Announcer: – dedicated to the survival of American democracy in an increasingly dangerous world, this is Secure Freedom Radio with Frank Gaffney, acted as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy under President Ronald Reagan, founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., the go-to man for defense and foreign policy issues, joined by the greatest minds in the security policy business, the special forces in the war of ideas, at Secure Freedom Radio with Frank Gaffney.
Gaffney: Welcome to Secure Freedom Radio. This is Frank Gaffney, your host and guide for what I think of as an intelligence briefing on the war for the free world. A man who has brought uncommon intelligence to bear on behalf of the free world for a long time, I'm very happy to say, is both a friend and colleague now with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, extremely important organization in the nation's capital, but formerly chaired the House Intelligence Committee. He is of course Congressman Pete Hoekstra, now retired member of Congress, from Michigan. Congressman, it is always a pleasure to have you with us, though unfortunately we usually wind up spending the time talking about things that aren't very pleasant. That will be the case today, I am sure. But welcome just the same.
Hoekstra: Always good to be with you. Thank you, Frank.
Gaffney: You and Steve Emerson have rolled out in the past day a very important new study that indicates, well really documents I guess what many of us have been sensing. But tell us a little bit about your new study on the frequency and the severity of terrorist attacks at the moment.
Hoekstra: Well Frank, you know that a lot of the discussion around the threat from terrorism is, it's not based on facts. So we thought we'd go and take a look at you know some of the statistics that are out there, that are you know that you can use a specific methodology over a period of time. And what we decided to do is take a look at the number of fatalities that we were seeing each and every year as a result of attacks by radical jihadists. And so we went all the way back to 2001. And you know from 2001 to 2006, we were seeing roughly 2,500 people per year who were fatalities as a result of radical jihadist attacks, until 2011, you know that number had grown to around 3,300. But by 2014 and 2015, that number had gone to about 28,000 individuals around the world were being killed each year as a result of radical jihadist activity, so really a 700, 800 percent increase since 2011.
Gaffney: Now this is a selected group, obviously. Would it be fair to say that the numbers of people that are being slaughtered by what you call radical jihadists far exceeds the numbers that are being slain by all of the above?
Hoekstra: Absolutely. And you know I've read some articles recently where you know the president in confidential talks, and I'm not sure whether he's ever said this publicly, but at least as he's talked with his staffers, you know compares you know the number of terrorist fatalities in the United States to the number of people who may trip or drown in their bathtub at home and that that's a much more serious cause of concern than radical jihadism. But you know we're, Frank, you and I know this, and your listeners know, we're looking at a global threat that continues to grow and to expand. And the larger it grows and the more expansive it becomes, the more at risk we become here in the United States.
Gaffney: And there is no question in your mind, and that of your colleague Steven Emerson, that while the bulk of these 28,000 people who have been murdered by jihadists have happened elsewhere, that that can happen here, and do you think it will, as a matter of fact, Congressman Pete Hoekstra?
Hoekstra: Absolutely, Frank, because I mean what we've done at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, we've taken a look at where these attacks have taken place. And you know in 2001, from 2001 to 2006, they were relatively scattered around the world, and so it demonstrated there wasn't much of a cohesive strategy. But since 2011, the nexus has really moved to the Middle East and to Africa. And what the radical jihadists are doing is they are using the failed states of Afghanistan, of Libya, of Syria, and Iraq, and Yemen, as launching pads to expand their impact. And so what it means is the Middle East is at greater risk, Africa is at greater risk, Europe is at greater risk, but you know eventually this threat, if they are allowed to continue to expand and come closer to our borders, that threat is going to come and it's going to be here in the United States.
Gaffney: And Pete, one of the things that I'm taking away from this episode in Brussels most recently, and the raids that are taking place now on a daily basis in its aftermath, is, and I wonder if you will concur, that these jihadis are benefitting from obviously cells and networks of fellow, you know murderous Sharia-adherent Muslims, but also from communities and organizations, infrastructure, mosques, cultural centers and you name it, that have been allowed by the Belgian government in this case, but the French and the Germans and the Dutch and others as well, and for that matter by ours, to grow and create really a support system that can enable this sort of violence almost at will anywhere in the free world. Is that fair?
Hoekstra: That's very, very fair, Frank. The Europeans have been asleep at the switch on this. They, you know, the term is coming back into use now because people are actually taking a look at what's going on in Europe, and your group has been doing it, we've been doing it at the Investigative Project, you know there are no-go zones in Europe, areas that you know law enforcement and civil society by the government cannot be enforced, and you know they have become safe havens and sanctuary areas for the radical jihadist movement. They are places that, you're right, they, these groups can find safe havens. But at the same time, they have allowed the mosques to preach radical jihadism, so the mosques are training centers. And amazingly, Frank, they have allowed jihadists who have gone into Syria, who have gone into Iraq, maybe Libya, but who have participated with ISIS and Al-Qaeda, they have allowed them to go to these areas, fight in the war, and then to come back into their communities without facing prosecution. And it's like – excuse me, folks, these are jihadists, they've proven it, they've gone on the battlefield, and you're allowing them back in their communities. And then, you know the final straw now that I think is going to break the back of the political leaders in Europe, because the public recognizes what's going on and the public is way ahead of the political leaders in Europe, is they're saying to these refugees, migrants, whatever you want to call them – you know come on in. You know this is going to strain the social and civil society in Europe. And Europe is going to have, I believe, a political revolt, as elections roll around, in addition to the violence that these individuals are going to be bringing into Europe.
Gaffney: Congressman Pete Hoekstra, let me just ask you one other question about dealing with this sort of threat environment. Your successor as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, has recently described in the wake of the devastation really of our electronic intelligence capabilities, by various disclosures and other compromises, the growing imperative for human intelligence. Do you agree with that, first of all? And second of all, are we on track to obtain that kind of intelligence, in light of the difficulty of doing so with these jihadi networks?
Hoekstra: Well this goes all the way back to the 1990s, when Bill Clinton decided that we were not going to have human intelligence anymore, that we could make it up with electronic surveillance and satellites and those types of things, because human intelligence is high risk and it's very, very hard. The risk is that you're going to get caught and you're going to get embarrassed. So Bill Clinton made the decision that we were going to move away from human intelligence. And we've been trying to recover from that ever since. But human intelligence is very, very difficult to build the networks and the patterns. We've destroyed our trust, you know because what you're asking people to do when, bottom line is you're asking your friends, you're asking friends to turn on their friends, to spy on their friends, and share the information with the enemy. And what we did to our assets in the late 1990s under Bill Clinton, you know we just set some of these people loose, we cut them loose, and it's kind of like where does the spy go if the person they're spying for cuts them loose? So, and it gives organizations like radical jihadists. You need humans. It's going to be a long process. We're not anywhere close to having the human [word cut out] that we need to keep America safe.
Gaffney: [Crosstalk over few words] going to say that. Yeah, and the trouble is that in addition to betraying their friends, if you get caught doing it, the best thing that happens to you is they kill you. It's a pretty unsavory business. Congressman Pete Hoekstra, thank you so much for joining us and for your insights.
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