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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  December 7, 2011 11:00pm-2:00am EST

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couldn't recall what it was. on the 70th anniversary i just f wonder if that was taken again e would be the outcome? well i hope that we will remember december 7th. will i hope we will remember 9/11. the was just a few years ago and people are beginning to forget o 9/11 if december 7th is going to teach us anything, it should bev that igwe must remain vigilant tall times and not just to avoid
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the war but among ourselves so we would not use this as a justification to set aside our most honored document, thee it l constitution.pen i hope it will never happendentk again.ry muc so mhr. president, thank you vey much for this opportunity. i yield the floor. >> december 7th, 1941. a date which will live in? infamy.
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attorney general eric holder has come under criticism for the atf and gun smuggling sting operation known as fast and furious. he will have an opportunity to address the criticism at a house judiciary committee meeting tomorrow morning. you can watch live coverage beginning at 9:30 eastern on c-span freak and our web site, c-span.org.
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>> the to the provision to fund them that the issue whether they can mandate that they would be used in truth and to the core judicial power to decide how to conduct its own proceedings. that is the difference. it's all but line controlling and i agree it is difficult to know where to draw the line that's where we need to let the court draw its own line. >> the judiciary subcommittee met to discuss televising this precourt. you can find that right on the home page at c-span.org. you could also learn more with our special web page devoted to cameras in the court. see articles and editorials from across the country, public opinion polls and with the justices have said. you also find a link to c-span's youtube playlist with the use of justice is talking about cameras in the court. the special inspector general for iraq said today the congress should create a new office to provide oversight and iraq, afghanistan and other overseas operations.
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stewart said the position would save taxpayers millions of dollars. he testified before the house oversight subcommittee along with inspectors general from the pentagon and state department. committee chairman david achieve its shares this one hour and 20 minute hearing. >> good morning. the committee will come to order. and a little bit early, but we are well represented. i would like to begin a hearing preceding the mission statement. we exist to secure to fundamental principles first americans have the right to know that money washington takes from them as well spent and second, americans deserve an efficient and effective government that works for them. or duty on the oversight reform committee is to protect these rights to read our solemn responsibilities to hold a government accountable to taxpayers the cost taxpayers have a right to know they get from their government. worked tirelessly in partnership with citizen watchdogs to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. this is the mission of the
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oversight government reform kennedy. good morning and welcome to today's hearing. oversight in iraq and afghanistan challenges and solutions. i would like to welcome randy never tierney, members of the subcommittee and members of the audience and certainly the panel for being here today. this is the sixth hearing addressing the accountability of taxpayers' dollars in the war zone. during the session this committee examined a number of issues including whether the state park that is prepared to oversee the surge and private contracting in iraq, whether this department will be able to protect government employees and contractors in iraq after the military with straw, with the usaid and the state department can accurately track reconstruction projects and account for their expenditures, whether those products can and will be sustained by the host nations, whether the bill intended to the government of the systems -- direct assist program can and will be properly overseen, with a defense to prove that is working to ensure tax payers' money isn't exported along afghanistan's supply chain. in october, the full committee
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heard testimony from the commission on wartime contract and about its final report. the commissioners alleged between 30 to $60 billion had been lost in iraq and afghanistan due to waste, fraud and abuse in the contract in process. according to the commission, this is due to ill conceived projects, poor planning and oversight, performance by the contractors, criminal behavior and blatant corruption. this is unacceptable and while some may agree or disagree with our engagement in iraq and afghanistan and is universally unacceptable to waste taxpayers' money. in each of the hearings witnesses have described the successive challenges of the oversight has a complicated environment. without a doubt, the task is difficult to refer it is critical that we get it right. today the inspectors general community will share its prospective together on one panel. the community plays a pivotal with the oversight of the federal programs. the mission is to promote economy efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of the federal programs and to prevent and detect fraud and abuse.
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it also includes informing the congress of any corrective action that it needs to be taken. in addition to the defense steve and usaid the special inspectors general were established to focus specifically on efforts in iraq and afghanistan. each of these offices is present here today. the have produced noteworthy results, significant challenges remain. we will hear about a steady. we will also examine potential solutions, ranking member tierney has introduced h.r. 2880 which seeks to disband sigr for the overseas contingency operations. on the understand that mr. bowen supports this idea. i would like to hear the penalty when that legislation and how such office with interface understanding ayachi. ranking member of legislation is a good beginning. i look forward to working with them cut the agencies and the oig community to structure an effective solution. before recognizing the remember tierney, i would like to note that the defense department and the state's department, usaid
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and sigar will not have all agees in january. in may of this year i read the president asking him to move without delay to the appointed replacement. that was signed by senator lieberman, collins, mccaskill as the western allies, ranking member cummings and ranking member tierney. i would like to place a copy of the record into the record. without objection. so ordered. to my knowledge, the president has yet to nominate any of the replacement, nor has he responded to this letter. i find that totally unacceptable. this is a massive, massive effort. it's going to take some leadership and help from the white house. these jobs cannot and will not be one of the president fails to make these appointments. upon taking office, president obama promised that his administration would be, quote, the most open and transparent in history. you cannot achieve transparency without inspectors general. again i urge president obama the senate to nominate and come from inspectors general to fill the vacancies and without the way.
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i'd now like to recognize the distinguished ranking member, the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. timoney for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chaffetz and all of you for being witnesses today helping us with our job. this hearing also is a combination of a series of hearings of the subcommittee and the full committee with regard to iraq and afghanistan. we've heard from the department of defense, the department of state on the transition to the civilian led mission in iraq and we've heard from the commission of the wartime contract income suggested reforms to reduce waste, fraud and abuse on the contingency operations and we follow the part of the defense to find delete to discuss the investigation earlier on the production of the afghan trucking industry. these hearings continue to highlight the challenge of the taxpayer funds from waste and fraud in the operations in iraq and afghanistan. the commission of a more time conducting fund billions of dollars had been wasted by agencies that have little capacity to manage the contractors or to hold them accountable. even worse, billions of dollars more have been dedicated to
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projects the were poorly conceived and our unsustainably host governments. the findings are consistent with this committee is to a oversight in afghanistan. last year the subcommittee investigation had over $2 billion in the the part of defense contracting in iraq and afghanistan. this investigation found the trucking contract found the vast production in which the war lords, criminals and insurgents extort the contractors for the protection payments to obtain safe passage. a follow-up hearing held by the subcommittee in september showed that the department has made little progress ruling out bad actors who undermine the efforts in afghanistan. we know now many of these actors continue to serve as u.s. government contractors. in response to the findings of the billions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse the commissioner of the wartime contract and made a number of input recommendations for congress to consider. one key recommendation of the report was the creation of the permanent inspector general for the contingency operations. as the commission stated, no
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entity exists with sufficient resources, experience and audit and investigative capabilities to transcend the department of functional stovepipes. taking up the recommendation of introduced legislation the chairman mentioned that would establish the special inspector general for overseas contingency operations. these efforts of the commission along with the special the inspector general for iraq reconstruction and special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction have shown the critical importance of the real time oversight in our overseas operations. we need to preserve the unique abilities of these entities in a single permanent inspector general with a flexible deployable caught three of oversight specialists. i urge my colleagues to join me in this legislation to require all the legislation is designed to address future contingency operations this hearing is about oversight in iraq and afghanistan now. to that and i would like to address recent findings by the department of defense inspector general that shed light on some of the problems with one of four largest contractors and afghanistan. the report revealed that the supreme group, the prime
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contractor on the multibillion-dollar defense department of the system of contract in afghanistan is under investigation for hundreds of millions of dollars and overbilling. ayaan understand that there is now a criminal inquiry on the supreme groups overbilling. these obligations raise significant concerns about the defense logistics agency and their ability to properly manage the live skill contracts and protect taxpayer dollars from waste and fraud. they also raise concerns about the use of the noted plus contracts that is common in the contingency operations. as we speak, the defense logistics agency is preparing to award tenderly and 30 billion-dollar contract to provide food and supplies for the troops in afghanistan for five years. so i'd like to hear from our inspectors general today about what more can be done to ensure that our federal agencies are doing their job to properly manage the billions of dollars being spent in those two countries. i also like to hear from you regarding what tools you have to ensure the company's mark overbilling the federal government for the hundreds of millions of dollars do not have
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the opportunity to take even more taxpayer funds in the future. so i want to thank you again for being witnesses and thank you mr. chairman for having this hearing. >> thank you. members will have an additional seven days to submit steegmans for the record. the honorable gordon as the department of defense inspector general. ambassador is the department of state deputy inspector general. mr. michael carroll is the usaid acting and inspector general. the honorable stuart bolin is the special lens victor general for the iraqi reconstruction and mr. stephen trent is the acting special inspector general for the afghan reconstruction. pursuant to the committee will call witnesses will be sworn in before they testify. please rise and raise your right hand. >> do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony you're about to give will be the truth >> thank you pivotal the record reflect the witness is answered in the affirmative. in order to allow proper time for discussion, we are going to ask that each member of the
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panel limit their verbal comments to five minutes. you're entire statement will be inserted into the record. i will now recognize the honorable mr. hadel for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, good morning. good morning, ranking member tierney and distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss oversight efforts and help with asia. as many of you may be where this will likely be my final testimony before congress as the inspector general to be effective december 24th, i will step down as the dod ing. in my first month alone at the dod ig i testified three times before congress. two of the three hearings dealt with critically important issues of oversight contingency operations and selfless asia.
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noting that the nation was engaged in the war and that we had a pressing need to strengthen oversight to protect the war fighters and the american taxpayers. i immediately and determined to make oversight the contingency operations in south west asia a number one priority. as a result, i instituted a number of organizational changes to the structure and focus of the dod efforts and to increase hour in theater presents which is regularly augmented by our expeditionary teams. i believe strongly that the in the theater presents is absolutely essential to conducting oversight of operation and in beijing with military and civilian leadership in a theater to ensure that our oversight is meaningful and effective. in our audit division i created the joint and southwest asia operations tractor that and the afghan security forces funding.
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our audits and theater provide timely and relevant oversight and the auditors now have extensive experience in conducting complex joint audit with other federal agencies. in our investigations division, the defense criminal investigative service, vcis expanded its presence in southwest asia, and today, dcis plays a major role in southwest asia by participating in the key task forces that tackle complex fraud cases. the dcis is already deployed worldwide and has the capability to immediately provide investigative resources to contingency operations anywhere in the world. another division of the dod ig, the office of special plans and operations has been a key contributor to providing
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oversight. spo has enhance our capability to provide expeditionary changed a southwest asia to conduct timely evaluations and assessments and to provide thorough out briefs to the field commanders enabling them to take immediate corrective action. i also appointed a special deputy inspector general for south west asia to coordinate and the conflict oversight efforts. my special deputy has worked extensively with all of the ig offices represented with me this morning. today we are an actual, flexible, no-nonsense and aggressive organization oversight organization with a capacity to deploy rapidly anywhere in the world or on short notice, and the dod ig is prepared to respond effectively and aggressively in coordination
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with other federal agencies and internal dod oversight offices to address any future overseas contingency operations that a rise. i would like to thank the subcommittee for the opportunity to discuss the work of the dod ig, and i look forward to answering any questions that you may have. thank you para >> thank you periera thank you again for your service in your long career and the secret service and the work of the defense department. we appreciate your service and wish you nothing but the best and we will now recognize the honorable mr. gaissal. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify to the of the oversight of the department programs in iraq and afghanistan since standing up its overseas offices in 2008, the office of the inspector general, a white sheet, has conducted 31 investigations and issued 21 reports related to iraq, conducted 14 investigations and
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issued 22 reports related to afghanistan and issued 11 reports of activities affecting the department program and transition issues in iraq and afghanistan. our efforts during fy 2011 resulted in more than $200 million in question costs and funds put to better use. 16.6 million in investigative recoveries and 20 contractor suspensions. these results demonstrate the impact that oig has achieved in the this publishing presence in afghanistan and kabul. as a result of congressional support, oig has fulfilled its commitment to vigorously oversee the department's transition and soon will be one of the few remaining oversight entities in iraq. the challenges the department faces in the transition to the civilian licht presence in iraq or significant. dod's planned withdrawals of its troops by the end of this month requires that the departments to provide security, life support,
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transportation and other logistical support that of the dod presently provides an iraq. our office of inspections has issued two reports, jul come 2009 inspection of embassy baghdad and in october 2010 compliance fall will preview which addresses the embassy's transition planning efforts. in response to the csrl, the department appointed a washington-based ambassador in february, 2011 to manage the iraq transition process to be we also issued reviews in august of 2009 and may 2011 of the department efforts to transition to the civilian let presence in iraq. both reviews found that the transition was taking place in an operating environment that remains violent and unpredictable. the october 2009 report on the transition planning efforts recommend that in the seabeck data develop a unified transition plan and assign a senior transition coordinator in iraq establish a work force planned to timely completion of
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large infrastructure projects managed by the embassy determined what will to cut services and contract management personnel would be required and verifiable resources needed to meet the increased support requirements following the departure. all of these recommendations of the enclosed. the may 2011 report noted that the embassy baghdad in the department had still pushed planning and management mechanisms to transition to the civilian blood presence. it also mentioned that while the department had made progress in several key decisions are pending. some planning could not be final and progress was slipping in some areas. we remain concerned that some reconstruction projects were still experiencing delays and were not expected to be completed until may 2012 and the distortion the viable diplomatic mission without the support and funding would require considerable resources, making it difficult to develop detailed budget estimates.
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the department generally agree with and was responsive to the intent of the recommendations. looking forward, we have to 15 investigations related to iraq and nine related to afghanistan. our 2012 iraq and ken astana oversight plans include six of its plus the proposed joint audit with dod baiji of programs and dhaka and kabul. in baghdad we will look at the world wide protective services contracts for embassy baghdad, medical locations in iraq and the department's oversight of the task order in losel. we also proposed that we undertake a joint auditor of transition execution and iraq including implementation of the baghdad master plan. in kabul we plan to audit the task order for the embassy security force, contracts to build prisons and the task order for mazar-i-sharif.
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for 20 called our office of inspections as planned inspections of the office of the coordinator for counterterrorism and the office to monitor and combat the trafficking and persons. the office of what it is following up on its work in the region regarding treatment by contractors of the third country nationals and the office of investigations also are actively engaged on this issue. we will continue to provide the department and the converse with the copper inspector of audits and inspections and investigations of post transition activities in iraq and preparations for the planning and operations in afghanistan. mr. chairman, mr. tierney and members of the subcommittee, thank you once again for the opportunity to appear today and i am ready to answer your questions to it >> we will now recognize the inspector general let usaid. >> thank you. ranking member tierney, members of the subcommittee, i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to describe our work is generally and specifically in iraq and afghanistan if i could read it
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like to begin explaining how we are structured, uniquely structured to provide oversight. like the agency, the oig is a foreign affairs foreign service organization and more than two-thirds of the auditors and investigators are foreign service operators permanently assigned to usaid oig. so that worldwide availability gives us a great deal of flexibility to put people where they need to be when they need to become and in addition to that, even though we participated in the process by statute we are exempt from countries staffing level feelings, so why this has never been an issue and i don't think it ever will be, we can put people where we need to put people regardless of what the situation is on the ground with staffing in the different embassies, and again, that gives a great deal of flexibility in over the past eight years a
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couple of examples or opening country offices in iraq afghanistan and pakistan, doubling the size of the staff in south africa to oversee the money for aids and infectious diseases in sub-saharan africa and then opening the satellite office on a small satellite office in port-au-prince haiti to help the regional office in el salvador oversee the humanitarian assistance and reconstruction of the post earthquake haiti. so i think that regardless whether it is a contingency operation or just a standard agency coming u.s. aid obligation i think we uniquely situated to do that work to do the oversight work. in iraq we started the oversight in 2003 long-term and when the embassy got up and running and the mission got up and running we established an office of seven auditors and investigators so we have been there pretty much with sigr from the
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beginning. on the programs and iraq are sort of leveling off to the traditional country office machine operation at about $270 million we are going to reduce the size of the staff to the auditors to the investigators move the additional people over to egypt of the regional offices and then provide iraq, provide oversight of iraq from egypt and from iraq. in afghanistan we develop a little bit differently. clearly the infrastructure wasn't available early on so we were doing most of our work from the philippines. we created a virtual country office in the philippines and we were literally on the ground full-time in afghanistan with auditors and investigators doing the work. as the program increased in scope and complexity we worked out with the embassy to put an office there and now we have seven auditors for the foreign service national auditors we
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have for american u.s. direct higher investigators, 14 and national investigator and we are going to put on one more investigator so we are committed both through iraq and afghanistan in providing audit oversight and investigated over side of the programs in afghanistan. with that, i would appreciate -- thank you for the opportunity to appear before you and i would welcome any questions you might have about our oversight activity and the activities to improve that going forward to it specs before. we will now recognize the honorable steward bowen who is the inspector general for the iraqi reconstruction through 64 ranking member to me, members of the committee for the opportunity to appear before you begin and address over oversight work in iraq, and also to take up the issue of improving oversight in contingency operations. i just returned to weeks ago from my 31st trip to iraq over the last eight years, met with
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might and auditors and investigators while i was there and we are busy still addressing significant issues regarding the substantial u.s. funds being expended in iraq. it's true the military is departing at the end of this month a footprint is shrinking, but billions of dollars in taxpayers' money is still being spent and that money requires firm and effective oversight for the coming year and the years thereafter. on monday we appear before the house committee on foreign affairs to address the largest expenditure plan for next year by the state department and that is the billion dollars for the police development program. real questions raised about the preparation for that much work remains to be done to ensure that it can succeed. why why was an iraq i met with ambassador jeffrey, and our ambassador to iraq and the assistant in charge of the development program and they concur with our findings and taking action vigorously to
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implement them. however, i remain concerned about a couple of matters that occurred over the last month regarding our presence there and one is the review process at the state department is implemented to require us to get the information that we normally get for the reports back through offices here in washington which will impede our responsiveness. you've come to rely on the reports for the quick trip on what's going on in iraq and we want to maintain a capacity. we hope that we can overcome that limitation and there's also been an investigation problem that all identified in my statement that's relative to the capacity to get information and carry out investigations. these continue the capacity to execute effective oversight in iraq. i also want to address the the government's capacity to execute effective oversight in contingency operations of the wartime commission in its final report a few months ago rightly
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recognized that the united states can improve its ability to oversee, oversee contingency operations recommending the provision of a special inspector general in other words personalizing what we've been doing, what's my colleague mr. trent and his staff are doing in afghanistan. and i concur with their recommendation because it will provide funds, savings of money in iraq. that's the bottom line. in iraq, afghanistan, the contingencies going forward. the specialist victor general for the overseas contingency would save taxpayer dollars. we've done that in iraq. it's being done in afghanistan. would be done in the future contingency operations. but we take very quickly the three objections to it that have been raised. one, it would be a layer of additional oversight. the opposite is true. the experience of sigr in iraq has been that we have coalesced and focused oversight of the
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iraq reconstruction mission, and as a result of generated more effective work, more output, work that would have been more difficult to accomplish there had been three, four, five inspector general's office is operating, and we triet the iraq inspector general counsel and as was pointed out we worked very closely from the beginning and with the states and with the dod over time through the process to generate better work. it has been a effective catalyst to sinner jul is oversight efforts in country, not the layer. ..
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we've submitted a budget that could operate on an affect deus, very limited amount for the time necessary and tell it occurred and that would be directed by the congress that the congress has called to provide oversight and contingencies as they arrive. db2 for the congress, boomed attacks to save money in these times has $15 trillion debt. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i know as much as a discussion about this proposal as well. i now recognize mr. trent, inspector general in afghanistan reconstruction. you're recognized for five
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minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. ranking member tierney and members of the committee. i'm pleased to be here with my colleagues to discuss ways to strengthen oversight of reconstruction in afghanistan. the president has requested more than $18 billion neophyte 20 total budget to assist afghanistan. repurpose will bring appropriations to $90 billion, the largest rebuilding effort since the marshall. congress started 72. the 10 auditors and investigators about a positive positive impact on reconstruction effort. it issued 49 odder reports and make what hundred 49 recommendations that have led to greater accountability contract or management. just to see her auditors had identified $70 million in funds that should be returned to u.s. government. investigators think an important role does detect and deterring fraud. the work has resulted in the recent successful prosecution of
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the largest to date from afghanistan. they say they produce $51 million in fines, penalties cost for features, features and savings. however, i believe sigar must do more to strengthen oversight of this critical transition period. we take aggressive steps on the most critical areas of the reconstruction effort. we have developed a fiscal year 2012 out of plan that identifies five critical areas to successful afghanistan reconstruction. their private security contractors come afghan governance capacity sustainability, contract to become a program results and evaluations, fraud detection and litigation. we've also added a section is to provide timely assessments of infrastructure projects. these rapid reviews will verify that the work was performed correctly and achieve the intended outcomes. most importantly this work can
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help determine the projects are sustainable. we are also adding a series of audits to examine contract expenditures. these audits will allow to accurately assess whether u.s. government has been billed properly. along with sister oversight agencies be consistently courteney to avoid duplicating each other's work. however we know we need a more comprehensive and targeted approach. therefore, along with our colleagues here at developing a strategic framework to guide the ig communities work in afghanistan reconstruction and intend to identify issues most important to lawmakers and policymakers in the same issues to drive results of the i.t. community to work. sigar hosted the first meaning of this effort last week. finally, sigar takes a leadership leadership role in holding contract is accountable in afghanistan. for expanding investigative presence in afghanistan to build criminal cases. we have 111 criminal investigations, 68 of procurement fraud.
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criminal and civil legal proceedings however can take substantial periods of time so sigar has enhanced his suspension program to address the need for more timely and targeted action. sigar is currently on track to make approximately 80 suspension department referrals by the end of this year. sigar takes important steps to enhance oversight. implementing agencies also have a responsibility to strengthen oversight of their own operations. during a recent trip to afghanistan and met with high-level u.s. civilian and military officials to discuss what steps they take to improve contractor program management. a continued to engage in important discussions is also hoped to better target set to sort. let me conclude by saying we've listen closely to the committee's questions about oversight and we are heeding your concerns. the congress has provided enormous resources for afghanistan reconstruction in a difficult budgetary requirements and a set to ensure oversight
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not only protects the investment that helps u.s. implementing agencies produce better results. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you for your service. i'll recognize myself for five minutes. mr. heddell, let me start with you. the defense contracting agency is a little bit outside of our lane, but i'd appreciate if you'd offer to wartime contracting and indicated they were praying 56,000 -- 56,000 contracts behind in terms of auditing these contracts. why is it? how is that the dod can be so far behind in this? >> mr. chairman, my office is actually done a lot of work with respect to dcaa. i would just say chocolate for stuff that i think they probably are underresourced and need help
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in that respect. but historically, dcaa has been a very challenged organization. they do a tremendous amount of work for a lot of agencies. not just inside the department of defense, but outside the department of defense. in the last three to four years the dcaa has undergone some sweeping changes as a result of some fairly significant criticisms of their leadership, the processes and not meeting next patience. as a result of that, he has new leadership today with pat fitzgerald who is the director of the army audit and taken on a gigantic job and with the work my office has done to try and help them identify vulnerabilities and their management, in their processes and how to be an affect your
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organization. for the last two years their focus has been, and mrs. gordon heddell talking, more internal than external. so under ideal circumstances, they would've been focusing outward turning great work, doing lots of audits that very experienced and good leadership. they've had to focus inward to correct management decisions pleasing vulnerability. that's partially a result of this backlog and nodded. >> and my understanding is they been participating and spending a lot of money and resources. if that expenditure gone up, help me understand what's happening with the actual auditors themselves because you have been appropriated my money. >> absolutely. i've been a fortune organization and in the last three to four years, the dod office of inspector general has flushed up
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$787 million, mr. chairman. i doubt that any other ig can say that. congress has been very supportive of me. and for that matter, so has the department of defense. >> have you been spending my money? >> know, the problem there is that the budget -- the $87 million that i have received have not been annualized. and what that means is although i'm very fortunate to get these, i'm not able to use that money to hire permanent staff. so i can hire contract juries. i can do other things without money, but because it has not been annualized by the department, i cannot run the risk of hiring people and then having to risk them the following year for fear that i don't have enough money in my budget to pay them.
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>> out that $87 million in cotton, how much did you actually spend? >> well, we've spent almost all of it. >> but you hire outside contractors -- >> yes, sir. we hire outside contractors and creatively doing work that is positive and meets the needs of both the congress and the department of the american people. but for instance, in the early 2000, there's two things that have been that have come to haunt us today. one is what we spent our military forces into southwest asia to fight two wars, there is a mistaken belief by many of the civilian agencies that they could fight those two wars in the continental united states. my own organization being one of them.
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it wasn't until three or four years ago that we came to realization you cannot do that. he must be present and you have to have the people in place. you have to have the footprint. the second thing that happened is that the department of defense budget doubled to about $650 billion. and at the same time the contract acquisition and contract management work for is in fact was reduced in size, meaning that we lack thousands and thousands of needy contracting specialist that are not there to oversight these contracts, better not dare to raise their hand and say stop the assembly line. we are spending money that we are not watching. we are not surveilling it. those are two major issues. >> well, thank you. i think this highlights a multibillion dollars challenge and problems that we certainly need to address can fix because
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there's a definite need pervasive in congress, both have senate to make sure these functions are in place. with the monies appropriated is obvious he falling short of feeling. i've overstayed my time. we know recognize the ranking member, mr. tierney from massachusetts for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. chaffetz, i think we hollowed out collaboration seems in keeping at least the personnel on board and to manage contracts every time we have a hearing on that respect. if we contract outcome which is not always a good idea, then at least we have to keep on board enough people to manage these things for everybody's benefit. in your report, mr. chaffetz, the sub prime contract for afghanistan used on while those are provided the projects required by the contract to defend statistics agency failed to provide contract costs performance. specifically you found the
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agency overpaid the vendor a hundred million dollars in transportation costs, pick another $455 million to jewish pressures vegetables without equipping core requirements and allowed to build over $50 million in costs would erode the perp reaching here. what recourse do you have this inspector general in the agency fails to properly manage a contract that leads to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to taxpayer. >> well, thank you congressman tierney. obviously this is an example of just about how bad it can get. and clearly this happened. this contract was created in 2005. it wasn't a well-designed, well thought out contract. what probably like many contracts during that period, consequently we spent some $3 billion on this contract. nics that, we overpaid the prime
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vendor in 90 days -- $98 million in transportation costs. we overpaid and 25.9 million travel cost of corrugated boxes and so on. and as you indicated, $455 million in services to air lift fruit and vegetables from the united arab emirates into afghanistan without including not in the contract. all of that is a result of not cleaning properly and using our contract, designer contract does not in the best interest of the american people. now my organization has gone to the defend statistics agency and we told them i want that money back. and the defense logistics agency agrees with us. beginning in october they began this past october of 11, they
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began to make efforts to determine first about what are the fair and reasonable prices that should have been charged? imagine a contract created in 2005 and now and december of 2011, we are just now determining what should've been the reasonable and fair prices to pay. okay, david greig, mr. ranking member to do that and they are currently in face-to-face negotiations with supreme and the timeline projections for a resolution on this and i would never hold my breath and get it all back. at a resolution for this is actually scheduled for december 9 this week. so i am hopeful that when we talk again, that i can say to you we've been able to recover a great deal of these funds. >> you recall that from a contracts that we look that make tracking situation in afghanistan. the lack of vision or ability to
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look at a contracts, subcontract some tiny detail of those who just never written in to begin with. so mr. bowen, and a special inspector general to help alleviate this problem is sending people in and getting partway down the road before you see these mistakes are happening? >> one, there will be focus and preparation in place at the time the agency begins to deploy. there'll be a commitment to deployment. as my friend mr. chaffetz pointed out, with the other ig is in moving forward and be in. >> one of the licenses you have to be there to do the work. a special inspector general thought this would be hiring people who know when they sang on, though: deploy and carry a oversight in the conflicts on. finally this is a good example of how it could make a
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difference. something unique to a special ig that institutional toe house. that means i can dig into problems like this and find out if it's dod money being wasted or aid money, however that money may be going away we can get to adding it to a faster and thus save it. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> i will recognize myself for five minutes. mr. trance, the obama administration increased rent assistance to the afghan government from approximately $665 million in fy 09 to roughly $2 billion in fy 10. this program is designed to provide u.s. taxpayer money quickly to the karzai government for purpose of carrying out reconstruction projects. is it logical to assume one of the most current governors will have proper stewardship of u.s. taxpayer money?
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[booing] it's a very good question, congressman. sigar has conducted a number of audits and has a number of candidates planned. a rtf in the past. looking on among other things than those capacity of the afghan government to administer afghan direct funds. we have a significant and serious challenge in the karzai government in afghanistan. the efforts with corruption in afghanistan are almost insurmountable. clearly we need more of a concerted well by the government there and we need a much stronger and robust criminal justice which they simply don't have. so we do it we can to monitor those funds and will continue to do that.
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i can't say if i'm optimistic or not with regard to the corruption and control of those funds. >> what should we be doing? if you're not confident -- i'm not confident either. what should we be doing? you said something that we need a more robust criminal system. well, they all have one. it are not proper procedures are proper oversight people. so what should we be doing? >> well, were doing about all we can. we need to continue with the rule of law efforts there. we can't give up on that, notwithstanding the corruption laws that we've encountered with that. we have to continue to bring pressure wherever possible on the government itself to show a concerted effort in the area and prosecute and continue to conduct audits and continue to work on the investigative side with the afghan authorities we can work with to pursue ascii or
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my others. >> mr. bhavan, right now the police development program for iraq going forward and there's some evidence that iraqis don't even want this program. the view your stats to ask iraqi police force if they need the program at the obama administration plan to spend the development program click >> yes, we reported that in our last quarterly no damned the senior official said quote, she didn't see any real benefit from the police development program, unquote. i addressed that with him bananas in iraq a couple weeks ago and asked him, did you mean what you said? his response was we welcome any support that the american government would provide us.
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however my statement as quoted in your recent quarterly are still posted on the website. >> so why is the administration spending $5 million year to provide his program. >> there is a belief that security continues to be a challenging issue and iraq -- a well-founded belief given the events of this week. killings of pilgrims again on the way to the eve of posture. the focus on trying to address those problems has been a widely scattered, high-level training program involving 150 police trainers who as we see again this week will have a very difficult time moving about the country. >> so what other problems have been found if any? >> several. he pointed out in our audit that
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found in the congress requires from iraq by law, that is a contribution of 50% to such programs has not been secured. that's a great concern, especially for a ministry that has a budget for over 6 billion. a government that just approved $100 billion budget for next year. it's not afghanistan. this is a country that has significant wealth, should be all to contribute, that has not been forced to do so in a program is crucial as this. >> i know i've run out of time, that mr. geisel d.o. comments on this? >> well, first of all i am not going to second-guess my friend and colleague on by his people found. and of course the people you need to bring up here are the people from the state department to comment on what he found.
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i saw that the department published a document, a 21 page document that includes goals and measures of performance for the police development program. but if my friends baby, not nine. thematic thank you very much. i look at five-minute now to mr. welch from vermont. >> thank you very much, mr. labrador. i want to thank each and everyone of you for the terrific work you're doing. a lot of situations here in covering reflect the impossible expectations oftentimes congress has and if it were as easy as writing a check and having police force in iraq and afghanistan be established could be no problem. against her better judgment sometimes we spend money and surprise surprise can you tell us a lot of it is being wasted. i really do applaud the work that you're doing.
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i am going to be introducing legislation that does stricker disbarment proceedings for contractors convicted of violating provisions of the foreign corrupt practices act. there is some debate between my office and the attorney general's office as to how strict that should be. that is a very critical troll for you. my view is that the department of authority hasn't been adequately exercised in a war zone. i may ask you, inspector general trend. i know that sigar has her best suspension and disbarment programs, did you believe it dod usaid are adequately and appropriately using the authority within iraq and afghanistan? if not, what are the barriers to its use its use and how cool it worked for them to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not getting ripped off?
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>> congressmen, we do have aggressive and somewhat effective suspension department program in sigar. and i am somewhat aware of your pending legislation on me at cpa issue. with to my colleagues at these suspension departments, it has been a tool available to contract authorities acquisition authorities and inspector generals as far as proposals for some time. in my experiences in the last several years in the southwest asia i felt that we could increase that use and when i came to sigar i took steps to do that. >> so it is an effective tool and should be used? >> congressmen, i believe it's a very effective tool and in the afghanistan case it is a tool in terms of corruption and contract
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management and implementation. >> let me ask you one more question. i just got back from afghanistan. one of the people we've met with was found the attorney general's office and the anticorruption unit. and they repair training afghan civil servants about how to detect corruption. when i asked the attorney general has a coin, he said we had to in the program. he says because we're teaching them how to detect it they were using information to do it. [laughter] so that is a real challenge that we face. but when we visited the commanders sent home and in kandahar, one of the things they were promoting was the developments quick chat key dam which costs about $475 million in benefits are obviously implemented. a provide electricity, maybe some irrigation.
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but the question is it's not coming out of their budget. it would be a supplemental expenditure. it's not like the military would take it out of their ability to do their job. so they look a bit skeptical because it's easy to prevent the expenditure of somebody else's money. bottom line, that is the conflict zone and significant questions about whether this could be done. my question to you is does it make sense at this point to as the taxpayers to spend $475 million on hydroelectric project that would have extensive transmission lines? olivet could be easily attachable by insurgents who doesn't make sense to put that on hold? >> congressmen, sigar does not look at the college at usaid has done work in that area. we have what god couple of power plants and energy sec or with
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audits, but specifically we have that. i believe my friend at usaid has done it to market my area. >> yes, sir. i'm running on the edge of time, but with the indulgence of the chairman. >> i think you're initially asked a political or administration question about the utility of going forward with the program. would you consider the difficult environment in which it would be implemented. we have done a couple audits and in talking to ambassador crocker this week, it seems to be a priority at the embassy and government to move forward with that. it looks like the army corps of engineers is going to undertake a major part of the program and ait would also be responsible for doing work that ticky-tacky pm. so primarily, the problem up
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there has been security and now it's getting difficult to get contract are on the work when you consider the security situation that they are. so overall is the power sector and important sector? absolutely. but it's a very difficult environment to work in up there. >> wanaque five minutes to mr. yarmouth. >> thank you, mr. chair. i thank you offer testimony and appreciate the work you do also. we now face because of the debt ceiling deal that we did a possible sequester funds and large amount of that sequester funds in 2013 would come from defense department. secretary pineda has said the such a cut is project that under
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the sequester process would be devastating to the defense department and our security. and yet we listened to these stories can we talk about essentially the inability to get a handle on it -- on these contracts in real time. how are we going to know, mr. heddell, if the sequester is really going to have an impact on defense when we don't have a grasp on the hundreds of millions and billions of dollars for spending no? >> although i can't comment on the sequester congressman yarmouth, i can tell you in the last three or four beers i has seen significant progress in inspector general community in terms of its oversight. and i love the same progress with respect to the way the
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commanders -- in fact they just got back from afghanistan myself. and i've seen progress in terms of the approach that we're taking. for instance, this year one of the things that we've started doing was assisting the mod and the emboli, ministers of defense and interior with respect to core capabilities, meaning ability to manage government, something we had not done before so that we have a way of teaching them how to do it and then going back and making sure that they are accountable. and so we are creating systems and processes. i can't assure you that is going to work, but it's something we should have done before. the other thing, the inspector general community itself, which is a significant tool in overcoming so many challenges, four years ago the statement
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that if you've seen one ig, you've seen one night she was really true. today it is not true. once the amendment to the inspector general act was passed a few years ago, what has happened is similar to what is happening live enforcement. all of the big things in our tenant task force says. they are done in teams. where you have ig is now getting together to solve a common problem. you have one person agencies working on task forces to address corruption. and by the way, you mentioned -- or it was mentioned earlier that the use of tool such as department -- while that's a great tool, but you have to realize that what happens when we do bari company in afghanistan, what happens is they just go back and change their name and reapply and get a new contract. that happens over and over
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again. so the answer is simply department. and obviously the thought almost no success in prosecuting companies in the prosecuting attorney in afghanistan. so we have to find ways to influence the leadership to do the right thing. i think what the oversight community we've done it. i can't comment on what the sequester enough funds might amount to. the department is working hard -- >> them are interested in the overall process. obviously this is broader than just iraq and afghanistan, but one of the things that has occurred to me recently as we have a world that is moving at 80 miles an hour and we have a government that is structured to rent 30 miles an hour. it's taken this long in iraq and afghanistan to get a pm on this. seems to me we have a fundamental structural problem that we don't know how to keep
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up with the situations we find ourselves. we're habitually late. i said that earlier in my testimony. when we had four military services fighting in southwest asia in 01 and 03, civilian agencies are finding that were back here in the continental united states. it took us until 2,742,000 make you realize you cannot successfully fight a war unless everyone's involved. it's taken us three or four years to get there, but i think were getting much closer to getting where we need to be. >> thank you. i don't have an answer to the problem. thank you fair match. >> thank you, mr. chair. i'm going to give myself not five minutes and follow-up on most questions. one of the things that's most frustrating to me as a freshman year in congress is that there are some things that both sides agree on that we need to be working on and you're not doing
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it. i look at the oversight committee. i don't think there's a lot of difference. or maybe some small differences between the two sides, but it seems like we can identify things at the $500 billion was spent on iraq police force that they don't even want. we should be finding things in common that we could be saving on. if we could put on -- add transparency here in president obama, i'm not using this to embarrass anybody, the president obama has sat on his website that he's committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history. he wants a window for all americans into the business of the government and that's something i want. i actually agree with him on this issue. but yet, this panelists representing ig office principle in iraq and afghanistan. as of january for the next year, for the hypothesis will not have
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an ig. i am concerned about that. i want everybody to comment. you know whether the president has nominated anyone to fill these vacancies? if so, who has been nominated? have you made any recommendations and do you think the absence of permanent ig's will actually harm our efforts in oversight and anyone can take this question. >> i certainly like to comment. number one, i don't no the names of anyone that might have been nominated or who is being considered to be nominated. number two, i can tell you the nomination and confirmation process that we have is cumbersome and slow and it has an adverse impact on the leadership of these organizations. number three, when i took over as an act in inspector general in july 2008, the dod ig at the
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top had been vacant for so many years over the past 10, 12 years come you can't imagine hearing so to run organization using imap team inspect or general as a leader is for harding, you can do it for a few months, but she cannot succeed over years and decades. and that is what is happening. >> does anyone know why that has happened? is there any reason why this seems like both sides would agree that we need a robust ig in all these agencies. does anyone have comments on that? mr. carroll. >> i can't comment on what the white house is doing. i went to assure you that i'm a usaid, one of the great things was that was truly a partnership between him and i criticize energy into the acting role, other than the fact that the
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workload issue for me, the workers on in the leadership philosophy continues. i just want to ensure the subcommittee that there'll be no degradation in our effectiveness or what our work is going to be for as long as it takes for the president to make a decision. >> i know that mr. bowen has been a staunch advocate of sunoco. is that something the rest of the panel agrees is necessary? if you don't think it's necessary, why? mr. geisel. >> why didn't volunteer, but i'll be happy to tell you what i think. >> you look so willing to answer this question. >> i think in this testimony, the written testimony especially my colleagues made some very good points. one of the key point is that the
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concept is sigar and his own office has had a wonderful advantage or not is that they have hiring authorities and they have generous funding that the statutory ig didn't have. another way to approach that issue is to give us the statutory ig's those same authorities and robust funding. now i can't complain about funding because since i came to the department in 2008, congress has tossed us out marvelously. at those hiring authorities would make a real difference. and i agree with what he said this authorities are crucial to doing the kind of job you like us to do. >> what concerns me about the idea is that something we do here in washington all the time,
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something isn't working. what we end up doing is creating a whole new agency or department instead of giving authority to the people already in charge of giving them the responsibility. it seems like we do it agencies. what we create is another layer is responsibility. i just find a way to use the existing authorities that are trying to create a reach. but i do understand his concern and i think we all share the can and that we should be saving taxpayer money for the american people and there's ways we can agree to do it and we just need to get it done. anyway, i now recognize the ranking member mr. tierney. >> your timing is perfect. let's explore this a bit. it's a healthy debate and i appreciate iran's position on this. the special inspector general for contingency operations would not be duplicative if it's carried out in the way the legislation is drafted in the
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way it's intended. currently there's nobody responsible for the operations on a specially appointed on a case-by-case situation when it arises in the congress decides to implement. all of the existing inspector general said a handful of doing what they're doing within respective agencies. so if you are mr. heddell coming in the present moment with nothing to do. i mean, their hands are full doing things within the area of failing on my and i suspect it could be busy for as long as they want to keep that position. so let's allow you to do some testimony on that. the sunoco concept would be different in what ways? would be non-duplicative in what ways? you mention your first testimony let's reiterate because i think it's healthy to know this.
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>> yes, mr. tierney, first and foremost, it would be cross jurisdictional. as hard as the congress might try as much as my friend and fellow ig would play, they have to stay within their stovepipe to do their oversight, which means each of them have to be present. as my friend gordon heddell noted. as we've learned in iraq and see in afghanistan, programs much money. when they manage money, you'll ultimately have different ig is attacking it or perhaps no one addressing it because of the merger. pseudocode allowed to cross jurisdictional power. could be the primary mission to carry out this oversight. we know that in 2003 we would have averted the wasted billions of dollars. we know that had said to exist in a 2002 would have averted the wasted billions of dollars because the aggressive presence of audit on the ground that would've been there.
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third, you would have a staff that when they sign-up, they sign-up to go to conflict. that is not something my friends and colleagues can require of their staff now. they can say you're going to orszag to do oversight. that is a problem in 2005, 2006, 2007, getting people to volunteer. still is. afghanistan is today. and finally as i said in my testimony, this would save money. that's the watch for this area. this is the oversight and government reform committee. the latter rubric should be applied when it can be applied in a money-saving way. sunoco would be one of those ways. >> manchester by my colleagues that all these different nagy is that the respective agencies and departments are busy all the time. so you have a contingency operation to ramp up and try to
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do other things you're doing consuming all of your time and going over to other areas. you're actually focusing another inspector general on a much-needed area to do that work on me constantly available to achieve it and get it done. i think that's a constructive part of that. there's other issues you raise, but i tank that you can use the sustainability of products that my colleagues raised earlier, the whole wartime contracting commission, which incidentally we had to get over there because of the issues and contingency contract and get the imac to look way things were dredged out in the beginning. their final chapter sums up the whole issue of tragic sustainability by saying the commission sees no reason they are making adequate plans to ensure that those nations will deal to operate and maintain u.s. funded projects on their own. nor are they taking
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sustainability risk into account. just for the panel, to refinance still to be the case for other things being meant to include sustainability risk in their projects as they move forward and particularly in iraq is in the thought of that area in afghanistan and elsewhere? whoever might want to volunteer. >> as far as oversight of that question in every one of our performance audit in iraq and afghanistan, we've been audit objective for sustainability. to be honest what we found to date is that it is sort of a mixed bag. i wouldn't say it's a very successful picture historically or even moving forward. but i think realistically to answer the question, yes, the agency is helping sustainability in the design of their projects, but you're dealing with the afghan government particularly going forward here and that's going to be problematic.
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we've been finding problems for sustainability and programs in afghanistan. >> the problem we have with the kabul power plant, where you do decide to spend $300 billion of taxpayer money and then decided that they could get electricity cheaper on that basis, to a know why that happened or what we missed i'm not? >> well, i am not sure exactly why the embassy and aad decided to build the project way they did with diesel fuel that could or could not be shipped in and then decided to move in a different direction. the way it's described now is that the kabul power plant is that a fallback and a surge capacity with the larger infrastructure that they are putting forward. so i would say from sustainability pointing out that maybe with a well thought out,
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but i think you've learned since that time. >> i think i would be constructive if you note the areas and attend something that won't be happening again. at the church to you if you would. i guess you're not prepared to answer today. you can go back and find out what happened and this is about now a backup plan, something might add as an excuse. i think everybody novus on that. and now they're going to find some region, but we need to ask you to go back and find that while iraq and put in place a plan to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> thank you. i now recognize mr. welch. two of the recurring questions about the expenditure of these monies is whether we have a reliable partner and whether security on the ground is adequate so that the work can actually be done. both of those are huge
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impediments. and i am just going to -- a constant conflict to some extent with policy object is, where let's say in afghanistan as desire to build a civil society. mr. carroll commuter departed there so much of the responsibility for implementation of some of these projects. it's a predicate question that should be asked and answered by some authority whether a project has a reliable partner such that there can be a reasonable degree of conference to be implemented. i'm thinking very much about -- pardon me, the iraqi police training. or is there a security situation so the work can be done? that might be relevant to something like the dam project. if you like either or both of those, does it make any sense under any circumstances to do a
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mary pass on a major expenditure , hoping meadow have been just because we'd like it to have been. >> well, aad -- you are right. they are the meat and potatoes of civil society. his education and service programs. they do reconstruction in iraq and they've done it to an extent in afghanistan. and i think it would be news if i were to say it was difficult to do development in the middle of a war insert after problematic through mr. bowen is on that thread afghanistan. you ask about reliable partners. aid historically has implemented their programs through nongovernmental organizations primarily. a lot of those are u.s.-based. some international, multinational agencies and that
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sort of thing. so they are reliable partners. it is now moving in a direction towards funding more development assistance through afghan ministries and they have a process in place to do some capacity assessment of the systems in place and the ministry's ability to do the work. as they convince themselves or as the data presented south comment they move forward or not on their programs. the website for the traditional aid programs, civil society, democracy and governments, health education, that sort of thing. there are reliable partners. there is a willingness on behalf of the afghan people to make these things happen. >> i'm going to interrupt you right there. that is a meaningless statement. the afghan people. who are they? you know what i mean?
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in a general sense, the afghan people is desirous to have good things happen as we are. but there's not a structure. there's not a political implementation program. there's not sufficient security. you know, i've met contractors who are confined to basically the embassy compound. how do you manage your program? it would be like mr. bell and bowen and auditing all done about iraq and afghanistan, mr. trent in afghanistan from capitol hill. i mean, it just doesn't work. you know, this is an enormous frustration are you, but i think there's an illusion and congress is the one primarily responsible because we will have the money go out under circumstances where there is no part goal possibility it will be well used and then we'll get angry at you when you report to us that hey, a lot of money went missing.
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so there is a predicate question here. we probably should be asking it. i'm wondering whether the organization might have to certify that for this project we have reliable governmental people or we've got sufficient security that can be done. >> already. i yield back. >> thank you very much. i want to thank the panelists are being here and taking time for the work you're doing. have a great day, thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. [inaudible conversations] >> the military is in the
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process of removing all combat troops from iraq. the tenant general frank helmick said the iraqi military will be able to maintain the in the country once it is complete at the end of this month. this is 40 minutes. >> good morning. i'd like to welcome to the pentagon briefing room for the first time, lieutenant general frank helmick, director of operations for iraq. general helmick serb helmick campaigns. the assistant commander of the one and first airborne division in the 2003 invasion. he subsequently served as commander of the multinational security transition command from 2008 to 2009. during the tour he was responsible for recruiting, training, equipping and sustaining iraqi military and police forces. today deputy commanding general
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of operations for u.s. fia he's responsible for oversight of stability and redeployment operation as usf i completely transfer streaming and pricing functions in iraq by the end of the year. at this time i'll turn the microphone to general helmick for his opening statement and then we'll come back to washington to take your questions. but that general, over to you. >> well, good morning from baghdad, iraq. i'd like to thank the media today and i appreciate this opportunity to update the american people about our men and women in uniform, bravely serving in support of operation new dawn. with less than one month remaining, we are poised to complete our mission to successfully honor the terms of the two deaths in a security agreement between our government and government of iraq. the significance of this day,
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december 7 and is not escape you. for today marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on pearl harbor. that infamous day in the attacks on 9/11 calvinist or nation. while world war ii was credited for responding to the greatest generation, i believe over the course of the operation iraqi freedom and operation new dawn, america discovered the next greatest generation. words cannot begin to describe the pride i feel about america's military performance in service in iraq. what i hope to accomplish today is what i leave for the three burning questions people have with regard to u.s. troop presence in iraq. number one, what is the status of our redeployment of hers? number two, are the iraqi security forces ready? and number three, has this war in iraq been worth the sacrifice by the united states? first of all, let me talk about
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the trot down. the magnitude in scale of what we doing here in iraq is simply historic. we just didn't begin this a few months ago. we began this trot down 18 months ago. that's a kind of give you a frame of reference of what we have to deal with, have to go back to 2007 and illustrate the magnitude of the challenge that faced as. for example, we were responsible and still are today that the security of the nation in iraq is about the size of california. in 2007, the number of uniformed personnel, civilian dod personnel and contractors was about 300,000, all of those
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combined. that equates to the size of the cincinnati ohio population is 90. today in the country, we have 8000 military and only 5000 contract terms. back in 2007, we occupied 505 bases around the country. if you put those pieces together, that size equates to the size of san jose california. today we have about five bases -- not about, with five saves as that we are responsible for and you can put those pieces together it's the size of bronx in new york city. now, since we have really made this effort a priority about 18 months ago, we have moved a mountain of equipment, personnel throughout the country. and our drivers have driven over
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16 million miles. and that equates to about 482 times around the earth. so this repot share after it has been a deliberate effort, has been operationally focused. it has been done very, very quietly and in a professional manner. question two, are the iraqi question two, really on a two really on a 2003 with the 101st airborne division. and during that time, the iraqis did not have an army. they did not have a navy. they did not have an air force. so we couldn't rebuild anything. we poked their military. and we help professionalize and
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build the iraqi police because they did have iraqi police forces. he did have a special operations force. today they too, which by the way of the best in the region. today there are about 700,000 iraqi security forces in the country. that is their army, navy, air force, marine corps and all the different police forces to include the federal police cores, about 700,000 total. they are equipped with a very good equipment. much of that equipment is united states equipment and some of the best we have. ..
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lingering aestheticians, sunni, shia, arab are not what they need to be. the iraqis continue to work on that as well. and the government still is not completely formed. as you know the elections occurred in march of 2010. we still do not have a permanent minister of defense or a minister of the interior. the prime minister is heading up both of those organizations. we do have an act minister and then there are still security gaps that exist. their heirs sovereignty, their
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air defense capability, the ability to attacked two oil platforms and then the ability to do combined arms operations for an external defense, synchronizing their m3 with their armor, with their artillery, with engineers. they are not quite there with that capability. the third question, has it been worth it? that is a personal question that if you ask a number of soldiers that have served here, a number of marines that have served here and a member of the service that has served here or the iraqi's for example you may get a different answer. but from where i said i have to say it was. we enabled and facilitated elections. we built a military. violence in iraq is at an all-time low. in 2007 as i mentioned at the
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height we had 1600 attacks a week in this country against the united states, against the iraqi security forces and against the iraqi's themselves. today we have less than 50 attacks per week and we provided the iraqi's and opportunity for a sovereign country to choose their way ahead. i just have to cite two other reasons why i think it has been worth it and one is when i was back at fort bragg i had an opportunity to attend some funerals for soldiers that have died in iraq, who were killed in action. and i went to one funeral and the father whose son had been killed in iraq came up to me and said general, thank you. and i thought he was thanking me for representing the chief of staff of the army at the ceremony but that wasn't the case.
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because i asked him why was he thinking me. he said, thank you because you allowed my son to do what he loves to do and that was to be a soldier. another example of why it has been worth it for me is, there is a program called operation new exit where we bring a select group of servicemembers back to iraq who had to be evacuated because of injuries. and until the day i died there is a marine who is on one of those events they came back here, operation new exit program that came back here, a double amputee and he was blind. and he said to me general i had to come back here. i had to leave here and get closure in a proper way.
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because you know general i've wouldn't do anything differently so, for those reasons i have to say for me, this has been a worthy endeavor. so with that opening comment let me take your questions. >> general thank you very much and we will go ahead and take questions from the pentagon. mike? >> general mike evans from london here. because of your experience and the fact that you were there in 2003 as well as -- what do you think of the main lessons of the military have learned from their campaign in iraq? developments and doctrine and all of that? >> well number one mike, thank you for that question. our military is an incredible
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organization. we have reformed really beyond expectation in my mind and i have seen it again early on, steady-state and now at the ends. early on, our military did things that they weren't trained to do. we weren't very good at being advisers to some farmers that were trying to harvest wheat but we did that. we weren't very good about how do you talk to a refinery manager on how to improve his process in an oil refinery that was around the country, but we did that. we weren't very good about oil distribution for the country of iraq early on but we did that. so the military had to branch out through all different
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portions of a government sector and take leave because at that time early on there wasn't anybody to hand the ball off to her go since then, the department of state usaid, other countries have, on line and this integration and synchronization of the interagency is a big lesson we have learned. if anyone wants to see how the interagency is supposed to work, come to iraq and see how it works now between the united states embassy and the united states forces in iraq. that is one lesson we learned. number two i have learned that the united states military is absolutely phenomenal. i scratch my head every day to find out where we get the people who volunteer for our military. their talent has no bounds really beyond the and emission,
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any time, with a positive attitude. and then number three, think we have learned about the culture of this country. early on, you think we thought the only way to do things was the way we did it in america but we found out that wasn't the case. we need to enable the processes and procedures in some cases of iraq and not have them templated on an american citizen -- system. so those are three things i would say i take away from this and what we have learned. >> hi general. it is courtney kube from nbc news. one quick question about your opening statement monies that the u.s. military has driven more than 60 million miles. just to be clear you mean within the last 18 months or is that in
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the most recent increase in the number of drawdowns? and then on another note, recently there was a warning from the embassy there in baghdad that they called a severe risk of kidnapping within the international song. what do you a tribute that too and can you talk a little bit about, there've been there have been any specific incidents recently? that have brought on this warning? >> courtney, the data that i have a 16 million miles just in the last 18 months to answer that piece of it. and the second piece to talk about his kidnapping. the warning and threat of kidnapping. we have some intelligence that could indicate that there are, there is a possibility for some, one of the iranian militias to
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do kidnapping and and in and around iraq, so as the embassy personnel and military we have shared this information with each other and we have just taken the appropriate precautions as we move in and around the iac and in and around iraq. >> general, tom bowman with npr. could you do a little cleanup on what is left to do so far? you said you have a thousand soldiers there. you know how much more equipment do you have to take out? how many trucks do you expect to head to kuwait and also talk about what's being left behind, how much equipment, how much depth to the iraqi's want? >> well, as i mentioned, we have 8000 soldiers that remain inside the country.
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we are on a glide path to get it done in accordance with the security agreement of, that says we'll have to be out of here by 31 december and we will do that. the number of truck was i think is less than 1000 right now and that is really, we are in very good shape for the number of truck loads of equipment. we have a very very deliberate plan, a very very detailed process of how we go about doing that. as far as the equipment that is being left behind, i have to tell you, that every piece of equipment that is left here goes through an agonizing process to determine number one, can we legally leave it here? does it enhance the security acceleration capability for the iraqi security forces wax is it more cost-effective to leave here or is it more cost effective to take it with us and
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ship it either to afghanistan are back to the united states? rest assured that every piece of equipment that we leave here has been through that process and there are thousands of pieces of equipment that are here and rest assured that the american people can sleep okay at night because we have gone through a very very deliberate, well thought out process to make sure that the american taxpayer's money has been spent wisely. as a matter of fact there is a significant savings on transportation costs alone by making the decision to leave some of this equipment here. >> there is a range of the equipment that you are leaving behind and just give us a range of what you would not leadleave, what you would he taking out. >> yeah. for example we would leave a desk and a chair, a flat-screen
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tv in some cases we would leave here. what we wouldn't leave here is any type of armored equipment, any type of military vehicle, any type of ammunition. all of that will be sent back to the united states or if required, sent to afghanistan. >> hi general. justin with "fox news." as you know vice president biden just got back from baghdad and during a meeting there with prime minister maliki he talks about working on security arrangements in the future that could involve u.s. assistance. do you believe the iraqi's will want more assistance and is ther e a feeling there amongst military leadership that you could be leaving more responsibly with at least some small force presence, leaving that behind.
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>> jeff, thanks for the question. the vice president did come here last week. i thought it was a great visit. he was here really to attend a ceremony where the iraqi's thanked us for all we have done, for this country. but also he was here to share as a cochair for the strategic framework, the high committee of the strategic framework committee. as you well know jeff there are two guiding documents that we have used in this country since 2008. number one is the security agreement. that has an expiration date of 31 december, 2011 where it states all u.s. forces will leave iraq. number two is a strategic framework agreement. this is more of a department of state leads. in the strategic framework agreement it talks about
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relationships between the united states and the government of iraq. specifically, economic development, educational development, cultural development, environmental development, agricultural type things but also embedded in that is a clause that talks about security cooperation. security cooperation is one of the mil-to-mil agreements that the central command with general maddox will propose to the government of iraq and embedded in bad are things for example possible exercise changes, support calls with maybe ships, those types of mil-to-mil agreements and the same thing that i get from the iraqi's that i deal with, they want to have a strong relationship with our government. they are a sovereign country and they want to make sure that
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their relationship with the united states becomes stronger in the future. >> sir,. >> are you ready for that question? >> i want to go back to your opening statement. you have talked about the readiness of the iraqi forces. can you give us an idea or if you could emphasize if the iraqi forces, if the iraqi forces or if iraq has the capability to defend its air sovereignty?
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>> i think your question is again, you are broken up. let me make sure i understand the question. does iraq have the capabilities to defend its air sovereignty. is that what you asked, joel? >> yes, sir. okay, the answer to that is no, not completely. to defend air sovereignty you have to see what is coming across the border and then you have to be able to react and defend your sovereign airspace. right now there is no problem at all with air traffic inside the country. the government of iraq hold all the air space that if there is someone that wants to bridge the airspace that doesn't have any kind of transmission capability in their airplanes or does not want to transmit and not be seen as a cross border iraq cannot see them and iraq doesn't have
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an advanced jet fighter yet to be able to react to defend their airspace. they understand that. we have helped them with that. as all of you know they have signed an agreement with the united states government through the four military foreign military sales process to purchase 16 f-16's in their discussions to purchase more. that takes time for those airplanes to be built. it takes time for us because we will train the iraqi pilots so in the meantime the iraqi's understand that they have a gap. they have a gap to be able to defend their airspace if someone wanted to come in, inside that airspace that didn't want to be seen. how they deal with that gap is really up to them.
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>> let me follow-up, sir. talking about that app, do you think the united states will be able to assess iraq if they ask for american support in this matter to face this gap? >> well that is not up to me to decide. what we have done is, we have set the foundation and put in place as much as we can put in place to minimize that gap and again how the iraqis choose to address that gap, they could take risks and not address it at all. so again, they have options that they will have to decide with so it is up to the prime minister and the minister of defense, the active minister of defense,
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minister delaney. >> on their war report on line, have there have been any attacks, any harassment of the convoys leaving iraq recently? >> again, richard thank you for that. again, every convoy that leaves this country, it is not just guys you see on the road driving down south. it is a deliberate military operation with route clearance, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, and our soldiers are ready if, are ready to go if there is a problem on the road. recently knock on wood there have not been many incidents, but having said that, we are
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just as detailed. we are making sure that we are doing the checks. we are courtney being the convoys, every convoy is a military operation, every soldier is briefed on the last convoy that leaves this country, as we were when the first convoy left the country. it is a very deliberate process that we go through. >> sir, do you have any incidence of people coming out on the road in the way of harassment, demonstrating, waving signs, protesting against the american troops as they leave in these convoys? >> richard, i have not been told anything about that. again, we have had thousands of
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trucks on the roads as you can imagine every week. not only moving down south of kuwait but also don't forget we still have to read resupply the soldiers that are here so we have been coming nor so they are not only going south but also coming north. i have yet to be told about any kind of incident like that. >> general, thanks. chris carroll from stars and stripes. are you confident that the iraqi security forces are going to be able to preserve their work that u.s. forces have done as far as internal security in iraq in the coming months? i guess another way to say it is, do you think violence will drop or stay the same or potentially increase? >> chris, i wish i knew the
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answer to that question. we really don't know what is going to happen but we do know this. we do know that we have done everything we can in the times that we have been here for the iraqi security forces to make sure that they have a credible security force to provide for the security, the internal security of their country. as i mentioned, there is a question mark right now for external security but for the internal security, we have done all we can do, and as i mentioned since 2000 the iraqi's have been in the lead in these operations per good display what we have done is we have ensured that the diplomatic presence that is here, the u.s. embassy, the two conflicts one in erbil, one embosser in the diplomatic presence in kirkuk.
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we have transitioned much of our equipment for force protection to them and ambassador jeffrey has been working very very diligently to ensure that the force protection of those diplomats and contractors is the best that he can make it. >> see you guys still have one detainee. can you give us an idea of where he is, what is the status of talks with iraq about that and what facilities or how do you plan to hold him until the end of the year? >> i'm sorry, i didn't hear the last question. >> how do you plan to hold onto
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him, stay where he is wherever that might be. can you give us an update? >> who are you talking about holding? it didn't -- again i didn't hear your whole question. >> you have one dt nay -- detainee. where is he now, where will you hold them until the end of the year? can you give us an update on talks with the iraqi's about his possible transfer? >> yeah i am not involved in any of those discussions and of course i'm not going to say where he is being held. the ambassador and general officer are working in all those discussions with the governor of iraq. >> what would you say are the two or three primary issues that the iraqi police need to work on
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right now in terms of elevating their skills and capabilities to the next level? what are the most critical elements they need to work on? >> well that is a very very good question. as you know there are a host of different police forces in this country. you have stationed police, patrol police, water police, electricity police, oil police, facilities detection police and of course the federal police. those are just some of them and their is the largest security apparatus there. so, a very very large, large organization, very very diverse missions sense for all the of those police. don't forget the department of water enforcement which is required at the borders and a
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point of entry. so i would say the two biggest things that i can think of, number one is logistics and the ability to sustain a force of just their vehicles for example. you now and again a what we have, our police force goes down to the local chevrolet dealer or the local ford dealer to have their maintenance done. well, there are not very many ford dealers or chevrolet dealers in iraq right now. and a lot of the vehicles that the iraqi police have our ford f-150 pickup trucks and so the ability to sustain their maintenance capability is one thing and the other thing i would think they need to work on is the intelligence sharing peace of their organizations. one thing i am very pleased with and i see this from afar quite
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honestly is there crime scene management which is really taken some very positive steps. where they go to a crime scene, they isolate the crime scene, they get the evidence, they take the evidence to one of the forensics labs and now they are using evidence from the crime scene to convict someone buy a confession of someone to convict a person. so that is kind of a positive thing but the two things that i think are going to be a challenge for them are the logistical, the logistics sustain the peace for their police force just because it is so big and they have so many different types of the locals to maintain and the of the other pieces the intelligence piece. >> two final questions and then i will do one more and we will wrap it up.
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>> how confident are you in the ability of iraqi security forces to provide both security backup in the outer perimeter of security for u.s. diplomatic facilities that will remain in iraq. for instance when it comes to things like policing the internationals on? >> yeah, that's a great question. you know right now when we had 50,000 troops in here, the united states did the patrols in and around our operating bases and where they can't -- the complex are in the diplomatic residence and the international zone where the embassy is, we are going to have to rely on host nation forces to do this. we have no options. so, my gut tells me that they
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will be capable to do this. they are doing it today. as i mentioned we only have 8000 people, 8000 soldiers in this country. we have a diplomatic crescents in erbil, we have a diplomatic presence, we have the diplomatic conflict in erbil and a diplomatic presence in kirkuk. at the embassy and the international zone and we have a -- down in basra so today the iraqi security forces are doing it and as i mentioned in my earlier comments, we have seen the lowest level of violence since 2003. so, if you want a short-term answer they are doing it today. yet to be determined, longer-term but i am fairly confident they will be able to do it tomorrow and in the future. >> thank you very much. that is the end of time we have for questions.
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i will turn it over to you in just a second for any final thoughts you would like to share with reporters here. before i i do so i would simply note this is a milestone. this is likely to be the final briefing here at the pentagon from a united -- united states forces iraq are good general, that to you. state thanks again to all of you. before i sign off i just want to emphasize my firm belief that there is no other military in the world that can do what yours did in iraq. for eight years. all the u.s. armed forces committed to help the iraqis build their military while providing security and stability for its citizens. we have achieved this feat despite incredible odds. and we are presently on track to honor our commitment and have all u.s. forces leave this country by december 31.
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if i had to define what our greatest legacy is, it would be the concept of professionalism, competence, esprit de corps that we have instilled inside the iraqi security forces and also the friendships and relationships we have forged with them. we have worked very hard, side-by-side with them daily. we are proud of the efforts made by those here, those who paved the way before us and especially the nearly 4500 servicemen and women who have given their lives for this worthy cause. in closing, i want to thank every american who supported us in ways large and small as we built a country's military and we gave 28 million iraqi's really the greatest gift anybody can give, and that is their freedom. thank you very much. i enjoyed the session. >> thank you for taking the time
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in sharing your insights and thoughts and observations. i would like to thank my immediate colleagues here at the pentagon as well. have a good day. have a good evening. >> okay, thank you very much.
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>> no health care. that's the most expensive single element, no environmental controls, no pollution controls and no retirement and you don't care about anything but making money, there will be a job sound going south. >> rospars spoke out about trade trader shoestring in 1992 presidential debate. the billionaire businessman and made two attempts for the presidency. the first time getting over 19 million votes, more popular votes than any third-party candidate in american history and although he lost he has had a lasting influence on american politics. he is our final candidate in c-span's 14 week series the contender's live friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. to preview other video on ross perot and see out the program from her series go to c-span.org/the contenders.
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>> you why could the congress as a matter of its appropriations power fund cameras and the united states supreme court with the mandate that they be installed? >> while they could have a provision to fund them but the issue of whether they can mandate that they be used in trades into the core power of the judicial power of the court to decide how to protect its own proceedings. that's a different. we thought about line drawing and senator i agree it's difficult to know where to draw the lines but that is why we need to let the court draw some lines.
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president obama met with canadian prime minister stephen harper at the white house today to discuss the north american economy and security. after their meeting, the two leaders spoke to reporters for about 20 minutes. >> the president of the united states and united states and the prime minister of canada. >> good afternoon everybody. please be seated. i'm very pleased to welcome my friend and partner from mr. harper back to the white house. whenever we get together, it's a chance to reaffirm the enduring alliance between our nations and the extraordinary bonds between our peoples, the excellent corporation between our governments and my close personal friendship to the prime minister. steve and i believe this is the 11th time that we have sat down and work together, not including our many summits
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around the world. and on occasions like this, unfortunately i only speak one language as steven moves effortlessly between two that no matter what language we speak we always understand each other. steven and i have got a trusted partner and i think you'll agree that perhaps no two nations match up more closely together or are woven together more deeply economically, culturally and -- band to get a a and canada in that deep interconnection, our shared values, our shared interests interest imbues the work that we have done today. brome supporting a resolution to the eurozone crisis to moving ahead with the transition in afghanistan, from deepening security cooperation here in the americas to supporting reform and democratic transitions in the middle east and north africa. our focus today however is on our highest priority and my top party as president that's
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creating jobs faster and growing the economy faster and in this mission canada has a special role to play. is most of you know canada is our single largest trading partner, our top export market and those exports from cars to food, support supports some 1.7 million good paying american jobs. canada in turn is one of the top foreign investors in the united states and that creates even more jobs and prosperity. the prime minister and i are determined not just to sustain this the to expand it to grow even faster so we are creating more jobs and more opportunities for our people. canada is key to achieving my goal of doubling american exports and putting folks back to work and the two important initiatives we agreed to today will help us do just that. first, we have agreed to a series of concrete steps to bring our economies even closer in to improve the security of
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our citizens, not just along our shared border but beyond the border. put simply we are going to make it easier to conduct the trade and travel that creates jobs and we are going to make it harder for those who would do us harm and threaten our security. for example, some 90% of all of our trade, more than a billion dollars in trade every single day, passes through our roads, or purge his and our ports but because of old systems and have a congestion it still takes too many products to launch across our borders and for every business either canadian or american time is money so we are going to improve our infrastructure initiatives new technologies and improve cargo security and screening all designed to make it easier for companies to do business and create jobs and that by the way includes her small businesses which create most of the new jobs here in america and when they look to export typically canada is one of the most likely
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places they are to start getting a foothold in the global economy so it's hugely important for small and medium-size businesses. lester more than 100 william people across their ayrshire border including lots of canadians who i would have spent more money money in the united states than any other visitor so i want to make a pitch. we want even more canadians visiting the united states and please spend more money here. we want to make it easier for frequent travelers and our business people to travel and we are going to create a free exit system. i would add along with better screening and sharing more information, this will help us be even smarter about our joint security. concentrating our resources where they are needed most identifying real threats to our security before they reach our shores. the second thing we are doing is we are ramping up our effort to get rid of outdated unjustified regulations that stifle trade and job creation.
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this is especially important in sectors like the auto industry where so many cars and products are on both sides of the border. sometimes that a slowdown by regulations and paperwork that frankly just doesn't make sense so we are going to strike a better balance, sensible regulations that unleash trade in job creation while still protecting public health and safety. this builds on the efforts that we have here in the united states led by cass sunstein of a wire a, where we are eliminating billions of dollars in costs from regulations. and our two nations are going to be going further streamlining eliminating import egging eliminations and slashing red tape and we are going to focus on several key factors including otters -- autos. this can be a win-win situation where we are not only making our regulatory systems more efficient in our respective countries but we are also seeing greater convergence between our two countries. even as we pursue these two new
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initiatives the prime minister discussed their broader economic relationship. and please that canada has expressed an interest in the transpacific partnership. many of you are at the a-pac meeting where you know this has generated a great deal of interest so we look forward to consulting with canada as well as our partners and others about how all of us can meet the high standards demanded by this trade agreement and they can be a real model not only for the region but the world. we did discuss the proposed keystone xl pipeline which is very important to canada and i think the prime minister and our canadian friends understand that it's important for us to make sure that all the questions regarding the project are properly understood especially its effect on our environment and the health and safety of the american people and i assured him we will have a very rigorous process to work through that issue. so we are going to continue to work as partners and his friends and stephen on this day and in
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all the discussions we have i want to thank you again for your candor, your sense of common purpose, what you bring and your team brings to this partnership. it's been extraordinary and i want to personally thank you for the progress we have made in these two important announcements that we made today. i'm confident by the way we are going to implement them diligently. we have folks like secretary napolitano from the department of homeland security and cass sunstein who will be heading up our team and making sure that these things go into effect in a way that benefits both the canadian people and the american people. so stephen, all the people of canada thank you. we thank you and i wish everybody a wonderful holiday season. >> thank you birotte. thank you for first of all our candid conversation today has always. we always appreciate that. we appreciate all the work that has been done on this. i did mention bob hamilton and
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simon kennedy but i do want to thank the officials who have been working hard over many months to do what is a very good coordination i want to thank you for your friendship not just personally barack but the friendship from the entire canada. [speaking french] today we are pleased to announce ambitious agreements on parmentier security and economic competitiveness as well as predatory cooperation. [speaking french] these agreements create a new modern order for a new century. together they represent the most significant steps forward and candidate u.s. cooperation since the north american free trade
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agreement. [speaking french] the first agreement merges u.s. and canadian security concerns with their mutual interest in keeping our border is open as possible to legitimate commerce and travel. as i said in february, canada has no friend among america's enemies what threatens the security and well-being of the united states threatens the security and well-being of canada. nevertheless measures to deal with criminal and terrorist threats can thicken the border hindering efforts to create jobs and growth. today our two governments are taking practical steps to reverse that direction. we are agreed for example that the best place to deal with trouble is that the continental
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grandmother, that smarter systems can reduce the needless inconvenience post to manufactures and travelers a multiple inspections afraid and baggage. [speaking french] we also believe that just as threats should be stopped at the perimeter, trusted traveler should cross the border more quickly. indeed these priorities are complementary. the key that locks the door against terrorists also opens a wider gate to cross-border trade and travel. [speaking french] the second joint initiative will reduce regulatory barriers to trade by streamlining and
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aligning standards where it makes sense to do so. naturally in this area as in all others no loss of sovereignty is contemplated by either of our governments, however every rule needs a reason. were no adequate reason reset -- than that rule hinders us from doing business on both sides of the border and that rule needs to be re-examined. [speaking french] [speaking french] ladies and gentlemen today's agreement will yield lasting benefit to travelers, traders,
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any factors in effect everybody who's legitimate business or pleasure takes them across the border and we take the steps, both of us, to protect and grow our economies and to keep our citizens safe and i say we because we are each other other's largest export customers. the benefits of cooperation will therefore be enjoyed on both sides of the border. let me also take this opportunity barack to recognize her leadership in this work. this does reflect the vision, the large vision that you have for continental trade and security and your commitment to the creation of jobs and growth. and it is i believe these agreements today. it's always necessary to say it, the next chapter in a marvelous relationship and a relationship that really is a shining example to the world. we talked today about other parts of the world that are more troubled and believe me if we could replicate our relationship anywhere in the world, the world would be a better place. we are always delighted to be
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here, always thankful of having the united states as their great friend and neighbor and once again -- >> thank you so much. we have one question the each. >> thank you was her present. i have keystone questions for both of you. mr. bersin we we we have house republicans who are saying they won't approve an extension of the payroll tax revenue -- unless you move up the oil pipeline project and how do you respond to their issue. prime minister harper you seem to suggest the politics is behind it with a keystone nation has been handled. do you really feel that way? >> first of all, any effort to try to tie keystone to the payroll tax that i will reject. so, everybody should be on notice. and, the reason is because the payroll tax cut is something
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that house republicans as well as senate republican should want to do regardless of any other issues. the question is going to be, are they willing to vote against a proposal that ensures that americans at a time when the cover is still fragile don't see their taxes go up by $1000. so it shouldn't be held hostage for any other issues that they may be concerned about. and so mild warning is not just to keystone. efforts to tie a whole bunch of other issues to what is something that should -- they should be doing anyway will be rejected by me. with respect to politics, look, this is a big project with big consequences. we have seen democrats and republicans expressed concerns about it, and it is my job as
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president of the united states to make sure it examines all the options, looks at all the consequences before a decision is made. that process is moving forward. the state department is making sure that crosses all its thiessen.solid sides before making a final determination and you know, i think it is worth noting for those who wants to try to politicize this issue that when it comes to domestic energy production, we have gone all in because their belief is that we are going to have to do a whole range of things to make sure that u.s. energy independence exists for a long time to come. u.s. energy security exists for a long time to come so we have boosted oil protection -- reduction. we are looking at a lot of additional energy sources even
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as we insist on transitioning to clean energy. and you know, i think the shouldn't be a democratic or republican issue. the should be an american issue. how do we make sure we have the best possible energy mix to benefit our businesses, benefit our workers but also that at that our families to make sure that the public health and safety of the american people are looked after and that is what this process is designed to do. >> i think my position in the position of the government of canada on this issue is very well-known and course barack and i have discussed that on many occasions. he has indicated to me that he has indicated to you today that he is following the proper project and he is an open mind with regards to what the final decision may or may not be. i take that as his answer and you can appreciate that i would not comment on the domestic politics of this issue or any other issues here with the united states.
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[inaudible] >> i see gets fair to say that if the payroll tax cut is attached to a whole bunch of extraneous issues, not related to making sure that the american people's taxes don't go up on january 1, then it's not something that i'm going to accept and i don't expect to have to veto it because i expect to have enough sense over on capitol hill to do the people's business and not try to load it up with a bunch of politics. >> i have liam goodman with the canadian press. >> prime minister, even if they have no intention of coming to the u.s. under this new agreement, and mr. president do you want that kind information?
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>> we do i think as you know, our two countries cooperate on international security issues very closely and very regularly. that cooperation at the same time is governed by agreements and define protocols and those will remain in effect. [speaking french] >> i don't think i can expand anymore on that. [laughter] far more eloquent than i could ever express. thank you so much everybody. >> thanks everybody.
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[inaudible conversations] >> attorney general eric holder has come under criticism for the atf gun smuggling sting operation known as fast and furious. he will have an opportunity to address the criticism at a house judiciary committee hearing tomorrow morning. you can watch live coverage beginning at 9:30 eastern on c-span3 and our web site, c-span.org. >> have no health care, the most expensive single element making the cost, no environmental controls and no pollution controls and no retirement and you don't care about anything but making money. there'll be a job sound going south. >> rosborough spoke out about
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trade issues during the 1992 presidential debate. the billionaire businessman made two attempts for the presidency. the first time getting over 19 million votes, more popular votes than any third party candidate and although he lost his had a lasting influence on american politics.
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>> medicaid fraud victim richard wess testified before a house oversight subcommittee about a seven year struggle to expose medicaid fraud with maxim health care services. mr. weston was in a wheelchair and uses a ventilator first noticed the notice the fraud in 2004. in new jersey officials suspended his medicaid benefits claiming he had exceeded his monthly cap. maxim health care recently agreed to pay $150 million settlement that is not barred from participating in the medicaid program. this hearing is about two and a half hours.u >> you i would like to welcome everybody to the joints ite committee hearing, subcommitteet on government efficiency and financial management along with theti subcommittee on health cae district of columbia and the national archives. today's hearing will examine thw serious problem of fraud, waste and abuse in medicaid are going fiscal year 2011, the medicaid program issues 21.9 billion
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program issued $21.9 billion in eper dollars identifying improper payments to getting providers about fraud, providing assistance to the states in order to combat fraud and abuse. the patient protection affordable care act of 2010 expanded funding for medicaid program integrity. however, it also expands the size of the medicaid program and will increase medicaid spending by over $600 billion between 2014 and 2031. given the dramatic expansion.
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better quality, excuse me, better quality is essential and reducing waste, fraud and abuse. in 2006 see amish initiated an attempt to the quality and access to read the gao issued the report finding that those in the systems were inadequate and underutilized. giglio also could not find any evidence of financial benefits and implementing the new systems despite the fact cms has been using them for over five years. there are also problems with state reported data. many states are not reporting all required data and they are often lag times up to one year between when the state's report data and when cms get eight. this makes it extremely difficult and often impossible to prevent the def rot before payments were issued and as i know we will hear the testimony today from one of our witnesses, the information is as old as 12 years, which is just unthinkable as a result of the data systems,
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cms relies on contractors to identify fraud through audit work. cms spent $42 million on medicaid integrity contractors in 2010. however, gao has noted pervasive deficiencies in cms' oversight of its contractors and has issued numerous recommendations to cms. most these recommendations have not been implemented. the office of inspector general has been on the front line of the investigating fraud for which work with the medicaid fraud control units. in the 2010 the units conducted 9,710 fraud investigations and recovered $1.8 billion. this work is essentials and becomes even more crucial as vindicate expands. but states is limit .. states. health care fraud is sometimes
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called a dictums crime and money lost as a result it can be easy to overlook what a devastating impact it can have on victims' beneficiaries who do not get the care they need and deserve. today we are joined by one such individual mr. richard west a vietnam war mike veteran and dictum of medicaid fraud. he and his lawyer along with his son testified here today of their personal experiences and their efforts to uncover fraud with the medicaid program. it isn't just about money. it's about insuring that we do right by every american citizen who is in need of medical assistance and is a part of the medicaid program as mr. west will share it wasn't just the millions of dollars that was being stolen from american taxpayers. it was because the fraud that he is being denied care through the medicaid program.
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it's not just about money. it's about people. we will also hear testimony from cms, oig and gao on the system problem with medicaid and what must be done to provide effective oversight and reduce fraud, waste and abuse in the medicaid program. i'm proud to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee the gentleman from new york mr. towns for an opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me thank mr. davis as well for convening today's hearing on fraud in the medicaid system. weeding out fraud is a bipartisan goal that all stewards of taxpayers' dollars should share so i truly appreciate this opportunity to explore. the witness on both panels joining us today to discuss their views. i especially would like to thank
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mr. west for sharing his story and for his service to the country, the vietnam war. mr. west, i salute you. there is no question that medicare provides a vital safety net for many children, seniors and disabled who truly need it. it is unfortunate, however, that it has become a target for bad actors seeking to game the system. there is some positive news though even in this era of budget cuts. cms and its efforts to undercover fraud or actually making money for the government and for tax plans. for every 1 dollar invested in detection, over $16 is actually recovered. much of this recovery came from cases like the case brought by mr. west. we need to be certain that we
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are encouraging who become aware of these cases in the medicaid program to bring them forward. this administration has done an admirable job stepping up fraud detection in the medicaid and medicare programs. however, understand that there have been a number of recommendations made by gao that intends to address this issue but have not yet been adopted. i look forward to exploring the invitation that cms and hhs has so we can work together to further prevent undercover and recovered payments in the medicaid system. thank you, mr. chairman, for this hearing. i look forward to working with you come in and i yield back the balance of my time. 64, mr. towns. i enjoy it to the chairman of the subcommittee on the district of columbia census and national archives. the distinguished gentleman from
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south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. today the committee will hear from richard west with firsthand knowledge of how the commit programs are brought it and how the government all too often just doesn't seem to care. mr. west exit responsible and contacted the social worker to the fraudulent behavior of his health care provider but none of the government agencies did anything. this is unacceptable and this is why people have lost trust in the institutions of government, and this is my fellow citizens have such little trust that we are spending their money as carefully as we would spend our own. mr. west kept track of the nursing care received and was able to provide his records and found discrepancies because medicate capped the monthly service is provided to mr. west he was not receiving the care he was entitled to. in other words, due to the fraudulent to cities of the company providing mr. west care he reached the cap and medicaid told him his services were
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suspended. so not only was the provider retain all taxpayers of the provider was also not providing the obligated surfaces to mr. west to read it is impossible to believe that mr. west's story is isolated. medicaid is designated a high risk program and is therefore highly susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse. many experts believe the rates for medicaid and medicare due to fraud equals about 20% of the total program funding. so perhaps as much as one-fifth of the money spent is wasted, that ignoring legitimate calls for investigations in the fraud would witness firsthand has a chilling effect on other like-minded people who might be willing to alert authorities to abuse. most of the fraud occurs when the providers bill for services never deliver the medicaid patients. according to malcolm spero, a harvard university expert on health care fraud, the rule for the criminals is simple. if you want to steal from medicare or medicaid or any other health care insurance
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program, learn to build your why is complete. and for the most part your claims will be paid in full and on time without a pickup by a computer with no human involvement at all. one reason for the high reach of abuse might be that states do not appear to have an adequate incentive to root out waste and fraud. this is in large part due to the fact in large part of what is recovered must be sent back to washington. another reason the centers for medicare and medicaid services doesn't typically analyze claims data for over a year after the date the claim was filed. this lag time indicates cms needs to update tracking system used for the waste, fraud and abuse of the medicaid system also every tax dollar is appropriately spent is a concern, the magnitude of leased, fraud and abuse elevates this problem. our country now spends $430 billion on medicaid a year.
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and cms projects that total spending on medicaid will double by the end of this decade. states are struggling to deal with medicaid's growth and medicaid is crowding out state priorities like education, transportation and public safety. i look forward to today's hearing and hearing from our witnesses and hopefully flushing out ideas for limiting the amount of tax dollars being wasted through the medicaid program. when folks like mr. west are being hurt and neglected due to fraud it's time to find solutions and our fellow citizens, the ones who trust us enough to let us be their voice in this town are increasingly losing confidence that we are not serious about tackling waste, fraud and abuse. we must reclaim their confidence. we do that one episode at a time and we might as well start with mr. west. with that i would yield back to the chairman. >> thank the gentleman. pleased and honored to yield to the ranking member on the subcommittee on health care district of columbia census and national archives the government
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of illinois mr. davis. >> thank you very much. chairman, ranking member towns, i thank all of you for holding today's hearing. reducing waste, fraud and abuse and health care is a rare and desirable policy share by republicans and democrats alike. it is disturbing that some entrusted in the most vulnerable populations seek to defraud the government by falsely billed in the services. it is the height of the corporate greed. in this era of budget shortfalls and cuts, we can no longer stumble upon the bad actors. we must be vigilant in locating and meting out the fraud. the proper resources must be dedicated to root out waste and abuse. our taxpayer dollars for the
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question. more funds expended on the phantom services, delayed and extinguished the necessary health care program and services that people depend upon daily. as medicaid is determined to be a high risk program, i went to further encourage cms to further utilize and implement all of the tools available in the fight including the integrated data repository and the one program of integrity. these technological programs are invaluable in consolidating the the the necessary in fraud detection. the patient protection and affordable care act further provides the tools despite medicaid fraud. the messenger and background checks on providers and suppliers are a productive first step for the program integrity.
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and the enforcement arena, the civil penalties created falsified information as evident that the federal different takes for a seriously. to that end, the affordable care act against $10 million annually for the fiscal year 2011 through 2020. simply put, fighting health care fraud is good fiscal policy. and i might add that i am totally opposed to fraudulent practices and medicine. especially involving the most affordable, the most unsuspecting and in many instances the most gullible members of our society. i have seen firsthand low-income communities with medicaid meals where people were lined up to be taken advantage of.
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the practices we cannot, should not and must not tolerate. therefore i applaud the tireless efforts of mr. richard west. he serves as an example to others he saw the wrong and tried to make the right so we'll thank you, mr. west. i look forward to your testimony and the testimony of all the witnesses and i think you mr. chairman. i yield back. >> we've also been joined by the distinguished ranking member of the full committee on oversight and government reform governor from maryland and i recognize him to the estimates before mr. chairman. i would also like to thank mr. west for taking the time to come to capitol hill today to share his experience so we might apply the lessons learned from the case the future policy and law enforcement. lester medicaid provided critical health care to an
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estimated 56 million americans in need the vast majority of whom are senior to individuals with disabilities and children. since so many americans rely on this planet is imperative that we rid of fraud because every dollar squandered is a dollar that does not go to the critical health care services for these abominable americans. today's hearing focuses on the case that was brought to light by richard west. a medicaid beneficiary who assert his rights under the false claims act to prosecute fraud against the medicaid system by maxxam health care service. mr. west's lawsuit retreat nearly $150 million for united states taxpayers. we need to support efforts by people like mr. west to ensure that american citizens are empowered to take on the corporate wrongdoing. the written testimony of the witnesses on the second panel
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also make clear that we need better coordination and between state and medicaid programs and the centers for medicare and medicaid services to reduce duplicative efforts and better aligned resources. fortunately the affordable care act provides funding to fight waste, fraud and abuse in medicaid. it also contains a number of provisions designed to improve data quality and promote data sharing between the federal agencies in the states and health care providers. to fight against the companies like max on health care requires more resources, not less. when we invest in the fraud prevention, government spending more than pays for itself. that is one reason why the affordable c.a.r.e. repealing and cutting medicaid's enforcement budget would be very shortsighted and indeed
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counterproductive. i look forward to the testimony of the witnesses today and i hope the recommendations will help reduce fraud and waste and abuse and create a strong medicaid program for those who rely on it and with that mr. chairman of i yield back. >> thank the gentleman and i yield to the distinguished gentleman from virginia for an opening statement. >> thank you mr. chairman and for your leadership. the medicaid prepense contributes directly to the long-term health of the seasonal health care programs to really appreciate the subcommittees holding the hearing on the different anti-fraud programs for medicaid and medicare services. while hhs and cms or devoting unprecedented attention to reducing medicaid fraud, it's clear we must do more to reduce improper payments and protect the economic security of individuals such as richard west, who lost benefits to burleigh as a result of attacking medicaid and medicare fraud. as the written testimony for the hearing makes clear congress and
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the administration promoted a great deal of effort to reduce in the public image of the lost decade. in 2005 congress passed the deficit reduction act to sell which the medicaid integrity program at mit provide states with technical assistance to identify and prevent fraud which is appropriate since the states administer medicaid to read the deficit reduction act also requires cms to work with medicaid integrity contractors for payments and educate the fraud prevention. cms uses this and other data for the medicaid statistical the information system which includes eligibility claims information across the country by maintaining the central database cms can conduct in all this is what to identify the possible fraud or in areas where the fraud is likely to occur. it also works with the agencies to duplicate best practices and has identified two of them that could be replicated all across the country. despite these efforts made clear
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more can and must be done to reduce fraudulent medicaid payments to read as the testimony of mr. west today demonstrates cms hasn't always been responsive in its reports really look forward to learning more about what cms is doing to prevent such negligence from occurring in the future. the robust implementation of existing policy is essential because they must implement the reforms enacted under the affordable care act. as noted in the testimony the affordable care act sometimes referred to as obamacare significantly strengthens anti-fraud programs these include elementary reforms as requiring service providers to supply documents orders paid the affordable connect also still is the medicare recovery auditor contract program to create incentives for the contractors to reduce fraudulent payments and in conjunction with psychiatry sebelius the affordable care act designed to
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identify and proper payments before they are issued by cms to reply to this testimony illuminates the progress we have already made an additional administrative and her friends which wouldn't reduce medicaid fraud. we should consider more stringent punishment for companies and individuals who systematically defrauded medicaid. mr. west suggested in the testily to consider partial penalty. thank you mr. chairman for holding this important hearing as a part of a series of getting at the so-called improper payment for the federal government which totaled $125 billion a year so there's plenty of work to be done. thank you. >> thank the gentleman. thank all the witnesses and guests. we gave our opening statements but now we are going to move to why we are really here and hear from the witnesses and we are honored in the first panel to have mr. richard west who served the nation not just in uniform
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during the vietnam war which we are all internally grateful to for that service the also mr. west service is a private citizen who corrected and when government didn't take action he did so mr. west, we are honored to have you here with the attorney and your son, adam, as is consistent with the rules of the committee will need to swear in all three of you before we have your testimony. ms. west and adam, if you would stand and raise your right hand to you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give the committee will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth? okay. with the record reflect all three witnesses have affirmed the aoth. dtc to commit on behalf of mr. richard west who will save his voice for questions and you're going to have his son
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adam read his opening statement. adam? if you are ready, please begin. >> thank you, chairman. ranking member towns, ranking member davis and distinguished members of the subcommittee for inviting me to discuss medicaid fraud. i received home health care and other services to the community resources for people with disabilities medicare waiver program. as a ventilator wheelchair and oxygen independent person might qualify for the government-funded program that provides medicaid benefits of to 16 hours per day of in home nursing care. there's a limit on the services under this program each month and benefits may be suspended or reduced the monthly cap is exceeded. beginning in march of 2003i received home health care through maxxam health care services under this program. maxxam ability some care services to medicaid which paid for them with both state and federal funds. in september of 2004i received a letter from the new issues the department of disability services. the home and community service is telling me that i have exceeded my cat and that my medicaid services were being
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temporarily reduced as a result. this prevented me from attaining the needed dental care. i complained to the seat of new jersey. a complete to medicaid and to the worker assigned to me telling them that medicaid had been billed for nursing care that i had not received and none of them did anything about it. since none of the government agencies i contacted about this did anything i hired a private attorney, robin west, no relation of baltimore maryland who filed on my behalf to whistle-blower lawsuit of false claims act that triggered an investigation. some decided to make a profit of my disability and ripoff the government. that was wrong. the right thing for me to do is expose it. but because the case the government investigation i couldn't talk about it. sometimes i had trouble getting nurses and i suspected word got out alive was a troublemaker. over the course of the government investigation viruses meat meal. each day when i sat alone in my home and the owners can i get sicker and sicker. i was afraid of dying and leading my son with a legal mess. i fear if i were no longer alive the case might be dismissed.
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meanwhile the government investigation carried on in investigators kept governing more and more dillinger and propriety. finally, after seven years, the government reach a settlement with maximum the case went public. ex mex and pay and islamic of approximately $130 million in criminal approximately $30 million. this is the largest home health care fraud known in history. yet maximus still permitted to do business with the government and none of the executives want to deal to be a congealed. details are available at www.homehealthcarefraud.com. .. there are other deck of this
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besides taxpayers. mac centric services to people like me. despite the monetary settlement back when executives did not detail the company was not excluded from future business,re the settlement received coverage that many folks asked why this was. how is it that a company that takes billions of government dollars isme not entitled to thl business.l. it hello shoplifter will be sent te jail. it's commendable that could tak on maximumeive harsher penalties i do not think we will see the frauds. having the corporation pay some settlement money is just the cost of doing business for the fraudsters. the settlement money not even coming out of their own pocket. sending executives joe might make a brought. how many companies got away with fraud for the last seven years? how many people saw this and did nothing? how many were free to be losing their health care for being a troublemaker? that is what happened to me. at this time i'm being told my medicaid will and because of the
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settlement. my whistleblower cover is being paid over eight years with -- in the intervening years that will not be to pay for my in-home care. i will go broke or die. this is the price of doing the right thing. do i know other companies that do fraud? yes. can i tell and when? i can afford to lose more services. i thought if you did the right thing things would work out in the end but maybe not. i'm a vietnam veteran and never took or asked for services i didn't need. i lived a productive life and raise my son. this brogue remoulade meets with in my home and graduate high school and college and now he is living on his own. as someone who is willing to steal from an old sick that i would think the government would help. if i had an hmo who would help should i call the ceo? it took seven years but i have the full weight of the united states government behind me. many folks are not as fortunate. came to that hearing hoping to help congress and the other people who need help. thank you providing me to testify and i look forward to answering your questions.
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>> thank you mr. west. ms. west you can share your testimony. >> thank you chairman platt, chairman gowdy, ranking member towns, ranking member davison to sing which members of the subcommittee for inviting us to discuss medicaid fraud. i represent richard weston the medicaid fraud lawsuit that resulted in the $150 million settlement with maxim. for the past 20 years i have focused on bringing cases such as mr. west's to recover money the government has lost to fraud. i'm also the author of a book on the subject published by the american bar association entitled advising the whistleblower. and examining accountability of medicaid, it's helpful to look at the process we followed in bringing mr. west's fraud lawsuit. as he
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the act provides for whistleblower reward than a successful interfaith case can range from 15% to 25% of the budgets recovery. in our case using records mr. west had cats, we showed up a number of hours maximum height of medicaid exceeded signify the number of hours mr. west reviewed. in addition to keep the government information mr. rice had learned her discussions witn various nurses that led him to believe that maximus doing this on purpose.govern to d the sca provides 60 days forse d
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government to decide whether to intervene in a e case and if itq needues more time, it must requt recorder. this iqs quite different fromhar hotlines that are not accountabler for act and on tipa within a certain period of time if acet all.om the essay is also different frod oversight programscontractors to identify improper payment and fraud. these cost the government money. sometimes more than a recover. for example cms's senior medicare patrol program feature seniors and others how to review medicare notices and medicaid claims for fraud and what to do about it. over 14 years from 1997 to 2010 and save $106 million. its current annual budget of $9.3 million leads to the question whether it is even saving what it cost? the incentive of earning a false claims act whistleblower reward on the other hand mobilizes private individuals and their attorneys to do the work without the need for any government
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program. the sca model also outperforms the medicare recovery audit contractor rack program which although it pays contractors a percentage of the improper payments they recoup still dips into the recouped funds to pay those contingencies. not so with the sca recovery, not one dime comes from taxpayers to pay for these recoveries because the statute allows recovery of triple damages from the fraudster so that the government can be made whole for the cost not only of the whistleblower rewards but also the investigation, prosecution and lost interest over time not to mention the savings caused by deterrence. there is no doubt the case is whistleblowers are bringing to the government are high-quality. as shown in this graph based on department of justice statistics, recoveries from whistleblower initiated cases by far outpaced those in government initiated cases. more than 80% of the false
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claims act cases now being pursued by the u.s. department of justice were initiated by whistleblowers and the amounts of the recoveries are in the billions each year. in closing one aspect of mr. west's case i would like to highlight is that the waiver of program tapped his benefits in a monthly amount that if exceeded triggered a denial of further medicaid benefits so when mr. west went to the dentist he was informed that he could not get treatment because he had supposedly exceeded his cap. in most medicare and medicaid or other federal and state health programs that would not happen because there is no cap that stops benefits from being paid. even if medicaid beneficiaries notice suspicious billing they have no incentive to spend time questioning them because their future medicaid benefits are not at stake and this is one reason i believe we have not seen more health care fraud cases initiated by medicare and medicaid beneficiaries.

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