CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA (2006-09), about the growing ISIS terror threat both at home and abroad.
On an attack on U.S. soil: “"It's the law of numbers, Fareed. And you're absolutely right...we're better at integrating than almost all of our European allies. That means the pool from which people like this can be drawn is going to be proportionally smaller here in the United States than it is in most of our European allies. But the pool isn't dried up. The pool isn't zero. We are, unfortunately, going to see this.”
On counterterrorism: “Fareed, I think the tide’s coming in and we're going to see more of what we saw in Texas last week. Now the good news is it's very, very unlikely that we're going to see the kinds of attack that al Qaeda really wanted to conduct, that carefully planned, slow-moving, complex, mass-casualty attack against an iconic target. That's actually a counterterrorism success, and we ought to actually quietly celebrate that. But these low level attacks, that's what's left of them and that's where they're going to go. Fareed, in a very unusual way, you might want to characterize al Qaeda as an elitist, terrorist organization and ISIS as a populist one. And we're seeing the violence from ISIS not coming from the top down, but from the bottom up.”
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, guest anchor Jim Scuitto spoke to Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, about the ISIS terror threat.
On the threat ISIS poses domestically: Well, we're certainly vulnerable. And this is all part of ISIS' strategy of conveying a winner's message to try and inspire more types of acts of violence, as we saw in Texas last Sunday…These individuals who might be drawn to jihad don't perceive ISIS as a losing organization, they will be perceived as winning and they will continue to inspire this type of jihadist activity and extreme violence, even here in America.”
On congressional legislation & electronic intelligence collection: “we need to take a very careful look at the way we write these, quite honestly, very complex laws, and always keep in mind that these threats are real. And let me repeat, our best line of defense, trying to keep this nation safe and secure, is an effective intelligence-gathering capability, with robust congressional oversight. And this is what should give people comfort. Protecting civil liberties is not a partisan issue. From the extreme right to the extreme left and everywhere in between, we all want to guard and protect American civil liberties. But we also have to keep this nation safe and secure.”
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. FULL POST
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Brett McGurk, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (President Barack Obama Administration) , discussed ISIS threats to the U.S. and its military bases.
McGurk on the size of the threat: “The threat of the challenge is enormous. And it's really something we have never seen before. I will give you some numbers. We have 22,000 foreign terrorists fighters have gone into Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS and affiliated groups. About 3,700 of those are from Western nations. We have had - about 180 Americans have tried to travel to Iraq and Syria. And just in the last few weeks, 15 Americans, the Justice Department has filed charges for supporting ISIS. So, this is a multifaceted, international, federal, state, local challenge. And that's why we have put together really a multifaceted, multilayered approach to combat it. Since September, we built the global coalition to combat ISIS. And myself and General Allen, as the president's envoys on this challenge, we have been to about 25 capitals over the last six months.”
McGurk on training troops to fight ISIS: “But we have about 3,400 volunteers now that we are in the process of vetting. We hope to have 3,000 trained by the end of the year, 5,000 trained 12 months from now….we are going to train up the moderate opposition forces. We hope to have about 3,000 by the end of the year. “
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with King Abdullah of Jordan. King Abdullah spoke with Fareed Zakaria in his first interview since ISIS released the video documenting the murder of the Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, Lieutenant Moath al-Kasasbeh.
King Abdullah on ISIS ideology: “Ideologically, they represent one percent of Sunni Islam, and we should not be - we should not be victimized because of this one percent. They will - false prophets always fail. True Islam will always succeed. But we cannot be victimized as the enemy by the rest of the international community. So what we ask is other religions and societies across the world, stand with us. Stand with the good Muslims that are out there fighting this fight. Be part of our partners against this issue. And we will be victorious.”
King Abdullah on military force against ISIS: ” the underlying issues is how the Kurds are properly supported. Because that is going to be very, very critical. How do we all reach out to the Sunnis to feel that there is a future for them, and that they are not alone? And if we do not solve the puzzle of a future, political future for the Sunnis in Iraq, then they're sitting there saying, Baghdad and ISIS - what's the difference?”
King Abdullah on whether the ISIS fighting troops are good on the battlefield: “...tactically what they do...they're basically the cannon fodder....they're considered sort of the light shock troops. They are the suicide bombers, whether by vehicles or by cars. And they are the expendables....And then the heavy infantry, which is the hard core ISIS, are the ones that then exploit their positions. So they have an abundance of these throwaway jihadists, and that's the sad part about it. And then any foreign fighter that comes into Syria that suddenly realizes that this is not what they signed up for get executed.”
FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED
On the U.S. drone program: “ And there is kind of an internal struggle going on within the administration and within the Congress as to which - whether it should be an armed services operation, this whole issue of drone strikes, or should it be done by the CIA? Obviously, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, I have some bias, but it seems to me that as much as we could give responsibility and authority over to the Department of Defense, because that's really not the job of the intelligence agency. But back to your question, I think then that raises the debate. Do we need to continue drone strikes? And if so, how? Obviously, better intelligence. But we are now facing a new form of warfare, these nonstate terrorists organizations that are spread all over hell's half-acre. And, really, the only way you can get at them that we know of now that is viable is through the drone operations. They have taken out leadership. And we can argue - in fact, I would argue strenuously we - there are places where we could have done a lot more, but this is sort of an aspect of the frozen conflict, where we are not going to send boots on the ground to go get those people, and that is certainly understandable. “
On the U.S.-Iran alliance: “ I think diplomacy should be given a chance. And what I was saying is - was - they are the facts. The facts are that the ayatollah depicts the state of negotiations as far as inspections are concerned, as far as lifting of sanctions are concerned and other aspects of this deal that are diametrically opposed to what John Kerry and the State Department is telling us. I mean, that's just a fundamental fact. I think George Shultz and Henry Kissinger were correct in the op- ed they had in "The Wall Street Journal," where they said these negotiations begin in order to rid of Iran of ever having a nuclear capability to delaying Iran from having another nuclear - a nuclear ability. And I can assure you, Jim, that if this deal goes through the way it appears it is, you will see a nuclear-armed Middle East. And that's incredible dangerous.”
On running as Lindsey Graham’s vice president: “I don't think Lindsey would be - he is really a smart guy. So, I don't think he would ever consider such a thing.”
Special Premieres on CNN/U.S. and CNN International at 9:00pm Eastern
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explores the origins of the terror group known as Islamic State or ‘ISIS’ for a rare inside look into the heart of darkness, and an examination of how and when the U.S. came to know about ISIS. The one-hour special, Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World, will premiere Monday, May 11 at 9:00pm and 12:00am Eastern on CNN/U.S.. Blindsided will air on Monday, May 11 at 9:00pm and on Tuesday, May 12 at 7:00am and 5:00pm Eastern on CNN International.
Despite the terrible beheadings of journalists, German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer crossed the border into Mosul, Iraq, in 2014. In rare footage, Todenhofer shows what life is like in ISIS-held territory. ISIS governance is both frightening and mundane – including ISIS-issued license plates, parking tickets, and other trappings of everyday life.
Among the most astonishing things we learn: the ISIS objective of luring the West into a grand battle. The terror group wants its unique vision of a caliphate – and American boots on the ground in combat.
Deputy National Security Advisor for strategic communication Ben Rhodes; a former Islamist who founded a British counter-extremism think tank and is now running for the U.K. Parliament, Maajid Nawaz; former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. General Michael Flynn; Middle East expert and London School of Economics professor of international relations Fawaz Gerges; former FBI agent Ali Soufan; and others discuss how ISIS grew to become a transnational terror organization, how it recruits followers, what is being done to try to stop it – and what does and doesn’t seem to be working. Zakaria’s analysis will give viewers a sense of the direct threat ISIS presents for U.S. national security and the U.S. homeland.
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Jim Sciutto spoke to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), about the Iran nuclear deal and the nomination of Loretta Lynch. FULL POST
On Sunday's edition of CNN's State of the Union, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joined CNN’s Jim Acosta about Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Iranian nuclear deals, and the drought in California.