How Radicalization Happens – Episode 69

Seamus Hughes joins Tim to talk about the myths and realities of extremism, terrorism and how some Americans have become radicalized. Seamus is the Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. He’s an expert on terrorism, homegrown violent extremism and countering violent extremism.

 

Before Seamus Hughes took on his current role at George Washington University, he worked at the National Counterterrorism Center where he served as a lead staffer on U.S. government efforts to implement a strategy to counter violent extremism.

He regularly led engagements with Muslim American communities across the country. He provided counsel to civic leaders after high-profile-related incidents and he met with families of individuals who had joined terrorist organizations.

Seamus created a groundbreaking intervention program to help steer individuals away from terrorism, and he worked closely with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Fusion Centers and U.S. Attorney offices.

Before that, he served as the Senior Counterterrorism Advisor for the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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About this Episode’s Guest Seamus Hughes

Seamus Hughes is the Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. He is an expert on terrorism, homegrown violent extremism, and countering violent extremism (CVE). Hughes has authored numerous reports for the Program including ‘ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa’ and ‘The Travelers: American Jihadists in Syria and Iraq.’ He regularly provides commentary to media outlets, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, BBC, PBS, and CBS’ 60 Minutes. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions.

Hughes previously worked at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), serving as a lead staffer on U.S. government efforts to implement a national CVE strategy. He regularly led engagements with Muslim American communities across the country, provided counsel to civic leaders after high-profile terror-related incidents, and met with families of individuals who joined terrorist organizations. Hughes created a groundbreaking intervention program to help steer individuals away from violence through non-law enforcement means, and worked closely with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Fusion Centers, and U.S. Attorney Offices.

Prior to NCTC, Hughes served as the Senior Counterterrorism Advisor for the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He organized over a dozen congressional hearings on the threat of homegrown violent extremism, and led fact-finding delegations to the various European and Middle Eastern countries. He authored two reports for the Senate: “A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack” and “Zachary Chesser: A Case Study in Online Islamist Radicalization and Its Meaning for the Threat of Homegrown Terrorism.”

Hughes has authored numerous legislative bills, including sections of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act and the Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, and a recipient of the National Security Council Outstanding Service Award and two NCTC Director’s Awards for outstanding service. He teaches classes at George Washington University and Georgetown University.