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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  June 7, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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how they engage with coats and whether or not they try to stay on fisa in talking to him. so that will be something interesting to watch, as well. >> in terms of rod rosenstein and manu said this is the first time he publicly expresses this and who told him to write the memo, the white house completely changed their narrative within 24 hours and first using the memo for justification for firing comey and now he's going to say what it is. >> he's probably want thrilled with the way the white house used his memo. i think he's clearly going to stand by what he said. i think he wrote a memo that said that he thought comey had behaved inappropriately during the whole hillary clinton e-mail scandal. there is a lot in there, of course, the democrats would agree with and that's probably why the president was surprised when democrats didn't applaud, you know, the firing of comey. it will be interesting to see if they get to the question of
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whether he thought he was used inappropriately by the president and by this white house. i mean, after all, he is new to his job and there's clearly got to be an awful lot of friction there and we'll see if they -- if they get that, if they get him to discuss that. i doubt he wants to discuss that publicly. >> by the way, get used to this scene right now and get used to these characters because the senate intelligence committee will be holding hearings for james comey tomorrow, as well. jeffrey toobin, along those lines, if this were a legal case, it's not, it's a congressional hearing, what would they be trying to get from the witnesses if they were trying to prove obstruction of justice which is what a lot of democrats are after here. >> the real question about obstruction of justice is intent, it's the question of intent. is the subject of the investigation here, it's obviously the president of the united states, was he trying to shut down the fbi investigation
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of russia because he thought it was against national security? he thought he had motives that were appropriate or was he trying to protect his personal and political interests which would be improper which was the reason richard nixon was impeached, trying to use the fbi to cover up crimes, to cover up things that were damaging politically to the white house. so we're not only looking at what the president said to these various people, comey, coats, et cetera, about the fbi investigation, but what his motive was in trying to shut down this investigation. >> jim sciutto, gloria's reporting about what comey will say and what he won't say, he'll be very fact based and this is what he said, this is what i said and not draw a legal conclusion from it. there is a nuance to it and that is whether or not there was a misinterpretation by the president. you think that's a stretch. that the president could have
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misinterpreted that three times the fbi director said it or not under investigation. >> he's not a lawyer and there are legal terms, target, subject and person of interest which has no legal meaning. that said, the president's statement in his letter in firing james comey was pretty definitive and it was pretty clear in what the president was trying to say, you exonerated me and by the way i'm firing you. the message was clear. personally, i'm skeptical that i'm not really sure what he's communicating to me because it sounds like what james comey will be definitive over what he did and did not tell the president. in the hearings today or tomorrow that these presidential requests to a number of senior administration and law enforcement officials will become certainly a subject of the special counsel's investigation. robert mueller will need to look into this and that means that the players involved are, i think, probably find themselves interviewed by the fbi on the questions going forward. so you will have a public
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hearing. what is their answer to the public here, important, and at some point you will have it in a legal setting. >> guy, stand by for one minute. there is other breaking news where the president will nominate christopher wray, and our manu raju caught up with the senate judiciary committee and dianne feinstein, manu raju, what did she tell you? >> she actually said he may be fine. i asked her specifically what do you think about the new nominee. her answer was, quote, he may be fine. she has learned about the nomination a couple of hours ago and she has to go through his vetting and look at his qualifications, but a positive signal from the top democrat on the committee that will vet the nomination, that will vote on the nomination and will have the first say before he goes to the full senate for confirmation. so a positive reception from dianne feinstein. now, in another piece of news,
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marco rubio who is one of the members on the senate intelligence committee actually dined with president trump last month and raised questions and eyebrows about that given the investigation that's happening and given the james comey testimony thursday. i asked him if it was appropriate for him to dine with president trump last night. he dismissed it and said it's not a serious question. i said did you guys discuss james comey at all at the dinner last night and he said it did not come up. he did not expand on that and went up to the hearing room. so again, some early reactions here from rubio as well as feinstein about that fbi director nominee signalling that she may be okay with him presuming he passes muster in the vetting process, but an early positive sign from a very influential democrat, guys. >> and just building on manu's report that christopher wray, the nominee now signed a letter in 2015, jeffrey toobin to the senate judiciary committee applauding sally yates and saying that she had
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extraordinary legal skills and judgment. >> sally yates, of course, was fired by president trump as acting attorney general. sally yates and christopher wray were assistant u.s. attorneys together in atlanta in the '90s. when you look at the possibilities who were raised as fbi directors, john cornyn, the republican senator from texas -- he's right there. coincidence! and joe lieberman, the sort of democratic senator from connecticut. christopher wray is a much less political choice, and i think many people in the senate will find that a relief barring any surprising disclosures in the vetting process. it seems like he's very likely to be confirmed. he was head of the criminal division in the george w. bush administration and the justice department. that's a job that is a highly respected job, but not an especially political job. so i think that's something that
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this choice is likely to be very popular on both sides. >> we're looking at the hearing room right now for the senate intelligence committee and there's marco rubio right there and we were discussing him. it seems to me the democratic members got there a lot earlier than some of the republican members. maybe they were more eager for this questioning and some of the people testifying are now sitting down so we may break out the minute they start talking. is there a risk today and tomorrow for the democrats seeming overeager here? >> i think they need to approach it with the goal being getting as many facts as possible and let the political chips fall where they may and not try to make political speeches and sometimes in these hearings you hear senators not ask questions and go on a long soliloquy. >> sometimes? >> sometimes you have prosecutor types that are among the senate democrats on this panel and i think they will elicit information rather than preach from the roster. >> we've learned that the president may live tweet during the hearing tomorrow.
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i would not be surprised if he does the same today. do you want to see that from the president? would that behoove him at all or would you like the president to talk about infrastructure and his fbi pick and not weigh in on these hearings? >> i believe that the white house is focused on obamacare and infrastructure. >> i'm asking about the president and his staff. i know what his staff wants him to do. what do you want the president to do? >> i think me should talk about tax reform and infrastructure and obamacare. as ryan said, i think a lot of times on these hearings it's best not to grab the headline. you might be the partisan darling of the day, one side or the other, but it's better to quietly ask questions and lay the groundwork with the long-term pick. >> senate intelligence, richard burr. >> dan coats, dan, welcome back to your family here in the united states senate. deputy of justice, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, director of national security agency, admiral mike rogers and
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acting director of the federal bureau of investigation andrew mccabe. welcome to all four of you. i appreciate you coming today to discuss one of our most critical and publicly debated foreign intelligence tools. title vii of the surveillance act commonly known as fisa is set to expire to december 31, 2017. title vii includes several crucial foreign intelligence collection tools including one known primarily as section 702. section 702 provides the capability to target foreigners who are located outside the united states, but whose foreign communications happen to be routeded to and acquired inside the united states. section 702 collection is exceptionally critical to protecting americans both at home and abroad. it is integral to our foreign
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intelligence reporting on terrorist threats, leadership plans, intentions, counter proliferation, counterintelligence and many other issues that affect us. it is subject to multiple layers of oversight and reporting the requirements from the executive, the judicial and the legislative branches. the foreign intelligence surveillance court must approve mi minimization procedures before the agency before the agency can review collected information. at the end of the day, fisa collection advices our government with the foreign intelligence our nation needs to protect americans at home and abroad and in many cases, our allies. i understand there is an ongoing debate pitting privacy against national security and there are arguments within the debate that have merit. as we all too painfully know,
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the valuable fisa collection was thrust into the public spotlight following the illegal and unauthorized disclosures by former nsa analyst edward snowden. as a result, the united states government and this committee redoubled its efforts to oversee fisa collection authorities which already were subject to historical, robust oversight, but i also think it's fair to say that some entities overreacted following snowden's disclosures and now congress must justify what courts repeatedly have upheld as a constitutional and lawful authorities, and i also think that it's fair to say that nothing regarding this lawful status has changed since director clapper and attorney general holder wrote the congress in february 2012 to urge us to pass a straight, re-authorization of fisa and
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since the obama administration followed suit in september 2012. what has changed, however, is the intensity, scale and scope of the threats that face our nation. this is not the time to needlessly roll back and handicap our capabilities. i know a lot of people will use this hearing as an opportunity to talk about the committee's russian investigation. i'd like to remind everyone that 702 is one of our most effective tools against terrorism and foreign intelligence targets. i hope my colleagues and those closely watching this hearing realize that at the end of the day our constitutional obligation is to keep america and our citizens safe. the intel jens community needs 072 and it is this committee's obligation to assure that the i.c. has the authorities and the tools it needs to keep us safe at home and abroad.
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gentlemen, i look forward to your testimony and continued efforts to maintain the integrity of this vital collection tool. i now turn to the vice chairman for any comments he might have. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for hosting this hearing on the very important 702 program and ways that we might ensure its effectiveness and i will get to that in a moment. however, given the panel of witnesses here, and given the recent news about ongoing investigations into russian interference in our 2016 elections, i'm going to have to take at least part of my time to pose some questions during my question time. each of you here today, we all know, have taken oath to defend the constitution. as leaders of the intelligence community, you've also committed to act and to provide advice and counsel in a way that is unbiased, impartial and devoid of any political considerations.
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this is the essence, quite honestly, of what makes our intelligence community and all of the men and women who work for you so impressive. you tell it straight no matter which political party is in charge. and that's why it's so jarring to hear recent reports of white house officials, perhaps even the president himself, attempting to interfere and enlist our intelligence community leaders in any attempt to undermine the ongoing fbi investigation. obviously, tomorrow there's another big hearing. we'll be hearing from former fbi director comey. i imagine he'll have something to say about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal. we have now heard the president himself say that he was thinking about the russia investigation when he fired director comey, the very individual who was
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overseeing that same investigation. today we'll have an opportunity to ask deputy attorney general rosenstein about his role in the comey firings, as well. additionally, we've seen reports, some as recently as yesterday that the president asked at least two of the leaders of our nation's intelligence agencies to publicly downplay the russia investigation. the president is alleged to have also personally asked director coats and cia director pompeo to intervene with then-director comey to pull back on his investigation. i'll be asking, as i told him, director coats and nsa admiral rogers about those reports today because if any of this is true it would be an appalling and improper use of our intelligence
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professionals, an act, if true, could erode the public's trust in our intelligence institutions. the i.c., as i've grown to know over the last seven and a half years that i've been on this committee prides itself appropriately on its fierce independence. any attempt by the white house or even the president himself to exploit this community as a tool for political purposes is deeply, deeply troubling. i respect all of your service to the nation. i understand that answering some of the questions that the panel will pose today may be difficult or uncomfortable given your positions in the administration, but this issue is of such great importance the stakes are so high, i hope you will also consider all of our obligation to the american people to make
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sure that they get the answers they deserve to some of the questions that are being asked. now let me return to the subject of our hearing. mr. chairman, i agree that the re-authorization of section 702 is terribly important. as the attacks in london, paris, manchester, melbourne and the list, unfortunately, goes on and on, all those attacks have demonstrated terrorists continue to plot attacks that target innocent civilians. section 702 under court order collects intelligence about these potential terrorist plots. it authorizes law enforcement and the intelligence community to collect intelligence on non-u.s. persons outside the united states where there is reasonable suspicion that they seek to do us harm. i've been a supporter of re-authorizing section 702 to protect americans from terrorist
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attacks, and i'm eager to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure that we re-authorize it before the end of this year. a re-authorization of section 702 should ensure also that there is robust oversight and restrictions to protect the privacy and civil liberties of americans. those protections remain in place and if there are areas where those protections can be strengthened, we ought to look at those, as well. so thank you, mr. chairman, i look forward to our hearing. >> thank you, vice chairman. let me say for all members. votes are no longer scheduled for 10:30. if you've not gotten that word, votes have been moved to 1:45. when this hearing adjourns we will reconvene at 2:00 p.m. for a closed-door session on section 702 and i intend to start that promptly at 2:00 today and members will be recognize by
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seniority for questions up to five minutes. with that, gentlemen, thank you for being here today. director coats, you are recognized to give testimony on behalf of all four of you. the floor is yours. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman burr, chairman warner, members of the committee, we are pleased to be here today at your request to talk about an important and perhaps the most important piece of legislation that affects the intelligence community. i am here with my colleagues. i would liketotakethe opportunity to explain in some detail section 702, given this as a public hearing, and hopefully the public will be watching. our efforts to provide transparency in how we protect the privacy and civil liberties of our american citizens needs to be explained. the program needs to be
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understood and so i appreciate your patience as i talk through in my opening statement the value of 702 to our intelligence community and to keeping americans safe. intelligence collection under section 702 of the fisa amendment has produced and continues to produce significant intelligence that is vital to protect the nation against international terrorism, against cyber threats, weapons, proliferators and other threats. at the same time, section 702 provides strong protections for the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens. today, the horrific attacks that recently have occurred in europe are still at the top of my mind. i was just in europe days before the first attack in manchester, followed by other attackses that had subsequently taken place.
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i was in discussion with my british colleagues through this, as well as colleagues in other european nations and my sympathies go out to the victims and families of those that have received these heinous attacks and to the incredible resilience that these communities affected by this violence have shown. having just returned from europe less than three weeks ago, i'm reminded why section 702 is so important to our mission of not only protecting american lives, but the lives of our friends and allies around the world, and although the many successes enabled by 702 are highly classified, the purpose of the authority is to give the united states intelligence community the upper hand in trying to avert these types of attacks before they transpire which is why permanent re-authorization of the fisa amendments act
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without further amendment is the intelligence community's top legislative priority, and based on the long history of oversight and transparency of this authority, i would urge the congress to enact this legislation at the earliest possible date to give our intelligence professionals the consistency they need to maintain our capability. let me begin today by giving an example of the impact of section 702 of fisa. it's been cited before, but i think it is worth mentioning again. an nsa fisa section 702 against an e-mail address used by an al qaeda courier in pakistan revealed communications with an unknown individual located within the united states. the u.s.-based person was urgently seeking advice on how to make explosives. nsa passed this information on
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to the fbi which, in turn, was able to quickly identify the individual as najibullah zazi. as you know, zazi and his associate his imminent plans to detonate explosives on manhattan subway lines. after zazi and his co-conspirators were arrested, the privacy and civil liberties oversight board stated in its report, and i quote, without the initial tip-off about zazi and his plans which came about by monitoring an overseas foreigner under section 702 the subway bombing plot might have succeeded. this is just one example out of many of the impacts this authority has had on the ic's ability to thwart imminent threats and plots against united states citizens and our friends and allies overseas. since it was enacted nearly ten years ago, fisa has the -- the
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fisa act has been subject to rigorous and constant oversight by all three branches of government. indeed, we regularly report to the intelligence and judiciary committees of both the house and the senate how we have implemented the statute. the operational value it is afforded and the extensive measures we take to ensure that the government's use of these authorities complies with the constitution and the laws of the united states. further, over the past few years we have engaged in an unprecedented amount of public transparency on the use of these authorities. in the interest of transparency and because this is a public hearing allow me to provide an overview of the framework for section 702 and the reasons why the congress amended fisa in 2008. i will then briefly address why 702 needs to be re-authorized
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and finally, i will discuss oversight and compliance and how we are ensuring and continue to ensure the rights of u.s. citizens, rights that need to be protected. at the outset, i want to stress three things as a backdrop to everything else that my colleagues and i are presenting today. first, as i mentioned, collection 702 has produced and continues to produce intelligence that is vital to protect the nation against international terrorism and other threats. secondly, there are important legal limitations found within section 702 of fisa and let me note four of these legal limitations. first, the authorities granted under section 702 may only be used to target foreign persons located abroad for foreign intelligence purposes. secondly, they may want be used
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to target u.s. persons anywhere in the world. third, they may not be used to target anyone located inside the united states regardless of their nationality, and fourth, they may not be used to target a foreign person when the intent is to acquire the communications of a u.s. person with whom a foreign person is communicating. this is generally referred to as the prohibition against reverse targeting. the third item i would like to stress is that we are committed to ensuring that the intelligence community's use of 702 is consistent with the law and the protection of the privacy and civil liberties of americans, and to that end, in the nearly ten years since congress enacted the faa, there have been no instances of intentional violations of section 702. i'd like to repeat that. in the nearly ten years since
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congress enacted the amendments to the freedom act, the act that established the fisa, there have been no instances of intentional violations of section 702. with those points as a backdrop, now let me turn to a discussion of why it became necessary for congress to enact section 702. i do this so that the american public can hopefully, better understand the basis for this important law. the foreign intelligence and surveillance act was first passed in 1978. creating a way for the federal government to obtain court orders for electronic surveillance of suspected spies, terrorists and foreign diplomats located inside the united states. when originally enacting fies a congress decided that collection against targets located abroad would generally be outside of their regime.
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fisa's regime. that decision reflected the fact that people in the united states are protected by the fourth amendment while foreigners located abroad are not. congress accomplished this in large part by providing electronic surveillance with the technology of the time. in the 1970s overseas communication were predominantly carried by satellite. fisa as passed in 1978 did not require a court order for the collection of these overseas satellite communications. so, for example, if in 1980 nasa intercepted a satellite communication of a foreign terrorist abroad no court order was required. however, by 2008 technology had changed considerably. first u.s.-based e-mail services were being used by people all over the world. second, the overseas communications that in 1978 were typically carried by satellite
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were now being carried by fiber optic cables often running through the united states. so to continue the same example, if in 2008 a foreign terrorist was communicating by using a u.s.-based e-mail service, a traditional fisa court order was required to compel a u.s.-based company to help with that collection. under traditional fisa, a court order can only be obtained on an individual basis by demonstrating to a federal judge that there is probable cause to believe that the target of the proposed surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. this had become an ever more difficult and extremely resource-intensive process, and therefore, due to these changes in technology, the same resource-intensive legal process was being used to conduct surveillance on terrorists located abroad who are not protected by the fourth
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amendment as was being used to conduct surveillance on u.s. persons inside the united states who are protected by the fourth amendment. by enacting 702 in 2008 and renewing it in 2012, both times with significant bipartisan support, congress corrected this anomaly, restoring the balance of protections established by the original fisa statute. although i will not go into great detail here regarding the legal framework for fisa's section 702 i would simply note a few key items. first, the statute requires annual certifications by the attorney general and by the director of national intelligence regarding the categories of foreign intelligence that the intelligence community will acquire under this authority. second, the statute requires targeting procedures that set forth the rules by which the intelligence community ensures
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that only foreign persons abroad are targeted for collection. thirdly, the statute requires minimization procedures protecting u.s. persons' information that may be incidentally acquired while targeting foreign persons and finally, each year the fisa court reviews this entire package of material to make sure the government's program is consistent with both the statute and with the fourth amendment of the constitution. we have publicly released lightly redacted versions of all these documents including the most recent opinion to ensure the public has a good understanding of how we use this authority. the government section 702 program as we have said, is subject to rigorous and frequent oversight by all three branches of government. the first line of oversight and compliance is within the
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agencies themselves whose office of general counsel, privacy and civil liberties offices and inspectors general all have a role in fisa's 702 program oversight. the majority of the incidents of non-compliance that are reported to my office and to the department of justice are self-reported by the participating agencies. in addition, the office of the dni and the department of justice conduct regular audits, focusing on compliance with the targeting procedures as well as on querying a collected data and on dissemination of information under the minimization procedures. also, we have regular engagements with an extensive reporting to congress about the fisa 702 program. for example, the judiciary and intelligence committees receive relevant orders of the fisa court and associated pleadings and description and analysis of every compliance incident and
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certain statistical information such as the number of intelligence reports in which a known u.s. person was identified. and finally, of course, the fisa court regularly checks our work both through the annual recertification process and through regular interactions on particular incidents of non-compliance. members of the fisa court who are all appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court represent the best of the best of our judicial community. they have vast judicial experience and are committed to the constitutional responsibilities of protecting the privacy of u.s. persons. we are particularly proud of our oversight and compliance track record. the audits of the program conducted by the odni and doj have shown that unintended error rates are extremely low, substantially, substantially
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less than 1%. further, and i want to emphasize this, we have never, not once, found an intentional violation of this program. there have been unintended mistakes, but i would note that any system with zero compliance system is a broken compliance system because human beings make mistakes. the difference here is none of these mistakes has been intentional. when do we and when we do find unintentional errors and compliance incidents we ensure that they are reported and corrected. this is an extraordinary record of success for the diligent men and women of the intelligence community who are committed to ensuring that their neighbor's privacy is protected in the course of their national security work. and with that i'd like it turn to the most recent compliant incident which resulted in a significant change in how the
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national security agency conducts a portion of its fisa 702 collection. a recent example of the oversight process at work as a recent example, nasa identified a compliance incident involving queries of u.s. persons identifiers into section 702 acquired upstream data. upstream data refers to nasa receives information directly from the internet with the assistance of companies that maintain the backbone networks. the fisk fisa court was promptly notified and doj and dni worked with nsa and scope and causes of the problem as well as to identify potential solutions to prevent the problem from reoccurring. the details of the incident are publicly available and admiral rogers can go into more detail during the question and answer session if you would like, but
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just allow me briefly to state what happened. nasa identified and researched a compliance issue. nasa -- excuse me, nsa reported that issue to doj, odni and ultimately the fisa court. the court delayed its consideration of the 2016 certifications on that basis until the government was able to correct the issue. nsa determined that a possible solution to the compliance problem was to stop conducting one specific type of upstream collection. so ultimately, we decided that the most effective way to address the court's concerns was to stop collecting on this basis that's called the abouts portion of upstream collection and by abouts collection i'm referring to nsa's ability to collect communication where the foreign intelligence target is neither the sender nor the recipient of
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the communication that's made, but is referenced within the communication itself. the fisa court agreed with our solution and approved the program as a whole on the basis of the nsa proposal. in short, what i'm trying to say here is that a compliance issue was identifieded and after a great deal of hard work, the department of justice and the intelligence community proposed to the fisa court an effective solution that took the relevant collection costs and compliance benefits into account and the court agreed with the proposed solution. that is how the process works and it works well. before i conclude, i would like to speak briefly about an issue that has been the subject of much public discussion. there have been requests, numerous requests from both congress and the advocacy community for nsa to attempt to count the number of united states persons whose communications have been incidentally acquired in the
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course of fisa 702 collection. during my confirmation hearing and in the subsequent hearing before this committee i committed to sitting down with admiral rogers and the subject matter experts in the intelligence community to understand why this has been so difficult. within my first few weeks on the job i visited nsa, discusseded with admiral rogers and his technical people and followed through on my commitment. what i learned was that the nsa has made -- it's hard for me to say. they have made extensive efforts reculian is the -- >> say it again. >> herculean. i had to turn to -- you know what i mean. i mean really tough effort, all right? to devise an accounting strategy that would be accurate and to respond to the question that was asked, but i also learned that
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it remains infeasible to generate an exact, accurate and meaningful and responsive methodology that can count how often a u.s. persons communications may be incidentally collected under 702. to communicate with u.s. persons nsa would be required to conduct significant additional research trying to determine whether individuals who may be of no foreign intelligence interest are u.s. persons and from my perspective as the director of national intelligence, this raises two significant concerns. first, i would be asking trained nsa analysts to conduct intense identity verification research on potential u.s. persons who are not targets of an investigation. from a privacy and civil liberties perspective, i find this unpalatable.
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second, those scores of analysis that would have to be shifted from key focus areas such as counter terrorism, counterintelligence, counterproliferation issues with nations in which such as north korean and iran, we need continuous and critical intelligence missions. i can't justify search a diversion of critical resources and the mass of critical resources that we would need to try to attempt to reach this even without the ability to reach a definite number. i can't justify that at a time when we face such a diversity of serious threats and finally, even if we decided, the privacy intrusions were justified and if i had unlimited staff to tackle this problem, we still do not believe it is possible to come up with an accurate, measurable
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result. i'm aware that the senate intelligence committee staff will be meeting following this public hearing in a classified session and admiral rogers has instructed his experts to address this issue in greater detail. >> before i wrap up my remarks i want to provide one final example that i have for the purposes of today's hearing chosen to declassify using my authority as the director of national intelligence to further illustrate the value of section 702. before rising through the ranks to become the second in command of the self-proclaimed islamic state of iraq in al sham isis, haji iman was a high school teacher and imam. his transformation from citizen to terrorist cause the u.s. government to offer a $7 million reward for information leading to him.
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it also made him a top focus of the nsa's counter terrorism efforts. nsa, along with its ic partners, spent over two years from 2014 to 2016 looking for haji iman. this search was ultimately successful primarily because of fisa section 702. indeed, based almost exclusively on intelligence activities under section 702, nsa collected a significant body of foreign intelligence about the activities of haji iman and his associates beginning with non-section 702 collection, nsa learned of an individual closely associated with haji iman. nsa used collection, permitted and authorized section 702 to collect intelligence on the close associates of haji iman
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which allowed nsa to develop a robust body of knowledge concerning the personal network of haji iman and his close associates. over a two-year period, using fisa section 702 collection and in close collaboration with our ic partners, nsa produced more intelligence on haji iman's associates including their location. nsa and its tactical partners then combined this information, the section 702 collection which was continuing and other intelligence assets to identify the reclusive haji iman and track his movements. ultimately this collaboration enabled u.s. forces to attempt an apprehension of haji iman and two of his associates. on march 24, 2016, during the attempted apprehension and operation shots were fired at the u.s. forces aircraft from haji iman's location.
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u.s. forces returned fire killing haji iman and the other associates at that location. subsequent section 702 collection confirmed haji iman's death. as you can see from this sensitive example, section 702 is an extremely valuable intelligence collection tool and one that is subject to a rigorous, effective oversight program and therefore, allow me to reiterate my call on behalf of the intelligence community without hesitation, my call for permanent reauthorization of the fisa amendments act without further amendment. mr. chairman, thank you for your patience and we would be willing to be open to your questions. >> thank you, director coats. the chair would recognize itself for five minutes of questions. in 2012 i mentioned in my opening statement the director of intelligence james clapper
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and attorney general eric holder wrote a letter to the congressional leadership to pass straight re-authorization of fisa. in september 2012 a statement of administration policy also urged the same. this would be to director coats, and a.g. rosenstein. has the odni or the department of justice position changed at all since the time of the february 2012 letter? >> no. we strongly support the 2012 letter and request. >> we agree 100%. >> great. this is to admiral rogers and to director mccabe. since congress last authorized this authority in 2012, again, have there been any instances involving a deliberate or intentional compliance violation. admiral rogers? >> not that i'm aware of. >> director mccabe? >> no, sir. >> admiral rogers, this is to
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you. if fisa's 702 statutory authorities were to end or even be diminished, what would be the impact on our national security? >> i could not generate the same level of insight that our nation and friends and allies around the world count on with respect to counterterrorism, counter proliferation. i could not, for example, be able to create the insights on the russian efforts to influence the 2016 election cycle. without 702, we could not have produced that level of insight. >> this is a jump ball. april 26, 2017, the foreign intelligence surveillance court commonly known as fisc, including its targeting and minimization procedures are lawful both under fisa statute and the amendment. as comey testified last month the only reason our laws require the certification to cover, and i quote, these non-americans who
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are not in our country is because their communications transiting u.s.-based networks and systems, yet others have suggested imposing a fourth amendment warrant requirement on foreigners who are located outside of the united states. this is really nsa and justice, would imposing such a warrant requirement impact our national security tools to protect america? >> i would be happy to take the ball. yes, it would. what's important to recognize is in the absence of 702 the department of justice and the intelligence community in every case in which we wanted to obtain foreign intelligence information to collect against a particular target, we'd be required to obtain a court order that would need to be supported by probable cause. the consequence of this, number one, it would be time consuming because these are very thorough
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investigations and we produce many documents and director mccabe and i spent time every morning reviewing a stack of papers in which they've determined appropriate to seek those orders. it would be time consuming and require, significant resources and probable cause. as you know, the probable cause showing required under the constitution in which privacy interests of americans are at stake and required by the fourth amendment, that's a relatively higher threshold than we require for foreign intelligence information so we think it is important that we not apply that fourth amendment constitutional standard to foreigners who are not in the united states. >> thank you, mr. rosenstein. admiral rogers, this is to you. there's much reports in the news, much of it inaccurate, that characterizes 702 as a means of targeting u.s. persons. we know that targeting u.s. persons is prohibited. is it -- as is, what is termed
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reverse targeting. can you clarify the reverse targeting prohibition and what does it prevent the ic from targeting and collecting? >> so reverse targeting is designed to preclude our ability to bypass the law and what do i mean by that? the law is expressly designed to ensure that we are not using this legal framework as a capability to target u.s. persons. reverse targeting is the following scenario. say we're interested in generating insight on u.s. person a. we know that we can't get a title one. we can't get a fisa warrant, so under the idea of reverse target the theory would be well, why not target a foreign entity that that u.s. person talks to and then you'll get the insights you want on the u.s. person, but you'll have bypassed the court process and you'll have bypassed the entire legal structure. 702 specifically reminds us we
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cannot do that. we cannot use 702 as a vehicle to bypass other laws or to target u.s. persons. >> can you, last question, can you please clarify for members and for the public what's meant by incidental collection? >> incidental collection and the statute itself, if you read the law, the statute acknowledges that in the execution of this framework we will encounter u.s. persons. we call that incidental collection. that happens under two scenarios. number one, which is about 90% of the time we are monitoring two foreign individuals and those foreign entities talked about or referenced a u.s. person. the second scenario that we encounter what we call incidental collection is we are targeting a valid foreign individual, and that valid foreign individual, a foreign intelligence target, ends up having a conversation with a u.s. person. that's not the target of our
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collection and it's not why we are monitoring it in the first place and we are interested in that foreign target. that happens of the times we have incidental collection, that scenario happens about 10% of the time. >> and were the incidental collection that happened, you have a procedure in place in both instances to minimize that -- >> we do. the law specifically gives us a set of processes that we have to follow so we doen counter a u.s. person incidentally in the course of our collection. we ask ourselves several questions, number one, are we looking at potential criminal activity? if we do that we have a requirement to inform the department of justice and the fbi and they make the determination if it's illegal or not. we are an intelligence organization not a law enforcement organization. the second question we ask ourselves, is there anything in this conversation that would lead us to believe that we're talking about harm to individuals. in that case, we do report it. if we think we're dealing with something that is criminal or
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harm to individuals, we report it, other than that, unless there is a valid intelligence purpose depending on the authority and the case of 702 we specifically purge the data. we remove it. we don't put it in to our holdings. if we don't assess it's intelligence value and it's a u.s. person, we have to purge the data. >> thank you for that. vice chairman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. as i indicated i've got questions on another matters and director coats and admiral rogers, they'll mostly be directed to you and thank you for your testimony this morning. we all know now in march then-director comey testified about the existence of an ongoing fbi investigation into links between the trump campaign and the russian government. there are reports out in the press that the president separately appealed to you, admiral rogers and to you, director coats to downplay the russia investigation and now
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we've got additional reports and we want to give you a chance to confirm or deny these, that the president separately addressed you, director coats and asked you to intervene with director comey again to downplay the fbi investigation. admiral rodgers, you drew the short straw, i'll start with you. before we get to the substance of whether this call or request was made, you've had a very distinguished career, close to 40 years. in your experience, would it be in any way typical for a president to ask questions or bring up an ongoing fbi investigation, particularly in that investigation concerns associates and individuals that might be associated with the president's campaign or his activities? >> today i am not going to talk about theoreticals.
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i am not going to discuss the specifics of any interactions or conversations -- >> can you -- >> if i can finish, sir, please, that i have had with the president was united states, but i will make the following comment. in the three-plus years that i have been director of the national security agency, i have never been directed to do anything i believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate and to the best of my recollection during that same period of service i do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so. >> in your course prior to the incident that we're going to discuss was it in any regular course where a president would ask you to comment or intervene in any ongoing fbi investigation? want talking about this circumstance, but any prior experience of that? >> i'm not going to talk about theoreticals today. >> let me ask you specifically, did the president from reports that are out there, ask you in any way, shape or form to back off or downplay the russian
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investigation? >> i'm not going to discuss the specifics of conversations with the president of the united states, but i stand by the comment i just made to you, sir. >> do you feel that those conversations were classified? we know there was an ongoing fbi investigation. >> yes, sir. >> i understand your answer. i'm disappointed with that answer, but i may indicate and i told you i was going to bring this up. >> sure. >> there is -- we have facts that there were other individuals that were aware of the call that was made to you, aware of the substance of that call and that there was a memo prepared because of concerns about that call. will you comment at all -- >> i stand by the comments that i have made to you today, sir. >> so you will not confirm or deny the existence of a memo? >> i stand by the comments i have made to you today, sir. >> i think it would be essential, mr. chairman, that the individual who served our country as well with great
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distinction who is no longer a member of the administration has a chance to relay his version of those packfacts. again, i understand your position, but i hope you will understand the enormous need for the american public to know. you have the administration saying there's no there there, we have these reports and yet we can't get confirmation. i want to go to you, director coats. when you appeared before sasc. if called before the investigative committee i certainly will provide them with what i know and what i don't know. i have great respect for you. you served on this committee. i remember, as well when we confirmed you. i was proud to support your confirmation. you said you would cooperate with this committee in any aspects that we request of the russia investigation. we have press reports and you can lay them to rest if they're not true, but we have press reports of not once, but twice,
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that the president of the united states asked you to either downplay the russia investigation or to directly intervene with director comey. can you set the record straight about what happened or didn't happen? >> well, senator, as i responded to a similar question during my confirmation in the second hearing before the committee, i do not feel it's appropriate for me to in a public session in which confidential conversations between the president and myself. i don't believe it's appropriate for me to address that in a public session. >> gentlemen, i understand -- >> i stated that before, and i -- >> you said if brought before the investigative committee you would, quote, certainly provide them with what i know and what i don't know. we are before that investigative committee. >> i stand by my previous statement that we are in a public session here and i do not feel that it is appropriate for
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me to address confidential information, most of the information i've shared with the president obviously is directed toward intelligence matters during our oval briefings every morning at the white house or most mornings when both the president and i are in town, but for intelligence-related matters or any other matters that have been discussed, it is my belief that it's inappropriate for me to share that with the public. >> gentlemen, i respect all of your service, and i understand and respect your commitment to the administration you're serving. we will have to bring forward that other individual about whether the existence of the memo that may document some of the facts that took place in the conversation between the president and admiral rogers, but i would only ask as we go forward, this is my final comment, mr. chairman, that we
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also have to weigh in here the public's absolute need to know. they're wondering what's going on. they're wondering what type of activities. we see this pattern that without confirmation or denial appears that the president not once, not twice, but we will hear from director comey tomorrow, this pattern where the president seems to want to interfere, downplay or halt the ongoing investigation, not only that the justice department is taking on, but this committee's taking on, and i hope as we move forward on this you realize the importance that the american public deserves to get the answers to the questions. >> senator, i would like to respond to that if i could. first of all, i'm always -- i told you, and i committeded to the committee that i would be available to testify before the committee. i don't think this is the appropriate venue to do this in given that this is an open hearing and a lot of confidential information
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relative to intelligence or other matters. i just don't feel it's appropriate for me to do that in this situation, and then secondly, when i was asked yesterday to respond to a piece that i was told was going to be written and printed in "the washington post" this morning, my response to that was in my time of service which is in interacting with the president of the united states or anybody in his administration, i have never been pressured and i have never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relationship of an ongoing investigation. >> all i would say, director coats, is there was a chance here to lay to rest some of these press reports. if the president is asking you to intervene or downplay. you may not have felt pressure, but i


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