tv Hearing on Veterans Joining Extremist Groups CSPAN October 13, 2021 10:04am-1:08pm EDT
are over a year away there's plenty of time for the presidency to rebound. one of the more concerning elements of the polling is that unlike president trump and president obama, who could rely on a rock solid base, 80% or 90% of democrats and republicans during the obama and trump residencies saying that they would support them no matter what. you're not seeing the same degree of support with president biden. we will leave this to go live to a house veterans affairs committee hearing on the recruitment of veterans via violent the treatment groups. live coverage on c-span2. >> please make sure you or your staff connect contact our designated technical support so those issues can be resolved immediately. members participating remotely must continue to remain visible on camera for the duration of the hearing and lessen the experience issues or other technical problems that render the member on -- it is committee
policy that members participate remotely will remain muted when not recognize just like turn your microphone on or off during an in person hearing. this is not a courtesy to all members on the committee so that the background noise does not interfere with another member who is recognized to speak here when you are recognize you and nicu unmute your microphone and pause for two to three seconds before speaking so your words are captured on the live stream. if you wish to have a document inserted into the record please ask for unanimous consent and have your staff e-mail the document to veterans affairs dot hearings at mail.gov. the uploaded to the committee for repository. without objection members will be recognized in order of seniority for questioning witnesses today. this will make it easier for me to ensure all members participating have an opportunity to be recognized. does any member has a question about procedures for this hearing?
hearing none and sing then we will proceed. i will not recognize myself for an opening statement. from oklahoma city in 1994 to 402,009, to 1000 oaks in california and even the assault on another states capital in january misguided individuals have committed violence against their fellow citizens in pursuit of distorted objectives. this is a real threat to our nation and to our democracy, and directly impacts the work of our committee. as an alarming number of these individuals have served our country in the armed forces. today's full committee investigative hearing is entitled "domestic violent extremist groups and the recruitment of veterans." fbi director christopher wray has described domestic violent extremism as one of the greatest
threats facing our homeland. the corrupting influence of domestic violent extremist groups is a critical issue at a time where our nation remains deeply divided. we are here today to consider who these domestic extremist groups actually are. they believe in, and why they specifically target veterans for recruitment. during today's hearing we will learn about groups whose names have been prominent in the news recently including the oath keepers, the proud boys and the 3% yours. we will hear about their ideologies, their histories and seek to understand how these groups view veterans, why they price veterans in your membership and actively recruit them. and most importantly how and when these groups encourage abuse use of violence to achieve their ends. our ultimate objective is here as with all of our work on this
committee is to advance proposals to help and support veterans in need. in this case that means identifying and developing opportunities to help veterans who find themselves ensnared by one of these domestic violent extremist groups. this could include helping them to recognize they are being recruited, aiding them and exiting these groups and addressing the pervasive underlying factors that contribute to such recruitment including critical issues such as mental health, underemployment, and social isolation. we are not geared to condemn or vilify veterans engage with these groups but rather to draw attention to what these groups actually represented to highlight the lurking threat posed by these groups. what they believe and what violent or illegal activities they encourage from their members. only by saying that these groups
are, what they believe and what violent or illegal activities they encourage can we -- our ability to intervene and help these veterans and their families reclaim their lives. today's hearing is intended to be the first in a series of three sessions devoted to investigating this issue. this preliminary hand will focus on defining describing the problem, introducing a solution, understand the landscape of extremism, examining the data trends and explaining the connection between these groups and veterans. the second hearing to be scheduled in the coming months will focus on the process of recruitment and radicalization of these groups and the contributory factors that make veterans more vulnerable to such efforts. the third and final hearing will address strategies to identify the veterans at risk for recruitment by examining the resources available and opportunities for permanent collaboration between the v.a. to these organizations, vsos
and individuals. taken together, this series of hearings will give us a call brains of understanding of the domestic violence hurts groups, the levers and radicalization, and a range of proactive solutions to address this problem in the veterans community. before i conclude i want to take a minute to clarify what exactly this hearing is about, and important what it is not about. we are here today to talk about domestic violent extremist groups. our purpose definition we're using the propensity for violence as the key determination. all of these groups that we will be discussing today are ones that have discussed or demonstrated a willingness to use violence as a means to achieve their ends. we are not defined extremism as any particular political ideology or viewpoint.
and indeed violent extremism exist on both ends of the political spectrum. we are specifically using the propensity for violence as our definition because it is not our intention to label any political issues, parties or opinions as nearly extremist but rather to recognize that in viewpoint when expressed in violence, crosses a dangerous one into extremism. violent conduct is outside the scope of constitutionally protected speech and beyond the limits of the law. violence should be rejected by all of us, irrespective of party or politics, and like the vast majority of issues that come before this committee it should be a a bipartisan concern. i trust with that in mind that we can engage in a thoughtful discussion today. ranking member bost, i now recognize you for five minutes for your opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and what is welcome to our witnesses and we are here today to discuss violent extremists among
veterans. the important word there is violent. something that seems extreme in southern california might be commonplace in other parts of the country. that doesn't make it wrong. the first amendment gives us the freedom to hold and express beliefs and opinions of regardless of how extreme other people might think they are. and i thank god for that because we live in a country that we have that. free speech is a foundation to democracy, , and the american wy of life. the way service members and veterans have fought and died over the last 245 years for this free speech must be protected. i will oppose any efforts to restrict it. it is every veterans a right to have an opinion, even when i find radical. however, if that opinion is acted on with violence it is another thing altogether. violence cannot be tolerated.
it is an undemocratic and anti-american, and we have seen political violence from across the political spectrum over the last several years. for example, there were devastating riots in several major american cities last year. those riots did incredible damage to people and property, and then led to the calls to defund the police and lead to rising crime throughout the country. there was also the right on the capitol january 6th. when the chairman announced investigation into the targeting of that by violent extremism i was concerned that it was a political exercise seeking to capitalize on january 6th. this hearing was organize scheduled, originally scheduled for july 29. however, on july 23 my staff and i learned on twitter from a reporter at the hearing had been postponed. the postponement was allegedly
due to scheduling issues. however, my staff was later told by the chairman's staff that the hearing was actually been postponed at the request at speaker pelosi. allegedly, she was concerned that our hearing would interfere with the first hearing of the select committee on january 6th on july 27. and i'm sure that members are understanding my serious frustration with those events your first it is unacceptable that the important information about our schedule would be shared with the members of the media before me, my staff, or other committee members. second, i was already concerned investigation was motivated by partisan politics rather than the best interests of the veterans. speaker pelosi's order to postpone the hearing because of its overlap with the select committee on january 6th confirmed my concerns. let me be clear. the v.a. committee is not the appropriate place to debate that
incident. there are other house committees with that jurisdiction and expertise just to do that. there is also the select committee on january 6th. i've a serious concerns with partisan nature and narrow focus of the select committee, but our job on the v.a. committee is to honor, support, serve, and empower veterans. our job is to help them get care, benefits, services and opportunities that they emerge. if anything is going to prevent veterans from falling prey to violent extremism, it is at that. there are approximately 18 million veterans in this country. they come from every background and belief system. veterans are hard-working, highly skilled and well well-respected. those qualities make veterans excellent employees, leaders, and community members. those qualities may also make
them attractive to violent extremism want to take advantage of their skills and standing to cause violence and division. it grabs at the headline when veterans are accused of becoming violent extremists, but it is very little data on how many veterans are actually involved in violent extremism, and actions that follow. and there is no question that the vast majority of veterans are law-abiding peaceful. we cannot let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch. there is already a false but persistent -- about veterans. it says that you are sick,, broken, dangers, so called a ticking time bomb. what is actually dangers is that stigma and i am concern that this hearing will spread it. that stigma makes it harder for veterans to find jobs and to seek help if they need it. most importantly it is also false.
we know that a lot of violent extremism takes root online. that is one of the reasons why my colleague and i introduced h.r. 2326 the veterans cyber risk awareness act. our bill would require a study about cyber risk facing veterans from fraud, disinformation campaigns and yes violent extremist. it would also require the v.a. to partner with other agencies and experts to share best practices about how to stay safe online. and i hope we will be able to consider in the committee and on the house floor this language of this legislation soon. and then i hope we can get back to doing what we do best for veterans and leave the partisan politics investigations in the past. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, ranking member
bost. now let me introduce our next been witness. our first panel features a a x of established veteran voices and experts on the data and dynamics of extremism. we were there first from lieutenant colonel joe plenzler, a retired marine who has been outspoken on the issue of veterans and extremist groups. mr. jeremy butler, the ceo of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. dr. seth jones senior vice president at the center r strategic and international studies. and dr. cynthia miller-idriss, the director of the polarization and extremism research and innovation lab at american university, and author of hate in the homeland. thank you for being here. i'm in my eye witnesses to pause for two to three witnesses before speaking and answering questions. colonel plenzler, you're recognized for five minutes to present testimony.
are including an organizing veterans to commit violence. we already know this to be true. the questions are how extensive is his problem and what are we going to do about it? here's what we do know. first the threat is real and we are all at risk especially those who carry out the duties and responsibilities of government. for decades violent extremist groups have sought to infiltrate our military to gain tactical training and access to weapons and explosives. they have recruited veterans because of the military skills and leadership. they target the isolated, the impoverished veterans who are frustrated and confused those struggling to adapt to the civilian world. they provide them with simplistic view of the world and its problems, actionable solutions and the sense of purpose and they feed is sold a bill of individuals and to lies and political and social grievance as they've been successful. security experts are increasingly concerned about the rise of participation of law enforcement members, active-duty and reserve service members and veterans within the ranks of these violent extremist groups. veterans have been connected too
10% of all domestic access since 2015. this is shocking since veterans comprise less than 6% of the population. veterans who participate may be few, they can be extreme and dangerous point it only took one by the name of lee harvey oswald a marine veteran too stunned the nation and change the history of the presidency. it only took two army veterans by the end of timothy mcveigh and terry nichols to destroy the federal building in oklahoma city and to 168 and and 100. and insurrectionist mob engage in conspiracy led apart by the extra scrips invaded this house to spoil the very altar of our democratic republic. they breach the security and they hunted for you. of them with a six and a 20 arrested as of september 29, 71 had had ties to the military or veterans committees represent 12% of the mob. five were active-duty members of the guard and reserve, 56 were veterans. investors have linked those two violent extremist groups.
i'm disgusted to see more than 20 of those arrested served my marine corps. they decided thin sauce and a feminist and the leftist legacy of our core. what can we do? we must better understand the problem. i commend this committee and launching an investigation into this issue. i urge greater coordination with the fbi and department of homeland security. second the vsos must raise awareness of this threat. there are 48 congressional -- 14 of the veterans and military associations affiliated with this committee. the leaders need 62 national organization and we strongly encourage him to speak out about this great threat reinforce expectations to members and proactively work to assist at risk veterans. our nation needs a unequivocal support to help address this threat. we must improve our efforts to prevent veterans enjoying these organizations and a urge congress to direct the deity to modify staff program to include a class of the threat of domestic violent extremist groups and their efforts to recruit. this class should provide fbi
recommendations on what to do if approach. they have role as they have the means to reach out to assist individual at risk. members are also respected as members of the committee's and as such the position execute community-based violent extremism strategies. strong vsos focus on service to our state and nation. creating productive -- against the better equipment by violent extremist groups. fourth we must identify veterans are participating in violent extremist groups and identify them to authorities. the veteran community must police its own. if we must protect veterans who lead -- hardly fits we must protect veterans who lead these organization and provide them with pathway back into the fold. the testimony you here today should be a wake-up call for us all. the data is undeniable. domestic violent extremism is on the rise and is a great threat to our democratic republic. we have responsible to understand how this affects the committee and take action of.
i thank you for your invitation time and attention and look forward to your questions. >> thank you, colonel . without objection or written testimony in full will be included in the hearing record. mr. butler, you are recognized for five minutes for your testimony. >> chairman takano, ranking member bost and distinguished member of the committee on behalf of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, and are more than 425,000 members i would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify for today's hearing on the important topic of extremism within the veteran community. i look forward to an honest assessment of the situation within the country. i do believe extremism exist within the military and veterans space. not because it is a rampant problem but because it exists within the broader american population. whatever group, religion or viewpoint exists within american society you'll find it within the military and by extension
within the veteran community. i believe that is one of the strengths of our military and what it remains one of the most respected institutions of government. not every view is one that should be tolerated and extremist thought especially those that condone our advocate for judicial violence should not be tolerated or allowed to spread unchecked. i do not believe extremist views are pervasive within the veterans space. i know -- extremist views want to continue their service to the country after they've hung up the uniform. because extremist views are not pervasive does that mean they should not be taken as a serious threat or those who hold them are not a threat to the overall strength of the institutions in which they are found. what do you believe they are elements of extremist views within the community or question about the existence it should be a priority for you to investigate and understand whether or not and to what extent they do exist. a presence at any level degrades
confidence, lends credibility to any extremist organization, and paint then inoculate negative picture of the greater veteran community when we already have a large and widening civil military divide where most americans do not know or understand the veteran experience. for me this is not maintaining trust and confidence and by extension are veteran community. for decades public trust and confidence has been -- there are many reasons why but the over politicization of every personal action is partly to blame. i'm here to encourage you -- not through the lens of party but through the lens of democracy. my focus is not a condemnation of a political party or ideology but to improve and strengthen the government institution, sacred democracy uphold civil rights. we accomplish this by being honest about our success and shortcoming and in working collaboratively to fix those shortcomings. kenai the deficiencies have and continued to exist within our country does not build confidence and it does not keep with the oath we have all taken. if veterans are being targeted
and recruited by extremist groups it is very much duty to understand why and to address the fact is a link to a veteran feeling open. battling extremism begins with those in charge. it is what we expected military should be the same for all. includes members of congress. it is often forgotten and perhaps not even realize most begin with but like every member of the military every member of congress swears an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. members of congress affirmed that overarching duty not to a party, a person or an ideology but to the constitution. i strongly believe the more often we all service members a member is of congress reminds are so low that both the better we will be in carrying out our duties. i would like to point to recent events to exempt from a point. after 20 years and involvement in afghanistan if one of your constituents only listen to the recent hits conducted by the house foreign affairs, the senate formulation and armed
services committees that citizen would be convinced her only two options to ask when what it am wrong, but the u.s. mission field because of a poorly planned and executed operation allied refuge or because former president trump's figure 2021 doha agreement. i'll be brutally honest it was embarrassing to watch the series and a disclaimer to those of us focusing on writing an outstanding run and try to keep the country from engaging -- many members of congress did not ask questions to which the one answers. it was grandstanding. some did not let the witnesses speak. most asked question designed to elicit talking points. for me extremism includes putting political party over country. especially if like those of us can military your taken an oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states of america. if this is what our leaders are doing we should not be surprised when the constituency does the same. as more citizens become poor allies the more it forces politicians to catch extremist base. they view towards more extreme
leaders to fix the problem. that is a cycle that will end nowhere but in the destruction of the country. thanks for your time. >> thank you for your testimony, mr. butler. without objection your written testimony in full will be included in the hearing record. dr. jones, you are recognized for five minutes for your testimony. >> thank you, chairman takano, ranking member , ranking member bost, and distinguished members of the committee. this hearing is extremely important and just for the record i served as a civilian in u.s. special operations, so have particular interest in the findings of the data that i will present. as this testimony highlights objective analysis and better data are extremely important to gauge the nature of the threats that we're talking about today, and to put together effective responses. as the date in this testimony
that i'm going to present highlights veterans along with active duty and reservists have been involved in a growing percentage of domestic terrorist plots and attacks. some of it involved and extremist activity on digital platforms including on cyber and i should note that this is a very small percentage of veterans as well as active-duty and reservists, but it is a growing percentage. in addition we also seen extremist networks attempt to embed their members in the military and actively recruit current as well as retired veterans. they have got valuable skills as lieutenant colonel plenzler note small unit tactics, communications, logistics and surveillance data been helpful. i'm going to proceed in four steps for the rest of my comments. the first is the data that we have compiled on domestic
terrorism focuses on what we call terrorism. as we've already heard from several members we focus on the deliberate use or threat of violence by nonstate actors to achieve their goals and create a broader psychological impact. our data set which includes the universe of cases in the united states by domestic terrorists starts january 1, january 1, 1994 and goes through january 31st, 2021. we are updating at and will have data that goes to the end of 2021 as well. well. with cooperated closely with the fbi, the department of homeland to get it, a national counterterrorism center, , cia d department of defense with this data, so it is pretty heavily vetted as well. we moved to the secretary. just broadly speaking in terms of trends and incidents and fidelity.
in 2020 the number of domestic terrorist attacks and plots according to our data increase to its highest level since at least 1994. though it is important to note for tallies were fairly low in 2020, the .. full year. probably in part because most domestic terrorists from various ideologies and generally not try to kill as many people as possible the way historically that jihadist avenues including around september 11, 2021. they moved to veterans both past and present. think of it already heard that we have seen in this country some activity by veterans involved in domestic terrorism over the years. the vietnam war was one of the historical incidents that contributed to radicalization among disenfranchised veterans. we look at the 1970s, '80s and '90s, a a whole range of individuals we already heard
timothy mcveigh, randy dewey, randy weaver, william potter gale, richard butler, fraser glenn miller and others including eric rudolph were veterans that committed domestic terrorist plots and attacks and broader extremism in the u.s. more recently our data shows there's been an increase in the percentage of domestic terrorist plots and attacks perpetrated by active-duty and reserve personnel including by veterans as well. despite the reality that the numbers of veterans committing these plots and attacks are small, the percentage is growing which is a concern for us, those involved in gender six but we've also seen paul edward bella a u.s. army veteran involved in the plot against the michigan governor. we had seen brian linley, a veteran member of the base come white supremacist organization arrested by the fbi last year
who served in the us army and help create military style training for that organization. our data incidentally also shows growing domestic terrorism targeting the military and law enforcement as well. so not only are we seeing individuals plot attacks of the military is also a target of those attacks as well. in terms of congressional steps, very briefly to think there's an important need to focus on cyber risk awareness among veterans to also think there's a more significant need to better understand the scope of the data. we've collected some but there's a lot of questions and data points that we have not effectively looked into. so with that i will turn it back and i look forward to the discussion. thank you. >> thank thank you, dr. jon. without objection your written testimony in full will be included in the hearing record. dr. miller-idriss, you are
recognized for five minutes for your testimony. >> thank you. chairman takano, ranking member bost and establishment of the committee, i would like to thank you for your service to our country and for calling attention to the critical issue of veterans recruitment to domestic violent extremism. i've been studying this issue for over 20 years both here and in germany where these types of investigations both into active-duty military and veteran community are also ongoing. the clearest and most pressing danger from domestic violent extremism in the u.s. comes from white to prince extremist and antigovernment extremism movements and groups, the pace, scope and scale of these developments have been well-documented by the previous testimony and witnesses, and i do so as well in my written testimony. the goals of domestic extremist lead to nondemocratic and they claim inferiority between groups, undermine democracy
through extreme action includes disinformation campaigns, election interference, attacks on freedom of the press, violating the constitutional protections of minority rights, and using violence and terrorism to achieve political goals. these movements overlap and mutually reinforce one another. to make specific trends i've elaborate and my written test but i won't go into an oral testimony but happy to discuss comforts of almost extremist content and radicalization today does happen online which is the difference from previous generations. and second across the entire domestic extremist spectrum we are seeing rising acceleration calling for revolutionary kind of civil war including from groups deposition of themselves to take advantage of the scenarios related to the breakdown of our existing government and civil society and also seek to actively instigate this breakdown. i want to spend the remainder of my time talking about subset of groups that prioritize and by the improvement of veterans into
the ranks. active-duty service members and veterans are targeted because of their tactical skills to mutation screening, clearances and access to munitions, weapons facilities which could be useful to groups in violent action or terrorist plots. they are recruit in part to extremist groups manipulation of the values that attract many individuals to an investment first place to leap to the defense of the nation or people, brotherhood, courageous terrorism and protection of an oath of the constitution. in this weight extremist groups and movements seek to convert a sense of betrayal or anger to the government or mainstream society into mobilization of violent actions but his friend as heroic defense of the real or termination. in the sense about itself is a modified in ways to seek to exploit the experiences and emotions of veterans. this is not meant to excuse but rather to explain how action should be abhorrent to current and former service members, can
be embraced by a small minority of them. it is our duty to provide resources and training to reduce this manipulation and make veterans a less probable to recruitments and movements that are actively undermined and dismantled the very institutions that have sworn an oath to protect and defend. i suggest we need three kinds of investment to prevent veteran radicalization recruitment. first, veterans need resources to support their integration after service through counseling and support which may be contributory causes of vulnerability. second, veteran support organization should receive training to better recognize warning signs and early red flags of extreme and ride organization and to know how to access for the health. finally the armed forces and veterans communities should invest in preemptive evidence base evidence-based and occupation approaches that anything before individuals are exposed to dangerous ideas, enabling those to be more resistant to radicalization efforts and disinformation.
inoculation work across ideologies and do not target specific communities or label some people as more at risk. rather such work to provide blanketed training for everyone because every individual needs to be equipped with the tools to recognize disinformation a racist propaganda and defend democracy. every u.s. service member who exits military should be inoculated against the persuasive tactics and manipulative strategies of extremist groups during the separation and transition period when active-duty servicemembers are preparing to return to civilian life. the threat posed by the rights of domestic and external is violence specifically aimed at our democracy itself. extremist ideas and groups cannot be left to operate unchecked within the very organization charged with protecting the population including its most vulnerable citizens.
for the future multicultural tamoxifen extreme is it military and veterans communities must be treated like threats to national security data disk. thank you. >> thank you, dr. miller-idriss. without objection your written testimony info will be included in the hearing record. i now recognize myself for five minutes for questioning. so my first question is to colonel plenzler. as chairman of the house committee on veterans affairs, but utmost priority is concerning the safety and well-being of our veterans. while i agree with your concerns about domestic violent extremism at the threat posed to our democracy, how does this issue affect the well-being of veterans? >> thank you, chairman. i think it's important to
remember that we have a responsibility to our veterans who had served and wrist many other lives in combat around the world defend our freedoms, to help the transition back into civilian community which is no small task here for a lot of veterans it's a challenge experience to go from being in uniform and one culture to rejoin the civilian world and find meaningful occupation, we establish a sense of community and built all that on a foundation of meaning. when we look at this as the most corrosive things, that comes with final extremism trying to recruit veterans, is a form of cancer within our body or within our community. and delete a lot of veterans down the wrong path and i think that's tragic. i asked myself how to veterans show up at the capital on january 6 and invade the building? i think to myself where do we go wrong?
where did he officers like my fellow go wrong in failing to instill values, core values? ultimately these young americans are going to be charged, right? they will be prosecuted now their lives are for the book behind the eight ball because of their actions that day. i think it's tragic and i think it's really destructive to our community. >> thank you. thank you for that response. dr. miller-idriss, the jurisdiction of this committee covers the full range of issues affecting veterans and their lives after they complete their service to our country. our committee holds hearings on critical issues such as veterans health care, mental health,, suicide prevention, employment and homelessness. this issue while very important is a novel one before this committee. can you explain to us how we should consider this threat posed to veterans by domestic
violent extremism in the context of these other relevant issues? >> thank you for the question. yes. i mean, my view on this is that what we're seeing with veterans is a manipulation of their values, of their interest, of their loyalty to the country by persuasive extremist tactics that deliberately target them for that manipulation. and so as we just heard from colonel plenzler who said where did we go wrong in failing to instill values, i would say first of all nobody went wrong in failing to fulfilling thing i think values are not enough. we also are obligated to teach people about the kind of manipulation that they will encounter, may encounter online. many people will be natural immune or resist that but of the people will be vulnerable to it and it's our obligation i think to see part of our duty back to servicemembers is to help with
the tools to recognize and resent that propaganda if he comes across their path. we owe it to them. >> thank you. thank you, dr. miller-idriss. mr. butler, i know you pardue at syracuse university to conduct your 11th member veterans survey from verified veterans and that you included some questions about extremism. what are your members telling you in that survey? >> thank you, sir. they're telling us a lot pick this is a first time we've included this in there and just for quick context, the survey is continue to be ongoing. it's about 3500 respondents we've got so far and an overwhelming we are basically three questions referring to. one was do think there's a series palm of extremism and military? in a post-9/11 that is canary? have you personally witnessed extremism? each question got over one-third of respondents saying yes, they believe it exists within the military. they believe it exists within the veteran community and a person have witnessed.
those are three separate questions. i think it speaks to the fact that this is truly a problem that it's not just those of us testifying here today but it's the members of our community they're saying it's a problem and something needs to be done about it. >> mr. butler, i understand it's an ongoing survey, you haven't fully got all the data yet but it is alarming to me that one-third of your members who are our youngest generation of veterans, the post-9/11 or the iraq and afghanistan veterans, a third of them have noted that they've either witnessed it, they see it as a problem, et cetera. so thank you for the work you organization is doing. i now want to recognize ranking member bost for five minutes. ranking member? >> thank you, mr. chairman. my first question, lieutenant colonel plenzler, first off,
semper fi, but i'm going to ask because it was mentioned in my opening, you know, what impact does the term roque and veteran and the narrative and some of our community do for our veterans economic prospects as well as the mental health when they hear that our veterans are broken? >> thank you for the question. i have really countered that in my time outside of the marine corps. i left in 2015. i know it's been a trope in some hollywood movies that we've seen and i think it has had a contributing factor to preventing veterans in seeking mental health care. but i'm also very concerned about the reputation of veterans especially in the light of what took place in january 6th. and our military as well. since november 2018 the reagan foundation found the public trust in the military has slipped by 14 14 percentage s to today. also the veterans citizens initiative did a poll last
november come so march of this year we also found public trust and veterans as good role models slipped by similar percentage point, 14 points. ranking member, my concern is as long as we maintain all volunteer force, the public perception of our veterans and our military men critical because we know veterans reputations and a recommendation dear people to consider the military as an occupation is number one or number two factor that recruiters list is why they joined the force. while the narrative you brought up is problematic, i'm very concerned about this issue and about public perception of our veterans, as you are. >> as i have come yes. mr. butler, what role does a a successful transition to civilian life have for like a newly separated veteran to avoid temptations to join these groups, remote violent, and promote violent extremism? >> thank you, sir. i think that's a huge part of not just this you you but so many others that veterans service organizations are
working on right now. the better job that we can do in supporting our veterans and the transition i think we really going to get into many issues, not just extremism but certainly underemployment, an opponent, education benefits. so much of what vsos do when members reach out to us for support is that if they would come to us and we would have cut off the crisis and been able to help them with the transition. i think the more we can do to connect maybe not just with veterans but with active-duty servicemembers who are looking forward to when the transition into the veteran community, how we can start helping them earlier, we're going to tackle think a lot of his problems and i think a lot of them are related. if you talk about unemployment, unemployment, lack of a sense of purpose within a better you're talking about the same issues that are also leading towards and being exploited extremist groups. >> so just we'll quick follow-up because want to get to know the question here, but what you
think we should add to the program to train these veterans and have them be aware? >> a lot of it can be greater exposure to what some of this veteran service organizations are doing that can help with the transition especially the post-9/11 group that are focused on continue service as a civilian. >> this is for the whole panel and a really do want to get to this. this is for whoever wants to answer. the groups have all this custody all share some level of antigovernment belief. the rand corporation found heavy-handed attempts to for institutions to increase, that can increase radicalization. so what policies should government implement to address violent antigovernment groups without further inflating their already sentiment and increasing their message instead of -- [inaudible] basically fanning the flames?
anyone. >> i can jump in on that, thank you for the question. i mean, i think this is also the same problem faced with conspiracy theories which attempt to address them can cause people to dig in their heels even more. it's one of the reasons why i think preemptive education which teaches everybody about the manipulative tactics of groups and narratives that are out there is one strategy the government can invest in, and of digital and media literacy for a good of veterans, fifth-graders are 50-year-olds. that is something that is not targeting the ideology itself but the tactics of the manipulative strategy used by those extremist groups to try to exploit people. >> i just think that something that we should be very aware of, that we want to help, we don't want to make it worse. and when you get come in people get involved with many groups that's easy to stir on a bridge. with that my time ran out and
mr. chairman, i will yield back. >> thank you for your very thoughtful questions, ranking member. i now call on mr. lamb for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman for holding this hearing, and thank you to our witnesses for your participation. first, a question about data, and a kind of falls on something the ranking member was asking. they're destined to be this assumption that when veterans the do something wrong especially something radically wrong bike attack the capital on january 6th and we all saw the marine corps logo and other locals all over that attack, , that that decision is somehow rooted in a problem that veterans are having with their transition to civilian life. does the data actually showed that about the january 6th defendant's or people who are similar with groups like the oath keepers a call for the overthrow of the united states? or is that still at the
hypothesis stage? i know other public reporting is put up how many generally six insurrectionists were business owners and people for whom economic opportunity was really not the issue so i was just curious if you have any answers to that question yet. i can address part of that question. we have dated that shows disproportion engagement and we know that there are some conditions that made engagement and extremism a little bit more likely that the disproportion engagement of those who exit from military, for example, that resurgence there. but we do not have sufficient research i would say to call for additional data transparency come for data collection, and for research really into the actual reasons why veterans are engaging in this movement. what we know is they are -- the
narrative seems to manipulate them but have a lack of attention in the research space so that would be something to look into as well. >> if i could add to that. just broadening this from january 6th for a moment. i think with the data does suggest is for veterans that we're seeing a growing percentage of plots and attacks over the last couple of years involving veterans. they dated that show that the capability that veterans have does present some concern just because of their tactical abilities, their communication capability, small unit tactics, that those kind of capabilities do present a risk. but there are a lot of questions that we don't necessarily know yet that i would just say as we are looking for solutions to this problem i think we need to answer a couple of questions before we really can understand what kind of solutions we need
to help veterans. this is where i think we have to go. >> yeah, i agree. that's what i was asking. i don't know yet if the answer is sort of programmatic and away we would think about other veterans issues. it could also be that in the last couple of years something else happened that never happened in american history, which is that troops for the first on had a commander-in-chief who condoned and even called for an incited violence insurrection on his own country so it's bound to have on the people who are under his command, which they were on the date of january 6th. so i do think it could be different in terms of what the true cause is. regardless, i think it was jeremy use the phrase we need to police our own, and i agree with that. i'm just curious how anyone on the panel, maybe starting with the jeremy because i haven't heard from you yet, would view a
sort of campaign or -- that we feature some of the people who pled guilty from january 6th that are veterans, talking about how misguided they were in their mistakes. some of them are bound to come to that realization, probably not all but there will be some people to regret what they did and regret their betrayal of the oath at the thought they were protecting. it strikes me that sort of peer-to-peer voice is probably more important than the voice of experts, but jeremy or maybe colonel plenzler, if you could address that, please? >> i will quickly say i think any campaign that would probably be more effective if it took place as more of a peer-to-peer thing than leica psa type of event. i think that's where the message is going to be much better received than for more of a top-down. >> thank you and thanks for the
question. about one-third of our veterans formally belong to veterans service organizations. i think one strategy i would try to import employ is to tr department of homeland security briefed the leaders of our veterans service organizations on this threat so they become more knowledgeable about what's going on. i would ask them and this committee to ask these leaders to raise these issues with their members. throughout the command structure within organizations in all 50 states. i would also ask him to reinforce the values of the organization and how these veteran organizations were brought up to whiston the threat of things like communism after world war i. and then paint the behavior as deviant behavior. say hey this absolutely wrong. veterans should are shown up. he should be part of these organizations, paint your membership as a solution to that problem. lastly, provide them things to do. what you do when you're back that's a better mib slipping into this kind of ideology? how to fish and and out of d put them on a better track? those five steps of what i would
take a look at doing. >> thank you all. i'm out of time. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. lamb. mr. banks, you are recognized for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, i hope every veteran in america's watching this hearing today and hearing from you and the majority and control of this committee that our veterans are so stupid and susceptible becoming domestic terrorists that you and the democrats have to save them from it. it's widely offensive and dangerous. i wish we're talking about a lot of other issues like the rise in veteran suicide and other issues affecting our veterans but here we go again. on june 21, 2020, president biden released his national strategy strategy for care and domestic terrorism. this strategy rightfully calls out domestic violence jervis animated by racist values and those who seek to intimidate individuals using the threat of violence. what this strategy doesn't do however is paint any one of the
violent leftist extremist groups who terrorize our cities last summer. antifa, black lives matter and other political organizations caused up to $2 billion in damage across the nation and that that little pushback from this current administration. according to president biden's definition of extremism, even the germans own definition a propensity for violence, should and teeth lives matter be included in the white house definition of domestic extremism? thanks for the question. i think this is an of going back to the comets is making in my opening statement which i feel like we are trying to score political points over focusing on the issue at hand. and i appreciate your question but i'm not going to specific answer because i don't think it's helpful. i think what we need to focus on are the issues that are veterans identifying and that we identify -- >> mr. butler, are you with any
any since the white house is taking steps to address far left extremist? >> i don't work at the white house. i went iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, focuses on our members, , our constituents and veterans throughout the country. >> got it. dr. cynthia miller-idriss come here presented numerous concerning statements that may lead people to question your credibility. in then twitter threat on -- quote meet eating is used to evoke both pro-american d antigovernment sentiments all at once. end quote red meat consumption is championed by the far right as a celebration of manliness. you've also stated that quote far right pod casters have claimed that veggie burgers are part of a jewish capitalist plot against white people in industrialized society. in another tweet you stated that quote far right soup kitchens put pork and lentil in their soup to exclude muslims and
jews. dr. miller-idriss, i had hamburger last i do you believe that i am extremist as eating red meat makes someone an extremist? >> of course not. eating red meat does not make someone an extreme anymore than being a a serviceman or better make someone and extremist. talking about -- >> do you think you're able to provide impartial test but to commit as most made up of meat eating members like many on this committee? >> yes. thank you for the question, although it's a dissection i think for for the purpose of this hearing i'm a red meat eater myself. ..
>> and from last summer about person my book that had more data. >> you did tweet all of those things for me say that the rhetoric of the kind that doctor miller himself said is dangerous when supposing academics portray normal everyday behavior, problematic, it vilifies the entire community of peaceful people in this league is to policies like we currently see in the fbi who are now investigating terraces extremists are opposing critical race theory so mr. butler, what effect is this type of rhetoric have on our veterans. >> to be honest i think that the types of questions that you are asking are part of the problem here and that's when i was trying to address when i was referring sit up and referencing back to the hearings about the withdrawal from afghanistan and all of the questions will maybe not all, 99 percent of the questions were about political points and not about addressing the issue at hand or even the larger issues that need to be addressed in proposer, that is the problem and work using
misinformation to avoid addressing the real issues that this country is facing. >> i think his hearing is offensive and the fact that you're going to save our veterans from becoming political terrorists is offensive to every veteran in america and i yield back. >> mr. banks and thank you for your questioning, our focus today is on violence and condemning violence wherever it comes from whether it is the left or the right in today's testimony underscores the use of violence and specifically to our veterans in particular relevant. with regard to the far right groups and i do not want to wano recognize the next person for five minutes. last week i was proud to cheer the technology modernizations
hearings which included an extensive discussion of va collection efforts in the hearing reinforced the importance of good data to our veterans for entire care and indeed if we cannot measure it, we cannot fix it. with that in mind, doctor jones in your written testimony, you suggested that the u.s. military is not doing enough to understand the pervasiveness of the extremism within its ranks. could you elaborate on that what types of data that you should be in collecting regarding extremism and violence predict. >> as our data suggest we are talking about tiny percentages of active duty region and reserves us and the reservists and still the increase in percentages of those involved has risen an attack so it is worth looking closely at and i think what we are pushing for on data. it.
[inaudible]. how and why were they radicalized, what were the methods they were recording them and how do you put those answers together to give us a sense of how to counter them another was that they were radicalized, how much was it health-related reasons and how much was it for economic reasons. we've gone down this road for those who are radicalized as violent jihadists and inspired by al qaeda think they're similar we need to ask, what is the path like for those and again we are talking about violence, not those with various political beliefs but for those who migrate to violence and why are they doing it and how are they being recruited if that's how they're doing it. were also seeing some activity from states including russia though we are looking at foreign actors are involved in this.
based on answers to that, then i think we can can craft a better solution to dealing with it. and the way frankly with sexual assault and suicides and the military. >> i would be shared with different governing agencies including the va. >> i think that once the data is collected i think then the discussions within the department of defense in the va is how do we craft these programs together based on what the analysis indicate on radicalization and how do we then craft because this is where we have to prove at the end of the day is how we better support our veterans. is it identification and radicalization, is it bringing the families and to support them. i think crafting the policies can depend on the answers in the
va's going to be really important part of the solution. >> finally, how would such data another interventions that are self entered to these extremes freighted. >> overtime you can track these programs whether there actually having an effect i think at the end of the day when i would like to see is a decline in these percentages of those involved so that the programs we are putting together for the veterans in the help and again, i would like to see other veterans what they have had if we start to see a decline in those numbers, we know there is a likelihood of having an effect if we don't, where see processing high numbers we have to rethink the kind of programs that we are providing them. >> i think of doctor jones and at this time i yield back. >> thank you and i now call on the next person for five
minutes. >> i had to unmute myself and thank you mr. chairman and appreciate everyone who is with us this morning. i believe this is a very important issue domestic terrorism is an important issue no matter whether you are a veteran or not and i think also having information of data to have this hearing is equally important. my understanding is we don't have much data to go from on this hearing in terms of the number events since january 6 and i have seen tax they raise from 40 - 270. it's no secret that the criminals pray on unsuspected people including our veterans and nowadays, this disinformation and scams and fraud and on the internet and social media. but despite these threats, many individuals are not armed with
proper knowledge to make informed decisions about whether consuming and watching and reading online. that's why the ranking member and i introduced hr 23 and the veterans risk awareness act. this bill addresses the va and coordination with other to create a campaign to educate veterans about these risks. at today's hearing is made clear that we don't lack data and information to determine whether the veterans are actually more: of all or less vulnerable than others than the civilians and how any are actually participating in extremist groups and all this information a lot of disinformation and data. and requiring an independent study on veterans and availability to resources to assist them in combating the cyber risk and effectiveness of this type of outreach campaign. supported by the disabled american veterans, veterans and
student veterans of america, paralyzed veterans of america and warrior project. just last week, we are allowed to speak on this bill but i appreciate an opportunity and hope to be able to leading to the bill inclusion in our next full committee markup and is very much at the end of the day, we lack data. some a couple of questions in my remaining time that i have my first one is for mr. butler, despite the rise of the community they have yet to support this bill. i would like to ask if you support hr 23 - 26. suet thank you i look forward to hearing more about it from your office. i'm sure my leadership in dc is connecting with your office on this i don't know enough about it right now to tell you but i definitely can assure you that we will check out the merits of it and give your thumbs-up or thumbs down and if it is some doubt we will tell you exactly why. i look forward to hearing more.
>> i like that and we need as much support as we can get in seeing that there is a lack of data and appreciate that you're here today and i know in your testimony comments, that to my knowledge, i did not hear a lot of data. in a make informed decisions about policy if you thank you so really important to have data to go from. my understanding, think you said there were 66 that there were left on january 6 is out your data suggest. >> barbados looks at the number of attacks so there are number of indications that were roughly 66, but yes that is correct rated. >> initiator just money that the number of veterans involved in this terrorism type of attacks and violent attacks and that is actually gone up and heavy compared to that percentage to the cases of violent acts by group printed by groups by lack
lives matter and defense and others, what is the difference is the attacks on those individuals also one of the same rate as veterans or at a higher rate. >> again but we've seen in 2015 and 2020 is that 10 percent of all domestic terrorist attacks and plots were committed by veterans. there's various times. >> when they been committed in the last two years by nt for her black lives matter numbers pretty. >> we had in 2020, for example is that in arkansas, and i fashion is, violence and environmentalists and others perpetrated 23 percent of the terrorist attacks yes. and those numbers have gone up as well. >> i would understand that you work with the fbi and other groups, did you know the fbi does not track nt five cases
where there's hundreds of acts of violence and domestic terrorism across country, not just ungenerous extent six but over the last year and half including in south carolina. i appreciate all your time today and i hope we can get more data to help our veterans in the future thank you and i yield back. >> thank you and i now call on mr. brown for five minutes. >> thank you and i appreciate this hearing in the me just start by saying that the veterans and the veteran communities are overwhelmingly honorable men and women who served our country courageously and many continue to serve our country and communities rather nation after taking off their military uniform but the postservice experience of our individual veterans is more successful are identical among most veterans, most are successful many ways pretty soundly military service and
encounter setbacks after setbacks for a variety of reasons. and for example veterans experience higher rates of suicide in homelessness compared to the rest of the population in this committee a bipartisan basis is addressing the homelessness and suicides among veterans by likewise our veterans are targeted higher rates by extreme is groups in these violent organizations and this mr. chairman's evidence is mentioned by many today by the high rate of participation by the veterans in the generally six insurrection it on the capitol. and surveys conducted by military times reports the dod and even the army criminal investigation all documented the rising levels of recruitment and participation a military members in extremist groups was my hope that this committee by parts and entered bipartisan basis vote likewise chair for our veterans and ensure domestic securities
by protecting them from being targeted by these violent extremist groups however they are rated in the first question, doctor miller, in your view and i believe this is a follow-up to the representatives question, when our service members transitioning service members, and our veterans most vulnerable to recruitment by extremist organizations. >> thank you for the question representative brown, part of the lack of data that we're just talking about, we don't know precisely when they are most vulnerable and we do know that one of the moments of the vulnerability is after separation from the military particularly for small minority members of the veterans who sense of belonging a lesser sense of purpose. and then tactics from these groups many of them get recruited in because their prior
history so there's no particular time that we know of because of lack of studies and data. that will be remedied eventually but certainly after some time of the separation, it not successful transition and funny sense of purpose again. and enacting in their sense of purpose, that's when they're particularly vulnerable. >> thank you that's why i offered an amendment to the mba that with address extremism not only in the armed forces but also to strengthen the transition assistance programs to defend against recruitment by extremist groups i would like to ask mr. butler and the col., you mentioned both actually all of our presenters have mentioned it is program in your testimonies and how else can the transit
assistant program be strengthened to help transitioning service members be prepared against the threat of extremism groups and recruitment by those groups. >> publicly save it on entered the more that we can add to the program and make it more effective in providing transitioning service members with information and guidance on jobs, education, housing and healthcare all these issues that tend to build become much more of an issue down the light, the more that we can set them up and i think the better off we will be in combating some of these other issues such as invitations to extremism as well as mental health problems down the line. i think that program is one of those we continue to improve. >> i totally agree and i think that working through this issue and preventative measures is the best way to go to think that we can stop people from joining these groups, that's when we can
apply greatest pressure because when somebody joins and values are set, it is difficult to recruit them away. it usually takes a buddy to go back and help those veterans navigate their way out. become extracted from it so yes definitely working on the recruitment side of it. and let them know they're out there in contract to recruit you and if your present reported to the fbi. they need to know this pretty. >> thank you and a i yield back. >> thank you mr. brown for your questioning and now the next person is recognized for five minutes. >> the first amendment of the constitution to protect the rights of spree hundred free speech to potential with the government and this is been upheld by courts for many many years and this is a critical
right and generations of american service members have fallen and died for an obviously, this protection and is when an individual correction become violent. and i strongly condemn political violence of any kind. however, we cannot criminalize free speech and the false or beliefs of individual simply because they may be viewed as different from our own. does matter with ability, what political party they belong to, or associate with rated i'm deeply concerned his love the chilling effect of silencing the veterans from engaging in political speech and depriving them of the very price they fought to defend. sadly this is not the only concerning example of those in the left trying to use government institutions to intimidate individuals that they disagree with and to silence
under the guise of it being silent extremism. we thought just last week the department's weapon eyes he is concerned parents who take the time to voice their concerns as school board meetings and these are horribly examples and also have concerns about today's veterans, their high skilled individuals hard-working. they are leaders in our communities, they made incredible sacrifices to protect each and every one of our freedoms and it is an unfortunate reality that veterans have long battled stigma associated with mental health issues resulting from their service as well as perfection to have the propensity to the violence deeply concerned that today's hearing and the veterans affairs committee rather than repent that they will further perpetuate them for all veterans
and to be at the expense of veterans across our nation. the purpose of the veterans committee is to support them through providing timely access to high-quality healthcare and benefits which they have earned. i am confident that by actually fulfilling this mission instead of partaking in politically motivated investigations, or instituting ideological tasks, we will empower the veterans to live healthy, successful, fulfilling lives. and that being said, i'm deeply disturbed by the rise last year and we must acknowledge the millions of dollars of damages multiple deaths that accord to anyone, why is it today at the violent domestication is groups and recruitment of veterans, or groups like nt five and blm.
>> i can answer that in thank you. the focus on this hearing is the greatest risks to our homeland security. the department of homeland security indicated on october 2020, in the assessment and at the office of the national . [inaudible]. and their threat assessments pretty. >> the 19. >> last summer that's a threat to our national security. >> every form is a threat to national security but there are data points and indicate with the greatest threats are by the department of homeland security in the offices of veterans international. [inaudible]. >> again, that is not a threat pretty. >> of course it is a threat printed. [inaudible]. [inaudible].
>> wire these groups not included in this assessment and that is taking place today pretty. >> that would be a question for the staffers. >> will then i'll be moving on and thank you it is been estimated that it cost americans property owners, $1 billion a possibly up to $2 billion in damages, what impact does such violent violent actions by those on the extreme left have with the business owners and some of which are veterans, and many of these business owners who are unable to integrate these at the cost. >> i think that it anyone in our country commits political violence, that's a threat to all of us are nothing that we should take great pains to differentiate where the harm is committed except when is committed against symbols or democracy. i think when things it's tragic with 70 percent of walmart is nothing when they show up in our nations capitol and attacked the very symbol of our democracy.
>> and again, last summer when they were painting on the statues, blm and nt the, they were destroying private property in the city as well. do you believe that was violent acts and that it justified an investigation. >> in these interesting to make a decision between that and in our capitol which is really the body of our politics and i. [inaudible]. >> it was one block detached from the capitol and destroying private property nets are considered or inverted somebody actually attacking and in many circumstances had no barriers in place in the was a lack they could just walk in. >> was attacked on commerce and another one is an attack on constitution. >> i see my time has expired and i yield back. >> thank you for your questioning canal call on the
next person for five minutes. >> thank you very much and also the ranking members and i'm sorry i'm late to join you and i miss some of the full presentation because i cannot get in. what's been running through my mind here is in recent history of our country over the last half century in the very complicated conflicts in which we've asked for young men and women to serve. i think back when i was going to h in the war in vietnam which to this day our country has been reluctant to investigate and to explore, to be honest about what happened in that conflict. the dear veteran friend is going right now who one of the early
battles and 65. that was in albany. just to read the history to go back on that, for those of you who lived through, you know that we lost the draft rights so now we have a volunteer military. it has privileged tradition service to our country and now, with the gulf war, i think that the oklahoma city bombing, and some of the materials that were found in the car. and fighting in a conflict that obviously came home and i'm not making excuses for him in any way but that he acted out in an extremely violent way and i don't know that are veterans facilities, we are short now for all of the mental health issues that are veterans are coming
home with. maybe back in the '90s as a country and then today now in afghanistan, we are going to face similar issues with returning vets who serve they must be affected in a very complex environment. i think this left this half-century has been affected i don't think the country do not talking about any person or agency your any political parties, i think that the public is unresolved about some of these situations and what they actually fought for and against greed is something that we have a very large responsibility both under the goes beyond the mandate of this committee and this committee could make contributions about. i think it's a very typical time
of america's coming-of-age in terms of understanding this role in the world and we certainly, this republic on earth. so i suppose that we can reflect on some of the history now and think that we can make it better. very concerned about as we do so with our veterans, and welcome them home and honor their service, how do we better answer their questions about the work of their service. nobody can answer that question for me. but i think that is really is very very important and to place last half-century some kind of context and i don't believe were doing that as a country.
and i'm interested in for veterans, timothy mcveigh actually, was in his early 20s and service and i think we have to go back and study some of that because we need to understand it better. but we didn't exist back then exist now, my one question, in terms of malign influence by countries like russia and china, what evidence we have. i read about involvements with russia and the nra and funding certain thanks to the nra, on to know if that is true and i want to know about that influence operating on social media or through other organizations in our country that are helping to contribute to this radicalization including among some of our veterans. very small number but nonetheless, there are serious
numbers of veterans. who can elaborate a bit of material that might be available and become familiar with the hastening with his influence. >> just briefly representative, my discussion with u.s. intelligence officials, and the previous administration, do indicate concern about russian and military directors as well as fdr and russian foreign intelligence that are significantly involved in miss information and disinformation on digital platforms and particularly trying to spread violent ideology inside of u.s. platforms. some of which is directed at those either serving currently in the u.s. military or our veterans. i am happy to have a
conversation at over time but the gr you and the fdr to russian intelligent organizations i am most concerned about. >> if you could give us material that we could read them i would appreciate that mr. chairman you could provide those so we can explore this further. >> i will request such materials and thank you for your questioning. the next person is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you and like others on this hearing, i am very concerned that some of this one hearing, on the 24 year military veteran and my husband is a 30 year military veteran my brother served in vietnam and like this, i believe their service should be recognized and honored. and my prayers are with you and your veteran friend who is suffering at this time.
so very concerned that i don't recall the col. or the doctor to enlisted a litany of those individuals of the personal veterans that they had considered domestic terrorists and perhaps doctor jones, did you include in the list. >> definitely is in our data set obviously inspired by al qaeda's ideology in the context of the time. absolutely. >> thank you for that because even if as the ten year anniversary honoring the 30 who were killed at fort hood am a an army times article still does not reference that is an act of cyber islamic terrorism or domestic terrorism i found that interesting and i think that the
definition and i think this has been brought up on when somebody migrates to violence or what domestic terrorism i find it concerning memos and testimony from janet reno way back in 1999, talking on veterans and pro-life and pro- guns and amendment of individuals as being more susceptible to domestic terrorism and i think that recent comments by this administration on people who attended our meetings and voiced their discontent with actions of the educational system as domestic terrorism and asking for the fbi to investigate those individuals and one can raise their voice and exercise their freedom of speech and freedom to associate and business and their governments they're not domestic terrorism and very concerned about that they bring it as such. and so this question that i thank you so more for, i
apologize. and mr. butler, said a recent poll published by georgetown university found that respondents ranked division in the country this is to your point, is number one issue facing the country's future and speaking of division and violence in the same breath in a division can have devised there also plenty of different viewpoints held like peaceful law abiding citizens right to appoint i think you are making this reference of how we protect speech while also condemning and with the violence soon i think you for the question and i think the key is really differentiating between a fully free speech being critical of those who spread lies and misinformation disinformation. it is still technically free speech but i don't think that we as leaders, and is folks who are
hopefully inventor looking to for act and truthfulness, should be repeating those for turning to them to make political points and i think there's a difference there and i think that's one of the many things that we focus on is that we need to get away from using misinformation and disinformation and outright lies to try to paint a false narrative of what is going on in the country hard. >> sometimes and out lie and outright lies obvious but sometimes the deepening on who the arbiter is, with the misinformation disinformation i can say that both as military veteran and a physician and former director public health in response to what i heard about inquired immunity and for covid-19 so i think that i understand your point that leads us down the slope of who is it and what authority is it that determines what speeches misinformation or disinformation but i do understand the point you're making. is it possible in your
experience that there are similarities and differences in the types of targets for extremist groups on the left in the right are attacking and what can you tell is about the direction of future attacks i know my time is limited. >> i don't know that and that if that was directed to me as well but not from the most of the best qualified person to answer the question as i understood it. >> doctor jones. >> was specifically where you asking, the data is pretty broad on this. >> when times expired i don't think you have time to answer the question with thank you chairman and thank you mr. jones for doctor jones. >> thank you. and i recognize the next person, the doctor for five minutes predict. >> today's hearings in the spartan stefan the findings of the veteran recruitments and
radicalization by anti- government extremist organizations and motivation of these groups and why they target the veterans and how we can provide information and resources to help veterans identify these extremist organizations and what is clear is the fact that these extremist groups recruit veterans because they believe the combat experience the weapons trainingp skills and credibility and authenticity to their operation. understanding that these are some of the reasons that extremist groups recruit veterans, we also need to msk why veterans make up 25 percent of militia. that's a bewildering number indeed it and what is said about these antigovernment extremist groups the propensity for violence that invites those devoted their life to protecting and serving our country and what role for social media misinformation and foreign
propaganda play and answer these questions, the answers to these questions will allow us to not only for the dinner veterans from joining these groups but also of extremist groups access to combat and train individuals to further their own up violence extremist agenda. as a veteran you've been outspoken on veterans and also extremist groups and express military organizations to remove or disassociate those who participate environment extremist acts from their groups. can you describe the threats of these antigovernment organizations to our communities and our democracy threats. >> thank you, democratic, there's no government of the united states anymore pretty. >> and you elaborated what is part of their manner, their
oath, there for beliefs mimics the statements. >> i'm extremely concerned, these harm or militia, if the state or local level and we have seen somewhere active in michigan recently was very disturbing, similar activities on capitol on january 6th and so. [inaudible]. >> how long have we known that they have this propensity for violence against the government. >> i think people in the panels better qualified but police for the last 30 or 40 years we've seen an uptick in those malicious. >> why do you believe the veterans are drawn to these groups and do you believe that extremist antigovernment groups purposely recruit the veterans. >> yes absolutely they do so
these early targets for recruitment and also promote we bring to the table so beside procedures that study especially those of us who have been in ground combat units, the very thing for people to want to stabilize our government and to seek out. they also the veterans are extremely - and they're seen as leaders in the community simply get one of them to come along the chance get others to follow a pretty good. we do know they specifically target the veterans who are having trouble with the transition going from military to civilian world. in particular a vulnerable at that point so i thank you so been a covenant bond our nations veterans service organizations and many of them are other doing a good job try to catch the veterans and try to the reese travel and reestablish them into the community but we need to keep an extra lookout for those might be struggling because they are the most vulnerable. so that esther can answer your question predict. >> would you describe these
organizations is actually being anti- constitutional. >> a struggle to find that they follow the constitution of the united states and firstly, to see the reference in the generous six insurrection was very disturbing for me and i was disgusted to see the marine who participated in that event i want to find out that my fellow brothers and sisters some of whom have been let down the wrong path to joining these organizations. >> and how long do you think the organization like they have been anti- constitutional. >> federal, that's a hard question another's other witnesses on the panel who could better answer that question. >> thank you and i yield back. >> thank you for your questions. >> thank you doctor, and the next person is recognized for five minutes.
>> thank you and the opportunity to reinforce the fact that a commitment that's all back in and citizens including the veterans rights of free speech and peacefully assemble. but those actions are no longer protected because of it such action cannot be tolerated, violent extremism is etiological spectrum and inconsistent with the definition of extremism. the veterans printed spinning and extremist groups, and number of veterans trying out the violence act and this lack of clarity has been consistent in securing. some sing with eyes all i was hearings not away to cut our veterans and hearing the stigmatized the entire veteran community is damaging efforts to provide services to the vet. the veterans in need mental
health care already face and fortune and an justifiable statements rated and there a lot of areas the focus on to help veterans in the time taken away from that focus is to the detriment of the veterans. we should be focused on helping the va deal with the backlog and benefit delays due to the pandemic and education and economic opportunities we should specifically be focused on mental health care for veterans. look forward to working with my colleagues on these important veteran needs, like to point out that the 18 million veterans that are live in this country today, mark than 66 were involved in january 6. and at the entire veteran community is painted with a broad brush. this investigation is turning on going if you ever have to men in the military, you know, not anything until it's complete i
think it's unfortunate that that is a here today the investigation is not over. legal rights of those involved have not been addressed appropriately. until they are, this is an inappropriate comment to make without any veterans and certainly not painted with a broad brush rated the entire group of veterans in a yield of my time and thank you. >> thank you. the next person is recognized for five minutes pretty. >> thank you so much rolling today's hearing am so pleased that this committee is investing are investigating violent extremism in the recruitment of veterans. and i'm glad we have an opportunity to hear from this panel of experts today and i've been listening to my colleagues questioning i just have to say that i'm really disappointed in my service, other committees and the congress, we know that biden extremist pose the greatest
terrorist risk to our country and i am stunned by so many people would rather not know the facts about the recruitment our nations veterans to this organizations. that talking but i have follow-up questions for you if i could. you said that these groups have some efficiency in recruiting veterans and that was interesting were to use efficiency. and so i want to ask you to expound on that and also, do you see veteran groups explicitly calling out like the proud boys and others as terrorist organizations. today watch this and can you just talk about the kind of forward facing messages that you are saying towards veterans. yes and the cover that i waited
making this they were targets for recruitment so that we had the abilities that we have hard so i think that if you are a member of an organization is looking to recruit a member and you're looking to do harm to the united states, is one thing to hang outside of the mba recruit any joe blow off the street among other things go after people are actually a training and tactics in weapons and explosives and know how to use them in the ability to organize these people and the ability to recruit. so much of our military recruiters are good so if you get a hold of a recruiter be able to recruit more people. so i like to think that most of my brothers and sisters are resistant to this effort but is very concerning that the data is showing and off of the swipe. other dashboards we need to look under the hood and investigate more. in your second question pretty.
>> even informally, of these groups eat doing proactive messaging towards the veterans expressly calling out them in the proud boys and violent extremist terrorist organizations and are using like a message to the veteran saying to find be aware of this. >> i've heard some qualified of the january 6 from some of the nations but the call is not loud enough. not an equipment will enough i think one of the reasons is because some of the members had 70s towards these groups. but an effort to faces organization and gain money by collecting dues, some of them are reticent to take a strong stand this unfortunate because of the way we do have a anymore, you can't combat that much at all pretty. >> and we have a witness hear from mr. butler not just wondering if just because of the position you hold if you've seen any of your peer groups or your own organization message to the veterans explicitly naming out
some of these organizations that we know predict. >> what joe just said, certainly it is challenging and i think we been very clear and i've tried to certainly be very clear about my thoughts and views but i think were also still many ways, learning a lot about what these groups and four and what is going on. i think it is challenging to, i'm not saying that they're not appropriate but i think we do have to take into account that there are still things we are learning when to move forward on this printed. >> but is there information like so the doj classified veterans something like that where there would be a more of a comfort level calling them out explicitly as violent extremist organizations. that they run counter to the value of the organization made. >> i think that goes across the board ideally would not have to be in a situation where we would have to specifically highlight
and condemn organizations to stay away but i think to your point, yes that would probably be a step in that direction to make more folks comfortable doing so. >> is just adding to me that the parallels, like if you look at the al qaeda, clearly it is a threat and isis is clearly a threat in any other option is clearly a threat pretty we would not hesitate to name the threat and the fact were having a conversation today with hesitancy about naming the threat of these domestic violent extremist organizations that we know are active in our communities, is shocking and hope that we can come together to protect our veterans and protect our communities and our country and without i yield back. >> thank you, and the next person is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. i like to first respond to my
colleagues for the remarks, i'm a veterans myself, naval academy myself and he referenced those in broadbrush anyone who has been in the military but of course. [background sounds]. and i've been a commander in the military myself i do not show his views and buddies veteran put that aside and so many others are now veterans and. [inaudible]. and active duty and will transition with this committee is really looking at ways possible. it is shocking to me that a members of this committee would not want to better understand. and were talking today about financial crimes and the way there exploited. that the contentious and i think that the fact that his hearing today does show that members of this committee with this issue truly value the veterans want to make sure that we protect them
in any way possible. i would also say i was shocked by the comments made by rosendale. really appreciate the testimony mr. butler, who invited you as a witness to this hearing today and he is a republican witness invited to this hearing today yes and i know that mr. banks comments on an opportunity to respond to them do you have any response to those comments from your perspective as a representative that storm 70 veterans in our community. >> yes, i think there's a lot of issues that need to be addressed and i think that we are actually addressing all the issue they talk about a certainly encourage them to reach out to her office and we have a priority as all of these issues that you mentioned
employment is been a healthcare, it's not as if we only focus on a wide range of issues that the veteran communities have is areas of focus and we certainly hear that from our community. we are trying to focus on all of those and i think that this hearing and focusing on this issue actually across as many them so i think it's important that we widely in terms of our efforts to address the veteran communities printed. >> thank you. did you also want to reply. >> we can walk and chew gum at the same time says not that we do this or that, we are taking care of the veterans and this is an apartment issue and we could never be afraid to speak the truth especially within the veteran community and i want to talk about this issue. tw general practitioner we say
we found something in your body and if they say hey don't worry about it, you're not going to not worry about you going to go get tested and do some of the scope and scale of what this growth might be in his cancer, you'll develop a strategy to defeat it and were asking this committee to do. we applaud the efforts watching this investigation because it's important to know the scope and scale of the domestic famous groups and their efforts to recruit the veterans. >> thank you i would also like to make a remark. >> just to add that the questions i have are really with the data shows an increase in the percentage of an attack in the u.s. and involving veterans and reservists in the question that i think we've got to address is why is that the case and how do we start addressing
those issues and then the same way over the last couple of decades, we've identified concern about ptsd and assault in suicides, another issues. what is a scale and scope of the problem and was causing it and then how do we address it because some of the served in afghanistan and somalia another locations. i think our veterans have every right to the services required to address these challenges. >> thank you and i would just add that there are german investigations in the numbers also were relatively small. and what were talking about the armed forces the military and veterans, we don't want disproportionate numbers, we want much much and is our duty to help them be.
thank you pretty. >> thank you to all of our witnesses and in closing i'll reiterate with mike calling said that we started investigating and looking into this issue and looking into the vulnerability of our veterans who we care about deeply and along with these public display of january 6. and i do applaud the chair and continuing work to congress. i yield back. >> thank you. i do not see that we have any further questioning of the present panel so i'd like to excuse the panel and thank you very much for your contribution of participation your testimony responses and i now would like to welcome our second panel before us.
our second panel features some leading experts on the roles of academia and advocacy on each of the major domestic violence terrorist groups. will hear from doctor sam jackson from the university of albany wrote the book on this and doctor amy from university who is a leading authority on the militia movement and doctor oren cl, vice president of the academic center on extremism and doctor heidi cofounder of the global patent extremism. in 19 oh to thank you for being here and reminder witnesses to because work two - three seconds before speaking and answering questions and doctor johnson, you recognize for five minutes for your testimony. >> my name is sam jackson, assistant professor in college
homeland security and cyber security at the university of albany, as a chair mentioned in september 2020, michael entitled bookkeepers and edge of violence - was publish my remarks today i would like to provide a brief introduction to this organization and his group is part of a broader far right antigovernment movement in the united states that leaves and leaves the federal government is the greatest threat faced by everyday americans. encourages americans to prepare with the government's essene and more broadly, the group contributes to the perception that violence can be a legitimate tool to achieve political goals. the same comes from a very broad idea that former members of law enforcement and the military should keep their oath to among other things protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic and however they have an abnormal understanding of the
south read what means to protect and defend the constitution and who counts as an enemy. through sections rhetoric, the group encourages supporters to seek conventional political behavior by certifying electoral college vote as action taken by enemies the presence the constitution and the further sets the stage for supporters to believe the violence is the only recourse to save the constitution from those perceived enemies. this group has received media antigen through the years were number of activities the most prominent is certainly january 6 insurrection printed as of last week 23 members of the organization and indicted on criminal charges related to the day and five of those 23 of tweeted and pleaded guilty to their charges generally six was not the first time ago engaged in our prepare for conflict of government rated members travel the to the ranch in 2014 to
prevent federal officials from carrying out for order and during the time in the rents they contributed to a hot stove situation miller the federal agency to stop their efforts to carry out the court order out of concern for the safety of those on the ground. in 2015 the group offered to provide armed security for her to have been in prison after federal judge and the group publicly offered to send armed volunteers to rent u.s. marshals or any other law enforcement officers from taking the clerk into custody should she be found. one of the most prevalent features of the group's is the protection threats. in response to these perceived threats, they encourage americans to prepare for violent conflict. for example in 2013, the group began initiative armed neighborhood watches model and special forces teams. recognizing that describing the scenes as part of the preparation for conflict of government might not be well
received by many americans, the room encouraged its members to talk about these teams as security against ms 13 crisis because the action taken to fight against criminals and terrorists, but also be used against radical government. as i mentioned they encourage the law enforcement military experiences to join the group are adopted's beliefs and impart the group emphasis on veterans is a matter of identity and authority figures within the groups are veterans and eight like to say that they are there to support the constitution and didn't expire in a minute after military deeply the veterans have an obligation to remain active and defend from their understanding of an america that is under threat by the government and left-wing americans and marquis group of internationals. as also emphasis on veterans pragmatic as we've heard from previous witnesses and some veterans have skills that are useful for those preparing for violence based on experience in combat and emergency medicines,
logistics and intelligence. for example, veterans who served in the intelligence unit might also have active duty contact to the sources of information in a conflict with the government in closing i want to emphasize the importance of recognizing that this is part of a broader movement even if the organization were to cease today, but not necessarily change the scale of far right antigovernment extremism in the united states. in the past probably members of the u.s. organization and left and start their own groups that have the same ideas and goals as the keepers and many individuals in this moment never formally join an organization despite adopting ideas and rhetoric promoted by these organizations. ... ...
mr. chairman, just a quick question. all the panelists were not given five minutes? >> mr. bost, thank you. i now call upon dr. cooter for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, ranking member bost and other members i don't have stereotypical background of an academic. i've been again on her since i was 21. i've i've used that background to understand what members of the modern militia movement rather than studying their only for the online media presence. i've met and talked with the families and talked to them one-on-one. i'm worried about the reason for joining militias and about their belief regarding the country,, the government and host of political and social issues.
i found majority of members are law-abiding citizens. they do not always trust the government but are not looking for a fight either. even a short time today i'm going to focus on the more extreme piece of the militia movement on the units that are angrier and that in my opinion -- [inaudible] those units and have a few things in common among this a propensity to believe in -- another strong efforts to recruit veterans. to be clear i'm not saying all veterans are extremists or potential extremists or veterans who join militias only join the extreme faction. rather some militias may recruit veterans for both symbolic and practical reasons. militia groups can make symbolic appeals to of the potential members, present themselves as patriotic organizations filled with people who've already demonstrated an unquestionable commitment to the country through the military service. from a practical perspective militiaman was without own military experiences want to learn skills from former service
members. as early as 2009 numerous members talk directly to me about a desire to learn skills and veterans about how to best enhancer firearms handling, land navigation techniques and ability to move together as a cohesive unit. veterans with her specialist skills made sometimes autoerotic regroup for fantasizing about our plotting violence. the most extreme groups may have specific operational objectives for using veterans knowledge and expenses against a variety of targets. what i personal beef is more concerning is i have much less, he observed veterans seeking out militias without having to be recruited. these veterans have pre-existing desire to share their skills, these men and all whom i personally encountered are men so they're searching for way to continue to serve their country after leaving the service. part of what they're doing is searching for a community that would appreciate if not quite replicate the service and expertise. some veterans who are searching
for place to belong are driven by anger at the federal government which they believe betrayed them. those are motivated by such anger also want to find a unit that is on the extreme end of the spectrum one that claims to be ready for violent action. as noted earlier veterans face a variety of challenges upon the return including issues like high rates of homelessness and suicide that may seem oppressin oppressing. from what i've observed veterans attraction to extremist groups has an important church cemetery with other issues. they need to feel supported and included into in the sociee many struggle to understand the veteran experience. it's difficult to quantify the degree of threat and extreme militias may pose but we can't downplay the possibility of violence on the extreme faction. we have seen militia groups are usually decrease in size during republican presidential administrations instead increase in both size and intensity.
this happened as both conspiracy theories and political rhetoric starting at the highest level blamed -- about the safety of our nation and integrity is characteristic of a value. we saw some groups like the 3% % and the oath keepers who began as a reaction to president obama's reception of growing socialism intensify the transition into operating in person units to use their shared ideology to protest armed and in person in a in a variety oe situations. these groups are typically only affiliated in practice but control of their common interest for collective action. different militia units over white supremacists and individuals unaffiliated with any known groups acted toward the same in reaching the capital. we have warning signs that something like this could happen when would witness militias who maintain clear group boundaries protesting alongside over white supremacist groups and others with a a known history of vioe
and numerous events throughout 2020. we have reasonably extremist units continue to search for like-minded individuals and including some disenchanted veterans are willing to commit future violence. we cannot afford to overlook signal set extremism going forward and i thank you for your attention to this issue. >> thank you, dr. cooter. i now call on mr. segal for five minutes for his testimony. >> thank you, chairman takano, ranking member bost, members of the committee. on half of the anti-defamation league the adl i appreciate the opportunity to discuss the landscape of domestic extremism and related efforts to recruit and attract veterans. domestic violent extremism impacts the safety and security of all americans that understanding the specific danger it poses to our democratic institutions is the key to mitigating the threat. while extremist movements pose many problems to society from
spreading hate and intolerance, gauging and deadly violence, it is also concerning when adherence of extreme causes target the institutions dedicated to protecting the people of the united states. it's not lost on the american public that of the 600 or so individuals arrested for the role in the january 6th insurrection, over 50 at least over 50 were veterans. what we've seen veterans become leaders of extremist groups, train extremist and even engage in extremist violence. we continue to observe and document how extremist groups and movements seek to target veterans for recruitment. how and why they do that depends in part on the ideology. the nature of potential indicators, varies from the #me too movement and sometimes even within a movement. we have seen a range of white supremacist groups expressed interest in adding veterans to the ranks because of their military skills and training,
including violent paramilitary white supremacist groups like the base and adam whose members participate in training camps to refine their survivalist tactics in preparation for perceived and pending race war. the membership application for the base expressly targets those who quote military experience unquote and in february 2019 a group, the groups found an leader tweeted quote widely ask applicants about military experience? the base of survivalism and -- skills that are required to military training, unquote. as mentioned members of the antigovernment extremist oath keepers focus on recruiting military as well as police by exploiting their career related posts to uphold and defend the constitution. one of the malicious main areas focus is firearms and military style training. they recruit former military because they hope they have the
range of skills and expertise in subjects such as survival reconnaissance hand-to-hand combat. he skills can be used to train others. there are also proud boys who present themselves as as a pseudo-paramilitary group and consist engage in violent confrontations around the country. they include members who are veterans, some who hold leadership positions. we also know that violence is not the sole domain of anyone extremist movement. and if an issue across the ideological spectrum. some left wing extremist efforts to push back against those they oppose have at times the search to normalize violence as well. but we also know that 75% of extremist related murders in the united states, according to our data, over the past ten years, have been carried out by right-wing extremists. we are seeing how extremist use the linkage of patriotism to
further the reach, wrapping their agendas in the stars & stripes. this language finds voice on a variety of social media and online platforms providing a fertile environment for the hate conspiracies and disinformation to proliferate in so-called patriot groups and other spaces that animate real-world activity. to mitigate the threat of extremism we must understand efforts to recruit our veterans as well as our military and law enforcement more broadly, not just because of the erosion of trust that it creates but because they've an outsized negative impact on the safety of our communities. we must also pay attention to the broader changing landscape of extremism. whether it's harassment or threats against school boards, elected officials or healthcare workers the front line against extremist activity and action is local. it is close to home trying to creep into our institutions, eager to prey upon our heroes and our vulnerable. the issues of extremism in the
veteran community is complex and in closing i urge the committee to consider how the department of veteran affairs and related agencies can become better informed on the threat of extremists attempt to recruit our nation's veterans, to help veterans in transition become more aware of those risks and consider how we can help bolster better resilience in the face of attempted recruitment and radicalization. as we explore what can work, what has worked and what is needed we can better prepare america's veterans to reject extremist efforts to conscripted them into the cause of hate and violence. thank you for your time. >> thank you, mr. segal. without objection i will have your full testimony and full testimony of the previous panelists included in hearing record. now i recognize doctor myrick, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman takano, ranking member bost and his team
members of the committee for the honor of inviting me to testify today. on the critical issue of violent domestic extremist groups and recruitment of veterans. my name is heidi beirich, hold a phd in political science from purdue university and then the cofounder of the global project against hate and extremism. for more than two decades i've extensively researched and published on white supremacist groups, militias and other forms of extremist activity. a significant area of my work has been monitoring white supremacists in government organizations to recruit active-duty military veterans. these organizations and the violence inspiring -- pose a a dire threat and we need to respond with equal vigilance. it's important nothing my remarks today be taken to impugn the honorable men and women of the armed forces or the veteran community, are -- because of them and i have applied to many military leaders and veterans who critically that extremism has no place in the military. i would also like to thank those
veterans who act with such bravery tech protecting art capital and democracy on january 6th. as the final speaker today i will try to sum up the threat that extremist groups posted veterans and a country and offer a couple of solutions. since 2019 the fbi come to propofol may security, national counterterrorism center, the state department, odni have all agreed the far right extremist groups poser countries most serious domestic terrorist threat. though other forms of extremist violence have risen in recent years far right extremist violence has been the most daddy in the place were radicalized veterans have mostly been found. dozens of veterans have been arrested for the role january 6th but there's often extremist activity that's been a problem for a while. as dr. jones mentioned in the earlier panel, it may also be growing. the university of maryland has analyze back when of individuals committed extremist crimes from 1990 through the first six months of 2021 2021 and fo4
individual military experience. the danger of leaving this an address cannot be overstated because veterans make extremist groups more effective unfortunately. some of our countries most tragic events have been the mass attacks plan successfully rescued by veterans not only oklahoma city but the 1996 linkin park bombing, and many others. the radicalized veterans are few in number, their skills help attacks succeed. recruitment of veterans has been a club what supremacist antigovernment groups for decades. their aggressive tactics to do so particularly online home work. roughly 25%% of active militia members are active-duty service members and/or veterans and former soldiers have led violent white supremacist groups. military training is seen as vital to achieving these goals whether that be a race war or battle with the federal government. the reasons are obvious.
the training soldiers have in tactics, weapons, bomb making, leadership all of which may increase a possibility for successful attack. the practical knowledge of these groups desire was on display january 6th where members of extremist groups, that have been discussed today use military formations to assault our capital. veterans also convey a legitimacy on hate and extremist organizations and can make additional recruitment easier. the military is rightly one of the most trusted institutions in our society and extremist organizations into leverage that trust for their own and do. let me speak briefly about things that can be done to help with the situation. we clearly need better data about the nature of the threat what it looks like an data sharing across government agencies about the problem. for example, between the fbi and the department of defense. some of these suggestions have already been mentioned earlier. preliminary evidence shows
recruitment effort strategically target and exploit vulnerable veterans, those who experience involuntary separation from the military or those who believe their active-duty service has gone unrecognized. we need to know more about the how and the why that veterans are radicalized and what can be done to stop those processes. also the need to be a full-service approach starting with our screening procedure since a military regular education date dangers of t groups for soldiers can stop extremist from entering the ranks of the military. we are less like the radicalized veterans later. at that addition to civilian life in the department of defense activities are critical importance to bolster better resilience and also to let them know about the groups that try to recruit them. veterans organizations matter here as well. many spoke out against what happened on january 6th, and that mattered. and finally the role of the v.a.
we hope the v.a. can be a powerful entity here in stopping the extremist ability to recruit veterans. thank you for your time and attention. >> thank you, dr. beirich. without objection your written testimony along with all the other panelists will be included in the hearing record in full. i now recognize myself for five minutes for questions. so begin with you, dr. beirich. we've heard a lot of significant and insightful testimony this morning, and other we've reached the end of both panels i am wondering, dr. beirich, if you could sum this all up for us. in particular, we have heard about these different groups such as the oath keepers and proud boys. what i want to know is as an expert in the field which of these groups do think poses the greatest threat and why? which of these threats keep you up at night? >> what i'm most concerned about argosy there's a range of extremist groups but the one set of engaged in violence that are the ones that i most conservative. the proud boys for example, have
been involved in all kinds of violent activities across the country repeatedly not just january 6th. that's the kind of organization that keeps me up at night plus the lone wolf. many of the mass attacks that we sin committed by veterans, oklahoma city being the most notable and the most deadly, are committed by loan actors who have been radicalized into white supremacist or antigovernment beliefs and then are willing to use violence to act on those beliefs. >> well, thank you. mr. segal, i would like to ask you the same question. the adl studies a broad range of extremist activity and from what you seem what are the key threats that keep you up at night? >> thank you for the question. as i mentioned in my verbal testimony, 75% extremist related murders in the past ten years have been carried out by right-wing extremists and the majority of that has been at the hands of white supremacists.
whether it's pittsburgh or el paso way, we've seen mass attacks at the concern we continue to have. what pose genuine six has shown us is that efforts to portray the government is a tyrannical overreaching entity are also animating the types of extremist that you've heard from my co-panelists here, the antigovernment, oath keepers, militia groups, so frankly we don't have a luxury to ignore any form of extremism in this country but those are able to manipulate social media platforms to spread the message and recruit are the ones that keep me up at night. >> well, thank you for that, mr. i now, i would like to yield back the rest of my time and recognize the ranking member for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
dr. cooter, my first question is to you. recognizing how often violent extremist groups about military culture, style and gear and dress, how big of a a problemo you think it is, we refer to it as a stolen valor in this violent extremist groups, dressing up, acting like veterans in though they might not have background is being veterans i'm a little bit older. i actually for them as rambo wannabes that seek out different groups like this. have you seen that in your studies of people doing this? >> i have seen that, thank you for your question. what i see more commonly though is people who had attempted to be veterans come who in other words, wanted service expense but didn't qualify for health or other reasons and they are very aware of that between themselves and real veterans and that's part of the reason they really want to have veterans in the group threat that more authentic
experience and to learn from them. >> i think we probably see a lot of that as well. next question is for any of the panel. you know, and this is -- so what role do you think, because i believe it is in there and i'm quite sure you'll believe that as well, , something new that is out there is, what role do social media and so-called big tech plate in recruitment for violent extremists and the like? because we have had this problem, it was mentioned by some of them, you know, in vietnam era i grew up during that time, saw the problems that occurred on our campuses. it took more of a recruiting one-on-one in places where they would come together. does big tech allow a faster growth? >> i'm happy to jump in and start. we know that the plots of
tomorrow, the threats of tomorrow are being hatched online today. and so the role of social media and online platforms are not only animating the narratives and grievances that motivate extremists, but we know are linked to actions on the ground is critical. it's the lifeblood of these movements. and so it's not unreasonable for users of these platforms to have an expectation that they all do more to stop the exploitation of those platforms come to spread that hatred and to make it easier for extremist to communicate with each other and to target their enemies. >> so -- go head. >> ranking member bost, i think this is a really critical question, how fully essential that you bring up. i agree with mr. segal about the answers here. it's the online space that is transform the recruitment abilities in ways that just couldn't exist in the 1990s. it was phone calls and facts
machines and letters that would get you in touch with groups. we live in a completely different environment and dismayed the prom of extremism extremism frank of all types so much worse because of the way that social media companies has handled it. >> the next question is, is how can we help our veterans and all americans stacey from one? i i hope you look at the bill tt i am congresswomen mason have put out there. i think it is, and we're encouraging our democrat friends to get on as well. i think it's a way that we've got to realize and get accurate numbers so we can actually combat and train veterans as they go through the tap program or whatever whether there will leaving dod can be taught to what to be aware of? any other comments? if not i will yield back the balance of my time, chair.
>> thank you. let's allow the witnesses to respond. if they want to respond. >> i will just add to that question that, you know, how do you make veterans be more aware of the efforts to manipulate them online? i think a similar question two how do we prepare students and adults frankly as well about that manipulation? i think having critical skills training but also being able to identify and call it what hate and extremism is. adl has a hate symbols database which provides examples of symbols and tattoos and codewords that are commonly used. i think that's a good place to start, educating all of the people that we want to bolster in terms of their knowledge that that is going to be key in fighting it. >> thank you. >> any other responses? >> perhaps i will just jump in for a moment if i may. we heard from dr. miller
interest about this idea of inoculation, particularly in the area of misinformation and disinformation propaganda and just as social media and other internet-based communication platforms allow for extremist to reach one another more easily they potentially, potentially offer a route for us to engage in some of this inoculation behavior. and i think that varies agencies whether it be the v.a. or vsos should investigate some of the research being done by some of the colleagues and unthinking particularly of doing some innovative work around inoculation in this space. >> well, thank you. i now will recognize mr. mrvan for five minutes. mr. mrvan?
mr. mrvan, you are recognized for five minutes. do you think he can hear us? >> i apologize, chairman. dr. beirich, it is always approach to welcome an expert with ties to indiana to testify before the committee. if -- in your written testimony you noted that v.a. has generally resisted calls to address the sources of radicalization among veterans including online disinformation. why do you believe v.a. has been resistant to combating violent extremism in online disinformation? and he believe v.a. is changing? >> thank you so much for your question and for the shout out to indiana. it's an important question you ask about this past reluctance to do with this particular issue. i will have to say for some time
and multiple administrations come different sides of the isle there's been a reluctance to take on the issue of radicalization, in particular when it relates to white supremacy and militia groups. and i think this might be a reflection of that but i get a sense there's a different feeling at the v.a. now, the secretary has talked about this, that he is working with other groups to address this pick anything that v.a. can play a powerful role as a dozen so many different issues in helping veterans who were opposed by extremist groups and also giving them the information they need before such an approach might happen to inoculate them from the possibilities of this having any effect. i think there's a real lack of knowledge about the extremist groups that recruit veterans, with the believe, what their nature is both for active-duty service members and for veterans. and i feel that we have, that the winds have changed and we
may be seeing a better future on this front. >> thank you, doctor. doctor, also the house appropriations committee has called on vhs dubs a comprehensive evidence-based evidence-based program to educate veterans about the light influences. i believe that this would be a step in the right direction. having said that, what studies of extremism tells us about the most effective strategies in combating violent extremism ideology online? >> there's a range of issues when you talk about the online space. one of them starts with the social media companies in what you are asking that is a very big important question. the social media companies themselves have got to be much more consistent and transparent about the way they deal with content moderation, violence inspiring ideas that they're hosting on the website. many of us will remember that for example, facebook did not remove accounts of the proud
voice until far too late in the fall of 2020. that whole system needs a hard look at and frank the congressional oversight to figure out what they are allowing to proliferate on the platforms and what they are not. but the other side of this issue is informing veterans themselves active-duty troops be aware of what extremist content looks like, how it functions. so this sort of a supply and demand side to this particular issue, both of which needs to be addressed and dealt with. >> is the v.a. consulting with you and other experts on these topics and programs? if so, what has been the nature of those conversations? >> again thank you for your question. i have not been consulted by the v.a. i have spoken to some members in the various branches of the department of defense, their investigative arms about issues
of extremism. >> i thank you very much for your testimony today and to all the witnesses being here. with that, chairman takano, i yield back my time. >> thank you, mr. mrvan. i understand mr. cawthorn is trying to get on the platform. until such time as he can give him technically on a platform i'm going to now go to mr. brown for his five minutes of questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i would like to ask mr. segal, in the fiscal year '22 ndaa offered an amendment that would address extremism in the law enforcement that include a a provision that would require the secretary of defense provide -- [inaudible] materials to soon be veterans be a transition assistance program to defend against recruitment by extremist groups picky mentioned this program and you just might as well.
how else can the transition assistant program be strengthened to a transition service members be prepared against the threat of equipment by extremist groups? as your answer in the question pratchett addressed what additional tools and resources can we equip soon to be veterans with and how can the v.a. and dod better coordinate to prepare servicemembers transitioning in civilian life to defend against recruitment by extremist groups? >> thank you for the question. veterans are provided a range of resources during their transition from active duty to civilian life. some of those involve mental health, some involve other community oriented resources that aim to support their ability to transition safely. these resources should include education on, , extremism, extremist narratives and referral opportunities for counterpoint come support groups or other ways to the influencers for good and to promote over
hate. other than education, referrals for counseling support groups remain key. we have called for such into these potential solutions as well including look into whether public-health style prevention programs such as those funded by dhs may be transferable. adl would be happy to review those. lastly there is a significant overlap between information that dod would need to know for active service members, and that which the department of veterans affairs would need to know to provide services to veterans after that separated. i recommend they formed a joint task force to share information and counseling and the resources and request the department be more transparent as well in how they see these challenges and what they're doing about it. >> thank you. dr. beirich, in 2020 2020 a
military personnel subcommittee hearing and armed service committee and want to thank you for your assistance in crafting assisting me, and crafting the amendment in the ndaa to address extremism in the military. particularly with respect to improving data collection. as a know you're aware your spoken to the fact that the fbi has an international terrorist organization list but it does not publish one for domestic violent extremist groups. how would you like to see if you coordinate with the v.a. related to data collection broadly as a relates to veteran participation in domestic violent extremist groups? >> thank you for the question. also thank you for the work you did on the ndaa, it's so critically important. i think in general we have had for some time now a breakdown in sharing of information between the fbi on evidence they have about veterans and extremist groups and other agencies
generally. and that's already in the public domain and i think that needs to stop. there's also a general failure for various cases can for example, around sharing of information between the national guard and the department of defense in general, and we just the whole data situation needs are really hard look at what data is being collected, what it tells us, how it is being shared in the appropriate ways and i think this is actually really serious issue because without good data and this was brought up in the prior panel we don't really know exactly what it is we're looking at. >> i guess a quick follow-up, how useful would be for the fbi to have a formal list for domestic violence extremist organizations as it does for
international base groups? >> thanks again for the question. i had to say i had some reservations on that front. the history of our country in terms of government blacklists can change shifting on the wins. i'm thinking about for example, martin luther king being targeted by the fbi in the 1950s for legitimate activity. that said, there are a lot of organizations out there, representatives have been included on these panels, that have really get information about extremist groups that can be shared and looked at and i would encourage that discussion to happen. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. brown. i now call upon ms. luria. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman takano and want to thank our second panel of witnesses. and i would like to first address this question to mr.
oren segal. we talk a lot about violent extremism and within that we see an increased prevalence of anti-semitism and anti-somatic incidences, the events that happen here in my state of virginia if years ago in charlottesville and the ideas of extremism that we see, they feed on racism and racism feeds on fear mongering. even your own organization has been at the center of controversy regarding -- [inaudible] for calling out these activities. we talk a lot about social media and for that like individuals, individual veterans but it's like to take a broader step back and maybe hear from our panel about how they feel the mainstream media has sort of normalized the impacts of ideas and especially starting with adl because his idea of a great replacement that would be used by one of the host on one of the
major news cometary networks out there that is being seen by so many americans. it doesn't even take someone being -- facebook or social media platform with her individually targeted. this is broad messaging using a lot of these undercurrent type messages even before they could be targeted. can we start with mr. segal? [inaudible] mainstream media influencing us and making people especially veterans more susceptible? >> sure. i thank you for the question. i think the issue of normalizing the narratives and the tropes that we know that only animate violence but a requirement for many of the hateful agendas and many of the groups that we're concerned about, is made worse when they find voice in our mainstream media.
and, frankly, any media. we know certain online spaces are mainstream to those who primarily get their information in the news and online spaces but they're still millions of americans who are getting their cues and are engaging in sort of the public discussion through our mainstream media. when we hear people who are going to echo the sentiments that we see and extremist spaces, that's a huge concern. and i will say one last point here. we know that the extremist including white supremacists celebrate it when public abundance for talkshow hosts are giving voice to their hate. so combating extremism holistic approach and calling people out who use their vehicles come public vehicles to normalize that is certainly part of that effort. >> thank you. and i would add to that list of
people -- [inaudible] former president. i would like to open this to other members of the panel if you have any thoughts on mainstream -- pretzel, some of these messages before get to the level of individual recruitment? >> i will just add among the folks that i study they attend a variety of media not just social media platforms, not just mainstream media but of right of different sources and they see themselves as being very critical of the messages that they hear regardless of the source. but what i see is more exposure equals more belief. i do think this is a very important question. >> thank you. dr. jackson, would you want to comment or dr. beirich, lex. >> i would just like to thank
you for bringing up the issue of the great replacement as a part particularly scary and noxious three. it is what motivated attacks in pittsburgh, in el paso and so on. and the fact this has been coming from a quote-unquote mainstream media outlet is particularly terrifying. >> thank you. dr. jackson? >> i will just echo what my co-panelists co-panelists said and say that i think they've address this question very ably. >> well, thank you. and thank you to our panelists and for the work you're doing on these issues, and i think this has been an important part of the discussion come to understand all the sources -- [inaudible] are hearing and how in the rear and dangerous cases -- violent activity -- the purpose of hurting today and how we can
prevent that and -- might be most vulnerable -- to keep them safe and to go further is the purpose of this committee to care for our veterans in all ways. many of those people -- also people -- to go back to a discussion with the first panel and to provide holistic and comprehensive care for veterans any think -- i thanked the chairman again for convening this hearing. >> thank you, ms. luria. i understand i've a number of the members who wish to be recognized but i'm going, i'm going to prioritize those that have their cameras turned on and ms. underwood is in the queue and she has her camera turned on so ms. underwood of recognition for five and. >> thank you, mr. chairman. today's hearing is timely. the threat posed by domestic
violent extremism is rising and rapidly evolving. one critical area of focus and combating these threats must be on the efforts of domestic violence extremist community is to recruit veterans to the hateful ideologies and violent methods, trend that is despicable as it is dangerous. we need evidence-based solutions to address this issue. before we can't invest in evidence-based evidence-based solutions we need evidence and when it comes to data on the recruitment of veterans by domestic violent extremists are still too much that we don't know. i'm so glad mr. segal who leads the center on extremism of the anti-defamation league has joined us. he's been such a great partner in my work to address these threats, and the center has provided rich data sets on extremist incidents across the country that a further our understanding of the proliferation of domestic extremism beyond what current federal intelligence alone can provide. mr. segal, as we attempt to answer questions about efforts by domestic violence extremist to recruit veterans to their cause and effect a disk of those
efforts, what are the important demographic data points that would be most important to collect and analyze about the veterans being targeted? >> thank you so much for the question. i think the office of the director for national intelligence, dhs, the fbi have released information within the last year about a top threat to americans being domestic extremist, notably white supremacist be we need more transparency including but not limited to the transparency provisions in the much-needed domestic terrorism prevention act. but i think that is a start. but when we're looking at the type of data that may inform our understanding about how veterans are being targeted, i think we have some tools that are useful clues as to where this might be happening. i bring people's attention to the adl heat map on her website where we have six different data
sets including terrorist plots and the tax, related murders, events, these are all indicators of potential activity in communities which may try to pray upon those in that area including of course veterans. so each one of our representatives here are able to look at the district, their state and see for themselves some of the data come some the activity that is happening in their area -- >> yes, we're familiar with your desperate we pressured to tools to use them. my question is what new demographic data points we need to be collecting nationwide and analyzing to give us information to understand the nature of the threat to our nation's veterans? >> so i think specifically to veterans it's about how many veterans may have been involved in the activities that we are tracking. i think there is some data there but it is not complete. i think there is data from
veteran organizations themselves about internal information about what kind of training they are being provided, in terms of preparing them to respond to those threats. at the data set that would be useful and then be able to see how effective it is. those are two ways in which we can try to better understand the issues within our veteran communities and then find ways to actually push back against him. >> one of the ways we know many veterans have been targeted and recruited is on these online settings where extremist groups spread disinformation targeting veterans. on my work have been working to address the rise rising one extremism including the report language in july. my language or directs the department of homeland security to assess how an independent nonprofit clearinghouse could be established to proactively investigate public online extremist content.
mr. segal, your center has been a national leader in this work. what lessons can we learn that would apply effectively to monitoring online recruitment of veterans by domestic violence extremist? >> mr. segal. >> thank you. we provide advance warning about some of the activities and that's why we have proposed an independent cleanouts t of our protect plan in the hopes that is not just scale whirring -- scouring the internet looking for protected speech but someone viewing the dark corners of the internet can look for signs of attack. only active criminal behavior is suspected would we expect this clean house to make a referral, and, frankly, the amount of threats and activities that are related to extremism are vast. >> okay. thank you so much, mr. , mr.
i yield back. >> thank you, ms. underwood. i now recognize mr. cawthorn for five minutes. >> it's known in my habit to start the rings up by thank you for holding this ring but i do not appreciate you. and ranking member bost i hope you will indulge some frustration have because as i'm sitting here listening to the fact that our veterans are being -- people of safeguard our liberties are being derided and spat upon by members of congress, it is truly disgusting. now, if anybody says there is a major movement of white nationalism inside of our military, i wholeheartedly say no to that. i wholeheartedly say that everything based -- i did not serve an enemy people who do, and the same sentence for every single race i speak to his there is a racism in our military. if there is it's very far and few between. people say white evangelical americans who are conservative and/or in our military are
racist is disgusting and wrong. immigration who is inside a military literally worships -- to say these people racist is wholeheartedly false. representative lane had a great, at the end of her, it's what she said for this committee is in the biz caring for veterans but i do not believe that this committee hearing where having today where we are trying to paint every single better as if there's some kind of extremist is right. i just heard dr. cooter in her opening statement start attacking the idea of having militias in our country. i understand she used some special word and things to say no, i'm not against all militias but, unfortunately, having a militia is a protected right inner constitution under the second amendment and i believe it is disgusting to say there is extremism and mckee road at extremist into utter military come inside our veterans. i will tell you right now what i consider what's going on and we and many members of the congress
and sent asked point-blank mint of the department of defense to define extremism that they're trying to root out and they cannot give us a clear definition, it becomes clear the actual -- anybody would vote for a republican. the only extremism i'm aware of that exist in large -- insider military is an extreme level of patriotism. these men and women who put uniforms on to defend our rights and defend our country are heroes and when they leave the military and our veterans they should honor with a grateful, gratefulness of incredible nation and thanks for your service to i apologize i'm not in the oval office as many of you are but as you see behind me this is my district of carolina. i have tens of thousands of veterans and for you to come here and members of congress to say it's actually a high likelihood that people are veterans were in militias are actually extremist. that is disgusting. their incredible numbers of militias inside of my district and i'm very proud to say these are people who want to safeguard
our liberty if we have a have a tyrannical government rises up. i am disgusted and saddened to see with members of congress deriving bills. you should all be ashamed of yourselves. dr. cooter, i would like to point questions you. are you anti-militia? >> mr. cawthorn, believe you actually missed all of her opening statements i'd encourage you to review this to guess if you had heard me you would hardly say that that i make an order since i 21. i grew up in appellation and i very close personal contact with members who are -- i'm frequent use being a militia apologist because i -- [inaudible] very quickly on how many of them are law-abiding but the focus today is on that extreme element and the potential danger of that extreme faction specifically can pose to our veterans and to our country. >> thank you very much for backing that up and saying you don't think -- are extremely . i'm glad your economic and happy you have your second amendment
rights. [inaudible] impact when he is not finding extremist inside our veterans. our veterans write a specific influences served in afghanistan are -- sadness and a shame the way our government have handled themselves. so to say no were going to start looking for extremism within the ranks this is never demoralizing move and it is wrong here chairman takano i'm saddened. monopolies are great patriot but to hold this committee hearing i believe is complete and chest, completely wrong to characterize if there's anything more than a fractional percentage of members of our veterans who are extremist and you hate this country and great people because of their skin color. it is wrong and it is not true. stop looking for extremism inside our military because it does not exist. give the people the honor they deserve. with that i yield back. >> thank you, mr. cawthorn. i now recognize doctor luisa five minutes per dr. jackson,
some individuals believe groups such as the oath keepers have been misunderstood and that they are pro-constitution and pro-freedom, and not antigovernment. do you believe this to be the case, would you believe that the oath keepers aren't antigovernment extremist group with a propensity for violence? >> thank you for your question. i described oath keepers and its antigovernment organization. while it is true that there are isolated cases of members of the organization expressing support for elected officials or for other people who serve in government, the overarching theme of those as an organization is the perception that the federal government and some state governments and local government are tyrannical, are prone to overreach, and that the proper response to policies with which they disagree his conflict with the use of others.
as a mention in my oral testimony they had not hesitated to either take their guns in various situations or to publicly state that they are prepared to do so. >> additionally the oath keepers date they defend the constitution, fight against what they deem unconstitutional by the united states government, and under article iii of the constitution the power of judicial review is vested in the supreme court. isn't that correct? >> i will say that i am not a lawyer and i defer to legal experts to -- >> i think you understand that we have three branches of government and the judicial branch interprets what is constitutional and what is not constitutional. correct? >> that is certainly my understanding. >> they are the arbitrators which is built in our constitution what was defined as
either unconstitutional or not constitutional. so if the oath keepers, therefore, if they determine in their view what is constitutional and not constitutional and act accordingly either through violent militia, are extremist means or by not following the laws or policies that are put in place, then are they undermining the role of district are they not undermining the will of the constitution and, therefore, undermining the constitution itself? >> i would agree with that statement. there is, one of the foundations of the american way of life is rule of law. and when individuals take it upon themselves to empower themselves above judicial bodies to interpret what the law is, in contravention that undermines the rule of law of the country. >> correct. and i think that wouldn't those
individuals who are armed and organized and follow this philosophy of taking it upon themselves to determine what is constitutional and not and undermining the constitution and the judicial branch role, wouldn't you say they would become more dangerous because of their violent tendencies? >> i guess i'm wondering what you're thinking of as more dangerous point certainly they are dangers. people who are willing -- [inaudible] and also in undermining our democracy. so let me ask you this question. how long have they been doing this? you mention that activities in 2013, in 2014. how long have we known or had it been known to the public that the health of these extremist views and were pro-militia and
were single-handedly determining what was part of their -- what they felt was constitutional or not? >> oath keepers as a workstation has been around since 2009 but it really do want to come back to some the sa ma statement which is oath keepers as part of a broader antigovernment movement that has much deeper historical roots in the nation. this is not something that's new. it's been a threat in the past and it continues to be a threat today. >> can you review whether activities were in the year 2013 and 2014? >> i would be happy to talk with you about that. i don't want to try -- >> you mentioned in your testimony so we can review your testimony on that but it seems to me that they had these militia antigovernment extremist views even in 2013 trying to
organize what they determine was constitutional or not constitutional, correct? >> when the group launched in 2009 in 2009 that was the underwriting scene of whited launched. that was their motivation, was perception of federal tyranny. >> okay. thank you. i ran out of time. i yield back. >> thank you, doctor louise. i now call on mr. gallego for five minutes mr. gallego, are you -- did leave the platform? okay. i saw him before. i i should've checked to see if this camera was on. i do not see any more members seeking recognition. so i will therefore ask, thank our second battle of witnesses. i want to thank each and every one of you for your testimony at today's hearing and for the rigorous work that you do in
your research monitoring. i will now ask the ranking member if he has any closing marks that he would like to make. >> yes, i do. thank you, mr. chairman. want to thank each one doesn't join you in thank each one of our witnesses for sharing their perspective witness today as well as the witnesses just describe the violent extremism that do exist across the political spectrum. as a lawmakers we have the responsibility to do more than just talk about the problems. we have responsibility to fix them. so once again that is why congresswoman maced and i introduced h.r. 2326 the veterans cyber risk awareness act. our bill will help answer some of the unanswered questions about dangers posed by violent extremists who may target veterans online. and it will empower veterans with the information they need to protect themselves and their families. the bill is supported by veterans service organizations
including the dav, , if debbie, the wounded were party, the sba and the pba. and it was considered during a subcommittee on technology modernization legislative hearing last week -- [talking over each other] >> mr. chairman, i'm going to ask if we can ask for for a commitment that h.r. 2326 will be included in the agenda market on october 27, if at all possible? >> i can't commit to that at the time. i understand our respective staffs are in discussions. i can't commit to that specifically but i can commit that our respective staffs are communicating about the bill. i appreciate you been putting some thought come here and
congresswoman mace have put some thought behind this. >> i'm hoping we can get on as soon as possible. we are listening to what is being said. i think the groups themselves and many of the witnesses have said these are the types of things we could do, and we have identified there's a a real problem. and i think hopefully within the next week or two we can talk and get our staffs to talk to try to move forward with that bill. i believe it at least is something that is already drafted and placed that we can move forward and hopefully work on the real issue and then get back to the other issues that we need to do with with the veterans administration and the v.a. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. ..
>> we learned about the threat from domestic extremist groups targeting our veterans for recruitment. these groups share a singular characteristic: a propensity for violence and they specifically target veterans for improvement to require combat experience and tactical and logistical expertise they believe will enhance their violence capabilities . mister segal and doctor jones provided compelling testimony and empirical data on the recent sharp bike in extremist activity and while the increase is reflected across the whole breadth of the political spectrum, it is disproportionately concentrated on the far right and i want to emphasize that we're not ignoring this propensity can and does exist on the left end of the
spectrum but we have to look objectively at the data and it shows that within recent years it isdisproportionately concentrated on the far right. as are other witnesses have testified , specific domestic extremist groups today, the oath keepers, proud boys and three presenters and the militia movement share a hostility towards government. their ideology is based on their own warped interpretation of the constitution. the combination of antigovernment sentiment, unfounded interpretations of constitutional rights and responsibilities and an underlying propensity for violence make a noxious miss mix that should concern every american citizen. engagement with these domestic violence extremist groups has already led to significant harm to veterans including beingarrested or incarcerated , losing jobs, sometimes even losing their families.
veterans have been physically harmed and sometimes even killed through their participation with such groups. the negative impact of these domestic violence extremist groups on veterans is clear. now that we have a preliminary introduction to the landscape of domestic violence extremism i look forward to continuing our examination of how they recruit and radicalize veterans. before we can understand how to identify and assist veterans that have been entangled in these groups we need to carefully examine the many factors that can contribute to an honorable and patriotic veterans becoming susceptible to recruitment by extremist. we must look carefully at the role of disinformation and conspiracy theories and the multiplying effect of social media beyond that we must also consider how the valuable work our subcommittees are doing in healthcare, mental health and education can perhaps be instructive on this issue.
most importantly we need to continue to prioritize this issue worked diligently to shine a spotlight on the threat posed by domestic violence extremist groups and their recruitmentof veterans . as colonel hensler and mister butler testified we have valuable resourceswithin the veterans and the community and must engage these partners to develop a comprehensive approach to tackling violent extremism . i want to reiterate what i stated in my opening remarks that this issue is about violence.not political positions, parties or opinions. addressing the threat of extremism and implications of this threat to veterans and their families must be a bipartisan issue and i hope our committee is able tofocus on the underlying issues without being distracted by partisan bickering . i'm committed to working with ranking member boss and members on both sides of the
aisle to examine this issue, it's underlying causes and potential solutions and strategies . i hope we can identify opportunities on adjacent committees including armed services, homeland security and oversight reform to explore broader initiatives on this critical and finally all members have five days to include the remarks and extraneous material. thank you for and this hearing is now adjourned. >>
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