May 27, 2011


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May 25, 2011 Wednesday

EVENT DATE: May 25, 2011








KING: Good morning. The Committee on Homeland Security this will come to order.

The committee is meeting today to hear testimony to examine the near-term and long-term consequences and benefits to the security of our homeland resulting from the successful killing of Osama bin Laden. I now recognize myself for an opening statement.

First of all, let me welcome everyone here this morning, and we especially thank our witnesses. We have an outstanding panel of witnesses, and actually look forward to their testimony.

I want to thank the ranking member, as always, for his assistance in this hearing.

My remarks brief this morning, but I believe this hearing is absolutely essential for a number of reasons. One, all of us can take great satisfaction and pride, quite frankly, in the killing of Osama bin Laden. I give the president tremendous credit for having done it. It took courage. It took basically ice water in his veins at the last moment to make that decision, and I give him tremendous credit for it.

The only concern I have is that too many, I think, of the American people somehow feel that now with bin Laden dead, and as great a victory as this was, and we can discuss how great it was, how significant it was, what the implications are, the fact is I believe too many people think that with bin Laden dead, somehow the war against terrorism is over, or the terrorist war against us is over, that this will significantly impact the war against us, and that somehow maybe we should step back.

Maybe we can let our guard down. Maybe we can relax. Maybe we can start cutting that on some of the programs that have kept us safe over the last 10 years. My own belief is that in the short-run the threat is probably greater than it was.

Long-term, there's no doubt that the death of bin Laden is extremely positive for so many different reasons. But in the short- run in particular, I think it's very likely to assume, and just looking at Al Qaida's own language, the fact is that they feel they have to not just avenge this, but they have to show the rest of the world, the rest of the Muslim world, the rest of the terror world, that they are viable, that they are vibrant as before, that they have not been taken down, and they have to have a dramatic showing.

And that to me would involve, obviously, an attack by Al Qaida or one of its franchise operations. My belief is that because of the many programs that have been instituted over the last nine, 10 years, it would be very difficult for Al Qaida to carry out another 9/11 type attack, attack from overseas into the United States, certainly nothing on the dimensions of the September 11th attacks.

But at the same time, starting several years ago, Al Qaida did begin recruiting in this country people under the radar screen. In addition to that, we've had those who are self-radicalized, those who are radicalized through the Internet.

KING: We've seen a series of cases, for instance, just in New York, Zazi, the subway bomber, who was totally under the radar screen, was taken to Afghanistan for training and came back to this country and came within hours of carrying out a massive attack on the New York City subway system.

We had Major Hasan, who was in a way self-radicalized through his dealings with al Awalki through the internet and what he carried out at Fort Hood in the fall of 2009 and then we had Shahzad, the Times Square subway bomber, again under the radar screen, an American citizen trained by the Pakistani Taliban, who came again, very close to a successful attack in Times Square.

So, with all of this, I think -- I look forward to the witnesses telling us exactly what they see, both the long-term and the short- term, what it means that bin Laden is no longer here, what it means as far as our defenses, where we should be looking to for the next attack. The type of attack it could be. The dimensions of that attack.

Also, the -- as far as the power structure in al Qaeda. Who is going to take over? Is there anyone who has the capability of having the type of geomagnetism that bin Laden had, where he could hold the various ethnic groups together and keep al Qaeda unified. Is there anyone who can step up to that? Will it be Zawahiri? Will it be someone else?

What is the position of, or the role of someone like al Awalki, who is outside the traditional al Qaeda structure? So anyway, these are all the questions that I look forward to, to hearing the answers to. I look forward to the insights of members of our panel, all of whom have long records of expertise and experience. So, I again, thank all the witnesses for being here.

I thank the members for having such a large turnout this morning. And with that, I yield to the gentleman from Mississippi, the Ranking Member, Mr. Thompson?

THOMPSON: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing and I join you in welcoming our panel of witnesses for it. Before we consider the risk of a terrorist attack following the death of bin Laden, I want to publicly add my voice to the many who have commended the president, the National Security Team, and our uniformed forces for successfully completing a mission that began over 10 years ago.

The success of this mission was made possible by the administration's efforts, reliable intelligence and a surgical use of force. For many, the killing of bin Laden has always been the ultimate goal of the war on terror. As the mastermind of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, he became the central focus of our policies.

Bin Laden became the personification of terrorism for us. We went to war in Afghanistan to eliminate bin Laden's training camps and base of operations. We went to war in Iraq because we were told that Saddam Hussein had some connection with bin Laden.

In the last 10 years, many of our policies at home and abroad have been based on forecasts and predictions about bin Laden. For many, the elimination of bin Laden will require a dramatic shift in thinking about and analyzing the terrorist threat.

In the last 10 years, we've seen the migration and mutation of the terrorist network and the terrorist threat. The terrorist network has moved beyond familiar borders, and operatives have become decentralized. At the time of his death, bin Laden remained a dangerous, charismatic figure, but his control was not absolute and his authority was not singular.

We cannot ignore the new challenges presented by his death. In every group, the death of a leader causes disarray and confusion among the followers. These periods of transition can last for weeks or years. When we consider the safety of our country, the question that matters most is; what will we do while the terrorists are in the throes of transition?

For fiscal year 2012, the answer is not encouraging. The DHS Appropriations Bill recently approved by the Republican controlled Appropriations Committees, cut the department's budget by more than $1 billion. Since bin Laden's death, we've learned that al Qaeda was targeting our cities and critical infrastructure.

I'm glad to see that our chairman acknowledged the cutting back of some of those desperately needed funds and I look forward to, at some point Mr. Chairman working with you on getting many of those funds restored based on this treasure trove of information that was collected at the site of the killing of bin Laden.

Last week, the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda allied groups struck an American armored vehicle transporting American government personnel. They claimed the attack was in retaliation for bin Laden's death. At a time when our adversaries are seeking opportunities to attack us, cuts in homeland security funding puts us in harm's way.

Bin Laden's death does not end the threat to this nation. In many ways, the picture has become more complex. Our focus must remain steady and our funding must match our focus. I look forward to his hearing and hearing from our witnesses today about the dynamic threat environment we now face.

Mr. Chair, I yield back.

KING: Thank you Congressman Thompson. Our first witness today is Congressman Lee Hamilton, former Congressman Lee Hamilton. I had the privilege of serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee with Congressman Hamilton during his extraordinary career.

He was Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and then everyone in the country knows of his outstanding service as Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission with Governor Keane.

He served on the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council and led the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He currently serves as Cochair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Security Preparedness Group. It's always been a privilege of mine to consider Lee Hamilton a friend and a colleague and I certainly welcome him here for his testimony this morning.

Thank you Chairman Hamilton.

HAMILTON: Thank you very much Chairman King and Ranking Member Thompson and of course, the other members of the committee. I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to be with you today. I really appreciated the leadership that the chairman and other members of this committee have shown on the whole question of the, the terrorist threat confronting the country.

I am deeply grateful for the sustained support coming from this committee in reforming our national security institutions. As the chairman mentioned, I am appearing today as the Cochair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Security Preparedness Group and very pleased indeed to be joined by two distinguished members of that group, Fran Townsend and Peter Bergen here at the witness table.

Significant progress has been made, of course, since 9/11 in protecting the homeland. And our country is undoubtedly safer and more secure. But it also remains the fact that a number of our key recommendations of the commission have not yet been implemented. The attacks on 9/11 demonstrated the teamwork and collaboration and effective communications at the site are critical.

We've made some movement towards establishing the unity of command. One person has to be in charge when you have a disaster strike. They have to make thousands of decisions very quickly and I have heard simply from too many community leaders and first responders across the nation that many communities, many regions still have not solved the problem of a unified command structure in the event of a disaster.

Likewise there has been some, but not sufficient progress in establishing interoperable communications for first responders. I know the chairman and others on this committee have been very, very good in calling the attention of the country to that. This is a no- brainer. The people at the site of a disaster, the key players, the police, the first aid people, the experts, all have to be able to communicate with one another.

And the government has to allocate an additional 10 megahertz of the radio spectrum to public safety to enhance the ability to communicate in a disaster. There have been improvements in transportation and security and border security, but transportation security technology still lags in its capability to screen passengers and baggage for concealed weapons and explosives.

Several attempted attacks over the past two years perpetrated by terrorists who could have been detected by U.S. Immigration Systems, demonstrated that a more streamline terrorist watch listing capability and improved information sharing among the intelligence agencies and immigration authorities, still have to be improved.

One area of significant progress is the deployment of the biometric entry system known as U.S-VISIT. But a biometric exit component to determine which foreign nationals have left the United States has not yet been deployed and I think if law enforcement and intelligence officials had known for certain in August of 2001 prior to the attack, that two of the 9/11 hijackers remained in the United States, the search for them could have taken on a greater urgency.

With respect to intelligence reform, the Director of National Intelligence has certainly made progress in several areas including increased information sharing, improved cooperation among the various agencies, but it's not clear that the DNI is the driving force of the intelligence community, that the 9/11 commission envisioned.

Some ambiguity still appears in the basic statutory structure over the DNI's authority with regard to budget and personnel. Strengthening his position in these areas would advance the unity of effort in intelligence. Whether that be done through legislation, or declarations from the president.

A major disappointment for all of us on the 9/11 commission has been the failure of the administration to empanel the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. This was a major recommendation of the commission, easily agreed to, unanimously by all members of the commission.

My information at this time is that the president has only nominated two members to serve on the five member board and neither has been confirmed by the Senate. I thank the Ranking Member Thompson and other members of the committee for the letter that was sent to the administration about the board's vacancies.

HAMILTON: I encourage the committee to push that in the months ahead. Another disappointment, of course, is the failure of this Congress to reform oversight of the intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security. This committee is well aware, better than almost anybody else, of the fractured oversight of DHS. I need not give the statistics to you.

It's an inefficient allocation of limited resources needed to secure our nation. And the massive department of the DHS will be much better integrated if there is integrated oversight. I know members of this committee have been helpful on this. I have some understanding of the difficulties of the problem and working it out.

But it is really a high priority and a national security interest that the oversight of homeland security be much more focused.

The capture and death of Osama bin Laden is the most significant achievement to date in our efforts to defeat Al Qaida. That work is the hard work, the cooperation, vigilance, the tenacity over a period of years, as you have both of you in your opening statements have acknowledged has been critical.

There's no question that his capture and death came about as a result of reforms that have recently been enacted in the federal government that yielded much closer collaboration and information sharing. And, of course, we now have a major new source of information that the intelligence community can analyze in great detail.

I think it's likely that the information that we get is even more important than the death of Osama bin Laden himself. Whether his death is a turning point in our fight against terrorism remains to be seen. You can kill a man; you cannot kill a symbol.

Also, Osama bin Laden is dead; Al Qaida is not. It's a network, not a hierarchy, as others have said. Over a period of years, it's been adaptive, it's been resilient, and his death is certainly a setback for Al Qaida, but likely not its demise.

Its affiliates and Al Qaida itself will almost certainly attempt to avenge his death; however, that attack will not necessarily occur soon. Al Qaida's capabilities, as the chairman noted, has implemented large-scale attacks, and its ability to implement large-scale attacks are less formidable than they were 10 years ago, but there isn't any doubt at all about Al Qaida's intent. They want to kill more Americans.

Al Qaida's been marked by rapid decentralization. The most significant threats to American security come from the affiliates of core Al Qaida, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Qaida elsewhere. Its influence is on the rise in South Asia, continues to extend into failing states like Yemen and Somalia.

In assessing threats to the homeland security, senior U.S. counterterrorism officials now call attention to Al Qaida's strategy of diversification, mounting attacks involving a wide variety of perpetrators of different national and ethnic backgrounds, making it very difficult to profile threats.

Most troubling is the pattern of increasing terrorist recruitment of American citizens and residents to act as lone wolves. There were two such attacks just last year or two, and it's very distressing that Americans seem to be playing an increasingly prominent role in Al Qaida's movements.

We know that individuals in the U.S. are engaging in self- radicalization, which is an alarming development. This process is often influenced by blogs and other online content advocating violent extremism. While there are methods to monitor some of this activity, it's simply impossible to know the inner thinking of every at-risk person. Thus, self-radicalization poses, I believe, a threat, a great threat to the United States.

The national security preparedness group will soon release their report with recommendations for improving our defenses to radicalization. That report has not yet been submitted to the full group, but it will be done soon, and I think it will be helpful, and I hope it will be helpful to you as you look at this problem.

Because Al Qaida and its affiliates will not give up, we cannot let our guard down. We will see new attempts and likely successful attacks. We must constantly assess our vulnerabilities and anticipate new lines of attack, not become complacent, remain vigilant and resolute. We've done a lot. We've done much. We've had a great deal of progress. But there's an awful lot more to do.

Thank you for inviting me to testify to this committee. And most importantly, thank you for the long-standing leadership of this committee on homeland security matters. Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Chairman Hamilton.

Our next witness is a longtime friend, a fellow New Yorker, whose mother is a constituent of mine, so I'll be very, very polite to you today, which I would be anyway, right, especially with your mother watching.

Very seriously, Frances Townsend is a career federal prosecutor with a very distinguished record in the field of counterterrorism in several administrations, not just in the Justice Department, but in the Coast Guard and in the White House, as President George Bush's principal counterterrorism adviser.

She's currently the senior vice president of MacAndrews & Forbes Holding, is a national security contributor and analyst, and she serves on the president's Intelligence Advisory Board.

And, Fran, it's great to have you here today, and thank you for all your service. And I certainly look forward to your testimony. Thank you.

TOWNSEND: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Thompson and members of the committee. Thank you very much for inviting me here today.

Before I begin to address the topic at hand, it seems to me that though we're discussing today threats to the United States from terror, the impact of natural disasters like that in Missouri have captured our hearts and prayers, and I know that we all think, pray for the victims, for the families and for the missing.

I have to say it's a special privilege for me to be here with you all today. Like many who devoted the substantial part of their professional lives to the hunt -- in the hunt for bin Laden and to bring him to justice, it is especially satisfying to be with you to consider now the threats we face in a world rid of him.

In discussing the threat we face, we must consider the role bin Laden played. Bin Laden was at the heart of what counterterrorism professionals refer to as the Al Qaida core. Bin Laden was the father, the founder and ideological officer. He was, as the name of the organization suggests, the base.

Our understanding of bin Laden's role was imperfect and evolved over time. While he was always viewed as a charismatic, inspirational figure, key to recruitment, fund-raising, ideology and leadership, the U.S. view of his operational role was unclear.

Bin Laden inspired loyalty from affiliates like Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, who swore allegiance, or bayat, to him. And he had a direct hand in cases like the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings and September 11th.

For years after 9/11, it was believed he played a less active role until, of course, last year, when he seemed to have had a more direct role in the summer 2010 threat in Europe.

Since the raid on the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, public reports indicate bin Laden has played a more -- had played a more active operational role, encouraging attacks against the United States and targeting Americans worldwide.

There have been warnings about attack plans against railways, reports of a potential attack against oil tankers, and we should expect more such warnings from the government in the coming days. But we should understand many of these targets were aspirational. They were being considered.

And there have been past attacks against rail in London and in Madrid, and, of course, the Al Qaida attack against the NB Lindbergh, so that such plans were being considered and discussed is not surprising.

But that bin Laden played an active operational role makes his sudden absence from Al Qaida more devastating for them. We know now that bin Laden was focused on attacking the United States, so his death is not only justice for the victims of September 11th, the USS Cole and East Africa bombings. America is safer because he is dead.

And so the question is what remains? I break it down, basically, into two categories. Who is a threat to us? And second, where does that threat emanate from?

First, the who. There are three main categories in my mind of food directly threatens the United States. First, there are the remnants of the Al Qaida core; second, the Al Qaida affiliates; and then, last, the other extremist groups.

First, what remains of the Al Qaida core? Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's deputy; recently, we've heard again of Saif al-Adel, who has resurfaced. But Al Qaida has failed to name a new leader, because there's clearly an internal power struggle.

There was no agreed-upon succession plan. There's no one of bin Laden's stature to inspire and guide operations" disputes. The Al Qaida core without bin Laden is badly weakened. The chaos at the top of Al Qaida is an important targeting opportunity for the United States.

The second category of who is perhaps more immediately dangerous to the United States. The second who are the Al Qaida affiliates, and most importantly, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, headed by the American born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki.

Intelligence and counterterrorism officials have rightly described Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, as the most immediate threat to the United States homeland. AQAP has both the intent to attack and has demonstrated some capability.

AQAP who was behind the Nidal Hasan Fort Hood event, the attempted Christmas Day underwear bomber, and the recent computer cartridges attempt.

Awlaki is a serious threat. Unlike Zawahiri, he is a charismatic and inspirational leader. He uses the Internet and tapes lectures to recruit and radicalize worldwide.

There are -- and there are other affiliates that I won't get into in depth, the one in North Africa, those in Somalia and Asia. But AQAP poses the most immediate threat.

The third category of who are other extremist groups, the Pakistan Taliban, which was responsible for the training of the Times Square bomber. Mullah Omar and the Quetta Shura remain our enemy and a direct threat.

We must be careful not to write off radical groups that appear only regionally or locally focused, as was the initial belief of the Pakistan Taliban.

Lashkar-e-Taibi, LeT, which is behind the Mumbai attack, is currently the subject of the trial in Chicago right now. And the Haqqani Network in the Pakistan tribal areas continues to target and kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Last among these other groups, we must not forget Hezbollah. Although a Shiite extremist group, they remained bankrolled by Iran and prior to September 11 were responsible for killing more Americans than any other terror group. They are armed, militarily capable, deployed worldwide, and remain a significant threat.

The next category that I mentioned is the where the threat emanates from. Again, I will talk about three concerns -- first, uncover and or weakly governed states or places; threats inside the United States; and third, complacency.

First, ungoverned or weakly governed states and places. That was Afghanistan of the 1990s, where Al Qaida planned and trained. Today we see hotspots in Somalia, along the Mali and Mauritania border, in Yemen and in Pakistan.

I know from my own experience both Yemen and Pakistan are frustrating and at times duplicitous partners, but events this week require that I raise a note of caution. The sophisticated Pakistan Taliban attack on the Karachi Naval air base suggests a weaker and more humiliated Pakistan military than was previously thought.

We must remember that Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal, and as both President Obama and President Bush have said, the greatest threat to our security is a terrorist group like the Pakistan Taliban with a nuclear weapon.

While it is right that we reevaluate our bilateral relationship with Pakistan, especially given the testimony this week in the Chicago case that shows a link between the Pakistani intelligence service and -- and the LeT terror group, we must carefully consider what are the alternatives and consequences to the partnership with Pakistan.

There's another weakly governed space I must -- I must mention, though it is not a traditional geographic space. You cannot find it on a map. That is cyberspace and the Internet.

TOWNSEND: For all the enormous good as the Internet, Al Qaida and other terrorist groups have learned to use it to their advantage to recruit, to train, to radicalize and to fund-raise. Every plot we uncovered during my time in government, computers were used. And just by way of example, (inaudible) communicated via the Internet with the Fort Hood shooter. And bin Laden had the computers in his compound.

The U.S. has tremendous capability and a lot of important work has been done in this area across both the Bush and Obama administrations. Our soldiers and counterterrorism professionals know this is a new, 21st century battlefield, just as any other geography where we fight. It is important that Congress and the American people understand we are fighting there, too. The second where (ph) is here inside the U.S. As the U.S. has strengthened its border screening, al-Qaida has made it a priority to recruit Americans and permanent residents who more easily cross our borders. This threat manifests itself with single individuals who attempt attack -- again, like Fort Hood, Times Square and Christmas Day attacks -- or in small groups, like the Zazi Najibullah (sic) case, against the New York City subway with backpack bombs.

The last -- the last where does -- where does (inaudible) come from doesn't fit easily into any of these categories, but it is equally pernicious and dangerous, and that is the threat of complacency.

Killing bin Laden was a difficult and courageous decision by President Obama, and an enormous success for the nation. But the global war on terror is by no means over.

Regardless of what you call it, the fight continues because our enemies continue. We won an important and decisive battle, but the threat remains.

We have seized the momentum, but we must not think this means we can reduce the investments that produced this success. Our intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies need the budget and legal authorities to succeed. There's an important vote today in the Senate, extending the Patriot Act. And while I believe it should be -- have been permanently extended, it must be extended for the next four years.

The IDENT database should be properly funded. We must prevent terrorists from getting nuclear or other biological weapon, and that means we must ensure we have the ability to respond by maintaining the strategic national stockpile and our other unique operational capabilities. In this time of continued financial crisis, there will be pressure to fund -- to find cuts (ph). My caution to you is that all cuts are not equal. Capability is built over time, and what we've found in the -- in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 is that it cannot be quickly reacquired in a crisis. President Obama's courageous decision to authorize the bin Laden raid was enabled by an intelligence community whose budget and capability was doubled over the last decade, and the mission was executed by warriors better resourced and trained over the last 10 years. You get what you pay for. And to use the phrase from the MasterCard commercial, the killing of bin Laden was priceless. It was the accomplishment of a nation and a moment of national pride. We unequivocally told the world, no matter how difficult the task, nor how long the journey, we will never forget.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the privilege to testify today, and I thank the American people for the privilege of serving them for more than 20 years.

KING: Our next witness is Peter Bergen, who I assume is the only one in this room who has actually gone face-to-face with bin Laden. You wrote the -- I think you're the first Western broadcaster (inaudible) interview him, and you wrote the book, The Osama bin Laden I Know, and also The Longest War. Obviously, you have a tremendous depth of inside knowledge and a career of expertise. And I look forward to your testimony today, as always. And thank you for, once again, being back before the committee.

BERGEN: Thank you, Chairman King.

Thank you, Ranking Member Thompson.

Thank you to the members of the committee for the privilege of testifying here.

The death of Osama bin Laden is hard to undervalue, as Representative Hamilton and Fran Townsend have already made clear.

But just to amplify what they said, when you join al-Qaida, you don't swear an oath of allegiance to al-Qaida or al-Qaidism. You swear a personal oath of allegiance to bin Laden himself.

There are many differences between al-Qaida and the Nazi party, but there is one similarity. When you join the Nazi party, you didn't swear an oath of allegiance to Nazism. You swore a personal oath of fealty to Adolf Hitler. And when Adolf Hitler died, Nazism essentially died with him. Now I'm not going to make the claim that al-Qaida is going to die with the death of bin Laden, or al-Qaidism or Bin Ladenism or whatever you want to call it. But this -- you cannot underestimate how important this is.

In 1988, bin Laden and a bunch of about a dozen other guys founded al-Qaida. And it was, of course, bin Laden's idea to attack the United States on 9/11. He's been the founder of this group throughout its history. He's been the leader of the group throughout its history, and he's the intellectual author of the 9/11 attacks. It was, after all, against quite a lot of internal advice and dissent he pushed the idea of attacking the United States. We now know from documents recovered and from Representative Hamilton's work on the 9/11 commission that there were plenty of people in al-Qaida who said actually attacking the United States is going to be pretty counterproductive, and it turned out to be very counterproductive.

And yet, bin Laden was able -- because he enjoyed what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational commander of 9/11 called, in testimony he put in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial, he pointed out that when bin Laden decided something, and 98 percent of the Shura Council of al-Qaida was against him, it was bin Laden's way or the highway.

So take this guy out of the equation, you -- this is a very big -- very damaging for al-Qaida's core. Who can replace him? Representative King suggested we talk a little bit about that. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two is, of course, his deputy. But as Fran Townsend pointed out, there is no official succession plan. According to reporting that I did for CNN, there is an interim leader of al- Qaida. Fran also mentioned him: Saif al-Adel. He's a former colonel in the Egyptian Special Forces. Al-Qaida recognizes that it's kind of embarrassing that they haven't appointed a succession -- a leader. And so there is an interim person to take over, perhaps to grease the skids for him and al-Zawahiri, who is also an Egyptian, to take over the organization. But, in a way, the best thing that could happen for United States and for the civilized world is for Ayman al-Zawahiri to take over al-Qaida, because he'd run what remains of the organization into the ground. If you remember Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death in '06, the people who replaced him, heading al-Qaida in Iraq, were nowhere near as potent. And al-Qaida in Iraq basically ceased being an effective insurgent organization while retaining some capabilities today.

So the death of bin Laden is, you know, we just want to underline how important it is.

A second point which hasn't been mentioned hitherto is the Arab Spring, because if al-Qaida was a huge nail in the death of -- in the -- in the -- in the coffin of al-Qaida, the organization, the Arab Spring is a massive nail in the coffin of al-Qaida, the ideology. Al- Qaida, the ideology, was already losing steam before the Arab Spring. Support for bin Laden, al-Qaida and suicide bombing has been cratering around the Muslim world, for the very good reason that Muslims have noticed that most of the victims of the al-Qaida allies have been Muslims themselves, which is not impressive for groups to position themselves as the defender of Islam.

But the Arab Spring underlines this -- the -- this losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world that's been going on for some period of time.

One very striking thing to me is we haven't seen a single picture of bin Laden being carried by the vertices (ph) in Cairo or Benghazi or any other city in the Middle East.

We haven't seen a single American flag burning, which was so pro forma in that part of the world. We haven't seen a single Israeli flag burning. Al-Qaida's foot soldiers' ideas and their hope for outcomes are just not part of the conversation. That said -- and these are all very, very good pieces of news that we should, you know, we shouldn't look a gift horse in the face, in a sense -- threats do remain. And I think that Fran has already mentioned al-Qaida and Arabian Peninsula. I'm not going to go over that same territory. But I think the death of bin Laden doesn't really affect the operations of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. I don't think it really affects the operations of al-Shabaab. I don't think it really affects the operations of al-Qaida in Iraq. And I don't think it really affects the operations of al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb.

And, you know, these groups don't have -- most of them, absent al-Qaida Arabian Peninsula, don't have huge capabilities. Al-Shabaab has been able to attack in Uganda and also in Denmark, so it's showing validity (ph) of (inaudible) operations. Al-Qaida in Iraq had some role, it looks like, in the Glasgow airport attack, and also the attacks on the American-owned hotels in Iraq -- in Jordan in 2005.

But the point is that these groups have been constrained in their ability to attack the American homeland. Just my final point, because I've run out of time, the New America Foundation and Maxwell School at Syracuse University have looked at 180 jihadist terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11. And there are some really strikingly good news and some bad news in it, in the -- in this -- in this analysis. (Inaudible) 17 Americans have been killed by have (ph) jihadist terrorists since 9/11, which is a pretty striking number, given the kind of fears we had after 9/11. Not one of the cases we looked at involved chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, also kind of a strikingly good finding, given the fears we had of that after 9/11.

That said, you know, we've had some pretty serious near-misses. The chairman mentioned Najibullah Zazi. We had Faisal Shahzad. We had Abdulmutallab. And so these groups retain, you know, some capabilities.

And one final point on all this: the cases -- the cases we looked at really spiked in 2009 and 2010. We found 76 cases out of 180. And just to end on a sort of optimistic note, in the first half of 2011, there's been a rather dramatic dip in the number of cases. So we've only had six this year. So the question before the committee, and, in fact, before the nation, is was 2009 and 2010 sort of an outlier? Or was it part of a pattern? And I think that's still very much an open question, but we've seen some good news this year. Thank you very much, Chairman.

KING: Thank you, Mr. Bergen.

Our next witness is Evan Kohlmann. He's served as an expert witness on al-Qaida to the Department of Defense in the Military Commission proceedings. He's an international terrorism consultant. He's authored Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe, and he's the founder and senior partner of Flashpoint Global Partners, a New York-based security consulting firm, and appears often on television as a terrorism analyst.

Mr. Kohlmann, I welcome you to the committee for the first time, and look forward to your testimony.

KOHLMANN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you also to Ranking Member Thompson and to the rest of the committee for having me here today.

I'd like to start off with kind of beginning at the very beginning. And over the last decade, one of the central pillars of U.S. counterterrorism policy has been to aggressively target al- Qaida's senior leadership, as you can see right there, in their long- time sanctuary region in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As President Obama explained on television in 2009, this is the heart of it. This is where bin Laden is. It's from here that you see attacks launched not just against the United States, but against London, against Bali, against a whole host of countries. On May 1st, that mission culminated in the now-successful killing of bin Laden at a hideout in Abbottabad. Were we still stuck in October of 2001, this might be the end of the narrative. However, much has changed in the world since those early days of the battle against al-Qaida. The gaps in al-Qaida's central leadership, created by the death of former al- Qaida military chief, Abu Hafs al-Masri and other luminaries, have been filled by new, younger figures. With the blessings of bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, regional al-Qaida leaderships have emerged in critical locations, such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and North Africa. Meanwhile, a new generation of homegrown, lone wolf style jihadists has emerged, including many U.S. and European nationals who may lack the military skills to plan the next 9/11, but whose passion for violence and bloodshed can, nonetheless, have deadly consequences.

To understand what the future of al-Qaida will now be one must first assess the immediate reactions to the death of their revered former leader, among its most diehard supporters. And what becomes obvious from the internal discussions taking place right now, is that the sudden word of bin Laden's death, came as a nasty shock to his followers.

One of the most, one of most disturbing parts of all of this was the wealth of intelligence that was recovered from bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad. One of the most credible and respected users on al-Qaida's top-tier Shamuk al-Islam discussion forum, Yaman Mukhadab posted a warning to fellow jihadists advising that, quote, "these are the most dangerous 72 hours in the struggle of al-Qaida with the Zionists and crusaders in the history of the Jihadi struggle."

He cautioned, it is possible that America has infiltrated mujahedeen communications and will seek to unveil the masterminds behind big terrorist operations. As far as I see it, any group of mujahedeen that are assigned to an operation should go forward and execute it without hesitation or delay and to avoid completely attempting to communicate with anyone.

Unfortunately the sense of melancholy and panic that was brewing in the hearts of al-Qaida supporters and followers was soon swamped by a tidal wave of rage, especially after images of crowds of jubilant Americans were televised around the world as they celebrated at Ground Zero and outside of the White House.

One user on another al-Qaida web forum, Ta'er Muhajir, posted an open message addressed to those to, quote "you who dance in front of the White House, we too will start to dance the next time we hear about a massacre that befalls you, just as we dances when your corpses were spread across the Pentagon and the World Trade Center."

In another message titled, quote "Advice and Guidance for the Lions Launching Attacks in the Land of America", another user, Azmarai (ph), we aren't merely seeking to kill a soldier or an American civilian here or there, as this doesn't change anything. Our goal is bigger than that. Like our Sheikh Osama ordered us in his message, it is critical to continue Jihadi operations, both against the United States military and economy. Their economic destruction is ongoing, but it requires more attacks and for the young men to strike at the strategic points of the American economy.

I now turn to the issue of al-Qaida's remaining central leadership figures and you'll see a chart up there of those who are still left post the death of bin Laden. And of course with bin Laden now gone, the question naturally turns to; who will be selected to replace his now vacant position as the overall commander of al-Qaida?

Though the identity of that leader, that new leader, remains still uncertain, the far most likely candidate as indicated on the chart here, is al-Qaida's present Deputy Commander Dr. Ayman al- Zawahiri. Al-Zawahiri who merged his Egyptian Islamist Jihadi faction with al-Qaida in 1998, has long stood alongside bin Laden as his closed advisor. Al-Zawahiri has both played key rolls in operational -- excuse me -- played a key role in operationally organizing and overseeing international terrorist attacks and has also simultaneously spearheaded al-Qaida media efforts.

As far as supporters chatting on top-tier al-Qaida web forums, there simply has been no serious discussion of any potential bin Laden successors, other than Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Qaida's online constituents are so taken with the idea that al-Zawahiri will be the next leader of al-Qaida, that they have taken to casually referring to the group as Jund (ph) Ayman, or the soldiers of Ayman.

Former user, excuse me, forum user Moheb Royat al-Rahman (ph) insisted our Sheikh Osama, may Allah have mercy on him, is our Sheikh Ayman and our Sheikh Ayman is our Sheikh Osama. There is also the question of al-Qaida's regional affiliates. Faced with the resounding defeat on the peaks of Tora Bora in late 2001, a group of high ranking al-Qaida commanders decided to embrace the development of a more diffuse and self-sufficient network of international operatives.

Al-Qaida's then official website acknowledged that it was time for a new phase in evolution. Quote, "the al-Qaida organization has adopted a strategy in its war with the Americans, based on expanding the battlefield and exhausting the enemy. The more diversified and distant the areas in which the operations take place, the more exhausting it becomes for the enemy. The more he needs to stretch his resources and the more he becomes terrified."

By mid 2004, nacent al-Qaida franchise organizations were already well ensconced in both Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Today, similar al-Qaida franchises have expanded their reach even farther, into Indonesia, Yemen, Algeria, Somalia, Lebanon and the Palestinian territory.

These upstart regional branches are capable of operating basically independently of al-Qaida's central leadership in Afghanistan. The growing affiliates actions often have more expansive ambitions or just as grandiose as those of bin Laden himself. While al-Qaida's regional efforts in Iraq and Saudi Arabia may have suffered debilitating setbacks in recent years, that is not the case in Yemen where a growing al-Qaida branch known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has demonstrated its ability to launch repeated and sophisticated attacks targeting U.S. soil.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of AQAP's interest in launching attacks against the United States, is their obsession with conceiving plots aimed at causing catastrophic damage to the American economy. In early 2008, AQAP published an approving interview with a most wanted Saudi al-Qaida suspect, who endorsed the idea of striking at oil resources, petroleum resources.

He explained, if the enemy's interest in the Arabian Peninsula were stricken and its supply of oil was cut off and the oil refineries were out of order, this would cause the enemy to collapse and he not merely withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, but he would face total collapse. If he were struck hard from various places, then he would scatter and turn around and flee forlornly from the land of the Muslims.

Given the high profile role that AQAP has played in masterminding not only the underwear bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab, but also more recently a cargo bomb plot, aimed at the United States, AQAP's passionate interest in launching strategic attacks aimed at devastating the U.S. economy can be ignored only at our own peril.

It is also a telling reminder of how, thanks to the new affiliate network of global franchises, the underlying al-Qaida terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland is in some ways unchanged by the death of Osama bin Laden.

Thank you very much.

KING: I thank all witnesses for their testimony and I will start off the questioning. I guess Mr. Bergen, Mr. Kohlmann first, both of you mentioned al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, they are the one -- they are the one franchise which has shown the most interest in attacking the United States, attacking the homeland. And we also have al-Shabab which has recruited at least three dozen Americans.

I've heard reports, can you confirm it at all, that the possibility of a linkup between AQAP and al-Shabab and using those combined facilities to attack the mainland, attack the homeland?

KOHLMANN: Yes, we do have evidence that both al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and Shabab mujahedeen in Somalia are in communication with each other. The communications in fact are not necessarily even secret. About a year and a half ago, Anwar al- Awlaki, the infamous fugitive, Yemeni-American cleric who is serving as a spiritual advisor to AQAP, engaged in an open exchange of letters over the web with Shabab mujahedeen.

Endorsing their struggle, offering them advice and support. The other thing is that if you pay attention to propaganda put out by AQAP in Yemen, you'll notice that a disturbing number of articles and interviews published in their magazines, be it in English, be it in Arabic or other languages, are actually about Somalia, are about Shabab or about the need to link up.

And what they've discussed is, is the idea of actually taking control of the strait leading into the Red Sea, controlling the strait on the Horn of Africa side in the hands of Shabab and the other side controlled by AQAP and shutting off shipping through that channel. That may be a grandiose objective, but it gives you an idea of how they see them working together in a partnership in the future.

KING: And the fact that you would have American citizens in al- Shabab, would also give them, I believe more entry into the United States.

KOHLMANN: That's correct. and, and there are numerous Americans now in both groups. There's Samir Khan, a former resident of Charlotte, North Carolina and of New York, New York who is currently serving as a media advisor to al-Qaida in Yemen who is the editor behind their infamous Inspire Magazine. In Somalia, you have individuals such as Omar Hammami, the former Alabama native who has gone over and not only is providing advice to Shabab, but is actually a leader of Shabab.

In fact, appeared on camera just in the past few days at a Shabab rally titled "We Are All Osama", giving a speech in English indicating that Shabab would be at the forefront of trying to carry out vengeance attacks in the name of bin Laden, against the United States.

KING: Mr. Bergen? Do you have any comments?

BERGEN: I would give a minor caveat to that. The Americans who have gone to Somalia to fight, a lot of them have died. It's very dangerous over there. Secondly, they are very well known to the American government and some of the gentleman that Mr. Kohlmann just mentioned are very well known.

I think it is quite unlikely that they'd come to the United States. What is much more plausible is that they might mount an operation on an American target overseas, say in Kenya. It's a lot, lot easier to do. And you don't have the same set of problems about coming in, the no-fly list and other things you'd face in this country.

KING: OK. I have a question for Congressman Hamilton and also Mr. Townsend. On the so-called treasure trove -- not so-called, this treasure trove of intelligence that's been gathered, you know, we're an instant gratification society and virtually the day after the intelligence was found, people were asking, what did we find? What have we learned?

Based on your experience with the 9/11 commission and between your experience in the White House, how long do you think it will take us to have any real analysis of the intelligence that was gathered? Considering, I think it's well over a million pieces of intelligence. How long that would take to get a real analysis of that? And where will that lead?

TOWNSEND: Mr. Chairman, first you've got to look at what is the total amount of material.

Let's take out any analysis related to the pornography that was found and -- and...


... by the way, not a surprising find. Not unique to seizures against raids of Taliban and al Qaida hideouts in Afghanistan. So it's not at all shocking to me. But it will take up a lot of -- a lot of space in terms of the material.

When you look at then what's remaining, they've got a 24/7, my understanding, capability of sort of going, triaging it, if you will, and you're already seeing some of the things.

What they are going to look for are, first and foremost, potential plots, and they'll act against those immediately, not waiting to complete the analysis; second, locational data for high- value targets, to take advantage of what may be in there, but perishable; and then sort of a broader understanding about the organization, how they communicate, and how they operate.

This is going to be an ongoing process, but I -- I think the one thing we ought to take confidence in if they want to wait until they complete it to act on it. They will act on it as they reveal the material.

KING: Chairman Hamilton?

HAMILTON: (Inaudible) all odds, the most important thing is to identify imminent threats to the United States and our allies. So you want to go through the material quickly to see if you can identify immediate threats. I suspect that process has been pretty well completed.

Beyond that, of course, intelligence is -- is a very tedious business. And you look for bits of information from thousands of sources and try to put that information together. That does take time, not just a matter of hours or days, but it takes months and even years to do it. So it's an extremely difficult process and, of course, all of this is in foreign language and all the rest of it.

I can't predict for you how long it will be before we get benefits from the information that we have. And you have to keep in mind that all of the information you want is never in a single source. That is, you have to take this information and compare it with information from other sources. And that takes time, too.

So it's a trove, it's enormous treasure for us. Will it benefit us? Almost certainly, the answer to that is yes. How quickly? I have no idea how quickly it would be, but I think it's -- it's a great find and a kind of a benefit that perhaps we did not anticipate when we went in to get Osama bin Laden.

KING: Thank you, Chairman Hamilton.

I recognize the ranking member for -- recognize the ranking member, Mr. Thompson.

THOMPSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'd like unanimous consent to enter into the record the 2011 grant program funding summary for the House Homeland Security Full Committee.

KING: Without objection, so ordered.

THOMPSON: Again, we have a wonderful panel, tremendous experience. I'd like to kind of put a softball question on you and see how you come back with it.

Given what you know that we faced since the death of bin Laden as well as before, are there some things that you think that we as members of Congress ought to do that we are not doing to keep the threat to the homeland to a minimum?

And I'll start with you, Congressman.

HAMILTON: We always have to be careful when somebody says they're throwing you a softball question.


It almost invariably means it's going to be hard to answer.

Well, look, I -- I go back to the basics here. I don't think the homeland security agenda is radically changed because of what Osama bin Laden -- his death. We still have items that we know we must deal with in homeland security that we have not dealt with.

And they've been on the agenda for 10 years, and I've mentioned the radio spectrum issue, the ability to communicate, the ability of have unity of command. The Congress has to get its act together in both intelligence and homeland security.

You folks are part of the problem, because you haven't put your act together with regard to homeland security oversight and with regard to intelligence oversight.

So rather than looking far away at a lot of things were trying to come up with new ideas as a result of this dramatic success, I think you have to kind of go back -- back to the basics that have been on the agenda for quite a long period of time.

And I do think what the chairman said in his opening statement, and I think several of the witnesses mentioned, is terribly important. We're 10 years now after 9/11. The American people have moved on to all kinds of other interests and focuses, and so there is a kind of the complacency and a lack of urgency that sets in.

What can members of Congress do? I think members of Congress can emphasize to their constituents again and again that this is still a very serious threat to the United States. And we must not become complacent. These people will find a way to attack us.

I have very little doubt that we will be attacked again in the future. We hope it not. We've been very fortunate. Maybe more than fortunate, we've been very good at protecting ourselves. But the threat is still there.

So what can you do? You can keep people reminded of the fact that this thread is still alive.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

Ms. Townsend?

TOWNSEND: Congressman, I appreciate the question, and I'm -- I'm going to give you three specific things that I think are available for you all to really help with. They're not you, but we haven't adequately addressed them.

What do we know about Al Qaida's targeting? They are obsessed with the transportation sector of our -- section of our infrastructure. We've not done enough when it comes to rail security. We still don't have 100 percent of cargo screening, despite the threat with the computer cartridges.

And so renewed emphasis and investment on transportation security, including rail and cargo and infrastructure generally, is very important.

Second, it's about technology. You heard me talk about the need for both the government investigators and intelligence to have the resources, the capability that they need, not to keep up with the bad guys, but to be ahead of them.

And oftentimes, even when they had the technology, the legal authority to actually use it effectively lagged behind. And, of course, Congress can help with that. And I would re-emphasize Congressman Hamilton, the need for bandwidth for first responders.

And then, last is the only people who can really effectively address what we call the low probability, high consequence event, radiological, nuclear, biological, is the federal government. I worry because we've talked about it, but not seen an attack, that we haven't done enough.

I mean, I think this is one of the we don't want to think about it because of the horrible consequences, but in fact we know from their own statements, they are committed to an anthrax capability. They are committed to obtaining nuclear.

And I worry, 10 years after 9/11, that the resources and commitment, whether it's the strategic national stockpile or other such programs that help prevent, detect to respond to such things, are inadequate.

KING: Mr. Bergen?

BERGEN: I would just say that I think it's important for the committee to communicate to the American people that the threat is not just coming from Al Qaida. And when I say "the threat," I mean the threat to the domestic American homeland.

Pakistani Taliban recruited and trained Faisal Shahzad. The Islamic Jihad Union, which is sort of an Uzbek group, recruited guys to attack Ramstein Air Force Base in 2007. They accumulated 1,600 pounds of hydrogen peroxide, enough to make a lot of very serious and large bombs.

Lashkar-e-Taibi sought out American and Jewish targets in Mumbai in 2008, and the group by the initials of HuJI, Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, recruited an American citizen, David Headley, who's on trial in Chicago right now, to attack a Danish newspaper in 2009.

So one of the man's most toxic legacies is his ability to communicate his ideas to groups that don't call themselves Al Qaida at all, but are now operating in an Al Qaida-like manner. I think that's an important thing for us to -- to take away from this hearing.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

Mr. Kohlmann?

KOHLMANN: Thank you, sir. I think that law enforcement in this country have made tremendous leaps and bounds in terms of their evolution since 9/11. But the FBI and the Department of Justice are still grappling with some issues relating to virtual sanctuaries.

We've gone after Al Qaida's in their physical sanctuaries in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, but right now there are virtual sanctuaries for Al Qaida on the Internet, where Al Qaida is able to put bomb-making instructions, recruit people, communicate with each other out of the view of the American public.

What people most realize is that top-tier Al Qaida members in Afghanistan on the front line are chatting with each other over social networking forums that are hosted in Western countries by major corporations. And that can't go on.

And so I think one of the roles that the U.S. Congress can play is, number one, to put pressure on law enforcement to continue to reform itself, to continue to acquire high tech tools which will put the FBI one step ahead of cyber jihadists.

And I think also very importantly is to put pressure on the private corporations that are serving as the unwitting host for this material.

Obviously, YouTube and Facebook don't want to have anything to do with Al Qaida, but I think it's time that both these companies, along with hosts of others that are responsible for hosting Al Qaida material, make more of an effort than simply try to rely on volunteer efforts by people who are opposed to the message of Al Qaida, which is what they're doing right now.

It's time that these companies take the responsibility of making sure that their resources are not being misused to recruit people like Faisal Shahzad, like Umar Abdulmutallab, and push them to join Al Qaida.

THOMPSON: Thank you very much. You hit the softball.

I'd like, Mr. Chairman, unanimous consent that Mr. Green, former member of the committee, be allowed to sit for this hearing.

KING: Mr. Thompson, obviously, I would not object, but we are considering charging Mr. Green rent for all the time he spends with us.


I recognize the gentleman from Texas, the chairman of the subcommittee on oversight, Mr. McCaul.

MCCAUL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And I'd like to first take this moment just to publicly commend the Navy SEALs, the intelligence community, particularly analysts in both NSA and CIA, for a job well done in bringing him to justice. They are really the unsung heroes whose names and faces the American people may never know.

With that, this hearing that for us is the impact of Al Qaida after the killing of Osama bin Laden, there is a debate going on as to where he was located. Was he in the cave? Was he operational? Was he just a figurehead? Most people thought he was more of an inspiration a figurehead. That -- from what I've seen, that -- that debate may be changing somewhat.

There were 27 terror plots over the last two years, and I think my first question is of those 27, how many of those do you believe may have been inspired by those like al-Awlaki, who inspired Major Hasan just north of my district at Fort Hood, and other franchise operations versus the bin Laden operation?

MCCAUL: We know with the Predator drones that the command-and- control structure was greatly decentralized and damaged.

So, with that, to me, that goes to the core of the question, if we analyze the last two-year terror plots, how many of those do you believe were actually inspired or motivated by Osama bin Laden?

KOHLMANN (?): I would just say this: I work as a consultant on behalf of the FBI. And I evaluate evidence and I serve as an expert witness in terrorism trials here in the U.S.

I have yet to see a single homegrown terrorism case in the U.S. that did not include at least some material by Anwar al-Awlaki.

His recordings pop up in basically every single homegrown terrorism case that is litigated by the Department of Justice in this country.

And, frankly, it appears basically every single case outside of this country as well.

That doesn't mean that bin Laden isn't influential, either. His materials show up, too.

The difference between bin Laden and al-Awlaki isn't that -- al- Awlaki may not have military credentials, but he speaks fluent English. He's extremely charismatic.

He's a good speaker and he has -- he has religious credentials, which, I guess, take the place of the military ones. He won't ever replace bin Laden. But he's a tremendous influential figure.

And there's absolutely no doubt that he continues to radicalize people, and people that, right now, at this moment, are being arrested in the United States with connections to al-Awlaki, has tried reaching out to al-Awlaki, very dangerous people.

MCCAUL: And most of these were homegrown radicalization cases inspired by al-Awlaki. Does anybody else on the panel have any comments on that?

BERGEN (?): You know, in the U.S. military, there's a doctrine called, "Commander's Intent," which means that General Petraeus doesn't have to tell, you know, a soldier in Kandahar what to do.

And bin Laden was in charge of Commander's Intent. So al-Awlaki is, you know, I mean, the reason he's important in these cases is because he speaks in English. I mean, it's that simple.

If he were speaking in Arabic, he wouldn't be that important.

It's not that he's a significant religious figure or is, as Mr. Kohlmann said, a significant military figure. It's that he's communicating in colloquial English.

So, you know, al-Awlaki is no Osama bin Laden. He can't change the strategic intent of al-Qaida.

And at the end of the day, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a branch of al-Qaida central, operating, you know, to fulfill bin Laden's strategic guidance.

If the new leader of al-Qaida came along and said we're going to, you know, we're not going to attack the United States any more, you know, al-Awlaki would still be out there and he may take a different view.

But I -- at the end of the day, al-Awlaki is not -- is not in charge of this movement. He's a number -- you know, not insignificant leader of a branch of the larger mother ship.

MCCAUL: And I agree with that assessment.

I've always said that the death of bin Laden was the beginning -- marked the beginning of the end, because we couldn't truly win the war on terror till we killed bin Laden.

And so that's why I believe that this is so significant.

(UNKNOWN): Mr. McCaul, if I may...

MCCAUL: Yes, sir.

(UNKNOWN): ... say so, I don't have a detailed analysis of the 27 that you mentioned. But my answer to the question of how many were inspired by Osama bin Laden would be all of them.

He was a symbolic figure. He was an icon. And he had enormous influence here. And I can't imagine any of these terrorists striking without paying some homage and allegiance to him.

This man was extraordinarily charismatic. Sitting in the 9/11 Commission, listening to testimony, I kept asking myself, how in the world could a man persuade 19 young men to go to their deaths?

Now you talk about persuasive powers, that is persuasive power. I know it's a different environment, a different religion and all the rest of it. But the instinct for self-preservation is pretty strong.

He persuaded 19 people to kill themselves. That's the kind of authority and charisma he had, in a very evil way, of course. He inspired all of them.

MCCAUL: Mr. Chairman, recognize (inaudible) one last question?

KING: And, actually, time is running (inaudible).

MCCAUL: I was hoping Ms. Townsend...

KING: And I will (inaudible) gentleman from Texas, Mr. Cuellar -- Oh, I'm sorry, (inaudible). OK. Mr. Cuellar.

CUELLAR: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank the witnesses for being here with us.

You know, when somebody comes into the United States, Border Patrol will classify them as Mexicans or OTMs, that is, Other Than Mexicans.

A large number of folks are -- coming into the United States are Mexicans coming in for economic reasons. And after that, you have Central Americans and then you have other folks.

Traditionally, that's what the numbers have been with the Border Patrol.

There is a CRS report that says that -- and I -- and I'm quoting, "the sheer increase in non-Mexicans, the OTMs, coming across the border, makes it more difficult for United States Border Patrol agents to readily identify and process each OTM, thereby increasing the chance that a potential terrorist could slip into the system.

Moreover, there's no reliable data concerning how many OTMs may evade apprehension and successfully enter the country illegally across the country."

And then CRS writes, as a couple of potential issues, one potential issue for Congress is whether the increase in OTM apprehensions poses a threat to national security.

And then another potential threat, according to the CRS is for Congress, is the indication that hundreds of people across -- that come from countries known to harbor terrorists or promote terrorism are caught trying to enter into the U.S. illegally across the land border.

If you look at the -- at that handout out there -- and this is OTMs, the OTM -- members, you should have a handout before you -- this is not Mexicans, this is OTMs.

A large number of them are coming in from Central America, 22,360. This is for F.Y. 2011. Then you have India, and then you have South America.

And by South America, you're talking about all the countries of South America. Then China and then Romania.

The second handout deals with just focusing not only Mexicans or the Central Americans, but this is the rest of the OTMs.

India, on the F.Y. 2011, had 1,662, more than the 1,660, which includes all of South -- I mean, all of South America. Every country put together came in from there.

Then you have China. Then you have Romania. Now my question is what sort of issues does this bring up?

And keep in mind -- I think you might be familiar -- the Indians and -- India and Guatemala, I think it was back in 2009, entered into some sort of agreement where they have a non-visa -- waiver of visas going into Guatemala.

So maybe that's a pipeline that just gets them coming in like Brazil did some years ago.

But my question is, when you have folks coming in from, let's say, India and the area that they come in, what sort of potential issues does this bring when we talk about threats to the United States, if any?

And to any of the panel?

TOWNSEND (?): Seeing no one else step up to this one, Congressman, this has been, as I'm sure you know, during my time in the Bush administration, I was a vocal advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. I view comprehensive immigration reform as a necessary, a fundamental -- fundamentally necessary thing to protect our national security.

During my time in the government, there had been some intelligence to suggest that al-Qaida looked at this pipeline coming across the U.S.-Mexican border.

I will leave the politics to those of you for whom it is a profession and say to you that I believe that the lack of comprehensive immigration reform is a vulnerability.

I would prefer to see, as it was true in my time in government, to have the Border Patrol and the Immigration Service focus their resources on people who are going to do us harm.

That does not mean I think we don't have to address the phenomenon of illegal immigration in a fundamentally fair and basic, dignified way. But I believe that we need comprehensive reform.

(UNKNOWN): May I just add my word in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

We have to begin to look at immigration in -- through the prisms of both the national economy -- we need a lot of people at the top of the skill level and at the bottom -- and we have to begin to look at immigration as a national security matter as well.

And that means quite a change of perspective on immigration from what we've had in years past.

At the border, you would know more than I, but I think we've increased our manpower, doubling it over a period of a few years, the number of Border Patrol agents.

I think we've made substantial progress in letting illegal people into the country. And, obviously, we have to continue that for a long time to come.

We've still got to deploy a lot better technology. We've got to get better on this U.S. visit exit system that I mentioned in our testimony today.

So there are a lot of things that I think still need to be done. But I very much agree with Fran's observation about comprehensive reform. You cannot deal with immigration on a piecemeal basis. You cannot do it.

KING: The time of the gentleman has expired...


KING: ... very much ask unanimous consent to have his exhibits placed in the record?

CUELLAR: Yes, I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

KING: Without objection.

Also, before I recognize the next questioner, I think we should acknowledge the fact that Mr. Long is not here today, that he represents Joplin, Missouri, where they lost so many lives and so much property, as well, our thoughts and prayers with Congressman Long today.

And with that, I recognize for five minutes the distinguished gentleman, Dr. Broun, from Georgia.

BROUN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

This morning on Washington General (ph) C-SPAN, I refer (ph) to this hearing as a huddle between decision makers and the experts so that we can come up with a game plan for where we go from here.

And I appreciate y'all being here. I appreciate your valuable testimony. And I agree with the chairman, that it is absolutely essential that American public not become complacent.

I think we have, Mr. Chairman, become complacent in very many ways.

I had a number of callers talk about various things that -- and even just dismissed the potential of al-Qaida or other entities being a danger to this country.

BROUN: And I think it's absolutely critical that the American public understand that we have a clear and present danger.

So I appreciate y'all being here to talk about that.

Now I worry about the line of succession, that bin Laden has -- the elimination of bin Laden has put in place.

And also the current climate within al-Qaida poses numerous concerns, most regarding the internal power struggle, not only within al-Qaida, but the associated groups.

Mr. Kohlmann talked about some of the al-Qaida central people and al-Zawahiri is potentially being the successor to bin Laden.

I'd like to hear from the other members of the panel about who y'all think might replace bin Laden as being the central figure. And also whether, whether the associated groups; AQAP and the leadership there and the other entities, how do y'all see this sorting out? And what can we do as members of Congress? And, and what can government do as we see this power struggle within the, within al-Qaeda and al- Qaeda AP and other associated groups?

HAMILTON (?): Senator Broun, I believe that al-Qaeda is now searching for another leader. And I think the most likely leader, so far as I know and I yield to the other members of the panel here who may know more about it than I, but I think the most likely is Zawahiri.

He's probably going to be the last man standing in the struggle. I think there are internal differences within al-Qaeda and I don't think we should underestimate him. He is ruthless. He is a religious zealot, much like Osama bin Laden. He is not a lightweight.

He's been instrumental in al-Qaeda's strategy, its development, its evolution over a period of time. And I think it would be a very grave mistake to think that with the removal of Osama bin Laden, they will be lead by a feckless leader. So, I think the American intelligence community now will be spending an enormous time trying to answer your question as to who emerges.

But some -- from where I sit, he's the most likely guy to, to emerge. And we must not underestimate him.

TOWNSEND: Congressman I, I agree with that. I think one of the key things to watch, there's always been a tension about leadership residing with the Egyptians because of just historical differences that I'll leave to Peter to discuss. But, the fact that Zawahiri and Saif al-Adel, the interim leader, are both Egyptians, suggests that there will continue to be this tension, this struggle between the Egyptian members and the Gulf Arab members.

And so what that poses, is continuing tension between, or some increasing tensions between al-Qaeda Central and their affiliates, the strongest of which you've heard us talk about today, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It reminds me of the tension we saw between al- Qaeda core when that was bin Laden, and another affiliate, al-Qaeda in Iraq, which was Zarqawi.

Intelligence was replete with examples of an ongoing tension about vision. There were -- Zarqawi was a very strong personality. He pushed back on al-Qaeda Central. It was a bonanza of targeting opportunity and we all know Zarqawi wound up targeted and killed as a result of it.

One would hope that Awlaki, feeling an opportunity here to push back, that there will be this increasing tension between what is Zawahiri and what remains of the al-Qaeda core and the affiliate al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Because if that tension increases, it provides a tremendous opportunity for the U.S. government.

BERGEN: I totally agree with what Representative Hamilton and Fran Townsend have just said. And I would just add one minor additional note. You know, bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia. As you know, his family is from Yemen. I mean for, you know, religiously zealot people inside of al-Qaeda, that's very significant because it's the Holy Land.

And they want, you know, the reason it's controversial to have an Egyptian, is not simply because there are disputes about strategy and targeting, at the end of the day the Egyptians just want to just have a, you know, kind of a Taliban style government in Egypt and were less interested in attacking the United States.

It's also about the idea of having somebody from the Holy Land. So I think there are actually, as Fran has outlined, some real opportunities for the intelligence community and the U.S. government to kind of be aware of the fractures that are going to develop and perhaps even exploit them if, if there are opportunities.

KOHLMANN: If I might just quickly add, towards your second question about AQAP, about what can be done about AQAP, I think the answer to that goes back to a comment that was made by Anwar al-Awlaki of all people recently, al-Awlaki pointed to the instability, the current wave of instability in Yemen and he laughed and he said, of course this is going to accrue to our benefit. Of course this is going to accrue to al-Qaeda's benefit.

And I think that gives you the answer. Which is if you want to damage AQAP, the answer is not just drone strikes. It's not just U.S. Special Forces Operations. A large part of this is contingent upon stability returning to Yemen. Political stability and stability that involves the tribes. Because right now it is the tribes that are providing protection to people like Anwar al-Awlaki, Qasin al-Raymi, Said al-Shihri the leaders of AQAP, they're being hidden by Yemeni's.

And you've got to convince those Yemeni's that it's not in their interest to work with al-Qaeda. Right now, there are large swaths of central Yemen that are outside of government controls. It's the exact nightmare scenario that we've been trying to avoid in Afghanistan and Pakistan and its writ large in the heart of the Middle East.

BROUN: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I yield back.

KING: Yes, I just advised the members I understand that Chairman Hamilton will have to leave at 11:45 and Ms. Townsend at 12:00 noon, so I would ask members to try to keep it within five minutes or phrase their question in a way that allows for a five minute answer.

The gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Jackson-Lee?

JACKSON-LEE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman and to all of the witnesses, let me thank you for your service. I might want to join you, Ms. Townsend in offering our deepest sympathy to our friends and neighbors and fellow Americans. It seems that there is an unending attack of tornadoes in the Midwest, our deepest sympathy to them.

And again, in homeland security, thank you all of you, for confirming the significance of the demise of Osama bin Laden as well as the intelligence. I want to thank my chairman and I hope that will allow me to be able to get two, three, four, five minutes after the red light comes on.

But I want to thank him ...

KING: As much as I would love to do that.

JACKSON-LEE: ... I want to thank him. He has been consistent, along with my ranking member on the focus, Mr. Hamilton -- Chairman Hamilton that you have said, we've got to get our act together. We have got to synergize, integrate the oversight of homeland security with all the other agencies that are, that are doing so.

So I might mention to my chairman that I have introduced HR1900, the Surface Transpiration and Mass Transit Security Act. We did it last year with bipartisan support and I frankly if I might, I was going to say Fran (ph), but if I might, stay up nights because I serve as the ranking member on the Transpiration Security about the vulnerabilities of our rail system.

Federal air marshals and utilization of them on many of our flights and the whole issue of air traffic controllers. Though they may have challenges sleeping, if you will, that's part of our security. Many people don't remember how air traffic controllers were so intimately involved on 9/11.

So let me just pose these questions, which are related, but yet, but yet not. And that is, help us understand this fascination with, with transportation? But also, rail? And in fact I just want to stick on rail. Most times we hear our communities saying, we don't want hazardous materials coming through, their fear of various incidents that may impact them, explosion etcetera.

But our rail system, both what it transports along with people, I believe is a serious concern and I'd appreciate comment about us really focusing on rail security as 9/11, as the 9/11 commission suggested. And then, finally my second question is, I cochair the Pakistan caucus, have gone to Pakistan on a number of occasions, pierce into the Taliban.

The Taliban of Afghanistan, the Taliban of Pakistan, do they leap to the United States? Do they continue to terrorize the Pakistani people? And you are right, I am amazed at the attack on police and the ability to get on rank and file, but as well the hierarchy of the Pakistani military.

And do we give them the money? Do we give them the social justice money? Where will they take their terror? Will it come to the United States? Chairman Hamilton and just if you can go down and hopefully I'll get to all of you.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

HAMILTON: Well I think on the first point, the fascination with rail transportation goes back to the fundamental intent of al-Qaeda. Look, they're very sophisticated people. They understand symbolic targets. They understand where American's congregate. They understand how most -- how best to disrupt and the transportation of the United States has enormous vulnerabilities.

Rail certainly, but other forms too. So I, I attribute their fascination with it to; 1) their skill I guess in analyzing our vulnerabilities and 2) their desire to kill as many Americans as possible and to disrupt American life as much as possible.

On the second question, I'm not -- you were raising the question about Pakistan were you?

JACKSON-LEE: Well, do the Taliban translate to attacks on the United States? Is what -- what we perceive to be the Taliban?

HAMILTON: I think I'll yield to the others on that ...

JACKSON-LEE: Thank you.

HAMILTON: ... that, question.

JACKSON-LEE: Thank you. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

TOWNSEND: Yes, Ma'am. The, look the, the obsession with transportation as, as you pointed out is writ large right? We, we saw the tragedy of using aircraft, but trains represent a real opportunity for them. By the way, also ferries and I mention that because as the chairman knows, ferries are very big in terms of transportation into Manhattan in the morning at rush hour.

And, but back to rail, we saw the attacks in London and Madrid. We know that they continue, if nothing else because of the, the Zazi Najibulla case against New York City subways. They're not going to stop. It represents -- because it's an open system, of course if you close it, it loses its effectiveness in a place like, an urban area like New York, but its open system represents its vulnerability.

The New York City Police Department has done a tremendous job with sort of unpredictable presence in different -- in subways. None of that is 100 percent. But I really think, this goes back to, you know, when we talk about the Grant Program and I have not always been a huge fan of the Grant, of the Homeland Security Grant Program, but this is a place where we can actually incentivize state and local authorities to take ownership of this issue.

And spend their money in a place that really matters, not just in the locality, but writ large. Evan Kohlmann mentioned the priority of attacking our economy. What better way than to attract -- attack our transportation system? The Pakistan Taliban does represent a direct threat to the United States.


TOWNSEND: We saw the Times Square attempt, attempted bombing and they've made threats. I think we've got to learn to take these terrorist groups at face value. They may not have tremendous capability, but they have enough to come here and kill Americans.

BERGEN: Just to add to that point that Fran made, I mean, you know, a canary in the mine on the Pakistani Taliban is that they sent suicide bombers to Barcelona in January of '08 and that's according both to themselves and to Spanish prosecutors.

And we should have taken that as Fran -- sometimes when people say these things, we should take these threats seriously. They, of course, also did a joint operation in Khost that killed seven CIA employees and -- and contractors.

What to do about Pakistan is obviously an enormous question before many of the members here. It is a very complex relationship, and it would be very tempting, perhaps, to say, well, we're just going to cut off aid. This would be psychologically satisfying for about a week.

At the end of the day, they're the fifth largest country in the world, or about to be, with nuclear weapons, the headquarters of Al Qaida and the Taliban, and we need them.

And just one final point on this, more Pakistani soldiers have died fighting the Taliban then U.S. and NATO soldiers combined. And this is just something that is very important for us to recognize and understand when we -- when we talk to them and when we think about how to deal with them.

HAMILTON: I'd like just to add that if you're getting into the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, this is already one of the most difficult bilateral relationships of the world. We're not going to solve the problems in this relationship. We just have to manage them.

There are so many voices I've heard coming out of Capitol Hill to cut aid to Pakistan. I would be very, very careful about that.

(UNKNOWN): I agree.

HAMILTON: We have enormous interests in Pakistan. We've referred to them already here this morning, nuclear weapons. We -- we use Pakistan to transit much of our materials and people going into Afghanistan. And they nuclear weapons, of course, are huge.

In the end we have to focus on the long-term interests of the United States, and not our short-term frustration. And there are plenty of reasons to be frustrated with the relationship now. But that long-term relationship remains very valuable to us. I think it remains valuable to the Pakistanis as well.

All kinds of problems and all kinds of questions arise. Sometimes I think Admiral Mullen, the chairman and the chief of staff, has been commuting to Pakistan. He goes over there so frequently to try to work out these problems, and it just indicates the delicate nature of the relationship. It's a very difficult one, but we've got to work through it.

KOHLMANN: If I can just very quickly comment about the Pakistani Taliban, my company has an office in Pakistan. One of the subjects that we spend the most time on is the Pakistani Taliban. We have been interviewing them in recent days. We've been pulling them and their opinions.

I can tell you this. Number one, the Pakistani Taliban is far more sophisticated than people give them credit for. They are recruiting people right now, Americans, using YouTube. They have not done this once; they have done this multiple times. They are recruiting people using Facebook.

They are deliberately trying to come up with terrorist plots targeting the United States. They are aggressively trying to target the United States.

And perhaps most disturbingly, unlike the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban are forging very close relationships with Al Qaida, with Arab Afghan Al Qaida militants, to the point where, as has just been suggested by Peter Bergen and I believe others, that the Camp Chapman attack that took place in December of 2009, there's a substantial degree of evidence indicating both the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani Network played a direct role in that attack.

It raises a lot of questions. It raises questions both about the Pakistani Taliban and their reach to the United States. It also raises the question, the inevitable question about what is the relationship between the Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani Network and the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service?

Those questions have yet to be fully resolved, but as long as you have terrorist attacks being directed at U.S. targets, including U.S. civilians, by a group that might have ties to the Pakistani intelligence service, I think it's worthy to look into those questions and -- and resolve them, because this much is Pakistan is a critical partner, I don't think we can allow terrorist groups to establish bases with the say-so of the ISI.

KING: The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Cravaack, is recognized for five minutes.

CRAVAACK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you very much for being here today. This has been quite enlightening, so thank you for your comments.

First off, being a retired Navy captain, if you focus on the current war, you're missing it all together. We need to focus on the next war.

And what we're seeing now as, Mr. Kohlmann, you -- cyber jihadists -- I truly feel the previous notion of asymmetric warfare, we've gone way beyond that into something, a new realm, a new difference of what we're actually seeing today.

Ms. Townsend, also, we are at a war without borders, and I very much appreciate your comments regarding the lone wolf. And in quickly reviewing your background, I'd just like you to comment a little bit on that, because one of the votes we'll be taking very soon is regarding three components within the Patriot Act.

I was wondering if you could comment on that, if you believe that these are necessary vehicles to make sure that we can protect Americans within the United States without jeopardizing any constitutional rights of American citizens would have.

TOWNSEND: The lone -- as you know, Congressman, the lone wolf represents the most -- the greatest challenge to federal investigators and local authorities. It's unpredictable. It's difficult to identify in advance, unlike an organization, where people have got to talk to one another and plan.

And so I believe that those provisions in the Patriot Act are essential to the FBI's continued ability to effectively do these investigations and identify the threat.

To the extent I can tell you during my time in the White House when there was the initial renewal of the Patriot Act, to the extent there were concerns, there were procedural mechanisms for oversight and reporting that ought to give people the confidence and the courage to vote to extend the Patriot Act.

CRAVAACK: Mr. Hamilton, it looks like you'd like to say something.

HAMILTON: Yes, I -- I support the provisions in the Patriot Act as well, and I think they should be extended.

Now, obviously, what has happened since 9/11 is the power of the government has expanded dramatically in terms of intrusion into the lives of people for necessary reasons. I think all of us have supported that -- that expansion of power.

And these provisions, I think, Fran, I'm correct in saying just kind of bring you up to date in terms of your ability to keep track of these bad guys.

Having said all of that, may I also put in a plug for the privacy and oversight board, because I think that what you've had over the period of the last decade is this environment in which the security people win every argument, and for obvious reasons, because we're very deeply concerned about our security.

But there is not a sufficient pushback on the side of civil liberties and privacy. That voice needs to be strengthened, I think, within government across the board. And it's especially with regard to the intelligence agency.

So I want a strong Patriot Act, but I also want a counterbalance to that with a privacy and oversight board, and I want the president to get that thing up and moving.

CRAVAACK: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

Mr. Bergen, in your testimony you stated that Pakistani Taliban in the tribal regions has been successful in the attempts to attract Western and American recruits and poses a threat to Americans, obviously. How much cooperation of the Pakistani ISI are you seeing? And do you think that the relationships can be salvaged moving forward?

BERGEN: I mean, I think, Representative Hamilton, I'm surprised when he said one of the wisest things possible about this, which is we have to -- we're not going to solve our relationship with Pakistan. We're going to have to manage it.

And as a point of information, four ISI buildings have been attacked by the Taliban. So, you know, the ISI has a very complex relationship with the Taliban.

Are we getting what we want from them? No. Are we getting -- is the Pakistan government doing quite a lot? Yes, serious military operation in Southern Waziristan in '09, unlike previous operations, a serious operation in Swat in '09 as well.

So the enemy of the perfect is not the reasonably OK. And what we're seeing right now is, I think, overall reasonably OK. Could it be better? Yes. Will it get better? I'm not sure.

CRAVAACK: I appreciate your comments and the amount of soldiers that have been killed in action in regards against the Taliban. That was -- that was quite telling.

Sir, I have 21 minutes -- 21 seconds left, so I'll yield back, sir.

KING: I thank the gentleman for his prudence.

I am pleased to recognize the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Clarke.

H. CLARKE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I appreciate all of your collective testimony. It's apparent that Osama bin Laden was a key figure in global terrorism. His death has dealt a severe blow to Al Qaida, but the threat, terrorist threat to our country still remains. But it increasingly is coming from within the United States.

I represent metropolitan Detroit, the Detroit sector border. Many times our first responders, local police and fire still can't communicate with their federal counterparts or their Canadian counterparts, and many of you have mentioned the issue of interoperable communications and how that's going to be important for us to be able to help address this terrorist threat because of the situation where our radios can't talk to each other.

And I do thank the department for releasing prior allocated money, $4 million, to Wayne County recently that'll help us upgrade our radio system. But even still, our state and local authorities don't have the revenue to provide the resources and the equipment for our first responders. And even the proposed 2012 budget for this very department, it's the homeland security grants that have been proposed to be cut by $2.1 billion compared to 2011 levels.

So all of this begs this question, then. How do we best prepare ourselves to deal with the threat of terrorism that comes from within the United States? And where do we get the money? Many have raised that the death of bin Laden poses the opportunity to reassess our national security goals.

My point in my question is this, that the assessment could also involve reevaluating our mission in Afghanistan to redirect a part of our military aid that's currently going to Afghanistan, a total of over $100 billion this current year, and to redirect some of that back to the United States to homeland security to protect ourselves from the threat that is increasingly coming from within the United States.

H. CLARKE: If any of you have any comments on how we can best do that -- reassess our mission in Afghanistan, use some of the money that we are, I was going to say, spending, but it's more accurately that we're borrowing to invest in military operations in Afghanistan, and to better invest a small portion of that to this budget, the homeland security budget, as a way of better protecting the American people at home by investing those funds right here at home.

HAMILTON: Congress, I believe your priority is the correct one. That is to say we've got to get the ability to communicate at the scene of the disaster. That is so fundamental and so basic I don't see how it can be argued against.

Now, your question relates to where do you get the money to do it. And I'm not an expert on the federal budget. It involves a lot of questions. What money is in the pipeline that's not being used, for example, that might be available?

You raised the question of Afghanistan. That -- my old personal view with regard to that that the American people are putting Afghanistan and Iraq in the rearview mirror, and they have already made up their mind pretty much that the United States should begin to withdraw.

I don't think the question today is whether or not you should pack up and leave. That's not going to happen, nor should it. I don't think the question is whether you're going to achieve victory in Afghanistan. Victory is very hard to define, and I don't think that's in the cards.

I think American policy increasing we will focus on the question of what pace do we withdraw from Afghanistan, and that'll create some funds, obviously, there, but it's not clear that you can take those funds and immediately put it in some domestic priority.

And the question also is that as we withdraw our forces there, this may sound contradictory, but I don't think it is, how can we continue to help Afghanistan to achieve some of the goals that we have? A stable Afghanistan, obviously, is more in our interest than the one that is chaotic.

So I think there's renewed interest in this, and I think the operational question on policy is really the pace of withdrawal at this point. Will that create some funds? Yes, I think it will. And that's probably a good thing, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can take those funds and put it into the question of communication.

The question of communication at the scene of the disaster is a highest priority. If you cannot communicate at the scene of the disaster, people lose their lives, as happened in New York, as happened in Katrina. This is a priority concern. This is money that has to be found in order to solve this problem.

And it is frustrating to me beyond measure that 10 years after 9/11, this obvious priority has not been fully met. And I know some progress has been made. I know some money has been made available, but we are still not at the point where you can get a seamless communication at the scene of the disaster, which is absolutely was necessary.

H. CLARKE: Thank you.

TOWNSEND: Let me only add I -- I agree wholeheartedly and enthusiastically with what Congressman Hamilton said. And certainly, if he's not an expert in the federal budget, I'm far behind him so.

One, I think we can't precipitously withdraw from Afghanistan, as the congressman said. And I think as we begin to draw down, you're going to find its there is additional funds available.

Let me make what is, I think, going to be an unpopular observation. The responsibility, while heavy on the federal government to solve this problem address the cop was said, it should have been solved by now, it is not unique to the federal government.

My concern -- I mentioned earlier about grant programs -- my concern about grant programs is that what happens is the states then abrogate their own responsibility to set aside funds to make investments in these sorts of things, because they rely heavily on the federal government.

Frankly, it is clear across the country during this time of fiscal stress that states have not responsible to manage their own budgets. And frankly, I do think that this has got to be a priority not only for the federal government, but with governors what they're looking at their own state budgets.

HAMILTON: The homeland security program ought not to be a revenue-sharing program. We recommend that you're not just handing out money to state and local governments. They need money for all kinds of things, some of which are valid and some of which are not.

But I think one of the positive things is that in the appropriators' bill, they award grants without regard to the minimum allocations to lower-risk areas.

In other words, they follow through on one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which is to allocate funds on the basis of risk, not just hand out the money everywhere. And there are certain of the country -- New York City is one, but there are others -- that are far -- Detroit -- far higher risk than rural Indiana, where I come from.

So you've got to make sure that there is enough discretion in the federal government to allocate funds on the basis of risk. This is not a revenue-sharing program.

KING: The time of the gentleman has expired.

And we now recognized for five minutes the gentleman from Pennsylvania, former United States attorney, Mr. Meehan.

MEEHAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you to these very distinguished panel for your preparation and your -- and your testimony here today.

I'm going to ask Ms. Townsend and Mr. Bergen. Both of you have commented on something I'd like to follow up a little bit on.

Ms. Townsend, my experience as a former federal prosecutor, there is almost a counterintuitive sense that when you take down an organization, be it organized crime weren't even of violent drug gang, it's in the aftermath of that that you see some of the greatest not just -- it's not just a succession thing. Some of the greatest disarray is they reassemble themselves often in terms of violence.

And you both look at this as almost a point of opportunity. What should -- what should we be looking for? And what opportunities do they actually present in the aftermath of the taking down of Osama bin Laden and the subsequent attempt to try to reorganize?

TOWNSEND: This is a critical time. I mentioned in my testimony that targeting opportunity. While we won't know publicly what was in the compound, this is a time when they will have to talk to one another.

There were reports in the Pakistani media about this meeting that led to the interim leader being appointed the head of the Taliban, Saif al-Adel. How can such a meeting take place when our Pakistani our lives are not providing us with targeting information? That would have been a gold mine opportunity to have taken advantage of.

But that's what our military and intelligence community are focused on right now. They are in disarray. They will have to have discussions, meetings, in order to resolve the chaos. And so all those represent tremendous opportunities, and that's where you want to focus your immediate military resources.

Now, you know, it'll be interesting to see whether or not this chaos then permeates out into the affiliates, because right now they represent, as far as I'm concerned, the most immediate deadly threat to us, particularly Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

But we need strong allies. Make no mistake. We have a world- class intelligence community and military capability, but they need real partners. We have not had very good partner, a real partner in Yemen in President Saleh. And we have been -- have a very uncertain partner in Pakistan.

We need to look at ways to how -- how do we -- you know, the congressman said, "Manage the Pakistan relationship." That's right. But they need to produce. It's not that we can walk away from them. They need to produce like a partner produces in terms of targeting capability.

MEEHAN: Mr. Bergen?

BERGEN: I don't have anything to add to that.

MEEHAN: OK. Thank you.

Congress Hamilton, I'm -- as many in this nation are tremendously appreciative for the work that you've put into this effort since September 11th. You looked at a lot of different elements, but I've noticed twice today in your testimony you focused on this issue of the visit exit system.

Can you tell me a little bit more about why that's important to you and why you think that is relevant to our protection of the homeland?

HAMILTON: Well, you just -- you just have to keep track of these people when they come into the country. I think the easy thing to do -- we lose track of them. It's a difficult thing to do. And seeking a biometric exit system, I understand, is expensive and has a lot of problems in it, but I think we've just put it off far too long.

It's not just a question of catching these people and stopping it, but borders. Some of these people are going to get in. And once you have people in here illegally or even legally under restricted time limits, you have to be able to keep track of them. And that's why you need an exit system as well as an entry system.

So it's a real vulnerability in our system to say, OK, we're going to catch these people at the border. Everybody's for that. We don't want the bad guys coming in. But if they do get in, just forget about them. You can't do that. You've got to keep track of them, and that's what the exit system is all about.

MEEHAN: Mr. Kohlmann, thank you for your testimony. You identified the world on the Internet and the communications that are taking place there, and in a free society it's difficult to try to limit the activity on that, but you've given some thought to this.

How do we take advantage? And in light of what both Ms. Townsend testified to about the current moment in which wouldn't we want to be able to have them operating in such a way that we'd be able to at least have access to the platform that they're using for communications as a means to have a potential ability to -- to influence activities?

KOHLMANN: Yes. I mean, I've often said that terrorist website are like the spy satellite that we never launched. If we are diligent about it, these website, these forums, allow us to monitor the communications taking place at a ground-level amongst those Al Qaida lieutenants and supporters, it's a would-be supporters, people in the West.

And increasingly, we are seeing individuals, who are popping up, who were not recruited by any individual cleric or any individual mosque. They're being motivated purely by what they see on the web.

I think, though, I think you're right. I think part of it is we have to keep our eyes on this. The concern right now is that we're allowing these websites to operate, and it's not entirely clear that all elements of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are aware of what's going on in there.

I can tell you only this through personal experience and to the fact that we have an instance where we can point to directly -- Fort Hood, where we had unknown individual, who is infamous as being a recruiter for Al Qaida and extremist groups, Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki, who was in open communication with an individual who is a U.S. military serviceman.

And those communications, from what I understand, were not entirely innocent or benign. And that is a warning sign. It's a warning sign that as much as this information can provide tremendous clues, if we allow this to proliferate unmonitored, we're giving these folks virtual sanctuary to do whatever the hell they want. And that's very worrying.

So it's fine to keep these website, these forums, online, as long as we are closely monitoring them and tracking the people that are using them -- obviously, without violating freedom of speech.

But the folks that are on there are dangerous. I mean, it's not just computer nerds. The people that are on these forums include the bomb makers, include top-ranking Yemeni Al Qaida operatives, include recruiters for Pakistani Taliban.

KOHLMANN: So we really have to make sure that the law -- that FBI and other government agencies are really watching what's taking place.

KING: The time of the gentleman has expired.

The gentlelady from New York, Ms. Clarke is recognized for five minutes?

Y. CLARKE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman and thank you Ranking Member Thompson. And to the panel, great insight and illumination of the, the challenges we face. I'm pleased with the discourse of this hearing because it's important to point out that we must harden our posture of this -- of vigilance in keeping our nation safe in the fight against al-Qaeda and other declared and undeclared terrorist organizations and individuals.

On behalf of the people of the 11th Congressional District of New York, we are really grateful to the Obama administration's leadership, the U.S. Military, CIA intelligence and counter terrorism professionals who carried out the heroic operation to, to get bin Laden.

And I'd like to say that as a member of this committee, it's important to point out that we must continue to remain vigilant. As New Yorkers, I think unlike maybe other parts of the nation, are very sensitive, extremely sensitive and I think we're doing very well in terms of our posture of vigilance and awareness in the public.

But I think that perhaps one of the things that we can do is get some public service announcements rolling that, that's aired nationally to, to get people into the understanding of "see something, say something" which is something we live with in New York City.

So again, I want to thank you for your insightful, your insightful discussion today. Bin Laden was an iconic figure of global terrorism. He has inspired militants across the world to commit acts of violence. And I wanted to ask just generally speaking, there is some concern that perhaps at the end of the 40 day mourning period that many or some Muslims practice, that maybe we might see an uptick.

Is there any indication of that? I mean does 40 days mean anything? I think it's important that, you know, if there's mythology out there that we try to get some, you know, plain understanding. I believe we can be hit at any moment, but for those out there who are looking for an indication, would you shed some light on that?

TOWNSEND: I'm happy to take the first shot at it.

Y. CLARKE: Sure.

TOWNSEND: Congresswoman, let's be clear. As you know, al-Qaeda and those who subscribe to the ideology are not observant Muslims. These are not real Muslims.

Y. CLARKE: Thank you.

TOWNSEND: And so, we've already seen what have been called retribution attacks inside Pakistan. Whether it's against their military, their police. So those people in the Pakistan Taliban, for example, are not observing any 40 day mourning period. This is -- my experience with al-Qaeda has been they attack when they have the capability and they're positioned to do it. And they will not be, I suspect, constrained by any religious observance.


KOHLMANN: I would echo, I think its mythology. I think al-Qaeda will strike when they have the capability to do so. I believe they will try to carry out some kind of revenge attack for the death of bin Laden, but I think it's more likely in the short-term that we see something like that against U.S. interests in Pakistan as opposed to inside the United States.

Y. CLARKE: And, and I'm glad that you pointed that out. I don't want people to have a false sense of, well, timing right? It's important that we're vigilant every moment of every day.

Mr. Kohlmann, I wanted to ask you about threats to water facilities. You know, last Congress, the House approved legislation to regulate water and wastewater facilities for security. In your testimony you described the online chatter of various extremists after bin Laden's death and how some of them openly discussed targeting hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, and water purification facilities to cause damage to the U.S. economy.

Can you elaborate on the threat to critical infrastructure? More specifically can you articulate what concerns, if any, you have about the terrorist threat to U.S. water facilities? Especially given how essential these facilities are to our communities?

KOHLMANN: In fact the, the particular section that you're referring to in my report, the individual specified saying, it's not even necessary to poison the water supplies because potentially there's other Islamists out there who might drink this and die. The idea is to create panic, to create terror, to create in an urban environment where people are afraid to consume water, whether or not there is actually anything wrong with it.

That's the point here is, al-Qaeda is not looking just -- again they're not looking just to kill one American here or there. That's fine to keep them in the headlines. Ultimately these folks, whether you're talking about the central leadership, the affiliates or the homegrown guys, they're looking for very simple tactics where they can cause mass panic and mass terror and upset the U.S. economy.

Now the weak points that they're looking at are major U.S. cities and infrastructure. Whether that's rail, airports, water facilities, hydroelectric plants, anything that will stun the U.S. economy. They perceive right now that we are under the gun in terms of economic pressures and that any small push in the wrong direction will cause catastrophe for us.

That's their game plan. They're trying to push the U.S. out of the Middle East. They're trying to create a new world order. You don't do that by killing a few soldiers at Fort Hood. You don't do that by shooting a few soldiers outside of an airport in Germany. You do, do that by creating mass panic in a city like New York, or Los Angeles, or Detroit.

And that's what they're gunning for. They may not achieve it, but that's what they're gunning for.

KING: The time of the gentlelady has expired.

The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Duncan?

DUNCAN: Thank you Mr. Chairman and let me just thank you for your continued diligence on keeping our homeland safe. This is one of the most informative hearings that we've had. I thank the panelists for coming and providing their expert testimony today.

I specifically want to thank Congressman Hamilton for your, your service to this nation and also your service on the 9/11 commission and interesting, I've been one that's talked about this numerous times, but the 9/11 commission detailed a, a lot of different terms that seemed to have disappeared from the lexicons of the intelligence agencies.

Whether it's FBI, counter terrorism, our national intelligence strategy, even the report about protecting the force, lessons from Fort Hood. In the 9/11 commission report, they mentioned jihad 126 times. They mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood five times. They mentioned Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Khalif, Sharia numerous times.

But now, that seems to have disappeared. And I'm very alarmed that our administration is not identifying who are enemy is. I think we've clearly got to identify and focus on, on the threats to this country. And you guys have very articulately expressed those threats today.

One thing about being a junior member of this committee, a freshman member, is all the groovy questions got asked before it gets to me. So what I'd like to do is, is just delve into something that is interesting to me and that is the threats on our southern border.

And I understand that al-Qaeda and Hezbollah and al-Shabob have a presence and influence in Latin America, particularly the tri-border region and so I'm going to address this to Mr. Kohlmann, do you believe the U.S. may see increasing threats from these groups so close to our southern border?

KOHLMANN: It's true there is a presence below the border of a number of different groups, most prominently Hezbollah and Hamas, not necessarily so much al-Qaeda. I think some of those threats have been blown-up, but I think there is a reality that right now, we've put a tremendous amount of attention on the northern border. Ever since the days of Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian who tried crossing over in 1999 in Bellingham, Washington.

There's been a lot of focus on the Canadian border. There has been less focus on terrorists crossing the southern border. And terrorists are aware of this. And there are indications of groups like Shabob, placing people in Mexico who are able to get folks across the border.

Now the reality is, is that a lot of the people they're smuggling across are probably just illegal immigrants. But it's very easy to sneak someone in that group. It's not the most overwhelming issue we have. Really al-Qaeda would rather recruit someone who is already inside the United States who has a U.S. passport.

But they're -- these groups are trying to get people in however they can, however it works best. So if they find that they can't recruit someone directly in the United States? I think it's very plausible that they'll go for the southern border, yes.

DUNCAN: Do, do you see them working in tandem with the Mexican drug cartel at all? We see some evidence of that and that's our untalked about third war, possibly so.

KOHLMANN: I think when it comes to groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, there's a potential of individuals doing that. With an ideological group like al-Qaeda, it's much less. Al-Qaeda doesn't seem to like to work with drug runners, not publicly anyway. For instance, Shabob mujahedeen in Somalia has greatly distanced itself from the pirates, the big problem with piracy in Northern Somalia.

And they've argued simply that they don't want to be associated with that. That, that's not jihad, that's just thievery. So as of right now, I don't think you see those connections. The problem is, is that there are individuals who are in Venezuela and elsewhere who have connections to Hamas and Hezbollah and have also connections to drug trafficking rings.

And the issue is, can someone like that be marshalled by a terrorist group to serve as an intermediary to get someone into the country? It's possible, but I still think it's relatively far-fetched. The groups really, al-Qaeda, Shabob, they're looking to recruit people who are already within U.S. borders, who already have U.S. passports, who can walk to the middle of Times Square and say, I'm a terrorist and nothing can be done.

That's the kind of recruits they're ...

DUNCAN: There's a lot of focus on the lone wolf provisions in the Patriot Act coming up and sleeper cells. What we can we do more -- you talked about the marketing, the internet and Inspire and other things, targeting those groups.

What can we do more than maybe some of things you alluded to earlier?

KOHLMANN: I think one of the issues is that the U.S. has not been engaged in an effective de-radicalization campaign. A counter- radicalization campaign. We've been satisfied with the ...

DUNCAN: The Chairman has, but ...

KOHLMANN: ... we've been -- so far the U.S. government has been content with saying simply that al-Qaeda is bad, al-Qaeda is wrong. But the reality is, that there are plenty of voices from within al- Qaeda, from within the Muslim community itself, who will stand forward and will say that these folks are completely on the wrong path. That they're insane.

And that the things that they're doing are wrong. Not just from an American perspective, but from a Muslim perspective. From any perspective. From a humanist perspective. I think it's important that we try to galvanize those resources, engage in an effective de- radicalization campaign.

KOHLMANN: So far a lot of the efforts that we've made have fallen on deaf ears. And whether it comes through sponsoring television stations and radio stations in Iraq that nobody watches, that nobody listens to, at least not our enemies, or whether it comes to simply broadcasting messages that have no impact.

We also have to realize the effect of negative publicity. And right now, we talked about jihadi message forums. What a lot of people don't realize is that even on the top-tier al-Qaida forums, there is as much argument and nasty back fighting as there is agreement about attacking America.

These folks fight with each other on a daily basis. They say nasty things about each other. After the death of bin Laden, a whole bunch of people got their accounts removed from al-Qaida's top-tier web forum because they dared to quote crusader claims about the death of bin Laden.

These were people expressing sorrow about the death of bin Laden, who were removed, who were kicked off.

And I think it's important that the U.S. take note of the social networking dynamics that are taking place within al-Qaida and try to exploit those differences.

If there are people that don't like Ayman al-Zawahiri, start pumping information about how terrible Ayman al-Zawahiri is. Trying to sell the U.S. as a good actor might never work.

But explaining the negative things about al-Qaida and about the people that lead it, you could go on forever. You could write a thousand-page encyclopedia about that.

KING: The time of the gentleman has expired.

The gentleman...


UNKNOWN: ... may I just...

KING: Oh, surely, of course.

UNKNOWN: ... excuse me for extending this. But...

KING: How could I say no to you, (inaudible)?

UNKNOWN: The National Security Preparedness Group now has in draft form a report on preventing violent radicalization in America.

It's the most comprehensive thing I have seen, and it's not yet final, dealing with this problem.

And it makes all kinds of recommendations as how the government, local, state, national governments ought to respond to the problem you're raising, and which Mr. Kohlmann has talked about.

We consider that a very important report. We'll make it available to you as soon it is ready. It will be ready in the next few months. And I think you'll find it helpful.

KING: Thank you.

Thank you. The gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Keating.

KEATING: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Just one quick question, because Mr. Kohlmann just touched on this.

(Inaudible) social networking, what if many of the very sophisticated devices, deep packet kind of technology, that is involved in really getting involved in using -- potentially using social networking as a weapon?

The fact that these -- this kind of technology can detect who is involved, to come back (ph) not only peer through it (ph), but can you actually use that to get information to crack down on people themselves?

Is it conceivable to use that kind of sophisticated technology that's available in other countries right now?

Some of the -- one of the companies, even in the United States that are dealing with this, what is the potential of them gaining access to that kind of technology and using that to crack down on the very people that you and I both agree can serve a very positive role in fighting this?

KOHLMANN: Well, deep packet inspection rates is a lot of privacy concerns, particularly among -- in groups like EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation -- Electronic Frontier Foundation.

And I think those fears are grounded except the fact that what you're saying is true, is that the -- one of the few ways you can actually find out where someone is located, despite them using proxies or obfuscation techniques, is with deep packet inspection.

However, the good news is that that's not the only way. There are other ways, including ways that don't violate U.S. law and don't require us to increasingly impinge upon personal privacy.

One of the good points about this is that al-Qaida makes mistakes. The folks that create these websites make mistakes.

A year and a half ago, my company was able to get the entire database from one of the top tier al-Qaida websites, including all their private messages, their IP addresses, everything else like that.

We did it without hacking. We did without deep packet inspection. We did it without infiltration. We just did it using our heads.

So I think, you know, as much as having deep packet inspection would be a wonderful tool for law enforcement to have, and it would certainly alleviate a lot of the problems that they're currently facing tracking people, that's not the only way.

And so if there really are significant privacy concerns, I think the point is just making sure that the bureau and that other law enforcement agencies and government agencies have the technological tools to be able to do the job, whether it's deep packet inspection or something else.

I would say right now they're still struggling with this, and one of the reasons is because of legal loopholes that, while foreign law enforcement to use this technique, but not so much for U.S. law enforcement.

KEATING: Specifically, what about the terrorist organizations themselves being able to obtain that kind of technology?

KOHLMANN: I think that's relatively farfetched. I think that's the good news.

The good news is that most of the people right now that populate al-Qaida's social networking web are more interested in blowing themselves up than they are hacking websites.

That might change, and that probably will change. And there are people that are increasingly showing the kind of capabilities you would expect from someone working for the NSA.

I hope that doesn't happen, but I think it's a reminder that the U.S. needs to be concerned about not just monitoring the communications that are taking place on social networking forums, but also making sure that our own cyber-security is up to snuff, because whereas China or Russia may not have hackers who are going to seek to deliberately cause economic catastrophe in the U.S., al-Qaida is a different story.

So once they develop those kind of capabilities, yes, it's a serious concern.

KEATING: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.

KING: Thank you.

The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Walberg, is recognized for five minutes.

WALBERG: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the -- to the witnesses today, to give us insights that are both encouraging and challenging as well.

In kind of going back to previous questioning, and talking about the impact of trying to grow homegrown terrorists here in the United States, and showing an alternative to the message that they're putting out, I've had a lot of contacts in my district from Syrians and others who are concerned with what's going on in Syria, in Libya, and other places, and I guess my question would be, what impact, if there is, what impact could our actions or inactions in Libya or Syria have in growing al-Qaida efforts in recruitment of terrorists and terrorist action against the United States?

KING: If I could just interject for one second, I understand Chairman Hamilton has to leave at 11:45. So whenever you feel you have to leave, then, thank you very much for your testimony.

HAMILTON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that.

I'll leave to my colleagues to answer these simple questions that have been asked.


WALBERG(?): Well, that's as simple as I could be, I guess.


BERGER: You know, I just don't think that is really a relevant question right now for the discussion we're having.

Somehow the -- our actions in Libya -- Heaven (ph) can correct me if I'm wrong -- on this issue, I don't think as something that is really of great interest to the jihadist community, partly because they know very well that the whole point of their exercise was to overthrow these dictators like Gadhafi. That was the point of these groups.

And so (inaudible) really very dissonant for them to say, well, now America is involved in actually producing the very thing that we tried to do in the first place. So they're kind of ignoring it.

And one of the things that was very interesting to me is bin Laden really never replied to the Arab Spring because he -- what was he going to say? At last it was happening, but without his men.

And it -- you know, belatedly, we have a minor tape from him. But, you know, he was commenting on even the most minor news of that before his death.

And this, you know, this enormous seismic shift in the Middle East, he didn't really acknowledge publicly before his death. So I think that this is not going to be a problem.

But on the issue of Muslim-American community, I think there is a, you know, we're never going to be able to take down this jihadi website. The Internet doesn't work like that.

What the -- what the chairman and the members of the committee, and, I think, Lee Hamilton and his group, what we need to be thinking about with the Muslim-American community is counternarratives.

There are plenty of people in the Muslim-American community who want to get out there and put out a counternarrative to bin Laden and others.

One of the problems they face is they're not necessarily that computer literate. They don't understand Google bombing or these kinds of issues, ways to make their messages more attractive.

And so that's the way forward. It's not taking down objectional website because they're only going to pop up again. It's about creating a counternarrative.

And at the end of the day, that's a Muslim-American community, that's not the U.S. government. But that's the way forward.

KOHLMANN: I think I agree with Peter. I would just say that it's not clear exactly what's going to fall out of Libya.

But there are indications that al-Qaida supporters and its leadership are getting very frustrated by the fact that the Libyan rebels seem more intent upon courting crusader support than they are al-Qaida support.

A few months ago, a group of foreign fighters from Egypt went to Libya and they later wrote about their experiences.

And they showed up, and what they found was, A, chaos; B, as soon as they identified who they were, the Libyan rebels said we don't want you here, go away.

And then they basically went up to the front anyway, and they discovered it was chaos there, too. And they came back and said, these guys don't know what they're doing.

They don't like us, and they're not fighting under a banner of Islam. And it was deeply demoralizing for them.

And I think if you look -- if you read between the lines, in the last couple of speeches that have been given by Ayman al-Zawahiri and other senior al-Qaida leaders, you do kind of hear desperation in their voice, saying to Libyans, don't work with NATO, don't work with NATO.

It's wrong, it's wrong, it's wrong.

WALBERG: Is there similar response in Syria as well?

KOHLMANN: Syria, unfortunately, is a much different picture, and I think part of the problem is, is that it's not clear in Syria what exactly Syrian demonstrators want. Some want democracy, that's for sure.

But the Syrians are not necessarily being mobilized and have the same concerns as the Libyans do. And I think that's part of the issue.

One of the major concerns in Syria is that the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Syria is far more conservative, and I think you could say far more radical, than in other states, particularly in Egypt.

The Syrian Muslim brotherhood, numerous numbers (ph) of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood have joined al-Qaida. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is obviously 100 percent opposed to the existence of the State of Israel.

It's 100 percent opposed to the idea of peace with the Israelis.

If you have the Brotherhood start influencing major impacts on Syrian policy, I think, as a starting point, you can say forget about its Middle East peace. So I think this is really what we're talking about.

Syria is in a different location. It's far more strategically located. The political dynamics there are far more complicated than Libya.

I don't think you're going to see a John McCain visiting Syria, I think, anytime soon. And then also you have the additional factor of Iran.

Libya and Moammar Gadhafi really doesn't have any allies to speak of, other than Hugo Chavez, right?

Syria has Iran. And though Iran, I think, is worried about what it's seeing there right now, the Iranians, I think, will back Bashar al-Assad (inaudible) and...

KING: The time of the gentleman has expired. Thank you.

The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Green.

GREEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank you and the ranking member for allowing me to continue to interlope and I thank you also for conducting and having this hearing today.

I'd like to say to the panelists, as a sort of predicate for my eventual question, I believe in America. And I believe that if the world did not have the United States of America, we'd have to create it.

It may not be the glue that holds the world together. I do believe, however, that it is an indispensable ingredient in that glue that holds the world together.

And I'm finding more and more that I'm hearing the notion that we are interlopers, that we -- we should not concern ourselves with Hezbollah and Nisrullah (ph) and with Lebanon. We should not concern ourselves with the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Egypt. We should not concern ourselves with Hamas in Palestine.

We should not concern ourselves with the vituperative comments of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with reference to what he thinks of another country and how he doesn't see the existence of that country.

This -- this notion that we should remove our assets, bring our resources home, seems to be gaining some degree of credibility. And I would ask each of you to just explain whether this would bring about the peace within that some seem to think is available to us, if we would but only withdraw our assets.

And I'll start with Ms. Townsend, please. Thank you.

TOWNSEND: Thank you, Congressman. I mean, look, the most recent, let me say, historical example wasn't we waited far too long to exert our leadership in Afghanistan, and look what happened. It was an ungoverned space that Al Qaida used to plan, to train and to attack the United States on September 11th, but before that.

We can't abrogate our sense of leadership without jeopardizing our own security. That does not mean that we need to leave alone. It does not mean that we don't have allies and build coalitions, all of which is right and appropriate.

But we're going to have to lead, because it is in our -- there's been a discussion now about Syria and Hezbollah. Hezbollah remains an incredibly strong threat to us, because they're a client of Iran. And they are a destabilizing force not only in Syria, but throughout the Middle East and to the peace and security of Israel.

I -- I agree with you wholeheartedly that we need to continue to engage and not near -- my fear is that as we -- as we begin to engage less, we engage more rhetorically and are unwilling to put ourselves at risk. I -- I think it's incredibly important.

If we care about the outcome in Libya, we need more than to just answer rhetorically. And we need to be willing to put our assets against a real and very credible problem there.

MEEHAN: Thank you.

KING: I'd ask if the witnesses would try to keep their answers to one minute.

Mr. Bergen, it's your time.

BERGEN: Yes, I -- I wanted just to take this is an opportunity to talk about Afghanistan, because obviously many members of the committee are going to have to think about this pretty carefully. We're spending $118 billion there.

First of all, 68 percent of Afghans had a favorable view of international forces. This is an astonishing number for a Muslim country. That's a BBC poll taken in December.

Secondly, we're not just there because of Al Qaida. We're there because every Islamic terrorist and insurgent group in the world was headquartered or based there before 9/11, and they've migrated across the border to Pakistan, where they are now being guests of the Pakistani Taliban.

Thirdly, when we overthrow the government, we have somewhat of responsibility, I think, and I think many others would share this, to kind of leave the place in a somewhat stable condition.

Fourthly, the most likely place in the world for a nuclear war is between Pakistan and India. An unstable Afghanistan leads to an unstable Pakistan. We've already seen that.

Fifthly, the Taliban are the Taliban. There's just -- we've seen what they've done just recently in Pakistan. This is not a bunch of Henry Kissingers in waiting. These people are, you know, you know who they are.

And just to amplify something that Fran just said, we've already run this experiment twice before in Afghanistan. We closed our embassy in '89, zeroed out aid in the -- in the '90s, and then we did it again in 2002. We got what we paid for. We did it on the cheap.

And so we needed -- we were attacked from Afghanistan, as you know, so we need to be very careful about how we are going to pull out, obviously, over time, but Afghans were freaking out at the idea we were leaving this year, July, as we had said, or seemed to -- seemed to say. So we need to think very carefully about how we manage that withdrawal over time.

KOHLMANN: I wish I could say that I thought that U.S. forces could be withdrawn from Afghanistan by and large and that everything would be peachy, but I don't think that's the reality.

And as much as I wish U.S. forces could come home right away, I do remember what it was like before 9/11, meeting with folks at the NSC at the White House, talking about the issue of Afghanistan as a sanctuary and their frustration with the fact that the U.S. government was doing nothing about it.

So, you know, whenever I think about withdrawing from Afghanistan, I think back to those days, and I think back to the idea that the last thing we need right now is for Afghanistan to once again become a sanctuary for Al Qaida after all of the effort that we've put in to try to prevent it from becoming so.

MEEHAN: Thank you.

KING: The time of the gentleman has expired.

The gentleman from California, the former attorney general of California, Mr. Lungren?

LUNGREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I'm sorry, panelists, I had to leave for a while to chair another committee, so I hope I'm not repeating what has been asked of you before.

First of all, just a comment, we talk about the necessity for a de-radicalization program, a contour radicalization program. In order for us to get that support for such a program, we have to admit there's radicalization going on.

And the chairman held a hearing on that, and the message that we thought we were going to get out about the radicalization of youth in the Muslim communities in America with testimony by a parent and an uncle of two that had been so radicalized was lost in -- in the coverage. And, frankly, the chairman was attacked, because we dared to deal with the issue.

So I -- I appreciate the fact you recognize that we have to do something about a de-radicalization or counter radicalization program, but first you've got to assume there is a radicalization, and we ought to put that on the record.

Secondly, I'd just like to ask the three of you this. We started out this hearing by talking about the treasure trove of intelligence that we got from the successful mission executed against Osama bin Laden.

I was asked this question when I was home recently at a town hall meeting, and I did not have a ready answer for it. They said what -- what possible benefit was given to us by our releasing the fact that we had gotten this treasure trove of intelligence and, secondly, by giving up some parts of that intelligence and, third, by revealing the manner and means by which we obtained the intelligence when we executed the mission?

Frankly, I was at a loss to try and answer that was my constituents. My only answer was perhaps there was a judgment that this would put them on notice that we were after them. But at the same time, that's certainly not what we did during World War II and every other thing. It was we thought the utilization of intelligence was enhanced by the fact that the enemy didn't know we had.

And put the three of you help me in that regard?

KING: If I could just interject for a moment, I know Ms. Townsend is supposed to leave at noon. We should be finished with the hearing by about 12:05, so thank you.

TOWNSEND: Thank you, Chairman. And I'm -- I'm good, thanks.

Let me -- let me say you mentioned the radicalization issue. Quickly, this is a fact. This is not -- quite frankly, whether or not there's radicalization of youth here in the United States is not a political issue open to debate.

So people just need to suck up and get over that. It is a fact. It's happening. We've been -- we have credible instances of it. And so it's not -- it should not be an issue of debate.

On the treasure trove, I will say to you, having -- having served in the White House when you have a successful disruption, I can tell you that I've suffered under this sort of excruciating pressure from the press to get some details out to inform the American people.

And you do want, because it goes to the complacency issue. If you can explain to the American people a successful disruption, you can get their support for further operations, and so there's this balance.

Let me quickly add that releasing the fact that there was a trove, the details of the operation and the manner and means in which it was executed are terribly harmful. I fear that released, revealing those details...

We're going to have future operations, and we're going to have to put men and women in harm's way, and releasing those details, we know that Al Qaida monitors what we call open source material, news reports. We found them in the caves of Afghanistan.

And so we may have no doubt that the details that we released will be used against men and women in the United States military in future operations. And I -- so on balance, I would not have released the level of detail that was released.

LUNGREN: Mr. Bergen?

BERGEN: I think there is a certain utility in letting Al Qaida know that we've found the Rosetta Stone for the following reason. They will -- well, they're in a kind of Catch-22. They can communicate with each other and, therefore, open themselves to being detected, or not communicate forever, in which case they're sort of out of business.

But while -- I mean, what did we really release in terms of actual details of the information trove? I think we -- we said that the plans were in New York and Washington and Chicago and Los Angeles. Well, I think we knew that.

So I think there is -- you know, Fran has explained, as she was really therefore many, many years, but the pressures are. Let's see what -- what comes out of this. But there might be a certain utility in -- in letting Al Qaida know this.

LUNGREN: Mr. Kohlmann?

KOHLMANN: I appreciate the -- the idea of sending a chill of fear down Al Qaida's spine, and I -- I understand that potentially this also could be simply a way of trying to get Al Qaida operatives to start moving around out of fear and see where people are moving to. Who's moving?

There was just a convoy attack in the last few days. Mullah Omar -- perhaps he was afraid that his hiding place had been discovered, and she decided to high tail it.

So I understand that there is a utility to this, but I., too, I recognize the fact that Al Qaida has a dramatic interest in open source intelligence. AQAP has an entire section of their Inspire magazine dedicated to open source intelligence.

They are parsing through every single statement put out by the White House. They are parsing through every single news conference. They are watching very carefully for every detail that they can glean. And they will use it against us. They have in the past, and they will in the future.

That is the concern. I think there were certain things that probably could have been stated about the raid, but some things that were released I'm not sure provide any benefit.

The releasing of the videos of bin Laden I think would have been a tremendously amount to more effective, had there been sound, because right now all we have are the descriptions of U.S. officials saying, "Well, he's mumbling here."

Well, that's not what we're seeing. And when we see the video of bin Laden wrapped in a shawl watching TV, it's five seconds long. There's no context to it. So I think some of this information that was released with the right intent, but I'm not sure the execution was there.

KING: The time of the gentleman has expired.

The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Walsh?

WALSH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's been a long morning, so let's close.

Ms. Townsend, you've given me my best takeaway line of the hearing. It's a fact, radicalization here at home. Just your overview thoughts on this topic. It is a fact, but we know politically it's also a debate in this country. Why is it still a debate?

Fort Hood, you referenced that we saw warning signs. Why weren't they heeded? And what needs to be done to make sure they're heated again? It is a fact, but why doesn't the whole country seem to understand that?

TOWNSEND: I'll take a stab at this. Look, I think -- I think part of it is, it is a fact. And if you can point to cases and examples, the conversation tends to stay reasonably rational in my experience, and so you point to Nadal Hasan. There's no question he was an American soldier who was radicalized, and that's part of the pattern that we know of Anwar al-Awlaki.

But I think we also have to acknowledge that there are Muslim Americans, while they don't wish to -- often wish to be named publicly, who have cooperated with law enforcement agencies like the FBI, like the Department of Homeland Security. These aren't either/or issues. Both facts happen to be true.

There are many Muslim Americans who abhor Al Qaida, who abhor the ideals and ideology of Al Qaida, wish to be helpful. This is not a single ummah of the Muslim world who subscribe to this.

But until we -- to Congressman Lungren's point -- until people accept the fact of radicalization of American youth, we can't effectively combat it. And so what we need to do is -- frankly, the best way to fight it is this whole notion of a counter narrative. And we need to employ, encourage and recruit Muslim Americans to participate in that counter narrative.

BERGEN: Fran used the helpful phrase, it's not an either/or. And there's another either/or that I think is part of this, which is, you know, there's -- as I mentioned earlier, 17 Americans have been killed in jihadist terrorist attacks since 9/11. In the same time period, 73 Americans were killed in hate crimes, according to the FBI, which have different motivations.

So jihadist terrorism is obviously a national security problem for the United States, but there are other problems. It's not the only one. And so I think part of the controversy around the hearings, Chairman, was the idea that this was the only or the most important problem. And I think that, certainly, the Muslim American community felt that there are other issues that are important, as well.

KING: If I could just address that, I was saying it was the most important homeland security issue. There are other issues in the Judiciary Committee and other committees, but the Department of Homeland Security was set up to counter the attacks of September 11th, other issues we've had before, and they are certainly appropriate for other committees to discuss. But I felt this issue in particular was essential for this committee.

WALSH: And just to leapfrog on that for a second, it's my fear that that sensitive attitude we might have might continue us down this path -- and, Mr. Kohlmann, you can close this whole thing -- with us not heeding the warning signs of another potential Fort Hood because we're afraid of whatever.

KOHLMANN: I feel tremendous sympathy for the Muslim community in this country and around the world. I understand that the vast majority of Muslims have no interest in terrorism or Al Qaida. And I understand why they're sensitive about this. It's very difficult when it seems like your faith is under attack, and especially in the context of Koran burning and the whole -- the whole thing about the Ground Zero mosque, it's understandable that people get sensitive about this.

But I agree with Fran. I don't think it's a question. It's not a political question. There is radicalization going on. And I think it's in the interest of the Muslim community above all else to be at the forefront of making sure that we deal with this problem.

Because it's their children who are being recruited to go off and join foreign terrorist organizations. It's their children who are watching videos of people being beheaded on the internet, and think that's a good thing. It's not their fault, but it, it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

And I think one thing that Muslims should understand is, is that this is not just an attack on Islam. It's not an attack on mosques. In my written testimony, I describe an individual who was radicalized inside this country, in Pennsylvania who never attended a mosque, who never went to an Islamic center, who wasn't really a Muslim.

So it's, it's, I, again, I understand there's sensitivity, but this is not about them. It's about terrorism. It's about terrorists and about how all Americans can try to prevent radicalization and people being pushed to join extremist causes.

WALSH: Thank you. Go get lunch. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

KING: Thank you Mr. Walsh. First of all, let me thank all the witnesses. This has been a great, great panel. Great hearing. I think I speak for the ranking member, it was extremely illuminating and informative and I'm just going to ask to take notes, (ph) that the members of the committee may have additional questions for the witnesses and I will ask you to respond to them in writing and the record will be kept open for 10 days.

Without objection, the committee stands adjourned.