tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 7, 2015 8:00am-10:01am EDT
officials including foreign minister lavrov and secretary of the security council had described isis as the main threats to rush him a threat to global security respectively. on the u.s. side that lets a group of whether isis represents a top threat i think fbi director has been quoted as saying it's a top threat to the u.s. national security. so since neither of the united states nor russia can tolerate the existence of the state in the form of isis in the middle east and both countries need to counter al-qaeda and keep it on the run and reduce its possibilities, i would argue there's definitely ground for potential cooperation. that is impeded by different approaches towards syria, although i believe and russian officials have said officially that russia is not married to assad. i think in the long-term it is
an opportunity for transition to a coalition government to represent guarantees key constituencies, all of the kurds and moderate sections of syrian opposition. for now the u.s.-russian cooperation can be limited to fighting isil in iraq and that could include a joint operation which is something u.s. and russian special forces have done on a very low scale in afghanistan. they could include providing more arms and more training to the iraqi armed forces and the kurds fighting isil come at it could of course include disrupting financing which is not a counterterrorism tactic per se but it is an important comment is important element of countering such organizations. but looking beyond that, countering terrorism with force alone would not suffice. are certain of root causes can
contribute back to the i want now the other in the statement that both russia and the united states need to address as they think how to defeat terrorists, not only in the middle east, but also in their own countries. of the deeper structural causes i would point out relative social economic deprivation, poor quality of governance and political instability. i would point out the spread of violent ideologist and primarily militant form of salafi or so-called wahhabi is called. violate the third group is moderation causes, i would point out to the abuses of population. if there's anything that creates a grievances, it's the abuses our population at the hands of authorities. so let me conclude by saying
that cooperation between united states and russia against terrorism in general and isis and al-qaeda in particular can not only significantly advance international efforts to contain these organizations expansion within and without iraq and adjusting countries but it can also help to stop the slide towards a new cold war between west and russia in the wake of the ukraine crisis. although these factors are not exactly, the ukraine crisis will have to be resolved regardless, but that cooperation, let me repeat, will help to stop the slide towards a new cold war. thank you. >> mr. chairman, distinguished member, thank you so much for the invitation to speak to you today. i would like to address the serious aspect of this issue. -- series in. unlike ukraine, undertaken to
counter the western russian officials have characterized their support for the assad regime is accepting in western interest, even if western governments cannot quite seem to understand this. it serves the common goal of combating the islamic state. russian president putin recently described the assad regime as an important ally in the fight against the islamic state. it is evident these data recently that an active participate of the syrian authorities the matter with our participation of the syrian army into the territory as a military site in the fight against islamic state, terrorist cannot be expelled from the country and from the region on the whole. russian foreign minister love rob described the solution as a crucial ally against islamic state. he declared the sitting president is commander in chief of are the most a tenable ground force the person to give such -- ago to keep those of the army as army a supporter and ally in the fight against islamic state
means to sacrifice the entire regions heretic to geopolitical moves and how commissions. while the west may not like assad, his authority regime is preferable to an even worse one that islamic state would establish. that would pose a real threat to western as well as russian interest. are the more, assad regime forces are needed in order to stop islamic state from taking over more or even the rest of transit. western assistance to assad must account that is foolish since this would greatly weaken the forces fighting against islamic state. the west should work with moscow and the assad regime against the common thread and not against them. this argument is based on the premise that the assad regime is actively fighting against islamic state. there've been numerous reports that the assad regime and islamic state of actually not been fighting with each other or not doing so very much. a widely quoted study by ihs jane's terrorism and insurgency
center at the end of lesser noted that the assad regime's counterterrorism operations skewed heavily towards groups whose names are not isis. of 982 carriages of operations for the year up through november 21, 2014, just 6% directly targeted isis. in february of this year "time" magazine reported on a sunni businessman with close ties to the assad regime describing various forms of actual cooperation between the assad regime and the islamic state, including how the assad regime buys oil from islamic state-controlled oil facilities, how serious the main mobilephone operators provide service and send repair teams to i is controlled areas and that damascus allows food shipments to the i is capital, rocca. at the beginning june 2015 u.s. embassy damascus accused of the same government of providing air support to an advanced islamic state militants against opposition groups north of aleppo. in july tradition intelligence
sources claim an agreement was made between the assad regime and islamic state to destroy the free syrian army in the country's north. wide within a fight against the islamic state and cooperate with that? both of them have an interest in weakening their common foes. of those in opposition groups being supported by turkey, saudi arabia, qatar and others. moscow and damascus denied the assad regime and islamic state are not fighting each other and are cooperating against their common foes. been numerous reports that this is what is happening as well as the compelling nature of the enemy of my enemy is my friend logic at work points to the credibility if these reports are true and certain implications follow. if assad and islamic state are not fighting each other but the assad regime is losing ground, then it's weakening is due partly to the non-islamic state forces backed by turkey in the gulf arabs. russian military support to the assad regime is likely to be used primarily against those
forces that are most threatening to damascus, the free syrian army, the al-nusra front and all the others and not against the islamic state which is less threatening. russian calls for the west to work with moscow and damascus in the fight against islamic state and are intended to elicit western acquiescence to increased russian support for assad regime efforts to combat its were threatening non-islamic state opponents as well as to divide western governments that the islamic state more than the assad regime on the one hand from turkey and the gulf arab states which are more focused on supporting the downfall of the assad regime to supporting its non-islamic state opponents on the other. what i'll do suggest is that the recent increase in russian military involvement in syria is motivated much less by decide to combat the islamic state and by the desire to protect the assad regime against its more active non-islamic state opponents as well as to blunt the actions of western and middle eastern actions aimed at supporting them.
thank you. >> well, thank you all for this actually quite diverse view of what's going on and what we should do. i hope maybe by the end of this hearing we can actually come to some conclusions, but you are much wiser than i am. all right, dr. aron, dr. katz, just basically called into question whether assad is actually as anti-isil as we have been led to believe. could you give us your assessment of that, please? >> i'm sure mark looked deep into that. i was concentrating largely on the spread of fundamentalism, militancy inside russia from the north caucasus. but intuitively, you know,
gangsters usually find common language. stalin did with hitler, for example. so i would not be surprised if that's the case, and in any case they do come to blows up first they take care of the pro-western liberals. and again, you know, that may not just apply directly to the free syrian army, but historically i would think that that's probably quite accurate. as somebody who's been dealing, studying putin and his ideology and his goals, i agree that, even regardless of what his plans are with respect to assad per se, i think they are secondary. i think the most important thing to putin in syria is what i call the implementation of the putin
doctrine, as i articulate a few years back, which is the recovery of geopolitical assets lost by the soviet union in the fall of the soviet state. he wants to establish the presence of russia in the middle east as probably the dominant outside player, that's the first thing. the second thing let's not forget that assad or no assad, the only thing as a russian analyst told me a couple years ago, the only thing that is going for this regime can't talk about putin regime, is putin's personal popularity did look at the public opinion polls. how does he get his popularity? he gets his popularity by embodying the first and the hunger for reestablishing russia as a great power. this is what happened with crimea. this is what happened with ukraine. and now this is what's happening in syria. i think this is a key
motivational force, the key motivation for putting to be present in syria. and one last thing. again, which has nothing to do with his support for assad, there's a very serious concern and vote for the speakers touched on this, a very serious concern for what you mention churchill before. let me up like churchill's definition of the both for the soft underbelly of russia which is central asia. it consists of very unstable regimes, and the isis penetration and the talent and subversion of the state's brings isis and brings taliban to russian borders. this is another issue for i think motivated to putin. >> we have, how many minutes, before we vote? how many minutes speak with about seven minutes. >> about seven minutes. i'm going to yield several minutes to you now and we will come back immediately after the
two boats spent i will wait at the you come back. >> all right. we are in recess until immediately after the second vote. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> all right. let's get this thing going. the hearing is called to order. i will finish my questions after mr. sires has a chance -- go to, i will just come look, again it was a wonderful diversity of
opinion here, and a whole new concept which i have not heard, and let me just ask them from your testimony, you are suggesting that assad is not someone who is as anti-radical as we've been led to believe and that he, if we, and with ms. burns involvement with assad, is not going to direct them toward isil but directed them towards his own, or the non-aligned movement's? >> i think assad, obviously he is opposed to the jihadists and they are opposed to him. i just think that the way in which they look at the question is one, highly machiavellian
manner. and that is who is threatening thank you, mr. chairman most networks it is not isis so much. it is the other opponents, therefore, and who threatens isis in many respects? if the competition among the other syrian opposition movements. so that they have sort of a common interest at present that both would like to see the other opposition movements we can. that doesn't mean they're going to be friends later on. in other words, they're preparing for the day that robert turn on each other but at the moment that it seems that they're not so interested in fighting each other, that they are both, they both prefer to weaken -- >> so those two groups are not interested in fighting each other, at least one of them is interested in fighting assad come and assad will then focus on come if we help them own on that group, and isil. so you're saying the isil forces are not at this point in
attacking a nice military bases and things such as that, just as the group that we come just by the way as a note i voted against arming the third force. i thought that was going to turn out the way that things did in iraq, and so you're suggesting that group now is indeed leading the fight against that isis is not speak with many, many groups. in other words, it's not even a scope as a three-quarter conflict. there's loads of factors involved. but what it does is that at the moment it is the opposition groups that are not isis out of most threatening to assad. therefore, it's not surprising assad is concentrating his efforts on these particular forces. >> we have seen reports, one of
the reasons we voted against doing this, as there have been defections by that third force supposedly to isil. in fact, one of the major leaders of that group defected, and the report that i read he now commands a force that has made up half of which is made up of people from chechnya spewing my memory of the report is that the moderates whom we supported defected to the al-nusra front, which, of course, they're hardly better but it's not isis. that's for sure. but it is obviously, you know, we are not a major actor in terms of i think external actors supporting the syrian opposition. obviously, it's the saudi scum the turks, the countries and others. i think they have their own agenda, and so we simply
haven't, i'm not sure it was ever possible to great this moderate third force. i don't think it necessarily was. >> g10 what group was the third group you're thinking -- to determine what group, the third group or was it just isil that captured, pronounce -- airbase which is i think two weeks ago, was a huge victory, i assume it was isil at the time but it was a major defeat for assad's forces speak with i'm not positive which one it was actually the captured. i just remember the very -- >> so if it wasn't isil and not the third force, the basis, that would go totally contrary to the basis of what your testimony yesterday? >> i would just like to refer to the u.s. embassy, damascus
statement from earlier in june indicating that the u.s. accused the syrian government of providing air support to advanced by islamic state militants against opposition groups north of a level. in other words, this seems to be sort of not an actual alliance but sort of an alliance alliancf convenience in many respects -- aleppo -- between assad and i suspect investigating abu ghraib is to go to isis at present and the other opponents in order to bolster the argument that speed i get that airbase which was won at the major battles of the last six months, because they had been defeating or defending this with their lives, this is a major part of their strategy, indeed that wasn't isil attack, that is basically contradict your theory. >> yes, it wasn't isil attack spent we will find out. i will look into it. what's that?
[inaudible conversations] the group that did was al-nusra. >> then that makes sense, yes. >> and al-nusra to you is a radical islamic group speak with of course it's a radical islamic group's. doesn't that go a little bit contrary to what you were testifying? >> if we're talking about, nor is it the focus is on isis, or say, i think one thing we know is that they are more radical and even then and al-nusra. there has been competition between the al-nusra front and isis. i'm not saying that it's better that al-nusra front has made these advances, but what he think is that what we are saying is that as the assad regime weakens, that eventually were going to see a conflict between al-nusra entices. in other words, they will not kiss and make up because they're both radicals, that there will just be a conflict between them. >> mr. series, if enough of them other questions later.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. as i listened to the statements, i couldn't help but being a little bit confused. in everything that was said here. first let me make an observation. for the last few weeks we've been hearing about how the syrian army has been weakened and how it looked like it was going to be defections and everything else. i really think that was a setup so the russians could come in and step in their in syria. and now today i understand that the russians bombed the free, i wrote it down here, the free syrian army post, but that wasn't isil. so what does all that mean? i assume that, that they were
there to buy isil -- to fight a isil but i look at all three of your opinions because it was so diverse when he first gave her statements. we will start with you in spirit yes, i think that in today's "washington post" we've seen reports in which the russians are going to commit an an attack on isis, but that people opposition leader claimed that the russian airstrikes targeted civilians, not isis, killing 37 people. the people in this area are opposed to isis. it of course couldn't be independently verified. in other words, this is the heart of the matter. who claims he's there to fight isis public usually there is to protect the assad regime and protecting the assad regime begins, the forces that oppose most strongly and this isn't isis. in other words, he's going to get whoever is threatening
assad. is not going to avoid those forces that are not isis but which are threatening assad. no, he wants to give it of all the opposition to assad. >> dr. aron? >> before, in answer to mr. chairman's question, putin is there to show that russia does not abandon its allies spent in complete contrast to what he was complaining about us. >> make your own conclusions. >> i'm just saying spent at i think putin, putin, you know, the point is not escaped putin definitely. well, you noticed immediately, almost coincidental iraq now is with rush on intelligence matters and we are not worried what secrets is our a rocky i guess allies point to give
russia. it was a headline today. so there to show that russia does not abandon its allies? it is for putin to regain every important shia political asset. russia is back in the middle east after some thought, through the soviet union in 1972. russia is back and finally it's an extremely important domestic political imperatives for him to show that whatever the economic difficulties they have come rush is a great power again, whether it's in ukraine, whether it's in the middle east, and god knows what's going to be next. so these to me as i think is a putin calculates it. and it doesn't, frankly, you know, so long as the regime that he supports is in power, i think that's putin's strategic goal.
who he has two bomb along the way is, you know, i think a secondary matter to them. he leaves it to the people on the ground. >> what do you think? >> i haven't seen reports what russian warplanes have bombed what. my understanding is that russia's interests in syria require that russia has a say in future of this country, but the notion that russia would bomb any of assad's opponents i think is mistaken. is mistaken. russia has posted negotiations -- posted -- between some of the syrian opposition and syrian officials. russia has discussed according to those opposition members as cited in press potential participation of these opponents in the future government.
so, therefore, i think as long as russia's interest in syria, which is the presence of the russian navy in the tatars, avatars facility, continue military and national cooperation with the syria, and ensuring that there is no failed state in syria which is the largest concern of russia, it would be open to accommodating potential transition to a coalition government in the long run. again, i haven't seen -- >> the government of though would be in favor of russia. >> it's all black and white. that would take into account russia's interest which includes ensuring stability of the syria so it doesn't become a failed state and, therefore, does not become a haven for terrorist groups that within attack russia and its allies, ensuring that
russia's presence remains in serious as it has been come and ensuring that russia continues to trade with syria in goods that let's russia oversight is economy which is most of the oil and gas. syria as a major buyer of russian machinery including arms. as long as there's interest, russia will remain open to dialogue at the notion that would bomb any of assad's opponent is a thick mistaken. if you read what the spokesperson for the foreigner she said, said openly what has been said i believe i russian officials for a long time, that russia is not married to the idea of keeping assad necessarily empower. >> can somebody talk a little bit about the challenges that the russians military presence in syria post to the united states entrance of its conflict in syria?
what challenges do you see for us there? >> well, clearly if, in fact, the u.s. has its own bombing campaign against isis, and that suddenly russia has its bombing campaign, too, the main question is the confliction. we want to make sure that the two air forces could well, run into each other. and so does i think this is a serious issue it seems to me. on the other hand, other than that, i'm not sure that the russian military presence can really be seen as a threat to the united states. russia has fewer troops in syria that we now have in iraq, and so it strikes me that our presence in iraq, we are not exactly being able to get the isis with that. i don't think that what russian presence we've seen in syria is
going to enable russia to do the isis if, in fact, that's what it wants to be. i think at best what they're there to do is to bolster the assad regime. i have to disagree with my colleague about who rush is or is not willing to bomb. i think that rush is there to help the assad regime. the assad regime has certain very urgent opponents and, therefore, i think if that's what's necessary to attack and that's what they will affect i don't think russia wants to get deeply involved in syria. and in that case i think putin may have bitten off a little more than he can chew, but i've heard certainly people indicate that the u.s. can live with a russian naval facility on the coast of syria. it doesn't really threaten us very much. i don't think that where
necessary opposed to russia having normal relations, even favorite relations with syria. i think at the beginning of the syrian conflict our thought was that, well, just as moscow complained that after assad, russia would have any influence in iraq because the iraqi government would be pro-american. and what we've seen is that increasing cooperation between iraq and russia. i think what we expect was that with the change of regime in syria which, of course, didn't happen was that the new syrian government would eventually have a certain pause would restore relations with russia as well. but, of course, this is not what's happened. >> dr. aron, what challenges do you think it poses speak with no comment on that. no, i do not that, you know, the actual topic of the threat of islamic extremism in russia, i think syria does enter this
simply because syria has become a training ground for the jihadists from central asia, north caucasus, but my point was that i think we may be seeing something much more threatening, and that is the russian muslim minorities inside russia are beginning to go without route. they have a very significant presence already in the troops of the jihadists in syria. and, frankly, if we thought the chechens, you know, were a problem, there are 1 million of them come and are six and a half million of tatars and are notified to 6 million inside russia, including 2.5 million migrants from central asia who are constantly going back and forth and central asia is completely now penetrated by isis recruiters and then isis
propaganda. so talking of danger to the united states, those things are very rarely contained within national borders. so this to me is what of the offshoots, regardless of what putin does and what we do. i think that train is already in motion. >> do you agree or disagree? >> well, i agree. as i said in my written statement, the primary threat that emanates from that area is not with, if assad states that bit longer or is ousted. the threat of -- >> you don't think this poses any challenges to our efforts in syria? >> i think whoever does it become a focus on violent
extremist, violent extremists in syria and iraq, whoever goes out to them it's in the interest of the united states and doesn't pose a threat, just like it's in the interest of russia. >> well, thank you very much. we are going to have another series which gives me an excuse to build us some questions as well, and then whatever if you'd like to ask more, we will get that in as well. i'd like to place in the record a letter from john quincy adams to his fellows about his observations about russia, even as far back as john quincy adams who i believe was our first ambassador to russia. and he pointed out in his letter, lengthy analysis, that the russian character had been developed in great part due to
its constant fight with islam on its borders. the russian character of actually come at our national spirit, had been brought about by this fact that islam was in a time of expansion, and russia, and the russian people bore the brunt of that. and those the idea that something could happen in the islamic world that would be a great threat to russians is something that is not just what putin believes, but something that is ingrained in russian people who, over the years, have had tragic incidences with, for example, a school who i went come and it went to the area to see that school and to talk to the local people. they end up with hundreds of
their children being murdered basically but that's the only, but you go through the years and this has been part of russia's psyche. i don't think of love, is there something i don't think there's anything wrong with a country being led by room and watched the country be a great country. and now that come and i heard mr. putin's remarks to the united nations, and he readily admitted that russia had discarded the soviet union, and this was a new situation, and they are back to what normal countries are, should be judged by, not bystanders that were established during the cold war when russia itself was being directed by and ideological
zealots, click, and the communist party, the same way radical islam is having such a major impact on islam, the radical islamists have that type of ability to impact on policies and large numbers of people through their violence. so i really reject the idea that, well, putin is only down there in russian garlic powder to help assad, their friend. although part of being a great country is making sure that when you make a deal with somebody that you keep the deal, even when it gets tough and you don't think a friend in a lurch after they risk everything for you. addressing the in the last few years the united states, as my colleague accidentally
indicated, the united states, welcome we have left a lot of people behind here. and also the united states policy was, what, we had to get rid of saddam hussein. felt compelled to go in and get saddam hussein. and now we feel compelled to make sure that assad in some way doesn't hold power. i don't get that i think it was a mistake on our part and i voted for the support of president bush when he went into iraq. that was a horrible mistake, and saddam hussein was not our enemy. and guess what. i don't think assad is our enemy. that if russia is indeed there's something to help assad, and what might happen to syria, even if assad is overthrown with non-iso- forces, we, i don't think it was the radicals that
necessarily overthrew gadhafi, when the moderates over through coffee with our help we ended up with half of libya now being controlled by radical islam -- gadhafi. at a threat to the stability of the whole region. maybe assad is like that. maybe no matter who overthrows him, as mr. putin was mentioning in his remarks at the u.n., that maybe this will create an unintended consequence of total catastrophe, not just assad being overthrown a sum of who is a radical but the fact that you a power vacuum and chaos that would be exploited by these radical forces that are clearly present in that region. i personally think we ought to start analyzing russia, make sure we understand what motives
are going on, and i don't think it's a motive that we had the same motive that when khrushchev but the missiles into cuba. i don't think that's the type of attitude that we are facing in the world today. and that's a lot different and that deserved the outraged that we have at that time, but assad being held by russia in the face of this type of turmoil? i don't see that this should be on our list of things to thwart. it seems our government is. back to the actual nature of russia and radical islam, do you think come with al all of the ts what we've heard today, it seems that wouldn't a government of russia be justified in being concerned to hear that there are 5000 russian people who might at
the end of this come back home and start committing the types of terrorism that is being experienced in different parts of the world? isn't that a justified fear? please feel free to comment. >> of course it is. and the fact that russian language is not the russian language is not a third most popular, and that i have all kinds of stuff that you cannot say in five minutes but there have been reports that there were graffiti in russia and syria which read when will buy you a new palace, or through tajikistan through russia which was a slogan of one of the groups. there is a movement of uzbekistan. this as a very vulnerable area.
>> i tajik city was just taken over by the taliban. by the way, is not the so many are worried about russia will fall to these radicals. the issue because these radicals that are now motivated and back and have experienced that they may go back in that country and start killing people in large numbers, whether turning a bunch of kids into school and send them with explosives, or whether it's setting off the type of explosions and things that we've seen in railroad cars in western europe. there are fewer muslims in western europe than what we have in russia, and they are suffering from attacks, terrorist attacks of there. so again, i think the threat to the western, to western civilization, to the non-muslim world from radical islam, islamic terrorists is real and it makes sense if someone is
also a target for that, that we don't try to do everything we can to undermine their efforts. but instead at least try to find ways to cooperate. that's what this hearing is all about. and my colleague will now have his questions. >> okay. going to put that letter for the record? >> that's for the record. >> okay. i just have, associate with ukraine with what's going on in syria. do you think it has anything to do with putin's decision to go into syria, the fact that now this is like the stalemate there? >> one of the most interesting reactions that i heard or read in the russian media emulate after the, because it was a surprise to everybody, part of the issue was russia is about putin literally his own defense counsel, which is very difficult, it's a very dangerous
situation. crimea was a surprise, was a surprise to his ministers, to his closest aides, and so was syria. so the reaction from the russian analyst was one of the reaction, remember i mentioned to you there's domestic political dimension to this, is that putin is popular not because of the russian economy anymore. he used to be popular because they couldn't seven, 8% every year between 2000-2008. he is popular because he embodies is a dream of russia becoming a superpower like the soviet union used to be. [inaudible] >> well, you know, we all want our countries to be great. the question is how we achieve it. that's a separate issue. >> call that something else. >> but the bottom line is, some
of the endless, some of the most respected russian analysts said one of the reasons, not the whole reason, one of the reasons to go to syria is that ukraine no longer generates enough of this patriotic that makes not all russians but quite a few to forget about the economic hardships, the 15% inflation, that the economy is not going to shrink 6% this year, that there's unemployment, that the tensions are growing smaller and smaller due to inflation, that food products are now 15, 20, 30% more than they used to be because of the and on imports and because there is no substitution anymore. so i'll -- >> the price of oil. >> the price of oil that is down. but you see the headlines. we are in syria now. we are present.
they listen to us. they are afraid of us. they respect us. this is all very important, and this is answering the question, this could've been one of the motivations. and you said what's the connection to ukraine from epic to talk to ukraine for a long time. it's a very interesting subject. but for whatever reason would now put ukraine until. i don't think it's for i think he will return to that issue. but there's something else now. dislike that man on a bicycle, that thing that, when you put all your eggs in what i call pager audit globalization, you've got to give people fresh meat. you are riding the tiger which is great, the tiger requires fresh meat, and bloody meet every now and then. so ukraine is on hold, but syria is in the headlines. >> does anybody else want to take a crack at that? >> thank you. yes, i think in addition to what
dr. aron had to say about the domestic political aspect of this and the link between ukraine and syria, i think there's also an important aspect in terms of relations with the west. in other words, the sanctions that the west has imposed on russia as result of actions in ukraine are hurting the russian economy, hurting them pretty badly. i think that for putin in particular by making his argument that we can work together in syria against isis, that this is a way to sort of restore relations with the west, and to some extent i think we've seen it started to work. president hollande actually came out and said maybe we should reduce the sanctions on russia now don't have to deal with syria together the obviously this is what he wants although i did notice that most recently president hollande indicate what he wants to see is russian actions against isis, not just words about it.
something that, and, of course, putin is taking advantage of the migration crisis. in other words, i think a lot of europeans and european public when it comes down to it, which is more important to them, is it the migration crisis of what's happening in ukraine? gets the migration crisis. and if putin is going to provide a way out of this, but the question is can he? i would also, just to get back to something, important point, in addition to the geopolitical competition between the u.s. and russia there is a basic philosophical difference about how to deal with syria. the russian argument is that assad, as bad as he is, is less worse than isis, therefore we should support tonight. but the obama's -- the above admission argument is ice is so awful he is contribute to the rise of isis. the trouble, the real trouble i think it's about both might be
right. in other words, both arguments have a degree of validity, and what that implies is whether assad goes or stays, isis is going to be a problem and that's the situation i think that we are really stuck in, that we can argue about how to deal with the syrian situation but the real bottom line is that neither we nor the russians really have adequate response to this, that it's gotten out of hand. whichever way they go it's going to remain a problem. >> panelists each one meant to summarize what elected so much on the issue, but one minute. please comment in a chip in with his prerogative will have a final statement as well. >> -- mr. chairman.
>> yes. one minute is enough. i think if, indeed, come and, of course, you know i gave you tip of the iceberg on the evidence. if, indeed, we are witnessing a tipping point at which fundamentalists militant islam is migrating from north caucasus into russia itself, i think this is a huge threat to rush in the world. in addition to that, these types of things usually are enhanced by domestic political crises and pressures. and russia is in a very precarious state economically, politically pivotal putin would not admit. the are all kinds of strains come at a think while we are
worried about the failed state in syria, i think we should also worry about how the terrorism could become an issue for russia and us. >> i would like to reiterate the u.s. and russia share a common interest in countering terrorism and proliferation threats that emanate from syria and iraq, meaning terrorist groups based in there. i think disagreements on the future of assad, both countries can and should work together to counter that threat which is much more threatening, much more superior than intricacies in syria. thank you spent the rise of jihadism in russia obviously not in moscow's interest and it's not in the interest of america and the west either, but this
rise of jihadism inrush it isn't just a great and avoid. the real tragic situation is that russia's muslims are not treated very well by the russian government, by russian society. i think part of the problem we face indeed with his issue is we can't be divorced or convince vladimir putin to treat his muslims nicely. and that i think is sort of the heart of the problem, is that the muslim issue in russia is not one that america is in a position to address. only moscow can do that, and at the moment he doesn't want to be so very effectively. >> well, thank you. for joining us today. just a few short thoughts, and that is let us remember that when saddam hussein was eliminated, it brought chaos. when gadhafi was eliminated, it brought chaos. there were alternatives of
their, gadhafi in particular but also saddam hussein. we were told that this third force is our alternative to assad. i think the russians are very concerned that even if assad is illuminated by this third force, even if that's the case, you're going to guess what happened to these other countries. chaos which has been exploited by the most radical islamic forces within those societies. and what would that impact on russia which we described today? there is, this is a greater concern than actually is in western europe. and we can see what's going on, the frantic way western europe is dealing with radical islam and the impact of it. president putin just gave, not
just, several months ago, i think it must've been six months to a year ago now, when data provided president aldo sese of egypt -- president sisi, a feature, $2 billion of credit, $2 billion even in a time when we've had testimony of weakness in the economy of russia. now, why did that happen? it's not just because he wants russia to dominate egypt. listen, russia is like england, and other great countries in the world, in china, and japan, india it is a great countries of the world, that their leaders calculate what is good for the country. and in the long run, i believe the reason why that $2 billion that helped to general sisi was coming forward was because putin acknowledges that if radical islam were to take over in
egypt, that these other countries would be swept away in the gulf and she would have radical islam pouring into central asia and that would dramatically impact the security of his country and the future of the world. and i think that there is some strategic thinking going on rather than simply he's a tough guy showing his muscles to the world, and he's a gangster thug. which issues are the images you get when you try to come up with any real analysis of what the hell is going on with russia and these various parts of the world. so with that said i think we need, and i will just come i think the united states needs to cooperate with people who are going to help us defeat radical islamist terrorism, whether it's food or whether it's assad or whether who that is, because
those people especially have the united states in target for their terrorism. it a nuclear bomb goes off from a terrorist group in the united states, it won't be from russia. it won't be from assad. it won't be probably from japan or any of the other countries. it will be from radical islamic terrorists. and if we're going to protect our peoples we've got to be rational and we got to reach out to those people who are the enemy of our enemy. and i by that formula and i think it will make us safer. and with that said i appreciate the insights that the spell has given us today in understand the world and having some good thoughts about what strategies we can use. so this hearing is now adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> it's an opportunity for students to think critically of issues of national importance by creating a five to seven minute documentary in which they can express those views. it's in for students to get involved because it gives them the opportunity and a platform to have their voices heard on issues that are important to them. so they can express those views by creating a documentary. we do get a wide range of interested the most important aspect for every documentary that we get is going to be content. whitbread winners in the past created by just using a cell phone combat with others have recorded using more high-tech
equipment but once again it's really the content that matters and shines through in these documentaries. the response in the past has been great. we've had many different issues that have created videos on other important to think about topics ranging from education, the economy and the environment showing a wide variety of issues that are important for students. >> having more water would have many positive impact to better serve the community and the businesses insight it. >> we have come to the consensus is that humans cannot run without food. >> private individuals with disabilities education act, or idea, children with disabilities were not given the opportunity of an education. >> this year's theme is road to the white house. the white house. what's the white house. wants to go support issue you want the candidates to discuss? it is full on into the campaign season. there many different candidates discussing several issues.
one of the key requirements in creating a document is to include some c-span footage. this footage should really complement and further point that the i'm not just dominate the video but it's a great way for them to include more information on the video that furthers their point. >> the first bill i will sign today is the water resources reform and develop an act, also known as wrdda spin we've all heard the jokes the school meals and fish sticks, mr. need tacos. tacos. >> there's a wider role the federal government plays. it's especially vital for students with disabilities. students and teachers can go to our website. it is studentcam.org and on the website to find more information about the rules and requirements of the also find teacher tips, rubrics till then incorporate it into the classroom, more information about prices, incorporating c-span video and ways to contact us i if you have further questions. the deadline is january 20,
today i want to expand upon that complement. here today with me are of course the director of the secret service joe clancy, director of immigration and custom enforcement, the director of hsi committee administrator of tsa, pete eppinger, the deputy director chris klein, mike fisher of the board of patrol, the deputy administrator, the admiral of the united states coast guard and in front of me
are the senior agents and personnel of the service who were involved in a massive security effort and led the effort in washington in philadelphia and new york and including for the last week or so while the pope was in the country the second-most photographed man in america who was the leader of the pope's secret service detail while he was here. as the president noted, far too often the press and public are captivated by episodes of bad news. as leaders it is our responsibility to ensure the public doesn't lose sight of the extraordinary and successful good work of our dedicated to public service so that it is never taken for granted. over the last two weeks the secret service was flawlessly
successful in orchestrating one of the largest if not the largest domestic security operation in the history of this country. i dare to say no government agency in the world has the experience, the tools and the skills to have accomplished this. over the last two weeks the secret service was the lead u.s. government agency or the security of over 160 world leaders in addition to over 70 of their spouses who came to the u.s. for the un general assembly and for other reasons. in addition, these leaders included the president of china, president putin of russia, prime minister cameron of the united kingdom, king abdullah of jordan, the paymaster of iraq and iran, the feminist or italy, the prime minister and yahoo! of then yahoo! of israel, the president of egypt and raul castro of cuba today almost all
of these leaders were in the country at the same time. particularly this year the security of the convergence of world leaders was a massive and intensive undertaking. these events required among other things the assignment of thousands of special agents and uniformed personnel from the secret service around the country to be primarily responsible for these leaders while they are anywhere in the united states. in new york, philadelphia to plan and prepare the motorcade routes and outdoor and indoor events months after its negotiations with the staff and security details of all of these world leaders about the logistics and security of the visit to include the director and other secret service
personnel in the security screening in washington, d.c. over 1 million people in philadelphia and over 200,000 in new york city. at the security for the security for all these leaders and the public surrounding their visits to the u.s. was by no means limited to the secret service and other components were heavily involved which is a part and committed to thousands of special agents from around the country to assist with supporting the new security and to augment dignitary prevention. they committed over 1,000 of their personnel from around the country to support the public events and enhance security at airports and training stations
in washington, new york and philadelphia. served as the lead federal agency for emergency and consequence management and coordinated response is to protect public health and safety as necessary to coast guard admitted hundreds of personnel to the airspace and this included the east river in new york city and adjacent to the united states and fixed security zones in philadelphia and washington. the u.s. customs and u.s. customs and border protection provided hundreds of personnel for the communications and the non- intrusive inspections of items coming into the city's. at the federal the federal protective service personnel supported then you security. this truly was a whole effort. this massive undertaking by dhs is of course a partnership with
other federal agencies of the u.s. government to include the state department or the fbi, the defense department, the department of commerce, the epa, the department of transportation including the faa. the events of the last two weeks also involved huge undertakings by the cities of new york come in philadelphia and washington and the police forces so huge shout out to the mayor matter and mayor bowser of course. they brought up a safe and successful visits to the united states -- pope and other world leaders in a highly professional and precise and well coordinated manner. the pope and others got to experience the united states, our people and our free and democratic society at our very best. the men and women of the secret service are prepared at a moments notice to put their own lives on the line for the people
they protect. the events of the past two weeks were extraordinary but it was an extension of the work they do every day, which often goes unnoticed were unacknowledged. congratulations to all of you. [applause] to all the readers of the dhs component agencies thank you for you with us and members of the press i welcome you to the headquarters and workforce presence today and across the country. thank you all for being here and welcome to the headquarters. the past nine months the men and
women of the service have walked the league cup works along our friends in the federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety communities. in washington, d.c. and new york city and philadelphia to design and execute a security plan for the visit of his holiness and the 70th session of the general assembly. these protective operations all designated national special security events that were unprecedented in size and scope and duration of our goal was to develop a plan that would ensure safe and secure environment for his holiness for more than 160 heads of state, their spouses and for the millions of general public attending these events in washington, d.c., new york city and philadelphia. those standing behind me were at a cornerstone for planning these events. thanks to the cooperation,
professionalism and dedication of the partners of security operations for the national special security events were a great success. i want to acknowledge and give special recognition to my colleagues have provided thousands of their employees and countless other resources in support of this historical effort. the administrator of the transportation security administration, the deputy director of homeland security investigation. executive associate director of ict homeland security investigations, chief of the border patrol michael fisher, deputy administrator of the federal emergency management federal emergency management agency, the deputy director of operations chris klein for the federal protective service, the admiral peter brown of the coast
guard, law enforcement can sometimes be a thankless job when all goes well often it goes unnoticed. i don't want that to be the case this time as i said before, this was going to be the ultimate team effort and it was. i want to recognize partners in the law enforcement community without whose help we couldn't have succeeded in its mission for their outstanding support during the visit in washington, d.c. i want to thank the chief and the members of the metropolitan police department and i was also lucky to be told recognize the members of the new york city police department for their exceptional contributions during the visits to new york city. i want to express my personal appreciation to the commissioner
the people's visit presented its own unique challenges because of the vast numbers of people attending the event sponsored by the world meeting of families. the work of the philadelphia police department was essential baking sure each event was safe and secure for the hundreds of thousands of people in. i want to give a special thanks to the secretary johnson his steadfast leadership and support has been outstanding. on behalf of all of the members of the secret service i say to everyone that worked with us and supported these. we couldn't accomplish this enormous responsibility without your help. congratulations to everyone for a job well done. thank you. [applause]
iac a few members of the press have showed up and we have time to take a few questions. in the back with a red tie. as to >> this might be for the correct or clancy. what was it like dealing with the unpredictability and want. hope francis presented some unique challenges but it's our job as an agency to adapt to what is needed and in this case the pope wanted to get out among the people as much as possible so as you can see it was an unprecedented effort to have more people screamed so that he could go around.
they came to an events that they could feel safe and secure. >> it's an extraordinary event and they were on the heels of each other because i think before speaking [inaudible] >> i don't think that has ever happened before. >> the key is months of planning and there was months of planning that went into these later they were coming and for the most part the dates in which the
leaders would be here, and we drew upon many components for help and support and we knew the person power and equipment that would be necessary for these things and so months and months of planning to the director visited the vatican months ago. i visited the vatican months ago to talk about the security that went into this and so we were at this perhaps as long as a full year. >> yes sir in the back. right there. >> there were some differences in the concept of security. i understand the vatican had a different plaintiff to you in terms of the security.
was it difficult to coordinate the different points of view of the u.s. and the vatican and the only other hand i would like to know how can we be effective for the delegations of some other cases like the one of mr. chase >> there were extensive discussions among the dhs on the one hand and the vatican on the other. we had a lot of issues and discussions of each city and visit each purveyed and every event and the discussions also involved the cities of new york, philadelphia, washington, d.c., the police chiefs, the mayors involved, the cardinals in each city i believe, and so we worked it through.
the second question i'm not sure that you heard. >> how can it be effective for the allegations in the secret service bike the one presented -- >> my point here today is that the washington press in particular focuses on fence jumping into the light and i think that it's critical for the public and the taxpayers and the workforce to make sure that we all see the much larger effort
that all of the components in particular the secret service just pulled off successfully. the nature of the business is such that no news is good news so it's up to people like me into the component heads to not lose sight of the good news. we recognize and appreciate the hard work and professionalism and the precision that went into this huge monumental and unprecedented effort to.
>> we have time for one more question. let's see, right there in the middle. >> can you comment on every opening of the report today, and director if you could tell us when you first learned that the agents looked into the database. >> i can tell you that when i first heard the allegations i was very upset and directed the ig to investigate and called the chairman based upon what i knew to apologize him and i know the director had done that well. i did that in april and i did it again last week.
there will be an addendum to the report that is coming out and i will look forward to reading that. in terms of any follow-on actions that will occur that judgment will be made in the near future. anything you want to add to that? >> just to follow-up on your question you asked when was i first advised of the database is being breached and looked at and it was april 2 and i know that i've gone back on when i heard a rumor of the training the training of playing for a job i was buying memory when i said april 1 and i was interviewed for months after these events took place and in my memory was
incorrect. when the report came out i was advised that it was mentioned march 25. i made a couple of quick calls to confirm that and i called to correct the record about in terms of knowing about the data it was best day. >> i appreciate what you said is the focus of the press conference which is applauding the hard work of the agents and -- >> it is the press conference and interest. >> many agents have said to me that they also are very proud of what has happened in the last couple of weeks but it hasn't changed the distrust of the senior leadership and they are quite concerned still about an agency that is in their view sometimes vindictive and
sometimes focused on retribution. i wanted to know hat you think about how you will make this agency feel whole and trusting in their leadership and again you have a large volume of people leaving several facts that are retiring ahead of time. tell us about how you and director if you wish to answer how you hope to restore that kind of faith in leadership. >> it's almost exactly a year since joe clancy came on as the acting director. when was your anniversary? >> a year ago tomorrow. and i know from experience, for example with the results of the employee satisfaction survey that came out last week that very often it takes time to turn
a large ship in a different direction. i believe that director clancy has undertaken, i know he has undertaken to implement the recommendations of the panel that were made last december and i know that he has made some hard personnel choices and he he's brought in outside co from the outside george mulligan and he's doing a lot to instill accountability and provide more time for training and recruitment and he's doing a lot of things as a part of my unity of effort and initiative to call upon other component for their own expertise. we meet regularly to ensure that we are implementing the recommendations of the panel and
it's the nature of the business of the agency that every day no news often means there is a success. the public does not know about every single time a threat directed is identified and interested or arrested. the public doesn't know that but it occurs on a regular if not dalia basis. so a lot of peace episodes exist in an eco- chamber because the press reports on and the workforce sees that as well but i believe that he has made some good changes to this agency and is going to continue to do so. i have confidence in his ability and he has been a good leader and i know that he has the
respect what i can see in the workforce notwithstanding what others have been told and i see the change that is already underway but again, the purpose of us being here with all these leaders is to highlight the extraordinary work that has been completed. the secret service and leaders are responsible for the some what 116 liters and visible ones when they stepped into this country. they carried it off and did that in a professional way pretty much what we expect of them and i don't believe any other agency in the world could have done this. they did it in a flawless professional manner and it was a massive effort to coordinate the movements and work with every one of the leaders and to
investigate any potential threats directed at them and provide for their fiscal security. that's what we have done and it was a whole effort and i believe that it was something we should all be proud of and that the american public should be proud of with respect to the security that we provided the heads of state and heads of government. thanks a lot everybody. [applause]
dred scott was enslaved to u.s. army surgeons doctor john emerson and during the endless cement emerson was assigned to duties in several states. during which he married harry s. robins in and when he died he tried to buy the family's freedom from the widow and her saying that she refused and he sued. follow the case on the new series landmark cases historic supreme court decisions exploring 12 historic supreme supreme court rulings by revealing the life and times of the people that were the plaintiffs, lawyers and justices in the cases. landmark cases 9 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span three, c-span radio and for background while you watch whether the companion book available for $8.95 plus
shipping at c-span.org/and mark cases. he says the founders intended. >> the founders used the language of the ancient republic greece and rome and warned against corruption. and their definition of corruption wasn't bribery or quid pro quo money under the table. it was putting special interests ahead of the common good and by that definition, washington today is a massively corrupt place. >> the senate is meeting today to finish debate on the house-senate compromise over the defense department programs for
the next year. the bill sets military weapons, programs, military retirement benefits and authorizes spending and puts limits on the administration regarding guantánamo and other areas.: now live to the senate floor. 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 strength, thank you for your providential love today. give our senators the wisdom to do what is right. enlighten their minds with your truth as you warm their hearts with your love. lord, fill their lives with your power that they may accomplish your purposes.
make them so aware of your presence that they will remember that wherever they are and whatever they do, you see them. may they fear nothing but to grieve you and seek nothing except to please you. we pray in your holy name. 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. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i understand there's a bill at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: s. 2146, a bill to hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for defying federal law, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14 i would object to further proceeding. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. mcconnell: mr. president,
before i speak on the legislation the senate will consider this afternoon, i want to say a few words about s. 1300, the adoptive family relief act. i spoke on this bill in july after it passed the senate with unanimous consent. now i'd like to praise the house of representatives for passing this important legislation just yesterday. the issue this bill addresses is of particular importance to me, and i'm proud to be an original cosponsor of the legislation. more than 400 kentucky -- more than 400 american families, approximately 20 of them from kentucky, have successfully adopted children from the democratic republic of the congo, or the d.r.c. however, due to the d.r.c. government's years-long suspension of exit permits, many of these families have been unable to bring their adopted children home to the united states. to make matters worse, families
have been financially burdened by the cost of continually renewing their children's visas while they wait for the day the d.r.c. decides to lift its suspension. in an attempt to help these families, the adoptive family relief act would provide meaningful financial relief by granting the state department authority to waive the fees for multiple visa renewals in these and other extraordinary adoption circumstances. the bill builds on congress's bipartisan efforts on the adoption issue, including my amendment to this year's budget resolution to encourage a solution to the situation as well as numerous bipartisan congressional letters sent to congolese officials. later today i'll have the opportunity to meet with the brock family from owensboro. i was able to assist in the return of their medically
fragile child from the d.r.c. last christmas. however, their other adopted son still remains in the country. for this kentucky family and for many others still waiting, i again strongly urge the government of the d.r.c. to resolve the matter expeditiously and in a way that provides for the swift unification of families. but until then, i want to praise the bipartisan action that led to the passage of the adoption family relief act. i hope families see that this is a message that congress is supporting them. this bill will now go to the president for his signature. it's my hope that it will bring needed assistance to so many loving families like the brocks who want nothing more than to open their homes to a child in need. allow me to also thank the sponsors of this bill, senators feinstein and johnson and representative trent for all of their hard work. that thanks extends as well to the 78 other cosponsors in both
chambers and both parties along with the senate and house judiciary committees for their hard work and truly bipartisan commitment to solving this heartbreaking issue. now, mr. president, on another matter before the senate this afternoon, i was glad to see the senate come together yesterday to advance the bipartisan national defense authorization act. this bipartisan defense bill will support our men and women in uniform in many, many ways. it will attack bureaucratic waste, authorize pay raises and improve quality-of-life programs for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. it will strengthen sexual assault prevention and response. it will help wounded warriors and heroes who struggle with mental health challenges. most importantly, it will equip the men and women who serve with what they need to defend our nation. the chairman of the armed services committee was unrelenting in his work across
the aisle to craft a serious defense bill with input from both parties. senator mccain can and should take pride in yesterday's 73-26 vote to advance this bill. he should take heart in today's vote to send it to the president as well. that's where this legislative process should end with the president's signature, with a win for our forces and win for our country at a time of seemingly uncalucable crisis. but the white house has signaled the president may veto this bill. that would be more than outrageous, it would be another grave foreign policy miscalculation from this administration, something our country can no longer afford. just a year ago the president announced a strategy to degrade and destroy isil.
today the threat remains as versatile and resilient as ever. isil has consolidated its gains within iraq and within syria. russia is now deploying troops and attacking the moderate opposition forces in syria. iran is reportedly sending additional forces to the battlefield. civilians are dying and refugees are fleeing. john kerry calls the situation a catastrophe, a human catastrophe really unparalleled in modern times. he's right. according to news reports, this is all forcing the president to reconsider his strategy in that region and craft a new one. regardless of what he decides, it's going to be protracted area of struggle. it's been profoundly challenging already. that's to say nothing of the countless other mounting global threats from chinese expansion
in the south china sea to taliban resurgence in afghanistan. now many americans would say this is the worst possible time for an american president to be threatening to veto their national defense bill, and especially to do so for arbitrary partisan reasons. i wish i could say it surprised me that president obama might, for the sake of unrelated partisan gains actually contemplate vetoing a bipartisan defense bill that contains a level of funding authorization that he actually asked for. let me say that again. this bill contains the funding authorization that the president asked for. i'm calling on him not to, especially in times like these. but if he does, it will be the latest sorry chapter in a failed foreign policy based on campaign promises rather than realistically meeting the threat before us. the president's approach to foreign policy has been nothing, if not consistent over the past
seven years. i've described this in many details times before. from repeatedly seeking to declare some arbitrary end to the war on terror to discarding the tools we have to wage it to placing unhealthy levels of trust and unaccountable international organizations, the president's foreign policy has been as predictable as it has been ineffectual. take, for instance, his heavy reliance on economy of force train and assist missions. this has been the primary tool of the president to cover our drawdown of conventional forces. the train and equip concept to train indigenous forces to battle in places like yemen, syria, iraq and afghanistan. these forces ideally partner with u.s. capabilities, but under the president's policies they have been left to fight alone as we continue to draw down our conventional forces and capabilities.
the essence of this was captured in a speech he delivered at west point just last may. in that speech, the president described a network of partnerships from south asia to saw hill to be funded by $5 billion in counterterrorism funds. by deploying special operations forces for train and equip missions, the president hoped to manage the defused threats posed by terrorist groups like al qaeda in the boko haram, al-nusra front, the taliban, libyan terror networks that threaten egypt and isil. the president never explained the strategy beyond direct action like unmanned aerial vehicle strikes, for those cases where indigenous forces proved insufficient, as we've seen in iraq, syria, and yemen. so, mr. president, nevertheless
this concept of operations suited the president because it allowed him to continue with force structure cuts to our conventional operational units. it allowed him to continue refusing to accept that leaving behind residual forces in places like iraq and afghanistan might represent a means by which this nation could preserve the strategic gains made through sacrifice. it also allowed him to continue refusing to rebuild our conventional and nuclear forces. now, this was never, never an approach designed for success. today it's clear this is now an approach that has also reached its limits. "the new york times" is hardly an adversary of this administration, but it recently ran a story titled "billions from u.s. fail to sustain foreign forces." here's what it says. this is "the new york times,"
mr. president. "with a large frequency in recent years, thousands of american-trained security forces in the middle east, north africa and south asia have cole p lapsed, stalled -- have collapsed, stalled or defected calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the u.s. on foreign military training programs as well as the central tenet of the obama administration's approach to combatting insurgencies. without rebuilding the force we cannot deter china's efforts to extend its reach into the south china sea. without rebuilding the force, we cannot deter russian adventurism in places like crimea. without rebuilding and deploying the force, we cannot hope to deter russia's gambit to increase its middle east presence or air campaign in syria. and under this strategy, when the host nation militaries we trained and equipped proved
inadequate to defeat the insurgency in question, the strategy allowed for our president for a persistent enduring terrorist threat in those countries. so that's just what we have seen with al qaeda and the arabian peninsula and taliban and now isil. i thought that the growth and advance and revolution of isil last year would present a turning point for the president. i thought that the fall of anbar province and the threat posed to allies like jordan, saudi arabia and turkey would have provoked a reconsideration of his entire national security policy. but it didn't. but if the latest stories of white house efforts to revise its isil strategy are to be believed, then perhaps the president finally realizes that the threats from terrorist groups like isil and al qaeda have outpaced his economy of force concept. he may even be accepting the reality that withdrawing
arbitrarily from afghanistan is neither consequence free nor is it a good idea. one year after the president's isil speech, it's time to reverse the withdrawal of our military from its forward presence. it's time to lay the groundwork for the next president to rebuild america's credibility with friend and foe alike. that's true of isil. it's true of dissatisfied powers like russia, china and iran who are all looking to exploit american withdrawal in pursuit of regional hegemony and dreams of empowerment. to paraphrase the president, russia is calling and it wants its empire back. russia wants its empire back. china's calling, too. so is iran. they have watched as both our economy of force efforts to mask american withdrawal and as other u.s. commitments like the announcement of a strategic pivot to asia without the
investments to make it meaningful have proven quite hollow. the next president, regardless of party, will need to craft plans, policies and programs to balance against this expassengers. signing the bipartisan national defense authorization act we passed today and of course matching the authorization with its corresponding funding would represent a good first step along that path, and if the president is serious and is just restated commitment to taking all steps necessary to combat isil, then he'll know that signing this bipartisan national defense authorization act is anything but a the waste of time some of his allies might pretend it to be. in fact, this bill is essential. the presiding officer: the democrat leader. mr. reid: the bill before the senate this afternoon, despite
all the statements of my friend, the republican leader, is not a piece of political theater. everyone knows the president is going to veto this. everyone knows this. the house, if they are called upon first to sustain the veto, they will do it. if we're called upon first to sustain the veto, we will do it. republicans are trying to paint democrats as being soft on defense, and based on what we've heard here from my friend today, i don't know where he doesn't want american troops -- china, iran, russia, all over the middle east. it's stunning to listen to what he has said. you know, we spend a lot of money training foreign troops. i was in iraq. who was training the troops then? general petraeus.
so i don't know what my friend wants, but i do tell everyone here the gimmick that we have on this bill today that has this funny money funding, and that's what it is, i can't imagine my republican friends who have in the past been so supportive of not doing things that deal with funny money -- chairman mccain, the chairman of the committee, has acknowledged that sequestration will destroy them -- that's my word, but he has badly damaged the military. he has said that many times. so we, mr. president, have a lot of problems here, but the gimmick that my friend is so touting today does nothing to support the security we need here at home. the f.b.i., homeland security, border protection. i say to my friend, the presiding officer here today,
you voted the way that i thought republicans should vote when this matter came before the body just yesterday. mr. president, it's been a week since it happened but the american people are still reeling from house majority leader kevin mccarthy's admission that the so-called benghazi select committee is nothing more than a political hit job on hillary clinton. that's what he said. speaking about this committee, he told fox news -- "everybody thought hillary clinton was unbeatable, right? but we put together a benghazi special committee, a select committee. what are her numbers today? her numbers are dropping." of course he said more. it doesn't take much to figure out the point he was making. that this was nothing more than a hit job on hillary clinton. according to mr. mccarthy, the so-called benghazi select committee was orchestrated with one goal in mind -- to weaken
hillary clinton's presidential campaign. of course that's shameful. house republicans have used the tragic deaths of four americans as political fodder to win an election. don't the victims deserve better? don't the families deserve not to have their deceased loved ones pulled into a political inquisition? even more shocking that this political farce continues now with house republicans showing no signs of bringing this charade to an end. consider the facts. these are a number of the select committees that have been going on, that we've had in congress in recent years. hurricane katrina, pearl harbor, warren commission, iran-contra, watergate and the benghazi committee. this big red line that we see here shows that this committee spent far more time than any
committee except watergate. look at that hard to believe. 16 months now. they have used the tragic deaths in a way that is not what we should be doing. they have spent almost $5 million of taxpayer money on the so-called select committee, and the number continues to climb as i speak. and not only do they have the select committee, they have had six other committees who have held hearings on this. what a waste of taxpayer dollars. the select committee has investigated hillary clinton for 17 months, 517 days, longer than the investigationses i have mentioned of pearl harbor, kennedy assassination, iran-contra and even outlasted timewise watergate. close but still more time than
watergate, and it's still going on. and what have they accomplished? what have they achieved after all that time and money has been spent? what have they accomplished for the american people? nothing. and they've held three hearings in 17 months. not one american is safer today because of the select committee. not one terrorist attack has been thwarted because of the committee's work. and republicans are fine with that. they hailed the benghazi committee as a success because it was never the panel's intention to get to the truth. this committee's only real objective was to hurt hillary clinton, exactly as congressman mccarthy said. the evidence makes that clear. in 17 months, the committee has interviewed or depotsed eight clinton campaign staffers. they're obsessed with hillary clinton and her campaign staffers, yet stunningly, chairman gowdy and the republicans have little interest in questioning intelligence and defense experts. they have held only one hearing
with an expert from the intelligence committee. they've never held a single hearing with everyone from the department of defense. the republican chairman and his colleagues have abandoned their plans to review defense officials instead of going after secretary clinton and her staff. the evidence is so clear. the benghazi select committee is a sham. democrats have known this for two years but now we have a man that's going to be, i understand after tomorrow at noon, is going to be running the house of representatives come november 1. he has acknowledged that it was -- it's a witch-hunt. that's why the democratic leadership of the senate wrote to speaker boehner asking me to dismanned the select committee. i will not stop republicans based on mccarthy's admission. if it were up to me, the house democrats on the panel would nail this quote on the committee room doors as a reminder to
everyone that the republicans have manipulated a true american tragedy and turned it into a political circus. mccarthy -- everybody thought hillary clinton was unbeatable, right? we put together a benghazi special committee, a select committee. what are her numbers today? her numbers are dropping. he's so proud of himself. until house republicans do the right thing and ban this committee, i'll continue to tell the american people about this disgrace, the house republicans' benghazi committee. mr. president, would the chair announce what we're going to be doing today? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the conference report to accompany h.r. 1735, which the clerk will report. the clerk: conference report to accompany h.r. 1735, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2016 for military activities of the department of defense, and so forth and for other purposes.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 1:00 p.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, two months ago, i came to the senate floor in my capacity as president pro tempore to speak to my colleagues about the importance of maintaining decor and decorum and respect in this body. i reminded them that decorum is essential to the proper functioning of the senate and to its unique role in our constitutional structure. the framers designed the senate to be an institution of deliberation and reason where members would work to promote consensus and the common good rather than their partisan interests. today i rise once more in my capacity as president pro tempore, and this time to discuss another defining feature of this body, the right to extended debate. the framers designed the senate to serve as a necessary fence against the fickleness and
passion that drives hasty law making. what edmond randolph called the turbulence and follies of democracy. james madison in turn described the senate as a bulwark against what i called the transient impressions into which people may from time to time be led. senators were to refine the popular will through wisdom and sound judgment, reaching measured conclusions about how best to address the nation's challenges. it is no accident that passing bills through this body takes time. the framers intended the senate to be the cooler, more deliberate, more reasoned branch. as madison once said, the senate was to -- quote -- consist in its proceedings with no more coolness -- with more coolness, with more system and with more wisdom than the house of representatives, unquote. key to the senate's deliberative nature is its relatively small size which enables a much more
thorough going debate and greater opportunity for individual members to improve legislative proposals. longer staggered terms also give members flexibility to resist initially popular yet ultimately unwise legislation. and statewide constituencies require senators to appeal to a broader set of interests than do narrow more homogeneous house districts. to these constitutional characteristics, the senate has added a number of traditions, some former, others informer, that have enhanced its deliberative character. foremost among these functions is the right to -- to extended debate, what we today call the filibuster. for many years, indeed for the first 130 years of this body's existence, there was no former way to cut off debate. senators could in theory speak as long as they wanted on whatever subject they wanted. in 1917, the senate adopted the
first cloture rule which required a two-thirds vote to end debate. filibusters remained rare, although they were used from time to time to delay legislation. in 1975, under the leadership of majority leader mike mansfield, the senate lowered the cloture threshold from two-thirds to three-fifths, where it has remained ever since with the notable exception of senate democrats' unilateral decision last congress to lower the cloture threshold for most nominations to a simple majority vote. the cloture threshold for legislative filibusters remains three-fifths. now, one may wonder why a device that allows a minority of senators to delay or block legislation is a good thing. my friends and colleagues, the junior senator from oregon and the senior senator from new mexico spoke on the senate floor last week about the importance of majority rule and the need to allow legislation to proceed.
i do not deny that obstructionism can be a serious problem. obstinately refusing to allow any legislation to move forward or requiring complete capitulation by opponents is not statesmanship and is not what the framers had in mind, but when exercised appropriately, the right to extended debate can measurably improve policy. the filibuster, mr. president, furthers two of the senate's key purposes. first, it helps guard against intemperate impulses that may from time to time infect our political order. second, it facilitates the process of refining the popular will. the way in which the filibuster guards against intemperate impulses is obvious. by requiring a supermajority to pass major legislation, the filibuster ensures that a narro