tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 3, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EST
is more participatory. it is more democratic. everybody is part of the process in a way they have not been in a long time. they feel dominion over the process and it has empowered people with information. it has given them a power to create support and get their , message out quite quickly and raise money quite quickly. so -- this is where i know the title of that session, we will -- when we see things as chaotic and messy as they are, but i think the answer is in some ways it has strengthened it but we , are still at the beginning of the shift of the paradigm and it has not filled out. look at the republican debate stage or even the democratic field right now with bernie sanders. it is big, and diverse, and messy because it is hard to know who is up and who is down on
what day and who believes what. some people might say it would be better if we could wrap it in but democracy is the ability to -- no matter where you are or were you come from to run for president. the social media are as fizzling -- are facilitating that. mr. volpe: i just believe a couple of things. think it has to be that way. i know for a fact if some candidate said i'm going to use twitter tonight to say i will host a community meeting to talk about what is working in the city, you would have 100 if not 1000 new people show up to have a conversation about that.
that is the use of social media in the best way. i can care you t -- i can guarantee you that in that room you have an 18-year-old, an 80-year-old and a lot of people in between who want to participate in solving problems. now that is the first step in , building trust within the system. they're connected with somebody who actually cares. they were all of that person, and that is the way for social media to save politics. but for whatever reason it is difficult for us to figure out how to best use it. obama did that beautifully eight years ago. moderator: it is interesting, when we talk about social discourse, that discourse is still in person. it is still at the town hall meeting, not on social media. >> that's ok. but you are using social media as one tool to bring people together. like the example used in new jersey, you can have an
engagement with somebody. the common problem, whether it is millennials or other generation is a lack of faith in the system. we finally have a tool that is participatory and democratizing, and we are not using it in that way all the time. i believe that if you build trust and create a relationship that will lead to success on the ballot box. i think there are enough examples to get there. the problem is too many of us who are consultants and thetegist are more used to 30-second spot and it is a very different mentality on social media. you have to be prepared to engage and listen and respond and it shows your true self. it is a way in which e-mails are a true personality before you know they will be made public. there are some charming things about e-mails.
it gives you a window into a personality more than a tweet or a facebook post. >> i am going to ask you one more question, but then we will go to your questions. if you have one, please lineup that any one of the four mics. i would like you to answer the title of this panel. which is, is social media ruining politics? >> that would imply that politics was in some pure state before. i don't think it is elevating politics. i think the good news is it can draw people who are feeling disenfranchised and disengaged, it can draw them into the political process. if you're not watching news on tv or listening to it on radio, or reading newspapers then you , what political discourse to go to social media, to where people can have the opportunity to get involved. but i worry that ultimately it is making that discourse more
superficial rather than richer. it is giving a lot of people, i fear, and illusion of participation. they think if i retweet something i am participating. if i like something i am participating. but what it is not doing is drawing people into a thoughtful engagement with policy issues and candidates. instead it is repackaging political conversation as streams of superficial tweets or facebook messages. you would hope that people would go beyond that and use that as the entrée into some deeper engagement. and some people will but i do , not think most will. moderator: we will now go to your questions. editor reminder, as an this is near and dear to my heart your questions should have , a question mark at the end of it. it should be an actual question.
so let's adhere to that. we will go from left to right. >> thank you very much for taking the time to come and speak with us. my question is mainly directed at john, although i would be interested in hearing both of your perspectives as well. in terms of using social media to save politics, the example that you gave seem to be more possible at a state or local level as opposed to a national one. i wondered you can talk about, do you see the same affects you spoke about occurring at the state and local level? is there any sort of difference? might it be possible for social media to save politics at the state and local level as opposed to the federal level? mr. volpe: the best ideas come from local cities and towns across america, which if they work, then they get scooped up by candidates for president. but i think it works everywhere.
for a candidate to start a conversation about poverty on elseer and end somewhere would be helpful at any level. and we have engaged in similar conversations with school teachers across america on issues of education and poverty and other things. the question of which candidate wants to do the hard work to get there, because it takes effort to read people's responses and to engage with people who have a good idea to take those ideas and develop them into policy issues that might work. it is different, it is hard, but i think it is worth it because you get better ideas and more engaged citizenry. if you get that, it also helps in the ballot booth in my opinion. >> thank you. moderator: either of you? next.
>> hi. my name is caroline. i am a sophomore in college here. thank you for being here. my question is getting at something that nikki mentioned. what encourages people to get involved in care about issues? you have that one uncle who posts all their statuses on facebook. do you want people who want to care about the issues, or just do not care? mr. carr: i think it is a good medium for galvanizing attention and getting people involved in thinking about an issue. forher it is a good medium encouraging sustained debate on an issue, i am more dubious about that. what we often see is that things become very important for a day, or two days, and then they disappear. and then we wait and something
else becomes very important. certainly for some people i think following something on social media will be this or -- the spur that gets them deep -- deeply involved. but that is counterbalanced by this and our attention as the new thing comes up and pushes aside something else. and i think for most hateful it will create bursts of participation and incentive news, but probably will not create the sustained engagement and actually leads to changes that they might want. >> none of the popular social media platforms are well positioned for discourse. there is not a lot of good discourse happening on any of them. they allow people to get instant access to politicians, sometimes the cory booker example is an exception.
it does engage quite a bit with constituents. but even twitter is lacking. there are new platforms every couple of years that rise up and say that they are the going to address the problem. what concerns me and even going to john's idea is that you will hear from members on capitol hill that they have stopped doing town halls because they would rather do it on social media because it is more control. they will do q&a's on facebook and they can decide which questions they want to take. people might yell at them, but there are ways to shut it down that is different from if you were at a town hall meeting and there was a disturbance. i do not think we're quite there in terms of social media being great for discourse. >> when you do ask your question, don't forget to state your name and your affiliation with the college or harvard if you have one. >> name is jack and i'm a freshman in the college.
how can candidates appear more authentic even when all their messages are crafted well ahead of time? ms. finn: very good question. mindy, you have worked directly with candidates. mindy: when they are not crafted well ahead of time, i would guard against doing that. i do not think that is a good use of the platform and the culture of the platform, particularly in twitter word is instant response. what you see campaigns due to try to appeal the candidates, and keep them from making a mistake is have many staff tweeting during the debates. that is a departure. going back 10 years ago there , would've been only a few people within a campaign who were empowered to actually speak on behalf of the campaign.
now they have the whole army doing so on twitter. i would really guard against -- there are stories out of the 2012 election of mitt romney's campaign going through 22 approvals. they dispute that. there are different sides of the story, but if that is the case, that does not allow a candidate to really realize the power of social media. moderator: do either of you have an example or thought on who is a really, truly authentic person , a politician, when it comes to social media? mr. volpe: i do not know off the top of my head, but i will say that the advice i would give the candidates in terms of being more authentic would be the same advice i give my kids to be more popular in school. don't try so hard. just be yourself.
don't try so hard. if you're not comfortable talking about yourself on twitter, they don't talk about yourself on twitter. right? go to instagram and take photos of what your life is like on the campaign trail. the mayor of los angeles has a beautiful instagram of his life as a citizen of los angeles and what it shows. and to me that shows who he is, how hard he is working, where he is, etc. he does not seem to be trying so hard. if it is natural, it is natural. if it is not, it is not. do not force it. ms. finn: there are several candidates who are doing a good job. donald trump may be a case study in that he gets a lot of attention, but i would not advise the other candidates to copy trump. they have tried to show a more brash style, and it looks silly
, hurting them. you have hillary's campaign quite active. you have bernie's campaign quite active. i think they're using medium quite well. whether does fully themselves it does not come across as in , soght it -- in authentic that is a win. mr. carr: one of the challenges is that there are so many social media platforms, how do you -- each one is different, and it becomes very hard and time-consuming for candidates to be authentic on each of these platforms that they are sending their messages out through. i guess i am picking on hillary clinton, but if you look at her facebook page at her twitter feed, they are basically mirror images of themselves. if you do that through all the
platform, you start to look very manufactured. but on the other hand i sympathize with how hard it would be authentic on all of these platforms all the time. you would die of authenticity eventually. moderator: a lot of putting yourself out there for normal person and a politician who is used to putting themselves out there. >> hello, i'm chris and become -- and i am a sophomore at the college. it seems like there's a lot more political information out there. at the same time you of the ability to self select what is ratio get based on pages you like it here you follow on twitter. my question is do you think that social media increases peoples exposures do different things at stake points or further entrenches them in their own viewpoint? moderator: you have done some work on this. mr. carr: and i talked little bit about this before. in general, it leads to more entrenchment in their existing points of view because they seek
information that is confirming rather than opposing. that is not true of everybody, and some people use the opportunity to expose themselves to different views. what we know about people pretty well is that if you give them a huge amount of information, they will select the stuff that already resonates with what they are thinking. moderator: back down here. yes. >> i am victoria the public policy program here at the kennedy school. we've seen that the rise of social media on the enhancement of campaigns for nontraditional candidates. one of the things that also happens to women candidates, is that female candidates and women who participate in the social media space, even though over
represented are likely to have , aggressive shutdowns by other people participating in those venues. regularly,ho blog they can get visceral attacks, and there are a lot of trolls who spent time doing this attack. do you have advice for how candidates can most effectively handle that type of engagement? two, what do you see as the future for campaigns beyond how these platforms are regulated so we have less visceral engagement anywhere that is deeply negative and diminishes discourse? ms. finn: that dynamic, where there is a lot of vitriol and also not just for candidates, but even voters who participate on social media, it is a deterrent, because people are attacked and really shut down. there are people who -- it is
almost like they are not allowed to express their views. if someone takes a opposing the, -- an opposing view the , discussion is really shut down. that is unfortunate. that hinders the ability for to be a platform for discourse. i am more concerned about that then siphoning people often to their own camps. what is the reward for trying to express a view and having a discussion if you are going to have that kind of response? it is worse for women because of the types of attacks and can lead to. in terms of advice, you have two options. either you engage or you don't engage. if you decide to engage, do you types ofge those commenters or not? i think engagement is always better for all the reasons we're talking about today. if you stay silent or absent, people are talking about you on social media anyway. you want to be able to, not so much control, but participate in that conversation and be part of
it. in terms of whether or not to engage those commentators, because of where -- where the platform does not limit, you have to ignore it. i see this happen all the time with many women candidates. some are really the best at being open online. especially the members of the house. they get those kinds of comments, and i always wince when i see them. but they continue to do it. it helps in terms of the human -- the image that their constituents have of them as someone who is open. some of those women on both sides are in swing districts. the reason they continue to be successful is they do this. >> would you mind repeating the second part of your question? >> do you see the future of social media as better regulation on platforms?
what we see is a type of discourse, and particularly engendered aspects, that if they took place in a form that microphone would be cut because they had nothing to contribute to that discourse and might even be considered hate speech. one of the benefits of the social media platform is that people can express their authentic selves. but do you see that as always west or uncharted wild do you think that over time there will be more mitigation in those systems to create a more effective dialogue? ms. finn: it is such a tough line because where do you draw the line? where do you cut it off? what some people see as quite offensive, others see as appropriate. this is a big issue in college campuses in terms of what is
allowed in debate. those platforms tend to be as open as possible. there is platform policy that is continuously revisited when you certain things that are absolutely acceptable, and will register a complaint and can be taken down. members will be warned that their account can be shut down. every platform has those policies in place. there are really thoughtful debates that go on about when to -- where they draw those lines. but they tend to lean toward being more open because it is part of the promise of the platform for open discussion. >> my name is ignacio, i am a sophomore at the college. every once in a while, a really bad tweet resurfaces and harms a politician. i was wondering what you thought is going to happen in the next 40 years when people are running for options who have hundreds of thousands of tweets in their
name. will that be any different, will people actually go back and look at all these tweets that people from my generation are tweeting now? and if that is going to affect us in the future? >> or facebook photos. what is that next generation politician going to look like when we can see what they were like freshman year and not really caring what they put on the internet. a memo to all of you. do you think the things we see now from politicians, that we see things past resurface. do you think it will be as harmful down the road? john? mr. volpe: i am hopeful that is put into the proper perspective over time. i remember the first time that there was an ongoing debate about bill clinton smoking marijuana. now you have every candidate
talking about the things they have done during the college life, so we have had more context in the last 30 or 40 years and i suspect that will be the same. it is so difficult now for somebody to run for public office, in terms of opening themselves up to that history. hopefully that will have the proper context over time. i am an optimist. >> yes. social media has definitely impacted our sensitivities in that way. it might be a reason somebody exited the race in the past. it might be a big deal. it becomes a huge deal in 24 hours over twitter and facebook, but then it goes away because there's so much else to cover. the news cycle has become so quick. yes? hi. my name is evan. i'm a senior in the college and thank you for coming out.
when i think of the question is social media ruining politics, i think of one of two effects of the one is that everything nowadays is political, and becomes very political very quickly. one example i can think of is there is this woman who tweeted a joke, and then by the time she landed in south africa, she had been fired, had to move, she receives death threats. the other is the comment one section. the question i have is sort of two parts. the first one is, why do you think this seems to pop up everywhere and every explanation that people come with all the time. for me it was anonymity, short form. they always seem to go away. why does this always seem to to be the case and will be inevitable? mr. carr: the scale of these platforms means that it is very easy to get enough people concerned or offended that it
snowballs very easily. for all the good things about social media, it can be a platform for a mob mentality where people kind of react viscerally without thinking or without giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. unfortunately, that is part of human nature. when you create this kind of scale where anybody can say anything about anything it , becomes very hard to avoid that kind of very unfair and damaging dynamic. i have a sense that it will always be with us. there. my name is frankie hill. i'm a freshman at the college. i was wondering, you talked a lot about how social media can
be bad for discourse. and talking about political issues. i was wondering if you have seen any better ways to do it. are there features that we could be implementing that improve social media websites, to improve discourse on them? in your studies have you , encountered anything like that? mr. carr: i have an example or two. it is connected to the original point i made which is you can , use social media to start a conversation, but you're not going to create a policy paper on twitter or facebook, right? you need to take it somewhere else, either off-line or online. this is an example of starting a conversation in multiple places where you find people who really want to be there, who really want to have a perspective, and take it to a closed space.
where people can participate, like a letter to the editor but , you have to say who you are. then you work with other members of the community to solve a problem where it can be crowd , sourced within some kind of guidelines in terms of what the problem is and have a respectful conversation. that will lead to tremendous results. we have done this dozens of times across the country. and at the end of it you have specific policies that are created at the local level, sometimes with experts, sometimes with citizens, that eventually gets the attention of the governor, the senator, the mayor, the administrator, and i think that is the way it can work. so again, we all agree that you cannot have the most productive conversation on social media, but it can start to be an invitation to invite people into a more private space with goals and objectives. moderator: i think there's a lot of room to make it better and to build platforms or improve
existing platforms for discourse. i think that is a challenge to the students in this room to work on. ms. finn: that may be a tall and -- order for students in this room to work on. something i worked on last year was a platform called change.org. it is an open petition platform and petition is the oldest form and tool in our democracy to share your voice. the one thing we found was that it was an incredibly powerful platform. through people signing petitions and collective action of sometimes millions of individuals there was a lot of change happening. the things people were wanting are happening. we still have the same issue where it was very one way to one way you would not normally expect. we talk about politicians shouting at the public and it being one way. this way it was shouting at decision-makers and corporations but not giving them the headphones to actually listen in a productive way and engage in a dialogue.
sometimes people are clamoring for particular change and it may not be obvious the way things are they are. we actually created a new feature set of that platform to allow politicians to respond and start to engage in the dialogue, which has been used by dozens of politicians at this point. i'm not saying that is the full answer but it really was a , response to disconnect and the in socialwhat we see media right now is wholly inefficient for this kind of dialogue. mr. volpe: the easy part is to create the platforms that would allow for deeper discourse. the hard thing is to allow people to talk. moderator: last question. >> thank you. i am >>. i am an alum of the college.
-- i am rick. i am an alum of the college. i would be interested of you talking about how is owned raising and how you see it moving both by candidates and by third parties, where is that going to go? how is it affecting these campaigns now, and where do you see that having an impact in the future? moderator: fundraising generally, or through social media and digital? >> through social media. how is fundraising through social media, e-mail, facebook, like bernie sanders and everybody and third parties? thank you. moderator: why don't we do a quick answer? we will start at the end. mr. volpe: i think a lot of -- i learned them from 2004 with howard dean before social media, with the idea of empowering regular citizens to share couple of dollars here and there.
wasof the best uses of that to shut down people who commented on blogs during that campaign. the organizers would say for every native comment, i want our community to raise x number of dollars. and take a look at the other side of the campus. he is using social media to organize his campaign. he is the one that has the highest portion of his tweets responding to people. he is working, talking to people, raising a decent amount of money with small donors to get there. >> mandy? ms. finn: the great promise of the internet was that it was going to re-democratize the process. we talked today about the ways it has and hasn't. with fundraising, it is another one of those stories that has two sides. it deftly has in some regard. you look at bernie sanders right now, and the fact that he was able to raise almost as much as
hillary clinton in the last quarter. the great majority of that was social media and online. you see that with republican candidates who are doing that as well. marco rubio would not be where he is today if you not done the same thing in his senate primary against charlie crist. he was able to do the same thing. that said, there is still an incredible influence over the system by major wealthy donors. the really is two sides to the story. that is one of the stories to watch in this election cycle and to see if it will be that tipping even with howard dean, point. he was able to over perform where people expected, but he was ultimately victorious. barack obama was ultimately victorious, so there has been an -- a mixture story about those who have those movement behind them. >> and nick?
mr. carr: i know absolutely nothing about fundraising. [laughter] moderator: fair enough. can we please give our awesome panelists a round of applause? [applause] moderator: thank you everyone for coming, very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015]
the senate foreign relations committee earlier this week had a confirmation hearing. tennessee senator bob corker chaired the hearing. it's an hour and a half. >> foreign relations committee will come to order. senate foreign relations committee is meeting this morning for a confirmation hearing on nominations, including state department counselor thomas shannon, to be undersecretary of state for political affairs. if confirmed by the senate, he would replace wendy sherman who helped to lead the u.s. negotiations for iran.
and as i said to him when he came into our office and i'm sure, ben, you said the same thing, all of us are gratified when people who commit their life in this way end up ascending to these positions. you oversee africa, east area and the pacific, europe. the nearest, south and central asia, the western hemisphere and international organizations just to note to staff, we could see the world. it would be easier. thank you. the nomination we are considering today for the most senior and influential undersecretary. this is a key nomination for this committee at this time. the person that the senate confirms for this job will not just serve this administration but will also be an institutional bridge to the next. with that i turn to senator cardin. >> let me first thank you for the speed in which this confirmation hearing has been set. i really appreciate it. and i know your commitment so that the state department has a full complement in dealing with the urgent international issues, there's not a shortage of that.
we couldn't have a better person than ambassador shannon, and we thank you very much for your career of public service. we thank you and your family for what you have done for our country. this position has been vacated by secretary sherman who did an outstanding job representing the interests of our country. as i think senator corker pointed out, ambassador shannon is a career diplomat. he's currently the counsellor at the state department. he was the ambassador to brazil. he was the assistant secretary of state and senior director of the national security council staff of the western hemisphere affairs. he's had posts in venezuela, south africa, and other critically important positions. mr. chairman, we have conversations with key nominees before we actually have the formal hearings. it gives us a chance to sort of explore and get a sense as to the commitment to the issues that we're concerned about. and i just want to share with my colleagues in my conversation
with ambassador shannon, i was very impressed with his understanding of the importance of this committee, our oversight role and the critical importance for transparency, openness between the position of undersecretary of state for political affairs and the senate foreign relations committee. and i think that's going to bode well for the type of relationship that we need in order to speak strongly for our country, the proper oversight role of the united states senate. i do want to mention, there's many issues we could talk about the implementation of the iran agreement. and the increased u.s. engagement in the middle east. we could talk about russia's engagement in the ukraine and whether they will comply and how we will assure that they are held to the standards of the minsk agreement, and then, of course, russia's engagement in
crimea, russia's engagement in moldova, in georgia, and now in syria. i just want to mention one point that i know the chairman and i are going to be very much engaged with you, ambassador shannon, and that is the advancement of good governance, transparency, human rights, and anti-corruption. the focal point was on the tip report. you hold a critically important position to make sure that the tip report, which is the gold standard for judging conduct globally on the commitment to fight modern-day slavery, trafficking, is held to the highest standards. the tier ratings are based solely on the facts on the ground. and i just -- in our conversations, i know you are committed to that. but we want you to know, this committee is going to do everything we can to support that type of an analysis on the tier ratings of the countries of the world. with that, mr. chairman, i look forward to our exchange. >> thank you for bringing up the tip issue.
we talked extensively about that in our meeting too. one of the questions i will ask later will be about that. i really appreciate you emphasizing that in an appropriate way. with that, we will turn to our nominee. our first nominee is ambassador thomas shannon who has been nominated to serve as undersecretary for political affairs. ambassador shannon earned the rank of career ambassador, the highest in the foreign service. currently, he serves as counsellor of the state department, a position he's held since 2013. previously ambassador shannon has served as our ambassador to brazil, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, special assistant to the president and senior director of the national security council and assignments abroad. apparently having some difficulty keeping a job. [ laughter ] he has received a bachelor of arts from the college of william & mary and a master's
and doctorate of philosophy from oxford university. we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you very much. members of the senate foreign relations committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today as president obama's nominee to be the next undersecretary for political affairs. i very much appreciate the opening remarks, especially the comments regarding tip and i'm going to be happy to answer those questions as we advance in this hearing. as you can imagine, i'm honored by this nomination. i'm also humbled by the nomination. its pedigree is distinguished from its first occupant, robert murphy to such great diplomats as larry eagleburger and wendy sherman. the position of undersecretary has been defined by extraordinary quality, ability and the dedication of its occupants.
throughout my career, i have sought to serve in challenging and complicated places where the power and influence of our great republic could be brought to bear. as you consider my nomination, i can offer you the following. first, i have dedicated my life to public service. my foreign service career began in 1984 and it has spanned five administrations, two democratic and three republican. i understand american power and purpose. i worked in countries and regions in transition and transformation from latin america to africa. i have seen the important and positive influence the united states can bring in helping countries move from authoritarian to democratic governments, from closed to open economies, from an import substitution to development based on regional integration. in this process, i have seen and understood the attraction we hold for many and the unique role we play in shaping world events and order. third, i believe that diplomacy
is an act of advocacy. our great diplomats from john jay to john kerry have had a deep understanding of power politics and its global dimensions. they have used this understanding to protect and advance american interests. however, the vision of order and purpose they brought to american diplomacy was infused with values that reflect or democratic ideals and our conception of individual liberty. fourth, i know how to get things done in what needs to be done. as noted, my professional experience has been spanned assignments in the white house, the state department, international organizations and embassies. as the chairman noted, i probably do have a problem keeping a job. i'm familiar with the machinery of our foreign policy and diplomacy and have experience at every level. finally, i understand the importance of consultation with the congress. i entered the foreign service during the central american wars. this was a time of institutional divide on our policy in the region. this divide limited our ability to successfully implement our policy.
it was only when broad consensus was formed around an agenda based on democracy, human rights, and economic development that we were able to form a bipartisan approach to central america. this experience shaped how the legislative and executive branchs faced foreign policy challenges in columbia and support enjoyed by them and the implementation led to trade policy, reconstruction and development in haiti and the merit initiative in mexico. these experiences taught me that engagement with congress is an essential part of our foreign policy making process and its only long-term guarantee of success. if confirmed, i will consult with congress, i will cult -- consult with this committee, i will consult with its staff. as i reflect on my experience in american diplomacy, i'm struck by the changes i have seen in three decades. they will not compare to what awaits us. the factors that are driving
change, political, economic, social and technological are accelerating. this will increase change and challenge in the world and challenge our ability to understand and respond to events in the world. during the past two years as counselor of the department, i worked on a variety of issues that have been emblematic of the kinds of changes we face. i have worked with our special envoy to south africa on a long and complicated effort to bring peace to south sudan. i worked in southeast asia on an effort designed to improve coordination and cooperation among the countries of the area to ensure the viability of the river as a source of food, energy and water. i worked on maritime security
counterpiracy and trade issues through the indian ocean rim association. finally, i worked to provide a response to the child migrants in the summer of 2014. the result was, the alliance for prosperity and program designed by guatemala and honduras and el salvador to address the root causes of migration in the communities of origin of the children. if confirmed, it will be my assignment to ensure that the department of state under the direction and guidance of the presidents and secretaries of state can meet the challenges and seize the opportunities in front of us. it would be my job to ensure that our bureaus and missions and the remarkable individuals who serve there have the policy and guidances to be successful in the high level access assistance and support to shape and implement our foreign policy. this is a responsibility that i
take seriously. again, acknowledge the important role of the congress. let me close by thanking the president and secretary kerry for the confidence they placed in me. let me thank you, mr. chairman, senator cardin and the senators present for this opportunity to appear before you. finally, let me thank my family. today i have present with me my mother, barbara shannon, along with my father, who she instilled in me the values that led to my public service. i have with me also my brothers paul and terry, both special agents of the fbi and veterans of afghanistan and iraq conflicts. i would like to recognize my wife and our sons. unfortunately, they're not here today. i would not be here today without them. as my colleagues in the foreign service know well, our service to country is a family affair. the joys and dangers of that service abide in our families. thank you very much. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. we typically are much nicer on people coming before us when
their kids are here. when your mother is here, it will probably be much the same. obviously, just for the record, we talked in our office about the tip report. we were very dissatisfied, many of us are very dissatisfied with the way it was handled this last year. i just for the record wonder if you would share with us how you plan to handle it differently this year. >> thank you very much. i had the opportunity to talk about the tip report with a whole range of members of this committee. and i was struck by the consensus of concern about the tip report. this worries me deeply. as you noted, the tip report is a gold standard report. and it's one in which the credibility that the report holds both in the congress and publically is an essential part of that gold standard. it would be my intention working with my colleagues in the state department who manage this process both on the functional
bureau side in jtip, on the regional bureau side, and our m embassies that we have a transparent process and one that can address the concerns expressed. trafficking in persons is an important issue for me. it's an issue i have dealt with at different times in my career. the information that we collect regarding the actions of states, governments, municipalities regarding trafficking comes from our embassies in many instances. how our embassies respond and how they engage with the office of trafficking of persons is an important part of this process. and i've seen this work and i know it can work. i can assure you, sir, i can assure members of this committee that will do everything in my power to make sure that we restore the credibility in your eyes of this report and we can address the concerns you have expressed. >> i appreciate that. i will say in some cases i would imagine that ambassadors want to
see good things happen in the countries that they are involved in. so i hope that while i know the ambassadors play a role, in some cases it can be an advocating role for their country, i hope that you will figure out a way to ensure that that doesn't cause things to be out of balance. >> we will do that, sir. and i will do that. but i can assure you that the american foreign service, as i noted in my remarks, understands our diplomacy is advocacy. we understand the importance of trafficking in persons to you and this committee broadly to the congress, but also to the president. and so i will do everything in my power to make sure that this advocacy is powerful. >> my last comment, you know, certainly i respect tremendously those people who offer themselves for foreign service. i just understand the dynamics that can sometimes take place, human nature dynamics that can happen on the ground. you have watched and been a part of and worked with so many people who have been in this position.
you gave a litany of those who have come before you, many of which are highly respected, many of whom are highly respected. you have watched this and seen how people have operated. what is it that you think you might uniquely do that is different from those who have come before you? >> thank you for that question. it's a very good one. to begin with, there is a bureaucratic and policy management process to this job that infuses the work of all undersecretaries. as you noted, we sit atop a variety of bureaus. the six geographic bureaus and the bureau that manages international organizations in an effort to manage and focus policy so that it can be as successful as possible. but i'm one of the first nominees in a long time, since tom pickering, who comes with
strong experience in latin america and africa, the larger developing world. really a world of transition and transformation. although my purview will be the globe and i have already over the last two years done a variety of work in the middle east, more deeply in africa, in southeast asia, and the indo-pacific region, i understand the impact and how to manage transformation. i understand how the united states has done it in a variety of environments but especially in africa and latin america. i began my career in central america during a transition from authoritarian government and military government to democratic government. i have worked in a variety of countries that were making a similar transition such as in brazil and in south africa from 1992 to '96 i was part of a u.s. team that helped manage and promote a transition from an apartheid government to the government of nelson mandela. so i think i bring an understanding of transition and transformation.
i think i understand -- i bring an understanding of post-conflict societies. and i think i can inject and add a dimension to our foreign policy that could be very important. >> thank you very much. with that, i will turn to ranking member cardin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, mr. ambassador, thank you for your service. we very much appreciate the members of your family that are here. we do recognize this as a family commitment, and we thank them also. you mentioned your experiences with congress in central america conflict, that there was deep division in congress but where we spoke in unity, the united states was stronger in its carrying out its mission. there's been a division in congress over the support for the iran agreement. but there's been no division in congress about the importance of the congressional review and the ongoing commitment that congress
has in the implementation of the iran agreement. the iran review act that was passed in a very bipartisan vote, almost unanimous vote in the united states congress, spells out certain continuing commitments by the administration to keep congress informed. we do that because we had a conversation yesterday about the compliance with iran on the agreement. there's already been a violation of the u.n. resolution dealing with ballistic missiles. how the united states responds to that to many of us is an indication on whether we will demand zero tolerance for violations and strict compliance. so we need to be kept informed in a very open way as to how the compliance issues are taking place. they may not elevate to the type
of violation that would warrant the united states taking actions to reimpose full sanctions, but they may be of interest as to how we can make sure that there's full compliance with the agreement. we also have the concerns of recognizing that iran's not going to change its nefarious activities, particularly as it relates to the support of terrorism and its human rights issues that may engage us in a way to how we counter those activities. so being able to trace the funds that iran will be receiving through sanction relief and how they use those funds, it's going to be of great interest to the members of this committee and to the members of congress. so i just would like to get your assurances that you have given us about keeping us fully engaged. we know what the law requires. but what i'm asking for is, as you pointed out in your relationships with congress in the past, that we're going to
have a very open relationship and full information so that we can carry out our critically responsible -- responsibilities of oversight. >> thank you very much, senator. again, i appreciate the question. i especially appreciate its intent and purpose. the implementation of the jcpoa is going to be what makes it a good agreement or a bad agreement. we are intent on ensuring that that implementation is to the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. in that regard, we intend to consult with the congress along the way and will consult with congress along the way at different steps in the implementation process. i think it's worth noting that secretary kerry and president obama have selected ambassador steve mull to manage the implementation process, the interest-agency side but our engagement with the iranians.
he has a group of experts working with him that have deep experience in this and that he has chosen myself as nominee for undersecretary to manage along with ambassador mull work in the joint commission, which will meet regularly to assess the implementation process. it is worth noting that in choosing us, he has chosen career foreign service officers and he has chosen two people who did not participate in the negotiations of the agreement. and therefore, he is bringing fresh eyes and objective eyes to the implementation process. i think it's smart and important. but as ambassador mull and i carry out this work, we will be consulting with you you the other members of this committee and your staff. we recognize and understand the importance of having the executive branch and the legislative branch having clear understandings of what needs to be done in the implementation process. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator purdue. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
ambassador, it's an honor to have you here today. i appreciate the courtesy of a private meeting with you recently. i want to publicly for the record applaud your career. i know you have raised your kids abroad. you probably saw your mother much less than you would have liked through your career. we're here today -- i just applaud your career and thank you for being here and for being willing to take on this new responsibility. i would like to move to the global security crisis that we talked privately about. i see it on three levels. one, we've got a power vacuum out there that has created a rise again of these power rivalri rivalries, china and russia. we saw another power vacuum in iraq into which isis has stepped and created all sorts of problems in syria and iraq and several other areas in the region and in subsaharan africa. of course now the iran nuclear deal that as you well said privately and i think just now
that it's all in the implementation. i would like to focus on syria. i know we got talks coming up tomorrow. what are the prospects of those talks? are you concerned that in your new role -- are you concerned about iran being a part of the dialogue this early in the conversation and also russia, as far as i can see? bashar al assad has been propped up by putin. without their help, he would have been gone a long time and g -- ago and he would not have had the wherewithal to continually barrel bomb his people and gas his own people. are you a little concerned about having the arsonist trying to help put the fire out in these talks this weekend? >> thank you very much, senator. again, very grateful for your willingness to see me and talk about these issues. as secretary kerry i think noted in his testimony here -- i know
as assistant secretary patterson and general allen noted, you are know, our objectives in syria remain degrading and defeating isil, fostering a political transition and helping syrians lay the foundation for a free feature, but a future without isil and without assad. in this regard, secretary kerry -- >> sooim -- i'm sorry. is it still the administration's position and your understanding that bashar al assad has to go? is that a prerequisite for this? >> correct. >> thank you. second kerry in his effort to fashion a global response to events in syria as he said trying to chart a course out of hell, he has determined that there's a moment in time in which it is important to bring together major players and actors to address events inside of syria. part of this process builds off of earlier processes such as the meetings in london and geneva. but the insertion of russia and iran in a very aggressive way in
syria has also created a different kind of dynamic. the russian and iranian presence or support for assad is nothing new. but the russian military presence and air strikes is something new. the presence of iranian troops and special forces is something new and worrisome. for this reason, the secretary thought it was time to bring everybody together and effectively call their bluff, determine whether or not their commitment to fighting -- their public commitment to fighting isil and terrorism is a meaningful one and the extent to which they are prepared to work broadly with the international community to convince mr. assad that during a political transition process he will have to go. >> you have got, i think you said, great experience in post-conflict societies. is it possible iran would support a secular government after bashar al assad p
perspectively leaves? >> i don't know the answer to that question, sir. i think we're only going to determine whether or not that is possible by engaging. you know, our engagement is not going to affect our intent or purpose. we are hopeful that we can establish an environment in syria where we can address the underlying political problems and allow the syrians to determine their future and to do it in a way in which they're not responding to iran or to russia. >> i'm almost out of time. i want to move on to venezuela. because of your vast experience there, i know you have led conversations there. talk to us a minute about our role in ensuring that they have a true and open and free election in the upcoming election. >> thank you for that question. it's an important one. as we have engaged with venezuela, we focused on a variety of issues that are important to us. first, when we first began our engagement, it was about insisting that venezuela establish a date for legislative elections.
when we first engaged, they had not established such a day and there was concern about whether or not they would establish such a date. secondly, it was -- we focused on political prisoners, not just high-profile prisoners but also a group of students and other political prisoners, between 77 and 80, depending on who is doing the counting, who are being held by the government of venezuela for what we believe to be political purposes. we wanted to make it very clear that we did not agree with that and we thought it important that these people be released and allowed to participate in public life. finally, connected to the broader purpose of elections, trying to convince venezuela it was in their interest to ensure international electoral observation of the upcoming elections in order to validate the results of the elections and allow all venezuelans to understand that their votes were
freely cast and counted in valid fashion. these remain our principal objectives. we do have an electoral date. we were able to accomplish that. the political prisoners, for the most part, are still in prison. some have been released. we continue to advocate for them. and we've helped create a larger environment in latin america where advocating for these political prisoners is now more common and direct. we see it in the oas. we see it in the interamerican human rights commission and in a variety of other forums. we work with our partners around the issue of electoral observation. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator menendez. go ahead. senator kaine? we have a very courteous
committee. [ laughter ] >> new jersey civility is always appreciated. thank you, mr. chairman. >> notwithstanding what governor christie said last night. >> thank you, ambassador shannon. a couple of points. your long career has included service in some very dangerous areas. talk about the evolving security conditions under which our folks have to operate around the globe and your sensitivity to those issues in this new role. >> senator, thank you very much. i am a proud member of the commonwealth of virginia. thank you very much for your service as governor and as senator. we're very lucky to have you. you know, today -- i live in crystal city. i take the bus to work. which means i get off on constitution and 22nd. i walk up 22nd street and enter the state department through the c street entrance. aside from seeing the array of flags of all the countries of which we have diplomatic
relations, i also see on both walls on either side of our entrance the names of all the foreign service officers and family members who have given their lives in the service of the united states of america. so every day it is impressed upon me the danger of our job, but also the honor of serving and the importance of being able to make that kind of commitment. this is really a wall of honor for us. it's also a wall of inspiration. but at the same time, we don't want to add any more names. the first name was walter paulfre. he was lost at sea in 1780. we have -- we realize we operate in a dangerous world. as i noted, we're in an especially dangerous spot around the world. how we manage security and the structures we put in place are going to be key to how well we can protect our people and how well we can manage risk. whether it's through our kind of high threat post review process,
whether it's through the determinations on whether or not we keep our embassies open, how we determine -- these are processes that have to be fluid, dynamic, agile and reflect the facts on the ground. aside from that, i believe we need to do more in terms of training our officers to be their own security officers. in other words, allowing them to understand better the environment they're going to be in and allowing them the training and the tools necessary to protect themselves. the reality is, we are an expediti expeditionary diplomatic service. we have 275 diplomatic missions around the world. we have about 10,000 american diplomats and civil servants around the world. we're responsible for them all. >> this is something that senator purdue and i have worked on a lot. i hope we will reach a point soon where we can give a green
light to the state department's long plan to build an enhanced security training facility for embassy personnel. a point on iran to pick up the comments that both the chair and ranking member meant. when we were working on the review act, the administration's attitude really was they didn't think congress should have a role in approving an iran deal, which i thought was given the fact the congressional sanctions were such an integral part of the negotiation. and i would just say i hope the administration will have a different attitude going forward in terms of congress' role. the deal puts congress in the middle of it. in year eight, congress is required under this deal to dismantle the congressional sanctions statutes or we are in breach of the agreement. just as in year eight the iranian parliament is required to permanently accept the additional protocol requirements or they're in breach of the agreement. there's not going to be a scenario where congress will kind of be kept in the dark and
uninvolved and then suddenly in year eight we'll be asked, okay, repeal the sanctions statute. it's hard to get a mother's day resolution passed in two houses of congress. the notion that you would get 60 votes in the senate and a majority in the house to repeal the sanction statutes in year eight if there hasn't been very significant dialogue and trust building and assurances that congress feels comfortable about, we'll be in breach of the agreement if we don't have this really tight kind of communication dialogue and accepted level of congressional oversight over the implementation. i hope that will be your philosophy in the position. >> thank you for that. it will be my philosophy. the challenge we're going to face as both an executive branch and a legislative branch is that eight years a long time. we will pass through at least one other administration and maybe more. so in trying to find ways to ensure continuity of purpose and
continuity of dialogue is going to be a central part of what we will do. >> one last -- congratulations. it's premature but it's congratulations on the effort. the state department's commitment to really aggressive diplomacy, we're aware of the iran deal, we're aware of taking a new tact with cuba but the u.s. has played a really important role in companying the government of colombia in the negotiations with the farc. i know there was an announcement by president santos of we would hope to get to an internationally monitored cease-fire on new year's day. this is the last war that's going on in the americas. there's plenty of problems in the americas, but the notion of two continents without war, i'm not sure there's been a time in recorded history where the americas has been without war. we're close to that. the u.s. has played an important role in accompanied colombia and
being an advocate and ally in those negotiations. i give credit to the state department for this kind of focus on important and multi-lateral diplomacy and appreciate your efforts. >> thank you. i want to thank the congress and this committee in particular for the tremendous work that has been done over the years along with the house and the members of the house who have dedicated themselves to colombia. it's really been a stellar group of people, and they've been a pleasure to work with. and i've had an opportunity to do it in so many incarnations from the deputy assistant secretary and then as assistant secretary. also as counselor, i've been involved in this. you are. if thecolombians are able to negotiate this deal, it will be the first time not only in living memory, but probably since the formation of most of
the south american republics in the early 19th century that this hemisphere has been at peace in terms of state on state wars and internal conflicts. but the challenge we're going to face -- in this we're going to be engaging with you, sir, and senator cardin, with this committee, about how to ensure that having been colombia's best partner in war, we're going to be their best partner in peace. because colombia is going to be -- is a great nation, but it's going to be a greater nation. with brazil, it will be one of the defining powers of south american. as a caribbean power, as an
amazonian power and pacific power and as a country that will, if it's successful in the peace process, have consolidated its society and been able to extend the reach of the state into the plains of colombia, it will be a major producer of oil and gas, of minerals, agricultural power. but it will also has a dynamic and entrepreneurial people who will be very, very important players throughout the hemisphere. how we shape that is going to have a big impact how successful we are in the hemisphere. >> thank you. senator menendez? >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, congratulations on your nomination. considering your distinguished career, i think it's having your mom and dad here and two fbi agents is over the top. you know? in terms of guaranteeing your nomination. on a serious note, we had a good conversation. i listened to some of your responses today. i just want to quickly go over
some ground, because i think it's incredibly important. would you agree with me that consultation with this committee and the senate is an important factor in us having a united front in u.s. foreign policy? >> yes, it is. >> because what i have experienced both as the former chairman of this committee and as a member is that we get a lot of notification but not a lot of consultation. and there's a difference. we may not agree at the result of consulting, but at least you will understand, you know, some thoughts of those of us who represent the nation. maybe there will be ways to achieve a common goal, but to do it in a different way. and so what i have experienced is a lot of notification but not a lot of consultation. so i'm glad to hear that you are committed to consultation. secondly, do you agree with me that the tip report needs to be the gold standard? >> yes, i do. >> i think i could probably not find anybody on this committee who believes that the last report did not have -- did not meet that standard. in the questions of malaysia and cuba and some other places, the justifications belie the facts and the reality is is that you can't say that certain things in
a reporting period that happen to be good for that country will be included, even though they're beyond the reporting period, and certain things that are bad that are also beyond the recording period don't get included. either we include everything beyond the reporting period, good and bad, or we stick to the reporting period. but you can't go beyond the reporting period for what's good but not beyond the reporting period for what's bad. i'm referring particularly to malaysia and the mass graves that we found. that wasn't considered in what malaysia was doing in that context. some passage of a law that wasn't even yet enforced was considered. we need to make that the gold standard. i hope that we can -- understanding the pressures within the department from regional bureaus and whatnot, but it just doesn't work the way it worked the last time. it undermines our credibility in
trafficking in persons. thirdly, would you agree with me that we must respond to violations by iran of whether it is its nuclear agreement or security council resolutions with significant responses or else we will be down a slippery slope in terms of what they think they can get away with? >> yes, i do. >> so i say that because we -- regardless -- there are members of this committee that voted both ways. i oppose the agreement. i think it's aspirational. i hope it works now that it's the law. by the same token, i don't think any of it can work if iran thinks it can get away with violating, as it largely has done for the past decade and a half in violating international united nations security council resolutions and international law and still largely developed a nuclear
program. if we're going to get anything out of this agreement, it has to be enforced. and with the ballistic missile test that they had, i don't think you're going to end up with a u.n. resolution that's going to sanction them because russia will probably negate it with its veto, so we have to be thinking about how we're going to respond to that. otherwise we're headed down a slippery slope. i know this won't be the main stay of your portfolio. but the reality is, you are going to have as the third highest ranking person at the state department some say in this. i hope you will hold the view that you have publically described here as saying it's important within the deliberations of the department. thirdly, fourthly, venezuela. you and i had a long discussion of this. i have to be honest with you. i appreciate what you are trying to do when you met with the man who is supposedly by some of our
agencies described as someone who is involved in narco trafficking. i realize he has an elected position inside of venezuela. that's a question for the future as a policy, how far do we go with individuals who while they may hold the position are involved in the context of narco trafficking? in venezuela, you have a process in which we don't have yet international observers. you have a sham trial with a prosecutor ultimately fleeing -- one of the prosecutors flees the country and says that he was under pressure to ultimately pursue the case in the manner in which he did. lopez is convicted in a sham trial. i think 13 years in jail. and you have a series of other human rights activists and political dissidents jailed. and you have the madura regime
basically saying publicly in essence, we're going to win the elections. which basically means, we're going to win it one way or the other. the polls don't indicate they will. but we will win it. my concern is -- the thing i think you do bring to this job that others don't have is your combination of latin america and africa experience. my concern is that we are not willing to challenge regimes, whether it be in venezuela or cuba where we have seen nothing, nothing in terms of human rights and democracy issues. talk to me about challenging a regime when the diplomacy has not achieved what we want and we pass this law that came out of this committee on venezuela on sanctions. the president invoked some of it. there's still a lot more that could be invoked. when is the demarcation in which we say our diplomacy has
not worked? how do we back it up with some strength? >> thank you very much. let me thank you for why you commitment to latin america and the state department. it has been an important motivator for us, an important driver of how we shape the diplomats of the future. in regard to the tip report, let me reiterate that i'm committed to addressing the concerns of this committee and members of the committee who have expressed their concerns to me. as i noted previously, it's very worrisome for me that a report that should be a gold standard is seen as not being that. so i will do everything i can to address those concerns and ensure that we are examining countries under the rubric of the report with all the rigor that is required by law. with regard to iran violations, i can guarantee you we will respond to them. we recognize as important as the
jcpoa is, it has a set of sanctions tied to it that are nuclear related. but there are sanctions related the ballistic missiles, to human rights, and to terrorism. we will pursue those when we see them. we understand that our relationship with iran is a complicated one. but, again, our success in the jcpoa and its implementation will only happen if we show a clear willingness to pursue violations elsewhere under other sanctions regimes. with regard to venezuela, we had a good conversation. i appreciated your point of view. i understand it and i appreciate the concerns that others have expressed. as we look at what's next in venezuela, so much of our own relationship with venezuela will depend on what happens around the legislative elections and what happens around the issue of
political prisoners. when i met with them as i noted to you earlier, it was with the purpose first of all of winning from them an electoral date for legislative assembly elections which we thought was essential to create a political process that would allow the venezuelan people to express themselves, but also create a larger environment for dialogue inside of venezuela. its secondary purpose was to save the life of lopez was in the fourth week of a hunger strike and we were looking for an action by the venezuelan government that would convince lopez to come off his strike. we believe lopez along with the other political prisoners being held are an essential part of a broader solution to the kinds of internal challenges that venezuela faces today.
we will continue to advocate for his release after we have done over time. as we have engaged with venezuela, we have never backed off our criticism regarding some of its political behavior and activity. we have suppressed our concern about the politicized judiciary and continued holding of political elections. the ability of elections to be perceived as free elections and the vote count is valid is an important part how we manage the next step in the relationship. in that regard the legislation that you worked on and that other members of this committee and senate worked on will be an important tool for us and we will use it if necessary. >> i hope you use the tool. i look forward to supporting your confirmation before the committee and the senate. >> senator coons? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ambassador, for your service. thank you for your family for sustaining and supporting his service and immediate family service over so many years and challenging environments. i will concur with my colleague from new jersey that your long
service in latin america and in africa brings in particularly a needed strength. your service as a member of the career foreign service officer brings an important and vital perspective. so let me just broadly reference three questions. then you take as much time as you wish. allocate your time accordingly. service employees of the department what you think are the most important, most needed steps to continue to attract and retain and motivate the best and brightest to serve in these difficult and demanding and important posts around the world. i'm also interested, you succeed wendy sherman, hopefully you will be confirmed, i'll support your confirmation and she placed a real focus on peacekeeping. peacekeeping is difficult business. it's expensive. it's full of complications. there is an african standby force that is in the early stages of being perhaps ready to
actually serve on the continent. they've been doing some recent exercises in south africa and i'd be interested in how you see the future of peacekeeping and how we make it sustainable from a cost perspective. and last i'm concerned about how we support economic growth in africa while also supporting democracy and governance. there's been a hotly contested election in answer the indonesia. the results were announced in the last hour. they were invalidated in zanzibar earlier today. we have a number of critical other elections this year. how do we balance those two -- promoting economic growth and development while still advocating for our values over the values of some of our competitors in africa? >> well, thank you very much, senator. appreciate the questions and let me thank you for the trip you made to the state department to meet with some of our mid-level officer, it was a great experience for them. but we really appreciate the respect you showed us and we look forward to inviting you back so thank you for that. in regard to your first
question, how to attract and keep the best people, that's something we struggle with everyday. luckily, we have a really interesting portfolio and so we tend to attract people who are smart, motivated and expeditionary in mind-set. this to want go places and they want to do things and so that's important to us. but the challenges we face are real. the challenges that dual career families face in the foreign service, the challenges that families with children with special needs face. and then the broader security environment that we spoke about earlier also affect how people understand the foreign service and the degree to which they enter the foreign service or stay as officers. we are really at this point in time going through a generational change in the foreign service. 60% of the foreign service, nearnear ly 60%, about 57% or something,
of the foreign service has served for 10 years or less. this is remarkable. that means we have a cadre of younger officers who are going to be our next generation of leaders. who have served in the foreign service during a period of combat in iraq and afghanistan and a larger global struggle against terrorism and in many instances, some of these classes have gone in large numbers to iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, and other areas first where they're unaccompanied postings but secondly where the challenges they face are quit significant. and how we help these officers understand a larger world, how we mentor them, how we train them, how we enhance their language capability is going to be a big part of our success? the future so one of the assignments i'm going to take on myself is really a mentoring assignment and it's intent on engaging with our geographic bureaus, with national foreign affairs training center, with
the foreign service institute and with the secretary to ensure he can leave behind a legacy of enhanced language training, enhanced regional stud dooz and ability to do for the field to help officers become familiar with the areas they're working on and areas they want to continue to work on. but let me share one quick anecdote with you. as i go around and talk to younger officers, especially in the middle east, one of their biggest concerns is security. but not whether they're going to be okay. their concern is are they going to be able to do their job. and this is where we talked about earlier, they want the tools to be able to do their job and that means the security environment that protects them but also their ability to understand and interpret the environment they're in and in this regard we've got a lot of work to do because there's some places that are just deadly force us and we just either can't go there or we have to go there under very careful conditions. but, again, this is something i'm really focused on because this is going to have a big
impact on some of our best and brightest as to whether they stay. if they think their career is going spent in a container or behind an embassy wall and if they can only go out in force and with interpreters they're not going to stay so we have to find a way to deal with this. and then finally the -- you know, africa is a special interest of mine. i've served in washington on african affairs but also in the field on african affairs and i've been able to travel to africa a lot. the economic growth side is really important for this continent. this is the continent of the 21st century and president obama through his africa leader summit highlighted the importance of commercial engagement and presented a different vision of africa to the american people, one of opportunity and growth. and as we look into the future, we need to understand that the chinese have figured this out and the chinese are present in africa in a big way and so we have to be present in a big way. and that means looking for ways to push american businesses,
american investment and create the connectivity around economic growth that is necessary for africa to continue to grow at the rate that it's growing. i think it's the fastest-growing continent in the world in terms of commerce and investment. but that said, the governance issues are really striking in different parts of africa and the issues we're facing, whether it be in tanzania, weather it be in the drc, burundi, rwanda or beyond, how leaders understand their role as elected leaders, how they understand their ability to perpetuate themselves in power and the degree to which they use state structures to further themselves in power and don't address the transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption issues that will be the basis for long term economic growth and development is going to be key and it has to be a central part of our engagement in africa and i believe it is and i think with your assistant secretary linda toms in a greenfield we have been dynamic, pushing hard on
these issues, not always successfully because of the nature of some of the countries that we've been working in, but we haven't given up. and i can assure you that governance is going to be a big part of how we engage in africa because absent the right kind of governance that economic growth is not going to have the social impact it needs to have. >> thank you, mcr. chairman. >> thank you. as you know, there will be follow up questions and we'll keep the record open for bot nominees but thank you for your willingness to serve, for having your family here, for their service to our country and we look forward to your confirmation. >> thank you very much. i'm very grateful. >> yes, sir. next, we'll consider the nomination of laura hallgate, nominee to be u.s. representative to the vienna office of the united nations and u.s. representative to the international atomic energy agency, commonly called the iaea. this role requires an and jiel
ambassador capable of representing u.s. position with a diverse array of u.n. organizations from the u.n. office on drugs and crime to the u.n. division of management, is the comprehensive test ban treaty organization of which we're not a party, the wasserman arrangement and the u.n. commission on international trade law among others. perhaps the most visible toll this committee given the ongoing engagement on the jcpoa with iran will be the nominee's representation of the united states at the international atomic energy agency. i recognize that you ms. holgate have dedicated your career, as we have discussed privately, to promoting nuclear security and establishing an environment that staunchs the spread of nuclear materials. but the challenges of the position may be daunting. you will be called upon to hold a strong line in the face of pressure from our partners who, in order to open economic
relations with iran may seek to close the door on old allegations and turn a blind eye to previous military dimensions of the program that may provide indicators necessary for the iaea to monitor the program going forward. you may be called upon to defend u.s. -- key u.s. positions in the face of opposition from non-aligned movement -- from the non-aligned movement. you may have to stand alone to adequately defend u.s. national security interests. i hope you will explain how you intend to fulfill these obligations in this role and the expectations you have for your ability to successfully represent the u.s. while we have the opportunity, i'd also like for you to discuss your government -- our government's current efforts to counter nuclear smuggling and how you may use this position if confirmed to further ensure the security of nuclear material globally. appreciate your attendance before the committee today and
look forward to growing our relationship should you be confi confirmed. with that, i would like to recognize our distinguished ranking member senator cardin. >> well, let me also welcome laura holgate. thank you very much for your long-standing public service and as was pointed out by the previous witness, this is a family commitment, we thank you and your family for your willingness to serve our country in this critically important position. you bring a host of qualifications to this nomination. senior position at department of energy and department of defense, a career that prevents terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction. you're currently the senior director of the weapons of mass destruction terrorism and threat reduction at the national security council. you come well prepared for the challenges in vienna and i say that because, yes, there are the
direct responsibilities that you have on the organizations in vienna under the united nations and the iaea and others. but it's also working with two other very important missions that we have, the host mission for austria as well as the osce mission that you and i had a chance to talk about all are housed in vienna. so you're part of a diplomatic team that we have in a critically important place where major decisions are being made. obviously the focus today is very much on the responsibilities and the implementation of the iran agreement by the iaea and as we talked privately and i'll repeat now and as i pointed out to ambassador shannon, your openness with us is critically important and appreciate the commitments that you've made in that regard. mr. chairman, i'm also pleased to note that a former member of this body who worked closely
with laura holgate during the eight years she worked at the nuclear threat initiative has written a letter on her behalf touting mrs. holgate "superb only in and skills and passion for reducing global dangers." i would request that be part of our record. >> without objection. thank you, senator cardin. i will turn to our second nominee. that's laura holgate who is nominated to serve as ambassador and u.s. representative to the united nations and international atomic energy sergeant agentsy. she's advised the president for over six years in special assistant to the president and senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and threat reduction in the national security council. she received her bachelor of arts from princeton university and a master's in science from the massachusetts institute of technology. we welcome you. if you could summarize your thoughts in about five minutes, we will look forward to
questions and, again, congratulations on your nomination. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, ranking member cardin, members of the committee. i'm honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee to serve as the u.s. permanent representative to the vienna offices of the united nations, the international atomic energy agency and other international organizations in vienna. i'm grateful to president obama and to secretary kerry for the kfsz they have placed in me. this is a critical moment for the united states' interests in the iaea and the other u.n. offices in vienna. full implementation of the joint comprehensive plan of action with iran, successful transition of the nuclear security summits' work to secure and reduce global stockpiles of nuclear material to the relevant enduring international institutions, safe and secure expansion of nuclear energy and other peaceful nuclear technologies and innovative peaceful applications of space science depend on active, focused leadership and
engagement by the united states to promote our national interests and to advance our contributions toward shared global priorities. my experience inside and outside the u.s. government has prepared me to play this vital role in vienna. i've worked on reducing nuclear, biological and chemical threats since 1989. i have served a combined 14 years in the department of defense, the department of energy, and at the national security council where i led programs and developed policies to keep materials out of terrorist hands, to destroy chemical weapons in russia, libya, and syria and to prevent bioterrorism. for eight years i headed the non-government nuclear threat initiatives programs in the former soviet union and pioneered projects such as the iaea's low enriched uranium fuel bank. most relevant to the position for which i am being considered, i have led the preparation of four nuclear security summit, working closely with counterparts from 52 diverse countries and four international
organizations, including the united nations and the iaea. each of these positions has contributed to my ability to represent the united states and the president with authority and respect. if i may, mr. chairman, i would like to introduce to you and the committee three very special people who have joined me hear today -- my husband rick holgate has for 27 years steadfastly supported my career even as he has built his own impressive accomplishments in government service and in the private sector. i am proud and grateful for his encouragement and partnership as we consider this new opportunity to serve. my parents, susan and burt hayes are here from richmond as well. my father as a twa pilot opened my eyes, ears, and mind to the wide world beyond overland park, kansas. and my mother set the example of opening our doors and our hearts to people who are different from us. these early influences launched me on the path to today's hearing and i hope to honor their faith in me by my service.
and i deeply appreciate the support of friends and colleagues who are watching these proceedings today. mr. chairman, if i am confirmed in this position, i pledge to strengthen and broaden the partnerships with other member states and with the u.n. agencies in vienna and further develop the coalitions that we need to achieve u.s. priorities. the key among these goals is that the iaea has the tools it needs to monitor implementation of the p5+1 iran joint comprehensive plan of action. going forward, the iaea with its proven record of technical expertise offers us an agency well placed to ensure robust implementation. i pledge to play my role in keeping congress informed and engaged as this implementation process proceeds. another opportunity i see is to leverage the u.n. office of drugs and crimes technical assistance to counter and prevent terrorism and trafficking through training and other support for judges and prosecutors, especially those in
high-threat regions and countries. u.n. o.d.c.'s efforts complement our own counterterrorism efforts and reach countries we may not be able to engage directly. finally, if confirmed i will press organizations in vienna to continue to make progress on management reforms, transparency and fairness. i will encourage intensified efforts towards achieving greater diversity, including at the senior and policy-making levels. i will continue the efforts of my predecessors to strongly support the hiring of qualified american citizens to these organizations. mr. chairman, the specialized and technical agencies in vienna foster activities and technologies that affect the lives of every citizen everyday, from combatting the spread of nuclear weapons in human and arms trafficking to harnessing the power of the atom to promote human health and reduce and eliminate hunger to utilizing space for communication, disaster early warning and
exploration and research. if confirmed, i would work in close consultation with this committee and the congress to ensure that u.s. values and priorities are fully reflected in our positions and that u.s. contributions and resources are expended with care. we owe the american people and the people all over the world no less. i thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> well, thank you very much. if you would, explain -- i know we have a gentleman, former ambassador steven maul who will be overseeing the implementation. how are your role and his role interact? >> thank you, sir. if confirmed, i would be continuing as -- i would be part of ambassador moll's team of interagency partners. the current charge in the position participatie ins in th meetings remotely and is in regular contact with ambassador moll.
i would expect to continue and intensify that level of engagement in the inner agency policy process and the role in the -- in vienna is to be the eyes and ears on the ground of what's going on, not just the formal presentation of information from the secretariat but understanding the trends, the issues, the mood, how the conversations are going and being sure that those are reported back into the u.s. policy process. also, being alert to opportunities to improve activities or steps that may need to be taken and to be sure that those are incorporated into our government-wide implementation efforts. >> who do you actually, if confirmed, who will you actually receive direction if here in washington relative to positions that you take? >> the letter of commission for ambassadors typically says the directions come from the president and from the secretary of state, sir. my chain, my reporting chain
goes through assistant secretary crocker and then up through the position that we just had the nominee for. but these issues are addressed in an interagency process and a whole-of-government effort and i will, if confirmed, play the role that i'm assigned in that context. >> i know you're going to get some questions from someone, whether qfr and personal, in a personal way relative to whether you're involved in the negotiation of the jcpoa and so i'd like to give you the opportunity publicly to state what your involvement was. >> appreciate that question, senator, as we discussed in our conversation which appreciated i was not part of the negotiating team, nor was i privy to the judgments made in the process of that negotiation. i am, however, familiar with its contents and i am fully prepared to vigorously support its implementation in the iaea. and will you have the
opportunity in this position if confirmed to be able to read the side agreements that were negotiated? >> mr. senator, the side agreements that are referred to are actually safeguards agreements that are bilateral agreements between the iaea and the member state. those are safeguards confidential and those are not shared with any member states. >> i hadn't planned to go down this route but i'm just curious, then, what kind of oversight role do you have in this position? >> well, the international -- >> in other words, so you have to director -- so the director is just able to negotiate whatever the director wishes and the folks who do what you do have no oversight role? no board of directors type role relative to the entity? >> senator, it's my understanding that safeguards agreements are bilateral agreements between the
secretariat and the member state. that's true for every country that's a member of the iaea. the u.s. has a similar safeguards agreement that is not public, is not available to other member states. this is part of how the iaea maintains the confidentiality of information that is supplied in connection with that. the iaea is, however, required to report on its findings on confirmation and verification of the commitments made in these safeguards agreements and those are the reports that are provided by to member states and that we will be providing to the congress as they come from the secretariat. >> and, again, i know you have nothing do with how this has been set up, this is not directed at you, i'm just, again, had not planned to go down this route. so that's odd, i would seem to me, that the safeguards agreement is the agreement as to how the work is going to be carried out. so you're not really conveying any confidential information, you're just talking about how you're going to deal with that
entity to find out or that country to find out how they're progressing in the agreements that are made. why would that be kept away from the folks, if you will, that are overseeing this particular organization? i'm just curious as to why you think that would be the case? >> mr. senator, the safeguards agreements include a range of technical details, including design of nuclear facilities, including proprietary information about how those facilities operate, an extreme amount of technical detail that helps the agency understand where it needs to apply safeguards, how it has to do with the process that is executed in that facility. those are -- that is not information that countries are eager to share with other countries and, frankly, from a non-proliferation point of view, that's not information you're eager to have made public. >> one of the things that concerned people no matter how they ended up voting relative to the agreement, i think there was a concern, universal concern,
about the issue of possible military dimensions and the fact that the -- all iran had to do was go through the process and whether the iaea came up with a report that was an a-plus report or a d-minus report it didn't matter as long as the process was gone through, if you will. that was very concerning, i think, to a lot of people and somewhat shocking and i guess i would ask you, let's say you're confirmed and, you know, the report comes back as a d-minus. in other words, we really didn't learn much because they didn't provide much information which, again, concerned a lot of people. what is in the this particular role that you would be able to do about that, if anything? >> senator, as i understand it, the iaea will be delivering its report in mid-december.
if i am fortunate enough to achieve your confidence by then in order to be there at that time that report will be provided to the board of governors of the iaea and the board will have a chance to act and engage on the basis of that information. the jcpoa is focused on the future rather than the past so its mission is to make sure that those activities do not occur again, that if, in fact, there are steps taken towards possible military activities of iran that those are alerted to, that those are identified by the iaea, alerted to member states and in a timely fashion that allows us to take steps to prevent them from happening again. >> but you do agree with all the technical background that you have that having knowledge as to how far they've gone in the past towards weaponization is an important element in discerning how quickly in the future they
will be able to move towards that same goal, is it not? >> yes, sir. knowledge is absolutely an important component of approaches to a military program but all the knowledge in the world is -- does not get you to a weapon if they don't have material, if they don't have the with all to make material that could be used as a weapon and that's the mission of the iaea, to monitor in an unprecedentedly intrusive way from the mines all the way throw the reactor and after. every piece of nuclear material that is used in iran. and that is where we gain the confidence that that knowledge will not be misapplied. >> i'll move on to senator cardin, my time is up. i probably will have more questions. >> i'm going to follow up on your question first. the director general of the iaea reports that the board of governors, you're our representative on the board of governors, we expect that you will have access to all information you need to properly manage the director general, the
iaea and represent the united states. and i don't disagree with your analysis that the agreements we're referring to are confidential agreements between the -- negotiated by the iaea and the member states and confidentiality is maintained. iran's somewhat different. during the negotiations of the jcpoa a representative of the united states was allowed to review those documents and i don't know whether that was done directly by the iaea or by iran but it was done and i mention that because i think as senator corker pointed out, we're going to need a clear understanding as to how iran is proceeding, particularly as it relates to its military dimensions. but there's more to it than that. and a working understanding of the arrangements between the iaea and the -- iran is going to
be essential for you to be fully read into that. and i think you will and then we need your candid assessments as to how much information we receive and whether it's in compliance with the jcpoa. so i just really wanted to underscore that point. i understand confidentiality but i also understand responsibilities of the board of governs and you're the key player in that regard so you have responsibility here. let me just ask you an open question on this which is where do you see the greatest challenges within the iaea in assuring compliance by iran of its commitments under jcpoa, which -- that part that comes under the responsibilities of the iaea. >> senator, thank you for that question. the -- i think the most challenging components of this agreement are going to be these novel aspects of the safeguards activities that the iaea is
being asked to undertake under the jcpoa. the work that they're doing at the mine, in the milling, in the conversion process of how uranium is handled within the country is unprecedented. now, the u.s. has continued its long tradition of providing training, information, technical support, equipment to the iaea safeguards community and that will -- that continues to be the case and it will be even more important as these safeguards inspectors are trained for these new roles so the u.s. stands fully ready to play its traditional role of strong support to make sure the agency has the people, the resources, and the technology it needs to carry out these new roles. >> and even though they will not be inspectors carrying u.s. passports, the united states plays a critical role here as far as training and information,
et cetera. i'm assuming that's what you're referring to? >> that's precisely what i'm referring to, senator, thank you. >> now, outside of iran there will be other issues that you're engaged with. the safe handling of materials particularly by those states in the handling of the use of those materials and the npt commitments. with such a focus on iran and the resources being used there, where do you see the challenges in a strong commitment towards the npt safeguards? >> the safeguards requirements of the iaea will be critical to be applied globally under their role under the treaty. the u.s. and other member states have committed to make sure this is not a zero-sum game from a resource point of view with the resources that are going to be required in support of jcpoa implementation and there is a formula being worked out in --
as we speak on the balance between regular assessments and voluntary contributions to be sure the agencies work in the jcpoa implementation does not interfere with or take away from the work it needs to do all over the world to assure the material is not diverted to weapons programs. >> and then lastly, if i might, how do you see your role working with other representatives from other countries. some who were directly involved in the jcpoa but others that were not in getting a firm international support for u.s. policies? >> senator, that's the essential role of the diplomat and it's one that i am eager to have the opportunity to play if confirmed. many of these permanent representatives and ambassadors in vienna are individuals i have that worked with because they represent their countries in the nuclear security summit process. so i begin with some familiarity with some of the key members of
the vienna diplomatic community. certainly the work to do to assemble coalitions around supporting particular decision-making processes to represent a common face in discussions in the board of borns aborn s governs in the general conference is something i commit to doing as effectively as i am able. >> we appreciate your willingness to continue to serve. >> thank you, sir. >> senator cain? >> thank you. as someone who grew up in overland park, i'm particularly happy to see you and your family here. the iaea has an interesting track record. i think it's an organization that generally has a positive track record, not unmarred by challenges certainly. after iraq and north korea developed nuclear weapons programs in the covert means, that was, i think, an admitted
weakness of the iaea and others that allowed to that to happen but then the iaea said we need a fix and so they went back to the table to develop the additional protocol that nations now must follow to try to route out that possibility. so that was a bad incident in the iaea's history but they reacted to fix in the a good way. the iaea was -- to our remaining sadness, right in march 2003 when they said iraq didn't have a program of weapons of mass destruction or at least they could find no credible evidence that it did and that conclusion of the iaea was heavily trashed by a lot of people here and it turned out the iaea was right and the we were wrong. that was a momentous moment. but i'm impressed with the organization but, boy, the tasks on the shoulders of this organization are pretty monumental. first, does the iaea have the budgetary resources that it
needs to do the work that is on its shoulders? especially in the jcpoa, the commitment that there should be 130 plus iaea inspectors in iran to monitor the jcpoa? talk to us about the resources the organization has. >> well, sir, appreciate the question and may i say go royals. >> indeed. 2-0, we're thrilled. the agency's resources to support president jcpoa have been estimated at around 10 million euro. they believe that about half of that can be accommodated within the existing safeguards budget without detriment to the other missions that it has inside that budget. and that about five million euro will be needed to be raised from voluntary contributions to other countries. the u.s. is the largest contributor of voluntary contributions for a range of projects and activities within the iaea. i fully expect we will play our appropriate role but that's clearly an area where other
countries can contribute to the success of the jcpoa, including many of those who may have been on the sidelines but supporting the diplomatic solution that we pursued. and so we do not expect that this will be a large challenge for the agency to identify the resources. >> well, next to iranian intent, the single-most important element that will determine whether this jcpoa works or not is the verification so iranian intent, you know, we'll keep our focus on their actions, their intent is still the most important factor. but the verification mechanisms are what give us the ability to determine that intent and so the iaea doing a good job and having the resources to do a good job is absolutely critical and i know you share that view. one of my hopes is this. the deal certainly talks about traditional iaea protocol, the additional protocol which iran exceeds to for the first eight years and then i guess
legislatively has to decide whether they permanently accept. but in addition, this extra inspection of the supply chain, as you point out kind frof miof mine to mill to reactor, the whole supply chain of fissile material is incredibly important and what i would love to see, i would hope at the end of that 25-year agreement that this might have been incorporated as a best practice into the additional protocol so that it wouldn't just be a 25-year commitment iran would make but if iran agrees to the additional protocol over time this supply chain monitoring could be added to the additional protocol for iran and all nations. i think the -- this is a new best practice in the agreement in terms of verification. right now it is only applicable to iran and only for the 25-year period. but i would hope -- and i would like to ask, since i don't know about this, kindover has the ad