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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 10, 2015 8:00am-10:01am EDT

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a conventional war. why? because it allows iran to begin to almost immediately begin stockpiling conventional weapons. those in the gulf region are so concerned about that there were promising than they can get more weapons and by more advanced weapons from us. .. it destabilizes. i've heard over and over again today, what's our message to the world when the rest of the world has signed off on this and yet we say "no"? here's our message to the world: iran is screaming "ge "death to america." israel is also standing up and saying this is a terrible deal for our nation and for the stability of the world. it's not about our message to the world. it's about standing up and being the world's superpower. that's who we are. let's take responsibility for our position in the world and to be able to finish what we're doing. i've also heard multiple times i've also heard multiple times a i've also heard multiple times
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today come inside not the deal will tougher diplomacy in the future. every time i've heard that i've smiled at god, are you kidding me? with what leverage. this is our leverage. the sanctions are the leverage. we are going to get tougher in the future. this is the toughest moment. it gets softer from here. iran is the single largest sponsor of terrorism in the world. they've made a change against yemen or their actions against a solid in syria. this deal is though, hope, not on facts and trusts. everyone in this body hopes to get a diplomatic solution. we cannot base an agreement with iran on hope if we cannot verify it, if we cannot see the
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documents, if there's been no change in behavior. we should assume we still have the status quo. let's push back. let's get the better deal. let's not allow centrifuges to stay in place and continue ballistic missile testing. the deal is half cooked. let's get a fully baked and finished a diplomatic solution but not just hope this works out in the days ahead. with that, i yield back. >> mr. president. >> senator from georgia. >> i rise today to speak about a troubled time in my life and in this body. i didn't think this moment would arise and make tenure in the united states senate. but tonight i'm very troubled
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about being a member of this body. a few short months ago we told the american people in our foreign relations committee that we can work together. we unanimously passed a bill that gave this body, the u.s. congress, the president and his administration denied us by not allowing us to be treated as a treaty. yet here we stand today even though after a unanimous vote came out of the committee and 98 senators voted to get a look at the dl, we sit here tonight without the ability to tell people back home that we will in fact have a vote on this deal. i find that terribly, terribly troubling. as a matter of fact, i am in paris. the people back home deserve better than this body is providing.
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they are in bipartisan opposition to this deal. democrats and their deep conscience are going to oppose the president. i respect that. but there is not bipartisan support for this deal. there is a huge difference. only one group in this body is appointing the president stay with iran and i am troubled by that. i applaud senator corker as chairman of that committee. under their leadership we got to this point. without it though, we wouldn't be sitting here tonight. we would already be implementing this deal and we would've told the american people we don't have the constitutional balance between united and a state senate and house of representatives and the legislative branch of the constitution calls for. we gave up. here we are and i would like for every member of this body is going to vote for this studio to
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answer to the people back home, and how does this make the world safer for their children and their children's children. mr. president, you built his career. we've seen a lot of deals. we've negotiated a lot of deals in the way i look at deals as you try to evaluate both those sites get in the deal. let's look at this from that perspective. first of all, iran gets a windfall for bad behavior. 30 years of noncompliance of npt requirement in the first thing we will do is give them a windfall somewhere between 60 and $150 billion. we know by the administration sounded mission that we can depend on some of that money. last year $6 billion into terror support around the middle east and other parts of the world. grandmasters than $17 billion supporting our military.
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that puts the windfall in perspective. one of the first things that reagan did when the administration announced the deal is sent representatives from moscow. doesn't take much imagination to see the behavior will not change because they give them a windfall? we are encouraging bad behavior. second, i would like to know where our four american hostages are. third inning, iran gets to enrich. this is my biggest problem. we gave at the ability to stop iran from enriching. to me, this is the fundamental problem in this deal. breakout without enriching capability is two to three years, not two to three months. as a matter of fact, the president said this deal after 13 years allows iran to have a breakout. that is basically zero.
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who are we kidding? after 15 years, all bets are off. we've provided a pathway to enriched uranium and i find that troubling. unlike many countries who have civil nuclear programs that are peaceful and not allowed to enrich, we feel that this bad actor to step up and be treated by countries like germany, japan, holland, brazil, argentina. i find that troubling. number four, they get access to the world oil market in five short years. it's important because of the supported terrorism but gives them access to a nuclear weapons capability through technology available only through the arms market. number four, after a short years they get access to the intercontinental ballistic technology. why in the world as a rogue nation who says they only want a
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civil nuclear program for power generation, why in the world does this administration negotiators gave them the right to have access after a short years to ballistic missile technology. they currently have a missile that has a 1200-mile range. that easily brings israel and eastern europe into range. if they have access in eight years to ballistic missile technology, their only intent can be to have a missile that can deliver a missile armed with a nuclear warhead to washington d.c. i find that very troubling. number five, iran gets access to technology for centrifuges. not only do they get to keep the centrifuges, 19,000. they keep 5000 or so i did. i agree with what senator langford just sad. they have antiques right now.
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they're allowing us to trade. there's a good reason for that. it shortens the time for them to develop enough fissile material to have a nuclear weapon. thanks, iran is to delay inspectors. this is important because we allow them to enrich. don't miss that. what we've done this allowed them to dictate the inspection protocol. i've never seen a deal where that was allowed. this to me is unconscionable. the fact that his secret deals is important but the fact we allow them with no u.s. participation and the iaea, we take samples under the protocol of his action. this ideas are unconscionable. i would never in business sign a deal wherever they go document does not expose. how in the world.
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i understand side agreements on normal operating procedure between the iaea and the countries they are in. this is different. this is a public global deal dealing with a country like iran and we need to see that. i can imagine how anybody would approve the deal and explain to their constituents how this makes sense for the safety of children and grandchildren when we don't know what is in there a legal document. i would argue what i hear the number one goal for this administration is a legacy for this failed president. i'm sorry, but that's the only real benefit i can see. the world's largest sponsor of terrorism by passing nuclear agreements to promise to be a good actor. that's what we get? the ayatollah today that israel
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will not exist in 25 years. this does not seem like a good art or to meet who will change behavior because we brought them into submission. why do we believe a word of a nation that's been a revolutionary pariah as 1979? have we forgotten that 52 united states american citizen for 444 days were held hostage in tehran. members of our embassy 40 fives acres ago with the same regime, the same mentality we have just now entered into the most devastating foreign policy agreement in my lifetime, maybe in the history of united states. no deal but i can read in history put the united states in more jeopardy going forward than
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ms. nuclear deal with iran. we get my rant about continuous bad behavior. that's easy to predict. even during the negotiation, mr. president, they continue to fight the fact sub is murderous regime which is one of the most devastating humanitarian crises that is just now coming to light. you and i made a trip along with the later a few months ago. we sat in jordan and listen to the plea of those people receiving refugees. they were telling us how serious this is not the media has picked up on it and you see devastating impact of what's going on. this deal is a manifestation of a much bigger problem. this president has failed that the executive branch is given in our cars petition. this is a manifestation of a big old failure, but it is devastating to the future
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security of our kids. today iran has a national holiday called death to america day. one of the hostages this year was moved from the second worst prison in iran to the worst prison in iran and guess what day he was moved on? death to america day. i find that insulting. mr. president, as we heard i have a different market with the the country needs. i'm an engineer, but a country needs three things. first of all they have to have fissile material. there is a pathway for them to get there legally. they are not violate the agreement. they'll get there in a short period of time. second thing is they have to have a device for warheads in five short years they have
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access to the military arms community where that's totally assessable today. third, they have to have a delivery mechanism in eight short years access to the intercontinental ballistic missiles so if they want a breakout, they will have missile technology and they can bring a missile warhead break down on her in this chamber. without domestic enrichment, iran's breakout period is two to three years, not two to three months. president obama claimed we could not get a deal for giving iran the rights to enrich. the sanctions brought to the table in the first place, we gave up on not too early. the president gave us a false choice and i'm insulted by that. it's either this deal which everybody agrees is a bad deal. even democrats tell us how flawed the deal is. i didn't hear one person stand up and tell us how great the deal was. issaquah heard this is the best deal we can get.
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we can't be any worse off than 10 years. it is absolutely possible to have a better deal. we don't need p5+1 if in fact we have determination to make her sanctions state. this $18 trillion economy is big enough to bring them back to the table and get the kind of deal that would protect our kids and grandkids. previous deals with south africa and libya as two examples gave up their enriching capabilities and they are good at yours regarding nuclear technology. this will not only allows iran to enrich that a list of nuclear enrichment programs of the international community. even threw in iran's enrichment program.
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i swear i just don't understand how they have good conscience and without smirking can stand in front of the american people and say it's a good deal. even secretary kerry said this is as good of the deal as the deal is we gave him the only alternative is war. i'm insulted by that. we talked about getting into the arms community allows them to do that. we don't know whether they have it or not today. iran would need many things but one thing they need is access to capital and access to global markets to drive their economy. let's remember one thing. why do we need all of this? the goal of this agreement was to never allow iran to become a nuclear weapons state.
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i just don't understand how the administration is standing up to say this is a good deal because it will preclude iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. in 1994 we send a similar deal with north korea. they told the american people if we voted how did that work out for us? today we face a similar situation just as predict it will. we can see the steel all but guarantee a nuclear iran. i can't support this in good conscience. mr. president, this is one of the worst deals have seen in my lifetime. i'm embarrassed we are sitting here and actually have to discuss this. this is so bad and so threatening to our children and children's children that we have got to stand up we've got to
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fight this all the way through. i urge my colleagues to join me tonight in this week in opposing this deal. thank you, mr. president. i yield my time. >> mr. president. >> the majority leader. >> substitute amendment 7640. >> the clerk will report the motion. he met with the undersigned senators with the same in most the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on senate amendment 2645 and 17 -- >> the reading of the names be dispensed with. >> without objection. >> a senate cloture motion for hj breads 61. >> the clerk will record the motion. >> we in accordance with the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on joint resolution amending the internal revenue code of 1986 and so forth signed
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by 17 senators. >> the information of colleagues, this cloture would write that on friday but i'm optimistic we will get consent to have the votes tomorrow afternoon. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> senator from arkansas. >> thank you, mr. president. i appreciate the senator from arkansas' remarks. despite president obama's initial objections to congressional oversight, the american people deserve a say in this critical national security map which i know has been negotiated behind closed doors. the bill was passed and may accomplish that. now the senate democrats are talking about taking that away by filibustering this debate. how about from passing senator
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corker's bill by a vote of 98-1 a few months ago to the potential filibuster is baffling to the american people. constituents want this debate. they have a number of concerns about this deal. we are here to represent them, not to protect the president from the difficult detail. when discussions began, president obama claimed we would diplomatically dismantle iran's nuclear program. the final agreement suggests this is the case. it is apparent the president and his negotiating partners were eager to give in to every demand made by the world's largest state-sponsored terrorism. the goalpost remote from dismantling iran's clandestine nuclear weapons programs to blindly hoping we can contain
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it. the deal president obama and secretary of state kerry have orchestrated by several key rings. it will not destroy a centrifuge. that means well over 1000 centrifuges will remain in place and one of iran's most infamous nuclear site. many will continue to operate. this is a fortified underground military bunker built in the sight of a mountain constructed in secret and has served only one purpose, to covertly produce weapons grade highly enriched uranium. when the talks began, the president must admit it must be closed as part of the final agreement. however, the course of negotiations president caved. iranians will maintain capacity to continue enrichment activities. the president claims
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verification will ensure iran's compliance and the verification appears to be exactly what this deal is likely. there is nothing in the deal that lets us confidently say we know what is going on at any of the nuclear sites in iran. there is no anytime anywhere inspections including florida and even worse international spec does want to be the ones handling inspections of the country's military complex. iranians themselves how this is acceptable to anyone is astonishing. there's no reason given the regime's history to believe the iranian inspectors will be honest about what is going on. a lack of verification as part of the only troubling aspect of this agreement. the iranian regime believes the agreement gives them full relief from sanctions.
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lifting sanctions will provide iran with $100 billion in previously frozen assets which the administration has admitted will go at least in part to the iranian military and terrorist options. it is hard enough to get the international community to commit to sanctions in the first place with the reprieve that the nation will never reestablish a should iran not live up to its end of the agreement which is a strong possibility given the iranian regime's past. allah with the sanctions relief international arms embargo and ban on ballistic missile research will also be in the next eight years iran will have access to modern offensive weaponry. this does not bode well for the rich and that puts security analysis at great risk.
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remember we talk about the world's leading state sponsor of terror. but we give up as a result of sanctions relief. the arms embargo, ongoing enrichment makes the world a more dangerous place. we have a responsibility to ensure a iran never achieves its goal of becoming a nuclear power. if iran goes nuclear, saudi arabia and other nations surely will follow. >> a nuclear iran could be devastating for america and allies. this is about giving children and grandchildren are the prospects of nuclear war. i can now confidently say it will accomplish this goal. i fear it moves us in the wrong direction. for that reason i oppose the deal and intend to support the resolution.
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>> middle-school and high school students and teachers, we are happy to announce the launch of the 2016th student cam documentary competition and with the presidential election year we are excited about this years theme, wrote to the white house. what issue do you most want candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign. the competition is open to all middle or high school students grades six through 12 and c-span is awarding $100,000 in cash prizes and students can work alone or join a group of up to three. your goal will be to produce a five to seven minute documentary on the issue selected and you need to include c-span programming and also explore opinions other than your own. the $100,000 cash prizes shared between 150 students and 53 teachers and the grand prize of $5000 to the student for a team of the best overall entry.
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deadline january 20, 2016 and winners announced on march 9th join us this year. the astute documentarian. to find much more information on our website, student >> director of national intelligence, james clapper was the main speaker at the national security summit in washington d.c. he says the state of u.s. intelligence and discuss the community's effectiveness and accountability. this is an hour. [applause] >> thank you, joe. good morning, everybody. delighted to see we have such terrific attendance here. asunder when i first arrived it would fill up the room. we've done more than that, so
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that is a testimony to the importance he attached to this conference. i would like to add a coach's comments regarding our partnership with afcea. we have and will continue to work even with afcea and the partnership next year. there is no better place to begin our exploration of the state of u.s. and taligent then with an address from director of national intelligence, james clapper, the fourth director of national intelligence and the leader of all united states intelligence. director clapper has served in the united states intelligence for over 50 years with more than 30 years in uniform. he has served as director of two
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national intelligence agencies. eia and the nga. he's been undersecretary of defense for intelligence and sa private sector executives and industry support to the intelligence community. is no intelligence later, past or present with director clapper's death and brett have experience across multiple intelligence domains in both in the private and public sector and i say that with all due humility as the first director of national intelligence i marvel at the wisdom and experience jim has brought to his job which i believe has really enhance the standing and prestige of the od and i am it's
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important unlike his predecessors he's managed to spend a good time that duty. i believe more than five years at this point. his career serves as an example of the power of both intelligence community integration and public private partnerships. when director clapper completes his remarks, i will moderate a question-and-answer session and look forward to including many of your questions as well. as was mentioned earlier, write them down and they will be collected from you by the conference staff. it is an honor to have director james clapper with us today. please join me in welcoming him to the 2015 intelligence and national security summit.
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[applause] >> well, thanks. it's great to be back on the stage with this integrated group and i spent the past five years preaching the gospel of the intelligence integration and it's been a major theme during my tenure as dni. it's the reason the office exists and what the 9/11 commission advocated and that's why it or intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act legislated. perhaps my successor will need to talk about it. this morning, seeing them work together almost makes me feel like intelligence integration is
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really catching on. by the way, moe and joe has a certain ring to it. either a singing duo horsing and car parts together. for the rest of the speech in the spirit of the negation is appropriate because you have the joy mode so going this morning. as evidenced by this. thank you both for the invitation to kick off the great summit and nurturing the spirit of working together. when i was here last year i spoke about are then national intelligence strategy quite literally on the day of publication was rolling off the presses. this year we don't quite have anything like that to talk about so i went to the summit website to read what mojo expected me to
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talk about. here's what the summit website said it would be discussing. u.s. intelligence is essential instrument of international power, perhaps never more powerful than today given advances in technology and with great power comes great responsibility. the last line really struck me. with great power comes great responsibility. apparently mojo think i am spiderman. the transparency i will tell you of course i'm not. i asked my staff and a staff and their fans look a lot worse by these uncle ben, just with less hair. i feel a personal connection to the web slinger. with that comes great responsibility was used to introduce the first comic book appearance in 1962 in the spring of 1963, as i was starting in
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the intel business, marvel published the first issue of the amazing spiderman. coincidence? yes. all kidding aside would have a lot in common with spiderman. we constantly have to worry about concerns, someone matching secret identities to everyday normal lives. both spiderman and his alter ego are known for genius level intellect and we are known for her geniuses in subjects ranging from mathematics and cryptology to denial and deception and even rocket science. spiderman is known for superhuman strength and a couple days a week i lift weights in our office. jim and my spotter says i'm pretty strong for a geezer. of course my spotter is one of my detail guys, so his evaluation prowess may be a
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little bit biased. spiderman is known for his cognitive spidey sense. many customers expect us to be clairvoyant when it comes to world events. spidey is known as the web slinger because he shoots spider webs from devices on this list. the bad guys derisively calling him webheads. i will grant you that is a stretch. there are even similarities between superman when it comes to governance. stanley and marvel created spiderman is still published by the comics. sony pictures has created control on film. similarly every agency other than cia and odni integrate priorities and resources is not
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easy. particularly when it comes to following different laws, rules and processes that reside in each one of those cabinet departments. while we listen to similarities, don't forget sony pictures and i had a less than friendly interaction with north korea. either way, every spidey fan here hopes we can integrate efforts for an awesome role in captain america's double were. we have a lot in common with a character whose marvel comics most popular. i will set aside those comparisons for a few minutes because those two sentences on the website, the ones posted under my picture make a good point. intelligence is a powerful and essential tool for national security and again with great
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power comes great responsibility. those statements have been through as long as i can remember and i can remember back a long way. my dad was in the business in world war ii as a consequence of traveling around, i grew up on intelligence i all over the world. back then we didn't talk about intelligence publicly. five decades later that is of course change. in fact, it's changed a lot over the last three years. i admit because of my experience growing up in the business and my five decades or so and intel at the transparency is now almost genetically untypical to me and i think back, which i want to do these days, if for a
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second lieutenant jim clapper in 1963 would be shocked by the level of detail we talk about and specifically intelligence at committees in general in 2015. that's been one of my major takeaways the last few years. yes we have to protect our methods and tradecraft. we have to be more transparent about the things we can talk about because now the american public expects us to talk about how we use the power of u.s. intelligence responsibly and again with great power comes great responsibility. that's a lesson i personally believe we didn't learn quickly in a family certainly includes me. that is why more and more we discuss our work to correct misunderstandings and try to
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help people grasp what we do, to show we are worthy of america's trust and improve we make worthwhile contributions to the security of americans and our friends and allies around the world. it is why over the past two years the community has declassified a dozen pages of documents about our work and the oversight of our work conducted by all three branches of government. by publishing declassified documents, i see on the record pushing them out on facebook and twitter they reach millions of people in the u.s. and around the world and that includes adversaries have also learned a lot from our transparency. but i think we've come down on the side of transparency is
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worth that cost. we declassified documents to show we follow the law and when they make mistakes, we do our best to live up to the wind stanley wrote a few months before i joined the intelligence business, with great power comes great responsibility. we understand the truth and by the president challenges us in january last year to formalize privacy protection for intelligence efforts at home and abroad and be more transparent how we implement protections. this past january published a comprehensive report answering challenges the president give us in 2014. we also supported the u.s.a. freedom act which authorizes increased reporting of how the icy exercises its authorities and the past february to publish the principles of intelligence trends. the end stood up with single
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representatives from all over. their purpose and i meet with these great people, to transform principles into action. i want to talk about those poor transparencies principles for just a moment. one provide appropriate transparency to enhance public understanding of the intelligence community. that says what we have to be transparent about and why appeared to be proactive in clear that information publicly available. it is in the how we should be transparent. at cavities and align goals and resources as policy is to support transparency implementation. the tenants.
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for safe protecting our trade craft activities is an individual activity for each person who holds a security clearance there will transparency is an institutional responsibility as an enterprise. if a member of the community, blue badge or green badge comes across information she thinks we should make public, we have processes in place already and if someone comes across something were doing wrong, we have lots of avenues to report the activity including whistleblowing. to make sure the workforce knows the rights and responsibilities with them publicizing how recommend something for declassification and blow a whistle and what the protections aren't they do so.
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we are also increasingly reaching out to the public as our transparency principle says we need to be given clear transparency. because of helping the public understand it is why we have declassified published on many documents. the tumblers selected are icing on the record side further 2014 and if you review as a big reason why the center national intelligence told to the south by southwest festival to engage a diverse group of people there and get them to help us identify themes in our next global trends report. it's also why we published a huge college of documents collect dead -- collected. later than we showed that we got to it. the publication gave us as much
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web traffic and the 750-psi in 2 billion page views as the website received in all 23rd teen and 2014 put together. was the result behind only wikipedia and tomorrow i'll be on the hill once again testifying cyberthreat and favor intelligence. transparency can help us when we are able to use imagery publicly. 2013 we showed how serious it is typical weapons on its own people in 2014 helps make public a diplomatic case against russia for obfuscating what happened to the airlines flight 17. we shared imagery to help people in need as they passed the anniversary of hurricane katrina couple weeks ago and found myself thinking about the work and g8 did back when i was
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director. the aftermath of the hurricane hurricane -- figuring out what the storm had done to new orleans in the state of louisiana and the state of mississippi. our decimated so much property, a readout of the waterways. in general helping him for situational awareness to manage the response to this disaster. the coast guard and nga ended up working closely together and i got to know her thad allen pretty well. i consider him a hero and friend. the spring my wife and i had dinner. we reminisced and told war stories. i found out among the few mementos displayed in their home
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is a three-dimensional map of new orleans given to him by nga when he retired and he recalled fondly the superb work and g8 did after hurricane rita and katrina as well as aftermath of the bp oil spill. that was all work that matter, that directly made a difference to american citizens and the people on the ground remembered. as we push forward a transparency initiatives have been able to help the tragedies and disasters around the world. last summer and fall the i see and nga had a huge and largely unsung impact on containment of a bullet in west africa by providing open beta on human geography on ngos involved. for the first time ever, setting up a publicly available website
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for disaster supporter. this spring with the lessons we learned from the ebola outbreak into action after the earthquake in nepal producing damage assessments, reporting the operating status of airfields and providing estimates displays people and studies of transportation. we save lives and set the community on the other side of the world on the route to recovery. those are things the community has done that i'm pretty proud of. once we made a commitment to be transparent to the listings in helping people in need for easy decisions, easy commitments to make going forward we have to be more transparent talking about hard decisions and difficult choices because we are in a difficult business and a challenging time. this morning i started my speech
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with a comparison of superficial similarities between the eyes the end spiderman. one other thing the intelligence community has in common and more directly and more distinctly with peter parker. this gets to the heart of our spiderman is one of the most popular characters since the first issue of the amazing spiderman. 52 years ago, the same year i started in intel, most comic looks primarily depicted the external struggle between superhero and super villain. with peter parker for the first-time comic readers saw a hero's inner struggles to share experiences of trying to keep the job and earn enough to survive, trying to talk to girls and watching helplessly as a loved one in dyes and more than anything else, peter struggles
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deciding what to do when his personal values came in conflict with each other. that is what made spiderman an interesting character to follow. people always related to his inner struggle. peter found sometimes he couldn't keep a promise to a friend and at the same time spiderman help someone in need. the intelligence community is composed of people who similarly face tough choices. this often gets lost in the public discussion. we estimate to two chemin workforce have principles and values that sometimes come into conflict. things like i need to keep sources and methods secret desire to be more open and transparent with what we do. things like pursuing terrorists and others that want to do harm to protecting privacy and civil liberties not just that this country but of the world.
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we are rarely the sometimes caught up in collection efforts against bad guys solution are not always obvious. i've been in meetings in which we literally pulled out copies of the constitution and bill of rights to get to the ground truth about principles and obligations are. wrestling is a regulated as. it is just a fragment of what makes the careers to date. this is a difficult business. i've been in this job as john mentioned a little over five years every day i realized the fact a little more. i've been thinking a lot on how to best express my feelings on my career and job and last week i came across an e-mail that captured them and expressed them
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better than i could've ever done. it was something fbi director jim called me, one of our great leaders in all of government sent out to our staff. he wrote it and thinking about humility lately. one of my weaknesses has long been overconfidence. i don't know whether it's a product of nature or nurture her from an early age i had a tendency to reach a conclusion quickly, hold firmly and argue until the sun went down. fortunately a lot of life experience has helped beat that out of me. the older i get the less i know for certain emulates my own ability to see clearly and reason well is limited. that is one of the reasons it's important to have people around me see the world differently and tell me what they see and concludes that together we make
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other decisions. the e-mail absolutely nails what i've been thinking about them pondering a play. as a human aspect to intelligence work that gets lost in the public session. we are human and when we forget that, we are utterly certain that everything would stop questioning and listening to people around us and see the world differently or more likely to make mistakes and poor decisions and that's what it means to be human. bands of the amazing spiderman love peter parker because we can relate to humanity. he struggles. he tries his best to make mistakes and learns from them and keeps going. he constantly tries to live up to the line with great power comes great responsibility. that power sosa simply describes
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what the people try to live up to every day. to show we are worthy of america's trust and we are worthwhile because spoiler alert, we are not comic book characters. we are americans working to protect our nation and at the same time striving to live up to our nation's values. thanks again though joe for inviting me to kick up the summit and thanks to everyone this morning for listening in the spirit of integration to map out where community goes next. thank you very much. [applause] >> thanks very much, jim. that e-mail goes all the way back to socrates.
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all i know is that i know nothing. that is the ultimate wisdom. before i go into questions from the participants, and i have a couple of my own that i would like to ask. i don't think they are curveballs. anyway, the first because i know it is a subject of interest to everybody here is the intelligence budget and i know you don't have a crystal ball. i think we would be interested in hearing what you might have to say, what observations you might have to say about the status of the intelligence budget and what the prospects are for the months or years. the years as saying much, but as far as you feel you can comfortably see in that regard.
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what is your view on that? >> i guess if i had to pick one word should characterize the budget environment situations for intelligence, which is a microcosm of the rest of the government, i characterize it as one of uncertainty. we are potentially facing 2016 depending what happens on the hill of another year of sequestration. this afternoon coincidentally i will be meeting with the big six i.t. not 2017 and once again as we look forward to 2017, we are again confronted with putting
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together a budget with great uncertainty about its fate in the congress. the budget caps, budget control act still apply. the law still runs until the year 2021. we are going to be in this mode of making -- not knowing whether funding level will be in living from year to year in this uncertain context, which makes planning very, very difficult. we have 30 or so major system acquisitions to manage across and it plays havoc when you don't know what the budget situation is going to be and of course it has a huge impact on our most valuable asset, which is our workforce and the
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insurgency, the lingering uncertainty switching into four years is having an impact on the workforce and that is evidenced in our latest ic survey. it is very daunting, very challenging to manage in this environment. i will say i believe my office has been put to the lit is test here was four years of uncertain tea and reduction in a decade or so after 9/11, every year the intelligence community got more money and more people which wasn't that hard to manage and we are in a much different mode and i would like to thank odni has earned its keep by managing
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a where we invest in where we take cuts. all of that is the number one precept i stuck to for five years now which the first priority is to protect the workforce. >> thank you for that. my second big question, jim, goes to the iran agreement. basically to ask if you care to offer comments on the verifiability. >> that is pretty much the lane i've tried to stick to his our ability to monitor compliance with this agreement assuming it comes off. we are required within five days after the agreement was struck
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to give the congress a detailed assessment of our capabilities, what we could do and where we have lesser capabilities to monitor the agreement. so i come away with pretty confident, i won't say 100%, but pretty confident we could verify from our own sources with the international community will be able to through the mechanism of the iaea and the unprecedented access and ability to observe and monitor what the iranians are doing. i'm pretty confident in that. we are fielding independent capabilities that i can't go into this by my transparency
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that will enable us good insight into the nuclear industrial enterprise if i can call it that. i guess britt large if you ask me, given a choice between a state sponsor of terrorism and nuclear capability, i would probably pick the latter. >> okay, if we could perhaps go to some of the questions submitted from the audience and the first one really goes to the human resource issue. what will the icy workforce futurist look like? how were we thinking about policies for including retention
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retention -- just )-right-parenthesis too bad -- are we getting the people we want? ..
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deployed to war zones multiple times since 9/11. dataset huge impacts on the identification of mission in our workforce. and it has continued to attract great young people to the intelligence community. i went to vietnam in 1965, you hardly ever saw a civilian, said the employed or civilian contractor. they just weren't there and that is very, very different today and dataset huge impacts on the community. when i left in 2006 there were almost, i was there almost five years and one statistic i recalled was quoted to me was 80% of the workforce has been hired during the five years i was there. and that's not unusual. that is across the board. we had last fall 31 vacancies in
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ntcc and got 10,000 applicants. we continue to attract. i will also tell you that our attrition rate is pretty low. it runs around 4% and has less or minus, at least in five years i've been at dni. to answer your question, what is it, you become which the workforce going to be like, well, i think one thing that i've noticed is what the workforce and desires is for the younger people is mobility. and we need to be able to facilitate the ability of our young people to come to community and go to the industry, get refreshed, technologically, and then come back. we need to figure out a way to facilitate that. so i think what i find is what they're interested in is with
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the technological challenge, where can i go to broaden my professional horizons. and they are not too concerned with sticking with one institution for a 30 year lifetime career. that's a big difference from my day when i first got into this business. >> thank you for that. this is a somewhat related question. may have suggested that the intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act and odni are like goldwater-nichols, for the dod. so how do you think the journey is going 10 years into this reform? >> well, again, being a just when i think we operate better as an enterprise as a committee that we did 10 years ago.
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you know, they had 9/11, so let's reorganize. we can argue until the cows come home whether that was necessary or needed, let it doesn't matter. it's the law. that's what the 9/11 commission decided was needed, and that's on its way into the intelligence retention act. we have unique arrangement in this country for an intelligence community that's really not call the many countries i find now are trying to emulate it, it's not quite like ours. it's not like goldwater-nichols because goldwater-nichols applied to one cabinet department. and it's 70 organizations that cut across six through departments into independent agencies. perhaps the spirit of goldwater-nichols applies, and we tried to do that, particularly with joint duty, we
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are approaching so in the neighborhood of 12,000 employees that have qualified for joint duty. many of them in deployed status. so i think we've made progress. we operate better as an enterprise, as a community. that's not to say there are not issues and problems that we still wrestle with, and will continue to do that. i do suspect my successor will continue to promote integration, certainly in the spirit of old barnacles if not the exact letter of it. spent if i could add a comment of my own on that. i was not involved in the reform process. i was serving as ambassador to iraq at the time and actually the first time i read the legislation was when the president asked me to be the first director. it seems to me whatever merits
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or demerits one has to accept things as they are. that legislation was passed, and i think the idea is try to reform the intelligence community again, least in any significant way with the opening up a can of worms. i think it's to try to make what we've got work. vice president cheney used to talk to me about maybe at some point you might have some perfecting amendments, he called, to suggest that i'm not even sure that we want to do that. perhaps we'll going to do is make sure we make the improvements we can within existing legal authorities. here's a question about the snowden affair. can you give a capsule summary of how the snowden issues has
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affected i see operations but i guess not to mention our diplomacy. >> well, on the one hand obviously it forced some needed transparency, particularly on those programs that affected civil liberties and privacy in this country. and had that been all he had done, i probably could have understood it better or maybe even tolerated it. but he exposed so many other things that had nothing to do with so-called domestic surveillance our civil liberties and privacy in this country. he has done untold damage to our foreign collection and analysis capabilities. terrorists particularly have gone to school on the revelation
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caused by snowden. particular program in afghanistan that he exposed, which glenn greenwald wrote about, and the day after he wrote about it the program was shut down by the government of afghanistan, which was the single most important source of force protection warning for our people in afghanistan. so he's done future damage to our collection capabilities, make no mistake about it. >> boy, that's very, very interesting. and troubling, of course. here's a question i had wanted to ask you. as a leader has uniquely absurd major world events and the effects of those world events over the past year, what are your concerns with the mass series in refugee situation on the different countries throughout europe, economically,
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national secure the wise, culturally, et cetera? i guess i would to add something that would be, how do we know what kind of people are going to europe in this refugee forum? >> well, it is, you know, getting to be, in its totality, a disaster of biblical proportions. just look at a serious alone where there are in excess of 4 million people -- syria -- people at left serious and another 11 that event internally displaced. of course, a humanitarian situation interim to syria is a disaster. and so what this has caused, obviously, is this urge to go somewhere, anywhere, where
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there's some hope of their life improving. and, of course, as they descend on europe, one of the obvious issues that we worry about in turn as we bring refugees to this country is exactly what's their background. i don't obviously put it past the likes of isil to infiltrate operatives among these refugees. so that is a huge concern of ours. we do have a pretty aggressive program for those coming to this country for screening their background. i'm not as uniformly confident about each european country that is going to be faced with welcoming or allowing refugees into the country. so this is a huge issue for all
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kinds of reasons. you know, the security implications are just one small part of it. the economic, and social impacts are huge. >> it's really captured global attention. it's on the front page every single day and i suspect it will be for quite a while to come. here's a question about russia. the resurgence of russian military power is not just playing out in eastern europe, but also in places such as the arctic with one quarter of the world's oil reserves, future transport shipping and concern on climate change, do we have a greater need to balance our national interests above the arctic circle? >> well, the first point i think is just, you know, a general statement about russia.
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and it's very aggressive come and for me very concerning military modernization is of great concern. in some ways it's almost a throwback to the era of the cold war. and a challenge we have in the intelligence is we do not have nearly the resources that we did in the heyday of the cold war to allocate against watching what is becoming a very formidable adversary. manifestation of that, of course is their aggressiveness in the arctic. and they have, which, of course, underlying that is, our their own concerns and interests and claims for oil resources in the arctic shelf.
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and so they have said about a very aggressive campaign -- said about -- to activate and refurbish basis in the arctic region or build new ones. and it's very clear they are quite serious about a stake in the arctic. and i think, you know, the president to visit alaska was intended to, i think, attract attention to this, why the arctic is important to the united states. and speaking of climate change, as controversial as that is what some people, the impacts of climate change are having and will continue to have huge national security implications around the world. it already is. with the changes in climate, changes in the weather and how that affects crops and the
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availability of water, which is getting to become in many cases, a great point of friction between and among certain countries. >> here's a perennial. a background investigation and security clearance process and system -- these are pretty strong words coming here -- inefficient, wasteful and obsolete with the revelations about the opm data breach. we now know that the system is corrupt, therefore untrustworthy. what are you doing to reform and reshape the background investigation at this process to bring it to the 21st century? >> what we are attempting to do, which, of course, now because of all the challenges with opm before the breach, but what
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we're trying to do is go to a system of continuous evaluation, which would mean monitoring, at least on a mental basis, employees who have -- once they are granted a clearance, to detect anomalous behavior either in the workplace or outside the workplace that could then prompt or stimulate a deep investigation as opposed to the system we've had which goes back, you know, the cold war era of an initial clearance and an allegedly every five years you get a periodic reinvestigation, a system which is broken. and made all the more so by the challenges that opm had with its contractor before the revelation of the breaches. so the combination of what we are doing, that we been told to
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do, mandated to do, both by the hill and the white house to enhance insider threat detection, and as we morph to a system of continuous evaluation i think that will change the system. what that hopefully will do is allow more mobility between among ic components and between ic components and contractors. as in the case in the past. the other thing is i've been kind of on the warpath about is just reducing the number of clearances that are granted. because if you have a clearance and no one, there's hundreds of thousands of cases of this where people of clearances that don't need or have the access. that imposes a huge burden on the investigatory system. so one way we helped ourselves, and this is vibrant to the
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efforts of dod, is just to reduce the need of clearances. that dod, we've reduced somewhat in the neighborhood of six or 700,000 clearance requirements, which in turn of course likens the load somewhat on the old system. -- lightens. but the president says we have now doesn't work. i think the only hope here is where we're going is a system of continuous evaluation which will depend heavily on automation, particularly at the secret level. we're going to probably do all of that on an automated basis and let something takes up that us that we need to go look at this person in a little more depth. >> interesting. trusted traveler sort of approach to things. what is your advice to recent graduates, ex-military, students
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and young professionals seeking to enter the field of intelligence with cutbacks in government and the prerequisite of active security clearances? here we are again, and the private sector. >> now that i've had, in my deeds are era i guess, i spent a bit of time and caging individually with young people in college and coming out of college. so a couple things i tell them is, many of them will set their goal or the target on of want to go to work for agency tried to. my advice is applied to all of them. interesting challenging work. if you get on with one of them, worried about where you want to end up later. you may find your second choice not been. entity cannot get on with the
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government, then seek employment with a contractor who has worked for the intelligence community. there are many avenues. at the same time as i indicated earlier, our attrition rate is not all that high and, you know, people do state. and the prospects, frankly, given our budget situation in the life of the budget control act through 2021, they are not going to be a lot of openings. that's not to say there will be some, there are, so the one thing i tried to import to people, young people, many of them are, they are not good at that, is patients. you know, to be patient and persevering. here comes the rain or. >> -- winner.
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>> the audience in front of you today is about 75%-sector, and the private sector builds capabilities for the ic. to provide critical services and is the source of critical innovation. how would you assess the state of the ic's public-private partnership, and how could it be improved? >> well, i think it's pretty good. certainly it could always be better. i think one of the challenges, something i try to work when i was nga director after spent six years in industry was to come up with a mechanism or mechanisms whereby we -- i'm speaking we as nga, would be more open to contractors, particularly those who, you know, didn't have a ci
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facilities or clearances just for the sake of getting their technology. one of the things i've pushed as odni is to try to lay out our technology, a technology roadmap. what are the needs and requirements of the intelligence community, and present that as best we can to industry, to engage industry and, you know, helping us. industry is absolutely crucial to the continued viability of the intelligence community. we have to have what you make, the tools that you give us, and the technology. and so it's never been are kind of. it's not what everyone would like -- it's never nirvana. it's not what ago and would like, due to the circumstance
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and nature of our business. it's classified, secret come and all that. and the nature of the we have to live with. but within that my come at least philosophically, philosophical event is to try to open up the lines of fumigation and be as open with industry as we can be. >> so perhaps two more questions, if that's okay with you. the first would be, how can we actively encourage innovation horizontally across the ic without using infrastructure or organizational reshuffle as a placebo for change? >> well, one way, i guess the are many, but i'll just in the interest of brevity, i'll say one thing that helps that is
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facilitating moving people around within the i see -- ic. i think that, would you bring the ideas of your home organization to another organization. and i found just in my own experience, just at odni where 40% of our workforce are detailee's from the rest of the committee, that constant infusion of new ideas from other places is helpful. i also think that, this of course applies to parts of the ic with heavy military population, like dia and nsa, for example, that the infusion of military people who are transient by definition, who serve other places, particularly in a war zone, and they come to
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the agency's. and i have found that these young soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are huge drivers for change and innovation, particularly if they have served in the war zones. >> and while we -- with due respect us to a number of questions you that i have, and that's what you were not able to get to all of them, but maybe one final question. we face a plethora of threats, most of us never imagined, and evolving ambitious china, a resurgent russia, daily cyber catastrophes, and some of them do seem like catastrophes to me, and a disintegrating middle east, to name a few. how prepared are we to understand these threats come and what initiatives organizations that we need to
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undertake to be better prepared? >> well, i think the line i've used in testament on the hill every year i've been on this job, and i just repeat it and add a year come is to say that in my x number of years i don't recall a time when we have been beset by more challenges and crises and a greater diversity of them than we do today. and so what i've tried to protect in terms of our capability is global coverage, which means a couple things, at least to me. one is sustaining our bases and stations around the world that the ncaa is host for what are increasingly becoming ic cells. and either way, we in the
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beltway like to agonize and hyperventilate whether we are integrators or not. we go out into fielder i just had to remind of that, this was my last trip, there's no question about integration and operating as a team because it's just good business. when i first started traveling in this job, i thought when i had a ic town hall at embassies around the world, i needed to roll out my sermon about integration. immigration. i stopped doing that because it's just not necessary anymore. in fact, i would submit there emphatically that what cia is doing in its reorganization is saluting what already goes on in the field internally, as they are integrating into a series of mission centers. so i think that global coverage
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around the world is one very important dimension, so we cannot possibly predict every single crisis and challenge we're going to have. so we have to be positioned where we can observe, collect and understand what's going on. the other piece of global coverage in my mind is to sustain a robust overhead collection architecture, particularly for access to deny the areas. those two capabilities and, of course, particularly in the latter case, trying to push innovation and stretching the technological envelope, if you will, are the areas where i've put a lot of emphasis. >> thank you very much for this wide ranging discussion, which
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resulted from these questions. i understand it, director clapper, that before we conclude this session that you have an announcement before -- >> well, thanks, john. it's more in the nature of a commercial. first, thanks for having me to kick this off. and i did want to announce at 9:45 that a national counterintelligence executive and also a now director as we call it the national counterintelligence security center will be here to roll out a counterintelligence seminar, awareness seminar, prompted at least in part by opm reaches. so 9:45, so thanks for that. >> let's give director clapper a complex express our appreciation to him.
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[applause] >> thanks. >> that concludes the first session of our summer. we will now have a coffee break in the exhibit hall. and please enjoy the refreshment. the breakout sessions will start at 10:15 a.m. 10:15 on the lower level where you all came in. and then remember, director clapper just mentioned the 9:45 event. thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> the u.s. senate is about to meet to continue debate on the a rant nuclear do. we expect to hear first from senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and the minority leader harry reid. after the republicans and
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democrats will alternate debate on at the top of every hour until 4:00 eastern today. votes are currently expected to more but they could take place to do it senators agreed to shorten the time. now live to the floor of the senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, our rock, we trust you to guide our nation. we find consolation in remembering how you have led us in the past. lord, our lawmakers need your
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wisdom to make decisions that will reflect your will. they can only guess about the future, but you comprehend the destiny of our world at a glance. the hearts of kings, presidents and potentates are in your hands, and you are choreograph circumstances as you desire. so save us from ourselves by guiding our senators with the might of your prevailing providence. lord, let your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. we pray in your sovereign name.
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amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that on thursday, september 10, at 3:00 p.m. the substitute amendment to h.j. res. 61 be greagd to, the joint resolution as amended be read a third time and the senate vote on passage of the resolution as amended. the presiding officer: is there objection? objection is heard. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the cloture motions with respect to the mcconnell substitute amendment on h.j. res. 61 be withdrawn and the pending amendments on the motion to commit with the exception of the mcconnell stiewlt amendment be withdrawn that no motions be in order to the resolution with the mcconnell prior to the vote
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with the mcconnell substitute, that at 3:45 p.m. today the senate proceed to vote on the mcconnell substitute amendment, that the amendment be subject to a 60 vote affirmative threshold, further if the mcconnell amendment is agreed to, h.j. res. 61 as amended, be read a third time and passed. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: objection heard.. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22, the cloture vote on the substitute amendment to h.j. res. 61 occur at 3:00 p.m. today with the time until 3:45 equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. mr. reid: mr. president? mr. president? the presiding officer: will the majority leader clarify the time of the vote. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i withdraw that consent and
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propound another one. i ask consent that notwithstanding rule 22, the cloture vote on the substitute amendment to h.j. res. 61 occur at 3:45 p.m. today with the time until 3:45 equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: mr. president, reserving the right to object. i have a few brief remarks. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: a few brief remarks, and then i will respond to my friend. by the end of the day, the senate will have spent three days debating one of the most critical national security issues of our time, and that's probably an understatement. whether to support the agreement to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. from the beginning of this process, democrats have done everything within our power to support this debate. we allow the senate to begin important debate without any procedural issues, none whatsoever, no hurdles. we have to understand the you are generals of the national security issue that's before this body and that's why we
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offered a consent agreement at the beginning of the week to eliminate all procedural hurdles and move straight to final passage and vote after the debate. i did that again this morning. but the republican leader did not take that offer. instead, he has filed cloture to end debate. by rejecting our offer, the republican leader has made the cloture vote the decisive and definite vote and it's definitive in nature on this issue. that's why i'm once again -- i will once again put forward my consent to skip cloture and all procedural votes and move to a vote on final passage. every senator in this body should understand that if they are forced to vote on cloture, it's because senator mcconnell, not democrats, wanted them to. the idea that the democrats are somehow trying to stop debate, keeping us from a final vote is foolish. it's simply not true. so let's be clear about who is moving to end debate. it is the republican leader, he alone, that's moving the debate. not me, not us. it's the republican leader who filed a procedural motion last night to end debate. what democrats are offering is
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an opportunity to continue debate and move straight to a vote on final passage. this is exactly what we have done on many policy issues in the past because of republican debates. in fact, since 2007, the senate has regularly held votes on passage of a 60-vote threshold on policy and national security issues. for example, on national security issues. iraq policy resolution. foreign intelligence surveillance, fisa. u.s.-india nuclear cooperation, foreign aid prohibition for pakistan, egypt, libya, fisa reauthorization, terrorism risk insurance. these are just a few of the many, many votes we've taken at the 60-vote threshold demanded by my republican friends. actions speak louder than words. democrats are anxious to get this bill to the floor and debate it. if we are forced to vote on cloture, all senators should understand the cloture vote will then become the final vote that determines whether the resolution of disapproval moves forward to the president's desk. vote noncloture, a vote against
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cloture is a vote for the iran agreement, plain and simple. mr. president, could i have the consent agreement restated? i think i understand it. it basically is that we would have the cloture vote and move immediately to a vote on the underlying -- just the cloture vote. okay. i'm sorry. so the question before the body that they are waiting for me to respond is that we would have a cloture vote on this matter because the leader has objected to my consent agreement, that we would have the vote at 3:45 today. the presiding officer: sthas -- that is the chair's understanding. is there an objection? without objection.
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mr. reid: we are conferring here. no objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: just a few short months ago, senators of both parties came together to pass a bipartisan bill based on an important principle, that the american people through the congress they elect deserve a say on one of the most important issues of our time. we rallied around that principle, voting 98-1 to ensure the american people would have a real say on any deal with iran. what a tragedy it would be then if at the very last moment some of those same senators decided to filibuster to prevent the american people from having a real say on this incredibly important issue. i know some of our colleagues are currently under immense pressure to shut down the voice of the people, but i would ask colleagues to reflect on the
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gravely serious nature of the issue before us. i would ask colleagues to consider the expectations they set with their constituents when they voted for the iran nuclear agreement review act. i would ask colleagues to consider something else as well. this is a deal that will far outlast one administration. the president may have the luxury of vacating office in a few months, but many of our responsibilities extend beyond that time. the american people will remember, they'll remember where we stand today. let's stand on their side. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. the senate will resume consideration of h.j. res. 61 which the clerk will report.
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the clerk: calendar number 170, h.j. res. 61, joint resolution amending the internal revenue code of 1986 to exempt employees with health coverage under tricare, and so forth. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 3:45 p.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: i ask that i be allowed to speak as if in morning business for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: five minutes. i understand we are moving back to the incredibly important debate on iran, and i will come back and address that a little bit later, but, mr. president, it's with heavy heart that i rise today to pay tribute to the victims of another horrific act of gun violence. on august 26, a gunman opened fire during a live television interview at smith mountain lake in virginia.
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now i think everyone in this chamber and all across the country knew when they saw that event on live television. the gunfire killed wdbj news 7 reporter allison parker, news 7 photographer adam ward, and the shootings significantly wounded vicki gardner, a local chamber of commerce official who was being interviewed. senator kaine has already spoken on this, but i speak for everyone in the commonwealth when i say our hearts go out to the parker family and the ward family. we all were pleased to hear vicki gardner was released from the hospital on monday and she is on the road to recovery. so smith mountain lake in virginia is now added to the all-too-familiar heartbreaking litany, charleston, aurora, sandy hook, tucson, virginia tech. it became clear in the days following the 26th that allison parker and adam ward
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represented the best of their community. the outpouring of love and support for them and their families was remarkable. i've had a number of conversations with allison's father andy who i knew from local government, and i will be meeting with him later today. vicki gardner, who was release releaseed, will soon be hopefully getting back to her job at the chamber of commerce. we feel, particularly those of us in virginia, feel like we knew allison, adam and vicki because the crime committed against them was so horrible and the details were reported so widely. mr. president, how many more parents must lose their children to gun violence? how much more anxious families must maintain a lonely vigil at the hospital? before all of us here in congress move on commonsense gun
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legislation. more than 30,000 people are killed by firearms in this country every year. the last time congress meaningfully engaged in a debate about gun reform was more than two years ago after sandy hook. even after the horrific loss of 20 children, six adults in newtown in sandy hook, the senate was still unable to pass responsible, commonsense reforms, reforms like closing the gun show loophole. since sandy hook, there have been at least 136 school shootings in america. that's an average of one every week. now, probably like most of us, there's a lot of meetings we take in the senate that kind of blur before our eyes. i will never forget the meeting with the newtown families after that tragedy. i would have thought and would have expected with their grief
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that these families would have come in and asked for a whole array of legislative solutions, but they didn't, because the families i met with came in and simply had one very reasonable commonsense request of congress congress -- universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those with serious mental illnesses. now, let me acknowledge that won't prevent every shooting. it's not a magical fix for violent disturbed people who are determined to do harm. but it's a start at tackling the epidemic of gun violence. mr. president, i'm a supporter of the second amendment. for many years, i had an a rating from the n.r.a. but i believe that background checks do not, do not infringe on the second amendment. as a matter of fact, gun owners understand this. in fact, a greater proportion of
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gun owners support requiring background checks for all gun sales than do non-gun owners. in a recent survey, 85% of gun owners and 83% of non-gun owners, so gun owners more than non-gun owners, supported requiring background checks for all gun sales. now, reasonable people can agree about what additional steps might need to be taken, but the facts are not up for debate. background checks do work, and they keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them. according to bureau of justice statistics, the brady law has blocked almost 2.4 million gun purchases since its enactment in 1994. almost 200,000 purchases were blocked in the most recent year in which we have records. but as we know, background checks aren't performed on every purchase. in fact, a significant number of transfers are done with no check
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whatsoever to determine whether a prospective buyer can legally possess a gun. there's no reason why we shouldn't have a comprehensive background check system on all firearm sales. now, the senate same close to making this progress in the weeks following sandy hook. i want to particularly cite two of our colleagues, senator manchin, senator toomey, both who had strong records of support from the second amendment, who introduced thoughtful bipartisan legislation that would have expanded background checks to many private gun sales while still allowing families to appropriately transfer firearms within those families. however, this responsible and commonsense proposal fell short. the cycle of tragedy followed by outrage followed by inaction, it's all become all too familiar. these tragic events are not isolated to any part of the
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country -- charleston, aurora, tucson, roanoke. each of them breaks our hearts, but we should not and cannot simply acknowledge and accept them as the status quo. we must not be content, and we must recognize that congress, those of us here in this body, have an ability to act. mr. president, thoughts and prayers for victims are not enough. we've got to take responsible action. now, we can debate and should debate how far reform measures should go, but at the very least, we should look at a way to renew the push for more meaningful background checks. we must do more to make sure criminals and those who are dangerously mentally ill cannot purchase guns. we must work together to make sure local and state government have resources and place an
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appropriate priority on inputting the correct data into the national background check system. as recently as june, mr. president, both senators toomey and manchin have indicated they were considering ways to renew their efforts at meaningful background checks. i want to state clearly today that they will have my full support in this effort. i call on my colleagues to work with us to get legislation, expanding meaningful background checks, to the floor of the senate before the end of this year. i can think of no better way to honor the lives of alison parker and adam and the thousands of other american families touched by gun violence. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. i'm sorry. the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: mr. president, i intend to support the resolution of


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