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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 5, 2013 8:00pm-10:01pm EST

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>> the border control and security initiatiinitiatives. we have been blessed to navigate the challenges. welcome me in welcoming jim zigler. [ applause ] >> thank you for that very kind and generous introduction. it is pleasure and honor for me to introduce the keynote speaker. senator patrick leahy from the great state of vermont. i consider him to be a good friend.
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and for all of you who are doubting it is possible for republicans and democrats to be friends in washington today. didn't say it was easy. i said it is possible. but it is a special honor to introduce the senator patrick leahy because he is a champion on of the cause that brings everyone here and that is human rights for everyone and everywhere. i think there is no greater champion for human rights in the united states congress than our friend patrick leahy. he is determined and indeed his historic work to advance human rig rights is too extensive to detail and give him time to
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talks as well. but i will talk about the 2-3 public plics accomplishments. i want to mention i have seen his work up close. the senate has to keep an eye on them and i can tell you as commissioner of the ins if you chose to ignore pat on an immigration issue you do it on your own. the senator does a lot of things that are below the radar screen that make a big difference in the lives of other people who would otherwise fall through the cracks. he is not a show horse. he is a work horse. he has been a long time leader in the international campaign against landmi mines.
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he authored a bill to ban the export of these horrible weapons and spearheaded the effort to aid victims of land minds by creating a special fund and that fund has now on annual bases provide $12 million in aid to the vaccinaictims of these bomb. he sponsored the patrick leahy law and that prohibits the department of state and defense to provide military aid to foreign military and police forces that engage and violate human rights. and he never stops leading on an issue central to our mission at human rights first and that is refuge protection.
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and the act he sponsors elimina eliminates them from not having safe places to go. in 2009, he called for the creation of an independent investigation for torture after 9-11. he is a determined pragmatic person and an idealist who is less interested in making statements than change. he is willing and able to work with republicans on human rights and/or other -- and other
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issues -- he and rubio are trying to get the trafficking victims protection act. patrick leahy is now the longest serving u.s. senate and he is president pro-term of the senate. don't tell him that, because he thinks, and i think all of us in the room know it is true, that he is just getting started. ladies and gentlemen, i hope you will give a warm welcome to our keynote speaker, the honorable patrick leahy. [ applause ] >> thank you all. thank you all. jim, thank you.
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thank you for that wonderful and not totally deserved introduction but i will accept i it. jim zigler is one of the finest person i have known in either party. he set the gold standard for everybody else to follow and has been doing it for the best interest of the senate, not in a partisan way, but what was best for the senate. lisa, it is great to see you. we get a chance to get caught up in the connections to vermont, but most people don't realize the name like patrick leahy, my mother is first generation italian american and we compare where some of our relatives are from. and human rights happen to board members who made all of this possible. i think what you are doing is so
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important. in -- i have admired lawyers and people before that and research and advocaticacy has been impor in the legislation i have passed. let me talk about a few topics. and it is encouraging you to don't stop. keep doing what where you are doing. it may seem obvious that this is central purposes of it, but it needs to be said. we are here because each of us feels, each of us, feels a responsibility to depend the fu
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fu fund fund fundlemental purposes. we know that the in the history of the united states, we have seen groundbreaking human rights leadership and we have seen trackage failures. -- tragic -- the bill of rights was a monumental event. the more recent advances we have seen in support of the rights of people with disabilities, women, lgbt community, immigrants -- these are examples of what we can accomplish if we persevere what is long-standing prejudices. i am encouraged to support that
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that need the help with the improvement against violence on women, the traffic violation act. and what we have accomplished in the senate and immigration reform. you might say the area we are talking about is the senate. i am so pleased that you are going to be honoring my friend bob dole this evening. i was there when bob was the republican leader in the senate. a man of integrity and his le lead leadership in the american's with disability act two decades ago. it would not have happened without mr. dole. his efforts to see the united states ratify the convention of people with disability dissever
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serve our praise. if we had more leaders like dole, leaders that put aside common differences, we would all be better off. i miss leader like that in the senate and house. but while we are complimenting ourselves let's not forget about where he fall short. the internment of japanese citizens during world war ii. or the segregratiugratiegration fact we cannot close guantanamo
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bay or end incarceration. these are not bright lights of our history. a few days go by that we are not facing challenges on human rights. some are do to external, and some are from our own doing. i wrote what was done as the leahy law. i had no idea what impact it would have on that. i did know we should no longer provide training and equipment to security forces that abuse and murder innocent civilians. you would think this is something we would all agree on. it happened where we gave aid to a country and they used to it murder and torture their
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citizens. that was wrong. it undermined our standing as a global human right defender when people say look what your aid is doing in this country. under the leahy law, which would cut off the aid, it was probably the most effective tool for drawing a clear line between the united states and those that commit atrocities. and providing incentive to hold abusive military and police officers accountable. the law has been a law for a decade and a half. some officials in the embassy have not enforced it. and i call on the state department to explain the leahy law is the leahy law and has to apply in every country where we give aid or it is turning our back on american ideals.
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let's start enforcing it everywhere. [ applause ] >> don't give me any excuse of making it better if we keep giving the aid to the people that are using it to torture. no. that violates everything we stand for. if you are going to implement the law you have to have civil society here around the world and everybody in this room. we should feel just as strongly as defending human right activist whether they are in egypt, russia, china, vietnam nam or any other country who are persecuted for religious beliefs or personal beliefs. these are rights we take for
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advantage. we should not hesitate to speak up when those rights are violated. i have met some activist who have been subjected to brutal y brutality, isolation, torture. and i am in awe by their courage and spirit and by the fact they never give up. we have a responsibility to support them. when they are in prison, this is something democrats and republicans set aside party labels, join together and work for their release. here at home, we have yet to fully recover from the effects of the 9-11 attacks. we continue to mourn the losses of innocent lives that day. we do remain vigilant against the threat of fume future attacks. but we cannot ignore it damage
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done by the policies put in place after 9-11. before 9-11 i doubt any of us could imagine torture, something members in both congress departments, have condemned woob would be defends by top officials. we must never again allow torture by our country to be quoted in things like enhance interrogation techniques or justifying it by twisted and flawed legal analysis that go contrary to the moral core of our country. we should put an end to the use of flawed military places in the
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global war on terrorism. we have spoken out before about this in other countries and how can we justify it? there is no justification. [ applause ] >> i feel, and i have said this to various presidents, guantanamo bay has contradicted the most basic principles of just and degraded our internation al standing as a champion of human rights and has harmed our national security. countries that respect the rule of law and human rights don't lock away prisoners indefinitely without trial and charges. we condemn those that do it and
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shouldn't authorize it in our own country. positive change at this year's defensive authorization bill. we have to do more to ensure guantanamo bay is closed. i appreciate the human right a v advocacy to close it. let's remove the blight. [ applause ] >> and continue your work on the question of drones. i think drones can be used in armed conflict. but only in accordance with international laws. we used drones in afghanistan, pakistan, and some of which killed and wounded innocent
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civilians. i remain very concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding these operations and signature strikes. they raise a question whether drones comply with the international humanitarian law. if you continue the president for the rest of the world, we ought to be transparent as possible about them. and if they are used following international law, i would suggest here today that maybe it is time to look again at international law in this area. and maybe it is time for tightening and changes in it. i for one would like to see that. so, you know, i never hesitate
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to criticize foreign governments that allow heinous crimes that go unpunished or punish peaceful expression. and i criticize our government when it fails to stand up. i think the international treaty banning land mines. and i think the trend of innocent civilians becoming victims of war. the vast majority of people are harmed and injured by land mines are children, parents and other innocent civilian. through the land mine treaty, every single nato country has signed it but one and that one and most powerful nation on
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earth, the united states, that is not the leadership i expect of my government. the clinton, bush, and obama administration is isolating the united states on this issue. i ask what kind of message is this sending the rest of the world in this lack of he leadership? we ought to sign it. we spend hundreds of millions of dollars removing the land mines and use the leahy funds to help land mine victims around the world. what are we afraid of? we have another law that says we cannot export land mines. let's so the courage. it only take as little bit to go for it and sign the treaty like every ally of ours has done.
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is that so difficult? let me tell you in conclusion. on november 22nd, remember the great loss this country suffered 50 years ago when kennedy was assassinated. i remember my wife being a young law student and watching the hundreds of thousands of people going down and it was so silent you could hear the drums when the band left and you can hear the lights in the street lights change. and i have been thinking about that a lot in the last few days. we have talked about it and what it felt like as two young youngsters standing there. i thought of when the many
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markers president kennedy sat at the inaugural address and spoke of the unwillingness of the slow undoing of the human rights in which the united states has been committed and we are committed today and around the world. kennedy said that at the inaugural address and 50 years later the words are more relevant. i would argue among the most important things we can do for our country is continue to reaffirm and in doing so we help the rest of the world. frankly, the american people expect no less. my children and grandchildren expect no less. keep on work on this and i will be there to fight with you.
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thank you very much. >> tomorrow, a look at admission policy for medicare patients on the hospital. live coverage at 12:15 eastern on c-span 2. and on c-span 3 john huntsman and kevin by of indiana will be live. and later on c-span, kentucky senator ran paul will talk about jobs and economy at the detroit club and the remarks come after detroit was ruled to proceed with their chapter nine
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bankruptcy. >> i am a combat vet. i served in the navy for seven years before i was retired. i contracted a lung disease and crushed my hands and had to have them rebuilt. i have hundred percent disabled and my life expectancy is less than two years. i don't need anything from the va. my claim took four years. not once did i ever present one single piece of new evidence. the entire claim was submitted fu fully developed before i was discharged from the navy. i am here not to represent my claim or my issue. my husband and i are here to make sure this panel and
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everyone that listens to us understand that cases mike like own and ms. mcnut with not isolated. i have dealt with 1,000 cases in the last six months of veterans and spouses and children who are dealing with complex claims that are being denied over and other than again or being low-balls. >> a committee on dealing with the va's backlog of processing disability claims. on book television former gop congressman joe scarborough. and american history television on c-span 3. lbj stepped into the oval office
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and that story is sunday at 3. >> a conversation on united states interest in syria and iran. we will hear from mike rogers, chris vanholland and former advisor for the foreign committee. >> mr. chairman, thank you. the theme of the conference is has led to the passage of resolution 2118 about the destruction of chemical weapons in syria. do you consider this a positive sign about russia's role in the middle east? >> i think it is a positive sign
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if you take it for what it is and where russia wants to go. russia has at the head of their agenda, the only security and policy interests. if is good for russia they will be at the table. that is a double edge sword. it can be a great way to solve strife problems across the middle east. but b we need to be cautious of setting the table so any agreement or plan with the russians protect our interest in the renaling -- region as well -- we got chemical weapons off, but the russians cleaned up and we alientaated our allies.
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>> let's continue the conversation on syria. you were a sponsor of the syria act to provide arms and support to the syrian rebels. this takes in the threatened united states attack that led up with the security counsel resolution. we have a geneva concert on january 22nd. do you support the process and what else could or should the united states be doing in syria? >> this is to me the most complicated part of diplomacy.
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no diplomat has to believe the military has to be involved. but i have not met one that didn't want one over one shoulder and the seven fleet over the other. i think we have to set the table for a nugotiaauc negotiating su. two years ago we had a whole set, 18 months fewer, 12 months even less and today they are not that good. if you want the talks to be successful at all you have to have skin in the game. that is why i supported at least trying to have relationships with rebels in a way that was positive to the united states that started crafting our ability to understand who were the folks that were more likely to support the united states on
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the ground. and you could help shape the battle field in the way that brought people to the table. and i think there was a mistake in this because we did want do that. we dilly-dallied for a long time. the program we talk about now isn't robust enough to have an impact. so tell me who goes into the talks and has the credibility to get everybody at the table. the russians have asad but we cannot bring the rebels to the table. we have no skin in the game. you have our allies who are upset with the united states and that might be an understatement. who do we negotiate.
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if is just the united states and russia there is no deal. you have to bring the rebels to the table and ashad to the table and i don't see that formula lining up for geneva talks. >> you have leadership of the intelligence community, why did they and other analyst misjudge the power? we know the president was getting the analysis that his days were numbered as people said. and in august 2011, president obama said he must step aside. why do you think that happened? >> they completely misread iran and russia's commitment to helping him stay in power.
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when you have two major financial military intelligence provid providers who leverage was significant and both of those were not factored in. if you look at it from a recent history lesson and what happened in libya you could see why he was going quickly and they took that and plopped it in syria and thought it would be the same thing. you had the same elements happening in syria that happened in libya but they couldn't let it go. so, they ramped up their ability to protect him and try to at least increase the ability of the syrian regular military forces in a way that you would not see in libya or anywhere
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else. and because they didn't read what was going on, i think they missed the boat on how long he would stay. and what they did when they did the chemical agreement because there was no component of him involved in that agreement about any tenor in the regime, you have empowered the russians to keep him as long as they want. so that upset the cart when what the united states goals were versus what the russians want and the iranians. they need and have to have syria as part of the plan going forward in the middle east. >> picking up on iran, when we spoke last month, you were concerned about a bad deal in the geneva talk, the senate my
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considering sanctions and the whitehouse is arguing against. did the united states get a bad deal in geneva and what should hey do >> >> do think it is bad deal. there are three components, the missile, weapon and enrichment. you had six missions saying iran shouldn't be involved in enrichment. they are the largest state sponsor of terror in the world including trying to kill the saudi arabia ambassador by blowing up a restaurant in washington, d.c. if you look at their behavior, and the three components of the program, and i thought it was a
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mistake. if you don't include allies you will create suspigs -- and you have created that on the deal and the allies are leery. the missile part of the program isn't touched. they can continue to missile development. they can continue weapons and the work that we think they do the work isn't open to inspectors so if you are looking at triggers and models they would have to do has to happen there. and on enrichment, which is shocking to me, it can't me much of a deal if the secretary of state is announcing there is nothing in the deal that says they can enrich and the iranians
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say it deal allows us to continue to enrich. i am not bright and no fbi agent, but we call hat an include there is a problem in the deal. if you cannot deal on the most primary central focus of what we were trying to accomplish if you cannot agree on that, that is not a deal or a very good deal. why that is so important is they will try to sell the 20% enrichment that we will get them to halt and convert to a powder form. the problem is it takes 30 days to reckocoreconvert it. and the significant milestone to enriching up to weapon grades is that 20% number. 5% is tough to get to. 5-20 percent is nearly impossible to get to. 20-95% is easy to do.
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so they have net that one very important milestone. that is why they are not bothered by this. they keep all of the elements of the nuclear program. and i am privy to other pieces of information and i believe they are committed to buying time so they can in plainest terms cheat on any portion of the deal they need to cheat on. if i know that, i am sure the administration knows that. and walking into a deal where you know that is the framework and we got nothing. we dismantled pieceof of the sanctions. sanctions take a long time. it doesn't always work but it
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can work. they have business interest in the middle east. it take as while to get all of the buy-in and they didn't support it on the first round. they had to force the second on the second round and she didn't support it. we got the buy-in and the russians and chinese to start buying in. and when you release the pressure, and take the first bolt off, this thing is likely to fall apart in a hurry. that was our concern. we got the pressure on sanctions. what you have want to have with pressure and sanctions is saying we are willing to release them and you want them knocking on our door saying they are ready to deal. they got that backwards and that
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is going to prove to be dangerous for us. when you look at the gold and precious medal portion of the agreement, that is one of their biggest ways to get around the sapgz sanctions. the cash didn't mean much. $4 billion. it was the precious medal that allows them to engage in the barter section to go around the sanctions. i think it is dangerous deal for the other segment. we don't deal with iran, we have to deal with the region. i have never seen our allies so upset. i have gotten calls from every ambassador prom the region about how upset they were that there were secret talks they were not privy to number one. and number two, if you look at our allies in the middle east and total the investment in the
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united states it is hundreds of billions a year. so the common theme is you have endangered our national security for allies that invest hundreds of millions in the united states for the iranians that have no friends and invest how much in the united states? nothing. we have upset a very delicate long-term alliance in the east and israel as well. when you talk to our middle eastern and arab allies they are equally upset. so by doing the deal that someone is avoiding conflict, you may have escalated the possibility that israel has to
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do something. we playoff ticked off a race in the middle east and i cannot think of anything more dangerous than the middle east in an arms race >> what about the congress's role? the whitehouse is coming saying these are sensitive talks. it is a six-month interim first step. don't put more sanctions in place. how do you balance your concerns about the deal with the whitehouse that is in talks with iran and that is only a first-step agreement? >> i would push ahead with the sanctions for this reason. we give the caveat to the president of making the decision not to move forward or put tinga
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timeline on the program or peeling back the sanctions. we are in the worst possible position now. here is the other problem: they have not agreed on when the clock starts ticking. you can imagine they have to have another round of negotiati negotiations to determine the clock starts ticking. iran needed more time in this whole thing. we gave them probably closer to a year. and that is why the israeli's are upset. we talked about the dash and how long it would take to put the missile portion on their plan.
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we know the missile portion is complete, we know they have hit the 20% mark when it comes to enrichment. how fast can they put the program together? that is what everyone is debated. israel thinks 14 months and united states says 8 months or whatever it is. others coming in saying 12 months. we are debating if is it 12, 4, or 8 months? i am concerned this won't stop any of the other components of the program. that is why i would argue move forward, led the iranians understand there is a bunch of people -- the last sanction passed with over 400 votes. his is bi-partisan.
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our allies have angst. the turks are not happy with the deal. some of the european friends are not happy. let's put a little pressure on the iranians so they understand if they don't comply there is something hanging over their head. if you don't comply, something bad is going to happen. >> you said on cnn that the united states is not safer in the war on terrorism. we published a piece today on the rise of al qaeda affiliated groups into the egypt and this is a trend we have been watching all related to what has been
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happening in syria and else where in the region. what more can and should the united states be doing. and what other threats do you see on the horizon? >> first of all, don't alienate our allies in the middle east. some of our strongest allies are not happy. when saudi arabia said they will find a shift away from the united states. and other friends saying they cannot count on the united states. that is a huge problem. we need them as partners in our efforts against counter-terrorism programs. that frame is concerning to me. they are mad about withholding
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mony -- money -- from the folks who are going after the muslim brotherhood. they don't under the redline in syria and then it wasn't a redline it was a talk without them included but with the russians in a place they didn't agree with. they didn't agree with the iranian deal. that was the straw that broke the camels back. what is happening in sinai is when morrisy was president we saw them pull back completely. the israelis had to kickback. and after the weapons flying
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sinai that became a very dangerous place. once the military took back over, they started some effort to get in and after the groups that were better armed and organized. clearly identified with al qaeda values and their term. so that is part of that problem. we need to be aggressive in trying to help them and not condemn them, but help them get into sinai and get control of the growing problem there. syria is a huge and growing problem for us. we cannot do a deal with the eastern provances of syria without the help of the saudi arabians. we should not expect to do it my our sefbllves.
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i have never seen a pooling of the al qaeda members. we didn't see this in iraq even. from regional attraction into the eastern provinces. it is very concerning. what you are seeing there is a debate amongst al qaeda affiliates with al qaeda core in the pakistan/afghanistan region, and they are having a debate on where they target resources in syria today. al qaeda core says focus on syria today. we will worry about external operations later. they are saying we have so many westerners who have shown up and
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we are training and giving combat experience to that we are ready to do external operations. that is going to cost me a week's lost of sleep. they are going home with passports. we have never seen this number before in the history. that is a problem. a huge problem. so you think about why i am nervous. we have allies looking for other partners in the region. we have a pooling of al qaeda. we don't have a good operation to get rebels on the ground in the way i think we need to. it is a recipe for disaster. so all of the affiliates are feeling empowered in a way they
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have not felt before. and are trying to engage in external attacks. it might not be the united states, but they are getting better at what they are doing. al-shabaab would never do an operation of that size 2-3 years ago in kenya. they would not have done it. they went and joined al qaeda and started affiliating with them and do an external attack that is successful. and that is what we are seeing around the world. >> we have a few minutes for questions. i would like to open up the floor. please keep the questions con s concise and to the point. wait for the microphone and state your name, title and af l
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affiliation before. >> thank you for your good work and leadership and service. i am from georgetown law center. questioning regarding intelligence. there have been a lot of fears about the precipitation of chinese companies in the infrastructure i wonder if we have similar fears that our service providers and tell communication manufactures will be frozen out of the network. >> that is a great question. and there is a primary difference and we did a study off the committee. we decided because of the concern across the community, we were concerned a company founded, finance and ran by a
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former chinese official might be up to no-good and the pricing models didn't fit a competitive market. they were designed to get into a market where we don't believe they would make a profit. we did an investigation and came to a conclusion that particular company, and another company, were affiliated with the military and intelligence structure in china designed to run backbones around the world, including the united states, so they can control the information running across the pipes. that is a dangerous thing to allow happen in the united states. so we did our part. the huge difference is we don't -- there is no relationship like that with our providers. now, what happens is because of the leaks, and i will tell you this is the most frustrating thing, trying to get to the truth versus the facts, and i
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will give you a great example of this. 3-4 months ago the united states was said we were spying on the french and listening to 70 million phone calls. well, come to find out that wasn't what happened. in fact, can you imagine us trying to hire 4,000 french in r interpretoaers? snowden took a slide that said france on the top and said 70 million phone calls. it had operational code names on the butottom. the recorder said they are
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listening to france citizens and collected 70 million phone calls. outrageous. and it would be. but one small problem, the french were collecting in areas where they had troops in harm and they took that and said we think this might help your soldiers who are in harm's way too. the united states didn't collect it. the french collected it and it was in areas of high threat. all of the things you would want the allied intelligence service to do. so we spent three weeks saying the nsa isn't listening to french or spanish phone calls. there is a bi-partisan group going to brussels in two weeks and i am leading the delegation to have these discussions.
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we don't want to have them use this as an excuse for excluding american companies to operate in europe. there would be no reason to that. and again, these are not companies run, owned and operated or we don't plug into them as you might see in the press for american i.t. companies. i told my european agencies we sent our intelligence to a court before they go go and listening to a foreigner. name another intelligence service in the world that sends their certainss services to a third party to see if they can listen to the united states? do you think they are having
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this conversation in france? or china? no. the europeans screaming the loudest don't have access to their intelligence service. we will have that conversation so they don't use it. the companies are saying let's exclude the companies because they are safe because it is in france. france has a provision now where they don't need to be to a judge to get private information. we would never do that or allow that. we have to go to court to lis to know a foreigner. they just passed a provision in their version of the senate and house, upper and lower chambers, that would remove their ability
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to go to judge and plug in and listen to or read your e-mail. what we have argued is every time i see a story in the paper, 90 percent of the story is wrong and we will get the right data set so we can be fair and compete. ...
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i think the administration is trying to focus on trying to get a deal. this notion that we are just not going to pull out is very dangerous for a whole list of reasons. not the least of which by the way i think this would be a stain on our national character if we walk away from the women of afghanistan just arbitrarily pull out. we have asked them to participate in society. we told them to come out of the back of their homes and engage in politics and be a part of the solution. for us just to pac up and leave knowing that the taliban in the eastern provinces have closed some 500 schools the majority of which are girls schools, they have now poisoned well over 100
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little girls trying to go to school. for us to walk away from that i think would be a travesty for us as a nation. we ought not let ourselves get caught up in the fast food society that would not allow our commitment to those women that we have asked to take those risks. secondly, we know in those eastern provinces al qaeda is talking about coming back. even the pakistani taliban is talking about holding some territory in afghanistan on the eastern provinces. it's really important we have the ability to deny safe haven in afghanistan. that deal is really important for them. i think the administration gets that. i think they are working toward a deal. we are encouraging them in trying to offer them all the help and support we can to get a deal. we are going to have to have some presence there for sometime but it's not about us rebuilding of anniston. it's about as providing a security environment that allows that guinness and to build
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itself in an independent self secured afghanistan is absolutely in the national security interest of the united states of america. we forget that it's where the planning, financing and recruiting and training happened for 9/11. i will guarantee you they are licking their chops thinking making get back into those eastern provinces. we just can't let that happen and i don't know if you are familiar with the status of forces agreement that would give some function of the protection of our soldiers to operate there and how we would operate them and these are good international agreements. karzai is playing a game and i think he is figuring we want to the deal more than he wants the deal or he thinks we have to have a deal and i hope we don't play this game of chicken and turn away and walk away and i don't think that is where the mindset is. this deal is really important
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and by the way it sends a message both to our adversaries and their allies in the region that we are not just going to pac up and go home. that is not helpful given what has happened in the middle east. >> mr. chairman on behalf of sais and our audience here today want to thank you for taking the time with us, for showing us your depth and command of these vital national security issues and your bipartisan leadership on the committee and in congress. >> thank you very much. thanks for having me. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> he if you could all stay seated we are going to begin the next session right away with representative christopher van hollen. christopher van hollen was elected to congress in 2002
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representing maryland's eighth district and he quickly rose to become one of the youngest members of the democratic leadership serving as chairman of the democratic congressional campaign committee and his assistant to the speaker of the house. in 2010 he was elected his colleagues to be the top democrat in the house budget committee, it post he still holds today. congressman van hollen has the distinction of being the only member of congress who grew up in the u.s. foreign service. the other was john kerry who has since moved on to secretary of state. he was born in karachi pakistan and went to grade school in turkey, high school in india and early in his career was an arms control expert in the u.s. senate. i would add that both his parents were distinguished state department officials. his father highly respected ambassador and member of the foreign service and his mother one of the government's top analyst on afghanistan in the
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region. i would also add in this arid of chairman rogers and our previous speaker congressman van hollen in his leadership on the budget issues and elsewhere has shown himself to be a strong bipartisan leader looking for consensus and putting the interest of the country first and we are delighted to have you with us today. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you for coming. >> coming. >> it's great to be here. >> thank you very much for your generous introduction and it's a great to be taking a break in budget negotiations frankly. your biosays you are an arms control expert in the senate but i should add is a former senate staffer who worked for senator hagel on the foreign relations relations -- relations committee and someone who wrote my dissertation at sais on iraq that you are more than that really. your report for the foreign relations committee in 1988 and
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89 and chemical weapons use in iraqi kurdistan during saddam hussein and peter galbraith. that was a historical staff report and you have been invested in his chemical weapons issue and something you have spoken and written passionately about in your career about how the control. addressing the theme of the conference put the u.s.-russia agreement on chemical weapons in syria in context and i might add every member when we spoke back in the spring, you were cautious about what you call the unintended consequences of u.s. support for arming the syrian rebels about a military strike. is this u.s.-russia deal of blueprint for dealing with nonproliferation and conflict resolution in syria resolution in syria? >> first of all andrew let me thank you and l. monitor for
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hooking up with sais and dolly nasr in putting this together. it's great to be here. i think to answer that question and to look at how the whole situation if faults with respect to our position on chemical weapons in syria and how it unfolded. number one, as you indicated the united states and the international community have ever since world war i said that chemical weapons as weapons of mass destruction are particularly heinous form of warfare fan there are numerous international conventions to prohibit their use. and so i believe there is absolutely appropriate for the resident to draw a line on the use of chemical weapons in syria. yes there are lots of other terrible weapons that are being used in syria but international community has recognized that
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line is one that we want to prohibit from being -- so i thought the president was right to establish that red line and when the assad regime crossed the red line it was very appropriate for the president to say he was now prepared to use limited force for the purpose of making sure that we have deterred any future use of chemical weapons in syria. he was clearly prepared to move forward. it was that point that the russians realized in this case we had have a common interest. the russians had an interest in preventing the united states from taking military action against assad, their close ally that the russians also had an interest of course in making sure that in syria those very dangerous weapons did not fall into the hands of some of the most extreme islamic al qaeda related elements.
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this is obviously one area in syria where we and the russians do have some common interest because we in the united states also want to ensure that in the chaos in syria you do not have al qaeda type extremist elements taking root and certainly it would be dangers to the united states and russia to have chemical weapons fall into their hands. from my perspective the russians out of the virtue of necessity in a sense we were prepared to take military action and we found a way to achieve our mutual goal which was to prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of extremist elements and in our case getting our web and out of the hands of the side who had clearly demonstrated a willingness to use them. so look, it's always hard to make large generalizations based
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on specific cases but at least in this case i do believe that it was something that was in our interest and i disagree with my friend mike rogers in this. the notion that somehow the russians were the big winners at the expense of the united states in this deal is just to me absurd. the president's goal with respect to the threat of force was very specific. he wanted to accomplish the goal of getting rid of the chemical weapons. a lot of people who were upset that we didn't end up using military force had a very different goal in mind with respect to the military force. they wanted the military force for the purpose of trying to change power situations on the ground. the president never indicated that was the purpose and frankly as you look toward iran, the
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presidents distinction between using force for the purpose of getting rid of weapons of mass destruction versus the use of force for the purpose of regime change also sent i think an important message. so look, i think this was an area where russians and the united states were able to work together in something that had common interests. obviously we. obviously we'd still have divergent interests with respect to syria and the assad regime but we have a common interest in making sure that whatever happens in syria we do not have an al qaeda like situation. as mike rogers did say you have an influx of foreign fighters. you have got on this rough and the cis so you have got it pretty toxic mix in syria now that these extreme elements. >> are you hopeful for the
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geneva process in syria and do you see the u.s. russian collaboration there as a step in the right direction in bringing the parties together to end the war? >> look, i think everybody recognizes for most people recognize that the only solution to the huge challenges in syria are in negotiating a settlement so to the extent we are trying to get people around the table to negotiate a settlement is obviously an important step. i also think people recognize the challenges are huge in being able to bring together and actually reach a settlement. but i do believe that this is another example where russian u.s. cooperation could again bear fruit and again it converges on one area of common interest there, which is from our spec is to see a transition
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away from the current regime. i think done in a way that doesn't create a vacuum that brings them what is an even worse case scenario which is allowing syria to become a vase of operations for some of these extremist groups in this situation. >> let me turn to iran for a moment. i think you heard some of chairman roger's comments. he felt that we got a bad deal and iran. there is some talk as i mentioned by house republicans about passage of the resolution or some type of legislation in the house and i think more tellingly there are some in the senate who may consider further sanctions bill. the white house does not want them to have that in congress at
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the time. you have been a supporter of sanctions on a rant and i think you cosponsored the engel bill. you have also been obviously a supporter of israel and other allies and shared some concerns about the agreement. it's now the time for more sanctions and legislation on iran? >> you are right andrew, i have been it did supporter of economic sanctions on iran. to bring ivan to the negotiating table in a serious way so that we could do everything possible to try to negotiate a diplomatic solution to prevent iran from taking a nuclear weapon, the those are the purposes of the sanctions that my view was the more pressure we can bring to bear to accomplish that all, so for example i supported the sanctions in the house earlier in the summer that went over to
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the united states senate. however, again what was the purpose of those sanctions? the purpose of the sanctions was to have a serious negotiation and i strongly disagree with mike's characterization of the six-month interim agreement. it's an interim agreement. to suggest that it's somehow dangerous to me actually, it is somewhat naïve in this sense. you have to compare this agreement to what the alternative is. what does this agreement due? this agreement says that the iranians have to mutualize their entire stockpile up more highly-enriched uranium by 5% in the 20% range. they essentially have to freeze their nuclear enrichment plant
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in the other areas. on the iraq reactor, again a freeze. meanwhile, the sanctions that are in place overwhelmingly remain in place. all the sanctions on oil and the financial or are all in place. in fact during the next six months as you probably read iran will lose between 25 and $30 billion in lost oil and the sales that they are allowed to go into essentially escrow account with the exception of $4.5 billion that will be released in a staggered way over a six month. not conditioned on their continued compliance and little relief in some of these other areas. the sanctions regime overwhelmingly remains in place during this. not and everyone has said you mentioned the race to break out.
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it does add a little time to the clock frankly before you could have an iranian breakout so it's hard to argue that situation is more dangerous especially when you consider the fact that this is all reversible to any violation disagreement. the point he leaned dollars could conveniently go back into place. the president has the authority under existing sanctions to further increase sanctions in the united states congress would be the very first to move very quick way to impose additional sanctions. so at this point in time i would argue you have to move very carefully, tread very carefully in this area with respect to new sanctions for two reasons. one, the reasons the sanctions were successful was because they are international sanctions. the united states didn't have
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close economic relationships with iran. the reason these sanctions are successful as we have our european partners and indians and the chinese and the turks and the russians and others to participate in the sanctions. to the extent that our allies do not think that we are serious about are suing a diplomatic position first we have a real risk that they will no longer participate in the sanctions and then you end up in the worst of two worlds. no sanctions so no more money and then the iranians can move forward without penalty within nuclear program if that is what they decide to do. second, look, this is not a question of trusting the iranians. this is a question of testing the iranians and we will be verified -- verifying every move. i can't read the minds of the iranians and in iran i think we know there's a debate within the
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leadership. you have president rouhani who was elected on a plat dorm trying to relieve the sanctions because of the terrible economic situation. in iran right now but you also have lots of folks in iran revolutionary guard and others who would probably like to see this whole bring unravel to the extent that we take steps that give the revolutionary guard ammunition to try to undermine the effort, then it seems to me that we harm ourselves. so bottom line, we are not going into this thinking that the iranian regime changes character. there are rational reasons why iran might decide to limit its nuclear program to exclusively peaceful purposes.
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there are others who would say that's not the case. we should just test that it is ultimately if this doesn't work the only remaining option is the one the president has said his eyes been on the table which is the use of force and it seems to me comments of this effort need to explain why they would want to skip over the diplomatic tesd inevitably lead to iran continuing with its nuclear program and then the only alternative is the one we have on the table but would like to avoid which is the use of force. i think there's a big burden on the opponents of this agreement to let people know that is their final position. skipping over it. >> what the about the concerns of our allies, israel saudi arabia and others about the deal lacks how should we manage that at this point? >> well, there are concerns obviously but i would point out that if you actually look at the
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statements that came out from a lot of the gulf states including the saudi's after they read the final agreement, they were quite tempered. that doesn't mean they are in -- there are now concerns underneath but if you look at the statements they were not -- i wouldn't characterize them the way mike has. if you look at the situation within israel, you obviously have lots of the folks in the military and security establishment who has said yeah this is something, it's an important step. you have got the former head of mossad and the former military intelligence and a lot of the leaders of the other political parties so look, i understand the prime minister's position. the congress often plays an important role in this debate as the bad cop to the good cop and i think there is an important role there. and i think you know the prime
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minister is a very good negotiator in addition to obviously looking out for the security interests of this country so i think that, and i think already he has turned his focus on what we should all be focused on which is a comprehensive agreement. what are the parameters? how can we design that to achieve our kids here and find out whether or not the iranians are serious. so i think with respect to our allies the best way to reassure them is to try to keep them well informed. after all they share the goal of making sure iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon and i think they recognize doing nothing is simply allows iran to proceed on its way. now there are some that would
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say okay iran it be on its way in the united states should be allowed to use force. our view is again that remains on the table as an option but it is not the preferred way to address this challenge. >> what the me ask you about egypt. a difficult transition that is continued since the tahrir square era elections and the elections of morsi, morsi being deposed by the military government. in terms of elections we still have violence in the streets. what should u.s. policy be toward egypt and shouldn't the congress be involved in conditioning u.s. assistance to egypt at this time? >> egypt is an incredibly tough case as we all know right now. defining it and drawing our policy with respect to egypt has been a huge challenge. i think the administration has
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done a good job under difficult circumstances. that has left our policy kind of murky and it's because the situation in egypt is murky and we are trying to balance different interests. the result of course has been we have kind of made both sides angry. the alternative of course is to come down either strongly against the current government order to send a signal that you know the elections don't matter and we don't care about a free and open process. look, i think what we need to do was calibrate our response to say that we want egypt to move in the direction that we had all hoped they would be moving in which is toward a more open
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process rule of law. to send a signal that we are worried about some of these recent measures and clamp down on the ability of people together to protest and you've mentioned tahrir square. as you know the most recent laws passed totally outlawed the gathering of people so i think it is important for the united states to send a signal that we support the rule of law and the right of people to petition their government but we also have ongoing important security interests and we do not want to totally alienate them. lcc and the government. that is why the calibrated response to the administrations to say we are going to withhold some of our military support, not all but some and we want to continue to work with the government as they transition
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back towards the original aspirations. look, there is no easy answer from my perspective. in egypt it's been particularly challenging situation. the ask you about iraq which is the country that has been discussed for some time, for decades now. terrorism in iraq is as bad as it's ever been. going back to the worst years during the u.s. occupation there. how do you see iraq at this point and what can and should the u.s. be doing their and do you see the rise of terrorism in iraq to syria and other albums we are seeing with the rise of salafi groups in the region? >> i think it's exacerbated at
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that but just to rewind the clock a little bit. it's interesting to hear some folks now who suggest the six-month interim agreement with iran is somehow strengthening the iranians when i think we all know the one thing in the last decade that did most to strengthen iran was the war in iraq and the fact that the united states took the action it did in iraq. we now have iraq allowing uranium plants to -- so just in terms of the balance of power in that region, nothing strengthen iran more than the iraq war. what happened in iraq obviously did result in unleashing all these latent tensions between
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the sunni and the shia. in iraq as you mentioned of course you have the kurds in the north who have been a little bit of an island of stability there but you already had middle east tensions. they have been greatly exacerbated by the situation in syria because what you have got now as as i said you have an influx of foreign fighters into serious so a lot of the al qaeda in iraq folks that are now playing in syria and they're also playing back into iraq. you have just seen this terrible retail that he recently. first of all you've got the violence against the shia in iraq but then you also have the violence of the al qaeda extremists against some of the sunni tribal leaders who had
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cooperated with us. i guess the short answer to your question is yes it's very concerning to see this continued spiral of violence there. it is related to syria. you are also of course seeing us will over effect in lebanon. so i mean there's no doubt that there are these deep schisms reinforce by the proxy war with iran and hezbollah on the one hand and a side and the others making it a very difficult situation which get back to your earlier question on geneva. it's hard to have very high hopes but what is the alternative? we have got to find a negotiating settlement to these issues. and as mike says to do everything we can with our own resources to moderate on the
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counterterrorism threat but yes you have the deep schisms that are argued there in iraq in flames further by what's happening in the region. >> thank you. i'm going to open up the floor for questions at this point. again please be concise in your question and state your name and affiliation when called upon. >> marked with george mason university. thank you congressman for a very interesting conversation. that sort of shows that i'm a little bit older and my question is as follows. i remember that the soviet american rapprochement of the early 1970s appear to succeed because we were able to agree on the nuclear issue but it ended up floundering because the
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differences with regard to regional conflicts and soviet support for their allies which we didn't appreciate and i'm just wondering now, even if we make progress with iran on the nuclear issue, is it possible if iran continues to so strongly support syria and hezbollah and similar allies? are we bound to disagree on this and does this need to be part of our conversation with the iranians? thank you. >> thank you and that's obviously a big question. you are right, i would agree. during the cold war, you know the international competition between the united states and the soviet union was a zero-sum game. anywhere we did well we assumed they were on the short end of the stick in anyplace they were quote doing well we were on the losing end. that is just the way it was
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great the only exception to the rule was not in the area of international competition but as you say and it came in that we could enter into some arms control agreements that are in her mutual interest but in terms of the international it was a zero-sum game. i think what we have seen in some of these limited cases like cooperation on the chemical weapons program in syria that there have been some opportunities where we have been able to work together. hopefully with respect to the iranian nuclear program that would be another. but you are absolutely right. all these other issues swirling around. after all russia has more perspective, has not been a helpful player in syria overall and it has not been helpful in a lot of other areas.
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but, i do believe that the discussions should be broadened. they are being broadened with questions obviously over syria. i don't think we should put too much, in terms of the negotiations with the iranians on the nick lear program. i think we have to focus on that specific issue. that doesn't mean we can't also be addressing other issues but i think what we have to avoid is any suggestion that there are some hot trade-offs with respect to an agreement on a policy issue in syria with respect to negotiation over the net or your program. the new lear program we have very clear object this. we want to make sure that there is no way that iran can develop, if it doesn't have a nuke leer infrastructure, it would allow
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any kind of you know short, medium path to a nuclear weapon. they are not going to unlearn their tech elegy they have learned that our goals have to be very focused on that. that does not mean it couldn't possibly you know grow into a larger discussion. i mean i would welcome that. again we have to test this at every wind. my concern is that some people put such high expect haitians on this discussion that they think in addition to trying to deal with the nuclear issue, if we don't change iran's spots on these other issues we can't go through with her our negotiation on the question so it would reimport and to test the possibility on these other fronts but not at the expense in
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moving forward with the nuclear talks. in the next six months and beyond, are going to be huge opportunities but also the risks obviously and on the one hand people say well iran's got such a good deal because the iranian people a lot of them are happy about it. well, what that tells me is expectations among a lot of iranians especially young iranians are that they are going to have a greater opening with the west. they have got to move forward on their economies so in that sense there are pressures on the iranians to try to make sure that they release the full sanctions and we have to make sure that we are not going to release the full sanctions until we get exactly what we want in terms of narrowing the scope of their program and at the same
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time you obviously have a whole group in tehran that would like to see this whole process failed. so it's going to be a really, a very tense time. lots of hope but also a huge amount of things that can go wrong. and i would argue the danger of having anyone take any action here that might send a signal that the united states did not want to fully test this during the six months would as i said i'm the wind the unity we have achieved and the sanctions, and then if this doesn't work out and you have to look at the other alternatives the president has kept on the table, you don't want, you still want to have some kind of international support for any follow on action and the perception is that
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somehow the united states didn't give us the full testing testint should, then that would be harmful to our interests. >> congressman correct me if i'm wrong, it's a point you have made but for full sanctions relief to take place in iran which is the conditions in the iran sanctions act, one of those conditions is iran is no longer state sponsor of terrorism and all that's wmd and missile programs are accounted for, that it's no longer a threat to the u.s. interests and allies in the region. so that conversation about hezbollah and other issues has to be had at some point. and it has to be a conversation that would go to congress i think for the president will have to certify to the congress that those issues have been satisfied, those conditions have been satisfied.
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we have talked several times, that is the issues that the nuclear agreement could pose on lebanon and hezbollah that need to be had. so andrew is right, if you look at the language of the sanctions that you have requirements that the president makes certain certifications, there are also provisions that allow the president to make certain waivers on national interests grounds. so there's actually some amount of ambiguity and the degree to which the executive ranch could if it so chose to waive sanctions based on different findings. national interest findings versus findings that iran might have met a number of criteria. outlook i agree the political reality is that discussion will have to take place. what i just want to be clear is
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that yes, we should be absolutely pushing the iranians at every juncture to change their conduct in these other areas. what i want to make clear is that the iranians don't get a looser -- they don't get a more liberal nuclear infrastructure in iran in exchange for that cooperation. in other words we are not going to say okay you can keep more of your nuclear infrastructure because you are cooperating here. that we will not do. it's fine to also talk about these other issues, not just find that it would be useful. >> hi. thank you mr. congressman for
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your very interesting presentation. i have two questions. one is, whenever i have the chance to meet and iranians they raise the question of the double standards, why the united states is coming to terms with the idea that pakistan already is a nuclear power and all the facilities that will be needed in order to arm their missiles while as we know they offer a safe haven for bin laden. they will say the future of pakistan doesn't look much better than the future of iran and there is no reason to trust the iranians more than the pakistanis. the other thing is the linkage between the peace process in the middle east, the israeli-palestinian peace process. for the first time the president netanyahu admitted there was a
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linkage and the linkage he made was the way the negotiations, the p5+1 would be satisfactory and will help us to move on the palestinian track. the israeli negotiators said the linkage goes the other way around. that the focus in the palestinian negotiations that secretary kerry is working so hard in order to achieve will of course have certain effects on the negotiations with iran. which one do you agree with? >> you no, there is a saying in politics that some of my friends really believe strongly in this one position and my other friends really believe strongly in a totally different position. i'm going to make a really tough
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decision here and i'm going to side with my friends. i guess my point is, i think that we should, i really applaud secretary kerry and the president for really trying to reengage on the israeli-palestinian negotiations. i know there are lots of people that think it's a fools errand. i happen to think it's a very important and that the clock is ticking in a very big way on the possibility for a settlement there. there are lots of people who think the clock as already run out but i don't really want to get into -- i think you can imagine lots of different ways in which success in the israeli-palestinian discussions could have a positive influence in the negotiations with iran. but the timetables, while we set a six-month deadline, there are
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some overlap in the timetables. i just think that you know regardless of what happens in iran, we need to move ahead on the israeli-palestinian negotiations for a whole set of reasons and that while there could be -- there are a number of different interactions, i don't think one is a justification for moving are not moving ahead. with respect to you know what the iranians say about the pakistani nuclear program, i think we just have too say there are lots of contradictions in the national system. you have a special dynamic between the pakistani, pakistanis and the indians. there you have some countries that have never signed the npt. iran did sign it.
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there are parties in the npt and fat as you know you have to abide by the requirements of the npt and the reality is iran did violate the terms of the npt by trying to develop all the secret programs. they were clearly in violation of the provisions of the agreement that they signed and that is why the international community has been so suspicious and why the international community in my view has every right to pass the resolution said the united nations passed and the security council passed and we need to hold them to it. they can say it's not fair that we signed the npt and they didn't sign the npt but they did sign the npt. and so to get to the earlier point, look, you also have the fact about the international behavior and conduct of iran.
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that has some bearing on people's perception of the risks of people getting in it we are weapon. iran's conduct made people rightly fearful of what would happen. for all those reasons i think we are right to be focused as we are on the uranium program. >> allen plotz at slice, a teacher here now. in response to a question that andrew raised to congressman rodgers about the role congressman rodgers talked about the sanctions which has been a long-standing interest of congress. my question to you concerned that get funding particularly appropriate because the ranking member on the house budget committee has an agreement next week. do you see your house colleagues
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particularly the republican caucus supporting the kind of funding levels and flexibility for the defense intelligence communities that would seem to be indicated at the kind of policies congressman rodgers would like to see the united states follow? e.u. are right, we are in the middle of budget negotiations and it would be great if we could get an agreement by next week. right now it's still up in the air but to your question, i think when it comes to providing the resources necessary for the defense and intelligence community, there is a but partisan support for that part of the budget. with respect to other very important parts of our national security budget however, we have had less success in convincing
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some of our republican colleagues. what i mean by that is the other parts of what i think are important and robust policy which includes other forms of assistance. development assistance economic assistance and other really important tools of foreign-policy which as secretary gates and other secretaries of defense have made clear, the state department budget is unique in comparison with the defense budget but again an awful lot of benefit from some of those state department both in terms of assistance, economic assistance and other forms of assistance and it's that part of the category of the budget where we have had a lot less success in getting bipartisan support. although i would say in the senate we have more, much more bipartisan support so for example senator lindsey graham
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and senator john mccain have been very big supporters of a robust state department budget as well. but in the house certainly some of our colleagues on the public inside a specially broadly defined as the tea party folks, i mean they have got, it's been really difficult trying to convince them of the important national security arguments in favor of that assistance. but again this is a constant back-and-forth and if you look at the house republican budget over the ten-year period it dramatically dramatically, it would dramatically cut the category of the budget for the state department operations. so we will have to work together to try to prevent it. if you want to do the kinds of things that might rodgers wants to do and i agree with most of what he said on afghanistan, i
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think it was a corset big mistake at least from my perspective for the united states to disengage at the end when the soviets withdrew from afghanistan. i think we did create a vacuum that did lead to al qaeda being able to exploit that vacuums i think it's important we maintain a presence there and if we are going to maintain a presence there we sure had better make sure that we provide the resources necessary for our folks. >> think rhonda, did you have a question? >> thank you. congressman, you rightly mentioned that one area of common interest that the united states has with russia and syria is to prevent syria from becoming a base of operations
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for al qaeda and if i may add maybe another common interest between the united states and russia that is preserving moral integrity because once we start changing that regime and not part of the world the changes will have many repercussions. my question is as follows. do you foresee in the medium term a scenario whereby c. assad staying in power is being endangerment to achieving these common interests that we share with the russians? >> i think that the american position which i support has been you had in syria at the beginning of the arab spring a
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real movement which early on we think represented the aspirations of the majority of the syrian people across different set carrion lines for more openness and for a change. the assad regime is a brutal regime that suppresses the rights of the syrian people. and so we need to change the regime in syria. now, the challenge of course has been ambassador crocker has spoken a lot on this recently is somebody who is very knowledgeable of the dynamics in the region. yes, from our perspective we think that the syrian people deserve a government that represents their aspirations. we just need to make sure that as we transition, which is the goal of any political
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negotiation, toward a different government, a negotiated alternative. i know we need to have a negotiated agreement because otherwise if you don't negotiate that transition, the risk of course is that you have these other very extreme al qaeda related elements taking advantage of the situation. we know that they are militarily strong. they have been militarily stronger than the other opposition elements, and so that is in some cases is the worst case i would argue outcome is a total failed state where al qaeda and the most extreme elements are able to operate. there is an area where clearly russia and the united states and a lot of other folks in the region have an interest which is why we are cooperating and
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trying to get the negotiations going. the challenge of course is the different parties in the negotiations perceive themselves to be in somewhat different positions power wise as they go through those negotiations which influences people's ability or willingness i should say to work toward what i think should be the goal which is to transition to a negotiated government that at our reflects the aspirations of the american people, of the syrian people as evidenced by what we saw during the early days of the arab spring, not the early days but during that hopeful period. >> we have time for one last question. the second row. >> thank you for your earlier
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remarks. the former operation which was put before them it's understandable the emphasis on iran by the united states allies signed 50 years ago in a completely different international environment and five countries have decided that they have a right to have this weapon and others don't. at that time we were able to deliver to guarantee that this treaty will be respected. now it's completely different. we have several countries which have -- already. do you think it still possible to deny rights to have this weapon now since only by force it doesn't work and the moral base is nonexisting. first of all i would make a
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couple of points. i think most people agree and i certainly think russia and the united states agreed that a world where more countries have nuclear weapons is a more dangerous world. i would argue that the proliferation of nuclear weapons makes it a more dangerous world and more likely you will see nuclear weapons used or transferred or a world in which you know more bad at erskine get access to nuclear material that is not added duly safeguarded, which is why as you indicated the post-war period, those countries put in place the npt in the form that they did which said, and the npt i would argue does not give you a quote right
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to enrich but clearly it does provide a vehicle for countries for the peaceful use of nuclear power under certain conditions. just an aside on the right to enrichment which has been you know part of this discussion over the agreement, the six-month interim agreement, you know the actual language in the agreement is mutually agreeable program. i have said to some of my colleagues if somebody said you have the right to free speech, i have to say over what you are going to be a loud to say and what the form of your speech will be? would you tell me that's a right to free speech or would you say i was intruding on your right re-speech and the reality is the language says you have to have a mutually of readable program and
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the reasons for that go back to the fact that you now iran was a violation of the npt. you have a much broader question which has to do with the overall architecture. i still think that it provides an international architecture that makes the world a little less dangerous place. obviously enforcing it is an ongoing challenge and look, there are as you know many countries that do have civilian only nuclear power program. you have got japan and lots of other countries and you know another reason, just -- russia has an important role in these iran talks. you have the busheir powerplant. as an example of providing nuclear power but also having provided the nuclear fuel with
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it. but that is connected to the grid right now. the issue, one of the issues with the iranian nuke your program is that the amount of material they have enriched right now, the quantities are much larger than our justified any civilian use. the number of centrifuges they have are much more justified by any current civilian use of nuclear power which is why people rightfully asked the question, if what you say is true that you want an exclusively peaceful civilian program, why do you have this large infrastructure? and so the final agreement here is going to have to get at exactly that issue. i mean and that has got to be part of it. >> congressman, i thank you for coming out today. as one of our questioners mentioned i know there are
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pretty intense talks in the house budget committee now. i know your commitment to those issues, i know you work closely with chairman riemann at -- brian across the aisle to get the best deal possible for the country. tricky issues on so many different levels but i know you are hard at it and we are hopeful for deal but i appreciate you taking the time. >> it's great to be a list talk about something other than the budget for a while. very important issues for the country office lee and the international community. thank you. >> thank you congressman. [applause] see if you could all take your seats please we would like to begin the next panel. those of you who are in the back, please feel free, there are some seats up front. [inaudible conversations] i would now like to introduce
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the moderator for a next panel on the u.s.-russia and the middle east, margaret warner chief foreign affairs correspondent at the "pbs newshour" and i'm pleased to say at this point that they'll monitor and news hour have agreed to coproduce joint web specials about the middle east posted by margaret warner beginning in 2014. welcome. >> thank you very much. i look forward to that and i look forward to our panel today. we have some fabulous participants. i know you know the mall and i will give brief introductions in a minute but as was referred to this morning we are seeing growing russian at least engagement in the middle east after quite a few decades of nonengagement. ..

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