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tv   FBI Director Christopher Wray Discussion at CSIS on Importance of Civic...  CSPAN  April 22, 2021 6:22pm-7:56pm EDT

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career of nancy pelosi. >> not many people knew this, but she was planning once hillary clinton was elected, as so many people and put myself in that camp. i thought she was going to be elected in 2016. nancy pelosi was making plans -- she was 76 years old. nine grandchildren. she had other things she wanted to do but that election was a shock for her and for so many others. she said that once she realized donald trump was going to win the election it was like a meal was kicking her. physically. she did not say this metaphorically. she said she felt like a manual was kicking her over and over again. by the end of that night she decided she was not going to go any further. that she was going to stay and try to stand up to donald trump and try to protect democratic priorities, including -- >> susan page, on her biography, madam speaker, sunday night at 8 pm eastern on c-span's q and a.
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you can also listen to q and a as a podcast where you will get your podcasts. >> next, a discussion with fbi director christopher wray. on civic education and how it improves american democracy and makes the country safer. from the center for strategic and international studies, this is 90 minutes. >> good afternoon everybody, my name is john hammery i'm the president here at csis, i want to welcome you to what's going to be a very interesting conversation. this is a continuation of a series we are doing on the national security imperative for civics education. that may sound odd, but during the last year, we've all experienced startling things about how we need to reinforce the reports of civics and civics understanding in
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american society. it's a national security impairment and that we are really grateful that today, we have the privilege to have the director of the fbi, christopher wray with us. i won't -- has time is limited, so i will just be very brief to say how grateful we are, he's devoted his lifetime to law enforcement, public service, he has had the opportunity to be in the private sector, but we keep pulling him back. and it's because every time he is in public life, we're all benefiting from it. take a look at his resume yourself, but i don't want to take any more time. director wray, you are service is so valuable to the country, we are so grateful you are willing to share your time with us today. thank you. let me turn to you. >> thank you john, i appreciate the kind words and i of course, appreciate the chance to talk about the importance of civic education to our national security and to the fbi's work. i thought maybe i'd offer a few
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initial thoughts to sort of set to table and then i look forward to having more of a conversation. i think, maybe the best place for me to start his two defined, what's at least i think of a civic education. and i'm reminded of something that president reagan said in his farewell address when he spoke about the need for what he called an informed patriotism. one that's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge. that strikes me as a pretty good shorthand for what civic education should do. create informed patriots. who know our history and understand how our democratic institutions work. >> so how does civic education intersect with our security. especially as as the fbi is considered. for the purpose of our conversation, i think i highlight too, in particular, it intersects with
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some of the threats that the fbi and our nation confront today. and second, it can shape how, we do our work. so let me take each of those in turn. one example, of how civic education affects the current national security threat, is election security. and the problem of maligned foreign influence. that's been a top concern for the fbi recently. we have the lead federal agency for identify and combatting that target u.s. constitution's and values. like the rule of law, free and fair elections, and freedom of speech and freedom of the spat of the press. our adversaries are doing all they can, to underline those cost it is institutions, and confuse and divide americans by spreading disinformation especially through social media. the fbi is working hard to combat those efforts. along with our partners in government,
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and the private sector. and we actually have a great deal of success. but at the end of the day, no amount of fbi investigating, can by itself sufficiently insulate our country from this threat. ultimately our best offense, is a well informed public. citizens who are thoughtful, discerning consumers of all the information that is out there, and have a solid understanding of how our government backed institutions work. american public and formed public, will have a lot of influence against these efforts. i make it a lot harder, for our advertiser adversaries to succeed. the second place was civic education, where intersects with the fbi commission mission, considered on how we do our work. and one thing i have been trying to stress to our folks,
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is the importance of process, making sure we always do the right thing, but do the right thing in the right way. we cannot carry out the fbi's mission, without the trust and support of the american people, so we have to make sure that we are always doing our work in a way that is professional and objective and that earns and justifies that trust and support. another way to put it, is when people ask the fbi to do something, i think they should be a unique expectation that it's going to get done right. in every sense of that word. we are the people, that others turned to when it's particularly important that something get done right. the more important it is, the more people turn to us with that expectation. that confidence, is at the heart of a lot of things that we do. civil rights investigations, you know and
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it's a trust that the fbi cannot afford to lose. i think that civic education comes into play here too, because the well informed public will have a better understanding of what the fbi really does, and why and how we actually do it. that kind of understanding, i would argue is important for really any government agency, but especially important for us, because we have been given such broad powers. citizens need to know, is the fbi upholding the constitution under the rule of law. are we doing the right thing, in the right way. so take something like our surveillance work, which is crucial for us in catching corrupt public officials, foreign spies, and terrorists. the fbi cannot just surveil somebody because we want to. we have to go to an independent judge to show evidence of probable cause and get a warrant. or, take a fisa authority. that's been in
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that's been out for awhile recently we've talked about that. so if we want to listen to terrorists or listen to their phone calls we have to present evidence and get a warrant from the fisa court. when citizens have a good understanding of the fourth amendment and how it works and the safeguards we have in place, they will have that much more confidence that the fbi is using that tool appropriately. obviously if we're not doing things the right way, and inform public will be better prepared to hold us accountable for that. the last point i will make, is that to me, civic education is important for helping our fbi workforce understand both the importance of our mission, and of doing things in the right way. so when we are hiring, we are looking for those informed patriots obviously. once they are actually on board, they are
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trained and their training involves something which is almost an ongoing civic education. for example, all our new agents in and intelligent and analysis in quantico, we want them to understand the magnitude of what happened to our country that day in new york, how it changed the bureau, and how crucial are counter terrorism work remains almost two decades later. they also visit the holocaust museum, to experience in a kind of the level way, the horror of what can happen when people in government abused their power. and they visit the mark luther king memorial here in d.c., as a reminder how the fbi itself, has not always use their authority in the right way. all of these things, drive home, each in its own way, the stakes of our work at the fbi. the sheer impact we can have, good
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or bad on all the citizens who are counting on us. so if our employees can recognize the abuse of power, and understand how our own organization has fallen short, they will be less likely to make the same mistakes. so those are a few reasons, from our perspective at the fbi, on civic education is critical to our national security, and i would be happy to drill into some of these topics but thank you again for inviting me, and for focusing on this issue. i think it's incredibly important. >> director wray thank you. for those terrific remarks. and for those watching i am suzanne spalding, i am the senior adviser for csis. i want to echo the welcome to all of you, for this latest installment in a yearlong strategic dialog, that we have been talking about. civics as a national security imperative. it's made
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possible by funding from creating new maher philanthropies. director wray, in your remarks today, you have talked about the threat of influence and disinformation, for the last three years there have been many democratic institution projects, and we've been working to understand and counter adversary attacks on our democracy and our democratic institutions. with a particular focus on russian disinformation. that undermines public trust in our justice system. including courts, law enforcement, and you in your team have been looking at this for quite some time. how dangerous do you think these information operations, disinformation from our adversaries how seriously she would be taking this? >> we take it extremely seriously. you know, at the end of the day, part of what i would consider a crucial component of america's
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strength, and credibility in the world, and the strength of our country internally, it turns on trust and government and understanding the government. and especially given the challenge of combatting, misinformation with social media these days. it is that much more elusive, a target to go after. the fbi is not, and this goes back to the whole civics thing, the fbi is not and can't be truth police. we can't identify foreign actors and go after them, and from spreading disinformation, but we can't go around social media looking for things that might be false and directing them. there's a role for that, but that is not the fbi's role. that is why, i said in my opening comments how important i think having a thoughtful and asserting discerning public is. because that is the best
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insulation we can have against what you say is a very serious threat. >> the challenge that we face is further complicated by the trend that we saw. in 2016, russia focused on manufacturing content at the research information agency, in russia. and they move towards amplifying domestic voices, and domestic disinformation has become more and more significant part of the problem. how does that complicate the task that the fbi faces? >> it complicates it enormously. on the one hand disinformation is not a new thing. the russians and other countries have been involved in it for decades. but what is relatively new, is the role of social media and particularly in amplifying that threat. it provides a bull horn that is
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scalable and cheap and incredibly effective. and so again, trying to figure out ways to get the american public to be thoughtful about what it's reading, what's the source of the information is, getting multiple sources for information, all those things become incredibly important to insulating us against that threat. it will take a whole of government, and a whole of society really, and that is not a phrase that i just rattled off lightly, there is a role for the government, there's a role for the agencies, and for the private sector. especially the technology industry. and there is a roll of every american in guarding against the threat that we talked about. >> yes absolutely, and a threat it is. we talked about how seriously you take it, and i think we certainly saw with the events of january six, how dangerous some of the
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misinformation, and disinformation online can be in terms of manifesting itself in the real world. you put out a statement on january 7th, which you talked about we do not tolerate violent agitators and extremists who use the guise of first amendment to incite violence and wreak havoc havoc. you have testified this repeatedly, about what a significant challenge domestic terrorism is in our country today. and as we talk about ways in which work to counter efforts and undermine that undermined trust in our institutions, it seems to me that there is a significant challenge. how do you convince the american public and how do you think about the need to robustly address this threat of domestic terrorism, domestic violence and extremism, while maintaining that public trust.
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and doing things the right way that you spoke about. >> so this is obviously something that is top of mind the last couple of years. certainly the last couple of months. you know as you said, we need to make sure we're going about it the right way. and part of that in the context of domestic terrorism is making sure that people understand our focus, that the fbi's focuses on violence and criminal activity. not first amendment expression. no matter how hateful or horrible it is. there is a role for calling out hateful rhetoric it is just not the fbi's role. we are about going after the violence or criminal activity. and the more people understand that that is when we are going to do, the more they can have confidence that they
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will be protected but also their constitutional rights will also be protected. i keep using this phrase, in the right way, that not only applies to what the fbi does and how we do what we do, but i would argue for domestic terrorism in applies to the american public. by that i mean, there is a right way to express your disagreements with an election. or your unhappiness with the court system. or the penal justice system. that is part of what our country is founded on. but violence against law enforcement and government officials, and destruction on federal property, that is not the right way to express those views. we have to have zero tolerance for that. and the more people to understand this concept of the right way, you know i find we are in a world where people are fixated on results. so what that ends of
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meaning, is that if you're standard of whether you trust that government institution is whether it yields the result you want, we are heading down a dangerous road so if your standard and whether you trust an election, when you're a candidate one? they're going to be a whole lot of people they're going to be disappointed every single time. if you're standards of whether you trust the court system or the criminal justice them is whether a particular person got a convicted or acquitted, same thing. and more people understand how these institutions work, how they do with a do with the limitations they have, etc, the more likely it there is to be trust in those institutions, which in turn, hopefully address some of the drivers of the wild extremism that we see manifested, not just on january 6th, but in different ways over the summer as well. >> yeah, i think that such a great point. and i'd like the way you describe the results, the objectives of civic education
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to create informed patriots who are able to be thoughtful and critique the system and institutions while working to make our country stronger to bring about changes. and it does seem to me that what we are seeing in the decline of civic education is not trust what's surveys show about how many people can name the three branches of government, but as you say, how those branches work, how our institutions are designed to work and importantly, how individuals must play a role in holding them accountable. and empowering individuals to be effective agents of change. and so, what would you say to folks who are hearing this and we're thinking, okay, how can i, as an individual, help hold the
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fbi accountable for living up to the oath that all of us take? >> well, i think, one is understanding that very little of what we do at the fbi lends itself to a ten second sound bite or 150 character tweet. it's nuanced, it's complicated, it's meaningful and so, getting your news about the fbi, just like i would recommend just about everything else, from a variety of sources and being thoughtful about it would be a good start. in addition, the fbi and particular, in everyone of our 56 field offices, so everyone listening in on this has a field office that would be the closest to them, we have something called this fbi citizens academy which takes the concept that i just articulated to the next level where you can become part of a group of citizens and it takes about a year and you need a few times a year and get educated in a much more substantive way
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about what we do. then you stay involved as alumni and there are citizens from a variety of jobs and roles in the community and like i said, it's happening all over the u.s. and it's been happening for a number of years now. so we in a sense, are trying to cultivate our own group, if you will, around the country of inform patriots who understand what the fbi does. and then you know the right questions to ask, you know when we've screwed up because we do screw up. and you are better able to call us on it. >> that's terrific. this is one of the things that we've been talking a lot about in this strategic dialog that we've been holding on civics as a national security imperative is, how do we create this sense of urgency to increase civic illiteracy and a sense of civic identity and shared values across this country. and it does seem like we have a moment
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here. that there is an increasing awareness of how we have under-resourced and undervalued civic education in this country. this legislation that's been introduced in both the house and the senate bipartisan group of senators and members of congress to reinvigorate civics education, civic secures democracy i think is the name of that legislation, a roadmap was just released educating for democracy roadmap. the cyber security solarium commissioning created a recommendation to build civic responsibility around saddleridge occasion and disinformation. so there is a lot that needs to be done i think we need a year of civic renewal and i would just ask, as a closing, i know your time is limited here with us. as we think about how to bring civics alive for students and for adults all across
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america, i think about some of my form it is vivid experiences when i was growing up in washington, my mother worked on the hill and when i had school holidays, i would go in with her and wonder around the capital. wander in and out of hearing rooms and sit in the galleries that the house of senate. that was sort of my introduction in the real world to civics. but was some of your informative experiences growing up or your career that really gave you that real world sense of civic responsibility? >> smiling to myself. there are two anecdotes that come to mind one, taking a little bit from the perspective of the parent as opposed to a child. it led to my daughter and one that experienced early on in my ten years as fbi director. when i was a line prosecutor, my daughter was probably about
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four or five years old, and they had dads they at her nursery school. the teachers said all these little boys and girls at a series of questions. and they had written the answers that they had from instruction paper for teddy bears. they put the teddy bears all over the bulletin boards. one of the questions was what does your dad do that work? all the dads show up. we are looking at these teddy bears. a guy next to me looks over at me and i look over at him and he says hayman, do you mind would ask if i ask what you do for a living? i look back at my daughters teddy bear and said my daddy and his friends put bad guys in jail and help keep us all safe. i thought wow. then i looked over at his teddy bear and it said mind audi talks on the phone all day sore mommy and that can buy nice stuff. at that moment i thought ok. i'm doing something for a
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living that even a five-year-old little girl with a giant ribbon in her hair appreciates is meaningful. the other story that comes to mind for my time is director, which has been on my mind a lot lately with all the domestic terrorism -- i went to all 56 -- by the end of my first full year and when i went to oklahoma city in particular i met with the family of a victim of the oklahoma city bombing and specifically, i met -- you probably have seen most -- there's a famous photograph of an oklahoma city bombing of a firefighter holding a baby who had been murdered and that attack. a one year old. and i met with a mom of that murdered one year old and it turns out she had a younger sister who never knew her older sister who had been killed in the attack. the younger sister's name is bella and fast forward, years later from the oklahoma city
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bombing, fellas, basically college aged. guess what's bella wants to do for a living? she wants to work for the fbi. and she knows the fbi through how we investigated that attack and how we dealt with the victims and the families. so i try to say to our people, think about while villa is out there, while it's not an isolated example, there are victims and their families, if they see the way we operate and the impact we can have for good and for bad, it shapes their view about at least one government institution in a way that lasts forever >> great memories and great stories. great message. thank you very much, director wray. your commitment to civic education as reflected in your willingness to carve out time to be with us today, i know you've got a lot going on. so thank you so much. >> thank you. i'm really encouraged to see
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you all focusing on his very fundamental and important topic. >> thank you. >> take care. >> so as the director departs from his busy day, i would ask all of you to remain on, because we have a tremendous panel that is still to come. we are going to go right into it. i have the good fortune of introducing the moderator for our panel. my good friend elizabeth parker. elizabeth is a consultant with the defending democratic institutions project, and has been really a guiding force from the very beginning of this project, and has really been leading our civic effort here in the context of that project. civics she is also a former chair of the a b. a. standing committee on law and national security at
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the american bar association and a lifelong counselor to the committee. and a member of the council foreign relations. but elizabeth's real expertise of this panel for national security lawyers is that she has held, i think, more national top level legal positions than anybody i think i know. she was general counsel of the nsa, she was principled deputy legal adviser at the department of state and she was general counsel that central intelligence agency, which is where i met her as a junior attorney in o. g. c at cia. after that, public service, she was the general counsel for the 26 camp is university of wisconsin system, she was then dean of the mcgeorge school of law at the university of the pacific in california. and she founded the journal on national security law and policy. and she was most recently executive director of the state bar of california. and elizabeth, it
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is my pleasure to turn over to you to moderate this terrific lineup of national security lawyers on the topic of the national security lawyer and civics education. >> well, thank you suzanne and john, wonderful remarks from director wray. i have the great honor of moderating a fabulous panel in the next hour and i'll just make a couple very brief comments. i shared with the panel the disturbing results of countless surveys, which i've become aware of that show that civic knowledge is really and at an all-time low. and for me most, disturbing is the finding one recent survey that only 24% of millennials actually think it's a very bad way to run the country. imagine that recently in the national assessment of educational progress, we found that only 24% of eight grade
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students, performed at or above the efficient level. maybe there's an explanation there as to why so many students have no confidence in democracy. some could argue, that the events the tragic events of january six, maybe further up regarding the problem. from what i would like to ask this panel to think about, is whether we are correct in suggesting that civic education has really become a national security imperative. in a minute i will ask each of the panel members, to say a word about themselves, and then we will turn to questions what i would like to explore, is what does this decline in civic education mean to her about art democracy. does the decline mean that we lack the resilience to deal with the disinformation attacks that we're looking at? does it become a national security threat? and are there also broader threats to our national
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security that this lack of civics, might contribute to? and finally i will ask the panelists if they could give us some specific examples, good or bad, from their time as national security lawyers, but also in an out of government as to how they see this problem. then i think most importantly, if we are correct in the diagnosis of the problem, and it is truly a national security threat, are there solutions that we should look at? so judge jamie baker, i would like to begin with you. you know, i tend to embrace just about everything suzanne says, but i think she may be wrong when she said that i held more national security physicians than anyone else she knows. and i think that you get that award. and you could spent you have spent a lifetime focused on national security. i take great credit, and i encourage you to join the department of state when you
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are just a pup, but my hat is off to you for all you've done. he went from actually, you have spent time in the military, in the marines and then most interestingly you moved to the congress. with senator moynahan, and then to the state department, and you moved on eventually to the nsc, and you became a judge with the military court of appeals. now you have had the national security project at syracuse university where you are both a professor of law, and at the maxwell center. which is highly regarded for its policy work. so maybe nobody, more than you has seen the broad suite of civic education. now you see it in an academic setting. and you focus on the ethical frameworks for the rule of law, so values has been something you look at. and i'm curious to know what your perceptions are from this whole experience that you've
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had? >> oh boy, well thank you, elizabeth. and elizabeth is right, she had a role in when i was a pup, in government service. for which i think her. because part of the system of government, is having a mentor that's a very important thing. and that is not what i came here to say today, but part of the education is finding a mentor and learning from them about how it works. i think the u.s. asked me to make a comment about ethics and this ties in with director wray's excellent points about informed patriotism and doing the right thing, the right way. and in my experience, the hard part of government is doing it the right way. we often know with the right thing to do is, but
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it's often hard to do it the right way. as lawyers, we sit at the nexus of constitutional friction between the branches of government where the politicians are trying to win, politicians are not necessarily focused on doing the right thing, if they're not winning. we face the pressures of practice getting to yes. the personalities of practice. most of this results around doing the right thing through ethics. and one of the things we don't teach very well, you might say, is ethics. law schools tend to focus on rules like don't steal from your client, they don't do as well teaching sort of the ethical dilemmas that come up when you have constitutional tensions between competing values. leon had a wonderful phrase, it was, the duty of a national security lawyer is to get to yes with honor with the
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nation well taken care of and the constitution intact. and to understand the nation well being taken care of in the constitution intact, you have to have the ability to look beyond the immediate moment, you have to understand what the constitution intact means, and what it means to take care of the nation. and that requires the study of history. i love the fact that director wray indicated that all his and incoming special agents, they go to the 9/11 memorial, the martin luther king memorial and to the holocaust museum. that's an understanding of history right out of the get-go. history is the key to civic education, it's great to know a lot of facts about government, but understanding how government works when it doesn't work and why it doesn't work is a big part of civic education. i know we are limited in the opening round to 48 minutes each, so i need to be careful to limit my talking points. let's say i have two
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more. we can't always assume that the people in government, so we're talking about civic education. i might note that that starts with government and not necessarily, we shouldn't assume that everyone in government knows the civics we would like them to know. and here, i'm focused not on the structure of government, the what of government, but the why of government. i found that a lot of times when i was explaining the law to senior officials or other officials, they knew what the law was, they knew what the constitution said or says, they didn't understand the why. and a lot of times when i was put to the test about getting to the u.s., rather than just a yes, it was because the person i was talking with or the people i was speaking with, didn't understand the values behind the law. and why it was we were in that position that we're in. and so i think what we bring to the table as lawyers is the
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ability to not just say what the law is, what democracy is but why it is and why that provision of the constitution states what it states. we need to do more of that. and then, turning to the public, you said you reminded that i worked for senator patrick donna hanoi one time, the wonderful public servant who served four different presidents, two of each party, which is something you won't see that often or anymore. and he famously said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, not their own facts. and education is about learning how to critically think, critically think with that knowledge of history and that ability to look through issues to determine fact from fiction. and that's what education brings to the table. it's the ability to critically think and determine what is fact and so on. and to do what director wray said to do, which
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is to make sure that the government is following the right process. not just getting to the result you might like. he also made the point about trust. trust is all about government, if you don't have trust in government, we won't trust the results or the process. and then one last point, this is my final point, i did serve on a court and i found in generally in my experience, although it's the narrowest of government -- the judicial black branch is the least understood of the federal branches of government and one way i saw to address that is by bringing students in to do mood courts in march court trials at the court. and the security loved it in part, and they didn't love it because the court looked quite different after we were done with it. it looked like a lunchroom, not a courtroom. but, that was
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magical because the students learned for the first time what it meant to stand up in a court and speak about the constitution, about the law and how they can advocate for themselves and for each other. so, one of the takeaways here, director wray, is doing the teddy bear thing with his children. i would encourage each of us to find a way that we can bring younger people into our lives as lawyers and give them a sense of how we go about our business of supporting and defending the constitution. thank you elizabeth. >> well, thank you judge baker. you did go a little bit over the two minutes i give you but it was well worth it. great expenditure of additional time. connor, i'd like to come to you next. and you too have had an extensive experience, both in government. but also for you the private sector. you ended your government career as the
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general counsel of the defense but the parliament, the white house office and also hhs and you began your career in private practice, but now you're with a major corporate entity. and i'm curious to know, can you say a bit about, first of all, that tension between secrecy. how do you balance intelligence and the need for secrecy in a democracy? you saw that of course when you were with the defense department. and i think i'd also be curious to know whether you have comments about the different perspectives you've seen among those in the private sector versus those within the government, as you've gone forward in your career. >> sure. thank you. and thanks for organizing this discussion, which is so important. and to take on those topics, you know, transparency is critical to
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working democracy and that goes for the area of intelligence and national defense operations as, well as other parts of the governments. and it's critical because people need to know whether governments are doing so they can choose leaders who do what they want and also so they can hold them accountable. and in the area of intelligence and in military in particular, is important to show the legitimacy and create trust, has director wray was saying. and it's important for americans, as well as for our allies and partners and other countries to see that what we are doing is supported by law. and it leads to more effective national security policies. and a balance between that transparency and secrecy is really important, because it's also vital that we don't actually weaken or endanger our national security in the
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process. you know, ongoing or future operations could be endangered if we're not extremely careful about how we treat information and more importantly, people can be in danger. troops are our intelligence assets. and so, it's really hard to get right. but the basic principle is simple. it's to be as transparent as possible without endangering people in natural security in the process. and so, when i was in the defense department, we focused on that a lot across the obama administration and in all kinds of ways. included a lot of public releases of information about how we used military force to conduct national security operations and what the legal basis was for that in the framework for it. and my predecessor -- and the state department weekly adviser, all of the speeches will improve explain those kinds of things. and at the end, of the
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administration, we pulled it all together in a report and we spent a lot of time on things like reporting of civilian casualty numbers, trying to make sure that they were right but we see a whole range of operations of where troops were, how many there were and particular operations, just to get a few examples. and it was across all the government agencies of supporting national security that we work they sort of basic process and goal of trying to share as much information as we could safely do. you know, because we thought it was important for democracy and for people to understand the legitimacy of what the government was doing. and to your second question, my prospect on on all of that has not really changed since i entered the private sector. but i can say that working for a large private sector organization has made it clear that a lot of the principles that we're talking about here related to civil engagements and services are very much true and large private sector
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organizations. employees want to know the mission of their employer and values, they want to know that is going to do the right thing, that aims to do the right thing and do it the right way. they want it to be involved in the communities, you know, for us, systemic education is big feature and employees want to be involved in high school partnerships that we are in gauged in, and it's because they want to be engaged in their communities. a little couldn't fit together. but thank you for putting this together, it's a great topic. >> that's terrific. and welcome back to you and try to tease out a little bit more about that. before i go to téa johnson, i just want to remind the audience that you can ask questions and the way to do that is to fill out a question form online at the csis page. this little green button that says, ask questions live. and that's your queue. so we hope
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to hear from you as well. so téa, if i could go to you next. once again, a remarkable background in your case, you became i think the first african american woman to be a colonel in the army, as a jacket lawyer. and i think it was almost, what? 20 years in the jag corps for you but now, in the academic world. and you've been teaching both at georgetown and elsewhere. so you've got a broad perspective, but i'd like to kind of ask you to step outside our domestic space and tell us a little bit about the experience you had when you served in bosnia as a part of the jag corps. what did you learn about the civic education needs, both of that company, and frankly of our own as well from that experience? >> well, thank you suzanne spalding for putting on this
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important discussion and for inviting me, i really appreciate it. yes, i was deployed to bosnia in the early 2000s as part of the nato peacekeeping force. and so, one of the things we do in the military, we talk about bottom line up front. so i will answer your last question first. the biggest lesson learned that i took away from those 18 months there was that the veneer of civilization is very fragile. and once ruptured it is very difficult to piece it back together. as many people may not realize is that, of what's were the six provinces and the former yugoslavia, bosnia herzegovina was the most heterogeneous one. and so, for a civil war to erupt between between the slavs, that serbs, who were slavitt, and the
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bosnian muslims, but they all were slavs, it was eye-opening and shocking to everyone. with regard to severe education, this was also at the time lord robinson, the secretary general of nato and lord robinson was committed to taking bosnia from civil war to european atlantico integration. and so, a lot of time was spent both by our eu allies, as well as nato on democratization, trying to build capacity in the central government. yes, educating people because of course they're marching out of a communist regime, so you're trying to do all of these layer simultaneously. but yes, civic education was incredibly important. because again, they were emerging out of communist regime. so we're trying to fix all of that stuff at the same time. the other prospective, by
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the time i had gone to bosnia, i had done a lot of democratization work. i had been fortunate at that time to have worked on the teams on implementing -- and so that was the whole effort to get the nukes out of the former soviet union. so i was miss democratization. so, going in and meeting with and talking to militaries about the role of the military in a democratic society and that's vitally important and this goes back to the comments that director wray was making, that judge baker made with regards to for the military in particular in american society, i mean, we have a compact with population. we're the servants of the nation. and so, it is vitally important and that within that
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relationship, there is trust and confidence. now, you know, the military routinely scores very high on public opinion, with regards to trust and confidence. but you have to protect that relationship, we have to protect that trust. and so, it is deeply troubling in the january 6th insurrection's to see the numbers coming out of the people who had been arrested. i'm looking because i don't have my glasses on. but they're saying one in five defendants in the cases thus far were either military govern fans or had some military service. that's incredibly scary. and the fact that the seriousness that the department of defense took, that his actions by the brand-new secretary of defense, secretary austin, when he ordered a stand
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down in february 6th, a 60-day stand down so that all commands could examine this issue and come up with action plans as to how they were going to address that. and, so again, it goes back to the importance of civic education. you know, the military's of microcosm of society and so, as you pointed out those scary findings with regards to the dismal state of civic education among young people. that's who we're recruiting. we are recruiting 18 and 19 year olds into the military. and, so if they don't understand our system of government, you know, notwithstanding the fact that we take a oath, we swear to uphold and swear to the constitution of the united states. if they don't understand what that means, and then next against all enemies both foreign and domestic, you know, they have to understand what the constitution does that it creates our structure of government, it creates our system of government and what our role as the military is in that. and it's to defend that. we're not be holding or loyal
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to a person, or even a position. but is to the constitution of the united states. >> well that's a remarkably powerful set of observations, and i suppose maybe i'm giving you a conclusion, but would you agree that you are not getting them, the recruits who've had the background they need? there's a remedial job and civic education for those who are coming into the military. >> correct! again, that's why we tell people, the military is recruiting from the general population. i mean, we're not recruited people from a whole. why did they come to us coming in in enlistment, so 18, 19 or 20 year olds or even the office quarter. so we're getting them out of the academy, as we're getting them out of undergraduate school and commissioning them as officers, if they don't have that core understanding of our structure
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of government, and how our government operates -- what are the coordinate branches of government? what are their respective roles? what is the mutual respect that we are to accord each other? if they don't have that understanding, then it's very difficult to maintain that kind of servant leadership role that the military is supposed to have. and another study i was reading that they uphold the graduates from the academies and the military. the junior officer corps, and it was this real sense of superiority that they felt that military service and being a military officer made them superior to members of the general public. and that's dangerous. because again, if you have an officer corps that's in that space, that's when you start getting the thinking of, we know better. the civilians are messing this up. maybe we need to step in and do this in a different way
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because we can do it in a better way. and that's not the military's role. and so, both enlisted stage and in our officers rank, we've got to ensure that personnel are trained and knowledgeable about the structure of government. role of the various -- but the rule of the military is in our democracy. and how we and execute that role. >> powerful comments. steve, i'd like to come to you next. you've had a very interesting background. we've been talking with tea a little bit about the military and how important it is for incoming officers and enlisted people to understand the structure of government. but you, as the general counsel of dhs had a very challenging role because you sat in an agency that was really trying to deal with security in the domestic
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space. we tend to think of security something we tend to focus on nationally, or in the foreign world. i'd like to ask you a little bit about how you saw that tension between what we tend to end our foreign activities, when we try to protect the nation from foreign threats and how that then works that one we're really talking about domestic challenges. so could you state a little bit about your time as a general counsel of dhs? >> absolutely. and thank you for including me in this discussion and in this program. my experience at dhs for me was a shift of focus. as
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i most of my career had been in the justice department, focusing on purely domestic type issues. and what i took away from the dhs experience was really kind of thinking of the security realms and really three categories. the foreign and international, as you alluded to. and then the border area. and then the domestic interior issues. and each of those realms or zones have different sets of governmental authority associated with them. and different restrictions, legal or constitutional. and so, for dhs, i would say, it's sort of filth get the gap a little bit between what may have been the primary areas of other agencies, both the federal and the local level. the border is certainly an important area where it operates. but also, inside the country and the
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homeland security's mission is really to tie to the civics theme is really focused on public private partnerships to try to promote security. this sort of catchphrase of see something, say something. which you see at the gsa is in some ways kind of an umbrella of description of what this homeland security department tries to do in terms of engaging, ideally with a foreign citizen patriots. to try to build a homeland security enterprise. that isn't necessarily driven by state action in the same way that perhaps some of our foreign activities are. but is more of a collaborative exercise and it depends very heavily han having informed citizens. having. --
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it's one thing to see something and say something. it's another thing to say something and see something appropriate and useful. and there's a big difference between those two things and citizens are the ones that are going to make the difference, in terms of the quality of that from a government's perspective and ultimately from society's perspective. i will say one thing that i was struck by, when i was at dhs in which i had become increasingly focused on in my present world, which is in the context space. it is the interplay between technology civics and security. because i think, and director wray talked about this a little bit. when you look at what's happening in the misinformation space, propaganda his not new.
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con men are not new. what's new is the ability to use technology to target people and artificial intelligence to leverage that targeting and to do that targeting at scale and speed and cheap cost, and that creates a different threat landscape than we've ever had before. and again, it brings us back to civics in the sense that you need to have some tech literacy along with your traditional civics. and i hope we're able to figure out ways to leverage the technology to promote good ends, not just to tap into our basic instincts and some ways. and we can make our democracy stronger, we can make our civics education more compelling if we actually use the technology, which is in
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some ways undermining civics so. we can use technology to promote civil discourse to break down silos of information and ultimately, to promote more analog and in person engagement, because that's really where community happens and that's kind of where the goods stuff occurs. and it ultimately leads you to service, not just reading online. >> well i think you actually anticipated a question that i was going to ask you, but maybe i'll ask it nonetheless. you've moved into computer security, tech issues rather significantly i think in your positions after dhs, and i wonder, in doing so, i think now you're with a new organization that's talking about international developing a new global payment system. has your perspective changed, now that you've returned to the private sector. what's the difference in the world are you seeing now from a private's
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perspective? on these kinds of issues. >> yeah. what's interesting when you are a lawyer in the private sector is, at least in my current role, i am helping to greater understanding of a government. and hopefully building, at least some level of trust in the government. which is sort of the flip side of what the government tries to do when it's building trust from the public private partnership perspective. and so, there's an element of civic education in that exercise as an advisor. but, the success of the project that i've involved with and many others is really about figuring out ways for the private sector and the public sector to work together towards common goals and common ends. and again, there's been a lot
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of mention of trust. it really does come down to building -- it's not just knowledge, but its actual relationships and so, yeah, it's interesting, when you're in the public sector, your ultimate goal is to serve the rest of the people who are in the private sector. and yet, sometimes that gets lost. and i have to remind my client and my clients that sometimes, it's really the function of letting the public sector understand what you are doing in the private sector because ultimately, all intention to public sector -- and republic of the public. so again, it's civics in a different form. >> well now, i'd like to move to questions, not just mine, but i had a couple of very important ones coming in from our
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audience. but before i do, we've only got about 25 minutes left and i want to be sure we don't miss a chance to talk about possible solutions if we believe, and i think what i've heard is that there is a problem in civic education, you would agree with that. what kind of solutions might there be and here i would just remind the audience, i think the panel is aware of this, that just yesterday, two important things happened. suzanne mentioned the introduction of the civics secures democracy act of 2021, this is bipartisan legislation, very important. i'd ask one of you to comment on that. and subsequently, there was also a hearing yesterday by the senator arms service committee. and again, hearing testimony from the bipartisan commission on military national and public seven, which was an 11 member
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of commission established in honor of the late senator john mccain, making extremely important recommendations on how to improve, not just military service but also public service generally and interesting to me, it might not have started out with this notion, but it clearly concluded with a view that civic education has got to be enhanced and improved. let me just start by asking jenny baker would you like to start making a question on this and as you do let me call your attention to one thing that i think is an important question from the public. how can we ensure that civic education expands to its capability and be discerning and thoughtful, not as a coverage of propaganda. can we convince the public that civic education
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itself, is not simply another name for propaganda. let's start with you jamie, and then i think i might ask each of the panels to make a comment on this if you will. >> i thank you for your question, and thank you to the member of the public for their question. i have three responses, and i would like to start with the chapeau that starts with the input rather than the output. only 10% no, this are only 8% know that if it's focusing on the input, i think of the american historian and educator, whitney, who said in 1959, riding of communism, fascism, and mccarthy-ism. in the long run of history, it's sensor and the inquisitor have always lost. the only sure way against bad ideas are better ideas. the source of bitter ideas are wisdom, and the sheerest path
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to wisdom is a liberal education. so point one, education is a zero sum game. the more of one thing you teach, the less of another you teach. i was a board chair in my previous life at the school. and it was all stem, stem stem. that's all anybody wanted to learn. science, math, well enough, if we want to compete successfully with china we need stem. no parent ever came to me and said they weren't getting enough constitutional law, or historical analysis at the school, they wanted calculus and third grade, and robotics in kindergarten. if we're going to talk about civic education, we have to realize that we have to give something up for it. we have to return to a study of the liberal arts. leadership is a leadership is a liberal art,
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government is a liberal art. you don't learn leadership from matt, you learn from shakespeare. and reading history. point one. point two, teachers are public servants. we have to act like they are public servants. if we act like they are bureaucrats, or we act like we don't care about them, we might get a product that looks like that. teachers are wonderful public servants, they're every bit as much public servants as people who work for the government. and i love steve's point about public servants, they can't forget that they serve the public. it is something to always keep in mind. but that is part of teachers as well. when you look at the most successful educational programs around the world, oftentimes it starts with respect for the teachers. the top college graduates are going into a field of teaching not because of the pay, but because of the respect that is given to teachers at the primary and secondary and even at the university level. and
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then, the eighth be a, i think the mba can play a role here too. in terms of how they support it. law schools are still teaching to the needs of the last century. by the needs of the last century i mean the 19th century. not even the 20th century. the curriculum has not changed. and the aba likes to complain a lot of things a -- but they can be part of the solution here. to encourage the teaching of the rule of law in the united states, as much as they are good at teaching overseas. the aba is the gold standard in the field, but they do not have comparable programs in the united states. so as to the question from the audience, how do you avoid propaganda? in my view, you void that because you are teaching people to critically think. not telling
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them what to think. you are teaching people history, you're teaching them communication skills, so they can parse arguments. lori hobart says my colleague, she says currently need to read well to write well. that's a liberal art. why do we care about writing well? because that is how we make persuasive arguments. that's what we need to be teaching. that is the civic success. that is my response. not propaganda, the ability to critically think and critically communicate. >> and i think i would say, of the new legislation would embrace that. there are two things that you've mentioned that are key, and one is to increase at the national level, funding for civics and history. so they get the same attention that stem topics to now. but specifically avoiding the knee to prescribe any curriculum, knowing that standards are set at the state level. i would like to come to
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you for a minute if i might, i mentioned the testimony before the senate armed services committee yesterday, on the commission on military national service, and that's an impressive effort for two years, and i think something like 4300 comments were received. 350 private organizations talked about. it's a comprehensive engagement with the public. among the comments that they made. is 0.5 percent of americans currently have experience with the military. so it's an increasingly smaller part of the population. they also stress that there are too few opportunities for public service outside the military. and i'm wondering if you could comment on that, on how you think that kind of an increased opportunity to engage even in
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student years, might be valuable? >> thank you, yes you are correct the report entitled, inspired to serve had multiple recommendations in various categories. one of the areas that we talked about was the best practices in civic vacation and a service learning and they stressed the importance of incorporating both civics education, which judge baker just spoke about, and other components of service learning.. in k through 12 education, as well as higher learning. service learning would be those opportunities as you mentioned, to get students out of the classroom, to be able to translate the things that they learn in the classroom and put it into action. so youth programs, or even plugging into pre-existing
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programs. but again, would inculcate them with this sense of service. when i was still on duty, age to keep a sign under my desk, we have a glass on the desk, and it said you know that with every privilege, there is a responsibility. with every right comes responsibility. and i think that part of what we are seeing, is that disconnect. that cognitive distance between a right, and people are saying it's my right to do this but they don't understand that to be a citizen of the united states they also have a responsibility. and they must perform those responsibilities. the whole idea behind the recommendations is to try to
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embed that into particularly k through 12, and to show how they have those opportunities during that period, and more importantly come out and maybe go into one of the national service programs. kind of like the peace corps, or domestic peace corps as it were. we saw is it i'm not sure if is if it is teach for america, as one of the programs, and we have the traditional programs, where in the health department when people wanted to go and public health. and some of the state and local tribal areas to practice. so that is what the commission is recommending. increasing those types of opportunities. as a bridge to give students both the foundational knowledge as judge baker talked about, and then the operationalize that allowing them to have one of these programs. >> that is very
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helpful thank you. >> you know it seems to me there is a role here for all parts in our society to play, and if i can come to you general, now that you are in the private sector, of substantial coal corporate entity. and i think it was in november, the chamber of the u. s. chamber of commerce came out with a very important report that they coauthored with harvard. they talked about the business case. the business case for civic education. i wonder whether you could share your views as to whether you think, there is a role for private sector to play large corporations, and small corporations, in embracing this problem and it solutions? >> i do, and i just want to share one thought that i had, about your introduction to the testimony yesterday. and i was
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also listening to what teal was saying. one of the things that this made me think about, that you know it used to be that we had much broader and more diverse portion of the population who had a member of the family serve in the military in some capacity at some time. so they had a natural understanding of what it does and also sort of is an inspiration to wanting either in uniform, or civilians in other ways. and i think they still find many people who don that uniform, who come from a family where there is somebody in that family who already did that. and you know that is not enough. for one thing it is not diverse enough right. diverse in every sense. in perspective
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of background, of perspective, geography, and you need all that diversity for decision-making. so i think one of the most important goals of enhancing civic education, is to enhance the understanding of the military and what service in the military is, and to inspire a broader set of people to want to serve. and i was struck that when i was at d.od., and still now when i talk to law students, i tell them that service in the jag corps is a great experience is a great job, you get to serve and this is not something that everybody hears about and law school. as a clear path but it is a terrific career path, and you need more of them to explore it. they need to know what it is and why it's attractive in all of that. it's all part of this. i think in terms of the question of the private sector,
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and its role, it is very varied. i worked a large organization, who happens to be involved in national security as part of its mission. that's what its customers are engaged in. and many many people come from the prior government careers, in terms of defensive national security. it's tremendously beneficial to have that experience, but it is also very important in terms of what we do to understand what the governments aims are. and the responsibilities that come with that. and the structured framework that surrounds it. so having a well informed, set of employees who are in private institutions, it's as important as having well informed
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employees in public institution. it comes together, and as i said earlier we are all part of communities so companies have a role to play in terms of encouraging dialog, and to understand as community engagements among their employees. because we are part of the community solution. >> well thank you. i'm getting some terrific questions here. i think maybe what i will do, steve is to ask you to handle one of them. one person wants to know, what's during your government service, did you do to lead by example and if you will foster civics lessons? adding to that, what do you think the current national security leaders themselves
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ought to be doing to improve understanding of the importance of civics? i would say here that although we have been talking about k through 12, or maybe even k through 22 if you add law schools, a big part of our population is out of school. we have to address them as well, because i think what our survey results will tell us is that this decline in civic education, did not happen just overnight. it has been a five decade process. probably dating back even to the time when we first saw that we had shall we say a gap in our system of education. so this is been something that has been building overtime. so steve if you would, could you say a little bit about what kind of leadership opportunities you saw while in government to promote civics among both i think the government workforce as well as the public. and it's
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important to point out it is our goal to serve. >> yes i love the point about sort of continuing education as it were, i think that is what you were kind of suggesting, and just to link it back to sort of my concern with technology and its impact on these issues. this is something that i worried a lot about when i was in the security department and we did both internally and externally launch what we will call cyber program cyber secrecy. which is to inform people inside the government and outside the government about the cybersecurity risks. and the fact that so much of our lives are now reflected in the data and the security of that data is important to our collective security. what's important when you're thinking about education is we have more grandparents in the united states that we have
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grandchildren right now. so the population that is probably most in need of say greater tech literacy to protect them against misinformation and some of the other threats that we were talking about, are not the school kids when it comes to the technology lists, it is older people. it is my parents who are perhaps a bit too trusting of emails, that are too good to be true. and having to click on them without thinking twice. so the collective effect of ignorance at that level is revealed. so that was something that we tried to do with the homeland security department. there are opportunities to do a lot more of that, so public service education. and it makes us all
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stronger. it really is kind of an analogy to a public health education campaign. >> that is very helpful. a couple of questions, i want to know i think building on that, what the national security legal community can and should be doing to engage more at all levels in addressing this problem. i think i will make that the last question and let each of you make a quick comment, if you would. maybe i will go back right right back to the beginning and begin with you mr. baker. >> thank you, thank you very much, i guess i would respond first, that we all have an obligation to get out and communicate and to say that law is not a specialty. you don't need to go to law school to understand law and the value of law. it is who we are as a nation it is our defining characteristic. if you are a lance corporal in the military, you're supposed to
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understand the law and follow it. so lesson number one, is to make the law accessible to all and as accessible as it can possibly be, and that starts with an understanding of the constitution as a procedural document, and it's underpinning of our democracy. so that is our task as teachers, we are all teachers there. think big, is the second point, rather than small. lawyers get very down by the specific task that they are performing, but we have to almost think big and remind people of the greater whole that it all adds up to a greater whole. and i love steve's comment about public health education in the technology area. i'm living proof, or perhaps are not living proof but you can learn new technologies even as you get older. and one of the things that law school should be teaching which they are not,
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and this goes back to being grumpy about the aba and it standards. they are not teaching technology or requiring it to be taught. they are teaching perpetuities, what they should be teaching is ai and cybersecurity. thank you. >> okay thank you, so let's come to you, next. >> since judge baker threw out the gauntlet, i was going to address going back to what we can do. and i was going to give some examples of georgetown and what they've been doing for the law school. and what they are committed to doing. for those who are not familiar with it, the programs that are embedded in law schools that go out and they are teaching these types of ideas and these types of concepts in high school classes. it is an old program, i did it when i was in law
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school. so georgetown has a robust street level program. and the university started about a couple of years ago, what they called the early outreach initiative. that is reaching into the high schools who may not be in the street program, but we get into the high schools in the public school districts, that are surrounding washington d. c.. so particularly the maryland district, and it's the same type of thing. but they bring them into the law school. and we do instruction with them. so i've been involved in that in the outreach initiative. so it's the same idea as both judge baker has noted before. it's to help them understand,
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that the constitution is not this disembodied thing. it is the lifeblood of our nation and it is the structure of our government. it is our system of governance and what that means. and how does that impact them in their daily lives. so that is very important. then again in the law school instruction, embedding these ideas. i teach a course on congressional oversight. and it's all about article one, article two and how that tension and how article three courts have to get involved in that process. so it's important to teach this at all levels and the whole idea of yes, continuing education and you know i think that that is also vitally important, because more importantly that is that generation that is most likely to be the most active voters, they are the ones who will probably be more likely to try
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to hold their elective representatives accountable. we want them to also exercise critical thinking skills and not to buy into a steve said, you get an email and you click it and leave it. it's on facebook so it must be true. you know that is one of the things that georgetown in particular is trying to do in furthering civic education, at the for the high school graduate. and we have the boot camp and that's how we reach out to undergraduates. >> that is great and i want to come to you because i grew up at a time when i thought the military was up -- and then i went to jag corps and it's like i think i got that wrong. they are terrific. and anything that you would like to add as to what we ought to be doing, as vast national security lawyers to
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engage these topics. >> i think we all have, opportunities to talk with groups of people, who are not national security lawyers. and i think we have to take those opportunities to talk about what we did, what we do, what our experiences are, and what the lawyers who work in national security in on what part of the government does generally. and i think the street law, and i love that comment in that program and it's great. programs where it doesn't have to be like one program, but the opportunity to do a one day talk with high school students, or be part of a mentor program. and meet maybe a small number of students, and not just students in high school, but students in college and beyond that in law school. and i think shedding light and helping people
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understand the law it will help bring them into it. and i think it's important, i think some of the things that the commission report talked about, in terms of having more opportunities and have a national service corps type program where they can
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