tv Fmr. FBI Deputy Dir. Andrew Mc Cabe Discusses Jan. 6th Attack CSPAN January 11, 2022 12:21am-1:35am EST
talked about the attack on the u.s. capitol. hosted by the university of chicago institute of politics, this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> tonight, we mark the first anniversary of an almost unthinkable day in our history, a day in which a violent mob reached the capital to try to stop the most fundamental processs in our democracy, the formal certification of the electoral votes that would decide the presidency. we remember with gratitude to those that lost their lives and who were injured defending the capital and our democracy, but the purpose today is more than just commemoration. we want to better understand what led to that insurrection and what thousands of americans joined in the violent mob at the capital, and most importantly, we wanted more w understand the continuing threat of violent extremism that is still menacing the democracy today and what we
might do about it. to welcome these issues on her own right, the national security correspondent for the "washington post" and she will introduce the rest of the distinguished panel. hannah. >> thanks so much. good evening, everyone. thanks so much, david, ned and everyone at the institute of politics for hosting this important conversation tonight. big thanks for everyone joining online. weth will chat with of the panelists for a little bit and then we look forward to questions. as david mentioned, i think that we really hope that tonight is as much of a look forward as back. we are lucky to have these distinguished panels here with us today. we've got congressman
krishnamoorthi in office at the day of the attack and we also have andrew mccabe, former acting director of the fbi and a former deputy director of the fbi, with a long background in counterterrorism and robert pape who is a research team has spent much of the last year really providing invaluable analysis to what we saw january 6th. welcome to you all. i probably could jump right in by asking you what came to your mind or the questions that you stillre have on this attack on your workplace? why don't you begin. >> thank you soo much, anna, ad for having this very important
discussion. people breached the capital that day january 6th, it was a dark day for the democracy. and in my own particular situation, i will never forget the earsplitting sound of the capitol police banging violently on my door rushing me out of my office because they discovered a bomb 200 feet from my office window. i was evacuated twice that debate and sheltered in place. obviously five people weresl let dead, 150 law enforcement officers were attacked and we are still dealing with the scars of that day and a lot of unanswered questions including for instance why it took hours and hours for the guard to arrive to finally put down the
insurrection and we are left wondering you're right now why so many of those 2,000 people haven't been charged, arrested were sentenced and are kind of roaming free at this point. >> mr. mccabe, what's on your mind? >> thanks very much to you and david and the institute for inviting me to participate in this day of reflection over what happened last year on capital grounds. having theiv privilege to work r many years in the fbi counterterrorism division, i'm very, very familiar with crisis and responding to attacks. many people know the number one priority of the fbi is to prevent inactive terrorism in
the united states, so i remember sitting at home last year watching the tragic events take place and you just can't help but have that sickening feeling in your stomach that, you know, this one got by the men and women whose job it is to prevent exactly the sort of attacks from happening, terrorist attacks in the united states. that is what we witnessed, a domestic terrorist attack not just the united states but on the grounds of the capital. they worked so incredibly hard it's a soul crushing responsibility to have to stop, toto prevent everything from happening and they are tied to that incredibly closely and have my respect forever. i know how hard they take this as well.
i understand the pace of the fbi's investigation now. i don't have too many concerns about how they are doing that. that's what the fbi does better than any organization on earth. these massively complicated abroad scoped investigations, but my concerns are more what has the fbi done to look back and uncover exactly how it was caught short last year. i know from my own experience and having done that everything after the fort hood shooting to the boston marathon attack, that is an essential piece of maintaining your ability to protect the country. go back and uncover what you might have missed and how you change the work going forward. for me the biggest question right now is why we haven't heard more about that from the fbi. so i think it's a great time to think about these things and talk about them with a group
like this. you have been digging into the numbers behind us. i honored to be part of the panel and i've respected all the other panelists. it's a big honor for me personally. we are facing the most strenuous test of our democracy in our lifetimes certainly in my lifetime. it's the test of collective political violence coming from the mainstream. of the 700 and charged with breaking into the capital, over half are business owners, ceos and from white-collar occupation, doctors, lawyers, accountants and managers.
that we are seeing this mesh together, what thinking racing from the security agency? >> we haven't really seen or been told very much. that is one of the things that concerns me. there's been a lack of transparency on the part of leadership across the federal law enforcement spectrum to say exactly what they think about their performance and changing going forward. with the exception of the capitol police, who are right in the middle of this and have been public about their hiring challenges and training. i'm fairly confident from what we've heard from the fbi >> . >> .
they did not assume that people, business owner, white people from the suburbs, educated, i'm -- employed presented a threat of violence. now we know they do. that, to me as a former law-enforcement leader, and lifetime agent in counterterrorism, that is the part that concerns me the most. >> do have anything to add to that, there any clues as to the security response? >> mr. mccabe is exactly on point. the commission involving multiple people to look at this is something that should have been. we talk about the mainstream,
how do we think about that 21 million? think about them as the combustible mass and fire season where it can be touched by a political lightning strike or political spark. that is very likely what happened on january 6. not only you had a combustible mass come together but donald trump's speech. i'm not saying whether it reaches the level of prosecutorial meaning in incitement, i'm talking about political violence in mainstream. around the world, when you bring that together and leaders give speeches, they are sparks that can touch off that mass of combustible material and that would set them ablaze. we see that in serbia, we see that in india with the rights there. we also see this in 1990's in russia.
these are examples we do not equate to america. the basic logic is still the same. the problem for us is a social scientist we cannot predict the lightning strike. i cannot tell you weeks in advance whether there will be this political speech. none of us knew, not even the fbi what the speech was going to be before donald trump gave the speech. knowing who wrote that speech, this is a very different kind of speech for donald trump. this is the key i think to understanding what happened on january 6. who wrote that speech? that is the lightning that then spark and ignited that combustible material. this is a very serious challenge. it is one that we can all work through. >> thank you. federal authorities are careful to say, police try to stop the
extremist violence. researchers have said, fair enough. that misses the nonviolent threats that we are seeing now with the school boards and state houses and the voting rights. congressman, what is the policy discussion beyond security solution to these issues? >> a big part of it is what is online. what are on the social media platforms. the ones that feed disinformation and provide organizational tools for these violent extremists to assemble themselves and get ready for some type of action as well as radicalize others. the question is whether we will leave it up to the social media platforms to police themselves
or whether government is going to step in and label them as publishers, finally, which they are to a large degree. facebook and instagram and whatsapp and twitter want to pretend as though they are just bulletin boards and not publishers of content responsible for what is on the platform. what we are seeing is that these domestic violence extremists and others effectively use those platforms to find others into plot. i want to point out one thing that the professor said. he mentioned the mainstreaming of these 21 million people. we ended up certifying the election, i thought that was a moment of pride for all of us, following the days of january 6, we certified the election at 3:42 a.m.
i told myself that i want to get on the next flight back and see my family who were desperately trying to get a hold of me and not able to connect. i get onto the flight at 5:30 a.m., i sit down and the woman next to me is in a maga shirt scrolling through pictures of inside the capital. she was an insurrectionist. i looked around and they were all among me. they were in front of me, across the aisle, behind me. it turns out that the plane was full of them. these folks were arriving from all points of the united states, not just a rule parts of some state, they were from from all over the country, connecting to other places. we have to recognize that they are among us.
these people are among us. when you talk about 21 million people estop professor alluded to, that is 10% of adults, if i'm not mistaken. 10%. one out of every 10 people you are with may be among that radical violent court. i want to point out one last thing that goes beyond the policy solutions which is, i believe, and i want to talk more about the prosecution of these 2000 people which i feel gog -- doj has done improperly -- >> what you fill they did improperly? >> 70 people have been sentenced and 30 jailed. that is not a fast enough
prosecution of these people who preach the capital. what you're going to see is, of those hundreds of people who have not been arrested let alone charge, they are going to feel like they got away with that. this signals to all other people just how weak our responses and they will do it again. we do not know when, we do not know how. i do not think it will be the same thing they did on january 6, but they are going to plot and do it again. we have not even come across the plotters. the amount that i alluded to, without -- we still do not know who planted the bomb or who the ball maker was. i think that the doj has not done the job and i have been public in this. i will continue in my oversight duties to push this. but i think they have to hustle. if we do not get this right and we do not get it right soon, we
are just inviting the next calamity. with the elections later on, that will further interrupt the prosecution of these people. i think that has to be job number one. >> i am glad you mentioned the tech platforms, one of the students submitted a question that noted that those platforms were used in the facilitating and in tracking down the suspects. on the issue of mainstreaming, if we look at the roots of january 6, we often hear it described as an offshoot of polarization. i am sorry to hear in my reporting, a pushback against using that term. is it accurate to say that it is polarization, does that play down what is not polarization but being described as a mass radicalization on the right?
is that too strong a term, an accurate term? i would love to hear from either of you. professor? >> what is really happening is a mass radicalization. politics are involved. we are polarized. it is definitely driving our horse race in terms of who wins the election. what happen on january 6 is not who voted for trump but who fights for trump. that is a different story. we talk about that 10%, the mainstream of those who have been charged, what we're seeing is that there is more of a mass radicalization. we can actually ask the beliefs, what are the beliefs of the 21 million. the number one belief is the idea of the great replacement. the idea that that democratic party are essentially flooding the country from overseas to
lower the status of whites in the united states. that is an idea that used to be part of the french. now it is part of the mainstream. it is embraced strongly the 21 million from the rest of the body, including other trump voters. this is not just a trump voter on one side and democrat on the other, this is about not who votes for trump but is fighting for trump. we tend to think it is all the same. no. if i studied the violence part and that is that mass radicalization of that corner, that is what we have to focus on. >> great. >> i can tell you from my perspective of spending a lot of time focused on the radicalization of international
terrorists and islamic extremists and extremists of all sorts, what we are seeing and what the professor research makes -- the professor's research makes clear, this group shares characteristics of those groups we have seen radicalized along entirely different ideological lines. i can tell you that in 2014, as we are watching the riots in syria and we were watching this high-quality propaganda being pushed out to new and aggressive ways over social media use to recruit adherents and to attract people to fight on behalf of the state and different pictures of propaganda directed at different people. what we saw, those who were drawn to this radicalization
eventually, we pulled together, try to combine across all the cases, the subjects of our investigations, folks who were attempting to or who had traveled to syria. what we saw was america. it was not what we expected to see. it was not just young males who are unemployed, uneducated, recent converts, disenfranchised, alienated guys who spent their time in the basement looking at propaganda on the internet, it was doctors, lawyers, people from the suburbs , black, white, every shade of brown. people who were born into islamic families and people who were recent converts. people who spent time in jail and people who never been in trouble before. we were stunned by the diversity of that group. radicalization happens among,
not just groups of the same people but broadly different people. drawn to similar things, a charismatic leader who attracts them by appealing to a sense of events, people who feel like their way of life is under attack, their belief system is being pushed aside or diminished by the majority, those who feel compelled to take up violence or arms to defend their way of life. they also carry with them this exalted sense of purpose, the true believers. in this sense, the true americans, the real patriots who are defending democracy. many of those people i would guess, last year, had carried those exact beliefs and thoughts as they march their way to break into the nation's capital. that they were doing something to save democracy, there warped
version of democracy. >> to think that is happening on a scale where it is ok to call it a mass radicalization? >> i absolutely do. >> congressman, any thoughts on that? you are muted. >> sorry about that. what is interesting to me is that i think that -- i have two observations. people who have been radicalized and subscribed to the great replacement theory, professor, i resemble that remark. i am a racial, religious, ethnic minority with 29 letters in my name. these folks, the 21 million may not find me to their liking. i'm not sure what you do about that.
however, as regards to criminals and white supremacist, i do nothing we compromise or yield to them in the least. however, with regard to others, i think there is a radicalization going on. i have to belief the economic fear, the dysfunctional government, they all play into making it more likely that a white person, let's say, who may be sympathetic but ambivalent about january 6, make it radicalized. it is really up to us to make government work and in policing domestic violent extremists, not repeat the mistakes we may have made before as regards to profiling muslims or treating brown and black people automatically as the enemy.
we are walking a tight rope here where we have to police domestic violence extremists and we have to bring into account anyone who uses that type of violence. at the same time, we cannot repeat the mistakes of potentially driving people in the wrong direction. in that regard, as a member of the house intelligence committee, this is now a bipartisan concern, in terms of using surveillance tools and other means properly. those that are consistent with the constitution, our rights and liberties. while the same time, effective in making sure we prevent violence. and also catch the bad guys. >> there is a whole debate going on about, do we repurpose terror
tactics or domestic threat we are facing? january 6 is also a debate of whether it is time for a domestic terrorism statute like the one we have. i think you will get some pushback in a second. this is where it gets good. many civil rights groups and terrorists and researchers argue that there are plenty already on the books. the last thing we need to do is and the federal government more broad security powers. mr. mccabe, you take a different view and i think you are on record supporting the statute, how would it help? >> one of the things that you've heard a lot of people talk about, particularly in the aftermath of january 6 was that
federal investigators were not able to look at the social media traffic, advocating coming to the capital and engaging in violence. i'm not sure all that comes into effect. there are differences in the federal government's ability to investigate issues or threats coming from domestic groups as opposed to threats from foreign terrorist organizations. the answer to your question before it was, should we repurpose those post 9/11 terrorism strategies. the quick answer is no. many of them are not permissible here on constitutional grounds. our protections, particularly political speech, may be the most or one of the most protected categories of speech that we have are absolutely
essential to the health and well-being of our democracy in one of our most sacred rights. we have to be careful of that. we talk about domestic extremism and terrorism, we tell our investigators they can only open a case when they have information that a federal crime has or may be committed. we investigate the threatened use of violence not the speech itself. that is well and good. the problem is that there is no federal law that criminalizes domestic terrorism. it is defined but there are no penalties for. i am in the category of folks who believe that if we turn that into offense, which you could do , consistent with our constitutional protections, you would give investigators the
ability to investigate when folks are plotting or organizing to use violence for the purpose of coercing the population or influencing the government. that would be the definition of domestic terrorism. if that is plotting and so know that there arguments on both sides and coming from the practitioner that would help our ability for the future. >> do you have anything you want to add? >> you create the domestic terrorism statute and it could
>> i do. i sharear your concern like the ones i have described that is unacceptable path forward. and to this day the criminal statute not just at the federal level but at the state level against people of color of discriminatory races. and the inspirational effect to drive folks even further is something i'm concerned about as well. at the end of the day, balance, putting ourselves in a position to perform better we should demand better of them.
>> let's look at that a little bit. and then to take that finding, it was very chilling of the capacity. >> it is possible that the 21 million in our surveys from the insurrection settlements we can also see 1 million are militia members and those that have fewer military service. and 6 million support extremist groups with the militia groups and like those recruiting grounds of those groups and 2 million which is
2 percent haven't been part of a protest the last 12 months. and with those ideas we are seeing a movement that is dangerous and continuous and it's very important to see this is why we have to be concerned one year after the insurrection and 100 arrest but now we are not just guessing like one year ago it is the reality and having a conversation that you just witnessed from the former acting director of the fbi. this is the kind of dialogue we need to have. not just for a few minutes but
ten years ago we had a similar problem with the international phone call so there was a small commission with former acting director of the cia and our former dean of the law school and they got together to figure it out but it had to be done in a classified setting because once you start to peel the onion it could not get classified real fast and i will just say that we can have dialogue and produce better outcomes than we have today. >> and with that domestic terrorism strategy that with
that strategy and. >> as you can tell with that strategy it is very general and as director ray has testified with that implementation strategy and he's doing everything he can to do so effectively. without getting into the classified details of thepl testimony the big challenge is a constellation of threats that has a bearing upon us right now.
obviously we have domestic violence extremist rat which is real and persistent. but we also have for instance a chinese communist party which is conducting activities on the scale we have never seen before. and as a director. and then to be mindful of the different threats and difference of allocating them in one direction. and that's why the doj needs help. it needs help they need to come to us and tell us what they need to do their job whether it is policing the extremist threats or prosecuting the 2000 people
they need to come to us and tell us what they need because right now the jobs are not getting done after rate and with the impact they desire and many of my colleagues echo. >> i would love to hear what is your take on that strategy? and are you hearing anything. >> i cannot really speak to that anded i have access to that information anymore but i gave her enormous credit for doingk it. and with intelligence and enforcement haswi always been the prominence of the fbi of
the shadows of the bigger glossier high profile international terrorism program and it is an important statement not to where the administration stands on these incredibly important issues but an effort to bring this to the forefront director ray himself said that as a number one threat based on the terrorismm side. so you have to give the time of credit in a thoughtful way it is on point in those issues it is focused on that to have that same criticism those people have you like to see a little more meat on the bones. so that conversation the congressman was having of the key statute that is one area where one way or another it's helpful for the administration to come out with a position on
that. yes we will push forward or no we will not. it is a complicated legislative program. lashes like the congressman but i thought it was a good startt but it's interesting to see how it progresses. >> and then just opening up for questions, before we get to that i did want to ask a couple of days that you said in an interview that january 6 was the culmination at the beginning of something what do you think now? >> i feel that even more today than i did one year ago. i feel one of the things a lot
january 6 called and insurrection were not one person has been charged with insurrection? >> and the personal finances that people are looking for a legal definition and then the impeachment of donald trump so to say this was an insurrection wasn't just some statute c and then to change you should be duly elected in a democracy so this is the core issue not only to harm people that the purpose was to stop and prevent the certification of joe biden as the next
president that would be keeping donald trump as president even though he lost in the election. that is as close to an insurrection as you can possibly get an it doesn't matter the legal definition are not, but it will go down in history as an insurrection effort in the united states. >> and this will be asked as a student. >> i'm a booster at the college thank you for your time so i am wondering how it
reflects anti- democracy trends of the us and how we address the root causes of the issue? >> great. to wants to talk about that one quick. >> when you said class of 2025 i feel old. [laughter] and second, i just want to say that to observations. the way that we have to look at this in my opinion there are some people. without the harshest consequences but there is a trend going in this country and aroundld the world.
so we have to make government work we have to make it functional and reduce the partisan rancor and and start making it seem as though the government is incapable of addressing basic economic fears that people have an it globalization that they are used losing jobs left and right. that they cannot get their arms around. and thatan skills based education and vocational
education but one third of americans have a college degree but two thirds do not program those two thirds two do not rely on the nations skills but it has been an ugly stepchild of the post secondary education system for decades and are trying to work with republicans and then to equip people with the skills of the future to participate in the global economy and prosperity which is created right now. if you put more money in people's pockets and then to climb the economic ladder it is just a little bit less likely they get radicalized a little bit less likely they view government as the enemy
and it is more likely they are willing to get mainstream with the political process as the way ii see it we hope you will be one of the leaders to make that happen. >> we have another one and it is a combined question can the support embrace seeing decentralization. >> nothing can be done in the upcoming election and during that precarious election season we have every candidate running for every office in 2022 the same question and as
i just told you we agree the use of force to the trump presidency is why is it every journalist and every other political candidate and every citizen with the townhall ask every person running for office do you agree we should know if the candidate we're going to vote for if it doesn't work out but the real question here is values and we can ask the candidates the same question with the general public and ithe is eye-opening as we go forward. >> let me ask you a follow-up.
we do know where they stand. does it matter anymore? >> this is part of the big conversation. we need dialogue about the new reality in front of us. and that dialogue has to happen with the public and our leaders and that information we don't have interstate on —- survey what the candidates running for office think of the question. this is important because voters will see that. voters can see through things otherwise they are too smart. we are not trying but to ask candidate questions about the value of violence versus democracy. where did they come down? and we have the question let's
serious because we know how many times he was asked to send the dc national guard and deployed l troops to quell the insurrection and he refused to do so. and then to ask a combo question. i will tell you what, the demographic changes in this country are only accelerating. you know that. this country i think by midcentury if i'm not mistaken by 2050, will be a majority minority country. a lot of people feel threatened and a lot of politicians will be able to exploit those threats in ways we have not seen yet.
donald trump ist the first iteration and to otherwise minorities would be taken to the next level and that is something we absolutely have to nip in the bed however we can. so we have to make government functional again for everybody that used to be in this country we have the military draft and learn about each other and diversity. we don't have that now and we spiraled further and further and have to do whatever we can to bring shared experiences again and amm shared common understanding of our joint
aspirations. to me it's getting everyone on the economic ladder climbing upwards and that means everyone regardless of the color of your skin or how many letters are in your name, that's what we have to get back to asap. >> does your research tell anything about the future? >> what the congressman just said, the key thing that has happened with the insurrection every politician in the country has learned political violence supporting that. why do i say that? because donald trump lost the 2020 election usually the losers of our election have to step down they don't get to become the leader of the party and taken choose where the party goes.
not just by competing that supporting the insurrection he has become more powerful than any presidential race. in my lifetime that i know every politician has seen that. that is why the congressman a what he is describing talks about media. so with these media figures everybody knows who i'm talking about and think of that financial involvement to support the ideas of the mainstream so you have power and profit and these are problems as we go forward this is why we need to wrestle with us and not wait.
>> can i say one less thing? we didn't talk about this yet but voting rights legislation that joe mentioned has put together which is very robust and effective package is so important. because at only does it deal with preserving the individual rights of the vote but it also helps to prevent state legislatures from usurping the role of voters. with the president of himself or herself. it is incredibly important because we think of the q-anon guy. and not to be taken seriously.
there is a lot of intelligent planning correcting for mistakes that were made by the republican and president trump to overturn the election so the next time around they don't want those mistakes to per and they want to take the election out right. >> that's perfect lead into a question that came in before hand. is there a way to insulate with the future attacks on legitimacy? this is from election officials to be threatened and harassed or et cetera are there other ways? >> you are absolutely right.
it is frightening how methodical in writing a very interesting piece for the atlantic to talked about this but how methodically the other side had gone about picking the election official with the six swing states that basically stood up for the election returns as they should have. we have to recognize people are strategically going about this and then to address it sooner rather than later. >> and the importance of what congress is saying i told you about the 21 million material that can be set off by a lightning strike and then to
politicize the vote in georgia we are pouring gasoline on combustible material but by soaking the combustible material making it easier to set it off. but we wait? oh my goodness is the congressman is talking about. and then to pour gasoline on dry brush area? that is what is happening in georgia and ais number of other states as we go through the 2022 season. >> can you talk about that? is not just election officials but can you talk about the national security threat and without low-level intimidation?
>> but first i'd like to reflect back how do those play out across the country? and this shows you the basic light andwh the falsehood of those agreements that fuel the fire on january 6 has been dispatched across the countryry and it is that lie that people are politicians at the state or local level are using that lie to justify exactly the legislative changes that are politicizing the voting process to ultimately deny americans impact us to vote. can we cannot think of anything worse with the
national security aspect and the attorney general did a pretty good job of the speech and of then talk about the way the political violence with the school boards around the country and local elections and with the healthcare workers. and this is along the lines of the diverse and challenging front we talked about before the justice department has to prioritize all of the's compelling and competing threats this was on the forefront of the effort. so any rapid and complete response by law enforcement state and local and federal level is absolutely essential.
not just to hold people accountable that this sort of conduct victimizes individuals but also to undermine the democratic process that has got to be a —- considered a threat to national security. >> we are running out of time. a phdhr student and sociology are you there? >> my question is about the leakages between the paramilitary group so by the fact in the us the paramilitary historically those repeated linkages and members of the republican party and then with the
capital insurrection the later other politicians prefer with that ability. so with that be incentivized to be enumerated? >> and to take a first crack at that. >> militia activity is illegal pretty much everywhere at the state level. prior groups that get together with law enforcement functions that are not sanctioned by the state that is a criminal offense. but the problem is most people don't even knoww that and it's , rarely enforced.
and then to be in that permissive environment when he has state and local and national politicians who are signaling that agreement or validation to these groups they are very aware they respond to that validation by asserting their independence and it gives them new wind beneath their wings that is an incredibly dangerous situation it should be the responsibility of all elected officials but unfortunately we are in a time when there are some political officials and
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