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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 1, 2015 8:00pm-10:01pm EDT

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>> discuss the issues driving the national conversations. mitt romney and valerie jerrett were speakers. on saturday night at 10 p.m. eastern, we talk about
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presidential transitions. and sunday, at noon on in depth we are live with tom hartman who has authored several books including the crash of 2016, rebooting the american dream, and threshold. join the three hour conversation. on american history tv on c-span3, steve ony explores the murder of mary sagin and the arrest and lynching of leo frank. and the federal energy administration documentary looks at fossil fuel in the united states. next, a forum on national
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security. we will hear from free program members of congress -- freshman. bill kristol is the moderator and posted by the foreign policy initiative -- hosted -- >> good morning, i am the executive director at the foreign policy initiative on behalf of all of us at the team here it is a pleasure to welcome you to our sixth annual forum, the strength to lead. the foreign policy initiative was established in 2009 as a non-profit organization dedicated to educating policymakers about the importance of american leadership and engagement in the world. standing with allies and
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standing up against the rogue regyr regi regimes that threaten them. we will be joined by policymakers and opinion leaders who will speak on these themes. i thank them for joining us and thank you for joining us on this rainy day. we will start the day with a conversation among rising leaders in national security featuring martha mcsally, elise stefanik, and mark taka. each member is a freshman member of the house of representatives and each serve on the arms committee and will voter today vote on the national defense act. congresswoman mcsally representathize second district of arizona. she served in the united states air force retiring in 2010.
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she was the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and later command an air force fighter squadrant. elise stefanik represents the 21st district of new york and she is the youngest woman ever elected to congress. she served in the administration of george w bush and oversaw paul ryan's campaign of 2012. and congressman mark taka represented the first district of hawaii and served two depcads in the congress for. our moderator is bill kristol
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who founded the weekly standard. he served in the reagan and bush administrations including chief of staff to president dan quill. thank you, bill, for moderating the conversation and i ask you all to join me in welcoming me to welcome our guest. >> thank you. you have done a great job as executive director following jaime fly who i noticed on this program they are self depricating. chris and his staff do all of the work. working for senators now and going back and forth from the hill and thank you for talking the time to be here. i think we are doing a favor to representative mcsally and
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representative stefanik to take a break from phone calls. you will have 96 messages with you turn on your cellphone where as representative taka knows everything is quite. you all represent districts that were represented by a democrat last year. you passed the continuing resolution that funds defense at a lower level than what you voted for months ago in the house. and you will pass the defense bill on the house floor today or vote on it.
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how worried should we be about the level of defense spending? will we stay at the budget control levels all year? >> i think we should be deeply concerned. i will speak for myself but you can see from the committee and the way we addressed in a bip bill we felt like we were now cutting into muscle in our military readyness a-- readines. the military is going to do everything they can to keep it going and make sure we are ready but we are gutting core capabilities and training and rearranging. we are at a crisis point. one like i have not seen since
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we had the hollow military starting to happen in the '90s. we should be deeply concerned. we came together in a bipartisan way to provide relief to our military spending at a time when the world is more dangerous than i have seen in my life and i have been focused on safety for 30 years. the president threatened to veto the defense bill. for 54 years, even when congress was at its most dysfunctional, we have been able to pass a defense bill. so my hope is the president is not playing politics with defense and will sign the bill. continuing resolution is not the way to go. i have been on the other side of that level and you cannot plan, do new starts, you are having to continue things from last year that you maybe don't need to do
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anymore. it is not the way to have the capabilities and be able to prepare for the future and deal with the threats we have. the fact we are choosing between government shutdowns and continuing resolution is ridiculous. that number cannot be at the sequestration level. i think that would be adaption for the military readiness. >> the only way it moves off the sequester level is an appropriation deal by the 11th of december. how hopeful were you for that? >> i am hopeful. members of the house are addressing sequestration and talking about the dangers of sequester. i am hoping with the shakeup of the house, one of the priorities is coming to a budget agreement
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and i know members on the committee and those concerned about national security and defense want to make it a priority for the end of the year. this has a tremendous impact on my district. i represent new york's 21s at these district. the most deployed unit in the u.s. army and one of my first jobs as representative for this district was fighting back against the army cuts. and fort drum got cut the least out of any army facility in the country. but as we ask our troops and military families to continue to pursue these high operational deployments we should not gut military readiness or continue down the path toward sequestration which was never intended to go into affect. >> this is one of the committees
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functioning the most bipartisan. do you think you will get a bipartisan deal along that pattern? >> i would hope so. i think we all agree sequestration hurts. but i have a different perspective than martha. i don't support sequestration across the board, defense and non-defense. we are moving forward on defense and dealing with the increase in local funding to offset the cuts and not really looking at the n non-defense appropriations and in totality the entire budget. i supported the ndaa. i think the first vote coming from the house, i was one of 41 democrats that voted in support of the bill. today's vote is going to be very interesting but i am going to vote for it. i think it is too important an
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issue for our country and also for my home state of hawaii. having said that, i think the president and the democratic leadership on the house and senate, has a very compelling argument in regards to the fact we are moving this forward without a budget deal, and the question remains what is going to happen on non-defense. the non-defense includes the veterans affairs department as well. i would hope we have a budget deal long-term. i am a little disappointed truthfully we passed a short term cr but that last night was better than a shutdown so i vetted for that. i am looking forward to the ongoing discussions between the scombrez both leaderships in both houses -- president and -- as it relates to a budget deal. i don't know if a two-year
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budget deal is in the making. at the end of the next federal fiscal year, september, 30th, or a little past the next election would be more of a possibility or probability at this point. i think we all agree budgeting, especially for defense, on a c i re or short term budget deal is not the case. >> i made the case for a higher defense budget and the weekly standard and foreign policy initiative said give me particulars. everyone knows the pentagon is bloated. but you have experiences in divini different ways and different services with parts of the military and i am curious, give me an example of what is not happening that should be happening? >> with the continuing
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resolution you cannot do any new starts or investments. at the head quarters or acquisition program, if you need to do something new you are not allowed to do it. i have been on the end of being stuck in the status quo of limitations you have under a cr and then you cannot plan so you end up doing a nine month or less depending on how long you do the cr that you are trying to have the fiscal year spending and planning and it ends up being more costly in the end. so that is what -- going on the auto pilot in the cr is not good. being at the suquequestration ll has brought questions and the administration came to congress' budget and they said it was because of sequestration. we are cutting it and putting it in the boneyard. it is not because i am nostalgic
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because i flew it. but if we want the muwren renes to get home this plane has the capability no other plane brings. so this is reckless and one example of what the sequestration is doing. >> our son who was in the air force was fan of the a-10. what is up with getting rid of that? >> absolutely. we will let the air force speak for themselves. but whall of the services are under pressure with the sequestration making sure they have the right pay and health care levels. looks like the numbers are going pre-world war ii as far as the
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people serving in the military. space and nuclear and all of that stuff they have to do. but still given all of that when they look at the rest of the force and investing in the future why would you take away a capability, we are talking about different capacities where you have different sets of airplanes in a mission set, but you would take away a capability that no other airplane brings before you have a follow on replacement up and running. that is reckless. i have been hammering them since before taking office and since taking office that this is a reckless decision and we were able to get it fully funded in the house and senate version of the defense bill and both on the nda and appropriation side. >> it affects military readiness and training and that translates to increase in loss of live and
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limbs. we are in the tenth mountain division with increased deployment and that is a direct impact of being budget driven. i want to speak on behalf of my colleague martha i sat next to her as her wing woman during the house armed service committee where she was able to get on record this was a budget driven decision to get rid of the a-10. that is a bad way it conduct your national security strategy. i was pleased you were able to get them to say that. >> you served in the national guard, what your sense of this? >> any challenges with the budget will result in readiness and personal issues and really questions about whether we are still combat effective. i agree with martha to talked
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about the acquisition challenges of the short-term budget fix. clearly not only does it cost a lot more but we will not be able to compete with the china's offense this world. take a look at the acquisitions from the chinese and it is mind-boggling. for us to be sitting here today with short term budget fixes and sequestration moving overhead, it puts us at a serious disadvantage. i think we all know that and we have to work through that. i go back it the challenges of sequestration and i believe the intent of congress was not to have sequestration. i know it was a deal but i think everybody in their right mind thought they would create a new deal get rid of it. the fact is we still have it. in order to get rid of sequestration on the defense side you have to know we have to play together. and deal with eliminating or
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increasing the caps on the sequester side for non-defense as well. >> that is an interesting discussion to have over the next few months. >> it is going to be interesting message soon because part of the president's veto message is part of that. i was hoping to do the nda later on. with it moving forward now it is a little too premature. >> you mentioned china but i want to get back to russia and syria which is in the news and i know you heard a lot of testimony on. as you mention, china, and maybe you are the member of dprsz closest to china. >> apparently you can see russia from your back window. >> i can see kauai.
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>> i mean the pivot to asia is one of the reasons there was bipartisan support in the foreign policy community. duff do you feel why doing the right things to balance the power in asia? >> it is absolutely real. some people want to stay focused on the middle east. but we have to focus on the shift to the pacific. it mead to be a priority and i believe it is for this administration and congress. i have had opportunities to host congressional delegations. in late march, i hosted a delegation for many thad that didn't have the money to go to the pay debrief, the one that talks about the mission that pay
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com and the entire area, including the indian ocean has. if you get a brief like, even if is unclassified, you understand the challenges in that part of the world. more than 50% of the world's mass is covered by pay com. most of it water and all of the air. we also celebrated and the end of world war ii on september 2nd and the 70th anniversary of the u.s. war happened birthing at pearl harbor facing the uss arizona memorial. we had the pay com brief and with those members of congress, mostly republicans, 28 of us or
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so. the focus on asia was something they said we need to focus on. i believe it. despite the cuts we saw in the army in particular. we lost and transitioned from the striker birgade. so we are okay. and our focus on cyber, and our focus on missile defense is all part of the pivot to asia. the last think i would say is this: we had 70 years of peace in the pacific region and i believe the biggest reason why we have had long lasting peace is because of the strong
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military and strong relationships with our allies and other countries throughout the asia pacific region. we have to continue on the path because we have bad actors in our region and the strength of china there as well. so i think it is real. is it real? >> it is an adequate resource. what about china? i am struck how i have been here longer than you have and there were great hopes, i have been a skeptic of china but we lost that '90s and there was hope that china was liberalized and was going to be a responsible player internationally. i have to say those hopes have diminished some in the recent years. what is your sense of the threats and challenges there? >> i will say i don't think we should be having a pivot per se. it sounds like either or. we are not pivoting because we
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don't have the resources militarily to redirect and focus in the pacific region even though it is important to us. china, and russia, and iran and north korea are looking globally and looking at the status of the global leadership and they are sensing weakness and we have created a vacuum and our decreasing of military spending and capabilities where we are challenged where are we going have to aircraft carriers? in the pacific or the middle east? we have to do all of the above. we see china taking advantage of it with building islands in the south and east china sea and our allies are looking around asking where we are. but it can't be like second graders with a soccer ball saying we are over here china because russia is invading our
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allies and putting other nato countries at risk. i was at the meeting after the soviet union collapse and focused on the former soviet slavic areas so we had students from the baltics and acraukraind i am friends with many of them and they are like are you going to help us? we have the check the russian aggression in europe and potentially we don't know who is going to be next. and we do have, as much as we want to get out of the middle east having deployed there six times, i would love to see we don't want to be involved there but we have to because we have national security interest. we have failed states. we have growing threats of islamic extremism with isis. iran is the elephant in the room who is feeling more legit with
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the botched deal. you have sunni arabs who are wondering if we have their back. and now we have russia flying fighters planes and telling the u.s. to get out of syria. you cannot make this stuff up. it is like a bad dream. so we have got to not be -- we don't want to be in the middle east anymore and showing weakness in our policy and not being coherent in the policy in the middle east and talk about we are pivoting in the pacific when we really are not because we don't have the assets because we continue to degrade the military. global leadership requires strength, it doesn't mean we need to be involved everywhere. i was at u.s. africa in my last assignment before retiring. we have national security interest there. we don't need to go in and fix every failed place in the world
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but we need to identify vital interest and having peace through strength and make sure we can back up the strength with military and foreign policy and we are not doing that all the way around right mow. >>ia degragree with martha is it either or. it is important to have a strong defense presence and show american leadership but another issue is economic leadership. and i think this is tied to the trade discussions we have had over the past year on capitol hill. our allies in the asia-pacific are looking to economic leadership as a counter balance to china trying to assert itself. when we talk about american leadership it is peace through strength and part of that is economic leadership and that is part of the reason i think the tpa and hopefully a good deal
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for the region because alplies are looking for us. >> republicans delivered trade promotion authority to president obama and most republicans so he has the authority to negotiate the deal and get the up or down vote in congress. do you expect a deal? >> i expect a deal. i am not sure how good the deal will be. the clock is ticking and this is a key priority and they are hoping to finalize it hopefully before the end of the year. there are sticking points on the dairy issues and the human trafficking issues but trade promotion authority was a tough lift for this president and republicans and some democrats brought it over the finish line. i think you will see a continued discussion on the actual details in ttp and those votes shouldn't be taken for granted.
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>> i think the point about what happens in the middle east doesn't stay in the middle east. chris griffin let a bunch of us from fbi and other think tanks over to japan in november of 2013 and we met with prime minister abe and i was the oldest person of the five or six of us and i was seated next to him where the other head of state of his sits. and we began the discussion and i started to say i appreciate the meeting and look forward it too hearing about the situation here in asia and trade and such. he interrupted me. and he understands english well and said what happened in syria? this was november of 2013 shortly after the red line. it was so out of context it took me a minute to realize what he
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had said. i tried to tell him i thought the u.s. and japan relationship was sound. but it brought home how much one part of the world is not happening and they say peace regions stay distinct in terms of credibility. >> that is our friend and enemy. putin's action after the red line comment -- these are all related. enemies are watching like there is an opening here. and our friend are saying we thought they had our back and now they are rethinking whether they can rely on america and allies. you are seeing it globally and not just regionally. >> i voted the against the ttp bill that gave the president the power to negotiate directly and
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come bag to congress with the up or down vote on the deal. i said then, and i continue to say this, a lot of complicated than what you may think. if you look at trade between u.s. and japan, for example, if you go to japan and drufb around you notice there is hardly any u.s.-made cars. after 2012, the bilateral car agreement between korea and the united states. in korea that is hardly any american carsism th-- cars. theal chacha -- the challenges re real. the leaders for the trade met in
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maui and walked away with no resolution. and some of the most serious resolutions are causes of concern for us here in the united states even. i had a chance in japan to tuck talk to the leader of the lower house, who by the way was a dairy farmer in japan, and was very concerned about the ttp as it relates to agriculture for japan. it is not that easy. all i asked for with my no vote was to allow congress to stay involved in some of the more difficult issue. climate change, environment, labor standards, crunching manipulation. all of these issues are real. and despite what the administration says was a deal
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coming together and we had to do it when we had to do it. a few weeks later they walked away. i don't think it will be a few weeks or months. it might be next year. i am hoping it will be longer than that. >> i think it is a fair point. it is unfair to say the critics of it were protectionist. or afraid of free trade. this a funny free trade deal. i am old enough to remember when the free trade deals were simple. they were eight pages long and free trade deals. now they are 5,000 page and i don't know if they are fair trade even. it is not cleave if on net it is bringing up that much trade to the countries. >> there is nor transparency requirements in this tpa than
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any other previous tpa vote in congress. it is required to be public for 60 days so the american public can weigh in and different stakeholders can share their view and i think it will bow a robust conversation before the final ttp is published for the voters. >> you mentioned russia and syria which is the headlines news. pretty astounding. it was a priority to keep russia out of the middle east and this is russia's first use of open use of military force outside of its borders since '79 when they invaded afghanistan. >> you don't count ukraine? >> well on the booutside of the
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borders. >> it is on the outside. >> this is big thing. the heart of being a super power is you don't just invade your neighbors. you protect people that are 4,000 miles away. he is doing it. and i think it is a big moment and people get the sense it a big moment i think. >> i would hope the definiteion is we don't invade our neighbors. i agree with you. putin, obviously, has been trying to reverse this union in this third term. he said the largest mistake was the break up oof the soviet union. he wants to be back in the game as a coequal and global power player. things are related.
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if we don't think this is related to the nuclear deal. reading and seeing this administration is weakly addressing the threats and even in the way we have carried ourselves militarily in iraq and syria is an embarrassment. it looks like isis is taking on u.s. air power and winning right now because of the way that we have even reluctantly and anemically done military operations in iraq and syria. there is an openly go-politically and economically for -- if you are putin this is brilliant. you see the statements like i
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don't understand why they are doing that. this is not high school debate club. this is a go-political power play happening. and we have to step up our game if we are going to take it seriously. we are going to be bystanders and someone who has been involved in air rop -- air operations we have been clear so we don't have misidentification. i think the stakes are high we could have a mid air or unintentional response. or a purposeful provocative encounter with the russian aircraft. this is sear jarious is the sta are high. >> i think this is a direct consequence of this
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administration's failed leadership within the region. both iraq and syria at a few house armed service committee hearings i have asked administration officials what is your syria policy and the answers have not been complete. we are where we are because we had this administration that said assad must go and he is still in power. we have failed to identify friendly anti-assad forces we should have worked with earlier on. we should had have to no fly zone and the rise of isis is because of this turning inward. unfortunately, i think in the coming months we will continue seeing the region continue to spra sprawl downward but i think this is a direct consequence of this president's failed leadership within a violent region. >> bipartisan is not my normal mode to be fair.
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but the republicans in congress in september of 2013 opposed intervention in syria. tom cotton wrote an opt-ed saying we should support the president on this. and they had eight house republicans on board supporting the president and about 200 gin against. so it was a bipartisan decision not to get involved in syria and one i criticized and one i think we are paying a price for. do you have a sense there is a sense now in both priorities thought you cannot sit back and let it go. or is their aversion to being on the gruound and people would sa this is unfortunate but not much we can do?
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>> we have had numerous administrations that had challenges in the middle east and i think part of the reason why we have isis moving forward is because there is a void. there is a void in that whole area. but we partially created that. you know, i was shocked, what is is interesting to vote is there is ongoing discussion at the un with secretary of state and president obama and president putin and no indication this was going to happen except for the hour before it was mentioned. i think that in and of itself is problematic. i think in 2012-2013 the position of our country, our administration, and our defense department, as well as our allies was to remove assad and i
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think it is still our position to remove assad. i think it is clear the position of the russians is to keep him in power. my concern is creating a voice in the region and i don't know what the answer is today. but we will look at it over the next weeks and months. prior to president peutin's airstrikes he went to congress and requested an aumf and got hundred percent approval for airstrikes with no ground troops. here is what i can is pore an important point -- and maybe i should not say a hundred percent -- but the president came before us months ago with an amuf, i always said the president shouldn't be using old
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aumf's to continue what is happening in the middle east and he did. and congress to this day is not acting on it. it has been sitting in our committees for the past three months. we need to make a decision in congress, and i think, bill, your point is well taken. we have to figure out what we want the administration to do and at this point we have not. >> and the other thing i want to note here and i am curious what martha and mark have to say about this is i noted in terms omp t-- of the public's awarenes national security is on the top of the list whereas in 2013 and 2014 before the significant rise of isis enveloped the national conscious people were not concerned about national security. i think with the news of russia
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and syria, and the refuge crisis in the middle east, the public is worried about national security. it is concerned about foreign policy. polling is showing that. and i think going into 2016 the presidential elections, this is a positive in the sense that people are paying attention to what the candidate's vision for national security is going to be. i noticed that as a candidate. did you guys? >> i definitely did. generally speaking it is not on the minds of regular people trying to have a job and food on the table. that hasn't been people are really dialled into generally. but the people who have positions in the military and department of state whose job it is to make sure we have a safe world and strong foreign policy, they should be dialed in the it. some of the failures we saw starting in 2011 wit 1 w 1 w ii
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walking away from iraq, we were supposed to be making good decisions. and regardless of how you feel about 2003-2011. we did the all of the hard work with blood and treasure of the troops to win over the sunni tribal leaders and push out al-qaeda in iraq and we had a somewhat stable situation that created the opportunity for political resolution and we created the vacuum when we lef. we walked away and created the shitte government that is iranian back and filling the gap. and you have isis emerging from the chaos in syria and the vacuum in iraq. many of the sunni tribal leaders are dead. we said we have your back and trust us and peel away from al-qaeda and they left them and we left them hanging to be slaughtered by isis.
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and then when we had the opportunity to actually address the threat of isis, when we saw it happened, before the beheadings of americans, that was the turning point, those of us involved in national security and the people whose job paid by the puerto rico -- taxpayers -- failed to address the threat. we could have militarily even gone in and put them on their heels. we could have used embedded joint terminal attacks and better intel. we are using air but not using it in the way air power is intended to be used. it looks like we are getting our butt kicked.
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that adds to the foreign fighter and propaganda. we delivered a report on the task force on homeland security committee related to the countering fighter flow in extremist recruitment and this is a serious threat abroad and at home. >> >> since you are on homeland security, say a word. how worried should we be about that? >> i think we should. we see two divinity dfferent dy. similar ideas to al-qaeda just a different approach. instead of living in caves and using couriers they have resources. estimated over 200,000 social media tweets a day. 30,000 individuals flowing from a hundred countries into iraq
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and syria. that we know. that is the numerator. 25,000 are from western visa waver countries. 250 americans. we have investigations going on in all 50 states. people are flowing in and out of the area and being a threat to us. they could come to one of the airports -- they don't need a visa if they are from a visa waver count rushlight -- rantry. they realize it is time to take action and not the big ssensati attacks. the threat is real.
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not to say we have to live in fear, but we to be vigilant. thunk think about it, less than two dozen people in the federal government are focused full time on this project of counter violent extremism. we have 10,000 irs agents making sure you don't take an improper charity deduction buttwo dozen people working on the security. the bad guys are acting at the speed of broadband and we are acting at the speed of bu
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burrocracy. >> it seems to me, just from the outside of the military, adapted during the post-9/11 world. i would say looking from the outside other parts of the government hasn't adapt much. it doesn't feel that could be the right adjustment for the world we are living in. i am curious, i would say how much -- how optimistic are you
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about this? working hard and doing your best in a system that is limited -- >> i think to say we have had no progress in the last two decades is not fair. maybe moving at a slower pace than broadband, i agree. but i think we are the best nation in the world. for example, the new threat out there, not to pivot but it is important to talk about, the new threat is cyber. we are leading that challenge. we spent the whole week in the house focused on the cyber threat and had two hearings, one yesterday and one on tuesday, loosing track of days here.
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i think we are bringing everybody together and i think we will have to work more like that. you would be surprised in derma terms of the cyber threat we are learning even within it department of defense there are silos among the branches still. not to say the least about the silos within the department. in order to eliminate or counter that threat, the cyber threat, we will have to work more closely in a department and throughout our entire government. >> i want to comment about martha's quote. we had a hearing focused on the
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lack of social media and communication strategy to counter isis within the region. and it is not limited to the region of course. you can reach anywhere in the world using the social network. the bureaucratic apropproval process and the pentagon's lack of ability to work at the speed of technology today. this is something they identified and they need to win the message. this is not a five year fight. it is a generational and multi generational communication argument. but 200,000 contacts a day and wedon't have a strategy to combat that? this is an example of how we need to modernize our functioning. i don't think nis is a problem
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just for the pentagon or state department. i think we need 21st century idea do is make us more efficient and effective. we have guys flying into iraq and syria, had a bad experience, and their testimony is powerful. these are the types of video that we can absolutely ou. we need to be highlights the threats over there in order to deter other individuals. the department of homeland security has been a focus of us and they were cobbled together after 9/11. 33 different agencies cobbled together.
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we just marked up yesterday in the homeland security the first reauthorization of their department since 2001. one thing we are doing for border security is taking out of the example we saw with the gold water nickels act from being a serve pipe to more of a joint structure that we are moving toward a joint task force structure for border security to be able to bring the elements together, have joint commands, joint task forces nat are addressing the different regions and having a functional joint task force as well. i have an amendment to make sure we have training like we did in the military. we are moving there. but it is certainly again taking a while. at the table, it is focusinging
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on the issue and other reorganizes. these are the things we should be able to move through congress. this is bipartisan legislation. get it through the house and senate. let's move it forward even if we disagree on other things. we can agree on these things and congress should be focused on those. if congress is sitting back and not doing their part, and not providing oversight to the agencies and direction to them, they are going to continue to operate the way that they have in the past. we have to also step up our oversight responsibility and stout bi stop bicker and get it done. >> i want to go back to what the polls say in terms of the priority of the nation's people as it relates to the foreign policy. it is easy to look back and be the monday morning quarterback and see our failed strategy in the middle east and why isis has come about and the strength of isis today. but you have to look back and
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recall the mood of the country even when president bush was around was to get out of the most -- middle east and to leave iraq and afghanistan as well. the polls did not show support for our illitary being there. as a result of the polls, people in washington, d.c. and we were not here. maybe you can talk about it bill. but the people in washington, d.c. decided to start moving ouchlt bad chiism. and the request for a new authorization of military force that will create the opportunity
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to continue to fight whatever that fight might be. we cannot relay on a decade old amu fush amf to fight in syria. let's figure what we will give to the department of defense as it relates to the middle east. gra congress is not giving clear guidance is the problem right now. >> i agree with you on the mood of the american people. if you had done a poll back them that is how they felt. but the definition of leadership is not doing a poll and reacting. this is where it should have taken leadership on everybody in these types of positions not to just react but to actually lead and communicate why it is still in our vital national interest to be engaged and make sure we
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don't have failed states and vacuums and how that could come back to threaten us. i appreciate the dynamic but the definition of leadership is to step into the gap, inform people, engage with them and turn it around. >> we have the opportunity right now. yesterday the actions on russia with syria and everything are all up in arms. we have been asked to make a decision and we have not. >> one of the things that encourages me and i will close on this is many of the brightest and newest members of congress are focused on foreign policy and national security. 15 years ago, that was considered sort of a weird specialty interest of a few people and everyone wanted to focus on other issues. that is not the case. and i want to thank you three for focusing on national security issues and i think it is good sign for the future of the country and thank you for
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taking to time to talk to us. >> more from the foreign policy initiative. coming up michael b. mukasey is part of a discussion on intelligence and national security. this is an hour. >> good morning, again. chris griffin with the foreign policy initiative. it is a pleasure to welcome you back to our second session of the day with judge michael b. mukasey and representative mike pompeo and moderator ambassador eric edelman
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congressmanike al pompeo represents the irfourth district of kansas and sits on the house permanent select committee on intelligence, the committee on energy and commerce, and the house select committee on benghazi. after graduating first in his class from west point he was a cavalry officer in the ute army and later graduate from harvard law school. before his election to congress he was folk caused on the aero space and energy sectors. moderatingmoderating the converl be ambassador adeleman on the fbi board of directors. he retired as a career minister from the u.s. foreign minister in 2009. thank you, ambassador, for moderating this conversation, and you to join me in welcoming orriceses today. thank you. [applause] >> let me say i completely agree
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that we couldn't have two better people to discuss terror intelligence and safety of the homeland today. i had the privilege of serving in bush 43 administration, with an attorney general can mccasey, and had occasion to sit in the situation room with him on a number of occasions, and i've always found him to be incredibly thoughtful and wise on these subjects. i learned a lot from him, and continue to be instructed by him in his occasional op-ed piece in the "wall street journal" and elsewhere which is some most intelligent things that have been written over the last few years about the fight against terrorism. i also had the privilege of traveling to europe last winter with congressman pompeo, and also know how well informed and thoughtful he is in these issues, so i'm delighted to have
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them here today, and be able to moderate this conversation. let me start, if i could, by going back a few weeks to the debate at simi valley among the republican presidential contenders, and during that debate there was, i thought little an interesting exchange between governor bush and donald trump. in which governor bush made the point that his brother, president bush 43, kept the nation safe after 9/11 for the remaining seven and a half years of his term, and donald trump rejoined that, well, i don't feel so safe today. so, i'd like to unpack those things a little bit. judge, can you talk about some of the things that president bush 43 did do during his team to keep us safe, and then could maybe both of you talk about whether donald trump has something of a point.
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ought we feel as safe today as we did during the bush administration? >> i think for one thing he focused everybody's attention. 9/11 focused everybody's attention but he made sure it stayed in focus, and his direction to the intelligence agencies was essentially to do what needed to be done within the limits of the law. and the intelligence gathering was right at the top of his list of priorities. there was a lot of legal back and forth with respect to that and we can tag about how much of that was -- how much of the objection to what he did was well-founded and how much was not. trait, the -- at any rate, the intelligence gathering was a high priority, breath electronic and human. we have now gotten to the point where the principle discussions about intelligence gathering at all, it's about how intrusive it
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and may be, how it can be awe abused and so on. so there's an bulling back. and as ham as human intelligences we don't capture people, we don't -- we kill them. of course that's one way to get rid of the problem. on the other hand, doesn't get you a whole lot of intelligence, and general hayden, who was head of the cia when i was there, said, gathering electronic intelligence is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with a thousand people when the actual puzzle only has 500 and you don't knee which pieces belong and don't, and when you get human intelligence it's like getting to look at the box. we don't look at the picture on the box anymore. we just gather the pieces and try to move them around and see which ones fit and which don't, and that's a -- not making our country safe.
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>> congressman, pompeo? >> i'd add with respect to -- you put in the context of the debate between governor bush and donald trump. i think it's accurate to say that president bush kept us safe. it's indisputable. i add to the his is the enormous finance operation that president bush set up in the aftermath of 9/11, that existed only at the most marginal level prior to that time and has -- did then and continues today to be an incredibly important tool in the intelligence collection arsenal for the total national security intelligence infrastructure. we got information how money moves around the world, and you see this in the sanctions regime that we'll talk about later. so we need to give full credit to the president for proceeding down that bath and using the
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international banking system as another way in which to identify those folks who are trying to kill us in the west. donald trump just had it glad out wrong from a solution perspective but it's fair to say we are less safe today than we were now six and a half years ago. and i'm sure we'll talk about the myriad of ways that's the case. but with respect to terrorism and the counterterrorism effort we have moved an awfully long ways from where we were when this president took office and that has put us at greater risk in the homeland. >> maybe we can talk about that mukasey, you said the question arose how intrusive and much within the scope of the law the steps taken in the bush administration, step us are in their patriot act with enhanced interrogation techniques and
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establishment of guantanamo itself and the holding of people as unlawful combat tans as oppose -- combatants as opposed to p.o.w. can you talk about the usefulness of those items and then circle back to the question about what has changed since president obama took office that has perhaps made us a little less safe. >> take them in reverse order. guantanamo, i visited guantanamo when i was in office, and i visited in february of 2008. i had also -- while i was a judge visited several -- forget mask security -- medium security facilities in the united states. it compares with every medium facility i ever visited in this country. it has three advantages that no place in the country has. it's remote, secure, and humane.
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that's not to say there isn't any violence at guantanamo. there is. it's all directed by and large by the tenants against the guards and their landlords. flosh the point where the guards have to wear plastic shields when they walk down to the corridors to avoid the various liquids hurled at them. and the collection -- the collection of weapons that were farced by these people would fill the room when i was there and i can't imagine how many rooms it fills now. there was a belgian official who dealt with prisons in belgian who visited guantanamo, and was supposed to have a press conference afterwardswards and t how horrible it was. he said he couldn't do that because it compared favorably with anything he had seen in
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belgium. the notion that somehow guantanamo is a hellhole or ever was is ridiculous. the notion that somehow we're going to be safer if we take people who are detained there, and bring them here, is also ridiculous because we have a cadre of lawyers by the thousands who have said they're going to use the federal court as a tramp -- trampoline for their energies and do what they took gum up the system, file as many cases as they can, challenging both the fact and the condition of imprisonment. whereas bottom line i think it is perfectly lawful to imprison unlawful combatants. we had a is in in world war 2, a bunch of germans landed off florida and long island to commit sabotage. they were rounded up, tried in a
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military court as unlawful combatants, and convicted and other than the two who cooperated, they were executed. all of that happened within three months of the time they landed. interestingly when they land end, they landed in uniform. notwithstanding that the landing is the most vulnerable part of the operation. they buried their uniforms on the beach and changed into civilian clothes. the reason they did that, i think, is not simply because even the those days wearing german military uniforms would not have been seen as a fashion statement, even in the hamptons, but rather that when they landed in uniform, if they were captured at that point they could claim they were simply enemy combatants, military, and should have been treated as military rather than as unlawful
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combatants so they waited until the last minute before the ditched the uniforms and changed interest civilian clothes. that line of authority i think has been forgotten and what we're now hearing is that, well, if you capture somebody who is clearly -- who is intent on killing americans, who is captured under circumstances that shows he had -- people obey the laws of war get treated in a particular way under the geneva convention. if you don't obey the laws of wore we tell you, we have a better deal. we'll take you to a court, give you a lawyer, give you a platform for your views, and who knows, the possibility of an acquittal. i don't think that's a -- i think it's a counterintuitive message to send. so far as electronic surveillance and the interrogation method used, came late to that game.
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but what frankly bowled me over was the degree to which both of those issues had been lawyered down to a gnat's eyelash. you take a look at the memos disclosed by the current administration relating to interrogation techniques, and the analysis is detailed to the point of being excruciating. say what you want about them, they are based on law. they're not necessarily valid now because there's been subsequent legislation that then the governing statute was the torture statute. nothing that we did to anybody that the cia did to anybody violated the torture statute. that was clear. so we have pulled back from -- we now have no interrogation program such that in essence --
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we have told the people we're opposing that everybody is limited now to the army field manual. the army field manual is available on the internet and used as a training device by terrorists for years. if we had a classified program, at least people would be uncertain about what they faced when they were captured. the classified program could be a blank sheet of paper so long as they were afraid something might happen. now they know presicily what the limit -- precisely what the limits are and can train to them and do. as far as electronic intelligence, all the purr up until -- all the pressure until the latest legislation has been toward pulling back the
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authorities and paring back the authorities, and i don't think that's the way to go. >> congressman? >> two things strike me about what judge mukasey said. these battles over electronic surveillance are not over. section 702, the patriot act is now 20 months out from being a lively debate here. if anybody doubts the importance of our ability to collect, i want you look at the fact that the man who took down the towers in 1996 is now in saudi custody. if you think that is just random, talk afterwards, but america has been collecting intelligence about the men who killed americans for years and years, and at least in that case hiding in tehran for 20 years as a direct result of incredible capacity the united states has to find out where these folks
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are and chase them down and continue the fight. and with respect to guantanamo bay, this president is intent on closing it. he has reduced the number of folks. that is deeply troubling. what is most troubling is what the judge touched on, which is i'm certainly worried about the fact the back door is open and we're letting folks out and i'm worried we don't have a front door, and one is in in prison. we have atall la in a federal district court and a man with the last name kuhu who conducted terrorist attacks in benghazi, libya a little over three years ago, used to be sitting in guantanamo bay, and you can see the dual impacts of the changes this administration has and he risk to terrorism in the united states which results from the fact we no longer have a place to do intelligence collection for folks who have committed terrorist acts against the united states. we might get to interrogate them
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for a handful of hours on a ship someplace but these are questions that need to extend that into hours and weeks and months to determine how the network is built so we can keep us all safe in the homeland. the last thing i'd say about this question began with, are we less safe today? isn't about any of those programs in particular. it's about america's perception in the world. so all the collection, all the intelligence, all the good work that our military and intelligence warriors are doing around the world fails when our policymakers let them down, and so you see all the things taking place. the previous panel talked about russia. you see all those things taking place in the world, and it is ol'y ol'y ox in free. peep laugh and say, sometimes talk about someone like me and say you always want to use the military. for you, just have a hammer so everything is a nail. the truth is, we can't find any
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nails because we have no hammer, and are we -- our enemies know that. we have six major leaders, four of the members of the p-5 plus 1 go the u.n. and state the big lieu, and our president goes to the microphone and talks about how they're allies. that the most enormous threat from a terrorism perspective we have a mission unwilling to do the things around the world it takes to keep terrorism from us here in the homeland. >> i'm even last sanguine after hearing both sides of this. both talked in your responses about our ability to intercept communications, and the role that the nsa has played in the intelligence effort against terrorism.
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what is your respective assessment of the damage that's been done by the snowden revelations and what can be done to remedy the damage? >> so there is -- but let me just step back. when we talk about snowden revelations everyone starts to talk about bulk data collection. we need to reset what mr. snowden did. 90-plus percent of the materials mr. snowden stole put those men and women in uniform back there at enormous risk. most of these were plain old ordinary secreted. not about america behaving badly. this is hour our military operates around the world so many the single biggest risk from mr. snowden's stealing of the information and providing it to our enemies is that we now
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have to spend a lot of money trying to figure out how to keep the military members safe as the perform their operations robbed the world. this is wholly separate and apart from our electronic surveillance that captured the attention of the lefties at the "new york times" and became the story of the day. look, we'll piece the intelligence collection piece of this back there was a robust debate. i wish it had been conducted at a higher level but my colleagues-but we'll piece that back together. we will again make the case that it is important not only to protect americans' privacy but to keep them safe and we can meet both of those objectives ump i'm confident we'll build to a mails that we get the patriot act and all of it provisions right, and we'll have a new leader in the white house that will be prepared to sign that, i'm confident, and when we do we will once again be in a place where i think we can feel confident that our fbi and our nsa and all the folks doing such hard work have the tools they
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need to perform their mission. >> i certainly agree that our intelligence gathering capacity remains far stronger than the intelligence gathering capacity of any other country in the world by a factor of several. that's not to say that the snowden disclosures were not literally incalculable damaging you take one piece of information and it's impossible or very difficult to figure out all the effectors that vectors with and calculate the damage. what he did was thousands upon thousands upon thousands of those you. figure out the man hours devoted to figuring out what he disclosed, how it affects current programs, and who might have had access. you're talking about an enormous
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diversion of resources just to calculate the damage of his disclosures, wholy apart from the whole debate about bulk collection, which is misfocused the nature of his disclosures and also the focus of the debate. so, i think the snowden disclosures are just enormously harmful. >> judge mukasey, you mentionedd the belgium official who came through. many europeans came through and all came away with the same view, that you expressed, which was the facility at guantanamo was actually quite a bit better than a lot of prisons with which
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they were familiar in their own countries. the president has said he -- one of his promises was to close guantanamo. the announced he would do it on the first day he was in office. he still hasn't done it. he has got another 15 months or so in office. do you think he is going to try to do this? how will he do it absent an ability to get congress to go along? and if he were to succeed in closing guantanamo, what would be implications be? >> well, interesting that you point out his statement the second day in office he was going to close guantanamo. i think this video is still up on youtube if you watch it. i watched it live at the time and found it terrifying. he reads off the proclamation,
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the executive order, and he kind of stumbled through it by the power vested in me consistent with the national security -- so on. fortunately signs it with great flourish, and then he looked up and said, greg do we have another order here saying what we're going to do with these people? greg was a reference to greg craig, then the white house counsel, and voice offcamera said something about procedures. he looks looks into the camera d says we're going to have procedures up it was quite clear he hadn't thought through a substantial pillar of his campaign. had no idea how this was going to be done, and candidly, not a whole lot of interest. what is being done now is to reduce the population, starting by fivesies by the time we traded five terrorist leaders
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for one missing -- service member. trying to come up with a polite word. now he is doing it by onesies and now we'll have an argument that analyzes the cost of keeping goon open on a per capita basis. obviously the way to change that is to put more people at guantanamo. you lower the per capita costs. somehow i don't think that's going to be the solution. the impreliminary -- impreliminary caution is they will either be let go to injure disks that can't supervise them and all will have significance because of having gone through guantanamo. or they will be brought to the united states. and put in a prison someplace or several prisons someplace, and become the focus of a great deal of attention and of recruiting. not to mention what i said
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before, motions addressed to the conditions of their confinement and the fact of their confinement, and at some point they will come up with a federal judge who will -- having been one i will tell you they will find one who will let more than one of. the out, and we will then have people state side who will be able to do what they were doing overseas. not a pretty picture. >> let me just add -- i will leave here and return to the house floor and we will vote on the mda and ill will contain language which prohibits the united states from doing what he just contemplated. whether that will stop him, i don't know. we have seen many cases where the president has stared at a statute and said, that's interesting, and continued to take the actions he thought as being appropriate, but just -- debate between the house and senate, certain republican senators even who had a different view than me about how guantanamo bay should proceed.
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but the language that is contained in the bill that will be presented to the president shortly -- and i assume he will sign because i think we'll get lots of vote inside the democratic votes in the sin story signed the ndaa, will prohibit him from doing presidencily what -- presicily what he promised to do. >> is it going prohibit from doing it or bar the use of federal funds to bring them here. >> it has a strict prohibition. whether -- there you go words on paper. >> because the prior bill that was passed barred the expenditure of federal fund, and it occurred to me he could probably either overseas or in hollywood raise enough money to bring people here there wouldn't be any expenditure of federal funds. >> i actually haven't -- >> a constitutional lawyer. >> i have not actually seep the
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final negotiated hawk. there was to the house and senate going back and forth. i understand the prohibition is broader. whether there's a loophole for such a thing, one never knows. they paid mr. pagliano to run an i.t. system. this crew is pretty aggressive. >> let me try and draw both of you out a little bit on one more -- well, something i think is implied in what judge mukasey said in his response to guantanamo question and also earlier. wouldn't the closing of guantanamo also put into the notion we have any kind of capability to interrogate as opposed to find, fix, and finish terrorist targets, and won't that exacerbate the problem you began our discussion with in terms of the lack of human intelligence collection on the terrorist threat, which i think
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would be terribly disabling to the effort to defeat terrorism? particularly the home leaned. >> could take us back to some of the bad old days before we had any kind of program that provided for our interrogation of people to where we wind up subcontracting this, to people overseas who are a lot less 0 scrupulous about how they treat detainees than we are. there are legal prohibitions on that as well, are there not? we can't knowingly turn people over if we believe they might be subject to torture...
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only the quality of the intelligence will go down. >> let me just add to that. i think you are right. the fact that were not being interrogated. you talked about one potential release would be hand them over to the third party and turn their head. the the other relief valve would be not to bother. think about it. we have all these different situations today where we know a bunch of bad guys did some bad things and were trying to find them. imagine you find them then what?
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so if you are part of the team conducting the operation to go find them. where does the incentive go to execute that mission key market because when you're finished your option is so limited right. of the bullet to your head or ship them out. neither of which is easy. i've had people come in time and again and tell me what your plan is when you capture someone at this place. i want to be polite but they are confounded, there confronted with this very issue about what you do. how to maximize the value. how do you make it work the effort to pursue these bad
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actors? >> i want to go back on a point. intelligence gathering in an equal process. it is not simple the initial questioning, hours, days, even weeks. you take intelligence and go out and compare the facts and may be double back. find out something else, get a list of telephone numbers and people and go back to the person you talk to originally and get leads based on what you did know the first time. it's a constant back-and-forth and their people at guantánamo and s elsewhere that divide useful intelligence years after their capture. that's not something we would be able to do.
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>> think both of you have essentially put your finger on something that has struck me in government as a potential paradox. the merrill qualms people raise about enhanced interrogation techniques put people in the position, and i think you're talking about this where rather than subject a detainee to harsh questioning, a slap in the face are being slapped up against wall, were going to kill them. that seems to me to be counterintuitive place to end up. that is where we are going based on what both of you have said. let me send the intelligence gathering question for a minute. i know both of you have seen the reports the daily beats and elsewhere about intelligence
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assessments about isil. whether those have been affected by command influence, presumably in attraction to suggest that we are making more progress than what we are, or that isil is less a threat to the homeland than what it really is, et cetera. essentially in charge of the intelligence. recognizing the investigation is ongoing and therefore it's impossible to really have a definitive judgment about this, how worried are you that this is symptomatic of a deeper problem in the intelligence community? with reports being detailed to a particular narrative about what is going on in the fight against terrorism. >> intelligence community over the last ten years, five or six at least, this is a process that
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is nothing new. the phenomenon that has been going on for decades. we call it cycles of aggression. the the intelligence community goes out and gathers intelligence in a very aggressive way, something goes awry and then there subject to criticism of the political branches and people's political careers are ruined, they pull back and then as we saw in the wake of 911 is forgotten. when you take a group of people have been subjected over decades , something that has been going on in the intelligence
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community for a long time, this constant back-and-forth of standards, they are very vulnerable to suggestions of how that would come out. i am very concerned about that. i'm also concerned because the trove of intelligence that we got from bin laden's hideout has not been released. the suggestion is it hasn't been released because it conflicted with the narrative of the administration and what bin laden was or was not doing, who his relationships were and so on. >> to put it finer, very select number of documents have been released. the bulk of it remains under lock and key.
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i'm sorry, i didn't mean to interrupt. >> there's been a suggestion made by more than one person that that would have disclosed relationships between al qaeda and the iranians which a lot of people and political life would say that's impossible. al qaeda are sunni and iranians are shiites and we all know they don't talk to each other so we get intelligence that can't possibly be accurate. so the fbi was at a meeting of the five family in new york, the five organized crime families, they're all out war with one another, they can possibly come to a meeting like that. it's a real danger. it distorts intelligence gathering. it exercises an influence on the people who do it. >> i'm a little burdened by being involved and you talked about the issue sitcom. we'll see where it goes. your broader question about political
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influence of intelligence is difficult, often to we ask our questions and we try to get it right. one of the ways you can identify, in my view that intelligence is not being played straight down the middle and has been consistently wrong in the same direction, statistically am an engineer by training, the administration has been wrong every time on the short side of the threat. but as it being presented to the american people, that which has been shared has turned out to under estimate the risk associated with terrorism. whether that's from al qaeda or isis or any of the groups that are identified as terrorist threats by the administration. they've consistently been wrong on the short side. that is what you see the complaint being alleged. that is a dangerous place to be.
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today we have an enormous commitment to intelligence collection associated with verification of the iranian commitments. again, we hear sec. carrie go on and say we have perfect intelligence on the history of the iranian nuclear weapons program and lo and behold, we find there is a report that the primary chamber where nuclear tests were conducted was missing. >> that's not perfect. >> i don't know the answers to each of those questions. but the report says the chamber is missing. it just tells you how challenging it is if you have administration that refuses to share information in its entirety. and i don't do so in a way that is straight up. >> more broadly on the question of the intelligence community's performance over the last decade and a half under terror threat,
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how would both of you assess the overall performance if you had to grade it? what can what can we do to improve the communities performance? particularly other things that you and your colleagues, and congress can do to help improve the performance? >> our task is to provide them the tools and then conduct oversight. not over legal compliance but moreover their conduct in their task that are vigorous and in best we can. one of the joys of serving on the intelligence community is there no cameras in our hearing room. it is great because it is very different from hearings we had upstairs. not every trying to cut a video for the home district. there is a more bipartisan effort there. that has been a real joy for me. i'm not sure how to grade, letter grade, i don't know that i have enough personal history. without seven norma's
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intelligent successes and some big gaps as well. i will tell you the men and women that i'm exposed to and whether they are the dia, cia, or working national tactical means programs, they are the finest americans i've encountered in the united states army. that always gives me great confidence at the level where the rubber meets the road, we have great people out there trying to keep us safe. >> i agree 100%. i'm not in a better position to give good grades. i don't believe in that kind of exercise. i think they do the best they can under the circumstances in which they function. and the circumstances are difficult. particularly when the successes, you don't you don't read about them. you read about the failures. under those circumstances, my
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hats off to them. >> both of you have made reference to iran in one way or another in your responses. the joint comprehensive plan of action that was reached this summer in geneva between the five plus one would leave observers to believe hundred 50 alien dollar windfall iran when all the sanctions are lifted. there is been some debate about where that money will go, particularly since iran is the leading state-sponsored terrorism and repeatedly verified as such. what you think the likely result of this will be and what steps in your view should be taken by the congress to try to mitigate the damage?
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>> life thinking this is a disaster. a lot of that money will go to rusher. when the iranians go shopping for stuff, a lot of which they need, one of the places they will get it is the russians. that will solve some of their economic problems as well. actually it will enhance the difficulties that we face with putin. and at this point he's doing it with two sevens in his hand. there features of that arrangement that have not been talked about a whole lot. the iranians, if they believe that sanctions are not being
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lifted quickly enough they could simply pull out. there is no corresponding privilege that the p5 plus one half. the p5 plus one are committed to helping the iranians safeguard from not only accident but from sabotage their weapons facilities. so it's an interesting question, if we were to find out that somebody was planning to sabotage, would we be obligated to help them put an end to that or warn them them about that. i'm not certain that we wouldn't. provisions like that are absurd.
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>> i want to put this in a little bit of perspective. the ministration has conceded that some of this money will end up going to the every terrorism program. but they minimize it sent the iranians will use the majority of it to improve their economy. let's assume that the administration for once in secretaries right. and they use that for the majority of their community. so i'll pick $100 million but they they use 95% of their money for the economy, 5% goes to export of terror around the world. so my mouth that is that's $5 billion, the leading operations of tear runs from a budget of probably a little bit more than $5 billion. anybody want their budget doubled in the fbi. or anywhere else. this is an extraordinary amount of money for terror to have
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their money on. engaging with shia militias who have now gained the fight there. whichever organization and whichever place whether it's south america or some other place where tara they will not have free reign to do it and resources for company. it is a frightening proposition. the tear component of the agreement where the u.s. sits by and watched eu and un sanctions be lifted on men with blood on their hands, it is the morally reprehensible action i've seen the administration tank and my four and half years of congress. >> to add what both of you have said, it's against the backdrop
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in which the 9/11 commission put aside the commission of the relationship between al qaeda and iraq. the 9/11 commission found there was an operational relationship between iran and al qaeda. there's some litigation going on now which some are aware of that deal with victims of the tower bombing that suggests that the iranians may have had some operational relationships with people actually involved with the planning of 911. so that's just to put a finer point on the tear connection. let me ask both of you one last question. then i want to get our audience into the act. i will go back to the republican debates because that has come up a couple of times. one of the issues that come up is how we describe the terror threat that we face as a nation.
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clearly what we face now has evolved considerably from al qaeda organization that struck the united states on 911 to a more complex and difficult threat. how would you individually describe the threat that we face to the american public? >> simon kansas, i talk about the radical extremism, i think the high name is isis. there will be another one tomorrow. the list is long. they share a common theme and that common theme is an intent to disrupt and destroy the west. a desire to do that and the name of the religion that they hold dear to themselves. they have developed some capacity to reach to someplace that is beyond their own locale.
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the thread has changed dramatic. when you give the director of the fbi talk about the fact that there are open counterterrorism investigation in all 50 states of the union, you know it has a whole affect to the homeland. we all need to be cognizant that this is not as donald trump would say, of problem for syria, but a problem for the united states of america. >> i think the source of the threat is the same as it was at the time of the first bombing in 1993 and well before that. it is an islamic ideology that believe that it came out wrong. it is a theory based in a
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religion. it is is not without basis in religion. obviously there are other teachings of that religion that we would prefer another muslims prefer. but that need to work that out for themselves. on the other hand for us to deny that there is a religious claim with some basis of religious motivation is delusional. it's not other people being diluted, it is us being diluted. >> i want to make sure we get the audience in this so i'm happy to take questions. >> i think there is a mike coming around. >> thank you very much to the fbi for convening this.
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ambassador, it is hard for americans to know what is the nature that we are facing in the middle east. yes they read the news, yet when not all things happen like soviet intervention in syria now, when stated intention from the russians to fatal attack isis seem not to be quite true, my question is, in order to enable the grassroots of our country to make judgments about how serious is what is happening in syria, what should we worry about, and how do we deal with it?
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do you know whether or not there has been, what has historically been the case in administration, faced a new direction of threat task the intelligent community, tell me what their intentions are. well in tensions are hard. the intelligence committee can assess capabilities, tart understand intentions. but the question this is, do you know whether the administration has sought to learn what russian intentions are? and is congress in a position to help them out by tasking intelligent agencies to report on what it is we are facing and as separate non- intelligence matter tasking the administration from the hill?
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you're still going to degrade and destroy, how are you doing that? the seem like reasonable questions for the american people to get an answer about. or some clarity about what the russian purpose. it seems to me this is a change in geopolitics. with russian ambitions going well beyond propping up the assad government which is bad enough, but establishing in the middle east which is more serious enough for president eisenhower to land the marines here. in short, could we be doing more to enable the american people to know what the dickens is going on? >> i think that was addressed to me. at least in part. so i can say this, it is the
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case that the intelligence community is working hard to try to figure out precisely what the russians are up to. there have been open-source pictures of the extensive nature of the build up there. your conclusion i think is right. this is not about simply popping up the assad regime but i think that is a component of it. this is a fundamental fundamental shift that i believe mr. putin understands political just the same way as i do. my view is not to suffer for 15 months and he views it as an opportunity for that same time. he is wants to change and will not have a foothold in the mediterranean for the for siebel future.
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you don't have to go to a republican it was a change from consistent u.s. policy, democrat and republican presidents alike that said the soviet, now russian will not have a foothold a foothold and will not be the regional power inside the united states. we now have the iranian russian access there. largely running free. yet i do view myself as having a personal mission to educating the american people the risk that that represents to the children and grandchildren and years ahead. >> did you want to add anything. >> let me point out that we have labored long and hard to get the russians out of the middle east. they are now back in it with nuclear arms. >> it strikes me but this is essentially overturning 75 years of u.s. policy and acquiescing the reinsertion of russian power into the middle east is really a
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story that our friends ought to be covering. with a little bit more intention to the novelty of it in order to help the educational process you were talking about. >> there were two latebreaking developments with respect to install intelligence collection on the joint plan of action and iran. that was the iranians would be collecting samples and there be a 21 or 24 day gap between inspection and the actual inspection. both of those just castrate our intelligence completely. it should should amend the deal completely invalid even amongst the most touchy-feely democrats. did you all failed to talk to
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democrat buddies and say there goes our intelligence, this thing can move forward? >> again to me. so anybody who has been watching this i was deeply engaged in an effort to ensure that the deal did not go forward on multiple fronts. 488 hours after the deal was struck where trying to understand what it would look like. it was he and i bet and i bet first learned of the two secret side deals. just the fact that there's an agreement that no american has ray, when you have members of congress demand to read bills and yet no american has read all of the words that are contained in this agreement. napa not the secretary of state, not the president, no one in our state department, none of you, and yet we found a bunch of votes to support the deal. i personally spoke with over 80
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democrats during the month of august. i called them all. some of them didn't know who i was. very little defensive the deal but an enormous amount of political pressure to support what the pres. was attempting to do. they will come to one of two conclusions. they would either hide behind this drawing argument of this or war or simply say this is where we are at and there's not much we can do and we need to make the best of what we have. i have add one other piece. these ideals, you said iranians would be able to conduct their own testing, we don't really know that, right. the terms of that collection are contained in the side deals. the agreements, that will be the president for every undeclared site. it is now the case that the
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director has said yes it's true, the iranians pulled the sample themselves. i will have to ask the folks who voted in favor of the deal in the face of all of those facts. >> i think we we have time for one more question. >> during the bush administration seems like if you call someone in islamic asked dream as you're calling a spade a spade. right now russia has bombed some areas of syria where some rebel groups are. i was wondering, on the one hand is it possible that russia could be raging war by proxy within islamic group putting its agents undercover and sabotage.
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on the other hand and middle eastern countries there's a conflict with saudi arabia and iran. where by proxy lebanon, or certain portions of the population will take sides with one or the other. both of those countries are islamic states. this would seem to be a systemic thing. what will you do to make both saudi arabia and iran accountable for their conflict in the middle east. >> i don't how to answer that. what you're asking what will we do. >> i would make the observation however that if in fact the press reports indicate the u.s. government believes the russian airstrikes hit units trained by the united

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