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tv   Atlantic Council Discussion on Combating Domestic Extremism  CSPAN  April 13, 2021 3:43am-4:47am EDT

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>> i'm the director of the judicial friends of research lab here at the atlantic council. i will be talking about our
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conversation entitled after the insurrection countering domestic terrorism. it is hosted by the atlantic council and georgetown law institute for constitutional advocacy and this is the third focusing on disinformation and domestic violence extremism. we are joined today by four experts and panelists who will be introduced by my colleague. each of our guests will share their unique on extremist ideologies within the law enforcement agencies. the january 6 assault on congress was the direct result of an anth rooted in disinformation that was promoted
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by then president donald trump and his supporters along the spectrum of radicalization across the united states. since then, dozens of individuals identified as current and former members of law enforcement and military have been arrested for participating in the insurrection that occurred on that day at the u.s. capitol. and several capitol police officers have been suspended. now in the wake of your attack multiple questions posted by domestic violent extremist ideologies in the military and federal, state and local agencies have come to the fover front of conversations but it is extremely important to note that this is a complex issue. law enforcement and military servicemembers remain at the front lines to defend our democracy and protect the institutions of our government. so on january 6, police officer
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brian sicknick was killed and two fellow members of the capitol police officers died by suicide. the institutions of military, federal government as well as state and local partners must adjust and strengthen and coordinate programs to safeguard against insider threat and bolster against extremism. dealing with national security through which a number of the panelists are familiar with, one of the questions is, number 29.3, have you ever advocated any acts of terrorism or activities designed to overthrow the u.s. government by force? and it is safe to say in previous years, that question has not been as much the focus of that questionnaire as it now is. so in today's question in defining the current challenge, this conversation will focus and
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turn to action of what can and should be done. with that, i thank our panelists for taking time to join in on this conversation and thank you for taking the time out of your day to join us for this zug. if you would like to engage with our speakers use the question and answer zoom chat and i will pass it now to our resident fellow dealing with jeremy, who will moderate. and thank you. we are joined by paul, the chairman and president and fellow at the miller center at rutgers. and general russell honore who
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is the former professor -- sorry of the atlantic council and thank you all for joining me today. the first thing that would be helpful tore us to deal in general and i'll pass it to you first is to define what we are talking about. extremism and intersection with law enforcement and military and nothing is particularly new but it has come under increased scrutiny and urgency since the attack on the capitol. one of the questions that is floating out there in the universe is the dwee of overlap between domestic extremism and falsehoods about the elections and at some point that president trump how that interacts and
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what the scope should be to approach of countering it in law enforcement and military? >> that is a tough opening question and success or failure, which is opening and a great question. i think when we will look at this from different lens of what we hope culminated on 1/6, but a story to be told, i think in retrospect, we will look at the the public being woke, the contemporary word of that word to young folks the level of extremism that people were willing to take action on. it's not that it hadn't been present in our society. it's a different thing when
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people take actions as a result of their beliefs. and the event has been tagged as an insurrection. i'm going to look at it going forward to figure out how we get to control this in democracy. when i look at this from my meetings on the pentagon working with the joint staff and we were looking at the operation cell and went over and briefed senator warner and he said, ok, now tell me again what this information operation is. i said how we take this truth and put it out to people who want to believe it and let it run with it. some semblance of the truth tell it to people and let them take
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action. and this was a tool that we have available in military and in diplomatic corps top influence operations in other countries. you know what he said to us? i don't want that headquarters in the pentagon. you all can have it but you have to move it to another state. but this instrument loose inside a political system that will have a great danger to our democracy. and this idea of being woke, what we see in operations and putting something out as a sliver of truth to people who want to believe it, that is what we saw in the last generation you repeat it, you repeat it, the guy who keeps lying about a horse. you keep lying about having a horse and people will give him a
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saddle. and people wanting to believe the message that the election was stolen and rode with it and continue to ride with it. and that is a message that is used rerepetitively to shape what people think and what people are willing to act on. and i think you throw in the table with small bullets and put that magnet down, people are drawn to it. people with military experience in our veterans and police officers, because when they go out and say i'm police. people say thank you for protecting our community and thanks for protecting our country and same thing with veterans and all the veterans and everybody stands up and claps. we draw from the military and
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police a certain degree of respect in the community because we are prepared to support and defend the country against all enemies foreign and domestic and that is gravitas to say we have invested more and what's right and what is wrong. we are citizens like everybody else that served our country in uniform in military or the police. that's my take on it. but i think we have been had by propaganda and the offensive quep to shape people's minds and tell them a little bit of b.s., sliver of truth and will act on it. i'm going to pass it onto the professor and lawyer, to clean up what i just said. thank you. >> i don't think i could say it
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any better, general. but to put a frame on it because i spent 25 years at the department of justice, we see disinformation such as the stop the steal propaganda and disinformation is the justification used by extremists who will act on it. the question is not what do you believe but how do you act on it and act on it violently, that begins a threat to our national security here in the u.s. and can be a threat a abroad. during this year we saw disinformation about the pandemic and racial justice demonstrations over the summer and disinformation about the election where before the election and all of this disinformation was used by extremists who propagated it online and recruited andmon
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advertised and this culminated in january 6. but that was one of many different times over this past year we saw extremists interacting with the public sometimes in militias, engaging with the public and storming state houses, before the storming of the u.s. capitol on january 6. the belief itself is an extremist but that sliver of truth with a whole bunch of fears when propaganda can be the justification for extremist activity and we have seen that here in the u.s. >> do you have anything to add? otherwise we have -- [indiscernible]
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all right -- can you hear me now? >> interestingly enough my children and grandchildren, i barely knew how to do the internet 10, 15 years ago, albeit computer. and they basically said the mean could be something that could be weaponized. and this was over a decade ago. and unfortunately that report sat in a dust pile somewhere with no offense to the pentagon or in the intelligence service and it was pretty much spot on. but i heard mary speak about how the extremists are leveraging
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and weaponizing tools for the purposes of disinformation. saw the them, although they may not meet the scale of an extremist, they, too, are very much missing -- this is an unprecedented time. never in american history, it has been the perfect storm. never in history we have hundreds of millions of people in front of their computers, on their lap tops, on their mobile phones and extremely, extremely confused and baffled as to what the truth is and i'll wind it down by saying, at the same time we could be concerned about the domestics that are influencing us, we have some very bad players that are sitting in other parts of the world that are using this as an opportunity
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to fire up messages as well. you know, we probably just didn't listen to what we were reading at the right time and right place. >> if i could jump one, one of the thing that the general, mary and paul have just said is the idea that we have to start with the truth means something and there can be multiple truths, not all perspectives are entitled to equal validity and respect. and insider threat often turns on what range of threats are acceptable among members of a law enforcement. so while members of law enforcement or security organizations don't give up their first amendment rights when they swear an oath to protect the public, behavior that would give rise to a minor
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concern could give rise to a serious concern when we are talking about somebody who is entrusted to know and enforce the laws fairly and justly. this is why the insider threat and white supremacist groups is such a major concern today. >> thanks for that, all. the next place to go is that insider threats and extremist ideologies and groups and overlap with military aren't very new. there is the 2019 project that was published finding police officers that had hateful ideology. a prominent anti-immigrant group -- [indiscernible]
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>> the overlaps with these ideologies in members of law enforcement and military has been around for a while. so i guess one of the questions we should try to tackle here is why this threat isn't tackled urgently earlier. and whatever action that has occurred in the past. mary, i go to you. >> i have been in the military and police force, but i would say looking -- we entrust a lot of the defense of our democracy to these very people, to our military, to our police officers just as general honore was saying and these are groups that are sworn to support and defend the constitution and don't like looking inwards very much.
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there hasn't been the same type of incentive to root out extremism from within these branches when there are people harboring those views within themselves. one thing i want to talk about when we talk about the practical piece of this, i think there is a little bit of an overblown narrative of first amendment protections that suggest that it is not ok for the military to try to root out extremism or police agencies to try to root extremism that by doing so, they would be infringing on first amendment rights or police officers' first amendment rights. in the military in particular, there are certain infringements on first amendment rights that are permissible because it is such an important mission and the mission of protecting and
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defending the u.s. from all enemies foreign and domestic that requires there to be unityf effort, unity of command, and not having those who would not be able to work together toward the common mission. even within police departments and any kind of government , first amendment rights are not absolute. so while it is true that people speaking in their personal capacity, not official capacity -- so let's take a police officer. a police officer speaking in his personal capacity on facebook , he has the right to speak about issues of public concern, but his employer, the police department, can restrict that right so long as it is tied to the role of policing and important for the role of policing. just to be concrete about that, if a police officer is using his personal facebook or social
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media to spout anti-semitic rhetoric, racist, white supremacist rhetoric, anti-immigrant rhetoric, the kind of things that often times fodder of extremists, that actually has a direct impact on the ability of his police force to build trust with the communities that they serve, to protect public safety by being able to rely on community members, to pass tips onto them, to feel safe and comfortable reporting crime to those police, so it has a direct impact on the ability of the police to do their job, and that is something where police officers do not have free reign to say anything they want in their personal capacity. that can be restrictive. i think, in answer to your question, i think sometimes the reason this stuff is not rooted out is because of using the as first amendment the shield. like we cannot get involved in that because we will get in
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trouble. there is more leeway there when it comes to extremist propaganda than i think some people believe there is. >> so the presence of threats definitely undermines the work of law enforcement and the military. sometimes, it can even pose a threat to the military and law the military -- law enforcement themselves. paul, can you talk about how insider threats can jeopardize law enforcement, and the general explaining how and if it differs in the military. >> to shape building communities of trust, you have to have trust within the federal authorities, local authorities, state authorities, and if there is no community of trust, you will not get any information as mary eloquently stated, you will not get information from the communities themselves, which is where these things begin.
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i will say though, i have spent three and a half decades in law enforcement. i wear a uniform. i walked the beat, a police car. i was at the attorney general's office for the head of hate crimes. the reason i mentioned that is because i have seen a lot of hate crimes in my time. committed against vulnerable communities. i will tell you, it is really about awareness and dedication. once the police officers and detectives and others were provided awareness training and education, and they better understood the impact of the hate crime not only on their community, but the impact on their own lives, i saw a transitional change. this was over a period of two or three decades. it was a great commitment and i still see it today.
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i just finished crossing the country with general john allen. the u.s. department of homeland security studied attacks on various religious institutions across the country, and i will tell you that, and sometimes people do not want to hear that, everywhere we went, whether a synagogue, a temple, church, ame we have come a long way. , the relationships between the local police as it relates to the investigation and sensitivity and awareness of hate crimes and the communities has come an extraordinary way. now, i am not making excuses. we have 800,000 police officers. there is no doubt we are going to have a number that hold extremist views and are contrary to who they are, what they are and what they represent. and that's something -- and
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again, i agree with mary. we have not been real good at -- as far as looking inside of our own houses. but for the most part, there has been a positive transition. we have a lot more to go. and inside threat is an inside threat, absolutely. it is not only an inside threat, but as to the integrity and respect of the communities themselves will have on our police, but also, in retrospect, i cannot get the vision out of my head of someone that allegedly was a sworn police officer that was swinging an american flag at the capitol police officers. it does not compute for me and something has gone awry. we need to do some deep soul-searching in that regard.
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>> general, i am interested in your take on the kind of threats and, you know, undermining that insider threats can do to the military. >> well, i can see -- we see what happens when there is an incident, whether it is a mass shooting or something else, the first thing is a veteran. we get identified when incidents happen, first as a veteran. when i say we, i mean the perpetrator, people who commit bad acts. the amplification of the fact that this person learned how to shoot in the military or they were discharged from the military, or their military
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experience probably gave them the ability to cause more harm. the problem in the military is, in many cases, we had not been trained on it. i remember when i took my first company command in korea in 1972, what a big problem we had with marijuana. i left the base out in california in the desert. to be honest with you, and 1971, i couldn't tell you marijuana from a plug weed. i didn't know what it was. we hadn't been trained on it. we would see a picture of a marijuana leaf on a t-shirt in california. that was about it. i get to korea and springtime come and next to my headquarters
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, grass just popped up all over the place. first i would tell a trooper to go clean up the grass. one day we had a young lieutenant coming from west point. he said, you know there's marijuana growing all around the company areas? i said, what the hell are you talking about? he said, let me show you. that's marijuana. i was walking on it every day and didn't know what the hell it was. and i wondered why the troops would go out there in the evening. we had a hill called happy hill. i would hear them laughing. there are big old marijuana plants out there. we did not recognize what it was. we were looking at it, it was in plain sight. i remember we went through issues in the army with games. people that joined the army. we miss the signals. we did not recognize the tattoos. we finally, others came around and trained us on what tattoos
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to look for because it was in plain sight on people's arms. they committed themselves to an extremist view and commitment to a gang that they were willing to , in many cases, die for and we did not recognize it. i think the challenge we see today in the military, we go through 400,000 applications a year and we get a little over 200,000 recruits a year. we've gotten more sophisticated at certain questions, looking for tattoos. tattoos are a big indicator. we got troops in the regular army, finally last year the confederate flag was banned on military installation. i grew up in the army or i would see fellow soldiers drive up with the confederate flag on their truck and somebody would
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kid them about it. they would say, i'm from alabama. that's my heritage. and there were good old guys, who never saw anything, we would go to drink, take care of one another. it wasn't a symbol of extremism. people kind of just went along with it. but in recent years, the marines and the army really taken action. you can't have that confederate flag in your room over your bunk. that is offensive as hell some young person that has joined the army that might be from the south who knows what it is and their grandparents told them what that flag represents and great-grandparents. but many times, we missed the signals. we are so busy looking for the enemy that might be flying a supersonic airplane or has a secret soul or some foreign
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extremist, we have not paid enough attention to the signs and signals and indications and warnings among our ranks. what the data shows us now, five years ago, 22% of people in the military in a recent poll, 22% had witnessed some type of extremism. the last one that was taken, 35% have witnessed some kind of extremism among the members in their unit. so it is there. it is relevant. it is how we get the senior leadership to recognize it, to look for it, recognize it and act on it. it's hard to get somebody to go after somebody based on their ideas or their beliefs. it's when they display it on their arm or put it on their truck or it's in their wall locker.
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i've never seen a formation where there's a problem and someone walks out and says, i don't like all of you people. it doesn't happen that way. it is often exhibited when someone has too much to drink or they get in a fight, when those beliefs can come out. and what we saw on january 6 was people acting, many of them veterans, 1/5 of them were former military. i don't use the word veteran because people in the military know, about 7% of our population served in the military. and i'm not quite sure how much we prepared for something like the event on the sixth. i think it might have them more confidence to do stupid things, but we don't really train people to be a super fighter in erect.
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it is not a tactic we use because most of the stuff they would do -- were doing would violate the geneva convention. if they were to take those warriors who perceived themselves as saving the nation by attacking the capital and the techniques they use. that being said we've got to get , educated on it. we've got to educate parents. we've got to get beyond the uniformed police and the uniformed soldiers. we have to get on these college campuses. there's a hell of a lot more people out there than uniformed people who are active in this game and we need to indoctrinate students when they come to college what to look for. because it's not hard for somebody to take a belief. there's the old saying, watch
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what you read. because that's what you start to think. watch what you think, because you will act on it. and that's a loose translation of maya angelou, closest i will come to repeating any of her prose. but we really have to watch what we read and think because we can become what we act when it is spread by propaganda, repeating the lie. whatever that message might be. that's my take on it. i'm sorry for the long answer. but when you are fighting for words, it's longer. you've got to take longer. i'm sorry about that, jerry. >> totally fine. tom, this one is for you. we have gravitated in a lot of these towards language around insider threats and a lot of the reason is existing policy frameworks especially in
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counterintelligence. is that the right place to start? are there any pitfalls or nuances here that people should be aware of if we are going to take that kind of approach in law enforcement and military? >> as the general said and as the question implies, every military, every national agency or department including justice, homeland security and defense , has a very active insider threat program. so in fact do most state and local law enforcement agencies. the challenges are twofold. the first is what the general just described eloquently, recognizing white supremacists and antigovernment behavior as the threat that it actually is, and too often perhaps there was a blind in some places to this kind of threat and the danger it poses for constitutional governance and indeed for
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american democracy. one of the challenges is going to be adapting what amounts to the curriculum of how we teach young people. even i would go further back than the general does and start in high school with a robust program of civic education so people get a better understanding of responsibilities as a citizen in their democracy. then when we get to more advanced training, one of the questions i noticed pose the fact that death by powerpoint has taken over programs to highlight attention on de-radicalization. that suggests we need to find better ways of making sure people really do recognize and understand the challenges they face and in many case the challenges people may hold in their own hearts, if they were not brought up with the right kind of parenting and background. what this gets us to is that we
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will clearly have an easier time of it in decentralized organizations where there is a chain of command and a hierarchy of discipline. it is easier to see a more effective program in a place like the department of defense or department of justice or dhs. the real challenge will be taking this to the state and local level where it's not possible for a single voice to lay down and objective and commanding vision to be able to change the hearts and minds and behaviors that need to be changed. we do need to recognize that systemic racism and a streak of antigovernment attitudes is widespread in the united states, and we need to also recognize that belief is one thing, action is another, but in particular when you talk about the people who have sworn an oath to
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protect the community, the standard has to be different. we have to have higher expectations for law enforcement and military and security of shuttles. so much of what they do is never going to be viewed on videotape. it's going to be out of the public eye and memory and we need to be able to trust and have confidence that the decisions these officials will make in their official behavior is consistent with the values that americans hold and aspire to. so that is going to take a lot more and dedication then it will take to solve some of these problems at the national level. i think the state and local level is where we will find this battle against insider threats to go on, and that is going to be where it is hardest to try to win it. >> hall, do you have any inside
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into how that challenge can be met at the state and local level? >> i agree with everything tom said, because i just wrote down on a piece of paper, civics. i just wrote it down. educating folks on what is the constitution? how did we get to this place? why is it precious? mary and i had a conversation today offline really about so few who really understand or realize that, particularly those that may be influenced, that the first thing some of the extremist groups want one to do is do away with the police. the police are as much a target if not more so than any all normal -- vulnerable minority group. sometimes they don't understand
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that. these groups are sedition is. -- seditionists. they want to see the entire takedown of our constitution and who we are as a people and that's why i go back again to the veterans. so maybe we are not doing a good enough job with the awareness education and training, which would absolutely target the community. everything does start locally. it is all about the culture within the department, and the culture within the community. i think that starts with training. you hit it straight on. people have to understand what this all really mean to them if they are in these sworn positions. when they go to the police academy for basic training, they get lost along the way.
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sometimes the culture of the department may replace whatever they learned. that goes back to leadership and leadership training. training police executives, training front-line supervisors. some of the most important positions are the sergeants. they really are. sometimes it begins and ends with a sergeant ear of how much training do we provide for that level as it relates to civics and understanding more of who we are as a? >> mary, i will send a question your way and we will go through the chat for some q and a questions. i see a couple dozen notifications, so apologies in advance, we will not get well of them but we will try to get to as many as we can so there is
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the civics component, but the fact is that law enforcement and the military are very appealing factors are extremist groups to appeal to. people in military and law men are trained in using force. if they are active, they can be authorized to use force. it's already a very network system. by reaching out to one police officer example, that police officer can talk to others and it becomes a productive recruitment vector specifically for recruitment groups. i'm curious what kind of tools and strategies are available that we can use that are not running afoul of the boundary lines of the first amendment you talked about at the beginning of the program. >> it's a great question that some private militias in
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particular deliberately recruit from law enforcement and the military because of the training, because of their skills in firearms, incendiary devices, and other paramilitary tactics and techniques. coming out of the insurrection, still the largest conspiracy that has been charged so far is against a group of oath keepers , who i think we are at over a dozen now, or a dozen at least, and that is a group that specifically targets law enforcement and military for those reasons. other groups do so as well. part of the issue that we will talk about with the insider threat is what can these organizations, military and law enforcement, do to prevent extremism within their ranks or take action when they do find it? we already talked about the first amendment, but for policy, tom raise the point that it
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might be easier at the federal level. secretary of defense austen has now taken action with his standdown order. but there are policies that can affect a state and local. to state and local law enforcement rely heavily on federal government financial support for their policing operations. they rely on it for equipment. they rely on all kinds of different grants administered by the federal government. there's no reason that those types of things can't be incentivized by policies and programs that are designed by state and locals to actually address the problem of extremism in their ranks. money talks and these are state and local law enforcement that need that financial and equipment support from the federal government. one thing the federal government ought to think about doing is
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incentivizing proactive actions to ferret out extremism through tying these things to financial incentives. the other thing i noticed, very briefly, because i can go on and on about this, the second amendment does not protect the type of unlawful private militia activity we have seen on january 6 and throughout really decades in this country, but certainly more and more over the past year. many unlawful private militias will say they are well regulated militia, but well regulated within the constitution and dating back historically even before the founding meant regulated by the government. the individual right to bear arms for self-defense the supreme court says is that, it does not protect private paramilitary organizations, which must be prevented to protect public safety, health, peace, and good order. the supreme court said as long
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ago as upholding a statute that 1866, exists on the books of 29 states to this day. anti-paramilitary activity statutes are on 25 different states'books and the federal code so you cannot engage in paramilitary training. the use of firearms, bombs, or tactics capable of bodily injury and death in a civil disorder. a lot of those groups came on january 6 and they were trained. we have seen it in the charging documents. trained in paramilitary activity so they can be -- undertake that insurrection. so there needs to be crackdowns by police looking within their tools that exist and the laws that exist on the books that have been upheld in terms of constitutionality, but largely ignored, in many respects, because the very people responsible for enforcing those rules are the people who might have a problem. >> thanks for that, mary.
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let's go to some q&a. general, i will send this one to you. so the department of defense materials sent as part of extremism standdown didn't mention january 6 or disinformation about the election. we talked earlier about death by powerpoint, i think that was the term. what can senior leaders do in the military to ensure we are having candid conversations about this while avoiding appearing overly partisan. >> in the uniformed services, we we do things best when we describe what we want the soldier to do. we give them the task, the condition, and the standard. i don't think we have done that. we gave them the outcome we want, to expunge the role of extremism, but we may not have
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defined like the example of how do you recognize bad tattoos? the sidewalk next to your building? we have to go beyond identifying tattoos. -- how do you identify marijuana on the sidewalk next to your building? we have to go beyond identifying tattoos. we have to have our agencies that monitor internet because there are still people that actually use their real name on facebook and put up hate talk. it's hard to trace them. but some of them use their real name. i think screening people from one place to the next level, and as we do security clearance checks, making sure people don't get more responsibility over other people if you have extremist ideas, and to express them, number one. if they expect -- express them, number one, you don't need to wait for them to act. i don't think we've got it is
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clear as we think. i was trying to see how many court-martial's we had last year for extremism and i couldn't find any. you can find how many people were court-martialed because of sexual assault. that's another topic we have wrestled with over and over again. we know it is a big problem in the military. we have struggled with it. most of the formation is not doing it. it is that small percentage that acts on their thoughts. we continue to struggle with those -- sexual assault and with extremism, but extremism is hard to identify and hard to act on. and we need to do better training and identifies standards. we need to respect first amendment rights and the rights to think about what they want to think. we put a uniform on you, we have
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you for two years or 20 years or 36 years, but you're still an american citizen. for a long time in the military you grew up watching movies. that taught some of you that the nasty words you call people. you remembered what we called people in world war ii? i won't say the word. in both the atlantic and the pacific side, there were some nasty names. if you walked into a bar today and said those words, you would get the hell punched out of you. but we used those words. remember what we call people we were fighting with in vietnam? why? because throughout history, the military has vilified our enemies. it was a technique that was used , so if you are going to shoot
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this person, they are your enemy. we vilified them, came up with these names. again, today, if you were to scratch it on the sidewalk or put it on the side of your car, people would say, what are you doing? why are you using these extremist words? how many of you saw the john wayne movie when he used one of those words? today it wouldn't be socially acceptable, but you might get your sergeant asking you some questions about if you are prejudiced or do you have some extreme thoughts. but we taught soldiers that. it wasn't in formal instruction, it was in the language of the craft that we vilified our enemies. and people have written about that since world war ii. it's been captured in books and movies. and you see it today in the old black-and-white movies. did they speak that back then?
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yes, they did. we vilified our enemies. and how do we use today's technology and information to identify when people have some extreme idea that they might act on it? that's the challenge we have. that's the closest i can come to what i see, what i hear and what i read about. thank you. >> that's a really great point. it leads to this question from michael i found in the chat. paul, i will give you this extremists have within their one. minds a very strong them and us, like a lot of extremist propaganda works on othering. whether it is minority group, authority, the whole point is to other it and then attack it. and this kind of language, the enemy, that way to think, is
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very commonplace in the jargon we use, frankly, to talk about military or law enforcement actions. these words that have the effect you were talking about, where the person you are enforcing is the enemy somehow. this question from michael goetz at, even just that kind of language, that kind of enemies mindset, do you think as we try and tackle extremism in the ranks, it is worth re-examining that? i think you are muted. >> yes. it's so much easier to attack someone that's been dehumanized. even decades ago, that is something that is a learned behavior.
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you dehumanize folks and it's much easier to go at them. the internet, social media has accelerated that. it's now on steroids. people attack each other without ever having to look in each other's eyes. i go back to the old cliche sticks and stones. there's a lot of terrified people out there, some of which have taken their own lives, some of which don't come out at night, some of which their lives have been completely overturned because of dehumanization. and historically we know as the general said, names were used upon our enemies. it hasn't changed much. what has changed is this little thing called the internet which is the best of both worlds. it's the greatest place in the world and it has become very lethal place.
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i go back to mary because coming from the attorney general's office, we worked the case where it was names, most of you on these lines have probably never heard of it. whitefish, montana, which is, other than one of the most beautiful, pristine places in america, it is a community of 8000. there's a small jewish community of 130. many of which were actually born and raised in montana and this community, a part of the greater community, three and a half years ago, was terrified, was beaten down, almost to the point where they were going to leave. the daily stormer and the white supremacist website decided they were going to focus on this group in whitefish and they took the faces of the children,
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jewish children and put the star of david on them. they knew exactly how far they could go to the line. where was the line? and the reason i'm bringing this particular case up, it was 2018 modern america. our most prestigious, beautiful place, and people were considering running for what they believe were their lives. because of words. so we do have a long way to go. we have to determine and work with the attorney general's office to determine where is that line in america today? when does one put him or herself behind the first amendment to terrorize an individual community? the dehumanization process has absolutely and accelerated.
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what makes it tougher is the law enforcement communities are overwhelmed right now. internally, externally. a lot going on. the state and local agencies have not been able to keep up with these crimes. what does it mean? where and when can we investigate? if we pick up the phone and call the fbi, what are they going to do with this? you really do have to take a look at this as a process. one thing that i think we didn't mention is reporting. we need to really establish a reporting mechanism that is a trusted mechanism. i mentioned crime stoppers, one of the most popular citizens -- systems that solve more
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crimes than probably the world's detectives, and it is done because it is an external mechanism that's trusted and has no agenda. i'm not promoting them for any other reason that we need a reporting mechanism that is trusted and that people will rely on. thank you. >> we are running out of time here. tom, solve this for us. what should we do about this? >> let me put out three points on which i think many of us would agree. the first to build on paul's point that he just made, we are talking about a problem whose numbers are an absolute terms , rather small. the number of people who really pose an insider threat of law enforcement in our military is small in number. but the effect is corrosive.
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on law enforcement and the policing organizations, and people sworn to protect the constitution and the people. we need to bear in mind we are talking about trying to deal with a very small but corrosive threat. second, as several people have pointed out, most particularly the general, we are talking about a problem that needs leadership. we need the leaders of our country to stand up and say and do the right things. about calling attention to the extent and nature of the problem and the need for what really is acceptable behavior. every organization i have ever been a part of or known, whether federal government, local law enforcement, the military, runs on the backs of the sergeants, frontline leadership to whom
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everyone looks to when they start in their careers and monitoring behavior there is vital to this issue. the third point is we need to recognize this is going to take resources to address it effectively. many of us were pleased when we saw the department of homeland security announced february 25 that they would require state and local governments to devote at least $77 million of a much larger grant program to fighting threats from domestic terrorism. but let's be honest, it's apparent $77 million is the proverbial drop in the bucket. this is going to take a much more serious and sustained effort. it's going to support appropriators in congress and state legislatures and on city and town councils to realize it is important to devote resources to this issue. to the kind of training, to the
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kind of collection of basic information that's essential if we are going to address this threat. i'm confident based on my understanding as the general so rightly pointed out, we have faced problems like domestic terrorism before and we have overcome them. these things tend to come in waves. my colleague calls this the fifth wave of some kind of domestic terrorism. but it does show that this can be overcome. i think what we will need to do is commit both the leadership and resources to address this threat in an effective way and i think the united states is able to take on this kind of a challenge. back to you. >> that is a great point to end it on. tom, mary, paul, general, i want to thank you all for your time. to the audience at home or
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wherever you are watching this, thank you for joining. that will do it for today. we will have more events in to
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a post pandemic workforce. from the bipartisan policy center, this is about one hour. >> good afternoon, everyone and thank you all for joining today's met on preparing for post pandemic workforce. i'm the associate director of

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