2015 FPI Forum: Terror, Intelligence and Homeland Security

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"Terror, Intelligence and Homeland Security"
Former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
Moderator: Ambassador Eric Edelman

Video  |  Key Quotations  |  Transcript

Key Quotations

“This administration has been wrong every time on the short side of a terror threat.  Every intelligence analysis that has been presented to the American people, not necessarily the internal work, but that which has been shared with the American people has turned out to underestimate the risk associated with terrorism, whether that is from al-Qaeda or from ISIS or from the Khorasan group or any of the groups that are identified as a terror threat by the administration.” – Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)

“General Hayden, who was head of the CIA when I was [attorney general] said that gathering electronic intelligence is a little bit like they're trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with about 1,000 pieces when the actual puzzle is composed of only about 500 and you don't know which pieces belong and which don't. And then when you get some human intelligence, it's like getting to look at the box.” – Judge Michael Mukasey

“We no longer have a place to go [like Guantanamo] to do intelligence collection for folks who have committed terrorist acts against the United States. We might get to interrogate them for a handful of hours on a ship someplace, but these are question periods that need to extend not into hours, but weeks and months to determine how the network is built so that we can continue to keep all of us safe here in the homeland.” – Rep. Pompeo

“I visited Guantanamo when I was in office.  I visited in February of 2008.  I had also while I was a judge visited several, forget maximum security, medium security facilities in the United States.  If you're talking about conditions, it compares favorably with just about every medium security facility that I ever visited in this country. … There was a Belgian official who dealt with prisons in Belgium who visited Guantanamo and was supposed to have a press conference afterwards to talk about how horrible it was, and he said he couldn't do that because it compared favorably with anything that he had seen in Belgium.” – Judge Mukasey

“I want to double back on something, a point that the Congressman made before, and expand it a little bit about intelligence gathering, human intelligence gathering being an incremental process. It is not simply the initial questioning, hours, days, even weeks, but you take intelligence.  You go out, compare it to facts that you know, maybe double back, find out something else.  Get a list of telephone numbers; get a list of people; go back to the person you talked to originally, and get additional leads based on questions that you didn't know to ask the first time. It is a back‑and‑forth.  It is a constant building of intelligence, and there are people at Guantanamo and elsewhere who wound up providing useful intelligence not only months but years after their capture, and obviously that's not something we're going to be able to do.” – Judge Mukasey

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The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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