD and the LAPD.
And last but not least, I'm pleased to have Peter Clark from the U.K. with us today. With all this focus on the royal wedding, you might be interested to know that he used to be in charge of the royalty and diplomatic protection department. That means he was in charge of protecting the royal family in its residences. I was looking for a way to try to get Prince William and Kate into this conversation, but I couldn't find a smooth transition. So we're going to focus instead on his other job, which was at the -- as the former head of the Anti-terrorist Branch at Scotland Yard.
You have their bios in your sheet, but that gives you sort of an idea of the caliber of person we're going to be speaking with today. And before we get all breathless about extremism, I thought we would start by having -- using some definitions and defining the issue about how bad the scope is here in the United States and how bad it is in the U.K. And perhaps you could give me a number -- 10 being the greatest amount of extremism, and one being very little -- and what number would you think correspond to the U.S. and to the U.K.
Mr. Allen, to start.
CHARLES ALLEN: Well, I would -- I would start with very moderate terms, because extremism has grown in this society in certain areas, in small pockets around our broad, large country, but the actual numbers has been a very tiny minority. I believe that the scope and size of this needs to be debated more publicly. That was where I was hoping Chairman King would start his hearings, with trying to size the issue.
When you look at the number of cases of people indicted between 2001 and the end of 2010, it's relatively small: I think 176 individuals, according to RAND statistics. It doesn't mean it's not -- it's insignificant. It grew. In 2009-2010, we had about 35 cases, but we only averaged between 2001-2008 about four cases a year. I think that's pretty small. And how much growth has occurred? I don't think we have a good handle. And I think that's one of the disconnects that I believe that we have to address in the future.
TEMPLE-RASTON: How about you, Mr. Bratton? If you were to put it on a one-to-10 basis, are we -- where are we?
WILLIAM BRATTON: Well, in terms of the United States, I think, echoing Charlie's comments, much less of an issue than it is our colleagues, what they deal with in Britain. The briefings I'd receive when I'd go over there and meet with the Met, it was frightening to me, in the sense of all that they were dealing with. And Peter can speak much more to that.
And at the same time, with what I thought to be a very significant set of issues versus what we were dealing with in United States in my city, Los Angeles, and prior to that New York, that there seemed to be less public concern and focus on the issue than here in the United States, with what seemed to be a much smaller problem in terms of both actual cases as well as the unknown, which is what's going on out there that we don't know about.
TEMPLE-RASTON: So more breathless here, is what you're saying, even though there's less?
BRATTON: There's, I think, almost in some respects much more public attention to the issue here. And maybe that's because of some of the limitations that the British press have relative to what they can report on relative to these cases, versus here the ability to keep churning it up even after the incident during all the various aspects of the investigation and the court case.
TEMPLE-RASTON: We like that about here. Absolutely.
BRATTON: I'm sure you do. (Laughter.)
TEMPLE-RASTON: And Mr. Clarke, how about you?
PETER CLARKE: I don't think I can put a number on it. But if the question is, is it serious and enduring in the United Kingdom, I'd say absolutely, yes.
Our last security minister before the baroness was an admiral, and he once described himself as a simple sailor, so I suppose I'm a simple policeman, and I tend to think of this in terms of criminality. When we're analyzing criminals, what do we say? Do they have the motive, the means and the opportunity to commit their crimes? So if we think of this terrorism in a similar way, do they have the motive? Well, question: Have any of the underpinning issues giving rise to a sense of grievance gone away? My analysis is, no. Do they have the means? Yes. We've seen in the U.K. very low-tech, very low-cost attacks: 52 people killed by the kitchen-sink bomb makers.
Do they have the opportunities? Well, yes, of course, because in any open society there are vulnerabilities; but also, the opportunities that arise in terms of radicalization. We often talk about ungoverned spaces being fertile breeding ground. Well, my view is that we have internal ungoverned spaces. And in particular, those ungoverned spaces are in universities, in mosques and in prisons. And I don't think we're anywhere near yet addressing these issues yet.
The government has been putting out guidance, for instance, to the further education sector, and there has been push back about this. Recently, a spokesman for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in the U.K. said that more monitoring was a bad thing, in essence, and it's not for the educational authorities to police. Well, if it's not for the educational authorities, who is it for? So is there a role for intelligence and law enforcement within the further education establishment? Hugely controversial, but these are issues that need to be debated very openly and honestly.
TEMPLE-RASTON: And this gets to our main point, which is this intersection of law enforcement and intelligence. And presumably, when intelligence works the right way it helps make the distinction between -- as you were saying last night, between the vulnerable and the malevolent. So that's what I wanted to talk about a little bit today. This challenge, Mr. Allen, if you could address, have they been successful at making that distinction here in the United States?
ALLEN: Well, I think we're moving in that direction in ways that -- we did not have homeland security intelligence on September the 11th, 2001, but with the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation changing the way it operates, forming an intelligence directorate of 2,600 analysts, putting those analysts in the field with the -- their 56 stations, I think there has been -- and the emphasis on trying to understand what is occurring in this country, the degree of radicalization, to try to not only look strictly at a -- at a predicate where you can open a case, but look to see if there can be intelligence, tips or leads. I really do believe that part of our response here is, it will come, I believe, from the community, from the bottom up.
The people that know the community are our police departments. There are 18,500 of those across the country. Not all of them have intelligence elements. Los Angeles of course does and did under Chief Bratton. New York has an excellent one. But to get a better understanding and to be able to really work on tips and leads -- the police departments in our country are very diverse. They sort of reflect the neighborhoods where they do their work. And I just believe that we're in the early stages of blending intelligence and law enforcement, and I think a lot more can be done while still protecting the privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans.
I think we have to be very careful about this, but I do believe we're headed in the right direction in building Homeland Security. Homeland Security as a -- as a degree now is being taught in many universities across this country. I've met many of the professors, many of the deans of universities when I was undersecretary at Homeland Security. So I think we're in the right direction. I do believe we have a good deal to go.
TEMPLE-RASTON: I think everybody agrees, Chief Bratton, that the key component here is outreach to Muslim communities. Can you talk a little bit about what's working, what's not working, what you think we should be doing?
BRATTON: Sure. Charlie talked about the blending of intelligence with law enforcement, with policing. And post-9/11, that has been accelerating. It's off to a slow start.
But the blending is important because the -- one of the previous speakers talked about the nature of intelligence agencies, that they're pessimists, that -- because of always worrying about what they don't know, what's going wrong.
American policing, based on the successes that we achieved in the 1990s that are continuing into the 21st century in our traditional role of dealing with crime, improving community relations -- we tend to be much more optimistic. I'm an -- I'm an optimist. And in the 1990s, when American policing led the assault on traditional crime with ideas like community policing; with ideas like problem solving, crime mapping, CompStat, broken windows, those ideas percolated from the local level, and that was important because the people that were being impacted by that crime problem were the community.
The federal government partnership was essential -- the funding, the COPS program, research. Similarly, now, in this new era, with the new crime issue, the optimism of the local law enforcement community is critically important. And Charlie can speak to this because during his time serving with Secretary Chertoff they really opened up Homeland Security to allowing local law enforcement a place at the table, because local chiefs understood that in dealing with this new form of threat, the idea of -- and as we've seen, an increasing threat in the homeland, rather than coming from the external areas that had previously been the problem -- that local police were going to have to be a valuable partner at the table with, one, our optimism from our successes in the '90s, and those successes in the '90s can help to inform the continuing successes into the 21st century.
First, as Charlie pointed out, the level of the problem is still relatively small. The potential to grow -- and it has been accelerating, but the numbers are still really very small versus what the Brits are dealing with. And our sophistication, our intelligence-gathering efforts -- the coordination is improving and, I think, improving at a rate faster than the growth of the problem, and so that as we move forward trying to deal with the issue of trying to prevent the growth, the radicalization, nobody is better positioned to do that than the local police because our successes in the '90s were reaching into the community.
In the '70s and '80s, we were isolated from the community, a thin blue line. The Los Angeles Police was -- Department was the model of that; we'll take care of business, and you stay over there. And the business we were going to take care of was the crime problems in the African-American community.
Well, now we have the problem -- the perceived problem of the crime issue, the terrorist issue in the Muslim community. And who better to reach into that community than local police, who learned in the '90s that to deal with crime, you got to develop relationships. And we are getting much better at that. And so in Los Angeles, a significant amount of our time is spent learning about the Muslim community, reaching into it, understanding how diverse it is. We tend to think of it as a monolithic entity, and it is not that. It is incredibly diverse, like the rest of American society.
So we are, I think, on the right path -- so much more to be done, but I think we are informed by the mistakes of the '70s and '80s and what we learned in the '90s.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Let me talk about an issue that brings together some of the tension of intelligence and law enforcement, and that would be the issue of stings. You remember back in Thanksgiving, there was a Somali-American kid, a 20-something from Seattle, who allegedly wanted to detonate a car bomb at a local Christmas tree lighting. The FBI found him, I think in a chat room -- I think I have this right -- and they stepped in and basically provided him with what he needed for the operation: fake explosives, detonators, van, telephone to dial to supposedly detonate this.
Depending on which side of the fence you're on, some people see this as entrapment, some people see this as good police work.
Mr. Allen, if I could start with you, can you talk about these kinds of operations and what they represent in terms of the intersection of intelligence and law enforcement?
ALLEN: Well, I'm an intelligence officer and not a law enforcement officer, but the FBI, I believe, has been very careful in the way it operates when it comes to the stings. There's been a small number of them, hasn't been a large number of them. And you have to remember that the FBI would operate on tips, leads where they would see someone who has become radicalized, who is moving to advocate or engage or be willing to engage in violent actions.
I think the FBI has operated under some very tough rules and guidelines over the years. And from my perspective, this is a fine line. As an intelligence officer, it's something that is a little foreign to me. But I believe in this case that the FBI, working with the Department of Justice, has handled this, I think, quite well.
And the numbers are not great. But you've got to remember there's one thing here, and that's intent. The intent in a number of cases -- and we had a couple of -- after Abdulmutallab was -- tried to blow up the plane in Detroit, we had a couple of sting operations that were brought to closure by the bureau -- is the intent was to inflict damage, to kill innocents, to hurt U.S. critical infrastructure.
So it's a fine line to walk, being an intelligence officer. It's one that I'm not as comfortable with as perhaps law enforcement. But I believe the bureau has operated very effectively and very carefully in this arena.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Now, I'll get to you in a second, Mr. Clarke, about how you can't do this in the U.K.
But I wanted to say quickly, Chief Bratton, can you talk a little bit about the effect these kinds of operations have in the community? It has a chilling effect, one would assume.
BRATTON: Well, from the law enforcement perspective, stings are part of what we do, that -- whether it's internal affairs issues directed at our own police officers or, in the traditional criminal world, directed at criminals. In the NYPD, we created sting operations. We're doing hundreds of them directed against our own officers. In the LAPD, as part of the federal consent decree, they required that we effectively set up stings to see if our officers were accepting citizen complaints.
Charlie points out correctly that they have to be done appropriately. They have to be done in a way that they are not subject to criticism. The use of stings in this new paradigm, the new crime -- and particularly with the sensitivities of the population in this case, particularly the Muslim population -- that it is a thin line that has to be followed. I think the bureau, my understanding of their cases without having intimacies of them other than one or two that we dealt with in L.A., that I think they've done a very good job here. But what has been missing is the relationship between, whether it's the bureau or local police, to be able to explain -- to be trusted, if you will, to explain -- and to have a level of transparency that we are able to show what we're doing, why we're doing it, how we're doing it.
And stings are incredibly valuable also for the intelligence that's gathered from it. How was this individual radicalized? What was the chain of events that brought him to -- him or her to a point where they were going to take this type of overt action? Are there others out there that are involved? So they're an incredibly useful intelligence gathering opportunity also.
TEMPLE-RASTON: And there's also a sense, I guess, that if you get the community involved or community leaders involved earlier in the process, then they aren't surprised by the headline, which has been part of the problem.
BRATTON: In dealing with the gang problem in Los Angeles, we were continually going into neighborhoods, minority neighborhoods, flash bang, going into drug houses, really making a big scene. And the neighbors would come out and they would be concerned, because the traditional police response was: Go away.
What we changed was basically we would go in -- and we'd go in with a whole group of community service officers. As we were finishing up the action, those officers were working through the neighborhood: This is why we're here. Here's the complaints we received about this drug activity, this violence associated with this house. We're responding to your (issues, concerns ?). So that's where American police have began to learn to basically be inclusive rather than exclusive. Instead of just saying to people, go away, instead: Come here; let me tell you what we're doing, why we're here, what we're doing.
You may all remember the movie "Chinatown," and everybody also thinks the last line in that movie, in "Chinatown" -- "This is Chinatown, Jake." The last line in that movie was the lieutenant turning around to the crowd and saying, get off the streets. Well, that's effectively the way we policed: Get off the streets. Instead: Come here, let me tell you what's going on and why we're here. And that's what needs to change.
TEMPLE-RASTON: And Mr. Clarke, can you talk a little bit about how this doesn't happen in the U.K. and why?
CLARKE: Well, it's not quite true to say it doesn't happen, because we have conducted some operations -- not many, about two that I can recall, over the last six or seven years -- where undercover officers have been used. But the parameters of what is permissible within U.K. law is very different from what it is here in the United States.
But I think the important thing is that we've tried to use the criminal trial process as a means of showing the objectivity and integrity of the counterrorist effort in the United Kingdom, and the intelligence community has had a huge part to play in that. And I think MI-5 deserve a huge amount of credit for the way in which they've moved into the evidential arena and worked incredibly closely with the police service looking for evidential opportunities, because the openness of the criminal trial process has been a means of demonstrating to communities what we're trying to do on their behalf.
I think that the sting operation and, indeed, with any operation which moves you upstream -- and usually this is done on the grounds of public safety -- there is an issue around perception within communities. And certainly it's been expressed by some that thought crime is something for which people are being punished. And indeed, there are some aspects of some U.K. legislation -- glorifying terrorism, for interest, which some -- and I find confusing, let alone everybody else, what it actually means. So I think it's very important that we are very careful about what perceptions we generate when we carry out certain types of operation(s). And putting it in broad terms, certainly, in the U.K., it would not be permissible to run an operation where the objective was to find how far somebody would be prepared to go given the opportunity.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Which makes it very different from the United States.
CLARKE: Makes it very different from the United States.
ALLEN: May I -- may I add a point on this?
ALLEN: We were behind, back in 2008, with the Somali community in this country. And we had a lot of meetings. I remember meeting on Veterans Day at the White House just trying to get our arms around it with the FBI, with intelligence agencies. And I think we did that fairly effectively.
Now, one of the things I think is very important to remember that -- in places like St. Paul -- Minneapolis, St. Paul, we found that the local communities, that parents started reaching out to the bureau some, but also to the local police in a major way. So I think something -- it can be very positive sometimes when a sting operation is executed. We do find that the communities do respond if we do the policing the way Chief Bratton just described.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, now we're going to invite some audience members to join the discussion. If you could please wait for the microphone and speak directly into it and stand, state your name and your affiliation. And if we could keep those questions as concise as possible, that would be great. And one other reminder: Anything that you learned an hour ago from the last session, please don't refer to it in your questions.
Yes, sir, in front here. Please wait for the microphone.
QUESTIONER: John Gannon from BAE Systems, formally of the U.S. intelligence community. And a terrific panel; really appreciate your very thoughtful comments.
We heard this morning something we've heard frequently from our own government, and that is that the threat is from Islamic extremism, not from Islam. But that's hardly an endorsement of Islam, and I think the way that gets translated down to -- in some cases to local law enforcement is, well, they're not all bad. But we have to -- you have to figure out who the goods one are and the bad guys are.
But when you -- when you look at the -- a strategy for intelligence collection, both for investigation, how do you deal with -- is it a religious issue? If it's Islamic extremism, that's religion. But is it religion? Is it ideology? Is it politically driven? Or is it simply criminal activity? Because that would seem to me to be an issue for how you develop a collection system, where you go to collect. Same thing with investigations.
So what -- is it religion we're talking about, or is it ideology, or what is it, when we talk about radical -- the radical threat that we're facing?
ALLEN: I look on it not as religion, John, but I look on it as extremism, the manifestations of which is political Islamism, which I -- it's very hard for local police and local law enforcement to understand that. I really do believe that this is where a lot of work has to be done.
There are instructors -- I was -- I sent people out to talk about these issues. We had a whole office of civil rights -- civil liberties, Dan Sullivan, who really held the roundtables in all major cities, continues to do so under the National Counterterrorism Center.
These things are very effective, but if we -- if we confuse Islam with what is occurring with those who are advocating violent, what I call Islamic extremism, ideological extremism, it -- then we get confused. And I think there's a lot of confusion across the country, some of it on both sides of the spectrum politically here in this country, which seems to fuel this kind of, I think, misconception.
I think from an intelligence perspective at Homeland Security, we worked extremely hard with Secretary Chertoff to get this right. We even put out a brochure, which looked at political terminology and the care with which we should -- we should use certain languages -- language very carefully. And we did this. I believe, though, we have a very major task to work with state and local governments, with our fusion centers -- there are 72 of them -- to start explaining this in a more articulate way as part of intelligence training.
We don't have an easy and immediate answer on how to do this. And -- but we're -- we are in the right direction. The new undersecretary who took my position very much is concerned about this and is working very closely with Secretary Napolitano and others on these issues.
But I'll turn to Chief Bratton. I know he has a lot more ideas on this than I do.
BRATTON: I think this is where we can really learn from the past and -- both the successes and failures. The '70s, '80s -- I came into policing in 1970 -- the whole issue of crime beginning its upward spiral for the next 20 some odd years; and so much of that crime was within the African-American community, the bulk of it committed against the African-American community. But the idea of policing -- a lot of what went on in policing, and LAPD in particular, was literally an occupying force in Los Angeles and almost at war with the African-American community, when the issue was really particularly the gang component located in that community, some 20,000, a huge number, but in the population of well over a million.
And the policy of policing of that time was really one of staying apart from the community. And it wasn't until the late '80s, '90s where the concept of community policing with its three elements -- partnership, problem solving, prevention -- where we began to change. The partnership wasn't just with the alphabet agencies -- the FBI, DEA -- being able to utilize their skills and their RICO statutes, but most importantly the idea of measuring our success by reaching into that African-American community, the leadership, understanding the diverse aspects of it and separating the problem portion of that population, the gang population, from that and focusing on that group but talking with and listening to.
And some of our actions were controversial. For example, several years ago, we began to work very actively with gang interventionists. My rank-and-file cops didn't want anything to do with them because they saw them as gang bangers who were literally basically just deceiving us by appearing to go straight. But in the African-American, Latino communities, these were their fathers, their sons, their brothers, who they felt the police were not supporting their efforts to go straight. But once we started trying to find ways to work with them -- we even set up academies with Connie Rice, the civil rights advocate -- to work with them, the community began to see us in a different way.
Similarly with the issue you raised about religion, if we are going to demonize a whole group of people because of their religion, when it's a small group that are trying to use that religion to inspire their own purposes, then we're going to lose. And that's why the efforts to understand their community are so essential, because quite frankly, we really don't. Up until 9/11 and coming back into policing, I couldn't have told you the difference between a Shia or a Sunni. Muslims, I thought they were all alike. And now we understand clearly they are not. There are many sects and beliefs.
So a longwinded answer to that, but let's learn from the past, the successes and the failures -- and we failed in the '70s and 80's, in the '90s; and now into the 21st century, we're beginning to see a lot of that can work with this issue.
TEMPLE-RASTON: So you think some of the things that you learned in trying to stop gangs will actually be applicable to this?
BRATTON: Oh, definitely.
MR. : Absolutely.
BRATTON: Definitely. Even -- I was having a discussion with a senior British official the last day or so relative to this conference; and the idea of in a sense, how do you get intelligence of what's going on in that portion of the community, the -- in the case of gangs, the gang community; in the case of the radicals, how do you elicit getting into their group? And very often, policing, the tactics had been -- had not really thought about this -- to coerce an informant the threat of jail, the threat of actions against the family, versus the new thinking and the idea that there are other ways to do this without coercion, to access.
And it's an expansion of the thinking about how to approach this problem, to try new ideas, and the idea of sharing what has been largely a British initiative with American policing. And I'm very intrigued by that, because the experience we have is a shared experience. We come at it from different perspectives sometimes, different laws certainly. But we can learn so much from each other. And some of our strength in this issue is that the exchange between British and American police services has been very extensive. I used to spend a lot of time in London -- well, I love London, but -- there's always an excuse to get over there. (Laughter.) But they were so far ahead of us on this issue, so far ahead of us in many respects at the local police level.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Do you want to comment on that, Mr. Clarke?
CLARKE: No, I entirely agree with all of that. Many of the fundamental features and principles of policing apply to this as to any other type of criminality. And I think that's the important thing, that basically -- as I said earlier, I'm a simple policeman -- these are violent criminals looking to kill people, to kill their fellow citizens. And we mustn't lose sight of that.
I think it's terribly important as well that there are consistent messages about this. And I have to say, I was really disappointed last year when -- you remember Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and his father who'd gone into the United States embassy in Lagos, I believe it was, expressing concerns about his son's behavior and where it was taking him.
TEMPLE-RASTON: This is the Detroit bomber. Go ahead.
MR. : Yes.
CLARKE: And a man who was then a serving British government minister went onto the BBC "Question Time" from a mosque in south London and said that his -- Abdulmutallab's father had snitched on him.
Now I think that's a most unfortunate use of language. You wouldn't use that language about any other type of crime. You wouldn't use it about a concerned parent going to the police because they were fearful that their child was perhaps getting involved in drugs. It should be allowed to be expressed as a proper expression of concern. We shouldn't put this into a different category.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Other questions? How about way back there in the back?
QUESTIONER: Heidi Noonan, Fox News Channel. This question's for Mr. Allen. In -- regarding to Yemen and al-Qaida, what does it mean that AQAP has declared the Abyan province an Islamic emirate to be government by Shariah?
ALLEN: Which province? I'm sorry. I didn't hear.
QUESTIONER: Abyan province.
ALLEN: Oh. Yes.
QUESTIONER: (Using a different pronunciation.) Abyan.
ALLEN: Okay. Abyan.
I don't know that it has a great deal of ramifications. AQAP -- we know that it is active and aggressive, and conditions may be more favorable as if President Saleh does not survive and more ungoverned space develops within Yemen. We -- it gets back to the idea of, you know, a despotic ruler versus (anarchical ?), ideological -- driven elements within a -- within a(n) area that can cause a great deal of problems for the West and for the very area -- for all of the -- and for the stability of the Arabian Peninsula, which we all know is very important to us.
I don't know that that in itself has that much resonance. AQAP is under a lot of pressure. Awlaki is under a lot of pressure. We hear Anwar al-Awlaki but there are other leaders within al- -- within AQAP which are very -- which we know well, which are very important, more hardened, more operationally experienced than al-Awlaki.
So I don't think we should overstate this. I think what we should have concerns about is the whole stability of the Arabian Peninsula as a result of what is occurring within Yemen, and we again have very -- we lack a great deal of in-depth understanding, but I'm not -- I'm not more concerned than I was. We are concerned and have been concerned over the last three years over Yemen. It's not something we learned only when al-Awlaki became a popular name back here in the United States.
TEMPLE-RASTON: A question on our subject at hand, intelligence and counter-radicalization. How about the gentleman back there in the blue shirt, who's raising his hand. He's right by the microphone. There you go.
QUESTIONER: Hi. Jonathan Brown, Georgetown University. You mentioned methods for dealing with this in terms of communal -- community policing, dealing with some of these communities facing kind of gang problems as opposed to ideological problems. But in the U.S., at least, how do we encourage community members to, let's say, talk to police about their children they might be concerned about when the punishments that have been dealt out are so severe, with things like terrorism enhancement sentencing, where people are getting 20 years for lying to a federal officer or 40 years for perjury? I mean, these -- in the case of the D.C. Six, I think, and also in some of the Somali-Americans who went to fight with Shabab, it was the parents who turned them in, but why would a parent turn in their child when they're almost certainly going to be in jail for 30 years?
TEMPLE-RASTON: Specifically, during the Minneapolis case, you'll recall that many of the mothers didn't want to tell the police that their kids were gone because they thought if their kids came back, they might be sent to Guantanamo. Who'd like to answer that?
CLARKE: (Let us ?) make a comment on this. This is a -- it's not the first time this problem's arisen. We had it in the United Kingdom, where concerned parents did come in some years ago expressing concerns about their son. And unfortunately, at that time, there was no opportunity or means of diversion, and so this person ended up -- this young person ended up -- inappropriately, I think -- within the criminal justice system, which is why I think it's so important now that initiatives such as the Channel project are nurtured, funded and allowed to grow. There has to be a means of keeping people, if they are vulnerable -- as opposed to malevolent, the expression we used earlier -- if they are vulnerable, as opposed to malevolent, if possible keeping them out of the criminal justice system, for the very reasons you've just articulated.
TEMPLE-RASTON: So you give them other things to do? Is that it, essentially? Make new friends for them? Is that -- is that what happens? When you talk about diversion, I just wonder if you can explain what that is.
CLARKE: Well, diversion, I mean -- look, if somebody came to you and said, we're concerned about our child; they're -- we think they're possibly getting involved in drugs, there are many, many ways of dealing with that, with trying to prevent a young person going down that particular route.
A few years ago there were none at all in terms of the problem we're talking about today. Now there are some, but I think we need to probably develop them, and there are people in this audience who will be speaking this afternoon who are far more qualified to say what the range of potential opportunities are in this respect than me.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Okay. Other questions? Yes. Here in front, please.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. Rita Hauser. One big difference between the U.K. and the U.S. is gun control, and the availability of weapons here is very well-known. In the Fort Hood case, the major in question -- I forget how many days, but several days before had acquired a big arsenal, which was known, and the authorities did nothing about it. I can envisage not all these fancy bombs but people just buying a lot of big guns and assault weapons and going about their business easily in this country.
So I was wondering if you have anything to say about that question and how you see the differences here in the U.K.
CLARKE: You're both looking at me. (Laughter.) It's --
BRATTON: We know we have a gun issue. (Inaudible) -- about it that -- unfortunately.
ALLEN: We have a -- and it's good to see you again -- we have a huge problem. We -- I worked this for Secretary Chertoff because President Bush was deeply concerned and told President Calderon how deeply concerned about guns flowing south.
There is a lot of work going on within -- not only within normal law enforcement but with the law enforcement act -- arms of the operating components of the Department of Homeland Security, because a vast amount of guns, as you know, flow south into Mexico, and our ability to detect and prevent that is limited.
But yes, the availability of guns I don't think -- but I don't think it's going to necessarily add or subtract from the -- what is occurring here as far as a growth of Islamic extremism. I think the two, yes, may converge in certain ways, but fundamentally that's not the issue. The issue is how to scope size and determine how best to influence and change attitudes, because we've found certain communities that arrived here in the last 10 or 15 years in the United States are not as well assimilated as those who arrived in the '60s and '70s. I've met a lot of those Muslim leaders who are well-educated -- lawyers, doctors, really great individuals, great intellectuals. Secretary Chertoff sent me out to meet these people, and we had a tremendous dialogue.
But it's some of our newer immigrants' communities who feel very much alienated. They're self-segregated into various communities. There's where I don't believe the federal government has the answer -- not the department, not the Department of Justice either. I think it has to come from community-led outreach and community-led policing. That's the reason I think what Chief Bratton outlined is -- given our federal system of government, which is very different from the U.K., I think that's the way we have to operate in the future. But guns we know have been a problem in a variety of criminal ways. And it certainly could be a factor here, but it's not a driving factor in my mind.
BRATTON: And what is actually amazing, considering that we have 300 million firearms in the country -- enough to give every infant through grandmother in the country their own weapon -- (laughter) -- that there is not more terrorist-related violence, because the spontaneity of it, as with the colonel at Fort Hood, is so easy for somebody that's become radicalized. But the penchant for developing the bombs -- you know, that's much more complicated, takes more time -- allows us more opportunity to detect and prevent it, versus with the firearm. So much of our violence and the recent violence directed against police officers in this country in the last couple of months is the ready availability and a person that snaps for whatever reason. So we're very fortunate.
We've often wondered why there were not many more terrorist-inspired shooting incidents. This portion of the country was terrorized when those two men were going up and down the Washington Beltway, sniping; that literally, they shut the economy down here for a month till they were arrested.
BRATTON: So we don't -- we've never been -- never been able to figure that out. But fortunately, since they have the penchant for building bombs, it gives us more opportunity to detect and prevent it before it actually occurs.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Just because I want to do front and back of the room, the gentleman in the red tie there in the back, please.
QUESTIONER: Hi. Jonathan Stevenson, Naval War College.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Could you bring the mic a little closer? Thank you.
QUESTIONER: Sure. Is this better?
TEMPLE-RASTON: A little better.
QUESTIONER: Mr. Clarke I thought very evocatively and incisively characterized universities, mosques and prisons as internal ungoverned spaces that were, you know, particularly vulnerable to radicalization. And I wondered if either Mr. Allen or Chief Bratton thought that prisons, mosques and universities in the United States -- now, bearing in mind that the U.S. doesn't have as intense a radicalization problem as the U.K. -- whether those places also were relatively fertile grounds for radicalization as compared to some others.
BRATTON: Certainly prisons; we know that for a certainty. We had a major case in California while I was chief out there that an imam in one of the state prisons was basically training people to go out, rob gas stations and CVS stores for the intent to raise money to buy more weapons, to then assault army recruiting stations and Jewish synagogues. So we had a firsthand example of that. The California prison system has a lot of their intelligence gathering efforts focused on that area of concern. NYPD has developed phenomenal capabilities in that area.
The issue of institutions of higher learning, The New York Times Magazine, a week ago Sunday had a major piece on an individual -- that, I'm sorry, his name eludes me -- about being at one of those universities and teaching, and the dilemma and the issues around that.
And then thirdly, the issue of the mosques, that the reality is that, unfortunately, some of those mosques may in fact be centers for that type of radicalization. And the difficulty for law enforcement, the difficulty for the community, is in a sense how to deal with that.
Prisons, the easiest; education, educational institutions and mosques, much, much more difficult. The thin lines that you can fall off are so difficult.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Yes, actually, this gentleman here, please, in the blue shirt.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. Clark Ervin, with the Aspen Institute.
I actually had a related question to that, for Mr. Clarke, largely. How would one propose to govern mosques and universities in particular -- I think prisons is a different case -- in a way that's duly protective of civil rights and civil liberties? Is that possible? And if so, how, in your judgment?
CLARKE: If I knew the answer to that, I very much doubt I'd be sitting here. (Laughter.) But it is hugely difficult, and there are no simple answers to this. But I think what we need to do is to have an honest and open debate about it, at least. And I think that's lacking at the moment.
And I think earlier today we heard about the need to keep politics out of this, and I think that is an important thing. For many, many years, counterterrorism in the U.K. was actually characterized by across-party consensus. That broke down in 2005 because of some legislation that was going through Parliament and proved to be controversial, and it split on -- the debate split on party lines. And the whole discussion then about the balance between security and liberty then split on party lines. And as a result -- and that hasn't yet got back onto an even keel. It became an election issue, and there's now legislation again going through Parliament supposedly redressing the balance.
We do need to get the politics out of this, and only then I think can we move forward to have a sensible discussion about these really difficult areas that you mentioned. I don't have the answer.
TEMPLE-RASTON: This gentleman here, please, the white shirt.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. George Fulsom (sp).
My question relates to transnational cooperation on intelligence and law enforcement. Leveraging off the issue of the U.K. having restrictions against sting operations, are there other countries that are significant to your operations that you know of in the past who also have similar restrictions? For example, like Australia or France or Germany -- or Spain, for example?
ALLEN: From an intelligence perspective, I can't recall this issue coming up. Our cooperation on dealing with inbound threats of al-Qaida or working with our closest allies abroad on al-Qaida threats, extremist threats, affiliated networks, I'm of the view that, you know, we've had a dramatic effect on both al-Qaida central, al-Qaida affiliated networks, and some of them have literally disappeared from the landscape. I'm one of those who believes that good things have happened and that perhaps they're on the back foot in the Middle East. Good things may happen there.
So that issue of stings has not come up in my intelligence experience, but Chief Bratton may have something to add to that.
BRATTON: I really can't speak to that because I'm not aware of -- in my dealings for seven years with the LAPD, that our international relationships were largely through JTTFs, and so the intimacy with that issue in terms of what other countries allowed or how they felt about it, I just don't have that experience.
TEMPLE-RASTON: "JTTF" is joint terrorism task force.
CLARKE: Could I just, if I may just -- if I left an impression that we don't and can't do sting operations in the United Kingdom, I didn't mean to. We can; we do; we love doing them. It's just that the -- (laughter) -- it's just that the legal framework within which they can be conducted is different from here in the United States.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Yes, sir. Oh. No, I'm sorry, this gentleman here.
QUESTIONER: Hi. (Name inaudible.) I had a question to kind of follow up. We seem to be struggling between the law enforcement issue and the ideological issue. And so I guess I wanted to pose a question. Are we fighting a political battle -- a political warfare battle or are we fighting a law enforcement battle? And I would -- the reason why I pose that question is because in the example of gangs, it's we're mainly dealing with an economic issue. In the issue of Northern Ireland, I would argue it's a political issue.
And so the question is, is do we view, for example, the issue of Northern Ireland or the issue of fighting the Soviet Union as a law enforcement issue or as a political issue?
BRATTON: There's a third element there. You're referencing gangs. Gangs would be primarily a societal issue. A lot of the attractiveness of gangs for young men and women is the dissolution of their own family environment, the traditional family environment. So they go to gangs for the socialization, the protection, if you will, the excitement. So there's a social, a socialization aspect to it also.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Which makes it very similar to what's going on with radicalization.
ALLEN: That's correct.
BRATTON: I think in many respects that is the case, that so many of the people that we encounter, the lone wolves, if you will, or the American experience has been, sure, we've had groups, but so many of these loners who are seeking to latch onto something, and then they -- through the Internet now they -- unfortunately, through academia, prison or religious institutions, they find other like-minded souls where they can come together.
But it's -- a lot of it is, I think, societal, the pull of people wanting to be part of something.
TEMPLE-RASTON: We have time for one more question. And before I take it, I want to remind everyone that this was on the record and the last session was off the record.
And do we have any more questions? Yes, sir.
QUESTIONER: Hello. Timothy Reuter (sp). I'm interested in how do you deal differently with terrorist-related intelligence versus the information you've gathered since time immemorial about gangs or drugs or other kind of activity? Is there something that makes this essentially different from those kinds of things that law enforcement has traditionally engaged in?
ALLEN: I think the two do go together, but I think we have a lot yet to do on the intelligence side to determine what are the minimal essential intelligence we need for terrorism-related activities here in this country. We haven't talked about the -- I spent all my career until recent years working foreign intelligence.
There's a huge bright line between foreign and domestic, and we didn't cross that at CIA. We just refused to do that. The bureau was very case oriented and did not have an intelligence capability. But in my view, that there's intelligence there that helps us understand the new law enforcement world.
So we're moving in a -- we're converging in ways, I think, that are actually now starting to pay off in small ways, but we -- the British, I think, with a different system of government, have some advantages that we just certainly don't have.
BRATTON: Two thoughts. That the concern about terrorist-related intelligence is, based on the 9/11 experience, the cataclysmic potential of some of that activity, versus traditional crime would not be usually anywhere on that scale. However, the convergence in terms of treating them the same is reflected in where we're going with fusion centers around the country. Increasingly, many of them are all crime; that information relative to traditional crime is going into the same location where terror-specific information is also being analyzed, because the appreciation, particularly as -- we're in an evolving field here, that local information about what seems to be local crime may, in fact, increasingly have nexus to terrorist-related activities.
And we have seen case after case -- I was at a breakfast this morning with the former deputy commander of my terrorism operation in L.A., and just in the course of 10 minutes she related half a dozen instances where local crime information being analyzed led to terrorist-related types of investigations.
And so that that's where we're improving. And also the critical importance of the partnership between local law enforcement with the FBI, Homeland Security, in these fusion centers; inclusion rather than exclusion. And the recent report that just came out from Homeland Security that something along the line of 80 percent of the detected and thwarted terrorist-related activities -- which are relatively small, which Charlie has pointed out -- were the result of a citizen or police -- local police initial piece of information rather than the billions that we're spending on national and -- international intelligence.
So that there is strong support now. I believe Secretary Napolitano, certainly following on the heels of Secretary Chertoff, transcending a Republican administration into a Democratic administration, on this issue there is a wide support for the idea of partnership on this issue.
TEMPLE-RASTON: And how about you, Peter? Would you like to comment on that?
CLARKE: Yeah. There is a great difference between, if you like, ordinary, decent criminal intelligence and intelligence relating to terrorism in the U.K., because the statutory lead for counterterrorist intelligence sits with the security service, which means that the police investigator doesn't have the same freedom of action as he or she would do, as I say, in a normal, decent criminal case -- which means that from the very beginning of a case, there has to be extraordinarily close working between the owners of the intelligence, the security service, and the police. And this has been a feature particularly of the past 10 years, the way this has developed.
And if any of you want to really go into this, just look at the transcripts from the recent inquest in London into the 7/7 attacks. We will see that the case which is, if you like, the precursor to those attacks, the so-called fertilizer bomb plot the year before, there were 50 consecutive meetings, called Executive Liaison Group meetings, chaired by the national coordinator at the time, me, involving these security service and the police, where all the intelligence is put on the table, obviously in a very classified environment; but that means there are no shocks, no surprises, nothing that can derail the operation, and it is an entirely agreed, shared strategy.
And that has been a feature of what we've tried to do over the years and to make sure that the intelligence is properly handled, properly protected where it has to be, but also as much as possible is available evidentially to support the prosecutions, which I talked about earlier, which is so important in demonstrating what it is we're trying to do.
TEMPLE-RASTON: And in the United States we're not there yet.
CLARKE: I couldn't say that.
BRATTON: I don't think we are, but we are evolving and moving. And again, going back to Secretary Chertoff's time, that Charlie was involved in this, in terms of allowing local police into the room, sit at the table. And for a while we were "below the salt," the British expression, but eventually we've allowed the salt. And so we're not there yet. There's still a lot of tensions. And the heaven that you just described, where everybody puts it all on the table, I don't think, Charlie, we're there yet, but --
ALLEN: Not totally there, but it's night and day from where it was even three, four years ago. We do information sharing at federal, state and local. We have Ambassador McNamara here, who played a key role for the president in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He sort of helped us through a lot of issues and processes.
But we did a lot of it ourselves. And Secretary Chertoff, you know, he pushed me to get the intelligence out to the state and local, to do joint assessments with the FBI, to encourage the fusion centers to do assessments, and to also give the training down so that we were always mindful of privacy, civil rights, civil liberties as we do share information, and some of it very sensitive at times, down to the state and local levels.
TEMPLE-RASTON: Wonderful. Thank you so much for being here, gentlemen. Thank you. (Applause.)
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