tv Al- Qaeda and Osama bin Laden Documents CSPAN November 17, 2017 12:06pm-1:38pm EST
it. when they saw it, because of the way the film looked, it did not look like what the warren commission concluded. allmerican history tv, weekend on c-span3. >> live to a discussion about the release by the cia of 100,000 documents collected by u.s. special forces in the 2011 rate of osama bin laden's compound in pakistan. the foundation for defense of democracies is hosting this event. live coverage on c-span.
>> good afternoon. welcome to fdd, the foundation for defense of democracies. i'm the founder and president. i'm pleased to welcome you today to our conversation, understanding al qaeda through a massive trove of osama bin laden's files. in may of 2011 committee navy seal team went to pakistan and killed osama bin laden. they had a second mission. to take as much information as they could from his compound. we should learn a huge amount of information -- we didn't because it was under lock and key. lobbyists and pressures to weease information -- are given an advance look by who said this
information should be available to scholars and journalists and others. with that, i'm pleased to hand the conversation over to our moderator, kimberly dozier, who's had a distinguished career reporting on intelligence and national security issues. she covered the war in iraq in 2003 and was wounded in a car bombing in 2006. today's event will be live streamed. i encourage guests here and online to join in today's conversation on twitter, @fdd. i will ask you to please silence your phones. thank you for a much. -- thank you very much. >> today, we have with us three of the practitioners of the dark art of delving into everything al qaeda. have bill, founder of the longboard journal.
the new york times specialist on al qaeda, and foreign correspondent and former ap veteran. -- i asked him to bring out this notebook. we will start broad but get pretty granular about this stuff pretty fast. we will chat for 45 minutes amongst ourselves and then open it up to questions from you all. with that, i will start with the broad question. why did it take so long, tom, to release these documents? -- tore's definitely releasing anything. that is the media's job, to push for transparency. of these issues and the complexity of the 9/11 wars, transparency helps inform the public. the u.s. may not have
large-scale deployments in the countries, but we are still deployed in several areas. we are fighting mostly through the air more countries now than ever. understanding the enemy is crucial for understanding the efficacy of these policies and understanding our enemy. what better way to see it then through the eyes of osama bin laden. bill and i started fighting to release these files in may of 2012. the obama white house put out 17 files from this massive trove. bill and i are sitting there thinking, ok, we will get all these goodies today. all that comes out our 17 files. the narrative was al qaeda was on the decline, everything was going poorly mother was no cohesion to this international network.
bin laden had little control over all of this. that narrative we knew immediately was totally wrong. it was a cherry picked version of what was going on. we can prove it is wrong based on the file -- even with the 17 files that came out and we can prove it's wrong. the only way we will put this issue to rest is to get everything released -- it began with a simple question. what role did osama bin laden play in al qaeda on the day he was killed? what was he doing? twoan you describe the transcripts? files, it was a mix. we had some information on the communications with the pakistani taliban. one of the first files, the somali file was in the first batch --
etter thatas a l was an attachment to another letter that wasn't released. in 2010ually reported that he ordered them to secure their ties with al qaeda. that they wereas concerned about getting -- having the aid cut off because there was a lot of famine in somalia at the time. they wanted to keep the international coalition coalescing and coming in and attacking -- it is an al qaeda branch. in one of the files, there was the confirmation -- that was in the first batch. we have seen more information on
that. it was a smattering of information in various different areas. we have to understand about these files, we are looking at one or two communications in a long string of communication. it was cherry picked. it has the feeling of, all right, they put out this piece, there was information on iran-al qaeda ties. when you look at that, the argument was made, this shows ties -- actually, we see some indication that there are. it was a mix of information in that first batch. 17 files was not enough to draw any type of concrete conclusions, which were made at that time. ,> between then and now
describe what was just released in terms of size and scope. 110,000 files.'s there's another 300,000 software files. 470,000 total files. reports, reports on al qaeda in iraq at the time, which eventually became the islamic state, communication and forth, bin laden's personal journal, videos of bin laden,'s family videos in their -- there's family videos in there. they didn't just seize bin laden's laptop, they seized everything that was used. we have seen communications about the pakistani taliban. we really only scratched the surface. >>'s digital life.
-- his digital life. >> and his families as well. >> the difference between the first release and the second release, why do you think the obama administration was holding those documents back? >> i can only speak to my own reporting. killed, iin laden was was the west africa bureau chief for ap. i was based in senegal but i covered the region. six month later, a branch of al aqim, took over the northern half of mali. it was an enormous territory. diplomats at the embassy and , the narrative i would malis that this group in was not connected to al qaeda.
and had opportunistically taken the al qaeda name to have prestige and scare people and in fact that people were just criminals, drug dealers kidnapping people for ransom. >> these were not the al qaeda droids you're looking for. french fleshed out this group. i was among the group of reporters that got two timbuktu. the buildings had been occupied by this terror group. i started collecting the thousands of documents they had left behind. i worked with a translator for the next year. whichly, my worldview, had been informed by officials, that started to fall apart. among the documents i was finding in mali was a disciplinary letter from al
qaeda reprimanding a commander who had negotiated the ransom of a canadian hostage on his own without consulting al qaeda central. 2008.as going back to suddenly, i was seeing this group i was told really had no connection was in fact being micromanaged by al qaeda central. when the first set of documents came out, if you read them carefully with this knowledge in mind, you can find evidence of this micromanaging. in the letters from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula come you see them giving each other instructions my guidance, etc. the overall narrative that was being pushed to the press, if you look at the editorials that were done, an image of bin laden isolated, he had lost control of this group -- one of the
headlines describing him was a lion in winter. the new trove confirms what i was seeing in mali, which is not tissue,l connective but connective tissue to the point of being micromanaged. very minor personal decisions are being decided by the group thousands of miles away. >> to you think that that was something kept from the public's view because it revealed that there had to become indication going back and forth which means u.s. intelligence was missing this? >> think back to bin laden was killed, and was right before a major campaign season. then't want to underplay role that the killing of osama bin laden had.
that was the rice into something much bigger. the head of the organization had been killed. these are quotes i would get -- the organization has been decimated, the organization is in disarray. the organization is on the run, right? at the same time that we were preparing to pull out troops itm iraq and afghanistan, was important to portray this as a problem that no longer existed. >> tom, you all badgered two administrations, you got mike pompeo to release information, why did it come from the cia and dni? there are accusations that witho released this
political motivations in mind. question back there and he started blending me with signs and documents. -- blinding me with signs and documents. >> our role in this started with the reasons you just outlined. what is the structure look like? we wanted the files out to answer these questions. come i didn't know who he was when we started advocating to release the stuff. sayingainly heard us this stuff has to be released. commerce been devin nunes fought to have this stuff
released as well. -- congressman devin nunes fought to have this stuff released as well. i laughed when i saw this allegation -- it's not controversial at all that there is this tie. the obama administration, their treasury and state departments over the course of five years issued numerous terrorist designations citing the connections between the iranian regime and al qaeda that allowed al qaeda to maintain a core facilitation pipeline inside iran. what i was showing kim, look, i don't need the bin laden files.
all i would have to do is point to what the obama administration said. this is a treasury department terrorist designation. this goes through a rigorous process. citing firm intelligence to make this designation going back to 2011. start by saying that the treasury department was targeting al qaeda's keep funding and support network using iran is a critical transit point. the talk about uncovering secret deal between iran and al qaeda. --december of 2011 >> this is after the raid. >> parts of the u.s. government are using the bin laden files to justify terrorist designations while other parts are putting their head in the sand and him want to hear it -- don't want to
hear it. this is the state department in 2011. they offer an award for a major al qaeda facilitator. they say he is operating under an agreement between al qaeda and the iranian government. we can go on like this for the next eight hours. this issue ofto iran-al qaeda but they do have an agreement. they fight each other in syria and yemen and elsewhere. [no audio]
>> once again, having technical issues with our signal from the foundation for defense of and their discussion on the documents that were collected during the raid on osama bin laden's compound in pakistan. we hope to return to live coverage on c-span. a look at thee, discussion on republicans and the affordable care act. inues. austin,ining us from texas, is president of the foundation for research on equal alsotunity, avik roy, contributor to "forbes" magazine, and former policy adviser to three presidential candidates. are here to talk about the affordable care act. thank you for joining us. if the senate republicans want to include in the tax reform
bill repeal of the individual mandate. what do you think about that idea? guest: i think it makes a lot of sense. one thing you have to remember about the individual mandate is it has played an outside role in the fiscal debates about both replacing obamacare and tax of courts and the way washington works. the congressional budget office believes that if you repeal the millional mandate, $16 were 13llion people million is the latest estimate, they would drop out of the insurance market because they would not be forced to pay a fine if they do not sign appeared because cbo believes this, all these massive fiscal savings that come from including the individual mandate in tax reform, and the supreme court famously in 2012 ruled that the individual mandate is a tax, and
that is a big part why it is compatible with this legislation before the senate now. host: what does the individual mandate do, and what has been the impact of it? guest: great question. under obamacare or the affordable care act, what the individual mandate does is it says you are required to buy health insurance, which is defined under obamacare with certain criterion in terms of what kinds of insurance qualify for that. there are certain exemptions it if your income is below the or if youne roughly do not file income taxes, you do not have to. there are other loopholes and exemptions. broadly, most people are required to buy health insurance either from their employer, medicare, medicaid, or on their we just $695fine, a year or 2.5% of your adjusted gross income, whichever is greater.
so he gets larger as you go up the income scale. host: what has been the end cap -- the impact on the cost of health care and on the health care industry? guest: another great question. in terms of the real word, the view is that the individual mandate has had almost no effect. there was a paper published by jonathan gruber, one of the people consider the architect of obamacare, a few years ago in a journal saying there is no evidence of the individual mandate is having an effect in terms of encouraging people to sign up for coverage. lot more people, particularly at the lower end of the income coverage at a buy discounted rate because of federal subsidies. the real-world effect is minimal. in theory, the hope was, the reason why democrats enacted the
individual mandate in the first place is because the way obamacare's regulations work is a doubled or tripled the cost of health insurance for younger healthier people in order to make health in >> we will leave this segment . we go live back to the foundation for defense of democracies and there have been on the documents collected by special forces in a raid of bin laden's compound. >> one of the things we have heard in the post bin laden era is that much of their work has been decks mad decimated. from what you have read in the files and the sophistication's you are describing, how do you think they are operating now? >> al qaeda? >> has it changed? is he using some of the same things? >> we know they are still
fighting in afghanistan. the obama administration narrative from the cia and the defense department officials, al qaeda is decimated. the number of fighters remained constant. the binthout having , they wereents launching attacks and issuing press releases on al qaeda members being killed in afghanistan. one raid killed 50 guys. fightersnow 55 in afghanistan0 -- 50 fighters in afghanistan? the other thing the defense department intelligence said was al qaeda is combining provinces
in northeast afghanistan, minimal presence outside of there. they killed around 200 al qaeda fighters in this one area. -100,e are at you do the math. -- al qaeda formed a branch in the india subcontinent. they responded to some of the losses they incurred during the drone campaign. it is clear, the bin laden files indicate they were taking losses and they were hurting. they are moving operatives in afghanistan and identify provinces where they would be safe. they are sticking to places
with security that is challenged, remote locations, places where they can blend in. >> with the friendly forces operating there, difficult for american forces to operate. reports, al press qaeda has a large network -- i never believed bin laden was hiding in a cave. >> does anybody want to take it back ta bet? >> think you are midsized city in central pakistan. >> we have friends from the pakistani embassy here. >> pick a city like that. >> in studying what you have
been able to study so far, what has been your takeaway? >> super interesting communication between al qaeda central and this group that had been portrayed as a bunch of criminals in mali. aqim. for example, there is a letter regarding these two tunisians -- two austrian tourists who were kidnapped in tunisia circa 2008. i have gone to austria to interview this couple. they were there with their two german shepherd's. did notaeda affiliate want to waste the bullets, so they beat them to death. .he woman could barely talk she spent the whole interview
she was clearly like a wounded she was clearly like a wounded person that had been changed by this. he was more sanguine. the these are physical letters. the perception is these are being handcarried from the deserts of northern africa across these oceans all the way over to pakistan. committed to million euro ransom is not that much compared to what aqim would later get. euro ransom ison not that much compared to what aqim would later get. africa, and a group in
it had a different name, and pledged allegiance to al qaeda in 2006-2007. there's a letter where he is going over the charter for the al qaeda group in africa, giving ands on their bylines saying article 16, you should phrase that a little more differently, article whatever, you should do it this way. >> the most intrusive editor in the world. suggestions he stating whatticle their goal was going to be in africa was initially formulated to take it would be jihad against the algerian regime. he gently says i think you would be better positioned to say this is a more global thing. basically suggests it should be
against the west, against america, but in the territory. shaping their mission, making it mobile. another ongoing trope you hear about these groups like boko these are local groups with local grievances could of course they are local groups with local grievances. when you become part of this brand of terror, those local grievances become part of something more global. hating a western target in the area like a health and. -- like a hilton. you are against algeria, but you hit a u.n. compound in algeria. >> al qaeda is getting funding in pakistan, there getting their that these documents talk
about moving money. where aln documents qaeda is basically redlining the movement and the charter. there's another document where the head of the movement in forstan was being upgraded trent to poach some of al qaeda's companies -- trying to poach some of al qaeda's companies. everyone says tpp is a local taliban group. sure, al qaeda has some ties to it -- >> they sound like trade ties. tellinglike corporate its local affiliate you have to do this. we see that time and time again from as far flung as the african
desert to al qaeda central in pakistan. >> you say you are still finding new stuff. the communication with commanders in iran will surprise people. >> iraq. the files will rewrite the history of the iraq war. we've already learned things from these files that nobody knew previously. for example, bin laden was audioing fairly regularly reports from his commanders in iraq. given handwritten or typed letters. they would record a summary of the weekly events to explain what was going on. these are very in-depth reports. talking about the political situation, talking about the economy, talking about different insurgency groups. very granular stuff.
>> this is al qaeda in iraq. form oris the direct current form of isis. between isis and al qaeda, whether or not isis was really part of al qaeda past 2006. the files will end that debate once and for all. it is pretty clear that al qaeda was still guiding and providing leadership for isis and bin laden considered it to be part of his global empire. about thekey question ebb and flow of the fight -- people are saying isis is decimated just like al qaeda was decimated. 's commander in iraq is saying to him the field of jihad in iraq is fertile. even if the islamic state collapses, we will keep going.
we have plenty of resources, there's plenty to keep us waiting jihad -- this is years before the syrian uprising. syriaere already eyeing years before from iraq. they were seeing in as something the islamic state of iraq could expand in. they were talking about that years before the opportunity manifested itself. there's the ebb and flow of the fight. if you only see part of the story and say that is it, the islamic state has collapsed, we saw what happened, they bounced back and became isis, a global phenomenon. that's why you have to keep track of these global organizations. >> before opening it up to the audience, one question was to ask you all, which copy of the documents do you have? the first one the cia put out?
you have the malware version. cia post of these documents. -- posted these documents. >> instead of giving us a ,elpful guide with translations it was quite unhelpful. basically a giant jumble of files. you will see a picture of a cat and a picture of a rose and a letter from an important al qaeda facilitator. that is what has been given to us. many of the files also had the malware in it. the cia had to take this stuff down and scrub it and relaunch it. that,'re worried about you can wait. we got the malware version. >> awesome.
anything to add on that? computer.ll the one >> we think. i would like to open up to questions from the audience. anyone who can be -- there is a microphone. that person in the blue tie. if you can introduce yourself. >> there are carvey -- derrick harvey. there's a lot that will still come out. about --ve any idea you will you have any idea about whether there's any gap between besides aeleased -- select number of highly classified documents they want to retain, they are saying
copyrighted material they weren't releasing. you think there is a gap still of other material that might not be released? two, the raidumber recovered only what the raid team was able to bring back with them. we have pakistanis in the audience. there was a treasure trove they recovered, too. it has not been made accessible. >> i don't know what wasn't given to us. what was represented to me was that it was basically only the most operationally sensitive stuff. the second part of the question is something i asked about. if you go back through the raid, the americans did carry out -- the navy seals killed bin laden and started pushing as much
stuff into duffel bags as they can. they are trying to carry this stuff out. they didn't get everything. there is an open question about whether or not the stuff the pakistanis recovered -- i'm going to assume the americans got it. is an open question about whether or not any of that material was included in what was released. you may have part of the files that we don't have that fill in blanks where we have them. >> much was there an exchange of information? with the pakistani government? >> my sense is this is very sensitive -- a highly controversial raid. the commission report has some details on this. my sense is that -- my guess is
that the u.s. got from pakistan what they recovered or got from pakistan what pakistan was willing to give them from what was recovered. i doubt all of that was included in this release. >> sir in the front row. the microphone is headed your way. if you could introduce yourself. >> my name is david jackson. i'm a former director of voice of america. i was curious whether you got a sense about what percentage of this recent trove of documents has been shared over the years with america's allies. >> i will take that one. this is a great question. a couple of things -- one, we know the documents have been used in a number of criminal cases in europe and elsewhere. somebody is mentioned in the file and the
file is used to prosecute that individual. part of the recently advocate transparency in this regard, we are hearing a lot of stories back in 2012 that there were fights in the bureaucracy about who was given access within the u.s. government. we believe in competitive analysis and freedom of information. hearing from intelligence analysts within the u.s. government saying we cannot get our hands on these files. it is strange. we are living in a world of fake news, information operations, weaponize and information. that weaponize and information -- weaponizing information. has there been anything from the files that would be embarrassing to al qaeda that you have seen
turn people off, the weaponized in a way that would turn followers off? >> this is too young -- when the raid occurred and they found property on bin laden's computer, the al qaeda community took that as something that had been planted. they would never believe that bin laden, a human being, could possibly ingest pornography. that was surely something embarrassing for the group. >> we also found bali would videos.- bollywood i have come to appreciate them. [laughter] >> you are looking for hidden messages, right? >> absolutely.
you raise an important question. no matter what we put forward jihadists will generally dismiss it. one of the things that is very difficult for them to dismiss is the iran-al qaeda ties. they can dismiss it as false, but everyone knows what is going on. members have transited through iran to get to iraq and syria. they all know what's going on. having these files come out and prove it, that is something that is very difficult for them to deny. >> i think isis has made fun of al qaeda. >> the official newsletter, they have a defector from al qaeda who accused al qaeda of being soft on iran. al qaeda's response was they didn't deny that they had to deal with iran. it became something of
embarrassment for them. the defector was an you guys are soft on iran, there are safehouses in iran that they are monitoring. al qaeda's response was yeah, but you do. how did you get into syria and iraq? you went through iran. that relationship is not controversial within isis literature or al qaeda literature. the files recognize it. is something that has to be discussed. as they were saying, it causes problems for al qaeda. >> in the hands of a savvy information officer, if they had the information back in 2011, that might have been something they would want to include in a file to be made public. oft about the vast middle
people who are considering going in that direction. >> if you want something that is controversial mother's a big argument between isis and al qaeda about whether isis had an allegiance to al qaeda's leader that was broken when baghdad theares the caliphate -- files could have been weaponize during the rise of ice is to undermine the idea that isis never had -- this became a big deal. how can you pledge allegiance to him when he broke his own oath to us? this could happen weaponize do not regard. this could have been weaponize in that regard. >> thank you very much. -- i ame in an analyst
a cnn analyst. know, is theou to president's strategy for eliminating such groups -- is there such strategy present to bring this -- is it expanding? if it is expanding, what should be the strategy to bring it to a closure? >> i'm a journalist. i cannot make policy recommendations. let's look at isis for a moment. isis held a territory in iraq and syria and libya for more than three years. at its height, it was the size of the united kingdom. they ruled 12 million people. 11y had recruits from
different countries, tens of thousands of people. it is significant that that territory has been taken away. 96% of that territory has been taken away. making the same declarations that i heard in 2011 and 2012 where they are conflating things. because the territory has been erased, the group is now decimated and is on the run. we are hearing the same terms. all you have to do is be on the telegram channel to see how active they remain today. hundreds of channels are populated by thousands of their acolytes online. they continue their jihad ritually. october, we saw the attack using a car in my home city in york. -- in new york.
the young man who did that initially tried to put the isis -- on thee his car hood of his car. when he was in his hospital bed, he asked the nurse to deliver him and isis flag. isis,r he was speaking to he is taking on their mental and believes he is working in their name. thinkingaution us from that the current successes have spelt the end of the group. >> i've heard from top defense officials and top intel officials talking about the virtual caliphate. they refer to this as a generational war. there's a difference between the national security officials you
hear from and some of the messages out of the white house. >> i spend a lot of time in paris because that is where the most devastating isis attack took place. i find the rhetoric to be interesting. it was very similar to american officials before the november 13 attacks. following the november 13 startedthe prosecutor to level with the population. he would say things like this an israelike dialogue -- he would make clear that this group is not defeated, it is not going to be defeated anytime soon, we are doing everything we can to keep you safe, but you have to understand that this is a major problem. that is the kind of rhetoric we
are hearing out of france. that is because they've tasted in such an acute way. we haven't heard that except privately in america. the most informed analysts i speak to do call it a generational war. this will be here for a while. we don't completely know how to defeat them. if we did, we would have done it by now. losten though they have territory, i am seeing them launch attacks in areas they recently lost. much attacks look very like a text we were witnessing were11 -- attacks we witnessing in 2011 prior to osul.
it is very easy to say they lost territory, therefore they are defeated. they are not defeated on the battlefield. they have just transition from openly controlling territory to now fighting a guerrilla style insurgency, still active, still that still power draws in recruits, still shows their followers of a virtual caliphate but have a significant presence on the battlefield even though they don't control territory. reading these documents, you see they think strategically, they do alliances of convenience or alliances that help them sees both influence and power. could you see cooperation with isis in its current form? >> we should be wary that may be some factions within the isis could go back to the al qaeda fold. the isis literature and propaganda has been virulently
anti-al qaeda for years. there are leaders within isis that have adopted basically, you are too soft, al qaeda. there are disagreements on tactics and methodology between the two organizations. on the lookout for collusion in any different countries, sort of a bargain between these different factions. i just don't think you will see a full-scale reconciliation of isis at all into al qaeda. isis has adopted its own methodology and messaging to its recruits that is distinctly different from one al qaeda has been saying. more like the operations, cooperation of convenience on the battlefield in syria or libya, we are in this area, so you stay in this area. >> isis killed one of the most senior al qaeda guys in syria. they sent a suicide bomber to kill him in 2014. they have had some pretty serious infighting between the two in different areas.
one of the things to keep looking out for in all of this -- i mentioned this file earlier. they understand there is an ebb and flow to the fight. there are times when they are surging, times when they are retreating. the bottom line is to keep an eye on it at all times. the bottom line for us, ultimately, if the current white house spikes the football on isis, we will say you are wrong. just as the previous administration spike the football on al qaeda. it has a do with the details and the analysis going on, not any political messaging. that is the key here. >> sir? >> my name is ken timmerman. were there any documents in this release relating to the 9/11 attacks? second, there was a great deal of information actually out in the public realm before 2011,
which you mentioned, where he could of weaponize the iran-al qaeda connection. there was a defector who warned about the upcoming attacks. i was involved in a lawsuit that won a $10 billion judgment against the islamic state of iran for their involvement in the 9/11 attacks, you have documents that came out in the 9/11 report. why do you think it is u.s. intelligence is consistently , oning back, until recently the iranian connection to al qaeda and the connection in the september 11 attacks? which was mentioned in the 9/11 commission. towe have to be careful not conflate the intelligence community pushing back and certain administrations pushing back. my quick answers are we are hunting for anything 9/11 related. seems like the cache is more
dated. we still have not gone through a great deal of it. when it comes to iran-al qaeda, you see this argument that it is just for the iraq war. the bush administration was supposedly high things of don's connection to al qaeda. that is the reflexive thing we see in these arguments. that does not follow that we want a regime change in iran. we have watched iraq for how many years? this has been a nightmare. the fact that we would want another iraq war, are you kidding? reporting on the facts and what they are is a whole other issue. there is resistance for policy reasons mainly to admit that i iran and al qaeda colluded at times. politicization goes both ways. it can go in the direction of supporting a war, or the other way where somebody decides they any ideas that are
out there about an idea and play down real existing relationships. we are not trying to justify any war, we just want to understand what our enemies are doing. >> i was referring to the fact, if you read michael morel's book, he comes out with the narrative that is in these release,- this current it is a different narrative than al qaeda was on its heels, was the lion in winter watching the good old days and reruns on cable tv. instead, this former deputy director of the cia, former acting director, said, we realize they were in touch in a very micromanaging way with their entire network. so what the intelligence community thought versus what the two administrations decided to release are different things. >> [inaudible] >> i was referring to the
behavior of al qaeda. good on theis very point of what was bin laden doing the time he was killed. he explained prior to the raid, cia assessed that bin laden was basically giving up day-to-day control of al qaeda. after the raid, documents are scooped up, low and behold, they realize he was running the whole thing. that is clarifying language that is not just us nerds combing through the files. senior official who says that is what the reality of these files were. that is the clean analysis. part of why we want these files out is to settle this once and for all. that there did that took hold in 2012, we still see traces of it. you will find people making arguments. you still see people, that is not really al qaeda, that is a local group.
the afghan taliban, we have some good stories coming from there. that is a very interesting set of files. i think there are uncomfortable truths in these files that make certain policy decisions difficult to execute. such as negotiations with the obama administration negotiating with the afghan taliban. evidence there of what al qaeda's view of that. viewed the individuals they were negotiating with were actually nobodies within the taliban. if there is evidence of al qaeda theseliban collusion in documents, how can you release those documents if you want to push a policy of negotiating? it is not just iran. what if we expose -- we suspect we will see perhaps exposing that golden chain, the donors. we have not found the absolute proof of this yet.
but if things like that are in these files, it makes executing policy in the middle east -- >> we found unnamed files from a saudi shake that we will expose. corresponding pretty regularly with bin laden. he signed the letters, your loving brother. it is all about stuff inside saudi. this is the type of thing which is very fascinating about these files. who is that guy? why does he have a direct line to bin laden? why can he chastise bin laden for what he's doing? >> that will also be more embarrassing potentially to the obama administration, because they would have access to those files. active, didis still they ask the saudi government to crack down on him? the obamaot just administration, but the whole thing. this is not about any one politician or political group. this is about what is the ground
truth of these files, what do they expose? we are fighting in more places today than ever. we don't have large-scale troop deployments but we are fighting all of these areas. shouldn't we have more information about who we are fighting, who supported them, and why it keeps on going? isn't that important to discuss and debate and then regret the best approach of countering it. we don't know how to win this yet. >> front row. thank you. embassy of afghanistan political counselor. quick question on the potential relationship, any negligence on the pakistani government, especially its military, to allow osama bin laden to be there, operate, operate from under the nose of the pakistani .ilitary in a bottle bottom
was there anything the previous administration could have looked , had pakistan be held accountable, or did the trump administration you such evidence to have this new bold policy that put pakistan in its place? >> first, we need the government of afghanistan to talk to me about comes up bin laden. i have some questions about his current role in afghanistan. there are some interesting there -- things there. the pakistan situation is complex. , in fact, that al qaeda was leaving the insurgency against parts of the pakistani state, that certain pakistani officials in the files show that they knew when they wanted to negotiate a truce with other insurgents, they knew where to go. they went through intermediaries with bin laden would suggest they knew he was close at hand. from what we see, there are
these other groups, including the afghan taliban, which have been de facto sponsored by the isi, pakistani military. some of those groups are also deeply in bed with al qaeda and were a part of the bin laden support group and provides these cutouts that were helping to buttress what al qaeda was doing in pakistan. on the other hand, maintaining relationships with the pakistani state. our point is all of this news to be untangled. we have spent more time trying to untangle the question you had then any of the files. going through these files carefully. it is a very difficult web to untangle to get to the truth that we have been suspicious all along, as everyone else has, who knew he was there, how do we prove that? >> gentleman in the back of the room. green jacket. thank you very much.
kurdistan tv. double question -- simple question. the cia director confirmed he was in kirkuk. they were used by the militia in iraq. they were using u.s. weapons to attack kurdistan, peshmerga, u.s. allies, and strategy is not clear. >> i agree with you. u.s. military has whitewashed the roles of shia militia inside iraq. aree are militias -- they under an umbrella called the popular mobilization forces. its operations leader is an individual who is listed as a specially designated global terrorist by the u.s. government. in his designation, he is listed as an advisor. the popular mobilization forces
reports directly to the prime minister of iraq. it is institutionalized as an official arm of the iraqi military, but again, only reports to the prime minister. the u.s. military, state department has whitewashed this issue. their position has been that they are part of the official government. is of these organizations listed as a foreign terrorist organization. in thethe key groups popular mobilization forces, all of the largest militias, the most influential, powerful that have been at the forefront of the iraqi offenses in every major city in iraq are all hostile to the u.s. several of their leaders are global terrorists. some of them has openly stated,
if the supreme leader orders me to overthrow the iraqi government, i will do that. they have made threats against the united states, said they would target the united states, if ordered to do so by khomeini. has been identified as an advisor to the iraqi prime minister. you have a significant problem here inside iraq. the u.s. withdrawal, in my estimation, they open the door for iranian influence to come in. when i was embedded in iraq and spoke to senior and mid-level iraqi officers who were by all accounts loyal to the iraqi government, feared just this. a predicted a u.s. withdrawal would allow this to happen. there needs to be clarity from the u.s. government in order to deal with this problem, or else -- what has been established within iraq with these mobilization forces is analogous to the iraq irdc.
they will usurp power over the military. they have already really done that. they have been the most influential force on the battlefield next to the counterterrorism service which report to the prime minister. it is a big problem. i'm not confident in seeing the problem resolved shortly, unless there is a major change in the understanding. the bin laden problem -- i realize there is no connection between the two, but we have to understand what is going on and look at it reasonably and say this is what is happening, in order to develop strategy to counter it. but when you have top u.s. officials and generals saying, it is not a problem in iraq, then that is what u.s. policymakers are getting. therefore, you have this problem. look, i will say one more thing. look at the problem has below has created with a population of
4 million in lebanon? now you have iraq with 30 million people. that is what the pms recruiting base is. this is what is in store for the middle east. is there anyone from the state department or iraqi embassy in the crowd who wants to stand up and take that? not this time. a question in the back of the room. foreign policy. i wanted to ask you, in light of how would yous, compare al qaeda's leadership policies compared to pakistani government, its relationship with iran, irgc. is there any acknowledgment, totally different? >> that is a tough question to answer because to debbie will totally different contexts. , their comes to pakistan big complaint in the al qaeda letters is they cooperate with the u.s., parts of the pakistani
state. they complain about that, whereas they don't have that complaint with iran necessarily. the trick is, pakistan is not exporting their own revolution throughout the region, where as iran is. with iran big problem is they don't want the uranium style shi'ism to spread throughout the region where they want their own version. there are ideological problems between what iran wants to do and what al qaeda wants to do. but that does not preclude them from cooperating in some ways. pakistan, the problem comes back to the role of the american state. we have seen a lot of files where they are even debating what you do when you have a pakistani spy. someody who is working for part of pakistani intel or a part of the pakistani establishment against us. what do we do with him? you can see that sort of granular level struggle within pakistan on this.
a quick point. steve cole has a book coming out, part of the intelligence and i think it is pretty good. have not read the whole thing yet, but it is hitting on the key issue. part of the intelligence service, assisted and help the u.s. against jihadi's, part of it is not. the part that is not is not fully understood. that is what we are trying to figure out. what is the level of their collusion with al qaeda specifically? you can show they are colluding directly with groups that collude with al qaeda, the question is what about the direct relationship? that is what we're trying to figure out. we havef the things seen in pakistan is the military has targeted al qaeda leaders. whether it was intentional in waziristan, i cannot tell you. they permitted the u.s. to
launch drone strikes. there is certainly tension there . al qaeda has supported the movement of taliban in pakistan. there was that insurgency in the northwest province. problem, that was contentious with the pakistani state, establishment in general. at the same time, this is the good taliban versus bad taliban narrative. do is say,an try to we have good taliban, they are the afghan taliban. that fighthe groups in trash mere. then there is the bad taliban. we will call that -- on where that you ignore intentionally or unintentionally , the good taliban supports the bad taliban. this is in the bin laden files.
when the pakistani government wanted to figure should a truce with al qaeda, they reached out to the good taliban, the head of mujahedin. the deputy of the afghan taliban. they tried to coordinate a truce with al qaeda and the movement of the taliban in pakistan. that is the dynamic we see. what they don't understand is these good groups shelter the bad side. they provide arms, money, weapons, save haven, everything they need to survive. that is the dynamic we see publicly. that is part of the dynamic we see inside the documents as well . we do expect to see, again, i go how all osama bin laden was able to live in pakistan without direct knowledge. anyone who understands about a bot, it is not like an open city. there are checkpoints all
throughout the city. i have to ask, was there anything so far in the document files that shows communications with pakistani officials and al qaeda? >> that is the information we are trying to negotiate a truce. >> i mean not just a truce, other types of, real cooperation. this is what we are working on display to figure out from these files. point herethis quick there is an interesting file that we just finished translating. assessment of u.s. strategy for combating al qaeda and other affiliated groups. al qaeda believed pakistan did not want the jihadi problem to go away entirely because that meant the rest of the community would have to focus on other issues come including the nuclear program. very sophisticated reading of the situation that al qaeda had in pakistan.
that file is interesting for a lot of reasons. >> we have time for one more question. i have not asked anyone on the side of the room. gentleman in the back of the room whom i cannot see because of the building structure. >> john mueller, cato institute. i would like to ask about whether these communications usualonsequences, the take on sarkar week for example, were there were messages coming from al qaeda central but he kept doing what he was doing. do you see a different take when you look at these materials coming out in 2011? can you also ask your question as well? we are getting you a microphone. just a second. it is a lightning round of to the viewer questions to finish. hudson institute.
one of the more amazing things that comes out of this, it seems to me, is the amount of communication that al qaeda central must have been managing. i wonder if you have any sense from these documents how this was done, you would think there would be enough indications of how this was going on that that would have given us a lot of opportunities to intercept. wondering if you saw anything. >> on the al qaeda in iraq point, the files are -- internal iles from al qaeda, yes, think there were tensions, difficulties in the relationship. part of that whole messaging of constantly,ess down was only look at one window of their relationship. at numerous other times they were praising him and saw him as their guy in iraq. overall, he was still their guy.
this will start to answer both of your points. al qaeda's leadership was issuing directives. after he was killed in 2006, we are seeing directives go out to his accessories talking about the granular detail. one of these letters is talking about the administrative bodies of the office of mujahedin affairs. they say, shake bin laden says you need to set up an office within the office of mujahedin affairs and you will take on all the personal biographical information, figure out who is who, what their talents are, issuing administrative orders to the islamic state of iraq. on the question of how all of this was transported, some of it was career, thumb drives. what you're looking at in the are files coming in at different times from different personalities.
, hisf his key guys right-hand man at the time of his death, probably communicated with different people different ways over time. it was not always this us early career. although a portion of it was. it is funny that you mention for thisedin office administrative office. that letter from the man who is now the head of al qaeda pacific reset they need to keep a register. of all the new recruits and need to identify their special skills. what talents they have. basically an hr department. fast-forward to the islamic state. i have found these documents that the islamic state issued to their recruits, like an intake form. application. who is your mom, dad, where did you go to school, what do you want to do inside the islamic ,tate, what skills do you have
have you ever been arrested for terrorism charges? successor to the islamic state in iraq very much applying this particular piece of administrative advice that came in 2008. was notjust shows this just a group with some terrorist cells here and there and if we just kill this key leader, the whole thing falls apart. they were built to survive a drone campaign from 2007 to 2 015. a small, cellular terrorist group does not set up an administrative office. we see this time and again. central directing to its branches, affiliates. they are passing down lessons learned and it is being passed back up to the top.
this is what successful organizations do. whether they did it as well as some of the finest corporations out there, that remains to be seen, but well enough to go from a jihad where al qaeda just had a presence in afghanistan fighting with the taliban and, to a global terrorist insurgency today. >> closing thoughts from each of you. my lightning round question is, what have you seen in the files that answers the question, what keeps drawing followers to al qaeda? >> i have not seen a lot of the whatiting stuff yet, but you see consistently in their messaging, that they are telling others to disseminate, they believe in a conspiratorial view of the world. there is a grand alliance between america and the zionist to conspire against muslims everywhere. basically everything that happens or befalls them in the world is the product of this anti-islamicl
viewpoint. but that is part of the reason of why we have been very strong talking about the rhetoric in this country when it comes to muslims here or abroad. be very careful distinguishing between the vast majority of muslims have nothing to do with this and are not part of these groups, and the fact that ultimately they are on the front lines, whether in afghanistan or amli. you are the one fighting these guys. they want to erase that distinction. they want to say they represent all of islam and muslims, and of course that is false. but that is a key theme in their messaging. it is important for us to make sure that we are careful in our rhetoric to not give in to that false narrative. regarding the messaging, what i would take away is their timeline. word, take them at their it seems to be eternity. they are fighting forever, right? iraq last year when the start of the mosul operation
happened in october. at that point in time when i was speaking to u.s. and iraqi officials, they were optimistic that they could take mosul before obama left office in january. three months. instead, it was a nine-month's lock -- slog. the senior general on the american side described it as the worst fighting she had seen in 30 years, comparable to the worst battles of world war ii. i think one of the things we're up against is, their timeline is forever. our timeline is a political one, where our leaders are of course under enormous pressure to show results. unfortunately, in that effort to show results, we repeatedly underestimate them, repeatedly see them as smaller than they are. ourselves the story we want to hear as opposed to the reality in front of us. >> that's right.
>> ice two other things. .ommitment to the fight they are planning for the long haul. that is very important to them. the religious justification for what they are doing, they tried to put themselves as not just the fighting vanguard, but the true believers. this is something they are very concerned about, killing muslims unnecessarily, for instance. the schism between the islamic state and al qaeda comes, and you see the seeds of this. zarqawi was definitely their guy. i read a recent document that said when he swore allegiance to .s, part of this jihad they are very clear that they want to project themselves as fighters,teous religious fighters.
it is not just a war against the war they a religious are putting forward. that is something that is appealing to the segment of the muslim world that will support them. >> on that note, i want to thank you for the discussion, fdd for sponsoring this. if there are any folks in the intel world watching and you have some more documents that you would be willing to release, we're all for it. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute,
coverage ofshes our this event from the foundation for the defense of democracies. of themissed any program, it will be available online shortly. just type "al qaeda" in our search bar. today, jeff sessions and don mcgann will deliver keynote remarks at the federalist society's national lawyers convention here in washington. live convention -- live coverage at 2:00 eastern. also online at c-span.org, where you can listen with this free c-span radio app. looking live at the u.s. capital where both parties of congress have left for the thinks giving holiday. before the house gaveled out, they pass the republican tax 5.form bill, approved 227-20
13 republicans joined with democrats voting against the measure. the senate continues working on its measure of tax reform. senate finance committee finished its work yesterday. debate got heated at times, including this moment between orrin hatch and democrat sherrod brown. >> they know the tv ads that will be run against the five most important senators against this committee, the tv ads that the independent groups will run , senatorourse say mccaskill and senator casey and senator stabenow and senator nelson are voting against a $4000 raise that this tax cut will bestow on them. we know it is coming, we know you will have more money to promote that then we will have to defend it, but that is why the wyden amendment is so important. i think it would be nice tonight before we go home to acknowledge , this tax cut is not for the middle class, it is for the
rich. that whole thing about higher wages is a good selling point but we know companies just don't give away higher wages. they don't just give away higher wages because they have more money. operations are sitting on a lot of profits now. shots, thee bank sarcasm, the satire. you, iuld just say to people.m the poor i have been working my whole stinking career for people who don't have a chance. i really resent it saying that i'm just doing this for the rich. give me a break. thatnk you guys overplay all of time, and it gets old. frankly, you ought to quit it. >> mr. chairman -- >> i'm not true. it is true, it is a nice political play. respect, i get
sick and tired of the rich getting richer and richer. >> order. over again. how many times do we do this? listen. i have honored you by allowing you to spout off here. what you said was not right. that's all i'm saying. i come from the lower limit of class originally. we didn't have anything. don't do that stuff on me. i get tired of that craft. let me just say something. couldwork together, we pull this country out of every mess it is in. we could do a lot of things you are talking about, too. i have a reputation of having worked together. >> let's start with chip. >> i have done it for years. >> start today. more bill pasts then everybody on this committee put together, and they have been has for the benefit of people in
this country. i like you personally very much but i'm telling you, this bull crab you throw out here really gets old after a while. and to do it at the end of this, is just not right. it takes a lot to get me worked up like this. portion of yesterday senate finance committee meeting on the republican tax reform bill. the committee did go on to pass the measure 14-12. senate republican leaders are expecting to bring the bill to the full senate for consideration after the thanks giving recess. we have compiled all of our coverage of the debate including hearings and meetings on the house and current senate versions of the bill on our website c-span.org. in the search bar, type the words "republican tax reform." c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created