New 9/11 Comm Co-Chair Report On Amn-Citizen Terrorists

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New 9/11 Comm Co-Chair Report On Amn-Citizen Terrorists

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New Report by 9/11 Comm Co-Chairs on Amn-Citizen Terrorists
Posted by solutions Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:22 pm as the Second Reply to John Karls' Original Proposal

Reading Liberally Editorial Comment =

9/11 Commission Co-Chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton have released a new report on how Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have shifted tactics to recruit American citizens to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. There follows below –

(1) a transcript of an interview last Sunday (9/12/2010) on Face the Nation of 9/11 Co-Chair Tom Kean and U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (the first and only Muslim elected to Congress); and

(2) the press release that accompanied the release of the report.

I recommend that the New Kean/Hamilton Report on Recruiting American Citizens As Terrorists be studied in addition to the materials released by the ACLU in connection with their lawsuits concerning American citizens on the U.S. “kill list” by drones in Yemen.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And on this anniversary weekend of 9/11, we’re going to talk a little bit about that and the state of the country today--Islam, terrorism and all of that. And we’re joined by Congressman Keith Ellison. He is the first Muslim member of Congress--took the oath of office with his hand on a Koran. He is in Minneapolis. And, we’re also going to talk with the cochairman of the 9/11 Commission Tom Kean. And, Governor Kean, I want to start with you because you headed that commission that looked in to 9/11 and tried to figure out why it happened and what we should do about it. And, last week, you and your co-chairman Lee Hamilton issued another report that I must say was pretty much overshadowed by the Koran-burning controversy. So I want to put the spotlight on that for a minute. Basically, you and Mister Hamilton concluded that we have failed to anticipate the real danger we face now from homegrown terrorists. You went on to say in the report that terrorists have found our Achilles heel. Just how serious is this and what do you actually mean by that?

TOM KEAN (Co-chairman, 9/11 Commission): Well, we think it’s very serious. And we think it’s a growing threat because the strategy has changed. It’s much more difficult for al Qaeda to maybe have a great big attack like 9/11, so they’re plotting smaller attacks. And they’re using non-traditional people to try to do them. So the best non-traditional people they can get frankly are American citizens--people with passports, people who can travel back and forth. People like the person who tried to blow up the bomb in Times Square. And they’re recruiting these people every day over the internet. They’re taking them to places not necessarily in Afghanistan, but Somalia or Yemen for training. And they’re trying to get them back into this country to do us harm. And we think that’s a real threat that, yeah, we’ve got to look at more seriously.

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well, what--what should we be doing that we’re not doing here?

TOM KEAN: Well--well, what we didn’t do is a lot of recommendation. We want to alert the country. We--we have a lot of things we can do such as making law enforcement at the local level more consistent, local law enforcement at the federal level, lot--lot of those things. But we’re going to come out later with some recommendations. What we figured in this report, the first thing we had to do was really try to alert the country and alert the federal government to what we consider a new and a very dangerous threat.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Ellison, as first Muslim to be elected to the Congress, what do you-what do you think about what Governor Kean is saying here? Because a lot of people say, well, we’ve got to be very careful when we start trying to deal with American citizens because their-you know their civil liberty is at stake here. And we have to be careful not to go too far. You’re a Muslim. What about this putting more attention on American citizens?

REPRESENTATIVE KEITH ELLISON (D-Minnesota): Well, I think that Governor Kean is right. I think that he is correct that al Qaeda and the transnational terrorists are trying to be innovative in the ways they could hurt our country. I think the--the question is not whether his analysis is correct, because I think it is. The real question is what do we do with the information that he has developed? I think the wrong direction is to sort of target discreet and insular minority groups like Muslims and sort of focus on that community in a strict law enforcement sense. Because, I think that could have a--a negative effect. I think the bright thing to do is, one, reach out to mosques and list some groups all across the country to have a relationship of trust and open communication because these good loyal Americans will be among the first to say, you know what, we found somebody who’s--who’s--we believe is suspicious. Two, we need to make sure that we stand for civil liberties so that we can deprive people like Anwar al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden of the claim that Muslims are poorly treated in America. The United States is not at war with Islam. The United States is a fair country. We know that there are occasions where people are not treated fairly but those things are not lawful. So we’ve got to stand on our tradition of civil liberties. The third thing that I want to say to Muslim communities across the country--talk to your kids. Talk--don’t leave people out there and understand that there are people trying to recruit your kids and so you’ve got to be engaged with them. You’ve got to talk with them and you’ve got to have open lines of communication with your children and with the law enforcement community. And there’s more things that we can do, but I think that the information is right. The question is, what do we do with it?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me--let me just ask you, every poll shows that the country seems to becoming more anti-Islam. We saw these demonstrations in New York about where to put that mosque. One in five Americans thinks that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Where is this coming from, Mister Ellison?

REPRESENTATIVE KEITH ELLISON: Well, you know, I think that one factor is technology. You know, anybody even an obscure little-known pastor like Terry Jones can--can do something incredibly inflammatory, get it on YouTube and all of a sudden he’s an international celebrity. That is one element. But then there’s another one. I think there is some--some anxiety and frustration in the country. There are some politicians who believe that it’s to their political advantage to identify scapegoats and try to turn Americans on Americans for their own political advantage by pandering to our worst instincts and fears. And then, I also think, you know, you can’t deny that, you know, the--the--the--the criminals and the murderers who did this thing to our citizens on 911, you know, they did--they did associate themselves with my faith, Islam. That’s unfortunate. Nothing they did is--is the Islam I know, or the overwhelming majority of the Muslims I know. But they click--they did make that connection. So a lot of Americans are just-they don’t know anything about Islam. I recommend that Americans go out and get with your churches and your synagogues, reach out to a mosque. Get to know people. And in my loc-you know, a few years ago when Ramadan was going on and Yom Kippur was going on, we got our congregations of Jews and Muslims together to break the fast.


REPRESENTATIVE KEITH ELLISON: I hope people around the country do that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask Governor Kean. Do you think because we mentioned the fellow down there that was wanting to go burn these Korans, he called it off, the secretary of defense called him, General Petraeus spoke out about this, a lot of people say he was just a fringe character and maybe they elevated him to another level when they did that. Do you think that they did the right thing, governor?

TOM KEAN: I think they felt they had to. But he is a fringe character, and he got blown up. But that’s not what this country is about. In fact, Osama bin Laden wants this. I mean that’s--his strategy is to get this war against Islam, not a war against Islam. The majority of Islam, vast majority Islam is all with us on this--on this fight, helping us in this fight. And--and this is not a country about hate. Never has been. And--and we’ve got to recognize that. And we’ve got to frankly deal with the majority of Islam in good faith and show that we’re willing to work with them as they’re willing to work with us to get rid of this bad element that did this terrible event on 9/11 and would like to hurt us again if they possibly could.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, governor, I just saw Congressman Ellison shaking his head. We have about twenty seconds in--in agreement with you--about twenty seconds left, Congressman, just a final thought.

REPRESENTATIVE KEITH ELLISON: A final thought the--we--is that I’m looking and talking with my colleagues about how we could perhaps pull together a bill to help study violent radicalization. We don’t know enough about it. And we’re operating on anecdotes. I think we need to move forward with Governor Kean’s recom--analysis and recommendation.


REPRESENTATIVE KEITH ELLISON: I commend him for his work.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Thank you so much both of you. We’ll be back with some final thoughts.

Bipartisan Policy Center Report Finds Homegrown Terrorism Presents Key Challenge for the United States
Kean and Hamilton cite diversification of terrorist threat since 9/11
Sep. 10, 2010

Washington, D.C. – On the day before the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) released a report, Assessing the Terrorist Threat, which details how the terrorist threat currently facing the United States has grown more complex and diverse since 2001. Under the leadership of former 9/11 Commission Chair and Vice Chair Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, NSPG members Peter Bergen and Dr. Bruce Hoffman authored the report which is based on interviews with a wide range of senior U.S. counterterrorism officials at the federal and local levels.

“The threat that the U.S. is facing today remains significant and dangerous, but has developed since the 9/11 Commission presented its report six long years ago,” said Congressman Hamilton. “The changing nature of the terrorist threat makes it necessary for America to constantly reexamine its counterterrorism assumptions and approaches. The level of threat posed by al-Qaeda and its allies is not fading into the past.”

Key findings of the report identify an increase in homegrown terrorists in the United States underscoring how much the threat has changed since September 11, 2001. Al-Qaeda leadership is becoming increasingly ‘Americanized’ and U.S.-based jihadist militants do not fit any particular “ethnic, economic, educational, or social profile,” according to the assessment.

“We are seeing more Americans turning on their country, going abroad and making common cause with terrorist groups,” said Dr. Bruce Hoffman, one of the report authors. “The array of perpetrators and the nature of their plots against America are remarkable and there is no single government agency responsible for deterring radicalization and terrorist recruitment. The terrorists may have found our Achilles heel – we have no way of dealing with this growing problem.”

“Al-Qaeda has made a strategic shift away from spectacular attacks, like 9/11, to less sophisticated, more frequent attacks,” said Dr. Stephen Flynn, a member of the NSPG, at today’s press conference. “The smaller-scale attacks are almost impossible for the national security and intelligence communities to detect and intercept.” As the attempted Christmas Day bombing in Detroit and foiled plot in New York’s Times Square illustrate, “the national security community, local law enforcement and the American public need to adapt to the increasingly domestic nature of the threat.”

“We are here to remember, but also look forward and reassess, reexamine and look at what the threat is today,” said Governor Kean. “The American people have lost their focus on the threat and while we’re not trying to make people panic, this report reminds us that we cannot be complacent,” said Congressman Hamilton.

The NSPG is composed of a distinguished bipartisan group of experts including former U.S. Secretary of Energy and U.S. Senator E. Spencer Abraham, Peter Bergen, Dr. Stephen Flynn, Dr. John Gannon, Dr. Bruce Hoffman, former Congressman Dave McCurdy, former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge, Frances Townsend, former U.S. Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh, former Congressman Jim Turner, and former Secretary of Agriculture and BPC Senior Fellow Dan Glickman. Michael Allen, formerly of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council, is the Executive Director.

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