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Domestic terrorism is a ‘clear and imminent danger’ to America: Fmr. NYPD Commissioner

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Bill Bratton, Former NYPD Commissioner, discuss security outlook as Biden enters his first 100 days in office.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, switching gears now. Our nation's Capitol looked a lot like a military staging area, right, at yesterday's presidential inauguration. It was the largest security presence at any president swearing in. And of course, it came just two weeks after those deadly riots at the US Capitol.

Joining me now is Bill Bratton. He is former chief of police in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. He is currently an ex-chairman-- an executive chairman, rather, at Teneo. Bill, always good to see you. Thanks for your time. We haven't had a chance to talk since all of the insanity at our Capitol just a couple of weeks ago. I'd love to get your initial thoughts on what happened and then law enforcement response.

BILL BRATTON: Well, I think everybody is well aware of the many failures on January 6th on the part of law enforcement, particularly Capitol Police. Good intelligence, good intelligence analysis, but no follow-up in terms of planning or placement of resources. That's going to continue to be investigated, continue to be discussed. But the good news was it happened two weeks before the inauguration. So you can only imagine if that had occurred on Inauguration Day.

The turnout out of resources for Inauguration Day, based on what happened on the 6th, as well as some of the ongoing intelligence gathering and analysis, was appropriate. Good news is that it was not necessary in the sense of necessary in the sense of having to be used to deal with large scale demonstrations or any type of violence being directed against anybody or any event during the 20th yesterday.

In terms of going forward now, it'll be a matter of how quickly they disassemble the very large security presence they put into place. I would advocate, without having any intimate knowledge of the intelligence that they're looking at, that the faster they do that, the better.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: You know, President Biden spoke about political extremism recently. I'd love for you to take a lesson-- for us all to take a listen at what he had to say.

JOE BIDEN: A rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

[APPLAUSE]

To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words, it requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy-- unity.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Of course, that was during yesterday's inaugural address. Do you believe, Bill, that domestic terrorism is this country's biggest threat right now?

BILL BRATTON: Certainly, and it will remain so for the foreseeable future. I see Al-Qaeda have been somewhat boxed in after the failed attempt to establish and keep a caliphate on the part of ISIS. We still have very good intelligence capabilities to keep an eye on what they are up to.

Neither of them has ever been able to successfully penetrate the United States, with the single exception of 9/11. A lot of their efforts to form cells have failed. A lot of their initiatives to try to encourage Americans to basically become terrorists, some have succeeded, but fortunately, we were able to get most of them before they were able to engage in their acts of terrorism.

So putting them off to the side, that-- I shouldn't say putting them off to the side when we still have to focus on them. But the immediate danger for the foreseeable future was in evidence on January 6th, where so many of the names that have become now so commonplace in terms of these right-wing militias and some of these organizations, that they are the clear and imminent danger to our country at the moment.

And the focus on them by both local law enforcement and by federal agencies will be intense. And we benefit from their activities on January 6th because it gave us a trove of intelligence relative to who they are, what they intended to do on the 6th, and what some of their future plans might be.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: You mentioned 9/11. Of course, the events that happened that day changed security throughout the world, especially when we fly a plane, forever more. What we saw happen at the Capitol just a couple of weeks ago, how is that going to change law enforcement? How is that going to change security for us as citizens of the US, for those of us who might be wanting to go to DC and visit the monuments in the Capitol one day?

BILL BRATTON: Well, I think you're going to find a lot more focus on security systems as we're moving forward into the 21st century. New types of systems are being developed all the time-- new, more efficient metal detectors, facial recognition types of systems, drone technology. So the idea of physical security, as well as a lot of security that you aren't even going to be aware of.