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Ira Silverman, co-producer of the fifth estate's "Among the Believers" is the interviewer.
Ira Silverman: I THINK THE CONAN COMMISSION TALKED ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE STREET CORNERS AT A SCHOOL AT A WORK WITH NO PROSPECT OF FURTHER EDUCATION NO PROSPECT OF EMPLOYMENT. THEY CALLED PEOPLE LIKE THAT SOCIAL DYNAMITE. DO WE HAVE SOCIAL DYNAMITE?
John Miller: No, that's the big myth. If you look across the spectrum of terrorist attacks from before 911, across 911, and right up to today, what you don't see is the impoverished youth in a dead-end life with nothing to live for who has been put down by an authoritarian society. You don't see it. You don't see these people who are politically and mentally formed in radical madrassas and then sent out to do attacks. You don't see it. What you see, by and large, is college educated, largely middle-class people who come from relatively stable homes, some of them engineering students, a large number.
The second version would be the franchise; it's where groups that were connected to al-Qaeda, but not al-Qaeda themselves. Jermias Lamia and others would be given an agreement with al-Qaeda or a contract from al-Qaeda that we will carry this out in your stead. For instance the valley bombings a pretty good example of that.
And then there's the third example, which is the al-Qaeda sympathizer who's out there, and they're following the websites. They're watching the videotapes. They're reading the calls by bin Laden and Zawahiri, calling on those to do whatever they can, whenever they can, wherever they can against the Jews and the crusaders, read Israel and the United States, and those are the people that as we break down al-Qaeda as an organization and break down their franchises as an organization, are starting to fill that void with attacks that may be smaller in scale but emotionally equally as damaging.
So, it's hard to underestimate the potential for home grown terrorism. Because what a lot of people don't understand about terrorism is it is low-tech, it is inexpensive. The sophistication of the group, the amount of money they have access to, does not necessarily comport to their capability to reek havoc or cost lives.
John Miller: What it shows us is that beyond the individual plot that may unfold here or may unfold there and without even making reference to that particular case, there develops these networks. It's about globalization and it's about communications as Tom Friedman said, the world is flat.
Ira Silverman: …COLLEAGUES OF YOURS, MORE IN THE INTELLIGENCE AREA WHO FEEL THAT BIN LADEN HAS NOT DONE ANYTHING IN THE UNITED STATES SINCE 911, BUT THAT HE'S WAITING TO BE ABLE TO HAVE EITHER HIS GROUP OR SOME GROUP DO SOMETHING THAT WOULD OUTDO 911. A MORE THEATRICAL EVENT THAN 911, IS THAT YOU'RE SENSE?
John Miller: There's some analysis that bin Laden always wanted to go one level up in each attack that's why if you blow up two embassies the next time you had to have three separate attacks in different countries. But I think a lot has changed since then. I think at this point they'll take whatever attack they can get and I think that's made apparent by the messaging the send out to people in general saying will you will you adopt this cause? Will you cross the line and do something violent?
Ira Silverman: FROM [BIN LADEN'S] POINT OF VIEW, FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE, DOES IT MATTER TO HIM WHETHER PEOPLE DO IT CLOSE TO HIM, IN HIS CELL IF YOU WILL, OR BY PEOPLE IN A CELL NEXT DOOR?
John Miller: I think in terms of bin Laden and bin Laden's thinking, in terms of al-Qaeda's paradigm today, they would be very satisfied to see this take on a life of its own so that all they had to do was furnish the propaganda. And that people would self-radicalize, self-plan, self-execute these attacks.
There may be a thousand miles between them but in terms of in terms of this area they're just a keystroke away on a computer. "
Ira Silverman: YOU SAID BEFORE IT'S DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND HOME GROWN, THE VIOLENT, HOME GROWN JIHADISTS CELL AND THE WHAT'S HAPPENING THERE. IS THERE STILL A PROBLEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT?
John Miller: Well, I think that the worst thing we can do is oversimplify it and say we've identified the model, this is it, because it's much more complex then that. Every plot is different, the dynamics of the people engaged in them, how they got in them, why they were committed to them is different as you look at them.
Sure across the board you can pick up certain themes but I think you don't want to just say we found the model and this is it or you're going to miss something. Because when you're dealing with something that is not centralized, as it was under the old kind of corporate structure of al-Qaeda, when these groups bring themselves together, there's a lot of individuality to it.
Well I think if anything comes out of the cases that we've been discussion that you have referred to the Atlantic case and the Canada case it underlines that we; we have had close cooperation we need to continue close cooperation.