tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 8, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
and we had, taylor, mr. taylor from stand ford who represented alternative position. that hearing probably gives a little i will frustration on this point. >> miss bonimici. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you dr. elmendorf on health care. health care is mentioned as significant factor in increased spending and your testimony certainly reinforces that as well. . .
better preventing and managing chronic diseases, using patient-centered primary care and improving and allowing care for individuals who are dual eligible. so the establishment of these chordata care organizations is projected to improve care while reducing loss and increasing access. by courting services, they project 4.9-9.7% savings in the second year of implementation, compared without the transformation to a 10% increase. this savings is expected to build over time, and i wonder if you could talk a little bit about how this type of change would impact the federal budget a similar approach was implemented in other states as well.
>> i think that are tremendous about of experimentation going on in different states, and different private providers of care, private insurers, in effort to get more value for health care dollars. and i think the experimentation is a very positive factor. but it's also true that a number of experiments that have been tried over the years have not worked as well as advocates hoped. and even though they have proven in some cases were difficult to expand across different provider settings, across different states health care systems. we did a long and careful review of a collection of medicare demonstration projects in a value-based methods and disease management and care coordination. we wrote about this last year, and the set of demonstrations that medicare has tried have
found that when there's a direct interaction between the care manager and physician, and in person interaction with patients with a really is a lot of effort, a lot of energy focus on care coordination, that sort of model was more likely to produce. but it also had its own costs in terms of paying for interaction. and medicare, there's not yet been a model that's been used in a widespread way that has had, the effect people are looking for, higher quality care and lower cost at the same time to it doesn't mean it can't happen. probably it can happen, but people are still trying to figure out just how to do it. and do it in different sorts of settings. so the affordable care act introduces a lot of different programs, a lot of different, particular the center for medicare and medicaid as you know that is designed to be more
experiments, faster to reach conclusions more rapidly, and then to be able to extend the programs across the system more rapidly. and we think they'll have some positive effects combat how large the effects will be and just what arrangements that will turn out to be most effective, we don't know yet. >> thank you for your testimony. i know that we'll all be watching what's happening in my home state, as well as those of the states because until we can increase access and start addressing the high cost of chronic care, we're going to increasing those costs, and we need to be keeping people out of emergency room. i appreciate your testimony, and i yield back my time. >> mr. lankford. >> thank you. let me talk about page 35 of your report, you have an interesting section, something i've talked about as well, the effect of government borrowing. and what effect that really has only gone as a whole, and just top aircraft, increased government borrowing generally draws money away from or crowds
out private investment and productive capital. leading to smaller stock and lower output in the long run. deficits general have that effect on private investment because the portion of people's savings used to buy government securities is not available to finance private investment. the description you may, one i've talked about his will, the more the we borrow, the more we require an capital that would otherwise be invested into productive things rather than just sovereign debt. that is a nation that is occurring worldwide currently. this trend, in the center, some of you want to talk to or not come but we have the issue happening in europe, other parts of the world as was here. what effect you think that is currently at the crowding out of investment worldwide based on sovereign debt? >> well, the countries in europe have a collection of overlapping problems, as you know. they have banking crisis, a
fiscal crisis, they have a growth crisis. and as we wrote in an issue a few years ago about the risk of fiscal crisis in the states, once one ends up in that situation, then there are no good options. countries that are unable to borrow at affordable rates, at the same time cutting back on spending or increase in revenues, which then worsens the budget situation. it really is a vicious circle. we think the european economic situation is weighing on the u.s. economy now and has the potential to be a much more significant negative force. if they don't find a way to keep their system going -- >> but it's also benefit to us in that it keeps our interest rates low because people don't invest in their sovereign debt. they invest in art. so it's a double edged sword. it slows down our economy but it is helping us keeping our interest rates low. >> yesterday it is pushing down
treasury interest rates because people -- is a flight to safety. but it's probably weighing on your part of our financial system, and that's i think where the biggest problem lies. they have a larger collapse in the financial system. there potential of very large negative spillovers to ours. >> you mentioned often as well about tax rates, and a lower marginal rates and to increase productivity, or at least activity in the economy. can you factor in certainty and uncertainty in the lesser will years? there's been this constant we don't know what the rate will be next year mentality. that is happening as rates are tweaked out every single year. can you factor in the difference between certainty and uncertainty in marginal rates? >> it's very difficult to quantify. we think the uncertainty about federal policy on a whole variety of areas including the tax code is weighing on the economy. it's a negative factor spent as we walk through this year, once
we get to major, there's, discussion about all this expiration of these tax rates. better to resolve those earlier, or better to resolve those later? we have about six months to do either of those. it's not exactly early even at this point. >> earlier is better, no doubt. >> okay. do you think it's possible to address our national debt or deficits at all without dealing with the major entitlement programs? >> well, as i said at the beginning, it is possible to maintain social security, medicare and medicaid as they are under current law. but only by substantial and raising taxes on a broad group of americans. similarly it is possible to maintain taxes out of their historical average share of gdp, but only by making substantial cuts relative to the current law in the large and other programs
that benefit a broad section of americans at some point in the life. that's what makes this choice that you and your colleagues face, and we as american citizens face. one can't pick one to hold one part of the budget as it would otherwise be, i given the gap between revenue and spending, then one has to make even larger, even more dramatic changes in the other part of the budget. we see the in our extended baseline scenario here, what happens under current law which is a very large -- and when you see an alternative vision in chairman ryan's long-term proposal, we analyze in march which will hold revenues down but make very large cuts in a number of federal programs. >> early -- either wait earlier is better? >> earlier is much better because it gives people time to plan and adjust to a jesuit chance to facing changes
gradually, and yet have them take effect, ways importance in dollar terms for the dead to get even larger spent i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director elmendorf, it's interesting, we talk about cutting a ton of programs on lots, but i'd like to talk about another program. in your assumptions on that, in your two scenarios. what were your assumptions for defense spending as a percentage of gdp? >> defense spending? >> defense spending. >> what we do for our long-term scenarios is we just take the set of all programs apart from -- >> i understand that i decided to mistake you could just tell me speak we don't have explicit action for defense spending bill in the ten-year budget window but in the window we have the specific baseline projection. >> and that is? >> and that i'm not sure i -- >> you'll have to look for that.
so maybe you can get back to us if you can answer this question. mr. romney who was the republican nominee for president soon to be has proposed never allow defense spending to go below 4% of gdp. what would be the impact of such a sustained elevated level of spending over the remainder of the decade? and that is, he said never go below. he didn't put any qualifiers for global security environment. what would that have on the effect of domestic discretionary spending under your two scenarios? >> well, in our baseline, congresswoman, this all of the category is only 7.3% of gdp in 2020. so defense spending were 4% of gdp, that would leave just a little over 3% of gdp for all domestic programs apart from the handful of large entitlement programs, and that would be a dramatic reduction relative to
their historical average. >> so there's a plan on the table from mr. romney, and i mentioned his decision, never to allow it to fall below 4% of gdp. he also talks about cutting revenues, $6 trillion over the decade by making the bush tax cuts permanent, cutting corporate rate from 35 to 25%, eliminating the estate tax, capital gains tax, taxes on dividends, earnings along with other tax breaks. so when you add the increase to defense spending, what would be the impact on the deficit with all the other cuts to revenue that he is talking about having? and what effect would it have on the safety net and entitlement? >> congresswoman, i'm sorry. we've not analyzed mr. romney split, nor do we ever analyze the plans of candidates for office speak you have two
scenarios. you have two scenarios, one in which you have the tax cuts not, you know, not having the sequestration happening. mr. romney is talking about undoing that. and then increasing defense spending. i mean, what would be the effect on the safety net and entitlement program? because you do have one scenario which the tax cuts expire, the corporate rate doesn't change your keys talk about undoing that. >> right. so if you extend all the tax policies that are expiring as we do in our alternative scenario, but then that by itself would put that on the steep upward trajectory. if one thing wants to maintain a slight downward trajectory of that under current law, then what needs to cut other parts of the government by trillions of dollars. >> so it would be, that scenario
plus more for defense, which would even be -- >> which would increase defense penny, then that would, and still wanted to keep it on a downward trajectory, then we would have to the comparably larger cutbacks and other domestic programs. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. stutzman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, mr. elmendorf, dr. elmendorf for being here but i always enjoyed your analysis and your testimony. i'd like to talk about interest rates, and then segue that into taxes. on page 32, one of your points under interest rates says an increase in government debt tends to raise interest rates by leading people to allocate a large portion of their savings, such as treasury bonds, thereby crowding out investment and productive capital goods such as computers. and you talk a little bit about, or does your report here touch
on why are interest rates at record low levels right now? >> we don't talk about that here, congressman. we will in our august forecast update. the principal factor seems to be a weak economy and this week private credit demand. and a flight to relative safety from financial markets, particularly in europe, that are an especially fragile state right now. >> with qe1, qe2, is that going to be, that's playing a part of that. if that expires, are we going to see interest rates increasing in the near future? >> certainly for short-term rates that's important. i was more focus on the longer run rates. the ask the federal reserve has brought down longer-term rates, but if one looks at financial, look at the financial markets out the of the next few years, out later in the decade, they are expecting noticeable
increase in interest rates, short-term and long-term interest rates, and our economic forecast has included in its does increase in short-term and long-term interest is but later were looking for short-term rates close to 4%, and a 10 year of about 5%. that's roughly consistent with the recent financial market. >> on page 43, under the below point of the need for higher taxes or less spending on government programs, am i correct from what you stated earlier, you talked about rate versus base. because there's a lot of rhetoric here in washington that republicans are against revenue increases when effect in her own budget we addressed the tax policy, and suggest that we go to two tax rates, 10% and 25% tax rate. am i clear, is a clear that you're discussing once again versus the other where there's a
tax rate increase, which you're discouraging with the expiration of the tax rates? or in your alternative scenario, broadening of the base quick to discuss any of those in the report is? >> no, we don't pick we are not trying here particularly to explore the details of alternative tax policies in current law would've certain settings occur which we tried to capture in the baseline snippet and then the alternative scenario tries to capture the extension of a bright of expiring provisions. it turns out that under this alternative scenario, given the provisions one extends these provisions that marginal tax rates are kept low and the base is not changed really, it will also turn out that under current law there is something effective broadening of the base because more and more income would be taxed under the alternative minimum tax which just has a broader base than the regular. >> for broadening the base would not hurt the economy the way
that current rates would affect the economy, is that chris because i think is generally to begin the effects depends a lot on the nature of the broadening. in particular division that might be broadened, might be broadened into a tax reform on the plan that congress would consider, would have to look at the specific provisions, and we're prepared to do that and talk about the economic effects of those. >> i yield back. >> thank you. ms. schwartz. concert, ms. castor. my apologies. ms. castor, you here first. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, dr. elmendorf for being a gay. if we had more people working across america with our deficit situation be improved? >> yes. absolutely. can you tell us if we had the unemployment rate was 1% lower, how much better our debt to deficit situation would be, or
2%? >> i did not bring that magic table. the second time i wish i had. we wrote a letter to congressman van hollen that talk about effects on the economy, if this economy was stronger but i think we said about a third of the current deficit would go away if the economy were somehow immediately put back close to full employment. >> that's one of the frustrations, because there's absolutely no dialogue for my friends on the other side of the aisle, as job creation support of debt reduction and deficit reduction. we could really give a boost to this improving economy if we could do some things on jobs. i mean, here are the positive signs. we've had 27 straight months of private sector job growth. manufacturing employment continued to trend upward. consumer confidence is up. the median home price, the sales
figures are up. corporate profits are up. so things are trending in the right direction, and here, the congress can be real helpful in job creation and and deficit reduction if we could come together to do something some jobs. but, unfortunately, my friends on the other side of the aisle lost their jobs plan put forth last year that said, you, let's rebuild schools across america. that would put a lot of people and construction back to work and leave us with better facilities for students. they have stalled the transportation bill. i mean, look at this transportation bill. wendy of 75 votes out of the united states senate, a bipartisan bill, and yet that has been stalled for months and months and months. and i heard your earlier comment on, when it comes to infrastructure. you said oftentimes benefits, the benefit out heeded the call,
is that chris? >> that's what the on a lot of specific projects but there's a lot of projects that are in highways for example. where the benefits of economy would be a lot greater than the cost. >> and then when you factor in the republican budget that would pass, that's a prescription for disaster when it comes to the future plans for this country because they so slash the important investment that the government and the private sector work on together, whether it's in scientific research or its infrastructure, in education. and i think there is one such unbalanced approach is really going to cause great damage to i think is causing damage now because if we could come together now to take a good whack at the debt and deficit, we could do something some jobs. so i'm hopeful there still time to do it but i hear your message loud and clear, sooner rather than later.
thank you, and i yield back. >> thank you. ms. black. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i always appreciate your reports. i do read those and highlight them and learn so much by them, so thank you for your work. i wasn't going to go in this direction but i just have to address what the gentlelady from florida was talking about, that there are ways to raise revenues. one is to tax people more and the other is to have those who are employed paying those taxes which then raises revenue. i can't let this go by to say that when i am visiting with my pmi committee's they tell me there's so much uncertainty out there this is why they are not going. the uncertainty really creates arouses. so giving them some certainty, and certainly looking at what you're saying on the budget outlook in helping us to understand what the debt drivers are, help us to make those decisions on policies. we have 30 pro-creators -- excuse me, 30 pro-job creator
bills lying there that has not been handled by the senate. so let me just go to the area though when we look at those areas that are driving our debt, and the long-term debt of our country, what would you say though significant drivers are? >> well, the feature of the budget that is becoming much steeper than it was in the past is any on health care program, and spending on social security because of the rising cost of health care and the easing of the population. >> said the two drivers in the significant of a continued year about in the budget forecast that you give to us and other ways are social security, medicare and medicaid. would you say those are -- >> those are big changes. what you decide to do in response to those is of course up to you. >> if we could bring up the first chart that is taken from the cbo report, put into a chart that i think easy to take a look at. we see historical average versus what if no changes any of these programs, what will happen under
the current law. so we see what has been the historic level of spending on these two areas of? >> i can't check the exact numbers but it's early captured the gist of the point, which is that social security and health care spending are on track to be much larger shares of the economy than they are today, and they're a larger share today than they were over the past several decades. >> sofa just take a look at really these two categories we see their represent about a quarter, about 25%, a gdp. and then if we look at it are stronger and where we go, we will go up to 60. we see here our total revenues, there's not a whole lot of room left for anything else in the budget. would you agree with that? >> in that picture i think, congresswoman, under current law we have sent messages about 18% of gdp. that is actually under our
extended alternative fiscal scenario under current law revenues rise a good deal more. i think which are done here is extrapolate the current policy at that share of gdp. if revenues are held at the gdp, as they been a struggle, then a dramatic rise in costs for those programs make a budget completely untenable, and that's what ultimately your colleagues take this choice of pushing that less for down or that right far up. >> so i think we just have to do we can't stay where we are. there have got to be policies, policy change. if we can go to the next chart, and i think this is even more devastating if we look at current policy and we don't do anything. we keep sticking our head in the sand and say, oh, we will just wait, we will wait. we see here that by 2037 our total spending far, far outpaces our total revenue. and we see how our debt continues to grow. and i think that these charts,
as with previous out of the people to see, rather than these reports that are so instructive, and if we have time to read these that's great. but if we just take a flat and we take a look at these in a chart form, it has got to wake us up to say, there's got to be some changes as we move forward into the future. >> that's right. we cannot go back to the combination of policies and pass. i which is not about this chart, so people are clear, under current law is under the alternative center. we are over total spending that high large part because of explosion of interest payments. reflecting the gap between the non-interest spending and revenue over all this between now and 2037. non-interest spending would itself be a good deal higher in 2037 and has been a star for but not much higher than our historical average as shown in this picture. >> you can take a lot of the scenarios and do different things with his charge, but i think the most important is that
when we take a look at a chart form such as this, it has got to be just striking to us that we've got to act on this, and we do have some alternatives out there and hopefully we will get serious and get out of the politics and get down to the policy and address these and get it done for the american people. thank you very much. >> and now last but not least, ms. schwartz. >> thank you very much. and really appreciate your testimony and your patients. want to follow up on, charts could be, i was interested in your answer, response on her charts because you just spent about two hours telling us it's not just spending but it's also revenue. and that last chart was really ignores the fact we could do something about revenue. i was surprised you didn't say yes, it's not just spending because you just said it many times, that the problem we're facing in terms of deficit and the dramatic increase in deficit and the national debt relate to
both spending and reductions in revenue. can you just -- that's to? >> the unsustainability of fiscal policy is the gap between them, and what you and your colleagues choose to resolve that by raising tax revenue or cutting spending is the choice that you can make. >> and that last chart that was just shown is based on fact that there will continue to be the lower revenues build on the fact that our consistent on the republican side that instead of looking at both spending and revenue, and recognizing that we cannot give in the dramatic concerns about the deficit, we cannot -- [inaudible] you pointed out how we do that is for us to decide. but whether we maintain those tax deductions for our largest
corporations or we can afford to do that, this is completely ignored by the chart. i want you to make absolutely clear that that is a choice republicans are making to take all, only a look at the expense side and refuse to look at the revenue side. and, in fact, revenues, reduced revenues that they want to continue, they are making a choice to continue with revenues, refusing to raise any red is pervasive on discussion about tax policy is if it is revenue route -- revenue neutral. no new refuse to even if those tax deductions are not contribute to economic growth. even if they don't do anything. >> would the gentlelady yield? >> no. will you answer that? would you to speak to that? >> you are certainly right, congresswoman, that explosion of debt and explosion of interest payments that we shall under the expensive alternative scenario could be addressed either a
reduction in spending relative to that scenario or increase in revenues. >> or a combination. and one of the things that we have put forward, and i contend is all the time, that budgets are at choices. we have put forward, the democrats, put forward a budget that is clear about our insistence that yes we're going to do with the deficit, we're going to great that certainty, we're going to do in a way that does not hurt our fragile economic recovery. ..
can this is really about choices that we're making and it is about choices whether we take all of it out of the spending side, that we walk away from our commitment to our seniors on medicare, which of course republicans voted for time and time again. we walk away from investments in education -- >> we'll break away here and take you live over to capitol hill. john boehner, speaker of the house and eric cantor, reacting to the president's comments this morning. >> i have more certainty what the tax rates are going to be and help create a better environment for them to create jobs. we're going to vote next month on extending all of the current tax rates and the president should assures the nation that when this bill gets to his desk he will sign it into law. now we also know that the president's health care law
is making it harder for small businesses to hire and we know that it must be repealed in its entirety. this morning we learned more about the back-room deals that were made that led to its passage. e-mails obtained by the energy and commerce committee show that the white house traded billions of dollars in policy concessions to pharma for millions of dollars worth of advertising. the administration created and managed a super pac paid for by pharma. and run by jim messina, out of the west wing of the white house. this is wrong and the administration must be held accountable for their actions. >> good afternoon. as the speaker said we just listened to the president say that the private sector is doing fine and my question would be to the president, are you kidding? did he see the job numbers that came out last week?
the private sector is not doing fine. and frankly i would ask the president to stop engaging in the blame game. it's not because of the headwinds of europe. it is not, despite his attempt and his party's attempts here in congress, it is not because of house republicans. it is because of the failed stimulus policies and other items in his agenda that small businesses in this country just aren't growing. and we know, as the speaker said, it's too tough right now to start a small business. small businesses are struggling because of the uncertainty. they're facing prospects of the largest tax increase in american history. they're facing uncertainty connected with health care costs because of obamacare. and they're facing uncertainty because of a very hostile regulatory posture being taken by the obama administration here in washington. and our summer agenda will be directly focused how we
can make the environment better for small businessmen and women to grow and create jobs in this country. we're going to take a bill to the floor that will ensure that taxes won't go up on anybody. we're going to take several measures to the floor, that begin to cut the red tape and roll back the regulations that this administration continues to churn out making it more difficult for businesses to create jobs. and yes, we're going to take to the floor a bill that calls for the total repeal of obamacare so that we can start over and we can tell the american people we're on your side, we care about your health care, we want quality care and affordable price for as many americans that are there looking for that to happen. thank you. >> speaker boehner, do you think lack of federal money, state and public sector jobs is hurting the economy? >> no. i believe that government continues to spend money that we don't have. the fact is that with these
looming tax hikes, the regulations coming out of washington, we have frozen employers in place. and if we would have a moratorium on regulations, and extend all of the current tax rates, we would free employers, provide more certainty for them, and to go out and begin to hire the american people. >> do you adisagree with the speaker's statement yesterday that europe is a drag on the economy? >> sure, europe is a problem. there is no question. it's providing a liquidity issue to global, to the global economy. there is a certainly a sense that governments on that continent are not addressing their problems and should be a signal to all of us we have got to get serious. i agree wholeheartedly with the speaker. we continued, the house majority to put forward solutions and tell the truth to say we're here to help solve problems and lead. >> just because europe has problems, doesn't mean that
we can't begin to solve our problems. we can help american job creators by taking the actions we've outlined there is no excuse why we should wait for the convenience of an election. let's get to work today. >> one of the reasons europe is in the situation it is in because of the austerity measures they took. do you at this that the house republicans are advocating for sort of same -- >> the reason europe is in the shape that it is in because they waited too long to deal with their problems. that's why i was insistent last summer that we address our deficit and our debt problem. that's why i again, last month, called for us to address our deficit and our debt problem. remember one thing. it's the debt in europe. if we don't get busy dealing with our debt, we're going to be in the same shape. we have time to deal with this. but understand that the debt is also tied to jobs.
this, $16 trillion worth of debt serves like a wet blanket over our economy, scaring employers of all size. if you want to create more certainty for employers, let's extend the tax rates. let's stop the regulatory onslaught let's deal with our debt. then we'll give job creators in america the freedom to go out there and create the jobs they want to create. thanks. >> [inaudible]. >> the speaker and majority leader speaking this afternoon, shortly after lawmakers had wrapped up the work for the week, just a short weill ago. they passed a bill to fund the ledge slate tiff branch in 2013. house also passed two other spending bills this week. the one for homeland security and department of energy and federal water programs. the house now passed five of 12 spending bills, funding the government for the next
fiscal year. while the speaker and majority leader reacting to president obama's comments this morning where he talked largely about the economy and as you heard, about the fiscal situation in europe. the president spoke to reporters and took a couple of questions for about 30 minutes. >> good morning. i just want to say a few words about the economy and then i will take some of your questions. today we're fighting back from the deepest economic crisis since the great depression. after losing jobs for 25 months in a row, our businesses have now created jobs for 27 months in a row. 4.3 million new jobs in all. the fact is, job growth in this recovery has been stronger than in the one following the last recession a decade ago. the but the hole we have to fill is much deeper and the global aftershocks are much
greater. that's why we've got to keep on pressing with actions that further strengthen the economy. right now one concern is europe which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis. obviously this matters to us because europe is our largest economic trading partner. if there's less demand for our products in places like paris or madrid it could mean less businesses or less business for manufacturers in places like pittsburgh or milwaukee. the good news there is a path out of these challenge. these decisions are fundamentally in the hands of europe's leaders and fortunately they understand the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need to act. i've been in frequent contact with them over the past several weeks and we know there are specific steps they can take right now to prevent the situation there from getting worse. in the short term they have got to stablize the their financial system and part of that is taking clear action as soon as possible to
enproject capital into weak banks. just as important leaders can lay out a framework and a vision for a stronger eurozone including deeper collaboration on budgets and banking policy. getting there is going to take some time but showing the political commitment to share the benefits and responsibilities of an integrated europe will be a strong step. with respect to greece, which has important elections next weekend we have said that it is in everybody's interest for greece to remain in the eurozone while respecting its commitments to reform. we recognize the sacrifices that the greek people have made and, european leaders understand the need to provide support if the greek people choose to are remain in the eurozone. but the greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the eurozone. over the longer term even as european countries with large debt burdens carry out
necessary fiscal reforms they have also got to promote economic growth and job creation. as some countries have discovered it's a lot harder to rein in deficits and debt if your economy isn't growing. so it's a positive thing that the conversation has moved into that direction and leaders like angela merkel and francois hollande are working to put in place a growth agenda alongside responsible fiscal plans. the bottom line is the solution to these problems are hard but there are solutions. the decisions required are tough but europe has the capacity to make them. and they have america's support. their success is good for us and the sooner that they act act and more decisive and concrete their act shuns and the sooner people and markets will gain confidence and cost of cheaper for cleanup down the road. give the signs of weakness in the world economy, not
just in europe but also in some softening in asia it is critical that we take the actions we can to strengthen the american economy right now. last september i sent congress a detailed jobs plan full of the kind of bipartisan ideas that would put more americans back to work. it had broad support from the american people. it was fully paid for. if congress had passed it in full, we would be on track to have a million more americans working this year. the unemployment rate would be lower. our economy would be stronger. of course congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full. they did act on a few parts of the bill, most significantly the payroll tax cut that is putting more money in every working person's paycheck right now. and i appreciate them taking that action but they left most of the jobs plan just sitting there. and in light of the headwinds that we're facing right now i urge them to reconsider.
because there are steps we can take right now to put more people back to work. they're not just my ideas. they're not just democratic ideas. they're ideas that independent, nonpartisan economists believe would make a real difference in our economy. keep in mind that the private sector has been hiring at a solid pace over the last 27 months. one of the biggest weaknesses has been state and local governments which have laid off 450,000 americans. these are teachers, and cops and firefighters. congress should pass a bill putting them back to work right now, giving help to the states so that those layoffs are not occur you aring. in addition, since the housing bubble burst we've got more than a million construction workers out of work. there is nothing fiscally responsible about waiting to fix your roof until it caves in. we've got a lot of defered maintenance in this country. we could be putting a lot of people back to work, rebuilding our roads, our bridges, some of our schools. there is work to be done.
there are workers to do it. let's put them back to work right now. the housing market is stablizing and beginning to come back in many parts of the country but there are still millions of responsible homeowners who have done everything right but still struggle to make end meet. so, as i talked about just a few weeks ago, let's pass a bill that gives them a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates. that is something we can do right now. it would make a difference. instead of just talking a good game about job creators, congress should give the small business owners that actually create most of the new jobs in america a tax break for hiring more workers. these are ideas that again, have gotten strong validation from independent, nonpartisan economists. it would make a difference in our economy. and there is no excuse for not passing these ideas. we know they can work.
now if congress decides, despite all that, that they aren't going to do anything about this simply because it is an election year, then they should explain to the american people why. there is going to be plenty of time to debate our respective plans for the future. that is a debate i'm eager to have but right now people in this town should be focused on doing everything we can to keep our recovery going and keeping our country strong. and that requires some action on the part of congress. so i would urge them to take another look at some of the ideas that have already been put forward. and with that i will take a couple of questions and i'm going to start with karen bowen, who is with righters but as we all know is about to go get a fancy job with "national journal" and we're very proud of her [laughing] so congratulations to you, karen. you get the first crack at it. >> thank you very much, mr. president. could you tell the american people what role the united
states is playing in the european debt crisis? and also do you think european leaders have a handle on what is needed to stem the crisis and finally you talked about a number about ideas you already put forth to shield the american economy. do you plan to give a speech or lay out additional ideas now that the crisis is really escalating? >> well, a couple of things. the situation in europe is not simply a debt crisis. you've got some countries like greece that general genuinely have spent more than they're bringing in and they have got problems. there are other countries that actually were running a surplus and had fairly responsible fiscal policies but had weaknesses similar to what happened here with respect to their housing market or their real estate markets and that has weakened their financial system. so there are a bunch of different issues going on in europe. it is not simply a debt crisis. what is true is, is that the
markets getting nervous have started making it much more expensive for them to borrow. and that then, gets them on a downward spiral. we have been in constant contact with europe over the last, european leaders over the last two years. and, we have consulted with them both at the, head of government and head of state level. i frequently speak to, the leaders not only at the formal settings like the g8, but also on the telephone, or, via videoconference. and our economic teams have gone over there to consult. as i said in my opening remarks the challenges they face are solveable. right now their focus has to be on strengthening their overall banking system, much in the same way that we did back in 2009.
and 2010. making a series of decisive actions that give people confidence that the banking system is solid, that capital requirements are being met. that various stresses, that may be out there can be absorbed by the system. and i think that european leaders are in discussions about that and they're moving in the right direction. in addition, they're going to have to look at how do they achieve growth at the same time as they're carrying out structural reforms that may take two or three or five years to fully accomplish. so countries like spain and italy for example, embarked on some smart structural reforms that everybody thinks are necessary. everything from tax collection to labor markets to whole host of different issues. but, they have got to have the time and the space for those steps to succeed.
and, if, they are just cutting and cutting and cutting, and their unemployment rate is going up and up and up, and people are pulling back further from spending money because they're feeling lot of pressure, ironically that could actually make it harder for them to carry out some of these reforms over the long term. so i think there is discussion now about, in addition to sensible ways to deal with debt and government finances, there's a parallel discussion that is taking place among european bleeders -- leaders to show flexibility to allow some of these reforms to really take root. now, keep in mind that this obviously can have a potential impact on us because europe's our largest trading partner. the good news is a lot of the work we did back in 2009
and 2010 has put our financial system on a much more solid footing. our insistence of increasing capital requirements for banks means that, they can absorb some of the shocks that might come from across the atlantic. you know, folks in the financial sector have been monitoring this carefully and i think are prepared for a range of contingencies but, even if we weren't directly hit in the sense that our financial system still stayed solid, if europe goes into recession that means we're selling fewer goods, fewer services, and, that is going to have some impact on the pace of our recovery. so we want to do everything we can to make sure that we are supportive of what european leaders are talking about, ultimately it is a decision that they have go to make in terms how they
move forward in terms of more integration. how they move forward in terms of accommodating the needs for both reform and growth. and the most important thing i think we can do is make sure we continue to have a strong, robust recovery. so the steps that i've outlined are the ones that are needed. we've got a couple of sectors in our economy that are still weak. overall, the private sector has been doing a good job creating, creating jobs. we've seen record profits in the corporate sector. the big challenge we have in our economy right now is, state and local government hiring, has been going in the wrong direction. you have seen teacher layoffs. police officers, cops. firefighters, being laid off. and the other sector that is still weak has been the construction industry. those two areas, we've
directly addressed with our jobs plan. the problem is that it requires congress to take action and we're going to keep pushing them to see if they can move in that direction. okay? jackie combs. where did jackie go. there she is. >> thank you, mr. president. i would like to ask you about what a couple other people said about europe. one i like to know if you agree with former president bill clinton who said in the past week that the europeans policies that you've described here today are much like those of the republicans in this country. policies of austerity that would take us in the same direction as europe. if you agree with that? the republicans for their part had said you're simply blaming the europeans for problems that have been caused by your own policies. but like you to respond to both of those. and also, tell us precisely how much time you personally spend on european situation? >> any other aspects of the question?
>> got more questions. [laughter] >> the, first of all in terms of the amount of time i spend, look, i think it is fair to say that over the last two years i'm in consistent discussions with european leadership and consistent discussions with my economic team. this is one of the things that's changed in the world economy over the last two or three decades is that, this is a global economy now. what happens anywhere in the world can have an impact here in the united states. certainly that's true after the kind of trauma that we saw in 2008 and 2009. and, you know, if you think about the situation in europe, they're going through a lot of the things that we went through back in
2009, 2010, where we took some very decisive action. the challenge they have, they have got 17 governments that have to coordinate. 27 if you count the entire european union, not just the eurozone. so imagine dealing with 17 congresses instead of just one? that makes things more challenging. but you know, what we've tried to do is to be constructive, to not blame this as us scolding them or telling them what to do but to give them advice in part based in part on our experiences here having stablize ad financial situation effectively. ultimately those they're going to have to make a lot of these decisions and so, what we can do is to prod, advise, suggest, but, ultimately they're going to have to make these decisions. now, in terms of characterizing the situation
over there, what is, what is absolutely true, this is true in europe and it's true here in the united states, is that we've got short-term problems and long-term problems. and the short-term problems are how do we put people back to work? how do we make the economy grow as rapidly as possible? how do we insure that the recovery gains momentum? because if we do those things, not only is it good for the people who find work, not only is it good for families who are able to pay the bills, but, it actually is one of the most important things we can do to reduce deficits and debt. it's a lot easier to deal with deficits and debt, if you're growing, because
you're bringing in more revenue. and you're not spending as much because people don't need unemployment insurance as much. they don't need, other, programs that are providing support to people in need because things are going pretty good. that's true here in the united states and that's true in europe. so, the problem, i think, president clinton identified, is that if, when an economy is still weak and a recovery is still fragile, that you resort to a strategy of let's cut more so that you're seeing government layoffs, reductions in government spending, severe cutbacks in major investments that help the economy grow over the long term. if you're doing all those things, at the same time as
consumers are pulling back because they're still trying to pay off credit card debt, and there's generally weak demand in the economy as a whole, then you can get on a downward spiral where everybody's pulling back at the same time. that weakens demand and that further crimps the desire of companies to hire more people. and that's the pattern that europe is in danger of getting into. you know, some countries in europe right now have an unemployment rate of 15, 20%. if you are engaging in too much austerity, too quickly, and that unemployment rate goes up to 20 or 25%, then, that actually makes it harder to then pay off your debts. and the markets by the way respond in, when they see this kind of downward spiral
happening, they start making a calculation, well, if you're not growing at all, if you're contracting you may end up having more trouble paying us off. so we're going to charge you even more. your interest rates will go up. and, it makes it that much tougher. so, you know, i think that what we want both for ourselves but what we've advised in europe as well is a strategy that says, let's do everything we can to grow now even as we lock in a long-term plan to stablize other debt and our deficits. and start bringing them down in a steady, sensible, way. and by the way, that's what we proposed last year. that's what is proposed in my budget. what i've said is, let's make long-term, spending cuts. let's initiate long-term reforms. let's reduce our health care spending. let's make sure that we have got a pathway, a glide path,
to fiscal responsibility. but, at the same time, let's not underinvest in the things that we need to do right now to grow. and that recipe of short-term investments in growth and jobs, with a long-term path of fiscal responsibility is the right approach to take for i think, not only the united states but also for europe. okay. >> [inaudible]. republicans saying you're blaming the europeans for the failures of your own policies? >> the truth of the matter is that, as i said we've created $4.3 million jobs over the last two, 27 months. over 800,000 just this year alone. the private sector is doing fine. where we're seeing weakness
weakness to the economy. would result in further layoffs, what not provide relief in the housing market. and would result, i think most economists estimate in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more. all right? david jackson. >> thank you. [inaudible] national security issues. there are reports of terrorists -- reports of cyberattacks on the iranian nuclear program that you ordered. two things, first of all, bush your reaction of this information getting out in public lex what your reaction to lawmakers -- [inaudible] in order to promote your reelection? >> will personal on a going to comment on the details of what our supposed to be classified items.
second, as commander-in-chief, the issues that you've mentioned touch on our national security, touch on critical issues of war and peace, and they are classified for a reason. because they are sensitive. and because the people involved may in some cases be endangered if they are carrying out some of thesemissions. and when this information, or reports that are true or false surface, on the front page of newspapers, that makes the job
of folks on the front lines tougher, and it makes my job cover. which is why, since i've been in office, my attitude has been zero-tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation. now, we have the mechanisms in place where, if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences. in some cases it's criminal. these are criminal acts when they release information like this. and we will conduct thorough investigations as we have in the past. the notion that my white house would purposely release classified national security information is offensive.
it's wrong. and, you know, people i think need to have a better sense of how i approach this office and how the people around here approach this office. we are dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the american people, our families, or our military personnel, or our allies. and so we don't play with that. and it is a source of consistent frustration, not just for my administration buffer previous administrations when this stuff happens. and we will continue to let everybody know in government, or after they leave government,
that they have certain obligations that they should carry out. but as i think as has been indicated from these articles, whether or not the information they received is true, the writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally that he didn't come from this white house. and that's not how we operate. [inaudible] is that what you're saying? >> what i'm saying is that we consistently, whenever there is classified information, that is put out into the public, we try to find out where that came from. all right? okay, thank you very much, everybody. thank you. what about wisconsin? [inaudible] [laughter] >> e.j.-- he gave thumbs up.
>> reacting to the president's comments the associate press reports that mitt romney says president obama statement of the private sector is doing fine will quote go down in history as a miscalculation by an out of touch president. we will keep you chance to see the president's comment begin this evening, along with reaction from speaker john boehner and from the majority leader eric cantor. will show that to you tonight at 8 p.m. eastern our companion network c-span. the president received a questionnaire on the national security leaks that have been reported in recent days. yesterday on capitol hill a bipartisan group of congressional leaders, the leaders of the intelligence committees in the house and senate, spoke to reporters for about 25 minutes. >> are you ready? the senate intelligence community has just had a meeting
with the director of national intelligence, james clapper. we invited the house chairman, mike rogers, and the vice chairman, dutch ruppersberger, to attend the session, and we were very pleased that they did. senator chambliss and i worked very closely together, and we have expanded that group now to include the four of us. we will be working together to try to produce some changes in the senate authorization bill, which has not been completed. the house has completed their bill, but we have not. and so we will work with the house membership on language that can be acceptable to both sides, to codify a certain process which we hope will be more efficient in retarding leaking, and also being able to
stop it. and also being able to revolve more tools to control it, and where it cannot be controlled, to be able to take additional actions. this obviously because of the timing will have to be done in the next month or so i would think. and so we'll be working together in that direction. so i would now like to ask senator chambliss, my distinguished vice chairman, to make some comments. >> well, thanks for the. and let me just say thanks to the leadership of chairman feinstein as was chairman rogers, ranking member rupert berger, the four of us have worked very closely on any number of issues. there is no more important issue that we have to work on than this issue. i think it goes without saying that all of us are extremely
upset about the fact that not only have leaks occurred, but there's been a cascade of leaks coming out of the intelligence community over the last several weeks and months. and it's our clear intention to put a stop to this and the best way that we can. leaks are part of the nature of this town. we understand that, but the fact of the matter is when you have the kind of leaks that have been coming out in the last few weeks, it puts lives in danger and it infringes upon the ability of the intelligence community to do their job. suffice it to say that in our meeting with general clapper, we knew before we engaged in this morning that he was extremely upset about this issue. he is as was every member of the leadership team and the intelligence community, we have a pledge from them to continue to work with them on all of our issues, but particularly on this
issue as we know for to try to make sure that they have all the tools to work with internally on the issue of trying to make sure that we put a stop to this kind of leakage. now i'd like to call on chairman rogers. >> thank you very much, senators. we have worked on some things in bipartisan ways, and i want to thank senator feinstein, saxby chambliss, through that process we think we've got a lot of important things for our national security and dutch ruppersberger, working in a spirit of bipartisanship. to have all four of us come forward today and talk about the severity of these leaks, i have sent a very clear message about how dangerous this has become. and it's not just an isolated incident, and that's what is brought us together. it seems be a pattern that is growing worse and more frequent. and the severity of the leaks are serious. i had a meeting just yesterday with the series of officers an
agency, and other agencies who do important work around the world on very difficult assignments. and to the person, and these are the one officer, these are the folks we asked to leave their families and go to dangerous places to be really hard things. the frustration and their inability to get a handle on this, their inability to keep a secret, not just in this town and what it means you, but what it means for their ability to conduct their work overseas is incredibly damaging. this has been as serious a problem as i've seen. just a few weeks ago i launched an independent review of a very specific leak that turned it is something a little bigger. i just want to tell you, through reviews with icy officers, review materials, public sources, there is a clear need or a formal investigation. the committee has material suggesting that the agencies were directed to expand the scope of classified information they gave to the press.
we know in some cases, someone from a segment of the media was present in a classified setting. recently group of intelligence officers, i said before, has disclosed directly how many of the leaks over a period of years have made their jobs more difficult in their liaison relationships and their ability to interact with sources and assets around the world you're doing great things for their own countries and the trend as well. just today the cia informed the hits he that he cannot respond to our requests for information regarding the league. it would be very troubling event indeed. the doj's national security vision is recused itself from at least one element of the investigation suggesting some of these leaks could have come from the sources within the doj or the fbi. and from publicly of able comments it appears that the sources of these leaks could be in a position to influence the investigation. so the investigation much -- must do this. we're still trying to work out
where this may be the best place for this to happen. it must be complete. it must be empowered to examine any office or department of the united states government. it must be free of influence from those who conducted or do the programs at issue. and it must be fair and it must be nonpartisan. two problems here. one, that we get to the bottom of what is a growing and serious problem, and the nature of these leaks. and second, the we put together legislation quickly that moves to put, give the tools to the intelligence community to prevent this from happening in the future. and i look forward to the opportunity to work with all the miniature to make sure that that happens. i would turning data i looked it over to the recommender. >> the first that want to acknowledge him and relationship that is developed when senator feinstein and senator chambliss and congressman mike rogers and myself. mistakes that we deal with, the issues we deal with,
intelligence community are so important we have to work together as a team bipartisan so we can come together, goateed ministration and get issues resolved that important our national security. i've been on this committee close to 10 years. this is one the most serious breaches in the last couple articles that come out that i've seen. it puts us at risk. it puts lives at risk. it hurts our ability with our allies to have them work with us and get information. and it hurts us in recruiting assets they give us intelligence information that will allow us to protect our citizens to work through issues that are so important for the whole issue of peace throughout the world and how we protect our citizens throughout the world. we know have serious this is an have to do with it, and we will deal with it and we started today, coming together, both the house and the senate intelligence committees deciding where we're going to go to the issue has to be solution. what are the solutions? the first thing we have to do is went to change the culture that anybody who works in the
intelligence community to educate them and let them know how serious these leaks are. and the ramifications, which means we need to put together a policy to let people know what the policy is but if you violate that policy you will be held accountable. that's important. we would love to find out who did the league and how it occurred and how important, whether the habit of not that's a tough case but we need to use this as an example to change the policy. that's what we are right now. but it's got to be a partnership between the administration and between the senate and house. we are going to work forward and move forward on this case, this leak case, and we feel very strongly that we have to do this to protect our national security. >> would you address your questions to a specific person? dana? [inaudible]
>> this is not finger-pointing at anybody. what we're trying to to do is say we have a problem and we want to stop that problem. we are not finger-pointing, and the house will do its own investigation. we are doing a deal that will put changes in the bill, but dana, this has to stop. when people say they don't want to work with the united states because they can trust us to keep a secret, that's serious. when allies become concerned, when in assets life is in jeopardy, or the assets families life is in jeopardy, that's a problem. the point of intelligence is to be able to know what might happen to protect this country.
and we can't do that if the intelligence is no longer capped with strict scrutiny within the number of people that need to have it. and one of the problems is that, that we are learning, is so many people know that it becomes very hard to make a prosecution. so what representative ruppersberger was saying about changing the culture really is correct. about limiting the numbers of people that now given things. is correct. so we have some ideas. we've discussed them somewhat today, and you know, you will certainly know where we have points of agreement here. [inaudible] >> i'm not going to prejudge
what the fbi is charged with responsibility of doing, and we are going to meet with director mueller this afternoon. we know that investigation is already begun, and it's going to be done very thoroughly. and you know, we've been through this before and the bush administration. wherever the responsibility falls out, that's where it's going to be. and if it's in the administration find, if it's not in the administration, fine. this is not meant to be a political exercise. this is too critical to the future of the intelligence community of the united states. and it's our intention just to get to the bottom of the issue, of these leaks. and as we move forward to try to make sure that we put measures in place, that not only make it more difficult for future leaks to occur, but the consequences of those future leaks be dealt with immediately and strongly.
[inaudible] >> i just can't go into it right now. this morning was actually the first time that i a chance to outline some of my thoughts to the committee. and we need to discuss it. it's important that the house and senate were close together because we'll never get it done if we don't. so the first people that will no are the three people here, and we need to go through that process. [inaudible] >> i understand that. i've had discussions with chairman rogers about that. i've asked for a little more time to look at it.
the special prosecutor of course does not bring the ones attention changes that need to be made. yesterday we had a hearing with the inspectors general of various agencies, and one of the things that i am looking at is a possibility of giving these igs, inspectors general, more investigatory authority. it's clear that the security aspects of the existing agencies haven't really done the job. and we need to find out why. so i'm feeling that decision. special prosecutor can take years we don't have years. we need to legislate. we need to get some solutions before us very quickly. [inaudible]
>> oh, we are not politically motivated. we sat in their data i will tell you one thing and. wherever the chips fall, they fall. we want a fair investigation. we want to be able to see that we have the processes in place to deal with this. i do not believe that we do at the present time. [inaudible] >> well, i'm not going to respond to that question. it was asked in a way that we're going to do our due diligence and going to get the situation looked at carefully, and hopefully changed. [inaudible]
>> i'm not going to comment on the scope of the investigation. that's a determination that the fbi have to make. that's a whole nother issue that is out of our realm. the purpose of having director mueller and today is we do this on a fairly regular basis, but when something like this happens, it's in important with director clapper in as we did this morning, that web director mueller in, and if there are other heads of agencies involved that we need to have them in for discussion, they've always been willing to come in and dialogue with us. so we'll have a sit down and and in form away with director mueller this afternoon to be brought up to speed on where the investigation is. [inaudible] >> i beg your pardon? what is the question?
[inaudible] [inaudible] >> i don't think you can say that today. >> do you think this might be politically motivated? >> well, i do think we ought to make that determination. i outlined some of the challenges they have. you have the doj, national security division has recuse themselves from certain aspect of the investigation. the fbi was in receipt of some of the information along the way on particular case that was released. and so at some point you to ask yourself a question. and again, in our preliminary review we're just told this morning that the cia was going to withhold information, at least at this time. lead you to believe that if we're going to make this nonpartisan, if we're going to make it fair and complete, which means it has to follow the
leaks, then you have to have at least some sort of an outside look. because of the nature of, at least in the public sources, the media leaks clearly shows that someone who may have been in the chain to influence an investigation may, in fact, be a part of the investigation. given that, it would only lead one to the conclusion that you should probably have someone outside the normal track of investigation. on the particular leak case. >> first thing, i do not believe it is a politically motivated. the issue was about whether not this which is politically. this is an event that happened, this is about the united states of america. the leadership is judged on how you deal with the problem, and that is a serious problem. and we need both the house and senate to tell the committees and administration to work with us. not only to deal with the actual leak that has occurred but to do with what we're going to do to
change it to make sure would change the culture of leaks generally. to make sure that sources do not get out in the field. and the issue that was raised about were with respect to, your question -- your question? what we shall question? no, no, no. right there, that you raised. [inaudible] >> and that is a very important issue but if you look at what happened before 9/11, it was still fight. we didn't share information and it cost us do. so we have to do women look a solution for with to make sure we put processes and procedures in place so ever involved in the intelligence community knows when the, what those processes and procedures are? we have to share to get it to the right person. it has to be pursuant to a process and procedure that only those that need to know are going to know. that's part of what we're going to do and look at in this process. [inaudible]
>> i agree with my ranking member. that's the whole point of having a complete fair and impartial investigation. and it can take you where you go. one of our challenge is here amongst us is that even the dni has only a small jurisdiction, or smaller jurisdiction of investigative authority. doj is recusing themselves from aspects of it. you can see where it gets messy.
our goal is determine what is the best force for a fair, impartial and complete investigation. >> last question. [inaudible] >> those are, i'm not going to answer that question here. i don't believe it's an appropriate question right now. i respect your asking it, but that's not what this press conference is about. [inaudible] >> well, they are, you know, if you deal with clandestine activity, and if it's covert activity, which it has a special place, it's all classified. and very few people have access to it, technically. you know, if you notice, i don't
believe leaks are coming out of either one of these committees. they are coming from elsewhere. and as the chairman of the house committee was saying, it's only people now have information, which didn't exist that way, the stovepipes are down, information is shared more broadly, well, if this is critical, tactical, covert information, it put lies in risk. puts our allies at risk. and this is what we are concerned about. >> let me just answer that as well. when it comes to clandestine, any clandestine activity, either real or unreal, is perceived in the media sometimes. the scrutiny that covert action gets and the seriousness on both committees is incredibly serious. we have regular covert action discussions, reviews. we make sure it's compliant with the law. and we have that ability to make sure that it is complying with the law.
and so i wouldn't go into any notion that it has to be any particular action has to be on the front page of the paper in order to get scrutiny. both of these committees in a bipartisan way take any covert or clandestine activity by the united states is serious as we take any issue. and we have staff dedicated to those programs. we have members who spend quite a bit of time in constant review of operations and make sure it's compliant with the law as women for. so i would hope that the punk would have some understanding. that's the whole purpose of these committees so that you can have those kinds of toughest scrutiny in a classified setting. that is a huge responsibility but i don't know any member of either the house or the senate that doesn't take that responsibility very seriously. >> thank you very much. thanks, everybody. thank you. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
>> they're often referred to as the conscience of the congress, and after having worked there almost two years, i can't think of a veteran need. it is really the heartbeat of the people. >> executive director and general counsel of the congressional black caucus, angela rye on the role of today's caucus. >> it is time to ensure that members of congress who are african-american can come together on issues that are plaguing the community at large, issues that may be plaguing district where they can find commonality. to really come together and discuss legislative solutions, legislative proposals to advance the cause of people that don't have a voice. >> more with angela rye sunday at 8 p.m. asian and pacific on c-span. >> yesterday, attorney general eric holder was asked about the government's fast and furious operation aimed at arresting
members of drug cartels. committee republicans said that leaked wiretap show senior officials knew the operation involved a tactic known as gun walking where smugglers are allowed to move guns across the border with mexico. the attorney general said the documents contained no reference to gun walking. his test was part of the annual congressional oversight hearing during which he also responded to questions about the department enforcement of voting rights laws. >> i were recognize myself and then the ranking member for an opening statement. welcome, attorney general holder to today's oversight hearing at the department of justice. regrettably, the obama administration has shown a disregard for the constitution and rule of law in an effort to impose their agenda on the american people. and there are many examples. efforts to block congressional inquiries about the administration's actions undermine the balance of power
on which our nation is founded. the department of justice still has not provided enough information about operation fast and furious so that the american public and congress can judge who in the department bears responsibility for the decisions that led to agent brian terry's death. the justice department refuses to comply with congressional subpoenas that may shed light on why this program was authorized, and who have knowledge of the inappropriate tactics. the department of justice also has failed to provide relevant information that would have revealed the extent of justice kagan's involvement in the development of the affordable care act when she was solicitor general. if she did give council on the health care bill, which was her job, then she should recuse herself rather than evaluating the law as a member of the
supreme court. the justice department has refused to let us interview her former assistant. neglecting to enforce or defend the laws enacted by congress is another violation of the administration's constitutional obligation to the american people. under this president, the justice department has engaged in a pattern of selective enforcement of the law in order to advance its own partisan agenda. for instance, the obama administration has sought to prevent state and local authorities from enforcing immigration laws. at the same time, the justice department has refused to bring cases against sanctuary cities that violate federal law by prohibiting their officials from communicating with the department of homeland security about illegal immigrants they encounter. such sanctuary cities directly challenge the federal government's authority to enforce immigration laws. the administration's unwillingness to uphold immigration laws has led to
injuries and even death. the administration refuses to defend the defense of marriage act, a law enacted by congress and then -- and signed by then-president bill clinton. this was a significant piece of legislation that was approved by a vote of 342-67 in the house, and 85-14 in the senate. regardless of how one feels about the substance of the bill, the department of justice has an obligation to defend the loss of the land. efforts by the administration to override election laws enacted by states also raised constitutional concerns. instead of acting to prevent voter fraud, the department of justice has challenged commonsense voter id laws that require voters to identify themselves before they are allowed to vote. the department of justice recently moved to block implementation of voter id laws enacted by legislatures in texas
and south carolina. the texas proposal was based on a similar law passed by the indiana legislature, which was upheld by the supreme court in 2008. the justice department challenge to the law ignores supreme court precedent that affirms a states right to enact laws to protect the integrity of its elections. the department of justice even threatened to sue florida for trying to remove ineligible noncitizens from its voter rolls. why would the department of justice not want states to remove ineligible felons, ineligible noncitizens, and of the dead from their voter rolls? the administration's actions aren't just wrong. they are arrogant, and democratic, and an insult to the rule of law. the administration's disregard for the constitution and rule of law not only undermines our democracy, it threatens our
national security. the justice department has not taken the initiative to prosecute leaks of national security secrets. recent leaks about a foiled bomb plot out of yemen and a cyber attack against iran are, in the words of senate intelligence chairwoman dianne feinstein, quote, very detrimental, very concerning, and hurt our country, end quote. for the past three and a half years, this administration has engaged in a pattern of obstructionism, unaccountability, and partisanship. the american people should have confidence that the department of justice fairly enforces laws. that confidence is lacking today. this hearing will explore how that confidence can be restored. that concludes my opening statement from and the junk information, the ranking member of the judiciary committee is recognized for his. >> thank you, chairman smith.
and welcome, attorney general holder. the opening statement is an opportunity for both of us here to set the tone for this heari hearing. but never in the career of chairman smith as the chair of this committee have i heard so many erroneous statements, and having never heard them before, i can assure him and you that i will be going over his statements and help him arrive at a more factual and impartial conclusion. now, having said that, we welcome you once again to the house judiciary committee. this, by my count, is the eighth time this congress, that the
attorney general has made himself available for questioning. and this level of access is extraordinary, particularly when we compare your record to that of your immediate predecessors. now, with respect to the continuing investigation into operation fast and furious, i want to thank you for your patience and diligence. to date, the department of justice has provided over 7600 pages of documents to the congress. you made additional law enforcement sensitive material available to us in dozens of briefings. you permitted us to question senior department officials in hearings and transcribed interviews. and you yourself have appeared
before this committee once every six months since the controversy became public. i hope that the tone of today's discussion reflects the many courtesies that you and the department of justice have shown us in the past months. and i also want to commend you and the department of justice on a series of important accomplishments in the field of civil rights and voting rights, a couple of issues that i've paid special attention since i first became a member of the house judiciary committee. enforcing section v of the voting rights act, the department has aggressively enforce section v, which ensures that states with a history of discrimination can't create additional barriers to minority access to the ballot box.
the department has already blocked discriminatory voter id laws in texas and south carolina. and i would encourage you to look at other similar troubling laws taking effect across the country. stopping illegal purges of the voting rolls. last week, the voting section wrote to the state of florida demanding that a cease-and-desist from purging voters from the rolls. the practice was not submitted to the department under section v and would not have been approved if it had been. protecting the rights of members of the armed service in terms of their voting, the department has secured court orders and consent
decrees in 14 jurisdictions to better enforce the military and overseas voter empowerment act. and restoring the integrity of the civil rights division, after the office of inspector general and the office of the professional responsibility completed their review of a little partisan hiring practices under another administration, their final report included recommendations for improving transparent hiring process at the civil rights division itse itself. and under the leadership of assistant attorney general tom peres, the division has fully adopted each of those recommendations and is now predominantly staffed by attorneys with actual experience in the field of civil rights
law. enforcing the fair housing act and the equal credit opportunity act. the departments $335 million settlement with countrywide financial last december compensated families who were charged higher fees and interest rates because of their race or national origin. this enforcement action makes clear the department will not hesitate to hold financial institutions accountable for lending discrimination. there are, of course, areas which we hope the department will improve. but today, four years after the worst economic upheaval since the great depression, we are still looking to hold some of those wall street barons accountable. and according to one -- let me
conclude. my time is into. and i thank the chairman. and yet, what we want to do here today is have a thorough and fair discussion, and i'm going to ask that our colleagues on this committee conduct themselves in a manner that is worthy of the attorney general's present appearance here. i thank the chair. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, mr. condit. are only wasted vacation estates attorney general eric holder, jr. february 3, 2000, attorney general holder was sworn in as the 82nd attorney general of the united states. attorney general holder has enjoyed a long career in both the public and private sectors.
first joined the department of justice to the attorney general's honors program in 1976, he became one of the departments first attorneys to serve in the newly formed public integrity section. he went on to serve as a judge in the superior court of the district of columbia, u.s. attorney for the district of colombia. in 1997, mr. holder was named by president clinton to be the deputy attorney general. prior to becoming attorney general, mr. holder was a litigation partner in washington, d.c. mr. holder, a native of new york city, is a graduate of columbia university and columbia law school. mr. holder, we appreciate your presence today, look forward to testify, and please begin. >> good morning, chairman smith, ranking member conyers, and distinguished members of this committee. i appreciate the chance to discuss some of the key accomplishments that distinction the departments worked throughout this administration and outlined our plans to build
upon this particular record of achievement. in particular i'm proud of the work that's been done by the departments 116,000 employees, as well as our government and law enforcement partners worldwide. to help fulfill the promises i made before this very same committee about three years ago. shortly after i became attorney general, i pledge to strengthen the departments efforts to protect the american people from terrorism and other national security threats to ensure that every decision and every investigation and every prosecution would be guided by the facts. by the law, and that nothing else. i also reaffirmed my commitment to move aggressively to combat violent crime and financial fraud to seek justice for victims, to protect the most vulnerable among us. to safeguard the climate and to uphold the civil rights of all of our citizens. in each of these areas the department has made tremendous ethic in many cases historic progress. nowhere is this more evident than in our nation as he could efforts. in the last three years the department has secured convictions against scores of
dangerous terrorist. we've identified and we have stopped multiple plots by foreign terrorist groups, as well as home-grown extremists. and we have strengthened essential surveillance and intelligence gathering capabilities in a manner that is consistent with the rule of law and our most treasured values. just last month we secured our seven conviction in our article iii civilian court in one of the most serious terrorism cases that our nation has faced since 9/11. and al qaeda sponsor plot to conduct coordinated suicide bombing attacks in new york city subway system. and roughly two weeks ago we obtained a guilty verdict in the case of a former member of the u.s. army who intended to bomb u.s. soldiers in a restaurant in killeen, texas. on the same day another texas a&m since the '20s in prison for attempting to become a part of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. in addition to our national security successes, the department has made meaningful and measurable strides in protecting americans from violent crime.
through innovative programs such as our defending childhood initiative and national forum on youth violence prevention, we have developed comprehensive, collaborative approaches to addressing the causes and remedying the consequences of violence among, and directed toward, our nation's young people. by forging an strengthen partnerships between our united states attorneys offices and federal, state, local tribal and international law enforcement officials, we are combating gun, gain, and drug fueled violence more effectively than ever before. alongside her counterparts in mexico, we orchestrated a series of corrugated strikes against violent drug cartel arresting thousands of cartel members and seizing billions of dollars in assets. we're also including strategic, desperately need plans to address the shocking rates of violence that plagued american indian and alaska native women throughout tribal community. we are using every resource and tool at our disposal, including
the power of research and scientific analysis to protect our nation's law enforcement community, which in recent years have seen an unfortunate, and totally unacceptable, rise in line of duty deaths. and if you work to raise awareness about the tragic fact of violence against law enforcement officers is approaching the highest level that we've seen in nearly two decades. as attorney general, and as the brother of a retired police officer, i am proud of the department has responded to this recent crisis with resolve and with robust action. just last week i met with the major cities police chiefs association at its summit meeting to discuss the ways that we have developed and implement a host of important programs, such as the landmark valor initiative, which is providing our law enforcement partners with the latest in training tools and resources, as was the bulletproof vest partnership program which has helped more than 13,000 jurisdictions purchase life-saving bullet and stab resistant equipment, in order to help protect those who
risk their lives to keep us safe. put simply, our commitment to officer safety has never been stronger. and as recent achievements prove, the same can be said of our resolve to protect american consumers. since the start of this administration, the justice department has signaled an unwavering commitment to preventing and combating a wide range of financial and health care fraud crimes. we have taken bold steps to address the contributing factors and consequences of the recent economic crisis. and this work is paying dividends. last year alone the department's consumer protection branch, working with u.s. attorney's office across the country, attain a 95% conviction rate, secured more than $900 million in criminal and civil fines, restitution, and penalties, and obtain sentences totaling more than 130 years of confinement against more than 30 individuals. in cooperation with our partners at the department of at the department of housing and urban development department of
housing and urban development and a bipartisan group of 49 states attorney general, we achieved a $25 billion settlement with five of the nation's top mortgage services, the largest joint federal-state settlement in the history of the united states of america. through the efforts of the presidents financial fraud enforcement task force, which was launched in 2009, we have obtained prison sentences of up to six years in a variety of fraud cases, including multimillion dollar ponzi schemes and the largest hedge fund insider trading case in history of this country. we have established two new working groups to enhance civil and criminal enforcement consumer fraud and to bring federal and state authorities together in investigating and prosecuting misconduct by financial institutions in the origination, securitization and servicing of mortgages that contributed to our financial crisis. and we continue to make tremendous gains in our work to combat health care fraud. in fact, over the last fiscal year and co-operation with the department of health and human services and my partner, kathleen sebelius, and by
utilizing authorities provided under the false claims act and other essential statutes would recovered nearly $4.1 billion in cases involving fraud on federal health care programs. that is the highest amount ever recovered in a single year. and for every dollar that we have spent combating health care fraud, we have returned on average $7 to the u.s. treasury, the medicare trust funds, and others. the department has also taken crucial steps forward in protecting the most vulnerable members of our society, and ensuring the civil rights of all of our citizens. over the past three years our civil rights division has found more criminal civil rights cases than ever before, including record number of human trafficking cases, in an effort to ensure that in our workplaces and our military bases, in a housing and lending markets, in our schools and places of worship, in our immigrant communities and our voting booths, the rights of all americans are protected. in addition we're working to strengthen the rule of law both
across the country and around the world and beyond our borders. establishing the global alliances necessary to combat transnational organized crime as outlined in the presidential strategy. this includes combating intellectual and financial property crimes, child pornography rings, organized criminal networks, and criminal facilitation of terrorist activities. and we've partnered effectively with members of congress to advance important changes in policy and legislation, from landmark hate crimes legislation to the reduction of the unjust and unfair crack powder cocaine sentencing disparity. this work goes on today in our efforts to ensure the real position of the violence against women act, a critical law that is transform our nation's response to crimes against women, and enhance our ability to achieve justice for victims while holding offenders accountable. it goes on and our strong support for the renewal of essential authorities such as
those included in the foreign intelligence surveillance act amendments of 2008. and it endures in our determination to build upon the extraordinary accomplishments that have defined the past three years, to take our fight against terrorism, crime, fraud, and other threats to a new level. i am proud of these and the departments many other achievements, and i hope to spend most of our time today discussing how we are working to build on this progress. however, i would like to briefly address the ongoing investigations into the atf gun trafficking operations along the southwest border. as a result of concerns raised by atf agents, we now know of several arizona-based investigations that occurred under this administration him and the previous one, where inappropriate tactics were used in an attempt to s.t.e.m. the flow of illegal guns across the southwest border. although these laws were focus on the bill of this manic illegal gun trafficking networks, they were flawed of the concept and execution.
i share your concerns about how these operations were developed and how they were implement. and that's why just as congressional leaders have called for answers, i asked the department's inspector general to conduct a comprehensive investigation as well. i also put in place new leadership which has taken steps including the implementation of a stricter oversight procedure for all significant investigations to prohibit the flawed tactics employed in these operations. many of the key enhancements implemented by the department are set in the deputy attorney general's letter to the committee that is due january 27 of this year. even since the date of that letter, however, we've continued to refine the title iii process. for example, our office of enforcement operations now requires that before even accepts request for a wiretap intercepts from a united states attorney's office, a supervisor in the relevant u.s. attorney's office must personally approve a request. i would be remiss if i did not
point out that the atf agents who testified before congress have also asked that law enforcement be provided with the tools that he needs to effectively combat gun trafficking on the southwest border. and i want to reiterate my commitment to working with congressional leaders to meet the needs of our law enforcement partners, and to help address serious national security challenges on our borders. finally, i want to make clear that we welcome to and engagement of congressional leadership in the departments continued efforts to satisfy the legitimate goals of congressional oversight while, at the same time, preserving the integrity and independence of the departments ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions. leaderships recent letter represented i think a promising step toward reaching a resolution, as it accomplish two things. first, it narrowed the universal document still in dispute between the justice department and house oversight committee. second, it identified the specific questions that remain of concern to leadership. we are confident that the
constructive discussions that have occurred since this letter can result in a mutually acceptable resolution. in all of these efforts, i am grateful for your continued support, and i'll be happy to answer any questions that you might have. thank you. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. let me remind members that the attorney general is witness into 1:30 p.m. in order for all 40 members of the committee to be able to make comments and ask questions, we're going to need to let your stripper to the five minute rule. and i will recognize myself for questions. mr. attorney general, the form -- which help protect our country from terrorists expire at the end of this year. did you support the extension of those amendments speak as we do support them. it is the most important legislative concern of the intelligence community, and we hope that congress will pass that reauthorization for the expiration at the end of the year.
>> okay. let me go to operation fast and furious. mr. attorney general, who was the highest level official in this administration who knew that these tactics were being used? and i'm talking about new that tactics were being used before the death of agent brian terry on december 15, 2010? >> well, we know that the operation began in the field offices in arizona, both in the atf office there. inspector general is in the process of examining that -- >> to your knowledge was the highest ranking official in the administration who knew about the tactics? ..
when were you first told or became knowledgeable about u.s. officials allowing firearms to be sold to the drug cartels in mexico? and i would like a specific day if you can give it to us. >> i do have a specific day. i got a letter from senator grassley january 2011 when i became aware of the attack takes themselves in february 20 alas and, as i've indicated the seven previous times i've testified. >> it wasn't until the letter from senator grassley until you knew about the fire arms being allowed to be transferred to the drug cartel in mexico. >> the letter directed my
attention to that led to my understanding. the letter itself does not mention "operation fast and furious." >> when did you learn about the attack it's been used? >> as i said, early part of 2011. >> that was several weeks after the death of brian terry. >> that happened in december december 2010. >> is that the same date he found that the sirens connected to fast and furious were found at the murder scene brian terry? or did you find out about that before? >> i don't know when i found out about that particular fact. i would guess who is also sometime in the early part of 2011. >> okay. why was that you think individuals who for you who are in this administration would not have made it known to you or others outside of arizona that firearms that were allowed to be given to drug cartels in mexico
by u.s. officials, why did it take so long for you to learn or for others to tell you? was there a cover-up going on? what was the explanation for you and your position not knowing more about the tactics? >> i think the answer is not under question. no one knew about the attack except the time of the initial discovery. it wasn't until tactics discovered until people start to understand we have a problem here. but for those tactics, fast and furious with it level regional investigation of all importance is going on pretty successfully. >> we didn't find out about tax dix until six weeks or two months after the death of brian terry, is that correct? >> sometime in february, agent terry was killed. >> when was anyone in the white house first informed about the attack excused under "operation fast and furious"?
>> i don't know. >> did you yourself not inform anyone in the white house about "operation fast and furious"? >> i'm sure there was contact between staff and the justice department, the appropriate people about "operation fast and furious." i remember sharing that information. >> how would anyone in the white house or nevada? under the normal chain of command. how would the white house of learn about "operation fast and furious" if not from you? >> welcome to my staff and interactions we have with the white house counsel. >> wended the staff learned about "operation fast and furious"? >> i don't know. >> were you ever curious about that? >> my focus is on dealing with the problems associated with fast and furious. >> it seems to me you would want to know -- what white house officials know what's going on to correct a problem.
>> my focus is on trying to solve the problem, not concerned about what the knowledge was in the white house. >> i understand, but the white house still would've been informed. the gentleman from mr. conyers is recognized. >> thank you, ranking member smith. mr., can you hold your bike up a little closer. he made certain types of rifles and states along the southwest border. this rule is intended to get the real problem of gun violence on the border of mexico. in your view, has the program benefit did? have we been stopping guns in saving lives?
>> yeah, the rule says for the sale of certain such as ak-47 if someone has more than one, that information has to be reported to the atf. that has led to actionable leads. it is a very assured, responsible regulation that has been upheld by a court that has considered and cited as appropriate and it's also totally consistent with what we do right now and half of the last 30 years at the scale to multiple handguns. >> and by the way, i think we were healed the assault weapon ban and that has led to a proliferation of weapons that i think we need to take another look at here in our legislature.
let's talk about the mortgage fraud task force that the president and how it's coming along. you know the effect this has had in our economy and on foreclosures and in families from one moment in the country to get there. how is your picture in this context? >> i think they do it pretty well. we have 100 people or so who are presently involved in that task force. subpoenas have been sent out. investigations are underway. we are working very effectively with the number of u.s. attorneys as well as our partners on a stateside. i think principally the attorney general from new york, eric snyderman as solicitors and attorney general spitzer the progress we're making there there is very good. >> thank you.
in 2009, you created a working group to review the department's profiling that means they cannot than 22,300 attorney general ashcroft. in april of this year, 64 members of congress wrote to urge you to revise that guidance. what is the status of the working group? and are there going to be changes to the guidance? and if you can, what with some of those changes be? >> we are in the process of looking at that earlier policy and seeing a cinematic experience there are changes that need to be made. i had a meeting concerning this issue over the last two weeks of be my next dictation to the extent the changes are to be made that those that happen relatively soon. we have an interagency is
certainly working at the justice department i suspect we'll have an interagency group with a number of asian is his equities are at a perspective change. it's something we continue to look at an something i've been personally involved with over the last two to three weeks. >> and what was the goal of the so-called profiling guidance? >> to try to make sure that we did not hamper law enforcement, but at the same time we had in place rules, regulations, guidance to those in law enforcement so we did not engage in racial profiling, which are simply bad law enforcement. if one looks at al qaeda they understand that if we engage in profiling they will be more successful. this has been reported, people as they call it with clean scans, people who do not fit particular profiling are the ones who are trying to send the nation in the national security context as well as with regard
to one person is such a bad idea. >> let me squeeze in my last question. can you talk a little bit about the charges of select the enforcement of immigration of law? i don't know if you've heard of any of those kinds of complaints, but can you respond to that for me? >> selective immigration -- >> selective enforcement of immigration law. >> by federal government? >> the arizona love and the other state-level beard if i can finish this question, mr. chairman. >> we have filed suit against immigration lies that have been passed by a variety of state. the supreme court has obviously heard arguments in connection
with the arizona law. the concern we have is this is inherently a federal responsibility and if we allow the state laws to proliferate will have a patchwork of laws that will make ultimate enforcement of our immigration laws impossible. having said that, i understand the frustration many states feel and it points out the need for a comprehensive sufficient to this problem. >> thank you very much. >> the gem and from wisconsin and sensenbrenner is minced recognized for his question. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to ask of mr. conyers commendation of you for coming before us in a very regular basis. i know it takes a lot of your time to prepare. i also know that you don't know what's going to get thrown at you and sometimes they will be curveballs and beanballs. i hope mine is a curveball. i want to talk a little bit about the florida voter
registration case. it appeared in "the new york times" yesterday. there is an article there about the state for voters and secretary of state ken geithner of florida has sent a letter to mr. herron of the voting section of the civil right section talking about the problem. and the problem is simply this, and that is as florin is trying to purchase florida legislation rows of noncitizens including illegal immigrant, people who are clearly not eligible to vote and the department of homeland security has had a nine-month delay in getting the national voter registration laws to the state, not mr. herron appears to be taking a position that florida can't do anything after the federal government has delayed giving florida the information that it needs to do. what can be done to solve this
problem? >> welcome the problem with the florida effort as her parents car to the national voter registration actor says he can't do this for 90 days of an election. you can successfully do that which florida is trying to do and has been done and has been approved by the justice department north carolina and georgia. they did it via the right way. the database that i think florida is requesting is not necessarily the answer to these problems with the database, which is the dhs database does not contain on its rolls are within that database people who were born and the united states. that database will therefore be flawed and could result in the exclusion of people from voting who are native or american. >> welcome in the state of florida has attempted to obtain the database for nine months so that it could do its thing prior to the 90 day shutoff and a national voter registration law.
i have a copy of the letter from secretary of state geithner that talks about the due process protections such as the notification by certified return receipt, 30 days to respond, hearing requested e-mail notices returned undeliverable, the names and addresses appeared in newspaper general circulation in the additional 30 days at the conclusion of the notice and hearing process to register is supposed to make a final determination with a preponderance of evidence and allow for an appeal has been a determination ineligibility to each state circuit court. now this is probably due process times three or four, maybe even five times. i would like to know what a bright due noncitizens, in particular illegal immigrants
coming in now, have to the protection of the voting rights act and the national voter registration act? >> they have no rights and i stand with any data official, federal officials who want to make sure the voting system is done in an appropriate way and people who are not allowed to vote in fact do not vote. as a result in which the way florida has carried this out, i saw a report that an election official in southern florida indicated about 450 people on the list, i believe was a woman, she got were indicated to be people who are not eligible to vote, who in fact were eligible to vote and that points out the problem in the process. >> with all due respect, mr. attorney general, there is a problem and any ineligible voter or fraudulent voter who has a ballot placed in the same ballot box as hundreds of legitimate voters and said diluting the votes of legitimate voters from
the federal lot is very clear that. and you know, here's the department of homeland security hasn't given florida the means to start the process out and with all of these protections that i just listed. and it seems to me if your job is to uphold the law, those assets at a process to give the states time to do this, but we have another agency of the government teacher supposed to be at feistiness attorney general that has presented the state of florida from doing this. >> i respectfully disagree. and it points you, as i said, to other states -- i don't know all the ways in which they did it, but he successfully implemented a policy i would agree with. i don't think sure people don't have the ability, the right to vote casting the denomination. north carolina, georgia today.
>> we tell florida did it because apparently there's a roadblock in washington. my time is up. >> gentleman from new york, mr. nadler is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. attorney general, we've made several request you to allow us to review the office of legal counsel with the legal justification for the targeting of suspects. it's seeking judicial review of lethal targeting by arguing among the appropriate check negative conduct here to congress and information is shared to make a check of many of the one. we've had to get any response to a request. do you commit to providing our members to us and providing briefing? >> we certainly want to provide meaning that the processes and select and targets. i gave a speech at northwestern university. mr. berning gave a speech here. >> you commit to providing a copy of the briefing -- a copy of the legal not know?
>> will look at the request and try to determine -- to >> a briefing to the members of the committee? >> we will submit to the possibility of giving a briefing. >> i would like to hear from the above people in the intelligence community as well as people at llc about how he might structure. >> you will get back to us and let's say a month. >> we can do that. >> thank you. >> was running for president dr. of medical marijuana, president of them said the following. i'm not going to be using the department of resources try to circumvent the laws on this issue, close quote. apparently the department has not followed the admonition. since 2090 aj has connected to an aggressive medical maryland dispensaries and brought more than 60 indictments. it is my understanding the department has a more aggressive record of prosecuting cases in
this administration than under the previous administration. the president clearly did not want to prioritize prosecutions involving marijuana and only understood telling of possessing marijuana remains against better losses since the 17 states and the district of colombia believe it should be illegal. given these facts, wife dej focusing so extensively on those who illegally grow and sell under local law contrary to apparently what the apparent intent about the president said on the subject. >> this is inconsistent with the facts. the justice department indicated in a memo that went out by the deputy attorney general that we were not going to use the limited resources we have to go after people who are acting in conformity with state law. people with serious illnesses, people who are acting, as i said, consistently with state law. but one has to deal with the reality that there are certain people who took advantage of the
state laws and a different policy that this administration announced the previous administration had enough come up with ways in which they are taken advantage of the state laws and going beyond that with which the states have authorized. those are the only cases. >> so you are saying you are not targeting people who are growing and distributing marijuana only for medical purposes and following the applicable state law? >> yes, we limit our enforcement efforts to does individuals, organizations acting out of conformity with state laws or in the case, instances in colorado, where distribution centers were placed at the close proximity to schools. >> okay, september 23rd, 2009
you issued a memo setting for it policy procedures governing executive branch's invocation of the state secret privilege. if that policy require personal approval to the department to defend the assertion of privilege of litigation. how many cases in september 2009 have you approve pursley invocation of the privilege? >> i have to look at that. there have not been many. i think one, two, three. i'm not sure. those numbers get skewed a little because in the second circuit in order to use the seek the statue, there is a robust as they have to in soak the privilege. >> i have a number of other than going to submit to you coming to my end of time. i have one further question. you do not indicate in the policy whether the administration will agree to judicial review of the basis for invoking the privilege.
the per administration took information that could not be disclosed to the article three-judge, thus ensuring there was no judicial review to whether the privilege was being properly invoked. what is your profession of the information seeking to withhold two key respects. one, can it be privileged information and too, can the judge disagreed with the decision as to whether the privilege is properly invoked? >> i think we've shared information with article iii justice, but the way in which the privilege inside out, at the end of the day for the executive branch to make that determination, but we put in place a process that requires multiple levels of review within the executive branch. >> you so you do not agree multiple decision should be subject us to invocation of the privilege. >> ultimately, the judge overrides their assertion of the privilege to have to decide whether or not we want to dismiss the case.
but our hope is through the process that we go through and only about the privilege rights absolutely necessary. if we look at the statistics if invoked the privilege fewer times. >> thank you, mr. nadler. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good to see you again, attorney general holder. when their last visit here, we ask about a few issues that would try to get a response and in fact am disappointed that today your office has been unable to provide answers to what i consider some very simple questions that we asked in that meeting having to do with prosecutions of worksite enforcement cases. i'm especially interested in the number doj worksite enforcement prosecutions for each of the last four years a number
prosecutions of illegal workers who have been using fraudulent documents. when can i realistically expect to get a response i'm not? >> i was under the impression we responded to the questions put to me either during the hearing or a gutsy call to first. >> i have not received them and the fact we would be happy to reiterate with specificity what those were, but it's pretty straightforward. >> we will get you those and i apologize that you've not gotten them. >> we will work with your office. >> we all know many illegal immigrants are using fraudulent social security numbers. for individual taxpayer numbers to take jobs from american citizens. i don't if there's any question in anyone's mind. they also receive tax or benefit such as child tax credits, earned income tax credit. there've been reports that some
illegal immigrants are claiming tax credits for children not even living in the united states. what specific echelon to emphasize the word specific steps are being used by doj to stop this fraud, recover taxpayer money, report immigrants to criminal fraud? >> we work with partners at dhs to come with a number of ways in which which i am make sure people who worksite enforcement through reaching out to and players to make clear what the policies are, what the law is, we use techniques to make sure the kinds of people you're talking about are not in fact getting benefits to which they are not entitled. we have worked pretty effectively with dhs. >> at the group of individuals i am speaking about, those that have clearly committed fraud,
i.d. spokes on a priority list for deportation, or are they among those that have been given an exemption or review to get a temporary green card? >> now, we certainly prioritize those people for deportation a maternity place at the head of that list people who potentially pose a criminal problem for those in the united states and the immigrant community people who are engaged in violent acts. it doesn't mean those further down the list are not also people trying to deport. >> we know and i'm glad to hear that acts of violence by criminal aliens at the top of the list. but the fraud issue to me is also an offense that should be very close to the top of the list when they're stealing the taxpayers dollars that could otherwise be used to help your department, for instance.
i said back in december we talked about doj addressing the issue of medicare fraud. and we know by many accounts there is as much as $60 billion figure that is being used, being stolen from our medicare program fraudulently. what steps has doj taken to increase prosecutions on medicare and also on medicaid fraud? >> working with our partners at dhs, kathleen sebelius and hhs have been going around the country and expanding what we call the strike force teams to increase the federal presence in our investigative capacity in those cities where we've identified these problems. but we have seen is that we have
seen in the settlements in the prosecutions we have broke record amounts of money brought back in the federal government as i indicated in my opening statement for every dollar we spend in a force that we bring back $7 to the federal government and is something that i think should be sunday at a site that lets you possibly can. >> one closing question. could you provide information to the committee on what specific enforcement is taking place in this area in california, specifically southern california and more specifically around the area of los angeles in areas like glendale, california. >> yeah, we can do that. i can certainly make clear what were doing with regard to all the cities we have targeted. i can also share what we are doing in california, in the area of california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> tournament from california,
mr. berman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. unwelcome, attorney general. i want to start by commending you and the department for your diligent work defending u.s. taxpayers against fraud by government contractors. every year i watched the total amount recovered for taxpayers under the false claims act increased and i'm grateful for the work department and whistleblowers do together to protect our tax dollars. i think we are now up to something just over $30 billion a lot of my colleagues today are focusing on third used to do today. i want to talk the subject because here i think the just apartment and you are doing this right and it seems the laws quite affect them and i want to make sure it stays that way. earlier this year you invited me to take part in a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the false claims that. and i wasn't able to participate
in a panel discussion that followed the main event, i am told one of the issues discussed on that panel was whether or not we should change how relators are compensated for their rights on recovering the taxpayer. in october of last year, the united states chamber of commerce for data reports suggesting suggesting that a hard cap of $15 million would be adequate to compensate any relator. their logic seemed to be that that amount would cover most people's future earnings if there operates as a whistleblower cup and from working again. the report also suggests that such a cap would not deter whistleblowers from pursuing key cases because in their study of 26 cases, the whistleblowers responded to a question about why they were willing to bring suit. most of them said they did it because it was the right thing to do. i believe that. but i also know for a fact that the whistleblowers put themselves at tremendous risk
when they make a decision to file suit and try to recover on behalf of the government and the american taxpayer. these cases are expensive to pursue and they can last for years. they require commitment and i don't know if the general good feeling about, quote, doing right, unquote, is what will make someone remain committed to the cause for the long haul. right now relators can be awarded a percentage between 15% and 30% depending upon certain factors such as whether or not the government joined the relators. in my mind and i think the history of the act bears this out, encourages the relator to pursue a case until they can recover an amount equal to the entire impact of the fraud as opposed to settling when the case goes to long. perhaps because they know there is a hard cap and they can only recover so much money. the chamber argues a hard cap
would save the government money, i have to wonder how many cases it would deter or at least reduce the recovery for taxpayers. in today's world where some of the cases recover billions of dollars come as a hard cap deterred even one such case the need for a costly endeavor for tax payers. when we consider the false claims act amendments of 1986 and revisions fans, proposals to enforce a hard cap have not been well received. of course there are reasons the defendants fighting key 10 suits would want to limit damages, but were more focused on what works for the taxpayer, i believe what we have now is working well. i sent you a letter on the subject earlier this month, but i wonder if you could share thoughts with me now about whether the department remains committed to relators been awarded a percent share or if you support a shift to a hard cap. >> i have to say i'm not totally
familiar with the proposal you have described, but i can say that the act as is presently did his work in extremely, extremely well. you are right. we asked you to come to the justice department to celebrate the success we've had over the past 25 years with regard to a not too instrumental in passing. over the past 25 years we've had nearly 8000 key 10 cases that have yielded more than $25 billion in recovery for the united states. $3.4 billion in rewards. in fiscal year 2011 the loan they recovered more than key 10 cases. the statute as it is presently constructed works and works quite well. i would be there but didn't to fool around with the formula for the past 25 years has shown to be in effect this tool and get enough fraud and incentivizing
people to stay involved in the process and working with government as partners. again, i will look at it, but i have to tell you on the basis of my examination of the rule, the regulation as it extends the statute as it exists, i would be extremely reluctant to tamper with it. >> the chairman from virginia, mr. goodlatte is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general holter, both the criminal division had only any brewer and his deputy, jason weinstein had knowledge that the atf let a bunch of guys walk and some were recovered in mexico, all related to the fast and furious scandal. in a prior operational and they refute the february 4, 2011 letter that falsely denied the af t. to a purchaser transported them to mexico.
do you think it's a serious offense to an individual to mislead the congress? >> first of all, i think you have it a little off there. the two individuals to talk about mr. weinstein and mr. brewer did not know about fast and furious until the beginning of last year. >> a good knowledge that atf was a bunch of gun swap. and some were recovered in mexico, end quote. >> i was in connection with operation wide receiver. that occurred in the previous administration. >> correct. but they did not acknowledge that in their communication with the congress. so my question to you is do you think it's a serious offense for an individual to mislead the congress about what they know about what's going on in your department? >> to the contrary, they did acknowledge they have the information about wide receiver said it was a mistake on their part not to share with the leadership of the department
have prior knowledge also indicated it was a mistake on my part not to use the prior knowledge than they were looking at fast and furious to understand the should of been more since the two of us going on with regard to fast and furious. >> what consequences have they faced as a result of that? >> they have apologized. >> apology is a good thing, but it's not a consequence for gross mismanagement of an operation that cost the life of one border security guard. why haven't the two most senior political attorneys in the criminal division face any consequences at all for their participation in this lack of been forthcoming to the congress and to others and for not putting a halt to the subsequent activities that place? >> again, your premises are wrong. they have been forthcoming to congress. they've testified or been interviewed in a way that i
think is consistent with the facts they've been very forthright. >> what about the underlying decision of the line this to go forward? >> that's the other part of your premise. they did not have operational control. >> when they knew about it, what did they do about it? >> that happens about the same time everyone in washington hears about these tax dates. they were assured by the people in arizona that the gun walking in fact did not occur. that is the information, if you look at the materials we submitted to congress that delivered it to materials around the february 4 letter, you will see either mr. brewer nor mr. weinstein had information about the use of -- they were insured gun walking tactics were not employed with regard to operation fast and furious. >> now with regard to the prosecution that senator ted stevens of alaska, in that case, senator stevens was falsely
prosecuted. his reputation was ruined. he was not reelected to the united states senate and it was determined that the u.s. prosecutors were engaged in outright fabricating the sun avidin deliberately withholding information that revealed msn and ultimately they were held in contempt of court charges against senator stevens were dismissed. but, what consequences have they faced? to my knowledge, the only consequences for a geisha and the outright fabrication of evidence and deliberately withholding exculpatory evidence that would have revealed the senators and a sense was that one of them was suspended without pay for 40 days and the other for 15 days. why were these individuals fired? some would say they should have
been disbarred for that activity. that is not the purview of the justice department, is certainly no longer having them on the payroll of the justice department would be a good step in the right direction, would that? >> again, there are a number of permits is inconsistent with the facts. these are cases brought by the prior administration not dismissed by the court. i dismiss the case. this attorney general dismiss the case after it had concerns about the way in which we have failed to turn over information that the defense had a right to. the report looked at the matter and made a determination that they did not do so intentionally it's inconsistent scorer attention done by mr. schuelke and those charged with the responsibilities that this penalty should be imposed. 40 days in 15 days. it is not something the deputy attorney general is involved in the determination as to how
those cases, what punishment should be made or findings for people who are career with the department. the same thing happen with regard to determinations concerning mr. you and creation of those llc memos and whether the attorney agrees or disagrees with what the career people do in the department is something for career people charged with that responsibility to ultimately determine. >> mr. chairman, i would ask that a letter dated february 4, 2011, signed byte robert weiss, assistant attorney general which i think were but the statements made by the attorney general with regard to what was known about this not knowing about operation wide receiver and "operation fast and furious" be made part of the record. >> without objection documents made part of the record. chairman from virginia, mr. scott is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i think the gentlemen for being with us today. you've been charged with not turning information over with request to other committees. at some of those requests involve information pertaining confidential informants and wiretaps under quarter, co, investigations? >> yes, that is true. we turned over a significant amount of information. we've collected data from custodian and processed millions electronic records. we've turned over 7800 pages on 46 separate productions. >> can you tell us what is wrong with handing over information on wiretap information on the court and information related to ongoing investigations? >> we are by law prohibited from discussing or turning over the content of wiretap related
material. there is a criminal provision that has a five-year penalty that prevent us from doing that. there's also a very practical reason. there are concerns one would have about people involved in these matters. you might put the safety of face or you might put up with the success of a prosecution. those are all the reasons why there are tight restrictions on the provision of material connected with wiretaps. >> with the gentleman yield? i'll be very brief. we did not request any wiretaps under seal since i'm the person who signed the subpoenas. >> thank you or of reclaiming my time. mr. attorney general, section five is there to prevent discriminatory election practices from going into effect. he did have such a discriminatory voting changes go into effect until the dems of discrimination raises enough
money to get into court to get an injunction. those who benefit from the discrimination would be to legislate until the flaw is overturned and when they are overturned to get to run with all the advantages of incumbency as a result of their discrimination. and so there is an incentive to keep discriminating. under section five the burden is then covered states to demonstrate an election change does not have a discriminatory effect. section five covered states were not selected randomly. they are covered the old-fashioned way. they earned it with a history of discrimination. now how is the department of justice using section five to prevent discriminatory voting part to save and specifically what are you doing in florida to prohibit purging of voters according to press reports that include decorated war veterans clearly eligible to vote? >> well, first a bit of an
overview. over the course of the time and which had been attorney general in the 1800 requests for preclearance under section five. we have opposed 11. 1800 requests be opposed 1111. among those, florida has been trying to do under section five covered counties, one of those changes which the federal judges are descended is inappropriate. section five was reauthorized by a near unanimous congress and a president bush. findings made by the congress of the need for section five continues to reappraise into 2031. it is the position of this department of justice and the attorney general that we will vigorously defend them vigorously use section five indeed it is still there. >> thank you. the first bill this president signed with the lily that
interact, prohibiting dealing with discrimination and unemployment. one of the things talking about discrimination unemployment. in 1965 president johnson signed an order for all employment with federal contracts. i understand this administration still allows discrimination in federal contracts based on religion of his so-called faith based group. my question is, do they need permission or certification to qualify for the right to discriminate, or do they just get the right to discriminate based on the fact of ir faith federal money? >> welcome if they are committed to ensuring we partner with faith east organizations in a way consistent with our laws and values in the department will continue to evaluate legal questions with respect to these programs and try to ensure we make sure bh foley comply with
applicable laws. >> designing they can discriminate? >> the chairman's time has expired. >> if he would answer the question. >> we try to do this -- look at these policies and make sure they do act in a way that's consistent with law. >> thank you, mr. scott. the chairman from california, mr. lundgren is recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. general. mr. attorney general, just follow up on what mr. goodlatte had to say with respect to the stephen's case. i realize you reassign people after that. i realize that this investigatioand indictment at came before y were attornenal that is no the point. the point is if you have no real consequences now y'lha o real chances in the future. that was conduct stated that the judge toe outrageous.
he held a hearing as to whether you try to be called. he did come forward to a motion to dismiss recognizing the problems internally. the investigations showed widespread misconduct among the whole team. and yet, iam unaware of anybody that was fired and senator stevens lost his election. but more importantly, he left his reputation. and i happen to think that in absence of serious action taken against employees of either the department of justice presbytery though court for the fbi, the kind with the message is not serious he received. so just like to state that for
the record. >> mr. attorney general, if i were lucky enough to be invited to see you at the justice department, would not have to show a government issued photo i.d. to get into cu? >> unite. >> if i were to go to the federal courthouse here in d.c., either as a party or as an attorney, wouldn't i have to show a government issued photo i.d.? >> that is not in my experience. >> some federal courts are you aware that is required? >> i don't know. >> are you aware that i have to come here from california to exercise my constitutional right of travel as an ordinary citizen for redress of grievances, i have to show a government issued i.d., and do i not? >> that one, yes. to get in a plane you have to
have one. >> that is the constitutional right of travel among the states, correct? >> s. the right to travel is of constitutional demand and. >> so, is your justice department investigating the discriminatory effect of those laws with respect to someone's constitutional right to travel or constitutional right to busy you? i mean, the constitution does not petition the government for redress of grievances only goes to some people are dying in canada for a complaint to the justice department, want to come to the justice department, are you inhibiting me come affecting my constitutional right by requiring me to show a government issued photo i.d.? >> let's get to the bottom line here. >> now, my question. >> i'll give you an answer.
the answer is with regard to the limited things you have discussed, it might not have an impact on your constitutional right, but some of the laws we have challenge to have an impact on a persons ability to to exercise the most fundamental and that is the way to go. >> fundamental right to petition the government to redress the grievances. don't you think that is as important as quote, unquote, the right to vote? >> i agree with is that johnson was what he said after the 65 voting rights act passed. voting is most importantly would have as american citizens. it is what establishes the country makes it exceptional. >> i also think it is important we have the opportunity to petition the government to redress the grievances. that is as fundamental. >> i can change the government. >> you can see me in court. you can threaten to sue me a quarter.
and as a proud individual american citizen, i suppose i have a right to at least talk to you about whether you remain before the code under the majesty of the government against me. i would think that is as important a right. >> i certainly have the ability to talk to you. if i disagree with you at the end of the day. >> i can't even talk to unless they show a government issued photo i.d. is my point. >> that's not true. if you were to show that the justice department, someone could vouch for you and we could have a very short conversation. >> i haven't tried that with tsa. that is what very well in terms of being able to fly here. >> there are terrorists. we're trying to -- re a>> the people whocheat about voting when they don't have a right to vote. >> we do not see that to the proportion people have said an attempt to try to justify these
photo i.d. laws. all of the empirical and natural evidence shows with the question of vote fraud do not exist to the extent people say does exist. >> supreme court was wrong than 2007 states have a legitimate interest in voter ids even absent evidence of widespread fraud in order to inspire confidence in the electoral system? you disagree the koran not? >> you know it's interesting that her? >> into the questionable move on. >> the supreme court -- the crawford case is fundamentally different in that which were talking about now. that is not a section five case. i would just, with all due respect, the attorney general the kc talked about the crawford decision, indiana decision. he says that the court acknowledge the undeniable fact that voter i.d. that can produce
some citizens right to vote important for states to administer such thoughts in a way that minimizes the possibility. he then says we will not administer the voting rights act if they are used improperly to deny the right to vote. that is michael mackenzie talking that the indiana crawford decision. not eric holder, michael duchesne c. >> k you stolen grain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me start by expressing my disappointment to some of my colleagues are spending so much time advancing the notion that we should be disqualifying people from exercising the most basic right that they have in our democracy, the right to vote and that the judiciary committee in which the arguments are being
advanced is disappointing to me. startac, i want to applaud the justice department for us to mark the third doing in my congressional district in particular, said there has other cases fighting drug trafficking, protecting against child predators. a bunch of money we spent on the cops program in the most vigorous supporters that the cops program of the most conservative sharers in my congressional district because they've been able to access the name to beef up their law enforcement capacity. so i won't go back to the voting rights part of this because i think i'll get too emotional about that. let me do it the thing that's
under my subcommittee's jurisdiction, the one that i'm the ranking run. and that is we have made some efforts to try to do some in about piracy. we were not successful legislatively, but the problem has not gone away. recent article in the "usa today" notes the proliferation of dangerous counterfeit products that pose safety concerns for the american public. many of these products include pharmaceuticals online in january this year. the department of justice indictment against a website that is charged with illegally infringing copyright of american businesses. and now i know that with
anonymous unleashed in the aftermath of indictments against mega upload against cybersecurity on the other hand. the real threat in this area both on the piracy side of this issue and on the cybersecurity and their connections just a little bit so i have some background that elise informs the american people have serious the problem is. >> i mean, piracy issues have a number of dimensions to it. it is an economic issue. it is a jobs issue. when the theft of our intellectual property are enacted to produce things are still on the other organizations or other countries has a direct act on our economy. there is also a safety very.
health items, medicines that are produced in a way inconsistent sold in other countries can put people at risk. the whole question of various buyers if it can be used in airplanes, other things not done in a way consistent with which our intellectual property stands have a negative impact in that way. so the piracy question is one that has economic consequences if a safety consequences. they hold cyberissues. again, these are national security issues. the ability of foreign countries or organizations to have an impact on our infrastructure, to use cybertools to ferret out secret information from the united states, all about our nation at risk is worthy of the
attention of this committee, this congress and the executive branch may hope would be able to work together to come up with a way to craft tools to do with what is a 20th century problem. >> i thank you at the risk of not going over time like some of my colleagues have, i'll just stop there because any other question i could ask would be well over into the next person's time. so i go back, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. watt. mr. issa is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. attorney general, december 14, 2010, brian terry was gunned down and we begin knowing more about fast and furious surely thereafter. do you have said people representing you have said repeatedly he didn't know about it before that. i say to a of letters. senator grassley sent you a number of letters. he mentioned in your opening statement the speaker's letter.
the speaker did not limit the scope of the subpoenas you're under an obligation to respond to. he simply asks you for a response to two key areas. he did not revoke any subpoenas. however, you imply that we were working together, when in fact since may 18, nothing -- nothing has come from your department, not one shred of paper. i want to ask you first of all today, have you and your attorney is produced internally the materials response is to the subpoenas? >> we believe that we have funded -- >> now, mr. attorney general, you are not a good witness. a good witness answers the question asked. have you and your attorneys produced internally the materials responsible. in other words, the taken the time to look up her subpoena and find out what material you have response to or he simply
seconds i yield back, but we're going to apply our will on one side of the aisle, then we ought to apply the rule consistently. >> the gentleman from california has the time and the attorney general will be allowed to answer the question. >> isn't it true, mr. attorney general, that you have not produced a longer materials withheld even though our investigators have asked for it? >> i know that, i'm not sure about that. -- >> okay, i'm sure he didn't so let's move on. march 15, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down. april 19, 2010, before brian terry was done down. may 7, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down. may 17, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down. june 2, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down. july 2, the real date of our independence, 2010, obviously earlier. before brian terry was gunned down.
these wiretap applications, which we did not subpoena but was given to us by a furious group of whistleblowers that are tired of your stonewalling, indicate that a number of key individuals in your administration, in fact were responsible for information contained in here that clearly shows that the tactics of fast and furious were known. they were known and are contained in these wiretaps. i understand that you've read these wiretap since we brought in to your attention, is that correct? >> i have britain and i disagree with the conclusion you just reached. >> to let me go to a very simple line of questioning, if i may, mr. attorney general. james cole, deputy attorney general, has written that the department has a greater obligation than just checking the legal sufficiency in approving wiretap applications. he thinks that applications also have to comply with the energy policy, is that correct? >> applications have to agree with dj policy?
>> that's what he said. >> sure. >> okay. during a transcribed interview, deputy assistant attorney general jason weinstein testified that senior officials approving the wiretap applications do not read the wiretap applications. is this practice acceptable to you? >> they read summaries of the applications. that is a process that has been used by this administration and by all previous administration. it is the way in which the office of enforcement -- >> are you aware that federal judges to your knowledge -- >> cannot answer my question? the question you asked. >> no. you give a sufficient answer considering the amount of questions that i have any amount of time that i had. are you okay with that practice? you've already answer that. would you agree that senior officials responsible for documents based on, i would assume the answer is yes. so now let me ask you to question. jason weinstein, easy responsible for what is in these wiretaps? >> is he responsible -- >> he's the responsible officer
understand you'd. if he responsible for them even if he only read a summary? >> he did not create those affidavits. he did not create that material. he would've been a person as a deputy assistant attorney general who would review those -- >> so when congress that rightly statute that requires certain individuals be responsible, such as jason weinstein, lanny breuer and your self -- >> regular order, mr. chairman. regular order, mr. chairman,. >> i'm in the middle of the question. >> the attorney general will be allowed to answer this question. >> he had asked a question. >> i'm halfway through it if you quit interrupting. if, in fact, the statute says they're responsible and if, in fact, they're not read, then in fact how our american people to understand who is responsible for what is contained in these documents -- [talking over each other] >> because anyone of ordinary reading, including the atf director, former director nelson, anyone reading these according to him, would have to be said to the stomach because they would be immediately aware of -- >> regular order, mr. chairman.
does he have a question, mr. chairman? >> who is responsible, mr. attorney general? >> you've really conflated a bunch of things you took the responsibility -- >> you have delivered so little. >> will he be allowed to answer the question of? >> the attorney general would be allowed to answer the question but i'd appreciate no more interruptions so the ag can answer the question. >> the responsibly about which you speak is, in fact, responsibility of a deputy assistant attorney general looking at the summaries to make sure that there is a basis to go into court and to ask that court to grant the wiretap based on the determination that a responsible official makes that probable cause existed to believe that it why facility has been used in the commission of a crime. they do not look at the affidavits to see if, in fact, -- to review all that is engaged, all that is involved in the operation. i have read those now. i have read those. i have read those. i have read them from wide receiver as well. and i can say that what's
happened in connection with fast and furious was done in the same way as wiretap applications were done under the previous administration in wide receiver. i've look at the summaries, and the acted in a way that's consistent with the practice and the responsibility as they have as defined by the statute. >> thank you. the gentleman from california is recognized. >> mr. chairman, before -- >> does the ranking member which to speak at afford of? >> if i may, please. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i think the previous questioning was the first note of hostility and interruption of the witness that i think has been uncharacteristic of what we've been doing here so far today. and i'd like to ask the chair to admonish all the witnesses from here on out to please try to -- all the members from here on out to please allow the witness to finish his question -- his
answers. >> would the gentleman yield? >> of course. >> you know, i appreciate that there was hostility between attorney general and myself. >> i would hope -- >> just for the record -- is a hostility on my part. >> boasted it was produced by the fact that i had a great many questions and a relatively lucrative time in which to get answers, and that for a year and a half my committee, through the bean and interrogatories, has been attended to get answers, for which this witness has basically said he asserts a privilege without -- >> parliamentary order, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman from michigan has the time. >> parliamentary order. >> i would like to yield to the attorney general at this point, please. >> well, with all due respect to chairman issa, he says there's hostility between us. i don't feel that. i understand he's asking questions on tried respond as best i can. i'm not feeling hostile at all.
i'm pretty calm, i'm okay, you know? >> lineage or the gentleman from michigan the attorney general will be allowed to answer first -- would be allowed to answer questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and mr. attorney general, thank you for being here with us. when you were at last before us in the summer, i asked you about a case involving the seizure of a domain name called the jazzone.com for alleged copyright infringement. in the summer you said you are unfamiliar with the case, but that you would certainly look into it and get back to me. since that hearing, not only have i not heard from you but new details have surfaced and, therefore, i would like to revisit the issue. to refresh everyone's memory, the jazz one is a blog. it's a blog dedicated to discussion of hip-hop music. and in november of 2010, the
domain name of the site was seized as part of ice operation in our site. and on an application i prosecutors in your department. after the government sees the domain name, the owners filed a request for the government to return it to them air canada the law the government had 90 days to initiate a full forfeiture proceeding against the domain or else return the property. however, in this case that deadline passed with no action. when the website's lawyer inquired with the department lawyers, he was told the government had filed an extension but under seal. the website was given no notice and they were never given an opportunity to appear in court and to respond to i've talked to the representative of the website, and he assures me that he paid diligent efforts to try to actually appear and make it? we asked for proof that the
extension existed, your department lawyers said they would have to trust them. this happened two more times. find in the summer of last year, more than a year after the original seizure, the government decided that it did not, in fact, have probable cause to support the seizure, and return the domain. now, we now have an sealed court records, and we know that i and your department were actually waiting for the recording industry association of america, which made an initial allegation of infringement to provide detailed, apparently prove. and i reviewed the affidavit, which i would ask unanimous consent to put into the record, that in september of 2011, 10 months after the seizure, the i.c.e. agent was still waiting for information from our i i ate to get probable cause. now here's the concern i have. blogs are entitled to first
amendment protection. and i think it's the law that you have to have probable cause before you seize things but you can't seize things, have secret proceedings in federal court, and then a year later come up with probable cause. so, here's my question for you. it looks to me, and i say another issue as to website. this isn't like a car that is stolen, that will disappear or a bag of cocaine. it's a website. said the evidence can be completely preserved even without seizures ask i think the issue of seizure does need to be visited with us. but i want to know what the department's posture is, if an ice age and is behaving recklessly in an investigation, as it seems to be in this case but don't be prosecuted under department have an obligation to reject faulty affidavit?
do you think the ex parte process that was included here is proper and consistent with the first instance -- first amendment to seize a domain name that has first amendment protection for a year without any opportunity for the owner to be heard? >> as with all the domains that are seized, i believe the seizure that you reference conducted pursuant to a lawful court order, and the procedures that the department falls in that case, including the ex parte procedures you mentioned were consistent with the statutes that authorize the seizure and forfeiture, and ultimately with the due process protections to those statutes. >> so you're suggesting that the representation which turned out to be false under the initial affidavits which i again would ask to be made a part of the record were, those false affidavits were sufficient to
have ex parte communications sealed and secret proceedings in the federal court to suppress for over a year speak was clearly is material was submitted that was false and underlying affidavit -- >> or at least misleading, right? >> that would not be an appropriate basis for action on behalf of the government. the seizure and forfeiture of property is a really powerful tool that the government has. it has to be used judiciously. to the extent there are problems along the lines that you have described, that would be a great concern. though we would not, we should not need in court trying to do the things i've described here, domain names seizures. if the underlying material is not consistent with the facts. that's something we shouldn't -- >> as i say, last december you're going to get back to me and i know you have many things to do, but i would appreciate, i will ask again, if i could get a report on this specific case.
and certainly, as my colleague, mr. watt, as mentioned, there are important issues that need to go on. i do not disagree with that, but we also have to be very careful about first amendment and the fifth amendment. i hope you do not -- >> thank you. with that cash to without objection, the document the gentlelady referred to would be made available. >> mr. chairman, i have a parliamentary inquiry police. >> state your inquiry. >> i appreciated the the gentleman from california in a statement about his own subpoena mentioned today that he did not request wiretaps under seal. and in mr. ice is contempt citation, the wiretap application documents extensive audit of criminal division -- >> with the gentlewoman stater parliamentary inquiry? >> yes, i will. my question is did anyone review with the justice department before this hearing whether this information will harm the department ability to bring
justice -- [talking over each other] that is not a parliamentary inquiry. >> mr. ice, if not how do we know the information during this hearing is asked is consistent -- >> ms. jackson, will have to deduct is from your time if you continue. that is not a parliamentary inquiry. >> i hope we have reviewed the -- >> the gentleman from virginia, mr. forbes, is recognized. >> general, thank you for being here today. i think despite all the rhetoric we know that this committee is not asking you to break the law regarding what you say your information you provide to congress. it's just as you know, it doesn't matter if you appear in congress seven times or 70 times if when you are as you say i don't know to the questions that are most pertinent, or it doesn't matter if you supply 7000 pages or documents, or 700,000 pages if they are not the proper papers to answer key questions. so i want to begin where you begin, and that was the standard that you said you had any
department, which is that every action is guided by law and facts and nothing else. i think i stated that correctly, is that there? >> certainly when we're at our best that's what happens. >> we know that every cabinet secretary doesn't adhere to that standard to confront, we have any paper today the fact that several cabinet members were required to come to a meeting at the democratic national committee headquarters, the campaign manager, the top strategist for the campaign, the executive director of the democratic national committee was there telling them the actions that they should take, and for items to hold, to the president win reelection regarding the campaign structure, imports of the electoral college, and the importance of staying on message. the question i want to ask you this morning is, i know that your family with david axelrod who was obama's top campaign
strategy, into the best of your knowledge, as mr. axelrod or anybody on his behalf, or anybody on behalf of the campaign, had any discussions with you or members of the justice department regarding action that you should or should not take, messaging that you should or should not make, or hiring decisions that you should or should not support? >> absolutely not. i mean, one of the things that i like a great deal about my interaction with people in the white house is that i think they take their lead from the president, that they have respected what i would almost call a wall that has to exist between the justice department and the political operation that goes on in the white house. i that had any kind of that interaction. >> so that in some publications out and we never know what these publications are accurate or not, but at least in one book that claims that you and mr. axelrod had some type of confrontation when he was trying to get you to hire somebody come and you're saying that not accurate or you've never any kind of meetings with him
regarding any hiring decisions at the department of justice? >> no, we not a hiring decision. we talked about ways in which we might improve the ability of the justice department to respond to political attacks that were coming my way. david axelrod and i are good friends. he is a close friend of my. we have a great relationship it he's a person i respect a great deal. we worked together on the campaign while he was at the white house. that he's never been anything that i would consider inappropriate. >> but, but then what you are saying is you have had contact with mr. axelrod, campaign strategist, about how you should handle different attacks coming to you as attorney general, correct? >> i think, there's a political dimension to the job i have asked attorney general. the reality is i don't sit up and ivory tower and just to law enforcement. i and the subject of attack. i'm a person who is seen by some is pretty controversial, and there are times, at least there was a that time, when i was
looking for some help in that regard. >> so you have had those discussions. did he ever try to encourage you to hire or put any particular person at the department of justice? >> no. >> with fast and furious, and a lot of discussion about it, and we know that's a big item, not just for us but ambassador to mexico has said that that operation which took place under your watch has poisoned the mexican people, and really put a strain on strides we made in two successive administrations in the united states. he's been concerned that the investigation hasn't been completed. have you ever had any consultation with the white house or anyone with the campaign, or with mr. axelrod about messaging related to fast and furious? >> about messaging with regard to -- >> comments that were made, how you're going to message it, any of that? >> we have certainly talked about the way in which we can deal with the interaction between the justice department
and congress about ways in which we would -- >> but nothing about press messaging at all? >> well, i mean in terms of trying to get a message out that was consistent with the facts and make sure that it was done in an appropriate way, i've had conversations like that with people in the white house counsel. >> just two other quick questions. i know that you file actions against arizona, succulent, utah and alabama, all republican government. my time is a. would you give us a list of any similar actions, a similar profile you filed against any democratic governor, states with democratic governors? and also the final thing is, if you will let us know if you had any relationship or meetings with the white house members of the campaign of any of the messaging, or any of these actions that took place on the. and mr. chairman, my time has expired, and -- >> one thing with regard to questions of the governor. i'm not sure that there have been a photo id attempt made by
a state run by democratic governor. >> no know that i wasn't asking about photo ids but if you look at these states they were regarding i think immigration policies, but any actions that you've taken against a democratic governor of a similar high profile. >> i think with regard to the immigration laws as i understand, i will check but i don't think there has been a similar immigration attempt made by states run by democratic governors which will be the reason why we have not oppose the. but i will check and share the information. >> and also, mr. attorney general, if you check and make sure you let us know contact you with mr. axelrod regarding any messaging or anything that might come regarding those actions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. forbes. ms. jackson lee is recognized. >> i recognized. >> i think the chairman. i thank the ricky number, and i certainly thank the attorney general or his service. -itis want to add what i don't think very quickly was in the introduction of the original fmi
series of question, mr. attorney general with the industry will be bullet like, not torture but questioning soy cases of of questions in. i did note that you are a depu attorney general under the bush administration. you continue to serve i think through the time that you were appointed under president obama, is that correct? did you remain during the time? >> a little known fact that i was george bush's first attorney general. >> i think i should be made clear for the record. because you've had a continuous public service commitment picture in the private sector for a moment, but between judgeship and the superior court, that i understand you were appointed by president ronald reagan at that time, is that correct, mr. attorney general? >> that's correct. >> let me thank you again for your service and ask a series of question. i will be giving to you today june 7 a letter to ask with the investigation of the state of texas for its purging of 1.5 million voters, and i in courage and hope that there will be a speedy review inasmuch as
that we're in a process at election, and november 2012 election. i do want to just ask the question on this issue of voting, and my good friend from california wanted to establish certain rights, egress, interest, the protection of axis and the first amendment. and i want to just focus, if you wanted to petition your government and use no government id, most could either take their vehicle, hitch a ride, but they would not be totally prohibited from exercising that constitutional right. and you made a point about fundamental right, but if you're denied the right to vote, there is no alternative, is there not, there is no other way, maybe could get a bullhorn in the middle of the street but there's no way you could impact the choice of those who will govern but could you just be very quick on the answer, please? >> i think that's right. if you want to directly impact governmental policy, setting those policies, that a strictly
tied to the ability to vote, to cast a ballot. >> do you believe it is a legitimate duty, action, of the division on civil rights of the department of justice, operating under existing current law to assess issues of purging or the impact of the voter id law? >> absolutely. we apply the law that was passed by this congress. we reauthorize it as recently six years ago. >> are you going outside the bounds of the law when you in essence review florida or texas, or ohio or indiana, are you outside the boundaries as -- >> all we're doing is applying the law as exist and has existed for over 40 years. >> with respect to the affordable care decision which is pending but just want a simple question, do you feel there was an adequate review of the decision ultimately rests with the supreme court which i think has done a decent and fair job on recusals with respect to
justice kagan. could you have been anything more than what was are probably done by the justice department? >> with regard to the recusal issue? i don't think we should have done anymore -- the question of reviews i think is best brought up by the litigants in case. they had that opportunity i don't know if they raise it or not but i think the justice department has done all it can. >> i appreciate. we are certainly saddened by the loss of life that was resulted by the fast and furious. i think you've said that often. are you aware of the report produced by ranking member in elijah cummings? >> yes. >> and were you unaware that, do you believe that under this report that his staff and the ranking are coming on the oversight committee extensively reviewed either a 7600, or at least the world of information that was given? >> i think they did a good job reviewing the information. they produce a good report that contain a number of reforms that
we have tried to implant. >> quickly, the statement says that they found no politically motivated operation that fast and furious was not conceived and directed by high level obama administration political appointees at the department of justice. would you concede that they would have the basis to say that? >> i think if one looks at the documents, that statement is manifestly true. >> can ask as well to investigate, and are you concerned or have you seen the impact of single race based juries in a number of cases. this has been issued in a number of areas, particularly in the south come in cases that are particularly sensitive. i'm going to ask you to investigate the chad hall the case which is a beating incident that occurred in houston, texas, and a series of trials that are coming forward, but in particular one case was tried by a single race jury, and, of course, resulted in acquittal. would you please take this as an official request for the justice
department to investigate the leading and the resulting trial that was a single race jury, in the case of chad holley? >> i mean, the supreme court has recognized that the selection process that delivered passionate delivery attempt upgrading after a facing race under that case is not appropriate. i am familiar with the holley case, not intimately but i live with that case and that is somewhere in the process of determining what course of action we should take. >> a number of members today's have made requests from your of information. when can they expect those requests be responded to? two weeks or so? >> we will do the best that we can as quickly as we can. i'm a little surprised that we have not responded at least to some of the things that have been raised in connection with the last about you but will try to do a better job. >> i thank the chairman. and two, mr. attorney general. >> the gentleman from iowa, mr. king is recognized.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. a.q., attorney general for being here today to test away. just picking up on the chairman's remarks. i point out that a series of questions that asked december 8. although we haven't press releases for those responsive, i haven't seen them. and so i'm going to be submitting a new request from december 8, and then additionally here for today. but i think first of all come there's one piece left on the fast and furious, i would just ask you about. can you tell me, when you first started to doubt the original letter was an accurate? can determine what these of information caused you to do that? >> i mean, i think my first doubt happened just before, just about the same time that asked the inspector general to conduct the report. as i listened to media reports and things i was getting from senator grassley, that's what i think my doubts first begin, about the accuracy of if ever fourth letter. >> was very piece of information
in particular in those media reports that cause you to doubt, or just the information itself? >> i'm not sure i can remove anything specific but i do remember the reports were inconsistent with what i was hearing from people within department and also consistent with what senator grassley telling me in a letter. spent okay. i've got it, february 4 letter denying atf ever walked against the that was from 2011. i don't have the date of senator grassley's letter but that letter was formally withdrawn. ..
that is to cap that for all the settlements that are there are and now i see that not only is it not capped at 100 million but it's been expanded to 101.25 william and if we have three other cases out here since at period of time garcia versus vilsack, love versus vilsack and when i told of them up is 1.33 billion this order garcia 760,000,001 during -- 1.33 billion love 1.25 billion pickford for a total of all together $4.93 billion poised to either having been distributor or to be distributed under these discriminations. a lot of that, 3.85 billion coming out at the judgment fund
and can you tell me how much is in the judgment fund and i'm going to ask you to produce a report of the funds that come in and the funds distributed out of the judgment fund. i think the congress meets in oversight if we are dealing numbers approaching five william dollars. >> what the i can say is that the settlements that were -- we set pools of money that can be tapped if people can prove that they were discriminated against. there are certainly a history of discrimination and i think everybody acknowledged and the department of agriculture and dealing with farmers providing ethnicities and genders and the attempt at stretching the settlements was to deal with, to address those wrongs. the $5 billion the 4.93 billion, that is a big chunk of money to be distributed without congressional oversight and given resistance to congress taking a look at that data, the
contingency fees in the distribution amounts and the sources of that money and the amounts. >> that is legitimate oversight to talk about the way the cases were handled. >> then i will follow up with a more specific question but i also wanted to ask you about your reaction when he saw you saw the video of the young man who claimed your ballot some months ago and your reaction towards a requirement for photo i.d. after you saw that video. >> i mean, it's an attempt to show something i suppose but what i got from that video was that guy was very careful not to say he was -- he didn't do the kinds of things that would have suggested him to criminal -- >> and i'm not worried about that but he could have a tamed your ballot with ease. it was offered to him and so i would suggest this. it may not be impossible but i think it's been determined here today in the questioning of mr. lungren fat visiting a federal building, even your
building, is maybe not impossible but difficult without a picture i.d. and if it's difficult or impossible to visit a government building without a photo idea then how can we allow someone to help choose our government without a photo i.d.. >> i think the question is if you look at south carolina, they have had in place measures that protect the integrity of the ballot before they went to the photo i.d. and i don't say photo ids are necessarily bad. the question is how the structure is put in place, how they are distributed and whether you have disproportionate impact the people of a certain race or ethnicity. >> why would it. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> the gentleman -- gentlelady from california ms. waters. >> i would like to welcome you attorney general. i have a number of questions i want to ask you but my tent attention has been diverted from the line of questioning from
mr. goodlatte. it is well-known that you dismissed the charges that were placed against senator stevens following your investigation that indicated that certain exculpatory evidence had been withheld. now, was that one thing or were there several things that were done that you disagreed with that cost you to do this? >> be the thing would was the main motivator for my decision was i felt this solid evidence we had uncovered the braiding material. the exculpatory material had not been shared with defense and that was the main motivation for my deciding to dismiss the case. >> and it seems that, i think his name is pronounced subthree subthree -- agreed with you basically but
the punishment now does not seem to match the crime. prosecutorial misconduct and a lot of people are wondering how does the office of professional runs the -- responsibility literally dispute the seriousness of the withholding of the exculpatory evidence? how do you account for that? i wouldn't agree that they don't take it seriously. mr. schuelke who i know and respect is a good lawyer came up with a report and said he thought the material was held intentionally. the opr report says the information was withheld and done recklessly and not intentionally and it was on that basis the recommendation was made as to what the appropriate sanction was. mr. schuelke never made a recommendation and there was not an order that he could actually
point to so that he could tap or something like that so that is the difference between the schuelke report and the opr report come, the state of mind of the person who is engaged in the people who didn't turn over the information. >> in your opinion do you believe that the recommendations for punishment by the office of professional responsibility, are those recommendations basically in line with the unintentional withholding or perhaps it could have been stronger? what do you think? >> well i think it's appropriate for the attorney general not to come in on the determinations because it is something that is not my responsibility. we put that in the hands of the career people. we have a great opr, great office of up for additional responsibility outside of opr to look at these findings of opr and make a determination as to what is appropriate sanction should he and the people who are
political in nature are really insulated from that process. >> i suppose what we can conclude is that you dismissed, you felt that the withholding of information was serious enough to dismiss and that, and i asked i think earlier, was there leaking of information? was their sharing of information with others that should not have been shared with an addition to the withholding of information? >> no, as i remember at the concern i had was with the non-providing of information that the defense was entitled to. that was the concern that i had. >> and so clearly, you address that concern but again after having addressed it, the office of professional responsibility had the responsibility to determine what the punishment
should need and you had no hand in that, is that right? >> that's correct. >> i just wanted to get on the record that the withholding of the evidence was a serious matter and that you made a decision based on that. >> i would agree with you. whether you agree with mr. schuelke or opr weather was intentional, reckless, negligent it was serious and necessitated the dismissal of the case which is what i did. >> thank you very much and i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from virginia mr. scott having a unanimous consent request. >> i would like to enter into the record letters from the national organization for black law enforcement executive city of philadelphia police department and association of prosecuting attorneys on behalf of the attorney general's and also a copy -- we were questioning what has been asked
for offered by the government and a wiretap application in the criminal division of "fast and furious." if the department of justice fails to produce them in response to the committee so do we know exactly what that is? >> that will be made a part of their record and the gentleman from arizona mr. franks is recognized for a question. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you general. mr. holder on april 27, 2011, members of this committee asked you to give us information surrounding the decision by justice to forgo prosecution of the co-conspirators in the holy land foundation case. this is the largest terrorism finance case of course in u.s. history. he refused to comply with his request and you have still not produced, or you are still not prosecuting despite there being what many consider to be a mountain of evidence against these jihadist groups at least one of which now says working
because it offends some people and it has been purged and this strikes the committee as the sacrificing of vital national security and the muzzling of our security apparatus. on the altar of political correctness and this concern i think the general seems warranted given that the bipartisan senate report on the fort hood massacres to quote them, the worst terrorist attack on u.s. soil since 9/11 down that quote political correct is inhibited officials from taking actions that could have stopped the attack. members of multiple committees are now investigating. has anyone inside your agency chordate with any other agencies to carry out this review of counterterrorism training material. >> let me say first off that decisions that were made ivf ei with regard to what use would be made of certain materials is not based on political correctness or whether or not something
is -- the search wars for materials that were simply incorrect but stated had particular things that were simply wrong and didn't think that was appropriate to be included in the training material. bob mueller has taken this very seriously but i can tell you, he is not making determinations on the basis of what is politically correct. that is not the driver of this attempt to make sure our training materials are accurate. >> so is anyone inside your agency coordinating this effort such as that is, whatever it might be with dod or dhs with the state department? >> i'm not sure we necessarily have to. we have this interact with our partners in all the time in a variety of ways. the deputy attorney general issues the guiding materials to all the og component heads and u.s. maturities to make sure the training material is accurate. we interact with our partners all the time and it is on that basis among other things that we
have an ability to decide what its aerials are accurate. >> well, one of two things. your position is that no one in your agency has spoken with or met with other agencies or the white house in carrying out this purge of vital counterterrorism materials or for they have and if they have who directed it to these agencies in general to purchase these materials and what outside group advised the department on these issues? >> this is an internal process being done by members of the of the eye and and i and members of the justice department. >> can you tell us what outside groups are devising on this process? >> this is something that is being run primarily out of the fbi and to the extent there are outside involvement we are trying to interact with we will try to get you those names. >> i will leave it right there. if you're respectfully and officially ask you to give us a list of who the outside groups are that are working with you on
this process because one of them is the just hottest group and it says they are working with you on it. >> i don't believe that is accurate but i will relay the request to ncr. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> the gentleman from illinois mr. quickly is recognized for a question. >> thank you mr. chairman. it is very hard to minimize and diminish tragedy such as "fast and furious," horribly ill-conceived program with loss of life and endangered others. and as you agree there must be a continued thorough independent investigation and justice must be done. corrections must be made and i believe have been made that was the greatest respect i would say today that i believe the effort here has become politically motivated in an attempt to embarrass the administration and that diminishes the process. the operative phrase that comes to mind since bad witness has
been used is pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. mr. attorney general, welcome to oz. pay no attention to the fact that the process began under a previous administration. pay no attention that the agents lacked sufficient resources. pay no attention that the head of the adf has not been allowed to be appointed. pay no attention that the laws were inadequate to protect agents and citizens on both sides of the border, and even more specifically, in arizona may have purchase an unlimited number of ak-47s and transfer them within private sales. that data special agent either the phoenix field division testified at a previous hearing that as it relates to straw purchasers and punishment, he used the expression quote some people view this as more -- no
more consequential than doing 65 in a 55. and as it relates to the gun show loophole, we recognize the fact that others would ask you to pay no attention. you can buy any type of gun you want without any background check. you can be adjudicated as dangerously mentally ill. you could be a felon. you could be under third order protection. you could be on a terrorist watch list and you can buy what you want. in terms of resources "the washington post" said in 2010 the atf has the same number of agents they had in 1970 while the fbi has grown by 50% and dea by 233%. i'm glad those agencies got the growth they need because they make us safer but atf does as well. and finally pay no attention to the fact that special agent peter for seley of the atf said i am less than 100 agents assigned to the entire state of arizona. that's 114,000 square miles.
do we have the resources? know no we don't end of quote. we desperately need them. so mr. attorney general, life is unfortunately even after tragedies -- and i ask you in a perfect world what are the situations in resources that you and other agencies have to combat the threats that are still going on and the fact that people are still dying from gun violence on the border area speak it is an issue that we have to confront. studies have shown that of the 94,000 guns that were seen in -- ceased in mexico, 64,000 can be traced back to the united states. there are a number of steps the congress can take to help us in connection with this fight. we need a comprehensive firearms trafficking statute. we need tougher sentences for straw purchasers so you don't
have that 65/55-mile an hour -- we need to give atf the resources it needs and fiscal year 11 congress cut our request for 14 private gun owner teams in half. it decreases our capacity to do these kinds of things and i think congress should not attempt to block the long been reporting requirements that have been upheld by a federal court and would require somebody buying multiple ak-47s over a five-day period. when you have that information shared via the atf is a valuable intelligence tool and has helped us and while it has been in place only four border states deal with the situations that you have described. >> and if i might switch gears briefly, i come from illinois and come from chicago and it's important to recognize the gentleman stepping down from, the attorney general's position in chicago and led an extraordinary legacy. i want to commend his efforts
and i continue the opportunity to do the same. >> i have known him since he was a line lawyer in the southern district of new york and inconsequential and important terrorism cases. i admired his work than. he has been an outstanding u.s. attorney through two administrations. he is a true patriarch and has been a great u.s. attorney. he is focused on public corruption matters as well as national security matters. a model u.s. attorney and someone who'll be solely identified by the justice department. >> thank you mr. quickly. the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson-lee is recognized. >> unanimous consent to enter into the record a report of the oversight reform dealing with "fast and furious" and i ask unanimous consent a statement on
the draft citation of the oversight committee, a letter regarding the purging of voters and a letter regarding race-based jury's. i ask unanimous consent i ask unanimous consent two submitted into the record. >> reserving the right to object. >> the chairman reserves the right to object. >> i have no objection to the latter material but in the case of the former material, i would ask unanimous consent that if we are going to enter one side of any document to another committee if you wanted into the record that corresponding documents be allowed to be prepared for a complete report. >> and i have no objection. >> the documents referred to by the gentleman from california will be made part of the record. we will now go to the gentleman from texas for his questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. you know where i'm coming from, attorney general.
i have been a prosecutor. i have been a district judge, handling felonies including death penalty cases and i've been a chief justice of the court of appeals. i have been appointed to defend cases i didn't want to defend, but i did my very best job, and did it well. i have had people come before me, who were friends, that i've sent to prison because that was consistent with justice of what i would done to someone in their situation who was not a friend. i have sentenced the children of friends with a courtroom full of my supporters who were all begging me not to, but i knew if i was going to be consistent in justice, i had to do that. i have send people to prison
because it was the fair and just thing when considering all of the facts, and considering what had them done in the past and then i have gone in my office after sentencing because of the personal anguish of those that i care deeply about. but i knew i did the right thing and history has worn me out. so when i hear an attorney general of the united states come before us and say, somewhat cavalierly, there is a political aspect to this, it offends me beyond belief. your job as justice mr. attorney general, it is justice across the board. that is what has been so troublesome around here. when we made her quest a year ago, here, worth of documents that your department has produced two people who were convicted of supporting terrorism. they are terrorists.
and we wanted the documents you gave to the terrorist. we are here a year later and we still don't have them. why in the world would your department be more considerate of the terrorists fan of the people who were members of congress, who can vote to completely defund your department? it makes no sense. so i. i will ask again, and there is no room for the response of there is an ongoing investigation. will some of these make me classified? i am asking for the documents your department produced to the terrorists supporters convicted in the holy land foundation trial. can we get those documents, just the one that you gave to the terrorist? >> certainly these are things on the public record that we used in the trial. i was also judge.
>> so is that a yes or a a no that we will get those documents. >> as i said i was also a judge and i understand the anguish that you go through. let me clear up one thing with regard to the political aspect of this job. i have to try to advance legislation that i think is appropriate for the department. that is a political job. i push policy initiatives before the department. that is a political component. i fight defunding request that people cavalierly throw around about the budget department. >> you cert, it is not cavalierly when a department has parts of it that are not doing their job and in fact may be giving more aid and comfort to people who are part of an organization who want to bring about and an end to our way of life. that concerns me that perhaps that is an area that should he
funded. when you have been here before and we talked about that "fast and furious" in your asked who actually authorized "fast and furious," you had said, we may not ever know who authorized "fast and furious." are you any closer right now as you sit here, too knowing who authorized "fast and furious" be we are closer given the fact that the inspector general was charged with investigating this matter at my request and my guess would be that we are closer to that and i expect a report will he out relatively soon. >> did you not ever go back to your office and say when you found out about "fast and furious," i demand to know who authorized this somebody can authorize the sales to international criminals of american guns that are bringing about the death of american
agents and nobody does that in writing? >> be the gentleman's time has expired that he can answer the question. >> i asked the inspector general to conduct an investigation and i put an end to the policy that led to the "fast and furious" debacle. i made personnel changes at atf and the u.s. attorney's office. we made changes in the procedures there and that is in stark contrast to what happened to my predecessor attorney general made -- mukasey when he was briefed about the transmission of guns to mexico and as far as i can tell far less than what i did. >> what aspect? >> if you want to look at what i did -- >> my question though mr. chairman was, did you go back and say i demand to know who authorized this "fast and furious" program? that is the question, pretty simple. >> that consisted with me telling the inspector general to
find out what happened so the answer to your question is yes. >> the gentleman from georgia mr. johnson is recognized for five minutes. >> on may 12 the house passed its commerce justice science appropriations bill, and this is part of the ryan budget. it tries its best to eviscerate and neuter the ability of the justice department to protect americans which is supposed to do. you can't operate without money, and the bill in its attempts to neuter the department cuts funding for financial and mortgage fraud enforcement. it or hibbitts funding for enforcing the requirement that
licensed dealers were selling to the same person. it prohibits funding to bring actions against states for their voter identification laws. among other things. the bill -- the bill would for the general administration line on the doj budget request from a b-1 million dollars to $45 million. or excuse me, yes, $29 million less than requested. the doj program for rescissions
and asset forfeiture's has been cut. a number of u.s. attorneys, you'll have 1000 unfilled positions, and you have already lost attorneys. you have already lost 850 staff since the hiring freeze that was instituted in january of 2011 since that went into effect. this bill could result in additional 411 positions lost. the antitrust division is cut $5.2 million could lose up to 70 positions in that unit. you have already lost 77 positions in that unit. that is the unit that keeps consumer prices low, and gets that collusion and bid-rigging
and other activities that cost money to consumers, costs consumers money. the u.s. trustee program, which you administered, which is so important in bankruptcy, which are on the rise has seen a 5% reduction. 50 positions may be suspended. law enforcement wireless communications for the department has been cut. the ability to hire people in foreign language, skilled in foreign languages has been cut. these things hurt the department's ability to be effective. i want to get to that part about
the voter identification laws. you are answering a question that was posed to you by mr. -- from iowa, mr. king. but you were cut off by the bill and were not given a chance to complete your statement on that. kenya completed now, please? >> i will be honest with you, i don't remember what it was. >> it had to do with the south carolina challenge of your department for their voter i.d. laws. >> all i can say is with regard to the south carolina law, we looked at the evidence that was provided to us by south carolina. we did not feel that the evidence about the voter fraud was substantial enough to overcome the disproportionate impact that the changes in their
voting procedures had on minorities, older people, young people and it was on that cases and under section 5 of the voting rights act that we decided to file suit. so that was -- >> so basically you were stating or you had stated that the reason that south carolina gave for making it tougher to go through voter i.d. requirements, the reason that they did that, which is to get at the voter fraud, did not hold any water. in other words, there was insufficient evidence of voter fraud and so they're there must have been some other intention behind their legislation to make it more difficult. would you agree with me on that? >> the national material we got did not have any statistical proof. we got a provision later on that
indicated there were perhaps 900 people that had i think were on voter rolls or something along those lines. vetted and disputed by another south carolina official. it is a matter that is now before the court and will be ultimately decided before the court here in washington. >> as i stated earlier the house commerce justice -- the funding to bring actions against states for their voter identification laws. and i will yield back the balance of my time, but i would like to make a unanimous consent request. >> without objection what document is the gentleman wish to place into the record? >> there are 10 letters addressed to present holder praising his leadership from the fraternal order of the lease from patricia my chin tucson, shooting survivor, letter from the leadership conference to
chairman issa, a letter from commissioner ramsey to chairman issa. letter from the national action network to chairman issa. a letter from the leadership conference to speaker boehner. a letter from the national women's law center to speaker boehner. a letter from the national women's law center to chairman issa, a tried caucus letter from representatives gonzalez, representative cleaver and representative -- >> without objection -- >> last but not least a letter from the national organization of the black law. >> did you get these letters from the attorney general himself without objection all those letters will be made part of the record. the gentleman from texas mr. poe is recognized for question. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for being here attorney general and thank you
for the cooperation of the specific issue of human trafficking and the scourge that happened in the united states. a recent pew study has come out and said that there are approximately 2 million ineligible voters in the united states and of of the 2 million, 1.8 alien are dead people. i would assume you would agree that the voter rolls were verified that the folks on the rolls were dead and they should be purged in some manner. would you agree with that are not? >> absolutely. i think the purging should occur and should be done consistently with federal law. >> your office, how many specific cases have you prosecuted or your office prosecuted on voter fraud since you have been attorney general? >> i don't know what the numbers. i know i have prosecuted them myself. >> just when you have been attorney general? >> i don't know what the number is? >> with a number of the zero?
>> no, think we have had fraud cases and i know they have been settled through please. i'm not sure if we have at trials but i know we have had cases where people have committed offenses where they have made straw donations and other ways in which voter fraud was carried out. i don't know what the numbers are. >> , so that i know the exact number because the information i have been given is it zero so if you would provide me the actual number, i don't need the cases, just the number of cases that your office has prosecuted under section 8 of the law and let them know and let the chairman know the exact number because as i said my information is there are none. >> well i mean our effort to fight voter fraud go beyond just section 8 of the npra. there is a whole range of other statues that we use in those cases. >> understand. i would like to know specifically section 8 prosecutions under your term as
attorney general. >> we can put that in the larger -- >> i am not asking for the other ones. i'm asking for the section 8 prosecutions by your office. >> we will give you that information but as i said if you. >> you can give me more information if you would like but -- speech is so section 8 is included in that. >> the mexican ambassador the united states recently had me comments about "fast and furious" that mexico was unaware of quote mexico was never a apprised of how the operation would be designed and implemented and talked about the fact that "fast and furious" has hurt the relationship between the united states and mexico. i am not surprised that he would say something like this. we have consul he talked as we should about the americans that were killed in "fast and furious," but there were apparently, according to mexican news reports hundreds of mexican
nationals killed because of that. the last time you were here you answered a question you said more people will probably die because a "fast and furious." do you know how many people in mexico have been killed as a result of the united states helping to facilitate straw purchases of automatic weapons going down to mexico? you don't have any? >> i don't know but i would think that there have been some and i know given the 64,000 guns that it gone to -- from the united states to mexico that mexican citizens and mexican law enforcement officers have lost their lives as a result of guns has started in the united states that ended up in mexico. >> how many of the total number of guns in "fast and furious" and we get different numbers. how many guns have been recovered in mexico that were the result of guns involved in the "fast and furious" operation? >> i don't know that
operation -- question. >> do you have any guess about that was the purpose was it not a "fast and furious," to sort of keep up with the firearms when they go to mexico and see if they were used in the crime scene and who the bad guys where wasn't that the failed purpose? >> that was the stated purpose as it was for the previous attempts at dealing with the flow of guns from the united states to mexico none of which were ultimately successful and allowed guns to be inappropriate late put into stream of commerce. >> how many guns have been recovered on "fast and furious"? >> i've heard different numbers on that as well, anywhere from 800 to 1200. i just don't know. i think we start off with a number of 12,000 a probe really put into the stream of commerce and the number that is recovered and i have heard 1800 i don't know. >> what would america's reaction be if the roles were completely reversed, that if our neighbors in mexico or canada, they
smuggled, facilitated the smuggling of automatic weapons into our country, where americans were killed, mexican nationals killed. what would be our reaction to that? the head lawyer in the country. >> probably similar to what the ambassador has said. i do have to say that we maintain a good relationship with mexico that operates on a whole bunch of levels. certainly law enforcement is the one i'm most familiar with. i have a good relation ship with the attorney general and mexico. we talk all the time and we continue to work together on a friday law enforcement projects that have not been deterred by the "fast and furious" episode but i can understand the mexican ambassador ambassadors comments. >> and what are we doing -- i'm sorry mr. chairman. i didn't realize. >> white is in the jump from
texas asked the question that he would like the attorney general to respond to? >> i ask unanimous consent that you let me submit the question in writing. >> i would submit you asked a question you are planning to ask and we will get the response later on. >> i will submit numerous questions to the attorney general and submit them back. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. poe. the gentleman from tennessee mr. cohen you are recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman and i will talk fast even though i'm from the south. mr. attorney general we appreciate you coming forward. in october 2008 the department of justice approved the -- of northwest airlines. the department of justice issued a statement indy may not remember this, quote the proposed merger for the dells and northwest is like you to produce substantial credible if deficiencies that will benefit u.s. consumers and does not like we to substantially lessen competition unquote. unfortunately that forecast has in many peoples minds in memphis in particular, proved to be
grossly inaccurate. many of the promises made by in front of this committee have been broken and anybody in memphis can attest to flying out of this -- is much much higher than it does in flying out of other states and you can fly to cities through memphis at cheaper prices than you can from memphis if you go from another city to memphis through a city it's cheaper and memphis. this has caused the city the loss of conventions, the loss of businesses and use a we left memphis because the price to fly and endowed was too with two was too great so they moved to atlanta. the convention moved to kansas city and another group moved to kansas city. the people in memphis are very upset about this and we have unreasonably high airfares. memphis is not alone. since they lost their hub and service has been cut to minneapolis as well. now that the merger is in place what type of enforcement mechanisms does your department of justice have to ensure
competition or to try to get competition and break up what is a monopoly? >> i think that we have inappropriately aggressive and are enforcement efforts. there are a number of cases that we have brought, everything from e-books to the way in which telecommunications industry has tried to consolidate and in those cases where we have not brought suit we have extracted from the parties who have sought to join promises for concrete investiture is of access so that we would maximize the chance that the consumer would then if it. i think we are focusing on what the impact will be on consumers and i think -- >> in the airline industry have we done anything? the airline industry has gotten to be three major carriers. they divided. divided up the middle cities in the middle cities are hostages. their company towns in the people of the cities have to pay whatever they are charged.
can we do anything about that? >> well i mean there are certain amount of konczal edition that has happened in the industry that i think is necessary for the survival of those companies but for instance if you look at and what usair tried to do in the transaction involving laguardia airport and the national airport here in washington d.c., we improved what they wanted to do in new york and have observed what they wanted to do here in washington and to see what the impact of these consolidated -- >> if i could interrupt you because my time is limited. washington, los angeles, new york have got competition. is the middle america cities that are getting the brunt. memphis is one of them. what can you do about memphis, cincinnati, st. louis, pittsburgh? >> what we can always do is examine what the impact of these mergers has been and if we find
anti-competitive operations in a particular city -- >> can i ask you to look into memphis and the situation where frontier airlines came in, tell the cayman, undercut them in frontier left. usair now is running from memphis to washington. is going to undercut them. southwest is not looking to come in and weise talked a southwest and they said if we come and we will be undercut. that is a monopoly. >> i mean, i can't comment on the particulars because i'm not aware of them but to the extent that one entity tries to undercut another in a probe really by lowering its prices and driving that competitor out of the market and raise its prices once the competitor is gone, that is an -- inappropriate under antitrust law. >> let me ask you to look at the situation in memphis. number two, in memphis too, grocery store businesses, produce men have taken over the
market. they took over chinooks and they have an area of influence that they didn't have because they swap stores with kroger's. prices have gone up and there is no competition there. is happening all over america. business is finding ways to work with each other to create monopolistic practices and take advantage of consumers and consumers are left off. this is what is happening. income inequality, purchasing and ability inequality, the middle class, the consumer, they got nowhere to go. the only hope for change is with you and this administration. otherwise big businesses will cut them out. i appreciate are looking into those monopolistic practices with the consumer, which i know you want to. >> our focus is on the protection of consumers and we put people who head the division who share that attitude and as i said i think we have done a good job. >> thank you and i yield back my
proverbial time, which i have none of. >> thank you mr. attorney general for being here. i would like to focus my comments on "fast and furious." you stated in your previous testimony here today that you had read the six wiretap applications. i too of bread those wiretap applications. i have come to the conclusion that it's totally different than your conclusion. and that is but i think a quiver of the information that we are looking at, where a reasonable person would only come to the conclusion that the senior most people within the department of justice did indeed know that tons were walking in those tactics were being used. and i guess my question for you mr. attorney general, those things, those wiretap applications, nobody wants to do an ongoing investigation or hamper and investigation opportunity. my question for you today is, would you be willing to make
yourself personally available to myself and mr. gowdy and in the essence of fairness mr. bobby scott and mike quigley to come talk to you and sit down. i want you to show me how you don't come to that conclusion and i would like to show you why i think there is a preponderance of evidence that would lead one to believe that yes, indeed, the department of justice didn't know about this. is that fair? could you make
a. >> what? >> i have sat down with you on eight different occasions. >> i'm asking for more time, more than just five minutes and go through this? give us two hours. two members of the democrats, too on the republican side and go through this. >> with all due respect i gave you for hours at a crack on the eighth several occasions. i'm not sure there's an awful lot more have to say but there's one point i would say. you and i have no thread materials that senior people in the justice department as they went through those approval process did not read. as we know -- does he let me go on please. so the answer is no. >> you are being up my time and i only have about three and a
half minutes left. by would like more time and you are saying no. >> please, let me share with you why i think this is imperative. sunday october 17, 11:07 gets an e-mail, do you think we should try to have lanny participate in it press went "fast and furious" in the tucson case are unsealed? it's a tricky case given the number of guns that were lost but it is a good significant set of prosecution. james trustee says it's not going to be any big surprise that a bunch of u.s. guns are being used in mexico so i'm not sure how much you can get for guns walking. it may be more like -- though they are there are going to be people who are going after the people who sent guns down there. do you claim with passion that the nobody at the senior level of the department of justice prior to the death of brian terry knew the guns were walking and i have an e-mail from jason
weinstein using the term gun gun walking. >> as i said before that refers to wide receiver, not "fast and furious." >> that is not with the february 4 letter said. it said that they d.c. have never uses those tactics. that is not true. >> we said that letter was withdrawn but the e-mail that you just read and this is important, that e-mail preferred to wide receiver. did not refer to "fast and furious." that has to be noted for the record. >> no it doesn't. is it says "fast and furious." do you think we should try to have lanny participate when "fast and furious" and the tucson case are unsealed it is specific to "fast and furious." that is not true mr. attorney general. i'm happy to share it with you. i ask unanimous consent to give you some extra time.
>> it refers to -- >> it says "fast and furious." >> laura guthrie was not involved in "fast and furious." >> the e-mail says "fast and furious" and i have got it in black and white. did you personally read speaker boehner's letter sent to you on may 18, 2012. >> yes, i got that. >> did you read it? have
a i think to the extent that it is not explicit that we should develop such a plan. >> and my second question, and mr. chairman, you know i would like to be able to make my question and then get an answer even if my time expires. quite a few of my fellow members have had that courtesy and i hope you can extend it to me as well. >> the gentleman just ask a the question. >> the second question is can you explain the complete steps that doj has taken to strengthen its presence in puerto rico
wouldn't be appropriate for doj to increase the resources, even if it is only a temporary surge just as the federal government did when there was a spike in violence on the west side of the southwest border i know we are leaving an environment of constrained resources but i'm talking about prioritizing the limited resources you have in making sure they are being allocated to the areas where they are needed the most. by the way, i have the stats. d.a. has increased its manpower. at the fbi and atf have not in recent years. shouldn't you be acting with more of a sense of urgency in this area? please, tell me why i should feel better about this than i do? >> is the attorney general would be brief. >> we are, are law enforcement components developed recruitment
blindfolded and carries nothing with her except a set of scales and the sort. no political ideology, no agenda , just a set of scales and a sword. and it is important to me that she does not care about any one station in life, and she does not care about the political ideology, and she does not care whether they're black, white, brown, progressive, conservative it is about the equal application of law. and further in that interview with the new york times using about my colleague from south
carolina, senator gramm, as someone who had good faith in his criticisms towards you. so i question -- and then you suggested that others are motivated by something more nefarious, bad faith, a desire to get you, a desire to do damage to the president. my question to you is this, do you think it is possible to be motivated by good faith and still ask who the senior most level officials within main justice were pared to about the tactic of gun walking prior to up the death. is it possible for me to ask that question and be motivated by good faith? >> sure. >> i would say, do you think john ashcroft was conservative? >> i don't know. i tell you, i do know, mr. attorney-general, the united states attorney for the district of south carolina was appointed by president obama. he is every bit as progressive as you say you are, if not more
so. and not only have i not been a critic of this, i have been one of his biggest fans because you cannot tell what his political ideology is from the way he discharges his job. so i don't know john ashcroft, i don't know you. i know the united states attorney. and you can shake your head when i say that, but the truth is, your the one who said you were being targeted because you are progressive. my point to you is, i would be asking the exact same questions about fast and furious, whether you were john ashcroft, dan lungren, bob. i don't care about the political ideology of the u.s. attorney or the attorney general. >> always say is the decisions that i have made in connection with anything that i have done within the justice department to reflect my critical to the political ideology. they reflect my view of the facts of the law and what my responsibility is. >> then what did your department said that? why did your department in december say that you were a target because you consistently
take progressive stance. he think that's why i'm asking about fast and furious temecula political ideology? >> i will except that your question to me is one that is based in good faith. i am not going to say -- and not going to ignore reality and say that all of the attacks that have been directed at me have been those that are not political in nature or that have come in good faith. >> and i'd be motivated by good faith -- can i be motivated by good faith and still believe that you ought to have to show an idea to vote in south carolina, just like you have to do to into the federal courthouse? >> absolutely. we can have a disagreement. you can operate in good faith and as the question as i can disagree with you in good faith and not have a political motivation behind my position. >> mr. attorney-general, you have a difficult job. but if you think of that you are being singled out because of political ideology or race or any other characteristic or factor when it comes to fast and
furious, you are solely mistaken. that would be asking the exact same questions regardless of what party was in power. >> with that i yield back. >> digital this time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. five minutes. >> thank you. attorney-general, before i begin my questions i would like to take a moment to commend you for the progress the department has made on various issues, for instance of intellectual property rights. you have made that a priority. it is very, very important for our economy, and backing as the the department of justice on the groundbreaking case earlier this year were you charged seven individuals and to corporations providing an international organized criminal enterprise that was responsible for causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners. and i also want to take the apartment for seeking to protect every american's right to vote. during 2011 the civil-rights
division handled 27 new voting rights cases. with 176 bills introduced in congress that are aimed at suppressing america's right to vote, you're doing incredibly important work. i also want to applaud you for changing the material that the fbi have been using in their counter-terrorism materials that have many inflammatory statements about islam and stereotypes about muslims. in fact, the fbi has conducted the review of this counter-terrorism training material that indicated factually incorrect information. earlier, congress member franks said that these are statements that had to do with political correctness. actually, i wanted to name some of these statements that were made in these training materials that were incorrect and, in fact offensive. for instance, this one that was
and the fbi manual, never attempt to shake hands with an asian. how about, never stare at an asian. i personally take offense at that, i must tell you. how about this? the arabic mine is swayed more by ideas that fact? how about traditional muslim attire a growing facial hair is an indication of extremism? i think those are statements that have to be removed from the those manuals. my question has to do with the fact that a generation fbi agents and joint terrorism task force members have been trained with these biased materials. what is the department doing to make sure that those that have been trained with those materials don't hold these kinds of stereotypes. >> we have suddenly remove those materials so that the train does not continue, and as people are updated in their training, we make it clear to them that that material was inappropriately shared with them before.
there are ongoing things that happen in the field offices to make sure that people don't rely on the kinds of things that you have just read to the record in their enforcement efforts, so it is an ongoing thing. we understand that there have been certain ages two have been exposed to this, and we understand it is our responsibility to make sure that that information was incorrect, not politically incorrect, but just simply factually incorrect. we make sure it that they operate only on the basis of factually correct information. >> i truly appreciate that. and actually, i also wanted to talk about another issue, and that is the nypd and the muslim community. in august 2011 the associated press -- associated press published an article that covered a intelligence gathering by the nypd and the muslim community in new york. thirty-four members of congress and over 150 community and civil rights group's request to the
department of justice open an investigation on this issue. has the department of justice begun a formal investigation into this issue? >> well, we are aware of the allegations. we have received, as you indicated, several requests to investigate the nypd, and we are in the process of reviewing these requests. we are very far along in what i will call this preliminary stage , and i expect to be getting something, a formal recommendation fairly soon. >> i would appreciate that because we want to make sure that innocent americans are not spied upon for eating in restaurants are practicing their faith. it is offensive to many. i remember the fact that we had 120,000 japanese-americans that were taken off to concentration camps based on allegations of spying. and yet in the end, not a single case of espionage was never proven. so we want to make sure that the rights of innocent americans are
protected. >> yes. that is our objective as well. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. the gentlewoman from florida, ms. adams, is recognized for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. hello, attorney-general. good to see you again. >> it morning. >> earlier when you were asked about when you became aware of the tactics of fast and furious to my believe you said it was early part of 2,011. >> right. >> and how long after agents -- the eighth steps were you made aware of the fact that one of those guns that what was actually used to kill your agent? >> i think it was roughly about the same time. i'm not sure we ever had a ballistic match, but i was made aware of the fact that guns found on the scene or from fast and furious. it was roughly the same time, sometime in february. >> would you consider that? i am going to go back to your
opening statement. you said during your opening statement about how you enter is to see are working closely with all the agencies and that the issues that apply to whether it is the national security league, homeland security and all of that, you are working very closely, yet you have an agent murdered. guns on the scene that come back too fast and furious. and it takes one or two months before you are made aware of the fact that this has happened to back. >> you are talking about my personal knowledge. >> you are the attorney general, are you not? you are our chief -- at -- you have a debt agent. >> but i'm saying that there were people in the justice department to were aware of the fact that those guns found on the scene were from operation -- "operation fast and furious." at personally did not become aware into february, but there were people working with our d.h. as allies and people and local law enforcement and the
fbi who were aware of that fact. at that you were directing the question to just me as opposed to somebody else. >> i have heard, listened all day long and the other day when you were here also. every time when questions are posed about fast and furious, we always get a different time mine are somewhat similar or we have had a letter called back for inaccuracies months after it was delivered to us. so now we have you sit here and tell us today in your opening statement how well your is it working together, yet you have an agent who is murdered, and it takes a couple of months before you are made aware is the attorney-general that the weapons that were left allowed to gun walk or used. so i go on to, if we have all of this going on and i keep hearing you go back to, well, in the previous of ministration we did this so they did that. you know, i don't really care
what happened in the previous a ministration. what i care about is the fact that when i work with agents in the previous a administration as a law-enforcement officer, i knew that when they get a wiretap they had to produce the evidence of probable cause to their supervisor who then had to sign off on that. so i listened today as you said, well, they just signed off on a summary. you telling me that your supervisor signed off on wiretaps based on summaries without looking a probable cause? >> that is not what they do at all. they are satisfied looking at the summaries that are prepared that probable cause does, in fact, exist, but they do not review these things with an eye toward understanding the full panoply, the full scope of the underlying operation. they only make sure that we go to court their is a sufficient basis for us to say the probable cause exists. with regard to the telephone number we want to get the wire on, we can say that that particular phone was involved in the commission of a crime, not
the full extent of what "operation fast and furious" was all about. >> so, you know, you have covered a lot of different areas today. i am still waiting for an answer as to how so many thousands of guns what. i have never been involved in an undercover operation that would allow such a thing to happen, and it is amazing to me that our own attorney general's office is the one who allowed it to happen then you go in -- >> i did not allow that to happen. >> it was your agency. you have control over that is a c, do you not? >> as soon as i heard about it i instructed that that policy and practice had to stop. the first attorney general to do that, and i did that. >> you also talk about how your agency is working deliberately. information about immigration. then he said, well, we just need a comprehensive solution for immigration issues. with the solution be that you and your agency actually enforce the laws on the books that we
have today? >> we do enforce the laws. we are more effective than any -- >> i would just let you know that when i asked about criminal aliens that are released back -- >> order. >> will we have is criminal aliens being released back into our community. home countries will not take them back. and that has come into we ever file 243 be paper work? and i was told no. none during this administration have been attempted. so i have concerns when i asked you about our immigration laws being enforced. the other thing before i go. >> the chair warmest time has expired. >> i yield back. >> thank you. the gentleman from california is recognized. i'm sorry. the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> i knew it was not intentional. thank you. thank you for joining us here today. as we are all aware, a statewide purge of suspected in eligible
voters is underway in florida. no, all voters benefit from the romance efforts connected with oversight, accuracy, and with enough time to rectify mistakes. unfortunately the purge underway is nothing of the floor. a list of 180,000 suspected non-citizens has been compiled by governors bats ministration. this list is so riddled with mistakes that governor's council on secretary of state objected to a list. the best was not reason enough to stop. cross checking driver's license today with state voter files was guaranteed to result in mistakes. guaranteed. many legal immigrants have become citizens and the still classified as non-citizens and the motor vehicle records. it does not explain how of world war ii veteran and bronze star water was listed, and it does not explain how a fort lauderdale small business owner was listed. does not explain the staggering weight of an accuracy in just the initial stage of the purge. if the rate of and accuracy in the initial 2600 holds up for
the remaining 180,000, nearly 40,000 american citizens voting rights are at risk. let me be clear about one issue. everyone here agrees we don't want non-citizens. i don't. you don't. the issue is that this will remove thousands of legitimate voters. why if there is your concern for these voters? the earlier call this a model of due process. in fact, the letters going to voters say they will be removed if they fail to respond within 30 days. the governor believes that a failure to respond to a letter within 30 days is reason enough to lose your right to vote, even if you're a u.s. citizen. maybe you move, maybe you don't read your mail, maybe it got lost, or maybe you are a different of early veteran of world war ii who received the letter of the week that his wife died after it out because he did not have time to do with a preposterous assertion that he is not the united states citizen. that happened. i applaud you last friday for requesting the floridian suspend
this error written the unaccountable and illegal voter purge. the doj rarely pointed out that federal water laws prohibit voter purges within 90 days of an election thanks to a law passed two decades ago because the closer you get to an election the last time you have to correct mistakes. mistakes like disenfranchising voters. now, i'm aware of the response. in a letter that showcases his administration's willingness to make up the law as they go along. i know, mr. attorney-general, your department will respond in detail and will do everything necessary to compel floridian to comply with the law to prevent thousands of floridians from being disenfranchised. finally, i want to give you a chance to respond to a letter sent to you yesterday by calling it might. the letter reads that your departments interference in the spurge proves that you are more concerned with protecting their reelection prospects of the president than with upholding justice and enforcing the rule of law. you are actively working to keep non-citizens who have committed
a felony on our state's voter rolls. general holder, with 16 cases of voter fraud found in florida, over 8 million votes cast in 2008, the assertion of voter fraud is a natural ally charles strategy is preposterous and offensive and condescending. voter fraud would be totally ineffective way to reelection. rare because it is a felony that risks prison time and huge fines and is totally illogical to charges by an election. what is an effective way to sway an election, scrubbing dozens of legitimate voters off the rolls, eradicating voter registration drives are reducing early voting in disenfranchising millions of seniors and impoverished americans who lack of mid-90s. that is the tactic the government's -- governors that and is up using not just in florida but around the country. maybe i'm wrong. can you just answer quickly, if my republican colleagues right? and i missed some grand conspiracy? >> i have not seen the letter, but that is not what motivated
our action or will continue to motivate the actions that we may have to take. i have not seen the response from the governor or the secretary of state and florida. i will assure you, that we will make sure that the federal law is enforced and that voter purges happen in a way that is consistent with the law. i share your view that we do not want to have people inappropriately voting, but we don't want lower roles that content people who should not have the right to vote. at the same time we should engage in a process that does not put off the rolls of people who have served their country as veterans, people who want to exercise that most fundamental of american rights. and so the notion that this is somehow a political ploy is inconsistent. one only has to look at the law, which is clear. ninety days. very clear. ninety days. >> in fact, general holder, it is possible that as the highest law enforcement officer of the land, you actually have real concerns about american citizens being disenfranchised and the united states department of
justice, the u.s. department of justice actually cares about protecting the constitutional rights of american citizens that are now being threatened by this illegal voter purge in florida. isn't that correct? >> if we have to enforce the law, law that was designed by this congress or its predecessor to protect the rights of american citizens. that is what it is all about, to protect the rights of american citizens. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentleman from arizona is recognized. >> thank you. and thank you for being here, mr. attorney-general. i want to get back to how the wiretap application is approved in the process. you said that basically whoever it was, just reading the summary, determine whether there is bubble caused. if there is probable cause then they send it off to get approval by the courts. is that basically what you're
same processes? >> the office of the force and operations looks at the affidavit, paris summary to be reviewed by deputy assistant attorney general. >> the deputy assistant is always looking for probable cause, is that what you're stating. >> right. make sure their is a probable cause base. >> how is that true? because under extensive requirements for federal use shopping law the justice department officials have a duty , a duty to evaluate the law-enforcement tactics that have been used in the investigation. why they aren't going to actually make it so that we can have a further investigation and why you need to have wiretapping put into place, we have a title 18 usc section 25181 see which says that the application needs a full and complete statement as to whether or not other investigative procedures the been tried and built low when they reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if they
try to be dangerous. we put these sorts of measures in place because wiretaps are extra nearly intrusive. and so probable cause being the only basis for putting the application is just false. i mean, and less your justice department was not living up to what is actually a statutory required for an application. >> what you're saying is absolutely right. in fact, there is the requirement. you will see that their is a statement by the person who does the affidavit and the person who prepares the summary that, in fact, other methods have been tried and have proven to be unsuccessful. >> you are saying that they did know -- see, this is what i'm trying to get at. did the deputy u.s. attorney is signed off on these wiretap applications, did they actually go through and understand what the tactics that were being used to make then they would know at the time of reviewing this because you said that all there were looking at where the sun
rays and probable cause when actually they would have to be looking for the tactics, why they failed, and why you needed to have these strapping going forward which would mean they would have that information a lot earlier them what you said earlier. >> looking at the tactics we used to try to surveil people, that is what you're looking for in terms of these tactics. if you're looking at every tactic -- >> the whole operation, but the investigation for the operation of what they were trying to accomplish, you're using various different tactics, not just surveiling, the operation. as of the tactics actually are part of the application. why they failed and why you need eavesdropping. your deputy attorney actually knew about the tactics even though he said he didn't because you only have the summary and religion for probable cause. >> of the to these affidavits and summaries. there is nothing that i have reviewed that indicates that gun walking was allowed. the bottom line. and so i didn't see anything in
there that would put on notice a person who was reviewing either at the line level or at the deputy assistant attorney general level, you would have knowledge of the fact it is inappropriate tactics were being used. >> in summary are in the whole? >> the affidavit as well. >> and hall? said there were no -- there were no comments about the tactics of gun walking with in the whole affidavit? or you talking about the summary? a clear distinction between the two. if there were only rely on the summary and not the whole affidavit, but then you have to -- actually, would it be under to give the wiretaps that it did not include gun walking? i mean, is that lying to the court? >> i mean, we have to speak hypothetically. we can't talk. -- >> i understand that. hypothetically, i'm just trying to get down to what the process was because it seems to be a little misleading from what you have said and what was said in the past that it was only for legal sufficiency of probable
cause in this instance from your perspective. in actuality the statutes that govern this, especially the federal ease jumping, much more strict and require much more proof that federal he's jumping in wiretapping is necessary to actually go through with it and get the court order to do it. >> these statutes do not require a degree of specificity the you're implying. they did not require you to go and describe all of the things that you have done during the course of an investigation with the degree of specificity if you are implying. that is not accurate. >> what degree of specificity do you think i am implying? you have to get through the procedures and tactics. and not trying to say that you need to put down every serial number of the certain shoe the somebody was wearing while there were surveiling somebody, but the basic gun walking is a pretty big piece of the tactical operation. >> again, i can't get into the contents of the fast and furious wiretaps. i am prohibited from doing that under federal law.
i can tell you that the notion that you are pushing -- your pushing incorrectly. it does not require that degree of specificity, granular ready to appropriately put together an affidavit and a summary that can go to it -- >> but it provides more than probable cause. it provides more than legal sufficiency which is what mr. burr was saying earlier. >> my time has expired. >> the gentleman from california , mr. sachs is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general holder, thank you for joining us today. it is an important responsibility of your office to submit to this committee's oversight and i know that you would agree that this is an important bull for our community the plight. it cannot be easy. i feel your pain to sit in front of us about the many different areas under your purview. so i am going to apologize. i come toward the end.