tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 15, 2016 7:50am-10:01am EDT
made in the house will not need to be taken to the court and the judge to make a decision what is going on whether we go to war or not which is an appropriate. so long as any legislation introduced we can ensure we keep control of, that the parliament when it is possible will come to express our view, that is right and i don't think, i understand it is a system we have at the moment but what i am concerned about is although the convention develops and strengthens as time goes on it is still for the executive to decide to bring the matter to parliament and as time goes on it strengthens but there is an argument to put it on a more formal basis, there is a
danger about that. the point we need to continue to look at. >> i'm grateful to the honorable lady from lessons in modern combat capability. very interested in her description of special forces in combat capability having served in her majesty's forces in the past, foreign deployments even if they are training roles because of pressures on them, very novel interpretation, something that may not continue to exist. we are getting into a bizarre discussion if the honorable lady will forgive me on the strategy in the armed forces when the focus should be on the legality of deployment and one does feel it might be better to qualify to talk about rather than dress up
as armchair general and know what is going on in different areas. >> it is very important to look at tomorrow's problems. likely special forces will be used increasingly. the ideas that we will be sending special forces into libya in a training capacity i agree with the honorable gentlemen how that might end up being a combat role, presumably the forces are in libya they will be in a part of libya that is safe and be discarded who will be guiding them and see how a slippery slope can slide and it seems to be at the moment it would be inappropriate for a decision for special forces and trainers into a particular area.
we can have parliamentary -- secret feathers in a way the behavior of mi 5 and mi6 seems not to be beyond the width of accountability -- >> important point. the oversight of the isc, and the intelligence community, always the facts, the kind of oversight that would be meaningful over deployments, would be before the facts. it would be a different proposition. >> i am not actually expecting special forces to go before a
parliament to get permission but i do think, i do think there is accountability. i felt it was embarrassing and shows the democratic deficit we have in relation, when one read in the papers, gossiping with congressman in america about special forces in a way we haven't even been told about. that seems to me the highlight, the deficit we have in this country and we should learn lessons about accountability, learn lessons about trusting the executive to get the decision right, make sure there is more accountability and we are on our toes and prepared to modernize as necessary to affect changing nature of warfare in the 21st century.
if i could go back to talk about the developers of hybrid warfare, different ways to be held to account, i do believe we work together on that. another point, american/british relations, american/british relations would not have been harmed had the uk joined the us or not joined the us-led coalition, that there was -- that was not the basis of joining the invasion and indeed, in my view, that is another thing. in 2013 there was pressure from the united states, played a role in the government's rush in syria. it became obvious the us administration efforts to persuade congress hinged on the success of the prime minister in persuading parliaments.
speaking of the declines in syria, the secretary, the foreign secretary, they would both, quote, certainly damage the anglo-american relationship. in my view the relationship, we got over it without any access to consequences and serve as a reminder that our alliance with the united states was the strongest foundation that an expectation of british compliance. >> very good point. the honorable lady, clearly the relationship of the united states in one vote, it is not always an advantage to listen to the words of various american generals including as the honorable lady knows, to the damaging relationship or damaging impact the vote would have on the enduring understanding between the us and
british military, recognize just as many threats filled up the special relationship, it also weakens it. >> i am sure there are american generals where he disappointed that this did not agree to the british involvement in vietnam but we got over it and our relationship indoor differences of opinion and if we are to be good friends, good friends trust each other and disagree at times. it is important that we do that. in 2013, the syria vote makes clear parliament understood this and it suggested the government did not. this is one of the reasons it is such a tragedy cuts to the foreign office budget weakened institutional knowledge of the world because in my view it is very important for our leadership role to have a proper understanding that we have had for hundreds of years, have had
an insight that other countries have not and a leadership role and a different voice because we have a different understanding. in the foreign office year on year, and following out the institutional knowledge has been in my view a tragedy. the honorable gentlemen -- i am taking a very long time. chilcot says tony blair ignored warnings about sectarian violence that would sweep iran. an appalling loss of life followed in iraq. we are very much living with that mistake. has that lesson been learned? looking at libya, it is clear it has not. during the uprising against qaddafi armed militias focused on toppling the regime. the british government seemed
surprised once the goal was achieved they turned their fire on each other. although they were more tribal than sectarian divisions in iraq it was the same. the democratic elections would help fill the power vacuum and seem optimistic. a faction that found themselves in the minority simply refused to accept the result as legitimate. things tilted at the time, they would have formed a government that this would happen. search warnings were available and informed impartial advice and the same way it was clear to many experts in the region that if qaddafi was toppled there was a huge risk of instability, highly trained and returned to native country like niger and chad and such advice was either not heard until it was too late.
there was a parallel to be drawn between intervention in libya and understanding what would happen next and listening to experts and what happened in relation in iraq and not paying attention to what was said. and intervention from the section -- of course i will. >> first of all, the intervention in libya was at the request of the arab league which would happen inside into the region, would count as people who knew what was going on and i understand the analysis she is making, something that leaves to the conclusion that toppling any desperate always run the risk of creating chaos and confusion. ..
that the, we should not in any event morally be interscreening in a country unless we can have some form of strategy that will insure the country we leave is in better state than with we first arrived. >> right honourable lady i was in government had involvement in the libyan intervention. i have to sigh to her i don't think there was a blinding of one's self to the potential problems that might come from intervention. i don't really think at all from my memory. what triggered intervention that colonel gadhafi was about to kill tens of thousands of his
own citizens. that which prompted the u.n. resolution, security council resolution which provided the legal basis for intervention. if i may say to her, i will come on to speak about this later some really difficult decisions have in these areas, even legality don't come into it. i certainly wouldn't be willing to characterize that intervention having to have been wrong with the circumstances that prevailed at the time. >> i hear what the right honourable gentleman said, i think the point i'm trying to make, it was again about information that was available that could have informed the way in which the intervention was made. then once the initial intervention had been made what happened there after and how the dangers that were manifest and obvious were protected against, that i think was important. i don't think that happened. again i think it is a lesson we can get from chilcot, we can get from iraq that is of much more
important than in relation to tony blair or not tony blair. if i may move on the other issue i think is important about is postwar planning that has been touched on as well. this is my final point, mr. speaker, everyone will be glad to hear. finally mr. speaker, most devastatingly chilcot shows the absolute lack of planning with would happen after the war and long-term strategy for iraq. if ever there was mistake should never be repeated it is idea we go into another military intervention, no idea of consequences, no plan for the aftermath, no long-term strategy, and yet, and yet, it is exact hallmark of all the outgoing prime minister's interventions, again, again, we see the evidence in libya. the prime minister in the words of president obama became, quote, distracted. once can introduce if i regime
had been overthrown and lengthy arduous task of postwar reconstruction was all but ignored. libya has faction alism and violence. experiment with democracy is been brief and power in hands of rival militias and ungoverned space was invitation to daesh to establish strategic foothold on the libyan coast. it's a stain on this government only began to the pay attention to the mess they left in libya once the terrorist from threat from daesh became too urgent in ignore. >> thank you for giving me way. i'm not sure she said anything about chilcot's finding about the circumstances it was ultimately decided there was legal basis for uk participation. you said they were far from satisfactory. i'm sure you will agree with me
and endorse the view given earlier attorney general should give independent and impartial advice. according to the then attorney general's evidence to the committee initially he resisted legality and eventually acquiesced the use of military force against iraq was legally justified. has she been able to form vie what changed then attorney general's mind. >> to, to, debate her, this aspect, right honorable lady. it is anyone taking the role of attorney general knows that they're the only person in the cabinet who can say to the prime minister, no. you can't do that. it is not legal. you are not allowed to, no. and the burden of that is a heavy burden and is one that needs to be exercised by people of great courage and substance.
and it is about the rule of law. and it is about the fact that no one is above the law and i think that there is a lesson that all ags need to learn. and they need to be confident and capable of being able to stand up to their leader because i think that is an important point and again, perhaps another lesson. and one other thing i would say in relation to international law is that britain has always been a leading light in the development of international law. it is much of international law has been as a result of documents that we have drafted and our adherence to international law has been a very important part in the development of it. one thing has been clouded as as a result of intervenges in iraq an indeed intervention since is the, that the law that we do need to have, and we do need to have a clear law in relation to,
in what circumstances you can intervene and what circumstances you can't have not developed as well as it might have, if there haded not been temptation to try to press the facts into the, what is understood of the law. i think it is a great, i know my, right honourable friend sitting behind me, right honourable member for leads, leads central, is a big fan of rgp. i think it is a very sad the effect that the iraq war had on the development of rtf which is something that cook was attempting to develop at the time of the iraq war and it was held up as a result i think of the intervention in iraq. but, if i may go back. so, what are the lessons long-term planning in iraq learned in libya? i would say absolutely not.
the lessons you can't bomb a country from 30,000 feet into western-style democracy. in conclusion, mr. speaker, we can't turn the clock back, can't correct mistakes made, bring back the lives that were lost and undo the chaos created and we can and must stop the mistakes being repeated. i point out whatever his rhetoric and well-meaning intentions, too often the outgoing prime minister has repeated exactly those same mistakes in his own military intervention relying on speculative intelligence, keeping parliament in the dark and failing to plan for whatever happens afterwards. it is hope that the new prime minister will studies chilcot report, not commentary on decisions made in the past but a guide future decisions she will have to make. let us hope that she does. let us hope that she does though. as she takes on her new
responsibilities, we wisher had well. >> mr. kenneth clarke. >> mr. speaker, the decision to invade iraq was in my opinion the most disasterous foreign policy decision taken by this country in my lifetime and it didn't cause but greatly contributed to the extraordinary problems that persisted in the middle east and the wider world ever since and it will continue to have tragic consequences i fear for some years to come. so i think firstly, i think we all owe a debt to sir john chilcot producing what will undoubtedly be the most authoritative analysis how on earth such an appall blunder came to be taken. i certainly haven't had a chance to get much beyond the executive summary and a little bit of the rest. i think it will be a long time before anybody in this house gets through all the millions of words we have had produces but i think this, the lessons from
this inquiry based on the iraq war will in fact be a benefit to specialists in particular, those in the military, those in the intelligence service, those in the diplomatic corps and those in the government for years to come. extremely formidable findings which i'm sure are correct but there is a role for this house to begin consider as we are the political aspect to all of this. sir john chilcot has examined formal records, the meetings, the processes and obviously he has analyzed those in terms of looking at what happened and why it was derived at but he is not a politician and i think this house of commons and the ministers involved can look at this from with a slightly different eye as to the why do people do things, reach decisions? what does it make us want to reach these decisions and where
did it go wrong, particularly so far as the collective system of cabinet government is concerned and the accountability through parliament to the wider public is concerned? and i'm not sure sir john chilcot, because he is not a politician, can actually on his own just answer that wider perspective for the future. now, may i begin by just agreeing briefly with win point the right honourable lady made from the front bench opposite how relvent it has been to try to turn all this into a witch-hunt against celebrity individuals who were involved at the time. it's one of the great failures of political debate of our day, so far as the wider media, the world were concerned, the rose referendum debate was largely the dave and boris show, and i
think it is quite pointless to say, let's persecute tony blair. he was in charge. are we going to censure him. will he be prosecuted as war criminal, all the rest of it. as true of the other individuals involved. the one thing this makes quite clear nobody committed any crime as one who was present at time i have absolutely no doubt nobody acted at the time on any other basis that they believed passionately they were act in the public interest. one of the great things about tony blair was he did believe passionately what he was doing at the time. it was very evident on the floor of the house. he never had a doubt about what he was doing. so i'm not surprised he continues to protest as strongly as he does. he hasn't changed his mind. he did believe that he was acting in international interest in cementing the american, our alliance with the americans. was he thought he was absolutely
key to our security. he actually thought british contribution was going to help the americans with the planning and advocacy and so on. he firmly believed that just, just removing saddam hussein was a virtuous act which would make the world a better place. he still does. then as now, that is the bit where he gets most passionate, regime change because he really thinks, and probably right, i agree with him actually, he got rid of an evil regime. i agree with those who say that wasn't actually in itself totally adequate achievement. he certainly believed they got weapons of mass destruction. i faced him in the house and tv and things still going on. i remember one he thinking this is the last man still living who still believes they're going to find weapons of mass destruction in iraq. because everybody else
increasing the obvious. no such material was going to be found. so, anyway, i will move on. briefly, pursuing tony blair is complete irrelevance. i will give way briefly to the right honourable. i can't keep giving way to previous speakers. i hope everybody understands that. >> i agrateful for giving way and agree don't need to focus on one person and we need to focus on the person. it appears he is letting off the person for real responsibility from misleading the house. you only have to read chill lot for example, how blair misled the house on position of the french in that motion to, to the house. he said it is knot possible to secure a second resolution because one member of the security council whatever the circumstances. yet a few minutes, even before pm hughes the french were on the phone to tony blair saying you are deliberately misrepresenting our position. time and time again this is
happening in the chilcot report. let's not focus on one man. let's not let him off the hook completely. >> i didn't rise to defend tony blair. not first politician to make a mistake. won't be the last and certainly, the no, no. if she believes the french, she believes the french. the french were able to make such a veto in the security council and, it was a mistake at the time to try to blame the french entirely. they were never going to get a majority in the security council but the french -- adamantly, no, no. i'm not going to give. >> order. house must come to order. the right honourable gentleman made it perfectly plain at this point not giving way. the house must listen to the gentleman's argument. >> i've already taken more time i intended on tony blair. members which to argue about the french veto in 2003 can argue between themselves.
the point i'm going to make is, that the political background of this, what was actually being decided, what the politicians want to do was very key. i was of course at that time a back bench mp opposite but i did follow these event with some care and actually i had won advantage, not the access to what was going on exactly on the other side of the government but i did know a lot of americans as well as british politicians and various political gatherings, and davos and so on, quite a lot of the key american neocons and, on friendly terms. i was arguing the merits of the invasion of iraq sometime before the debate ever started here and i think that is quite an important background to this question. in the bush administration the key policymakers wanted to invade iraq immediately after 9/11. by 2001, they were going to invade iraq. there wasn't the slightest doubt
about it. they had a rather naive idealistic approach which thankfully shocked me but they thought the previous administration had not used american military power for all the benefits it could produce in the world. they were going to use military power for good. they thought they would be greeted as liberating heroes when they arrived in baghdad and would be able to improve better regime. they actually thought chalabi would win the election would be held thereafter. i met mr. chalabi once or twice. he once got two% in iraqi election but he was going to be in charge but he would need supervision. there would be a u.s. general, constant comparisons made with general macarthur turning
imperial japan into democracy after the war. the importance of denunsification, after hitler you have to get rid of all the people in the army and security services and so on. i won't go on. house may be reassured to know i fiercely disagreed with this. i liked these people. my thought all the time one of us isn't on the same planet when i would go into some of these discussions but a formed a fairly hostile view to this a long time before it arrived here. the point is, moving, on if i knew enough in 2001 to know bush administration was going to invade iraq, i'm quite certain tony blair knew and quite sure the british military knew and they had a a long time to work t how they were going to join in.
that is the explanation of a lot of these things. now why did the americans want the british to join in? they didn't need us for military purposes. they could defeat iraqis with our military assistance. they didn't rate our military that highly. although our special forces and our intelligence were very good but we were a very, very valuable political ally. presentation of what they were doing would they thought would be greatly improved if the british of all people could be heart of the alliance. as i already said tony blair was very enthusiastically keen to join them. i doubt whether he bought all the neocon theories but he quite clearly thought getting rid of saddam hussein's regime was one of the best contributions he could make to the future of the iraqi people. that was available and he intended to join in.
so again, when you read these mysteries you ask, what was the snag for tony blair and government? i feel confident, i knew enough about what was actually going at the time through my various contacts to feel pretty confident about, was the snag for tony blair who wanted to take part, who it seems already told george burke that he, george w. bush, that he wanted to take part was that he wasn't legal, for the united kingdom to take part in a war being launched for the purpose of changing the regime in another country. and when he received that advice i think every lawyer in the place has agreed, that was undoubtedly right. and as somebody has said, that wasn't the view of americans took. american neocons are not so
impressed with international law. their constitution doesn't constrain them. i once had a key american official tell me, we have all the legal authority we have to invade. we have a large majority in both houses of congress. and that was it. but of course they were so keen to have the british, that they were prepared to give some time to tony blair to tackle this problem of whether it was lawful for him to take part. and to work out some basis upon which the british could join. now so far i think motives of all these people were virtuous. they believed all this. they were making the world a better place by removing a tyrant and installing a western, pro-american, pro-western, pro-israeli, democratic
government in a liberal society and they were therefore going to change the regime. we were going to do it lawfully and we had to turn to this whole question of the dreadful weapons which saddam hussein undoubtedly had used against his own people years before, whether they had all been disposed of, and whether you could actually demonstrate he was a continuing threat because if you could demonstrate he had weapons of mass destruction, that they were a threat to british and interests, his neighbors and that he was not cooperating with weapons inspections and so on, then, and if you got the a u.n. resolution, then you had a legal base for invading. i think once one realizes that was the perfectly worthy, well-intentioned mind set of
most of the british people taking part in this process to intervene, i think then one can understand why some of these extraordinary processes took part. i personally believe that the american administration actually delayed the invasion for a month or a few to give the -- two months as my honourable friend, right honourable friend, more time to get through this convoluted legal stuff are that i usar cast tick words, probably impatient american version they used at time before they could join in. then the problem occurred, americans, they went along to the u.n. they got resolution 1441 and all the rest of it, they began to lose patience, they began to see
this could go on forever and reached a stage where they were going to invade in march 2003 and they couldn't wait any longer. so the blair government, those that knew what was going on had to speed the thing up a bit, because they realized if they weren't careful they were going to fail to get there in time. one thing chalabi, the advice and report we got from the jic which really surprises me but they, they actually did, eventually produce, enough intelligence that was plausible and was believed in no doubt by those putting it in the reports for the attorney general, i think it is obvious, quite reluctantly to be persuaded there probably was a basis on
this for going ahead and urgent debates to take place in thi house with last one about two days before everybody knew that the troops were already in battle positions out there in the middle east were about to go ahead with the whole operation but i do think it is from that we should learn the political lessons and one of the first lessons was i think, an ever-increasing rush to actually get into the position where you could lawfully invade, that everyone is engaged in wanting to be persuaded that various things were correct. that various steps had been taken, which if they had submitted themselves to slow, slower, more challenged, and considered consideration would have led to a different conclusion.
so what in my opinion are is the outline at least of the political lessons from this? now the first is, the american alliance should not be entered into blindly. i will only briefly say i think i'm as passionate believer that our alliance with the united states is crucial to this country's future security and our role in the world as tony blair is. so i'm not, not a trace of anti-americannism in what i'm saying. it is one of the most valuable features of our foreign policy but that doesn't mean blindly, always right, or wrong, that you can let yourself go along with what the american president of the day wishes to do. i take that no further. we might have a president trump so a question worth bearing in mind and i actually do agree with the right honourable lady, you don't destroy the american alliance.
you may damage it for a month or two if you don't go along absolutely what the president wants you to do. the other thing, it is clear in chilcot, i haven't made the point much myself but it was plain the way the administration based at the time, a device of our defense chiefs is hugely important and share support in them and pride in them that keeps being expressed in these debates but again subconsciously i'm sure they always want to take part in any military activity in which the americans want them to join. it may be very considered advice when they have got time but it always comes down to we must ask the americans to let us makes a big as contribution. if you're a trained military man, you believe that you know, you're trained for the purpose of using your military force in the national interests, further worthwhile objectives, you can't help but thinking this is our moment, this is the great action
i got to take part in. similarly with the intelligence services. they always, they prize their relationship with the americans above all relationships they have with the outside world. so they're dependent on cooperation. they depend on us a lot in some ways but they're anxious to please and they're anxious to do what they think their american colleagues wish to do when you have? this case a prime minister and government that wants to enter the war, then everybody is extremely anxious to find the facts, to be convinced of the situation. to enable the prime minister to do what he wants and. that is simple point but requires a simple politician like me to make it. it doesn't appear in the pages of chalabi report but when you
raise your eyebrows going through what happened i think that answer as lot. i do think the time we're talking about, sometimes particularly then, there weren't enough diplomats involved. there wasn't enough looking at the expertise of the foreign office. we had a lot of ara byes. americans got rid of most of theirs and brought people involved in the nicaraguan episode because they were idealogically more sound. americans did not like the ara byes we got in the foreign office because they kept complicating things talking about tribes and different sort of muslims which policy makers in washington thought were not relevant in the new era of western democracy in which they were going to take country. i'm sorry, apologize to my honourable friend and won't go on adding strictures to the attorney general. >> [inaudible] >> the attorney general was
obviously giving the right advice. i'm, i'm sitting alongside a very tough attorney general who would not give advice he prime minister sometimes wanted like every, neither would michael havens and quite a few others i remember serving with. i agree with what the right honourable attorney general is force. and i know him and he must have been felt so expressed in the end he gave in to the temptation well just about, i suppose on what we now say is sat factually proved he must do. let me complete, i make my point and i'm sorry i taken a little longer than intended. the big thing that matters, very much as we're having a change of government today how does cabinet come into this, actually government process? what about accountability to parliament? now i must say it was obvious at
the time, it was obvious if you listen to the foreign secretary publicly, obvious if you listen to what half the labour party said, that cabinet government was not working properly in the government of tony blair. he went in for a government which someone, margaret thatcher got keener and keener on zoll government in end of her time and tony blair taken it to form by the time he got into things like iraq. parliament, the same thing. there was reluctance to come to parliament. now both were essentially seen as hurdles. i mean got to go over. when you got your policy, how are you going to get it through cabinet? how were you going to get it past parliament. i would suggest for the future we should all agree that is not
the mind-set people should be in. they should be setting proposition, of course advocating it to cabinet, with proper information listen to it being debated and examined by people who got time to do so. similarly parliament should be consulted when it can be, given proper information. you shouldn't rely on clever timing of the debate and the work of the whips to get yourself through to say afterwards, that you have a democratic endorsement. and i haven't got time to apply all my strong strictures, the circumstance at the time but the facts, if you read it in my arguments in mind, the chalabi report i think just feeds the impression i had as someone who participated in debate. now military action is difficult. there is no point, apologies being light heart he hadly irresponsible.
there will be occasions you can't do it. there are occasions someone just attack ad british interest and you have got to fight back. you can tell cabinet and tell parliament afterwards and any sensible cabinet, any sensible parliament will of course endorse it. but this wasn't an emergency. for two years our allies had told us they were going to invade iraq. it had been planned, it had been worked on, it had been discussed. the reason there wasn't full cabinet discussion and the reason there wasn't timely parliamentary debate was because you might not get it past them if you did that. if we didn't start debate it in parliament until february 2003 and actual final key vote, as i say when the troops were in the field which put a lot of conservatives off voting against it who might have otherwise
voting against it, our boys were about to go into action the next day, which is what occurred. now some of that's been addressed. the national security council is a hugely beneficial innovation of my friend, right honourable friend, the outgoing prime minister, now the probably already the ex-prime minister, who brought it in. i would only say it is not time to debate it now. it still needs to be improved. it's not the covered everything. it is a lot better than it was. cabinet government, i think my right honourable friend should ask themselves if they stood in office under the next prime minister, can they assure adequate time is given to discuss things? that adequate information is given in advance? cabinet government really isn't moving quickly from item to item. that you have actually had some papers beforehand to allow to
consider it. and national security council certainly, very valuable defense and intelligence people are there alongside the politicians. i genuinely, genuinely congratulate the prime minister, some best discussions i took part in were in the national security council with my total approval. but. i personally, i may be too sensitive, i think it could be improved sometimes because there are occasions fait accompli is really brought there explained to you, would have sailed through with an enormous majority. the danger we're following opinion polls i found that a year later, you couldn't find a member of the public who had ever met anybody who agreed with the invasion iraq because in the light of better information, people suddenly realize it had been a terrible error. but as it happens, there are people sitting here, i remember
the honourable member of north nottingham organizing opposition the day i spoke in february. we voted against it. we spoke against it. i look at my speech, said to say i predicted a lot of consequences what was going to go ahead. we all agree never again if we can avoid it but it's a bilge, big subject. there is no good reading report saying we should have look at intelligence arrangements. we have should have a look at arrangements the way our government is run, the way this parliament organizes itself and how we get sensible accountability to the house of commons next time the government has to engage in such difficult decisions. >> alex sammon. >> thank you, mr. speaker. parliamentary -- on the iraq war are still peppered in this debate today. they are nothing compared to the wounds of 179 families who lost
service people and 20 civilian staff, who were killed, 200,000 iraqis, thousands of american soldiers, cannage in the middle east which is with us today. these wounds are still raw and open and continuing. i went back like the right honourable member from rushcliff and looked back at debate on 18th of march, 2003. i was struck by a number of thing we don't always remember. we remember robin cook's brilliant speech the day before. we don't necessarily remember john denham's distinguished contribution on the day of debate. member of rushcliff, public opinion was in favor of war. those of us spoke against it and liberal benches were not given a particularly easy time. i looked at contribution of
charles kennedy in that day who was barracked throughout his speech he made against war. there was suggestions of chamberlain charlie i think one of the more principle epithets, toast of baghdad thrown at some of us who owe pets war. i say to the members not just to say, like the honourable member of rushcliff and others who argued against it have been vindicated but also remind people of nature and context of the debate we were in. the, there are only 179 members in this parliament who are who were members of that parliament of 18th of march 2003. a little over quarter of members of this parliament were present and voting in that particular debate. so it is well that people just remember and understand the context if we're to understand the feelings of parliament and democracy, not referendum but of
parliamentary democracy that the votes on that day illustrated about iraq. i have also been checking the record. i think i can honestly say i don't think i ever quoted "the times" newspaper ever in 30 years in this place off and on but i am going to quote it today because i thought their headline, and first paragraph in the report last thursday hit the mark absolutely. under the headline, blair's private war, they wrote, britain fought unnecessary and potentially illegal war in iraq because of tony blair's misguided and personal commitment to george w. bush, the chilcot report concluded yesterday. and it would be impossible in reading the chilcot report not to look at that personal level of accountability as well as the wider context of illegality. the right honourable member of rushcliff says this is not all about tony blair.
the rest of his speech illustrated very largely why it is about tony blair. the chilcot report, more importantly, let me just quote from the executive summary, but believe me it is backed enormously in the full report on page 58 and 59. goes through the sequence of the decision making that was made from distune through to the immediate -- distune. it wasn't just sofa government, if it was a sofa government, it was very small decision indeed. they were made with the prime minister and very, very few of his advisors. chilcot finds, not even a cabinet committee according to chilcot discussed these crucial decisions which are listed on pages 58 and 59. for example the first of which the decision at the beginning of
december 2001 to offer deal with iraq as part of phase two of the war on terror. despite the fact there was no evidence of any iraqi involvement with the attacks on the united states or active links to al qaeda, right through to review of uk policy at end of february 2003 where the inspectors found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction and there was only limited support for the second resolution in the security council. all of these crucial decisions made without even reference to a cabinet subcommittee or consultation with a range of colleagues in the cabinet. so when the deputy prime minister concluded this weekend in a way that chilcot wasn't allowed to do either because of his lack of specialisms on the inquiry that the war was illegal and apologized for it but he actually should have been apologizing for as deputy prime minister david, this was allowed
to happen over a sequence of 15 months where one individual, the prime minister, with his advisors was able to take these decisions without any count of any sort of kind of collective responsibility. i give way. >> very grateful to the honourable gentleman. doesn't chilcot also say though that this form of government should be displayed as professional forum and that it shouldn't be regarded as just advisors and cronies? isn't that the specific point of evidence that turnbull gave, lord turnbull gave to chilcot? >> i'm dealing with findings of chilcot. the inquiry considers that there should have been a collective discussion by a cabinet committee, or small group of ministers on the basis of advice senior level between officials and a number of decision points. that is pain 58 if it helps the honourable gentleman, paragraph
409. >> [inaudible] >> i answered the honourable gentleman and perhaps i give way later. >> [inaudible] >> i don't conduct debate with people yelling from sedentary position in disorderrerly manner. the honourable gentleman does not want to do that. if the right honourable gentleman wants to give way later he will and if he doesn't he won't. we'll see how long he goes. mr. salmaon. >> i we have the report as it is concluded not on individual pieces of evidence but the conclusion of the chilcot inquiry itself. and that is why the things were undoubtedly right to describe this in the way they did as blair's private war. in terms of what this place and this place is collective responsibility, where i fundamentally disagree with the right honourable member of rush
cliff, if future parliament holds members to, not changing process of decision making. i accept changes have been made. i don't accept the confidence of the foreign secretary that mistakes could never be repeated again and i don't believe his distinction between a land campaign in iraq and an aerial bombardment in libya fully explains, for example, why this country never mind its allies, spent 13 times as much bombing libya as we have done in any budget for reconstruction and that might be a lesson which hasn't been carried forward. but the changes that must be made are not just in terms of government processes. they're changes in terms of parliamentary accountability and the most fundamental point of parliamentary accountability if the parliament deciding whether it has been misled or not. now my contention is, i give way
to the member. >> just on this question of libya, the fact is that libya was already in brutal civil war before western air forces gadhafi, slaughtering innocent people and women and children in benghazi. that is what is happening. the question is what would he have done to help those women and children in benghazi? what would he have done to help them? >> probably as my honorable said from a sedentary position not supplying arms to people like that over a period of time. not doing oil deals in the sun -- colonel gadhafi might not be effective. that was not point. forgive the right honourable gentleman. that let me give my speech. that wasn't the point i was making. i was talking about the lesson of reconstruction, not about the argument of conflict. the lesson of reconstruction, i think very fair point to make to point out the fact that this country spent 13 times as much
bombing libya as we did in aiding in our budget for reconstruction of libya. that might be a lesson about the priority given to the aftermath of conflict in which i'm not certain that the foreign secretary took full on board. but the point i was going to make this is not about just processes of government but about parliamentary accountability, the most fundamental point of all. in the past, relatively recent past, even through a sex scandal, stephen byers accused of misleading parliament because he was nationalizing a railway company if i remember correct and these are things which no doubt are very, very important and line of accountability is absolutely crucial but how much more important is a line of accountability on peace or war for thousands or hundreds of thousands of people lose their lives as a result of the decisions that are made by the executive.
my contention would be that chilcot gives huge array of evidence of a lack of that parliamentary. and one thing said by the president of the united states and quite different thing was being said to parliament and to people. that doesn't take place over single speech or single parliamentary statement. although run up to the war there are ample and detailed examples. for example, my right honourable friend indicated total misrepresentation of the situation in the united nations. how do we know it was a misrepresentation? because chilcot published what was being said in government and can compare that directly offered up to parliament as a explanation. the process of parliament being told one thing but george w. bush was being assured of quite another didn't take place over a few weeks or single debate or statement.
it took place over 15 months and amply demonstrated in the evidence presented to chilcot. we know now why chilcot thought so strongly to have these private memos as part of the overall review of the report. the right honorable gentleman from rush rightly pointed to motivations about regime change and the difficulty that regime change could not make the war legal and generally understood in international terms. that is amply demonstrated in the private memos from tony blair to george bush. distune. december 2001. any link to december 11 and at died is very tenuous. any international opinion would be reluctant outside the united states or uk to support military action. for sure, people want to be rid
of saddam. so we need a strategy for regime change that builds over time. that was december 2001. however at the same time, charles kennedy, in pursuing prime minister at question time was being told that the two phases of war included the war in afghanistan and secondly the pursuit of international terrorism in all of its different forms. that is a matter for investigating the finances of how terrorists move across frontiers. so the house was being told stage two of the war on terror was not an assault on iraq, far less a regime in iraq. it was a pursuit of international terrorism. the two things are totally incompatable. one thing to george bush in private. another thing to this parliament and the people of the country. that is the issue moving into
2000 two, amly picked up in the press after the chilcot. >> reporter: ed. i will be you whatever in the memo of 28 july 2002 to george bush. now i have the former prime minister explain this to john humphreys as whatever, didn't give an unconditional commitment to stand with the united states? a war. i'm not sure i fully understood that explanation backrushly neither did john chilcot. and neither did jack straw, a crucial member of the administration. jack straw's memos to tony blair were also published. the 11th of march 2003 in the report straw wrote to blair, when bush graciously accepted your offer to be with him all
the way he wanted you alive not dead, referring to not the mortal danger to troops or civilians from a war but politically whether the prime minister would be alive or dead. jack straw was under no illusions whatsoever about the commitment had been given to george bush and neither were tony blair's own advisors who advised him to take it out of the memo neither certainly it was george bush or his advisors or secretary of state colin powell. so john chilcot concludes that the meaning of this, mr. blair's note, which had not been discussed or agreed with colleagues, set the uk on a path leading to diplomatic activity in the u.n., the possibility of participation in military action in a way that would make it very difficult for the uk subsequently to withdraw support from the united states. that that was not what was being
told to parliament at the same time. parliament was not told of assurances to george w. bush on military action. parliament was said the prime minister was striving for peace. that he was trying to find anyway to avoid a conflict. that it was all up to saddam whether he chose peace or conflict. and that deliberate misrepresentation of what was being said to the americans and what was being said to parliament continued of course into the very onset of war itself. and when the, the memo put in by my honourable friend early on in this debate, when blair was telling parliament even in the speech in the war or peace debate, i have never put out justification for action as regime change. he was telling george bush only a few days later that's why iraq
weapons of mass destruction is the immediate justification for action, ridding iraq of saddam is the real prize. now, we heard earlier that this was not a matter of one man, but that one man was the prime minister. we were told earlier it was really about processes of government. but it was the prime minister who dictated process of government and prevented of processes of government in terms of checks and balances not working. and above all, it was the prime minister who prevented this house having information it required to take a reasonable judgement. i heard last week that one of the defenses of intervention in iraq was counterfactual argument, what if saddam hussein had stayed in power, what would he have done of damage in the arab spring, for example?
well there is another counterfact wall argument that i had in mind. what if the massive international coalition that was built to deal with al qaeda in afghanistan had been held together? what if the hundreds of billions of dollars which were then to be wasted in the iraqi desert, what if they had been applied to making a real success of the rebuilding of afghanistan? what if the justification for a totally legal international intervention which this country took part in had resulted in a genuine benefit and that massive coalition which extended incidentally even to approval from the palestinian liberation organization, that massive coalition had been able to demonstrate the legal war correctly applied to result in the construction, reconstruction and of a country investment
required to be a shining light of a genuine international intervention? and the united states of america, in a way never stronger than it was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, was never more respected because it had suffered under a terrorist atrocity, was a never more broader coalition brought that to fruition instead of this meandering into iraq on a private vendetta from the president of the united states with his closet advisors of neocons ably and abetted by a british prime minister who subverted collective responsibility in government and prevented this parliament from having information it required to hold him to account? i once told the former prime minister that he would answer to a higher law than this parliament and i believe that to be absolutely true.
but in the meantime, this parliament, at this stage, should hold him accountable. not because it's a matter of pursuing the former prime minister but because it will demonstrate and illustrate, even retrospectively if a parliament is systematically misled they will say up with it, shall not put and part of change we're going to make not just in process of government to force collective responsibility, not just i hope lessons of reconstruct their country but essential changes in parliament, that we say legitimately that this could never happen again. >> mr. dominic green. >> thank you, mr. speaker. it is a pleasure to follow the right honourable member for gordon. indeed my right honourable member and friend from rush cliff in the debate. no doubt, mr. speaker, they have two very clear advantages over
me in this debate. both of them of course opposed motion in the house in 2003 which initiated our military action in iraq. where as i, supported it, something which i have to say i have come to very much regret. i supported it at the time because i was indeed persuaded by the arguments put forward by the prime minister at the time, mr. blair, with great eloquence to this house about the fact that his view that saddam hussein was a real and present danger of the immediate context and this justified taking military action against him, even without going back for a further resolution of the united nations security counsel, relying on previous resolution which i have to say there was considerable evidence that saddam hussein had s.e.e.r.ally
in terms of his non-cooperation. i voted on that basis for the motion and as number of members still present in this house today. sir john chilcot's report highlights how the decision-making processes of government can become distorted under pressure of events. and indeed i would like to think that i'm always a little bit wary of this, that the distortions are so considerable in relation to the report it highlights the dysfunctionalty within the heart of mr. blair's government i hope may have been exceptional to him but for all that i think the there are plenty of cautionary tales for us in this house today which we can look at in current context just as much as they would have been looked at at the time. but the point seems to me to have been already rather well-made, and i won't repeat
it. that because mr. blair had formed in his view a very strong resolution that we should support the united states including in removing saddam hussein and affecting regime change, that the entirety of the processes of government and of whitehall were then skewed in order to achieve that aim, and had the mischief of then disregarding all the evidence that might be available to contradict whether this was in fact the right course of action to take. whether it was intelligence information, or for that matter, whether it was the thorny problem of legality. both of which i want to touch on briefly this afternoon. so far as the question of the intelligence is concerned, those of us who have been in government or served on the national security council, as i have, or indeed in my current role as chairman of the intelligence and security
i'm not going to say anything more about this. those within the agency said now do the work will read the report in order to remind themselves of how, in fact, perfectly reasonable intelligence was skewed and had to say this used for the purposes of justifying a theory. and then i'm afraid we were misused i mr. blair when he came to address the defining moment before the war was sanctioned by this parliament. because the certainties that were engendered were never present and, indeed, if the intelligence that they look out correctly and my right honorable friend made a good intervention last week about this, when he said if we had actually taken the time and trouble to read some of the background information available we might have doubted some of the things
expressed. i think he was right about that and i think that's another burden which members of this house who participate in that debate will have to bear. so much with intelligence. what about the process of legal advice? i've been at the heart of trying to provide legal advice to government what i was a law officer. the solicitor general is on the front bench and he has been involved in those processes. legal advice is often and law offices know this can advice which cannot in any way be certain. legal advice is exactly what it says it is. -- >> you can watch this british house of commons debate on the iraq war report in david cameron final prime minister's question time on our website, c-span.org. we believe there's an to live to capitol hill for housesitting on
a federal grant program that this is metropolitan transit agencies with terrorism prevention. live coverage here on c-span2 should start in just a moment. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. i would like to welcome everyone this morning to the committee on oversight and government reform this morning. we are actually conducting a joint hearing with the subcommittee on transportation,
public assets and also the national security subcommittee. the title of the hearing this morning is come and subject is addressing oversight of the urban area security initiative grant program. probably can't start this hearing without just may be a moment of silence, both remember the 49 individuals who were killed in orlando and then as we all saw last night in nice, great allies, french lost, some 84 people. so we'll just take a minute and posture and remember those hopes. [silence] >> thank you. it's quite fitting that we do
meet today to discuss one of the government programs that try to do with the terrorist threat. i would like to thank our witnesses for being with us in the members attending this morning. first of what to say that the subcommittee on transportation public assets and the subcommittee on national security will order, without objection, and the chair does state at this point that he is authorized to declare a recess at any time in this hearing. the order of business will be as follows. we will have opening statements from the members that are here, then we will introduce our witnesses. witnesses will be sworn. each of them will testify. after we have those introductions and testimony, we will go to questions. we will wait on having
questioning until we have heard from all of the witnesses. so with that i want to welcome again everyone, particularly our witnesses. i will start with my opening statement. again, we come together to look at a federal program that is designed to help our local and state governments deal with a terrorist threat ou to our nati, the world is facing right now. this is a program which is urban security initiative, was established after 9/11 to aid our state and local governments and particularly our first responders. we are giving them federal assistance because they are our first line of defense and terrorism. and providing federal grants.
over the last few years we have given on average $1 billion a year, these grants, to state and local governments. unfortunately i had the experience of with some of my local governments in orlando. and my district three years ago was changed to represent more of the urban core of orlando, and at the time got a chance to hear from the sheriff of orange county and also the police chief john meany, who are two of our witnesses today. they told me, there was something wrong with the assessment under this program that is conducted by dhs and fema. and they told me that our central florida area had, the
risk assessment changed, in fact, lowered. and it was lowered so much that, in fact, they were denied federal assistance under the program that was designed to give them additional resources to deal with the terrorism threat. so unfortunately the federal government failed. we won't get into other fields of the federal government we've heard about by law enforcement, federal law enforcement and other agencies. but today we are going to focus on the issue of the failure, the dramatic failure, of missing the target in orlando, florida. and then this isn't just criticism of that particular failure. this is also an effort to find out how we can make our communities safer, how we can make this program work better, and how they can get the
resources to those who were on the first line of defense. and did it in an orderly and more effective and targeted fashion. unfortunately, again working with this issue even before the horrible events that took place in orlando with sheriff demings and chief mina, we wrote to and appealed the decisions by fema and dhs saying that orlando had a significant security terrorist risk threat. each time we were denied. i have to put up on the screen my comments on january 27 of this year, in the next-to-last sentence i wrote the secretary johnson, and they said if central florida became a target,
it would be a national disaster. those were my words to the secretary back then. since dhs and also fema would not change that assessment, we move forward, and even before i came the horrible pulse massacre, we began changing legislative language. i would like to submit for the record also language that we have included in the dhs appropriations bill. that's both legislative language and report language to make changes in this program, give back to congress some of the data and information assessment prior to becoming infected. so without objection we will put that in the record.
since again the horrible events in orlando, our committee and subcommittees have conducted an investigation. let me just go over briefly and conclude with some of our findings. some of this is astounding. of the money since 2011, almost half of the urban area security initiative funds, almost half of these funds are unexpended. we have a slide that shows $1.1 billion of the $2.8 billion in these awards, or about 40%, remain unexpended. it's stunning that while orlando got no money the last two years, they are unexpended funds -- to
listen to this -- from boston 2011, $591,000. in new york city, $11.5 million since 2012 sitting idle. los angeles sitting idle, almost $19 million. and since 2014, $68 million sitting idle. camp a, which is one of the recipients, and miami are the two that received awards in florida, tampa had $170,000 left over from 2014. so we are going to need to look at how we get this money distributed, how would doesn't sit idle, particularly when we have the terrorist threat that we have today. this grant program has awarded a $20 billion since 2003 -- 8.2 billion.
also we reviewed 2012 is the most recent report, but we found expenditures that were not justified in this program. michigan bought 13 snowcone machines. ohio, in ohio, we saw their award given to support of five date spot junkets featuring actors on the apocalypse. is a just a couple of examples that we found of wasteful spending in the program. we are, in fact, asking today, and i will ask with chairman chaffetz agree to ask and we will have a letter that was a bit later in the record for review by the inspector general three areas, both look at the assessment area, looking at
unexpended funds, and then thirdly at wasteful spending. we need an update and we need that now. so again we know that orlando had received money before, was denied money the last two years. we do know that orlando and central florida use the money on equipment, training, readiness, exercise and communication systems, and other things that probably could have helped. we could have stopped this terrorist attack? we don't know that. but again it's our job to make certain that these federal resources are used in a proper manner. so those are some of the things that we found. we have tried to warn fema. we tried to correct this before this took place. that didn't happen. now with the threat that we face in our community and across the
nation, as we see we are all vulnerable, we've got to do a better job. i think it again, as witnesses, for coming today. let me yield to mr. lynch, our ranking member. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. and chairman desantis. and to our witnesses, sheriff demings, thank you so much. chief mina, thanks for coming up from florida. we appreciate it. walter purdy in brian kamioe -- is that the right pronunciation? >> close enough. >> are you sure? thanks for being here. tragic that the outset i want to join you in my thoughts and prayers for the people of nice, france, the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by the horrific terrorist attacks in southern france yesterday to this is the third major terrorist attack in france in the last 19 months. the state department has confirmed the victims include
two american citizens. they are john copeland and his 11 year old son, brody. they are from the austin, texas, area and our hearts and prayers go out to the copeland him and the people of texas. mr. chairman, again i think this he is especially important in the wake of the harbor think attacks in orlando and we continue to grieve and to pray for the victims families in orlando as well. i would like to thank both committees are participating in this hearing, and i do want to say that sheriff demings and chief mina, we have heard, it has been widely communicated that your activities and your loyal dedicated service has been a blessing, before and after,
and during the attacks in orlando. and i think that experience makes you especially valuable in terms of your perspective on how we might more effectively allocate the resources, substantial resources, that we have out there, especially with these urban area grants. the urban area security initiative, also known as usvi is one of the three programs that make up the grant program -- uasi. they provide federal funding to states and localities, to prevent and respond to potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies. we have had her own struggles in the city of boston. and the greater boston area. i think we were help ironically because of the fact we had the attacks during the marathon, and that the realization of a vulnerability in the threat assessment in that area gave us
leverage. but we were not always recognized as an area that needed this funding. there are several cities, because of the factors that are applied in these allocations, there are other cities across the country, san antonio i know in texas has also been dropped from the list and it's got to be a better way for us to recognize and it is threat analysis so that places like orlando and central florida will receive the funding that they need. the purpose of the urban air secure the grant is to assist cities into antiterrorism preparedness and response efforts. and in particular the program provides financial assistance to address the planning activities, organizational resources, equipment, training and exercise needs of the high threat
high-density urban areas. that's right from the statute. as a represent from the eighth congressional district of massachusetts including boston, quincy and 21 of the downs, i can tell you nearly 18 million, but the boston area received initiative funded in 2013 proved critical in the midst of the aftermath of the devastating boston marathon bombings in april 2013. as reported by the federal emergency management agency in its july 2013 testimony before the u.s. senate, on lessons learned from the marathon bombing, uasi funding helped secure on site security and protection, our robots come extra quip and ballistic helmets and that is used during the event. program grant funds also help provide radio system to increase information sharing between law
enforcement, fire service and emergency medical service. this funding support the boston regional intelligence center's work on bombing related operations and analysis and provided camera systems used for post-incident investigation. moreover, the boston area directed urban area security initiative funds to train s.w.a.t. teams was critical. and our ability to integrate bomb technicians into law enforcement, tactical operations which was crucial capability demonstrated following the marathon bombings. according to fema. given the importance of urban area security initiative grants to the antiterrorism preparedness and response efforts in our cities, it is imperative we conduct meaningful oversight of the program in order to ensure no city, no city as arbitrarily or unjustifiably denied this assistance. it is my understanding while the orlando area study steadily
indicated that the orlando area was to receive nearly $45 million in uasi funding from 2004-2012, this area did not qualify for assistance in 2013, 15 and 16. for a metropolitan area that just last month experienced a tragic terrorist attack perpetrated by a shooter, omar mccain, who pledge allegiance the islamic state, and the presence of a major tennessee settled population a lot of people, a lot of tourist activity in orlando, the absence of an urban area security initiative assistance grants or by merit we examination. i would note a primary reason behind orlando's loss of funding from year-to-year is that congress has imposed some additional guidance and restriction what comes to determinations made by the department of homeland security to distribute urban area grants.
three of the last five appropriations cycles congress added report by which to the annual department of homeland security appropriation bills that require the agency to place great weight on certain risk. regrettably these restrictions have result in a loss of funding for several cities including orlando. other highly populated metropolitan areas include kansas city, sacramento, california, and san antonio, texas, as i mentioned before. the cities have also lost urban area security initiative funded over the past so hopefully we will be able to, through the re-examination of what happened in orlando, might be able to help those localities as we'll. i look forward to discussing with the witnesses what steps we can take to further strengthen the urban areas program, and i thank you for the time. i yield back. >> i thank you, mr. lynch. as the ranking member of the
national securities subcommittee, in particular i want to thank congressman desantis who chairs the subcommittee on national security for their cooperative effort on this hearing and on this matter. let me now recognize that chairman of the national security subcommittee, my colleague from florida, mr. desantis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for spearheading this hearing, and thank you for raising the alarm about the need to protect central florida. terrorism is on the march. last mont month attack in novemr was the deadliest attack in the united states since september 11, 2001 and, of course, last night terrorists mowed down more than 80 people in nice come a fred kempe by running them over with a truck. are going to get efforts must adopt to this growing threat coming threat posed by what is a global jihad. chairman mica mentioned by numerous appeals in orlando officials and chairman mica
himself, department of homeland security and federal emergency management agency tonight urban area security initiative funding to orlando for the last two years and only allocated 1 million in the last four years. penis recent was it there's were unlikely to attack orlando theme. >> was wrong. department homeland security and defend them or to management agency must allocate preparedness funding in a way that recognizes recent terrorist trends. specifically theme must making -- methodology and yo needs to listen to the appeals of cities that are closest to the threat. they on the ground, their the first responders. they know what the risk is. people poured into central florida every year in the greater orlando area continues it contains a number of soft targets such as amusement parks which sees large number of people congregate in one location. suicidal terrorists seek out soft targets because it is allow them to inflict a lot of damage in a relatively short period of time. the orlando area is at risk and meet the government's methodology to reflect this fact.
i agree with law-enforcement personnel from central florida including sheriff demings that the relative risk for orlando should also include volusia and brevard county, a cohesive strategy that includes these counties both of them said that this is on the terrorist attacks of the pulse nightclub will better protect communities in central florida and uasi funding should recognize that. i look for doing from sheriff demings and chief mina under an appeal to the federal government and how uasi funding can help orlando pic these are very busy and trying times for law enforcement and i appreciate sheriff demings and chief mina testifying today. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. appreciate again national sturdy subcommittee cooperating in this hearing. we will hold a record open for five legislative days for any members who would like to submit a written statement for this hearing.
i would now like to recognize and introduce our witnesses. i'm pleased to welcome from central florida, sheriff jerry demings of orange county, florida. he has our sheriff's office. he is also distinguished by just being named the president of the florida sheriffs association. welcome, sheriff demings. then we have chief john mina, john mina is probably known across the country, both sheriff demings and chief mina, for what they have been through. just unbelievable nightmare in our community and he leaves that force with distinction from the city of orlando alyce achieve. we have walter purdy was president of the terrorism research center. welcome. and we have mr. brian kamioe,
assistant administrator or grant programs at fema, the federal emergency management agency. gentlemen, this is an investigation and oversight committee of congress. we do require that all of our witnesses be sworn. if you would please stand i will administer the oath. raise your right hand. [witnesses were sworn in] >> let the record reflect that all of the witnesses answered in the affirmative. thank you. some of you are new to the congressional hearing process. we try to get you to do anything you would like for the record, like the state and documentation. we like to have you summarized at about five minutes.
your key points. and then we can get to questions. so with that we will first turn to our federal witness, brian kamioe with fema. theme. >> again, a quarter of this investigation review, mr. desantis, mr. lynch oversee the national securities subcommittee, and they oversee dhs. but in this program, this urban area terrorism risk assessment, fema actually conducts the assessment and, in fact, we will put in the record reference to the response after central florida was denied back in january, and multiple times in response on behalf of dhs. so with that introduction, let me welcome brian kamioe, the representative from theme. >> to testify.
>> thank you very much. good morning. i am brian kamioe, assistant administrator fo for grant progs at fema. on behalf of secretary jeh johnson and administer to craig fugate, thank you for the opportunity to discuss dhs and fema's effort to assist our state and local partners to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks. the recent shootings in dallas and orlando at last night's tragedy in nice, france are reminded just how important it is for our nation to be ready to respond all types of hazards including man-made threats. our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of these tragic events, as well as with law-enforcement officers who risk their lives everyday to protect our communities. including sheriff demings, chief mina, and their officers. today i will outline some of the most programs to provide first responders with the resources they need to prevent these events and to plan, equip and
train for them should they occur. i will also discuss how we support orlando to these programs before and after the shooting at the pulse nightclub on june 12. thanks to your support since 2002, congress through the department of homeland security has awarded more than $47 billion in preparedness funding to state and local governments and to a broad array of homeland security partners. in fiscal year 2016 to more than $1 billion was awarded to our partners through the homeland security grant program, to build a more secure and resilient nation. dh sgp includes three programs to the state homeland security program, the urban air security initiative of uasi at the operations program. this year the state unless he could grant program provides $402 million to support preparedness capabilities with more than 11 million allocated to florida. florida receive more than
1.330 million operations still garden program to enhance the security of the nation's borders. each year ths prioritizes uasi fund by conducting a risk assessment of the 100 most populous metropolitan statistical areas as required by the homeland security act. the an assessment is based on three key factors for each urban area. relative threat, vulnerability, and consequences to acts of terrorism. threat scores are derived of intelligence data compiled by the dhs office of intelligence and analysis. this information could debated on any acts of terrorism, disrupted plots, credible threats and known or suspected terrorist presence in each urban area. vulnerability of scores take into consideration any infrastructure that is a potentially high value target for terrorists as well as any border crossings. finally, consequence of scores factor in in urban areas population, economic, national
infrastructure and national security indices. the results including the scores and relative ranking inform the secretary's decisions regarding eligible urban areas and funding allocations. orlando received more than $44.5 million in total of uasi funding from fiscal years 2003 2003-24. in order to focus resources in the highest risk urban areas. orlando had relative risk rank of 30 that you and as a result did not receive funding. in 2014 congress lifted the restriction on the total number of urban areas that dhs could fund for the program. that your secretary johnson exercised his discretion and funded 39 areas including orlando which was right 33rd and received $1 million. in the end of dhs appropriations
act for fiscal years 2015-2016, congress directed dhs to restrict funding to the urban areas that represent up to 85% of the assessed nationwide risk of terrorism. secretary johnson foldout direction and designated 28 urban areas as eligible for funding in 2016 and 29 areas in 2016. orlando fell outside the range in both of those years ranking 32 in 2015 and 34 in 2016. though not totally eligible for dedicated funding of orlando can still receive funding support to the state homeland security program. h. s. -- in previous years demonstrated their value during the june 12 attack. for example, an armored vehicle of the bomb detection robot used during response efforts were both purchased through these programs. following the attack, i also approved a request from the florida division of emergency management to reallocate up to
two and $53,000 in unspent funds for law-enforcement overtime expenses. in addition, the department justice but when the dollars available to cover response costs. also thanks to congressional action, dhs now has new funding mechanisms to support jurisdictions in the catechism efforts. for this fiscal year congress appropriate 49 points over to the complex coordinate terrorist attack and counter violence. it's important to theme. >> as compass emergency management training for first responders that includes counterterrorism forces. in accordance with national counterterrorism center and the fbi we develop the joint counterterror awareness workshop series, participants work through and attacks in your to identify planning gaps and mitigation strategies. in 2014 orlando posted this workshop was nearly 300 participants. since 2011 theme. >> history more than 700,000
personnel including many from orlando to respond to active shooter situations. theme. >> is our to support sheriff demings, chief mina and the nation's first responders to these programs. i am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today and i'm happy to respond to any questions the subcommittee may have. >> thank you and we will get the questions after we've heard from the other witnesses. let me know recognize and welcome again sheriff demings, orange county sheriff. you are recognized. [inaudible] >> not sure if your mic is on. >> that morning, chairman mica and chairman desantis and members of the committee. it is indeed an honor and privilege for me to provide testimony today. let me begin by saying i wish we didn't have to provide testimony because there is a risk of a terror attack in orlando. but sadly we know that that is no longer the case. i will be addressing the
valuable projects funded in previous years by the urban area security initiative, or uasi grant program. our dhs and theme. >> effort to reassess the orlando-kissimmee-sanford and the need to strengthen secure the region for another terror attack like the pulse nightclub incident. the central florida region has been fortunate to receive approximately $45.5 million in uasi funding since 2004. the osha county sheriff's office is the agency which has managed those funds. the funding received prior to 2013 was critical to our region's ability to prevent, protect, respond to and recover from not only terrorism but a broad range of other threats and hazards. we are only as good as, at preventing a terror attack as the quality of information that
we receive about that attack. one of the assets we have in our region is the central florida intelligence exchange fusion center. the fusion center is a center that operates in central florida, in orlando. it is located just outside of the airport. it serves as a central repository of databases that are currently being used by the florida department of law enforcement and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. in addition to its counterterrorism focus, it serves as an all hazard fusion center assisting agencies and the mitigation and assistance needed to recover from hazards such as hurricanes and other natural disasters. we assist with investigations crimes that possibly contain indexes to terrorist activity or other home and he could issues. tdue to a lack of funding, some critical needs have been lost.
we have reduced the number of analysts which could afford to provide intelligence information that could prevent a terror attack. examples of our success stories include an incident in which we assisted the u.s. marshals in locating federal fugitives. in another instance we assisted a united states secret service in united states coast guard in locating a disgruntled citizen who made concerning statements about the president prior to the launch of the space shuttle endeavor mission. and numerous other instances in which they provide information with a nexus to national security. through the national infrastructure protection program we received uasi funding for a federal -- camera funding surveillance project in downtown orlando in areas near the university of central florida. chief mina will talk more about that.
due to a loss of funding we have not been able to expand the camera project into areas around our top tourist destination. on june 12, we experienced the benefits of more than one dozen or so uasi funded training exercises of the past years. i believe the agencies responding to the training of an incident falls because of training paid for through historical uasi sunday. you have a list of training exercise in your material. we trained respond as the reason -- region of the disaster. in fact, on june 12, approximately 150 of my deputies responded with the orlando police department to the pulse incident. because of the infrastructure connections in our region it is natural to have a regional capability and phone bill the assessment. recently theme. >> uses the office of management
and budget geographical boundaries defined in the federal register when calculating the risk score. we believe that the boundaries should be expanded to include the brevard county area to the east and volusia county metropolitan statistical area to the north. in september 2015 we began the process of lobbying the federal government to combine the metropolitan orlando with brevard and volusia. this was broadly supported by our members of congress from central florida as well as other state and local elected officials, and numerous letters were written to the fema assistant administrator of grant programs, the omb statistician and the office of information and regulatory affairs. you have a list and copies of the letters in your material. i really don't have time to get into the details of the
methodology used in assigning risk, but we suggest that dhs include domestic and international visitors in the equation, and not just permanent resident population in the scoring. one credible attack in central florida to a theme park would be disastrous for our economy. with the recent attacks in orlando, the incident in dallas, and san bernardino, there's a need in this country to have an overall, perhaps increase, in uasi funding, or at the very least a redistribution of uasi funding across the nation. that could increase the top with the most risk for the current 85% receiving funding to perhaps 90% of the msas on the high risk list of the top 100. congressman mica has been a staunch supporter of many of these efforts and we appreciate the fact he invited us to
participate today. in 2016 the orlando msa was 34 on the list but only 29 metropolitan statistical areas were funded. in closing, thank you for laying me to speak and ask come and ask the committee to analyze the current msa methodology formula and the data used in the formula to reflect current threats and vulnerabilities in central florida. we have now been proved, which makes us more of a target. thank you. >> thank you, sheriff demings. let me recognize orlando chief mina now. welcome, and you are recognized. >> good morning, chairman mica, members. thank you for inviting me to testify and allow me to provide an overview of the immensity challenges we face on a daily basis in central florida. and our use of the urban area security initiative funding. on behalf of the city of orlando
i want to offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims and families and friends of those victims in nice, france, as well. as the committee is well aware on june 12, orlando fell victim to the second largest terrorist attack in history on u.s. soil. self radicalized extremist entered the nightclub and begin shooting at the more than 300 patrons that were inside the club. fortunately, an orlando police officer working in an extra because i'm at a nightclub engaged the suspect and within minutes more arriving officers broke a large window to enter the club. within minutes, more arriving officers entered and the suspect retreated into a bathroom where he was isolated and holding hostages. the suspect reemerge to a hallway or offers exchanged gunfire with them, forcing them to retreat into the bathroom. afterwards the suspect was contained. offices on the dance floor begin to evacuate victims out of the club.
that night we are faced with many challenges as the suspect claimed to have explosives that were strategically placed throughout the nightclub including suicide vests that is going to place on the victims. although face was almost certain death, the suspect detonating explosions, officers remained at the nightclub and instead pulled many other critically injured victims out to safety transporting them to the hospital. for the next as the suspect held hostages and talked on the phone with crisis negotiators when he pledged allegiance to the islamic state. after negotiations broke down, we were forced to breach the concrete wall using explosives and an armored vehicle to save the remaining hostages and victims come and make contact with the suspect. as rescue efforts were underway to suspect emerge from what of all screwed by our armored vehicle and engaged our swat officers in gunfire. the suspects rampage was in did at that time. 49 innocent victims tragically lost their lives.
the orlando police partners are prepared for these types of incidents since the combine massacre although i believe we demonstrate great courage and resolve to mitigate this horrible tragedy but we can always learn from our actions and work to make an even better. i would like to share some of the unique characteristics to make central florida region an ideal target for terrorism. we have a combined resident population of 3.7 million, and in 2015 orlando to increase from 62 million, 661,000,001 year making it the number one tourist destination. orlando is ranked number four in the top use destinations for foreign travelers. six of the top in the world are in the orlando-kissimmee area. although our resident population is 3.7 million, that number grows exponentially every day as millions call orlando home while they lived in our hundreds of
area hotels and visit all of our region industry we seek funding under the uasi grant program on an annual basis and the purpose of uasi is to enhance our capability to prevent, protect and respond to and recover from not only terrorism but a broad range of other threats and hazards affecting our entire region. funding allows us to establish priorities and balance threats and consequences. since 2002 and homeland security act was signed into law by president george w. bush the orlando-kissimmee-sanford msa received grant funds annually from 2004-2012. however, the funding drastically changed in the past four years. starting in 2013 and continued up to 2016 the orlando-kissimmee-sanford area as not rank high enough and relative risk scored received uasi funding in the we are ranked number one on the msa for domestic visitor population and the consequent section of the formula. no, 2012-2016 our area has
appealed the relative risk score and asked the department of homeland security and mr. chairman, to reassess the data. in may members from our region traveled to be in washington, d.c. and met with representatives from the department of homeland security and fema regarding the concern threats to our region and the lack of uasi funding our region has received. is critically needed funds are used to strengthen our regions preparedness and compensate and prevention, protection, response and recovery. uasi funding w we have receivedn the past has assisted in accomplishing many goals. hazmat training has been provided for individuals to participate in various recognized and approved technician and specialist level courses specific to identify the required competencies. there have been trainees including intelligence, bomb training, incident command training, fusion center trained, radiological and nuclear
detection training and interoperable and communication training. through these training exercises we have strengthened our core capabilities within our uasi region. the majority of the uasi funds we receive are allocated are used to purchase existing protective equipment within the region. this includes the continuation and buildout of a camera and video surveillance system which supports our protection plan. when complete this program gives axis approximate 500 cameras which can be viewed remotely from fixed and mobile command centers. visibility will aid us in the protection, prevention as well as response and recovery from a act of terrorism or natural disaster that would directly affect the areas critical infrastructure and identify venues that are key resources to sustained economic viability of our region. we also utilize uasi programs to fund regional exercises, subsequent after-action reports
and improvement plans. last full scope exercise in 2013 funded by uasi was a medical search exercised at the orlando international airport which involve multiple hospitals in the surrounding six counties in city of orlando. these tools have assisted us in measuring the progress of regional collaboration and communication capabilities within the orlando metro area. it is critical that we as a region monitor and keep up with emerging trends improve equipment. due to the lack of funding this has gone sears responds mitigation constraints as a whole. from a law enforcement perspective, this affects the much-needed training and equipment for our bomb teams in central florida to have the opportunity to train and purchase equipment needed for adequate bomb response to this was a critical component to the pulse nightclub incident. in 2015 we identified through gap analysis the need to purchase a tactical robot for our swat teams and refurbish one of the aging regional bomb
robots. due to lack of funding these projects were not funded. finally, we have sought funding through uasi grant program to conduct swift assisted victim extraction for the region. is critical training teaches law-enforcement and fire service a tactics and skills message to stabilize to a typical response active shooter, 5% will stage a safe difference from the scene into law enforcement declares the scene is clear even the law enforcement is confident they have captured or killed the suspects. this is designed to teach law enforcement officers and the fire department a tactics necessary to enter a semi-secure area which will reduce time to render aid to victims and then save their lives. without continue training these skills will surely deteriorate. in closing i would like to bring to the attention of the committee the paradigms of traditional terror attacks are changing. in the past are identified
critical infrastructures were and still are targeted terrorist attack. face of horrific event we experienced at the orlando pulse nightclub and the ready golf police officer gave their lives last week, i urge the committee to consider these attacks are becoming more frequent acting is identified as soft targets. i asked the committee review the relative risk of one of to better address the risk profile unique to this wonderful region also known as the orlando-kissimmee-sanford msa. i would personally like to thank congressman mike a force continued and unwavering support not only from the kind of assistance but the uasi grant money to i would like to thank the committee for allowing me to get my statement today and i look forward to any questions. >> thank you, chief mina. we will hear from our last witness, mr. walter purdy, president of the terrorism research center. you are recognized. >> thank you, chairman mica. chairman desantis, ranking
member lynch him and other distinguished members of this committee. thank you for inviting me today to testify about this very important issue. the terrorism threat in america is one that is constantly evolving here in the wake of the terrorist attacks last night in nice, previous attacks in paris, brussels, boston, charleston, chattanooga, new orleans, san bernardino and orlando, the last thing we should be doing is reducing the levels of funding to certain cities that need these funds to protect america. it is truly unthinkable at this time that president obama's 2015 budget reduces the level of funding for homeland security initiatives through the urban area security initiative known as uasi. as well as other funding mechanism to protect the homeland. the threat to america from terrorists has not gone away and is constantly evolving.
the director of the fbi, james comey has warned that the fbi is investigating isis suspects in over 50 states with more than 900 active investigations. just this last week on the front page of the "washington post" adam goldman wrote an article talking about 92 these individuals here in the united states. even the funding for state and local antiterrorism training slashed conductor to the department of justice has been reduced and cut back. talking to an individual with the bureau yesterday, they said i'm not sure what we are going to do to help local law enforcement that needs it is critical training today. yet the terrorism threat to america seems to continue to grow. last week the secretary of homeland security johnson testified at a searing -- senate hearing. he said he was constrained by the budget agreement, wasn't
happy, but had to make hard choices. yes, we all know budgets restraint people but we have to think about how we are spending those resources, and given those communities and cities, counties and regions that need them, the tools and resources to do the job to protect american citizens. and as you just heard, although torres that go and visit the orlando area -- all the tourists. the terrorism threat was reduced to going away. i would be the first one to support a reduction in funding. old for uasi and department of homeland security. that we all know this threat is not going anywhere. it's increasing. today we see homeland radicalized terrorists conducting attacks as we saw in san bernardino. we see individuals, 1.2 miles from my residence in fairfax, virginia, getting locked up last friday. we see out in sterling,
virginia, individuals inspired by ice is going and weapons seeking to attack targets in this particular region. we need to be funding local law enforcement. they are the first responders. both the police and sheriffs department, and offices in orlando bravely dealt with that particular critical incident. yet we are asking the law enforcement community in places, and first responders, firefighters and others to deal with this ever-growing complex challenge, as funding levels in places get cut. we can expect law enforcement as a community is going to be prepared -- can't -- dealing with these situations over time when we are cutting funds. uasi funds, homeland security programs am a congress has heard from mayors, chiefs of police, sheriffs across america that have lobbied for a departure in
a re-examination of how the funding takes place. the threat is real. i would ask you to kind of change the direction and approach in which these funds and mechanisms provide a critical resources and assistance to those first responders in america. training is critical. it is a critical step to getting individuals so they can respond effectively to this growing threat. i thank you for the time today. i look forward to answering any questions. >> thank you, mr. purdy i want to thank all of our witnesses today. i will go directly to questions. first of all we have a program in place. it's been in place since 2003, many years. we provide about a billion dollars a year in funding. well, what we've got to do is make sure we don't leave any
american city or community behind. my dad used to say, and i told this to the sheriff this morning, my dad used to say it's not how much you spend, it's how you spend it. and then getting money out. unfortunately we were involved in this even before the horrible orlando terrorist massacre. we were looking at trying to see what was wrong with the formula, why we were denied. and we found several things in the response that, i don't know if you were, let's see who signed this. came back from fema to me, again before, this is back february 19. yet, this is from you, brian, mr. kamioe. he said dhs offers intelligence
ananalysis, uses a holistic approach to analyze information and juxtaposed its intelligence community. again we got different agencies doing different things. you are relying on information you're getting from them. i am told some of the information is outdated. for example, in orlando they are using assessment data that is from 2011 on the tourism visitation. hasn't been updated since then. did you know that? >> that's not accurate. we've got more recent data than that and we'll be glad to -- >> we were told against the that was what was used. maybe now there has been an update. we are told again that that information that they had is not up-to-date. you don't do that. they do that. you analyze their data, right, their intelligence in what they
supply you? >> the reason we use the term holistic is it's a partnership between us and the office of intelligence and analysis for the threat peace of the formula, threat and voted and consequence. the threat peace looks that acts of terrorism, credible threats reported -- >> he gave a threat vulnerability consequent to do all those things, but again the information we have is some of the data in which you based at least orlando without data. somewhere, mr. purdy referred to. we been missing the mark. we missed the mark dramatically in orlando. again, mr. purdy cited it we had san bernardino the we that boston. mr. lynch's community, my community. and they're hitting soft targets. we went back and tried as you heard sheriff demings, because we found out that some of them
the basis on which analyze this is we didn't have a port. orlando doesn't have a port. some went to tampa and money went to miami. they have ports. we tried to change the area. mr. desantis represents volusia county, we try to get cut in brevard county and we were denied that. so my point here is somehow a threat assessment isn't dealing with the reality of what they are doing. ..