|New American Strategies
for Security and Peace
Jane Harman, Randall Larsen, Mayor Ed Garza, Margaret
Hamburg, Juliette Kayyem
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LOG: JH=Jane Harman; RL=Randall Larsen; EG=Mayor Ed Garza;
MH=Margaret Hamburg; JK=Juliette Kayyem
FS: Thank you to John Podesta for finding a way to
feature the Democratic voice on security and peace.
I was a Smith College classmate of Mary Podesta. Little
did we know that a thousand years later a roller coaster
addict named Skippy would play such a prominent role
in the Democratic Party. I also want to say about those
days -- the Kennedy Administration -- and my first exposure
to politics was as a high school student who got on
the floor of the 1960 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles.
I’d like to say that Ted Sorensen who is here
and who I know spoke to us yesterday has in my mind
contributed more to the rhetoric and vision of the Democratic
Party on security and peace issues than anyone else.
Ted, it’s so wonderful (Applause) to have you
0 Thank you also too an old friend, Bob Kuttner. I
read the American Prospect every time. It doesn’t
always love what I do, but it will learn. Let me say
about Democrats and security and peace, issues that
I have focused on throughout my Congressional career,
that we add value to the discussion of those issues.
I am perhaps a poster person because when I ran for
Congress my first office after running for Junior High
School Treasurer -- which I lost -- I ran in a Republican
leaning district in Los Angeles which I then called
the aerospace center of the universe.
0 It was where all the aerospace firms in California
are located. There are now few of them but they’re
still there. All of our intelligence satellites are
made there. At any rate, when I ran I learned the defense
and security issues. I sought membership on the House
Armed Services and Science Committees. I was elected
by 7% in 1992. Remember, that was the year of the woman.
But then I was reelected in 1994, the year of the Gingrich
revolution, by 812 votes out of 225,000 and I stayed
in office in the 90’s. Then ran for governor of
California. Not this time, last time.
0 Gave up my seat and came back in 2000. My point is
that I am a Democrat who has faced some very tough competition,
but I have held my ground on defense and security issues,
and I would just put out there that we have very good
ideas which are winners on these issues, and it really
is a good thing that the whole conference is being devoted
to this. I thank Skippy for that.
0 He’s going to kill me. This panel knows a ton
about this issue, and what I really want to do is introduce
it briefly and get out of the way. You’ve heard
that I will have to leave because Governor-elect Schwarzenegger
is coming to the Hill.
Well, let’s talk about this. In my view Americans
have been fortunate that another terrorist attack has
not taken place on our soil since 9-11-01. Is that because
we’ve been successful or because we’ve been
lucky? Maybe a little of both. In my view though we
are still deeply deficient in at least three areas.
First and most important strategic thinking and planning
about homeland security.
0 Second, adequately funding our homeland security
priorities. Third, keeping our promise which Congress
made in the 90’s to provide adequate bandwidth
and support for horizontal and vertical interoperable
communications which are absolutely needed should we
have another horrific terrorist attack. As was true
when I testified before the Senate Government Affairs
Committee more than two years ago, the Homeland Security
Department still has not completed a national vulnerability
and threat assessment.
0 As a result we still don’t have a strategy
for protecting the homeland. Example: the largest and
busiest ports in the nation are the ports of Los Angeles
and Long Beach, right next to my home turf which handle
43% of the nation’s container traffic. Containers,
as we all know, are extremely vulnerable objects and
receive less than three million dollars in grants when
they identified the need for over sixty-five million.
0 Again, it’s not just a straight line projection
of how much money are they asking for. But if we don’t
protect our largest container ports what are we protecting?
How secure could our homeland possibly be? I often say
that terrorists will not check our party registration
before they blow us up. But it appears with the passage
of time since 9-11 that sadly partisan politics has
come in to shape the federal government’s counter-terrorism
and homeland security policies.
0 This is tragic. How else can one explain the House
Republican leadership’s statement that no Democrat
will get for example a public health appropriation’s
earmark if they haven’t towed the administration’s
line. Well I don’t think that my request to the
House Appropriations Committee for a five million dollar
pilot program to fund a state-wide public education
curriculum to teach students age-appropriate emergency
skills should be held hostage to the percentage of times
I agree with this administration. Do you?
0 I’ve used the analogy of a dinosaur, a big
body and a tiny brain, to describe how we’re managing
homeland security. Our capabilities are nowhere more
prehistoric than in the area of interoperable communications.
Imagine a scene of chaos and confusion. Sirens wail.
Buildings burn and collapse. Parents become separated
from their children. Office workers search for exits
in elevators and darkened stairways.
0 Police officers, firefighters and emergency response
personnel frantically attempt to communicate with each
other and cannot. Well, you all know that describes
September 11th in New York and at the Pentagon. We know
that hundreds of New York City firefighters died because
the helicopters circling overhead which knew that the
buildings were going to fall down could not reach them
by their walkie-talkies or cell phones.
0 It was also true on the same day that firefighters
from three counties in Virginia couldn’t talk
to each other responding to the Pentagon disaster and
literally communicated by physical runner. That problem
has been substantially fixed with respect to interoperable
communications between fire departments. But guess what?
Ed Plogger (ph.) who is still fire chief for Arlington
County says that he cannot talk as of now with his federal
counterparts, the Department of Homeland Security, the
FBI, the ATF, or other federal agencies just down the
road which obviously will and must play a critical role
if we have other attacks in this area.
0 That’s ridiculous, and Congress promised in
the 90’s to make available enough bandwidth so
that the right technologies could communicate with each
other both horizontally and vertically. I cannot think
of a more urgent need in homeland security, and we are
basically nowhere. Let me just put out there a couple
of other issues. One, September 11th forced us to take
on an emergency response to protecting the homeland
against terrorism. Obviously this was required at the
time. But should be still be in this ongoing broad emergency
or should we now more on a bit to a program that has
more ordinary characteristics?
0 In his latest book, “Terrorism, Freedom and
Security” Harvard Law professor and good friend
— I’m sure a good friend of this group —
former Attorney General Phil Hyman (ph.) questions whether
we really want to exist in a state of war until we have
tracked down every last terrorist. Hyman’s view
is that a war on terrorism broadly defined tends to
obscure the differences among the threats we face and
to distract attention from a careful analysis of what
we can do, what the essential roles of other nations
are and what mixture of desired and undesired effects
is likely for each of our choices.
0 Let’s remember that our founding fathers and
mothers confronted something similar. They had just
survived a truly existential threat and were acutely
aware of the fragility of the new nation. In that uncertain
environment they chose not, I repeat not, to consolidate
power and restrict freedoms. But to devolve power to
the people and protect civil liberties from encroachment.
0 They recognized that civil liberties and security
are mutually reinforcing. We need to make sure our homeland
security strategy reflects these strengths. Another
crucial step is to build more effective intelligence
architecture for defending Americans at home. Gathering
good, accurate information about threats is the heart
of homeland security.
0 We need digital vision not analog systems, to see
the new threats of the 9-11 world. There are impressive
technology strategies such as those suggested by the
Marcal (ph.) Foundation to go digital without compromising
civil liberties. Let me repeat that. We can go digital.
We can collect information without compromising civil
liberties. Data mining - well designed - can cast a
narrow net and find the bad guys before they find us.
0 Granted there’ve already been a lot of changes.
Some good, some bad. There’s the terrorist threat
integration center. I’m sure you’ll hear
about this. There’s a new intelligence operation
at the Department of Homeland Security. There’s
been restructuring at the FBI and the CIA. Some of it
works well. Some of it not. We can do better. But we
are still missing a single integrated homeland security
strategy to stitch together all the changes that have
been made with the goal of connecting the dots.
0 I often say that in creating the Homeland Security
Department the goal was not to rearrange the deck chairs
but to create one deck, one national integrated strategy.
Episodic improvements based on the squeaky wheel principle
— he who squeaks loudest gets — is not a
strategy. The President, and if he fails to do this,
our party must undertake a full review to make sure
that people and places are fitting together into a coherent,
comprehensive strategy that identifies threats, connects
them to vulnerabilities, concretely protects America,
and America’s values. To do otherwise is to press
0 Mayor Ed Garza, at the end there, was elected Mayor
of San Antonio just before 9-11. I think he was then
the youngest mayor in America. He’s aged rapidly.
Looks a lot older to me. He created this nation’s
first city-county emergency preparedness plan. By the
way, as one who represents part of the largest county
in the universe, it is critical that the cities be tied
into county emergency plans, and we’ll talk about
that. His topic is homeland security, meeting the needs
of America’s communities.
0 Third, we will hear about preparing the worst. Are
we ready for a biological or chemical attack? From Peggy
Hamburg, who is a recognized expert on weapons of mass
destruction -- especially biological weapons. She is
now in a private foundation, formerly at the department
of Health and Human Services. There was no Department
of Homeland Security. And was head of the health department
in New York City. She’s also a member of the Aspen
Strategy Group and educates me on these critical issues.
0 Finally, last but not least, is the wonderful Juliette
Kayyem who will address the issue of missing the mark,
targeting the real terrorists. I hope she will comment
on some of the things I said. Juliette directs the Kennedy
School Domestic Preparedness Program. She’s a
former legal advisor to the Justice Department. She
and I were members together of the Bremmer Commission
on terrorism which was making brilliant recommendations
in 1999 and 2000. Bremmer is the guy who is now currently
in Iraq and who is the chairman of that commission.
0 It makes the point that there were some good ideas
out there pre 9-11. Sadly, policy makers weren’t
paying attention. At any rate, I think that this is
a terrific crowd to dig deep into some of these issues.
I know I will learn from them, and I trust that you
will too. Please welcome our panelists. (Applause)
0 RL: I will keep my remarks to five minutes because
the most important thing here is the exchange we’ll
have when we finish our first remarks. In the spirit
of full disclosure I should say, John, I’m not
a registered Democrat. The good news is I’m not
a registered Republican either, which is why I guess
I’m frequently invited up to the Hill to comment
on different reports and pieces of legislation.
0 I’ve been studying homeland security for ten
years, and it’s difficult inside the beltway to
walk that line right between them. But this is one of
the most important challenges the Americans will face.
Not for just ourselves but for our children and grandchildren.
I want to get down to some specifics here in the short
time I have. But I must mention the strategy word that
is the key to this — the key to the speakers you’ve
heard this morning, and we do not have a national strategy.
0 We’ve been spending money on homeland security
since 1996. We do not have a strategy. I come from the
National War College. There’s a plaque on the
wall where George Cannon wrote the doctrine of containment.
That was a true strategy. It took a long time. It worked.
It had bipartisan support. Hopefully there’s someone
sitting out there in the audience today or in a think
tank here or in some university who is writing that
document now that will lead us into the 21st century.
It does not exist.
0 In July of 2002 strategy for homeland security was
released by the Administration, but even the own authors
admitted it was not a strategy. It was a decent plan,
a place to start. We need a strategy, a strategy that
integrates the sort of things we’re talking about
here. How can we be prepared as a national to respond
to a major disaster when we have a healthcare system
that doesn’t work?
0 Fifty million people without healthcare. We can’t
be prepared for homeland security until we have a proper
healthcare system in this country. You know our emergency
rooms are primary healthcare givers. That’s not
what emergency rooms should be about. To understand
how integrated this is, and it’s not the stovepipes
that the governor was talking about. We have to look
at this from the large prospective.
0 Now I’m very impressed with the panel sitting
here. I’m honored to be on stage with them. But
I tell you, a lot of the people I work with I think
do not fully understand some of the challenges we have
and how different they are. Now I agree with a lot of
the work that Congresswoman Harman’s doing. On
some I disagree about the issue of borders.
0 Now I understand General Clark talked to you yesterday,
and I heard him say we need to spend billions and billions
on defending our borders. Well, last year the DEA said
three hundred metric tons of cocaine entered the United
States. We spent a lot of money trying to stop that.
We haven’t been very successful. Let me give you
an example of what Dr. Hamburg is a real expert on.
0 A few days after 9-11 I was asked to brief Vice President
Cheney about the biological threat. How serious was
it? The Vice President said, “What’s a biological
weapon look like?” I reached in my pocket and
I pulled out this test tube and I said it looks like
this, sir. This is weaponized bacillus globeggia (ph.).
It’s a stimulant, but the process that made this
is the same process that would make weaponized bacillus
anthrace which causes anthrax.
0 This was done in a small laboratory inside the United
States with equipment bought off the internet. You don’t
need to bring this across the border. Even if you did
if we can get three hundred metric tons of cocaine across
how could you stop this? By the way, this is more material
here than shut down the Senate Hart Office building
for ninety days and caused $27 million to clean up.
0 Where did Ramsey Yousef make his weapon he used to
attack the World Trade Center in 1993? New Jersey. Where
did Timothy McVeigh make his bomb? Kansas. Where did
Am Shin Requil (ph.) make their serum? In Tokyo, not
far from where they used it. We don’t have to
bring things across the border. They’re already
here. EPA says there’s 123 facilities in this
country that have enough chemicals in them that if attacked
with a large truck bomb could create a plume that would
threaten up to a million people. A million people. 123
sites that used to be identified on the internet. That’s
been taken off now. So we don’t give targeting
information to the bad folks.
0 So what I’m worried about is when we try to
build a Maginot Line along our borders we’re going
to seriously disrupt the economy as the governor was
talking about. I spent a lot of time working with folks
in Canada. 90% of their trade comes here. They’re
very worried about that. 25% of our trade goes to Canada.
They’re our single largest trading partner, and
0 There’s a major automobile manufacturer today
who is moving a new facility to Illinois where all the
parts suppliers have to come within 500 miles and nothing
across borders, international borders, because they’re
worried about their just in time delivery system. So
I’m worried about the unintended consequences.
0 In California today because we have put some barriers
up now for people crossing the borders. The workers
that come in illegally that we all know about, and we
haven’t quite addressed the immigration issues
yet, but to pick the crops and fruits and San Joaquin
Valley. It now costs $1,500 dollars to be smuggled across
the border. Guess what? The cost of commuting has become
too high. So they’re staying in San Joaquin Valley.
They’re bringing their families because they like
to see them.
0 Guess what’s happening to all the emergency
rooms in the hospitals when they come in without healthcare
insurance? And all the other social services? It’s
causing severe economic disruption in Stockton, California,
the unintended consequences of this Maginot Line. So
we have to be very careful. We have to have a better
understanding of exactly how we’re going to do
0 Since I only have five minutes I’m going to
stop there. Obviously there’s a lot of other issues
I would like to discuss with you, and I hope we can
do it on the panel. Thank you very much. (Applause)
0 EG: Well good morning and thank you Congresswoman
for your remarks and introduction. As the Congresswoman
stated I am the Mayor of San Antonio, one of the fastest
growing cities in the country and a city that is very
proud of its military history and the traditions. San
Antonio has had the distinction of being known as Military
City, USA. I think shortly after becoming mayor in June,
2001 and the events of September 11th, I quickly became
not only very aware of what the military meant in San
Antonio but the infrastructure that the military has
provided us as a community in helping us be part of
the dialog of homeland security.
0 Shortly after September 11th CNN recognized San Antonio
as one of the most prepared communities in the country.
In fact we were second only to New York City. That made
us all pause for a moment to try and understand why
we were recognized in this way. A lot of that I do believe
goes back to the military. Well what it also demonstrated
to me is although we were the second most prepared community
we still had a significant gap. We still had and addressed
an assessment of millions of dollars — sixty plus
millions of dollars of need.
0 So that really said a lot to me as a community leader.
But I think as cities across this country continue to
articulate the message of the first responders, that
front line that are in our cities whether it’s
our firefighters, our police officers, the heroes of
September the 11th, it will be the cities that help
to contribute to the dialog of the strategy that we’re
trying to develop.
0 I’ve had the opportunity to sit on the National
League of Cities task force specifically for homeland
security, and whether you’re a city representing
2,000 in population or two million there’s a common
theme. Frustration on the part of funding and my observation
has been in most of the cities in America today our
attention has been on the issue of the frontline, certainly
the foot soldiers that are fighting this issue of homeland
0 But what cities are not talking about and it’s
really being discussed at a very minimal level is how
we develop the regional partnerships to address homeland
security. It’s gonna be our challenge as community
leaders to stop looking at the measuring stick of how
much certain cities are getting in homeland security.
Rather looking at regional solutions and developing
a plan to implement regional preparedness.
0 Second area aside from just the basic public safety
responsibilities that cities have in taking on a new
dimension as it relates to homeland security and public
safety is the issue of collaboration. The governor mentioned
earlier this morning the importance of the public-private
partnership. One of the statistics that I’ve heard
time and time again is that 85% of the infrastructure
in the United States is in the hands of the private
0 But yet today the dialog, the responsibility, has
been in the hands in the public sector whether it’s
the federal, state or local governments. We in San Antonio
have been certainly trying to cultivate the relationship
between the public and private sector not only in terms
of the connectivity to the industry and the preparedness
industry to homeland security and the preparedness issues
but how do we better prepare our businesses —
cyber security being one of the focus areas that we
have spent enormous time and resources in Texas and
in the San Antonio area.
0 But that will continue to be important as we focus
on the infrastructure needs across the country and how
cities can play a very important role in making sure
that the businesses understand that message. In terms
of communication I think the third and most critical
area of cities and their responsibility is leadership
because it will be the county judges, the mayors, that
are in constant dialog with the citizens, the voters,
the taxpayers, those that understand the value of public
safety, those that are reluctantly understanding the
value of homeland security.
0 But how do we communicate and inspire them to invest
more, to focus on training initiatives in that pipeline
of workers that will now be part of this security industry
and be able to ask them the taxpayers and citizens to
support the strategy that we’re creating and evolving.
I think one of the most frustrating things today that
I hear in the community is not so much that we understand
the needs of homeland security, but how we as local
communities play a vital role in making that strategy
become a reality.
0 So the strategy that is developed here, and I want
to congratulate all of you who are participating because
I think it’s important that many different groups
contribute to the strategy in a particular local communities
that we get this message out to the citizens that need
to be supportive and invest in this initiative in the
0 So I look forward to the panel discussion and certainly
remind everyone in this room that we have to continue
to involve the local communities both at the city, the
county and the regional basis in order to make this
strategy a successful one. Thank you. (Applause)
0 MH: I’ve been asked to address the topic of
Preparing for the worst: Are we ready for chemical or
biological attack? I have to confess, I’m also
going to slip in a little bit about nuclear because
believe me, that would be pretty bad. Concern about
our nation’s ability to respond to this kind of
catastrophic terrorism has dramatically increased since
the attacks of fall 2001.
0 Though some skeptics do remain, few can doubt that
the threat is real. We know that terrorists groups are
working hard to get these weapons. In fact Osama Bin
Laden has said that acquiring weapons of mass destruction
is in fact a religious duty. In addition we’re
seeing a new kind of terrorism where the goal is not
to achieve a political solution but rather to kill large
0 As Jim Woolsey is fond of saying “terrorists
no longer want to sit at the table, they simply want
to blow it up”. Following 9-11 one can only assume
that if terrorists acquire nuclear, biological or chemical
weapons they will use them. This is a frightening prospect
as the consequences are horrific. Especially with nuclear
or biological weapons the death, damage and destruction
would likely dwarf what we experienced with the World
0 Obviously there’s an urgent need to address
the complexities of preparing for such an unprecedented
and uncertain yet potentially devastating event. Over
the past two years substantial new sums of money, new
organizational structures, new laws and new policies
and programs have been targeted toward this looming
0 There’s been a lot of activity and no doubt
we are somewhat better prepared today. But we remain
dangerously vulnerable in far too many ways. In thinking
about our nation’s preparedness we must ask ourselves
the question the day after a nuclear, chemical or biological
attack what would we wish we had done and why aren’t
we doing it now?
0 At the outset it must be stressed that nuclear, chemical
and biological threats are in fact very different from
each other. Each requires different strategies for prevention,
different strategies for intelligence, collection and
analysis about the threats and different types of planning
and preparedness to deal with an attack if it occurs.
0 Biological terrorism in particular, with it’s
close links to naturally occurring infectious agents
and epidemic disease requires different investments
and different partners. Frankly, many of the early efforts
in preparedness will compromise because threats were
lumped together. We’ll never effectively address
these threats without the fundamental recognition of
the important differences, yet that are some overarching
concerns, and I’d like to just quickly mention
a few priorities.
0 First, to echo the words of Congresswoman Harman
and Colonel Larsen, there is just an urgent need for
a true national strategy, one that recognizes our vulnerabilities,
identifies both short and long-term goals, sets priorities,
delineates essential roles and responsibilities, the
various parts of government as well as the private sector
and defines useful measures to assess progress towards
0 Despite its title, the Administration’s national
strategy for homeland security offers none of these
critical elements. We must have a more clearly articulated
and integrated strategy to serve as the framework for
action. Certainly the potential devastation of an attack
using a weapon of mass destruction demands that we do
everything we can to prevent an attack from occurring
in the first place.
0 We must seek to secure dangerous weapons and materials
both at home and abroad and keep them out of the hands
of terrorists. This is surely the most effective and
least expensive way to prevent nuclear terrorism. Once
you have the right material making a highly enriched
uranium bomb capable of desseminating huge populations
is stunningly easy.
0 But acquiring such material is the hardest step for
terrorists to take and the easiest step for us to stop.
By contrast, every subsequent step toward a nuclear
bomb is easier for the terrorists to take and harder
for us to stop. If a bomb is deployed it is clearly
too late. This is an area where we can make a huge positive
difference. Cooperative threat reduction programs like
Nunn Lugar have existed for some time, but they lack
adequate funding and support.
0 We can do a lot more and do it faster. Similarly
we must secure and destroy chemical weapons stockpiles.
At the Chushiff (ph.) facility in Russia alone 1.9 million
chemical weapon shells, enough to kill everyone on earth,
are sitting in decaying buildings with minimal guard.
This is just a small fraction of the weapons awaiting
destruction around the world, where progress is slow
because of technological disputes, bureaucratic delays
and a lack of funding.
0 It’s not just weapons, as Colonel Larsen indicated.
According to a recent report there are more than 3,000
chemical facilities where a dangerous chemical could
put more than 10,000 people at risk. You indicated many
thousands more. Yet we do not have clear guidelines
and requirements to harden these potential targets against
0 Important as it is preventing a determined terrorist
will be tough, so we much insure that actors at all
levels are prepared to deal with an attack should it
occur. In fact preparation is an important deterrent.
But to be prepared we must strengthen a set of necessary
infrastructures to deal with a wide range of possible
dangers. Basic capabilities that still desperately need
to be shored up include our emergency systems for local
responsive coordination including interoperable communications
as well as equipment and training.
0 Our hospitals need help to develop the surge capacity
and specialized skills to deal with the WMD attack and
the consequent mass casualties. Strong new partnerships
are needed across agencies of government and levels
of government as well as importantly with the private
sector as Governor Warner mentioned. We need to do planning
on a regional basis to identify all available assets
and how we should use them, and we need to practice
what we plan.
0 In my view one of our most urgent requirements is
to improve our biological defenses. The components of
biological terrorism are frighteningly available worldwide.
Public health represents the first line of defense.
We must strengthen public health systems at home and
abroad so we can quickly detect and contain disease
0 Upgraded labs, augmented personnel and training programs,
enhanced hospital and healthcare support and improved
communication systems are all central to insuring preparedness.
Research and development for new diagnostics, vaccines
and treatments must also be accelerated. I also just
quickly want to mention agricultural terrorism and then
0 Even without the loss of one human life, terrorists
could produce widespread fear, economic damage and undermine
confidence in government by an attack on animals or
crops. In addition, the food supply is highly vulnerable
to serious contamination and could cause a vast number
of illnesses and deaths. These are enormously important
concerns, yet agricultural terrorism may currently be
the most under-addressed area with respect to biological
0 My time is limited so I’ll stop, but hope to
talk more about these issues in the discussion. (Applause)
0 JK: Good morning. This morning I’m going to
talk about a variety of different issues all sort of
within the context of legal homeland security or domestic
preparedness because I think the law is an important
aspect of the discussion that we’ve been having
today. Homeland security and domestic preparedness is
not only about being safe but obviously about also feeling
safe, that our government actually knows what it is
doing, that it is not acting in desperate fashion collecting
all sorts of people and information and some hope that
we’ll find a needle in a haystack.
0 So today I’m not gonna actually talk about
specific issues in the sort of civil liberties national
security debate that has come up in every panel speaker.
There are too many to talk about in five minutes. Also
in the legal community there’s been just a tremendous
amount of good work done on specific issues.
0 I commend David Kohl’s book, Alien Enemies.
The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights has a new report
assessing the new normal which is fabulous. Joe Onnex,
(ph.) here with the Constitution Project, they’ve
done tremendous work on sort of specific issues regarding
detentions, military tribunals and others. What I want
to talk about is the structure of a legal and law enforcement
regime in a war, using the term war on terrorism but
in a long-term effort against terror and what it should
0 There is a balance that needs to be achieved between
national security and civil liberties, and even Democrats
will disagree on where that line should be. Certainly
Congresswoman Harman and I have had a lot of disagreements
on sort of where that line should fall, and I think
Democrats and Republicans of good faith will disagree
0 What is not the case is that there’s no debate.
The Republican administration strategy so far has been
to sort of deny that in this effort against terrorism
there’s no debate between civil liberties and
national security. They’ve done this with two
techniques which are both kind of fun but also a little
disturbing. The first is the argument that we already
have these authorities already and so what we’re
just doing with the Patriot Act or Patriot II is codifying
aspects of the law that we already had.
The truth is that is just simply not true. The administration
sort of points to Section 215 which is what I call the
librarians provision because it’s sort of fun
that librarians are sort of going after John Ashcroft.
But it’s the one where we give him authority to
look at books and the collection of books and data.
The administration has defended that as saying well
we already had that authority. That’s actually
not true. They simply did not have that authority.
We see that again with efforts for Patriot II in the
administration subpoena, in the efforts to allow administrative
subpoenas to collect information and files on commercial
businesses. The administration is defending that saying
well we already are permitted to have administrative
subpoenas. That is true in the non-criminal context.
What they’re simply doing is sort of saying, well
let’s use it for the criminal context thereby
undermining the Fourth Amendment.
So it just takes good lawyering to sort of say it’s
just simply not true that they already have these authorities.
The second strategy by the administration in the civil
liberties national security debate, I think, is a little
bit more disturbing. It’s the argument that you’re
starting to hear. I like to read a lot of sort of the
right-wing media and the think tanks and stuff. It’s
an argument you’re starting to hear -- and excuse
the pun -- but here’s the existential question.
If a civil libertree falls in a forest but no one’s
hurt by it is there any harm? And we hear this in the
context one of military tribunals, right? No harm because
no one’s put before them although we’ll
probably see Zacharias Massoui soon sent there. We also
see it in the context of Section 215 as well, when Ashcroft
admitted well we’ve never gone after the librarians,
right? We’ve never sought this information from
It’s an attempt to say that the civil liberties
national security debate is just being constructed by
the left, and in fact the right is concerned about these
privacy issues as well. But that in fact the administration
is quite benign, and I think it’s this benignness
because we’re not using these authorities I think
is equally misleading.
In any event, what would this alternative legal regime
look like, and one that I think that people on both
sides of the aisle and of good faith can agree on. What
we’ve seen over the course of the last two years
is that the temporary measures that were put in place
after September 11th have become part of our permanent
The temporary measures immediately after September
11th — I really don’t think a Democratic
administration would have acted very differently in
those immediate days and weeks after September 11th.
Maybe on the peripheries of judicial review and other
aspects. But I think for the most part a government
would have responded pretty similarly including, we
have to admit, the detentions which occurred during
the millennium fear under the Clinton Administration.
What we’re seeing now though is the sort of
the temporary becoming permanent, most obviously in
Guantanomo Bay. I personally thought Guantanomo Bay
was actually quite smart and had troops engaged in armed
conflict in Afghanistan. They were collecting men who
we did not know who they were. Were they Al Qaeda? Were
the Taliban or were they farmers? Under both international
law and our own military justice system we need to determine
who they were because then we need to figure out sort
of what kind of punishment, and it was a different kind
of punishment that would fall depending on what group
these men fell into.
So Guantanomo to get them out of the armed conflict,
right, to get them away from the scene of where our
armed forces were seemed smart at the time. But Guantanomo
was supposed to be a process. It has become quite literally
a place. I mean we are now starting to see the permanent
structures being put on to Guantanomo for what we only
can imagine is going to be a very long time.
No one in the intelligence community now, I think,
believes that guys that have been held for two years
have any sort of relevant or helpful information at
this stage. So what should we be arguing for outside
of the context of the specific issues I’ve mentioned
from military tribunals to detentions? What should we
be arguing for in terms of this alternative legal landscape?
I’m just going to use the words of Senator Clinton.
We should be arguing for honesty, accountability and
rule of law. Honesty. Attorney General John Ashcroft
said that he was going to be like Robert Kennedy and
sort of arrest any terrorist that spit on the sidewalk
and indict them. The truth is if you look at the Department
of Justice’s arrests so far, basically we’re
indicting the spit.
Our cases are falling apart quite publicly in the
Masauwi cases, but we really have not captured any sort
of very helpful men in this war on terrorism. The New
York Times recent story on the Lackawanna case is very
telling in this regard. It isn’t that these arrests
are unimportant. Certainly if these men are guilty of
aiding and abetting an enemy these may be possibly helpful
But we need to be honest about what is occurring here,
which is arrests under sort of specious legal theories
of men who are not even on the radar screen in terms
of a terrorist threat. These arrests are occurring and
they’re not occurring here. They’re occurring
abroad. That’s not a bad thing. We should do everything
to support the legal efforts in France, Germany, even
In a new report released by my colleague, Matt Bonn,
he says for the first time a senior official of a Russian
facility handling tons of potential bomb material has
been apprehended recently for stealing nuclear materials
with the intent to distribute them. That is a good arrest.
That is a significant arrest.
What we should be doing is buttressing the sort of
coalition that we had in the immediate days after September
11th for the law enforcement efforts that are going
to I think be successful in countering terrorists.
The second issue is accountability. I’m all
for judicial review. I’m all for Congressional
oversight. But I do think there need to be more internal
structures in place within the executive branch that
are more helpful with making sure that the executive
branch itself is accountable for the conduct it does.
I wrote a little bit about this in the American Prospect
article that’s out now.
To be specific, the Department of Homeland Security’s
Inspector General’s office is not up to the task
of assuring that a department like the Department of
Homeland Security which has the potential to have a
lot of influence in our lives and our sense of privacy
is an effective, body of oversight in the Department
of Homeland Security.
The Department of Justice recently, their Inspector
General, came out with a very helpful report on how
the FBI had been handling the detainees. It was an internal
report. The FBI adopted most of the recommendations.
I think in the event of another attack the experience
of people caught up in a sweep will be quite different
and it won’t be quite as long. These are good
changes. So I think in terms of the internal oversight
accountability review we should be pushing for more
of that within both the Department of Justice and the
Department of Homeland Security.
Then the third, very quickly, is the rule of law.
I guess I sort of just pose a question which law. We
have subsumed our immigration policy into counter-terrorism
at the expense of law abiding Arabs and Muslims. We
need an internal tracking program. For people who arrive
at this country I don’t think it’s a big
deal to ask them that to stay within the parameters
of their invitation. I don’t think that’s
a very controversial proposition.
But need an internal tracking program to work. It
must be developed so that it encourages compliance among
law abiding targets. We’ve so alienated immigrant
communities that what we now have is a system where
we can’t get compliance from the lawful people
so as to weed out the unlawful or dangerous people.
It’s a long-term strategy that’s actually
not going to work.
I’m going to end with a pitch also because I
think when we think about an alternative legal regime
and the long-term law enforcement strategy for combating
terrorism. If you look around this room -- and it’s
in my bio for this because it’s something that
I am working on now -- the problems occurring on Guantanomo
Bay now with the possible espionage ring of translators
and certainly the problems with the kind of intelligence
we got from Arabs and Muslims about what post-war Iraq
would look like, I think is due in large part to the
fact that our national security and law enforcement
communities are relatively white and relatively male.
I am an Arab-American. My family’s from Lebanon.
I think it is important for the Democrats and for those
of us who are committed to these issues to do everything
that we can as I think metropolitan police departments
did in the 1960’s and 70’s to try to integrate
these communities. I think our national security and
intelligence about parts of the world that we don’t
know much about will be better served by such a strategy
that embraces I think the full panoply of people out
there that can help us in this effort. Thank you. (Applause)
MS: Congresswoman Harman had to take a break. She’s
going up to see Governor-elect Schwarzenegger. We are
juggling Congressional schedules here this morning.
Congressman Leach who is chairing the next panel is
with us. We have time for a couple of questions. I think
since I’m standing at the podium I’m going
to ask Randy the first one as the mikes come out, which
is Peggy raised the question of hardening targets internally.
You talked about the futility of trying to harden the
border as opposed to creating a greater risk reduction
I wonder what your thoughts are with regard to especially
vulnerable places that you talked about like chemical
plant security, etc., whether hardening targets, putting
more guard dogs at the gates is really an effective
RL: It was a while before we could laugh again as
a nation after 9-11, but I remember some time in January
or February of 2002 we finally decided it was okay.
I remember when the Onion came out with a great story,
for those of you who read it on the internet, about
“Des Moines to Harden Satellite Libraries.”
How far do we go? I used to be the commander of all
the VIP airplanes at Andrews Air Force Base for two
years. I owned the passenger terminal out there where
360 heads of state each year came through.
My security people just kept putting up more barriers
and all of this and I kept thinking okay, I understand
that. You’re making our life kind of tough. But
the childcare centers, the two we had, you can still
drive up in front of them. And the hospital you can
still drive up in front of and the elementary school
on base. If you understand Al Qaeda they go to pizza
parlors on Saturday nights.
So I’m worried about that. I think our greatest
threat as a nation is uncontrolled spending. I’ve
already said I’m not a Republican or Democrat.
It has nothing to do with that. We’ve been spending
money on homeland security since 1996. We could spend
ourselves into bankruptcy like the Soviet Union. We
do have to establish some priorities. There’s
some legislation in the House right now that’s
talking about establishing those priorities.
It’s very difficult when it doesn’t fall
within your Congressional district. But we’re
going to have to be able to do that so that we have
money for other very important things that I know are
important to you. Priorities are the most important
thing we’re dealing with. We cannot defend this
MS: We had some hand up over there. I should emphasize
that we are non-partisan research and education.
MS: I’m Harlin Almond. Thank you for your presentation
and John thank you for an excellence conference. We’ve
heard wailing and moaning about absence of strategy,
so let me put it to you. What’s your strategy?
Or if you can’t answer that directly George Marshall
said, with due respect to you Randy, that if you get
the aims right a lieutenant can write the strategy.
You’re a colonel. One of the aims should be underwriting
the strategies that we look at.
RL: I don’t think I can give you the strategy
for homeland security and security in the 21st century
in a sound bite. That’s our greatest challenge.
I heard Senator Cary talking about that on the radio
yesterday. The most difficult thing with the presidential
debates is okay, tell me your strategy for fixing healthcare
and you’ve got forty-five seconds left.
I won’t try to do that. I won’t claim
that I’m the person that can do it. But I think
that there are people out there that can do it. I mean
George Cannon did it. It worked, and we’re not
there yet. I think it’s critically important.
I think establishing standards. The whole thing with
the Council of Foreign Relation and Senator Rudman’s
report that says we gotta spend 97 billion or 98.4 billion
dollars more on first responders.
I like first responders too, but what are the standards
we’re building to? Until we determine that, but
we can’t get to any of that until we have the
understanding of the threat we’re really facing
and then build that strategy. So it’s gonna take
more than just Randy Larsen in thirty seconds.
EG: To follow up on the strategy question I think
when thinking about a national strategy and incorporating
the regional and cities’ perspective it’s
important that there is that flexibility. In San Antonio,
south central and central Texas, we are taking our model
in the city/county. We thought we did a great job collaborating
between the city and county. But quite frankly it fails
miserably because we will be the community that has
to respond to any natural or terrorist activity or biological
activity probably for a twenty-five county region.
So it’s important that as we develop a national
strategy we really look at our states being then divided
into regions and come up with the understanding that
there will not be uniformity in the capacity of our
first responders. There will not be uniformity in the
infrastructure of our hospitals and our trauma centers.
There will not be the uniformity in so many of the things
that we define or measure what communities should have
to be prepared.
I think we really need to look at a regional approach
and get that message communicated to the cities from
the state and federal level that we have to do a comprehensive
assessment and inventory of what we have in place today
to be able to address specific emergency needs when
it happens and collaborate on those needs as part of
this national strategy.
MS: I think that Randy’s right. This is a complex
question that can’t be answered in a sound bite.
But we have to try. We have to lay out a plan that identifies
where our vulnerabilities are and what is needed to
shore them up. We have to look at the tools that we
presently have in terms of systems and programs and
policies that can make us safer in each of those areas
of vulnerability. We also have to define what’s
still needed? What’s our research agenda? What
are the things that we still need to develop best practices
for that can be shared at the state, local and regional
level to make us safer and stronger?
I think the strategy has to look at the full spectrum
from prevention through early recognition of an attack
and that initial response through consequence management
and recovery. While we cannot clearly define every single
goal and objective and every single role and responsibility
of all the many and varied players involved I think
we can move much, much closer to having a real blueprint
MS: Yep. I’ve got my questioners bunched. Let’s
just take these last two.
MS: Dave Disenberg (ph.) with the British American
Security Information Council to Mayor Garza. Most of
the speakers including Governor Warner earlier alluded
to the need for greater federal/local cooperation and
yet most of the documentation on the issue of homeland
security refers consistently to impediments either because
the federal government is not delivering on its promises
through funding or is making it difficult for people
at the local level to get access to the information
they want i.e., classified information or refusing to
give officials — governors and mayors —access
to information because they’re not classified.
I was wondering what you considered to be the most
important impediments to a better federal/local working
relationship and what specific steps or policies maybe
the top three that you’d like to see implemented
to make things better.
EG: That would probably take about thirty minutes
just to talk about some of the issues in terms of communication.
I think initially most cities were giving the federal
government the benefit of the doubt. We had to respond
to a very serious situation and had to do so in a way
that provided some sort of uniformity in terms of standards.
But I think now as money is starting to trickle down
— I say the word trickle down because going through
the state and cities across this country advocated that
it go directly from the federal government to communities
that were able to develop regional partnerships. I think
the biggest impediment today still lies with a lack
of flow of information.
Certainly as the DHS has been created we have tried
to understand if there’s a template that we should
follow which we really don’t have today. The only
thing we can respond to are the color bars that indicate
what level security threat we’re at today and
what we as cities should be doing. But again it’s
a very general statement. So I think in order to improve
on that DHS, our state governments, truly have to develop
the capacity on a regional basis to be able to have
a better line of communication.
Until we have that then we’re gonna still see
frustration from communities across the country. Speaking
from a big city perspective again if we’re feeling
those frustrations I can only imagine what the other
80% of America and cities that are under 50,000 probably
are feeling today in terms of not only getting information
but the resources and to have a plan and to do an assessment
of what they have in their community today.
Q MS: Last question.
FS: I’m Paula Scolingee (ph.), and since I left
government I’ve been working out in the regions
to set up the public/private partnerships that we’ve
been talking about today. I share a lot of the frustrations
that the panelists have raised. The question is for
Mayor Garza. It’s very difficult to get the public
and private sector stakeholders to feel comfortable
and cooperate with each other.
The problem that I have seen is that dearth of federal
attention and assistance has been part of the problem
in not bringing together these stakeholders. What role
do you see looking at the future with a Department of
Homeland Security that was really effectively working
to address these problems of public and private sector
competition, lack of cooperation, etc.?
EG: I think again the efforts to date in terms of
homeland security have been communicated from the public
sector via the federal, state or local communities.
As I stated earlier the biggest challenge will be to
engage the private sector. Private sector, they have
different issues. So we talked about civil liberties
earlier, and when we put together a dark screen exercise,
a cyber security scenario as an attack and we tried
to engage the private sector—the financial institutions,
the communication companies — there was a reluctancy
because they were afraid of the information that would
be made available and that being subject to the Open
That becoming a big impediment to allow that private
sector to collaborate with the public sector in doing
an assessment and even going through an exercise. So
I think we have to better understand the private sector
concerns and figure out can we apply the same rules
that we’re applying under a security umbrella
for the country in talking about what perhaps civil
liberties we have to give up on a public sector are
those the same rules we’re going to demand that
the private sector as we continue to develop this strategy
for a national security plan.
So I think there’s a lot of fear in the private
sector because they feel that it will create undo competitive
advantages if information is shared and there’s
this collaboration that exists. So if we don’t
come over those basic issues we will not be able to
adequately address the security needs of 85% of the
infrastructure in the United States today.
MH: I just wanted to add from the perspective of biological
threats which is where I spend most of my time. The
role of the private sector is absolutely fundamental
— both the hospital and healthcare system and
the pharmaceutical industry which will help us to develop
the new diagnostics vaccines and drugs for bio defense.
I repeatedly hear from my colleagues in the private
sector to major concerns about their ability to really
get on board with the national response to biological
One is that they really don’t know how to connect
with government activities. Perhaps as the Department
of Homeland Security evolves it will become increasingly
easy to have a point of connection that can link them
into all the many activities that are happening throughout
the federal government and that are important to an
effective public/private partnership. But right now
it’s very diffuse, and people even when they want
to engage have a hard time finding the right spot to
connect and particularly to create a sustainable and
The second is real issues about liability compensation
and reimbursement for the hospitals which are operating
at the margin on a day-to-day basis in terms of cost
pressures. To make the kinds of investments in preparedness
that are necessary is a huge commitment. The concern
once an attack might occur about the vulnerability of
their institutions over a longer term due to both stigma
and true contamination raises huge issues for reimbursement
and financial viability. So they want to know what kinds
of legal measures to support fair compensation and reimbursement
risks to their own employees, etc. It’s all very
We need to really examine the framework in which they
will operate. Similarly the pharmaceutical industry.
They operate with a certain bottom line pressure. They
don’t want to start making drugs and vaccines
for diseases that don’t exist unless they can
be brought in to a partnership where they both can understand
what are the credible threats? What are the agents that
they should be developing, new pharmaceuticals against?
We’re beginning to create some of those linkages,
but it’s been a little slow in coming.
Then of course will there be a market for their product.
So there’s a whole set of issues that I think
at least in the area that I know best need to be pursued,
but the opportunity for a meaningful public/private
collaboration and partnership is certainly there and
essential. I think we’re going to be better prepared.
MS: I’m gonna give Juliet and Randy and last
brief comment. Then we’re gonna go to the last
JK: I think you’re exactly right that the legal
structure needs to be examined in the context of not
so much even before an event but certainly after an
event. There is a good example, not totally helpful
but certainly a lot of provisions of anti-trust law
and FOIA information were re-examined during the lead
up to millennium so that the government could find out
what they sort of feared might happen with Y2K.
I think we need to start thinking about those kinds
of exceptions in the legal context in the event of a
terrorist attack so that we provide every incentive
to the private businesses to get involved with this.
RL: Harlin, to answer part of your question, one key
element of that strategy must be the regional approach,
and I would just like to congratulate Mayor Garza on
being the national leader in this. We cannot afford
to put every piece of equipment we need in every firehouse
in this country, as much as I’d like to do it,
or every police department or every public health office.
He’s leading the effort down there as what can
Houston provide to San Antonio in a crisis? What can
Austin? What can little San Marcos that may have a unique
capability there understanding what’s there, and
to borrow a quote from Peggy Hamburg, “if we practice
that way we won’t be exchanging business cards
on the first day of the next crisis”. So the regional
approach is one we can afford and it’s one that’ll
be effective and I congratulate Mayor Garza on.
MS: Let me than the entire panel for a great presentation.
(Applause) We’re gonna go directly to our next
panel. I apologize for the lack of a break but again
we’re juggling Congressional schedules and they’re
obviously doing important work on Capitol Hill today
(END OF TAPE)