tv Panelists Discuss State of U.S. Homeland Security CSPAN June 22, 2017 8:38pm-9:23pm EDT
we are under assault than anything we can do to further help the committee is to say the least right upfront on this. anything we can do to increase the defense capability the battery will be. c thank you secretaries. as we say in congress my time has expired and it's been a row pleasure to have this chat with you and thank you for everything you do for the country. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] on this panel from the national security form a look in ongoing efforts to improve the state of u.s. homeland security. panelists included obama administration homeland security secretary jeh johnson and
homeland security committee member representative kathleen rice. it's 40 minutes. >> good morning. my name is josh rogin. i'm a columnist at the "washington post." thank you for joining us this morning for a panel entitled homeland security challenges. we have a very distinguished panel with us today in first we have the former secretary of homeland security the honorable jeh johnson and mr. frank cilluffo the director of the center for cyber and homeland security at the george washington university my alma mater. we have congressman kathleen rice representing the fourth district of new york and also the ranking democrat on the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence and last but certainly not least the honorable kenneth wainstein who
served served as the home and security adviser to president george w. bush. now i have prepared an extensive introduction for today's panel but those plans were tossed in the garbage when president trump issued a series of official statements this morning that are extremely relevant to this panel. you might also call them tweets and the tweets are directed at one of our panelists secretary johnson. i couldn't resist the opportunity to give secretary johnson a chance to respond to these tweets one by one so let me go ahead and read these three tweets before the house intelligence committee. first of all, are they accurate, if not why not and what is your response? tweet number one, former home and security adviser jeh johnson is the latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between trump and russia. secretary johnson.
>> well he spelled my name right and as we speak i am sure there are members of the press comparing the tweets to what i actually said yesterday in my testimony which was public and i will leave that to journalists. let's go ahead and read two and three and i love a product comment or a cynic is a journalist who was the hearing my impression until me i'm wrong you did not say in any way shape or form that there was no grand scheme between trump and russia. is that right? >> my testimony speaks for itself. i'm not going to go down that road. read the other two and i'll have a broader comment. >> the next tweet by the way of her shows working so hard on the 2016 election that happened during the obama -- why didn't they stop them? >> look, here's my point. you can read the third one too but here's my point.
there is a much broader issue here that we as a government need to address beyond whether the latest tweet from our president is a accurate or inaccurate, beyond you know whether the dnc should have given up a server or not or who knew what, when and how early was it and could we have done it a little differently? that is the famous preoccupation in this town on this hill and in your profession frankly. the larger question that we need to address is now that we know what happened last year, what are we going to do about it in the future to prevent a foreign superpower from intervening in our democracy? what are we doing? and so as we sit here we remain exposed to this kind of attack, six months after the event, nine
months after the dni and i publicly said this is what happened and this is who is doing it and as we speak, my concern is that we have still not done much to harden our cybersecurity defenses around state election systems at the time though we have made public what happened in frankly the way to get superpowers to stop doing this kind of thing is to make it cost prohibitive for them. they are all human beings and they behave like human beings and if you make it too costly for someone to engage in a certain behavior they will stop. i know that from personal experience negotiating certain types of removal of other superpowers however my concern is that the current administration in power is sending the signals basically that this won't be tolerated if
we do this. that is the current message. we have yet to see any strong statement from the current administration condemning what the russians did and warning them not to do it again so if you are a member of the russian government or some other government your calculations about whether we should do that in 2018 or 2020 or beyond so that's the problem. that's the larger problem that we must address them i am concerned that we are not addressing it as we are so preoccupied with the daily tweets and who did what when and how soon could you have done it differently? >> thank you and let's read that third tweet. the reason is because part of what you just said is that the administration is sending the wrong message and of course when the president issues tweets that is the administration's message so of course there is a vicious cycle where the media follows the tweets and i would like to
look forward and not backward before we do that. the last tweet was wide of the democratic national committee turned down the dhs offers or protect against tax long prior to the election? it's all a big hoax. i would add quickly there are members of the administration have been very clear about the russian involvement in the interference of our election, just not the president. is it a big dim hoax? >> i think the intelligence community last year said it was not. do we seriously need to relitigate that again or should we address the problem for the future? one of the other problems frankly as i pointed out yesterday my testimony when we issued that statement on friday october 7, that was an unprecedented statement accusing a russian superpower, a foreign superpower of intervening in our democracy which i thought was
going to be above the fold news that day, full banner perhaps but what happened was that was the same day the release of the excess hollywood video and so while the cattle in the pasture went to the other corner of the pasture because the press was preoccupied with 11-year-old statements about sex and lust and so forth and so our statement in "the news york times" and i believe the russia post was below the fold news that day. >> that's true. it's also true that the administration's deliberations over releasing that statement were delayed. >> no, i did not say that josh. what i said was that we spent considerable time thinking through all of the considerations that should go into attribution including the fact that we would be perceived
as injecting ourselves into an ongoing political campaign and perhaps taking sides, the one of the candidates was saying the election result was going to be rigged. you have to think her of course whether we would be compromising sources and methods. we did that very carefully and we came to the statement on friday, october 7. i would not characterize it as delayed. i and others felt it was very important that we inform the american public in advance of the election when renewal was going on and we did. that was the overriding consideration. >> looking back is there anything you would have done differently? >> as i said about six times yesterday, hindsight is 2020. it's brilliant. at the time i will tell you that this was a front runner item for me and many other very senior members of the administration. >> thank you. let's go to frank.
i would like you to address both the technical challenges preparing for what we have all expects continued and her parents and what secretary johnson talked about the deterrence challenge. how do we fix our system but also what do we need to do to communicate to these foreign government actors that this won't be tolerated? >> thank you josh and let me start with the bottom line up front. the truth is we have got close to unlimited vulnerability, limited resources and a thinking predator an adversary that will constantly probe their actions and our actions so it's not as if we are ever going to get to the point where we are 100% secured it's a fools errand to suggest that potential outcome. my bottom line on some of this is we have got 16 infrastructures that have been designated critical and i think every one of those is very important but i think we have
got to really start focusing in on those that are the most critical and i would define those as financial services, telecommunications, transportation, energy and the grid and water systems. not to suggest that these other systems aren't important but when we start looking at the limited resources and an enterprise approach we have to start spending those dollars as smartly as we can. from this straight up security standpoint yes we need to do more but i think everything is critical and the most critical infrastructures and get our arms around those first three secondly, and this is where the electoral system's comment and they have been designated a critical infrastructure and government facilities which is appropriate but to me ultimately we need to get to the point secretary johnson just brought up, that we need to articulate a more importantly demonstrate a
cyber deterrence strategy and if we don't deter cyber we deter actors from the gauging and cyber activity so ultimately you are talking about what you really want to do is induce changes in behavior. you want to raise the pain of the adversary and right now we have been blaming the gun. it's a hack occurs we blame the hospital and that the hack happens we blame the bank. imagine we are never going to be able to lie or wall are red of this problem so we need to start looking at the cybersecurity related issues beyond the technology. let me underscore one thing. the reality is our adversaries didn't get a strong message from how we responded in the past and i understand they are all sorts of complicating factors but it's
not just russia. other actors who are obviously sitting up and paying attention and noticing precisely how we respond so i do think, and this isn't a blame, it's not a political question. it's actually a policy question. how do we start getting a little more comfortable and transparent to discuss how our computer network attacks capabilities because i would argue it the best capabilities in the world. >> i read an article frank that you wrote last year that called for joint special operations command for cyber. is that where you are attacking about? we need to operationalize? >> i do feel we have to operationalize and i do feel, sort of like looking at a soccer team. you can just have a goalie and he can't just have defenders and you can just set midfielders. you need to get all the players on the heals and the jsoc concept was to me to be able to get to the point where if you
look at post-9/11 the greatest lesson i have learned us just how significant intelligence is and it's a lifeblood for a campaign against terrorism and let's not relitigate and we learned the hard lessons we learned the hard way and start applying those to cyber into me title x in title l authority. defense authority and intel authorities. >> thank you congresswoman same question from the congressional side. what do we need to do in terms of fixing our bureaucracy in and their systems but also how does congress play a role in increasing the cost of attacking the united states? >> believe it or not switches went through a markup in homeland and by the way we have a great chairman named michael mccaul a republican from texas who is hyperfocused on the cybersecurity issue and it was
shocking to me that we are in year 2017 and this markup we went there is the first time that we had actually reauthorized dhs until was stood up in the aftermath of 9/11. we made critical changes to ensure more agency information sharing empowering resources and there is a focus obviously on cybersecurity and this might sound like i'm speaking as not just someone who works here but as a voter as an american. if we can't get an acknowledgment from the president of the united states that russia interfered with this election, now i'm a democrat, you all probably know that. i sit here and argue did their interference have an effect on the election? point is actually ancillary to the issue we have to address as the secretary said. we have to do we have to have the president say if this happened and i acknowledge all
17 intel agencies have confirmed and most people acknowledge and know and i'm going to let all of the experts figure out how we find out how it happened, how they did it and how we prevent it from happening again. this is not a clinical issue. it's not a republican issue or democratic issue. the chairman of homeland mike mccaul says this all the time. this is an american issue. do we want foreign powers and in this case a foreign power to affect the outcomes of our elections? the answer is no so my hope is and i think from home and the approaches from a bipartisan view. we want there to be a study. i personally called for an independent commission to do the study so that we could actually look in a transparent way but the american people deserve which is give you chapter and
verse of how this happened and how we will prevent it from happening again. we just took a swing through some countries who have seen and who have been to the dems of state-sponsored cyber attacks. everyone from estonia, poland, ukraine and they are looking at us going this is a real. what is taking a people so long to realize that this is real so there is a lot that we can learn from other people. estonia, the system they have put up in the aftermath of there being the victims of the first state-sponsored hack back in 20007 has improved. we have to be talking to people like that and experts like the ones that are on this panel up we are going to get to the bottom of this. at the heart of this, this is not about rededicating the 2016 election. we are done with that. president trump's the president. we need to acknowledge that this happened and come to, figure out
how we are going to prevent it from happening again. >> a perfect set up for you. how do we do that? >> thanks. a couple of things. first i want to echo something that the congresswoman just said that i had a case to testify on the threat from russia and other countries to our election process and the former president of estonia testified. i was really struck by the depth to which he had thought through these issues in the country thought through these issues and how far ahead they were from us. typical of americans centric view of the world we should be thinking those things through before the rest of the world could i was taken aback and we have a lot learn from them. in general terms i want to talk to something that frank said about having to inflict pain and that's the case here. state actors were doing this and doing this very effectively, they don't respond to shame. in fact i think the russians are
celebrating and the more chaos they see over here the more they are excited and clinking their classes and having a great all-time because that's exactly what they want to do. they want to undermine the credibility of the whole process but they want to cause us to be fighting each other as opposed to be doing something constructive with their government and they have been successful. so they are not at all ashamed by us calling them out publicly for having done this. i think they are proud of it frankly. the only thing i think they will listen to his retaliation and make them understand that they do this to us we under international conventions can do some things back and then use the whole array of tools that we have, sanctions and the like, whatever. i feel that way you were going to get them to even think twice about it. so you have the deterrence and you've also got hardening up front are doubtlessly the past three administrations really wrestle with that. i've got to say tom bosworth of
home in security adviser announced an executive order in cybersecurity. i think that is great in this framework of federal agencies kicking up the expectations and particularly the energy or out of concern. we saw a recently i think it was the youth creamy and sector taken down massive numbers of people by what was apparently a russian effort and the same tool that was used there can be used against us so i was happy to see them doing something very permanent on that end. i want to lastly take one more step back into the election issue. jeh very accurately captured the challenge that they were dealing with and i had occasions to dissect how the government and the intelligence community responded last fall to the whole russian interference effort. one of the problems is we hardened vents try to prevent it
on the front in. we can talk deterrence to prevent and scale it back once their opponents the russians whoever undertake a similar effort in the future but that still doesn't avoid what is a really fundamental problem which is how does an administration of a particular party talk about this kind of thing publicly in the course of an election process? you think about how difficult that was and i'm not going to ask jeh to speak to personally but how difficult was wrestling with this question. boy if you look at the assessment that came out in january, it said the russians wanted to disrupt the elections and they also wanted to beat up on hillary clinton and the intelligence community did know that while earlier than that during the course of election. think about the implications of putting that out as a public statement from a sitting government that the russians are doing that and the implications it has for the electorate.
how do you deal with that in future? i have talked to some smart people about this. they legislate now than before the next midterm in every election there is a reporting period from the intelligence community nine months out, six months out, three months out. this is going to happen every time. that way that report isn't looked at as some sort of opportunistic effort by the frustration to somehow benefit the candidate or candidates of their own party. that is the kind of thing we need to be thinking about right now because 16 months in the run-up to the midterms and we are in the exact same position we were in the fall. >> thank you and i think we can all agree the problem is not going away anytime soon. i like to switch, we are talking about domestic radicalization. we are talking about homegrown
terrorism something again are allies are dealing with is hoping to want to service secretary johnson. this has been a tough nut to crack and especially as the caliphate shrinks, the instances of radically inspired domestic terrorists are going up. anwr al-awlaki has been dead for six years yet his talks are still inspiring people all over the world. what can we do about that? >> i talked about this a lot when i was in office and the reality given the current threat environment is you can kill an enemy and not cede an enemy. the terrorist threat to our nation and i'm sure everyone on this stage will agree has evolved significantly since 9/11 from an environment in which you have to be concerned about large-scale attacks orchestrated
and launched from and directed from overseas that infiltrate our borders to an environment where we need to also be concerned about homegrown home born violent extremism inspired by things that you can read on the internet. that makes for a more challenging homeland security environment which is why when i was secretary we spend so much time engaging in american-muslim communities around this country to ask them to help us and our homeland security efforts. i think that is fundamental and i think that needs to be a front-line effort and our homeland security. one of the things that congress did for us last year was provide us with grant money to help fund local efforts to counter shamanism. we finally made the awards but i suspect it might believe the effort has largely stalled in this administration.
they have even heard some of the grantees have given the money back saying we don't want it from u.s. government anymore which is very unfortunate. but this has to be the front-line effort when it comes to our homeland security. >> you seem to be saying the current administrations change her approach towards the aging muslim community. >> what i fear is happening is what we were for two inside the beltway the effort is being hijacked by the political base through. should we is islamic islamic extremism or violent extremism? a really should not be caught up in that debate and the effort has become more and more politicized itself create common sense cates that when terrorist organizations are seeking to recruit from within our homeland we have to engage those communities where they are targeting their efforts but they
counter message and with efforts to counter violent extremism in those communities. >> i want to go to the congresswoman rice on this question because cb is one of the many things we have seen change in the demonstrations 2018 budget requests. this is something that congress is dealing with right now. they say if you want to know what administration believes you look at its budget request. what we have seen is prioritization of border security, immigration enforcement at the expense of funds to the transportation security frustration that all emergency management agency, tsa, grants for local law enforcement, first responders. according to the president's budget they make up the shortfalls for tsa, passenger fee increase is mostly great secretary johnson, one of his predecessors might go chertoff wrote this budget is akin to double locking your front door but leaving your side door open and your windows in your garage
door and turning off the alarm. but congress change this back? what does that look like right now plex is it going to be a compromise between these two things and how is congress processing these proposed changes? >> thankfully the budget is just that cometh the proposal in congress thankfully has the ability to actually authorize the funds. so i think as concerning as this is today because any budget regardless of who proposes it is actually a statement of your principles what you think your priorities are and it's disconcerting to say the least that we have a legit that prioritizes a wall that most experts have said will not do anything to make her southern border safer at all while you are cutting the budget for the state department in i've got to say one of the most disturbing things is the proposal to cut the state department's budget by 30%.
it is heard from madeleine albright, she just spoke about this. you have the secretary of state saying i'm fine with that. in a position like mine you travel anywhere around the world and i have traveled extensively this year that is cause for great concern amongst all of our allies not just in the eu but beyond. you cannot increase military spending and cut spending for diplomacy. you just can't. i don't know this is a byproduct of the presidents personal views about military might being mourned port and then diplomacy. i don't know if it's a position of the people he has chosen in those top positions most of them having a military that route but i can tell you that when we have a president who says i'm giving all decision-making to general mattis about what our strategy is going to be in afghanistan
and come perilously close to having a military state make decisions that president is the civilian head of the military and he is seating that control and that decision-making to heads of agencies that should not have it. so all of this is terribly concerning that there is a large part that congress can play in my hope is that there are enough like minded republicans who see the danger of these kinds of proposals and recognize how important it is. i am from new york, new york city is the biggest target in this country and thankfully we have the nypd which is second to none in the world in my opinion. they need to become second to none in the world by being isolationists. they have partnered all across the world do until sharing with and they have foiled more attempts to disrupt things ain't
carryout terrorist attacks right here on our soil. now they felt so strongly that nypd blues chief felt strongly in the manhattan d.a. felt strongly to come down here and make a plea to the homeland security committee and they met with a bunch of other people make the administrations thing please don't do this. my hope is that just to go back to the president of the united states is not going to a knowledge russian interference is up to us to work around him and congress will do that in this area as well. an orchard as that is we will do that. >> secretary johnson johnson. >> if i could add to a congresswoman rice said, state department funding funds not just diplomacy, it funds support for the military of our allies, the border security of our allies. so for example one of the things we tried to do in the last administration was to ulster the
state department funding for order security in central america and mexico which could only be funded through the state department. so if you cut state department funding you are cutting border security efforts of a lot of our friends and allies which directly affect their own security. >> the president said yesterday in iowa that the wall is going to have solar panels on it. that is going to be quote beautiful and quote the mexicans will have to pay less. does that help reassure you? >> well it's a creative idea. >> congresswoman does that increase your enthusiasm for the border while? >> is it going to have a door just out of curiosity? it just misses the point. i don't know the president has done this comic you have ever taken a tour of the southern border states you see there's
already a wall there. there are places that are meaningless and you can even put one up if you need more sophisticated drones and things like that so just to keep talking about this wall is nothing more than trying to keep a promise that was made, try to keep using the political rhetoric that might have been successful in the campaign that most people know and you have to admit that was just political rhetoric. lets just drop that idea in my hope is that look, congress by the way has recently recused to allow any money for the building of a wall. they allowed for repairs to certain parts of the wall that art existed. i think that was sending aloud and clear message to donald trump. he goes around and talks about it because he thinks it gets everyone going to eventually hopefully he will get down to governing. >> him i was going to ask you
about something congress will definitely have to weigh in on. december 31st the foreign intelligence surveillance act will sunset unless congress renews it. you know this well. you were involved in this program when you worked at the white house, codenamed prism and up stream airing the stoughton revelations. i'm guessing you support reauthorization of this program? assuming that's the case explain to our audience why you think that's important. >> a great question i and i spent hours working on capitol hill to get that piece of legislation passed and i believe, national security needs it to be reauthorize this year so look 9/11 taught us a lot of lessons in one of the main lessons it taught us as we really need to connect the dots. that was the expression of the day and how do you connect the not -- dots?
how do you get the dots to show you that there's a plot afoot and how to prevent it. we talk about conspiracies which is what a planned terrorist attack is there two ways of finding out about it. you get human intelligence and you get somebody on inside the till he was going on or you enter sapped their communications. say you can hear what they are talking about. you hear their plans that are being hatched. that second piece 7-up to his home port in. 702 as part of the fisa act which is the legislation of the various allegations coming out that the government of the 1970s. it authorizes the government to go to the fisa court and get approval to do wiretaps on our phones or e-mail or communications of agents of foreign powers, people outside of the united states who are in external foreign threat to the national security of our country. obviously a lot of that
surveillance is done against foreign terrorists groups and the problem that arose around the time of 9/11 or that came to a head around that time was that given the change in the technology and fiber-optic cable around the world, the original statute was written in a way that required the justice department to have to go in and get an individual authorization for the vice the court running a 100 page document to survey all someone who is outside of the united states talking to another person outside of the united states and pfizer was never intended to authorize that. you can survey of them without a fisa. we had to do that mourn more and as a result we weren't able to cover a lot of terror suspects who are out there leading up to 9/11 and sure enough we got hit. that statute, we revised for
congress revise that statute in 2008 to allow the justice department or the intelligence community to do that surveillance without having to go to the fisa court. it has allowed us to cover a lot of these foreign terrorist targets that we weren't able to cover before. every agency had this talk about its being one of the most it not the most important tools in the counterterrorist toolbox and it's critical that if you are authorize this year there are questions raised about her concerns raised about it. i advise congress to take a hard look at the track record. there is no intentional abuse in the statute. >> frank can i get your perspective on this? >> i very much shared ken's views and obviously fisa is some setting and it's imperative that congress may be look to some
potential reforms but i think the underlying principle need and requirement is great. whether you are dealing with nation-states, terrorist organizations, whether you are dealing with homegrown jihad is at the end of the day intelligence the idea to get there left and not respond correctly after something happens. >> congresswoman will probably get reauthorize to be have to predict. >> i think there are a lot of democrats they included who see the importance of this fisa and the intel we can get an foil attacks. it's important for every american to understand it has to be a balance by certain privacy concerns but i do believe that you can address those needs and
come up with a balanced approach that does not put us behind the eight ball when it comes to national security. >> shellen whitehouse and dianne feinstein were two of the main movers between 702. they were in the weeds so the congressman is right. a lot of support both democratic and republican. >> this is really not a political issue and i might just note not to increase he ate but the committee on homeland security, they have had an amazing track record in legislation and that can only be done in a bipartisan fashion. last year 88 does pass the house and already this year 45 bills have passed committees so i wish all the other congressional committees had a track record that yours does on actually that was -- legislating. >> i have to say a lot of the
credit goes to mike mccaul the chairman who is actually right over there and the ranking member as well and the other members on both sides of the aisle. his leadership comes from the top. we are not going to run a political committee and it shows you he does not. >> i can testify to that also. under mike's leadership, the homeland security committee is really a committee of congress that auctions the way congress should in a bipartisan fashion. i'm really happy about this reauthorization bill which the committee finally got done. it's a really protect its committee and i think it's a terrific tribute to chairman mccaul's leadership. he and i are good friends. last time i publicly said something about him nice, he was
criticized for it but i will say it again. he is a great member of congress. he is a great friend and a really terrific leader. i hope those of you in the room who have the opportunity to work with him learn from him. i see a lot of people here who are probably capitol hill interns. i was one of you years ago wandering the halls of rayburn house office building which inspired me to do public service and i think some of the people you are interacting with in this room are excellent role models for why you should want to be in public service. >> i was also one of you 20 years ago and i endorse what secretary said. last question and this is the question i have. what's the threat we are not talking about? yesterday we saw the president convened a meeting on the security of the energy grid.
i now can you been involved in a biodefense panel. i heard some senators talk about the emp threat. what is the big thing that is really scary to you that keeps you up at night that we are not discussing and short answers please everybody because we are running out of time and we will start with canon moved this way. >> i will piggyback on what you said. biodefenses an area that has been looked at over the last two years since 9/11 but naturally occurring biothreats as well as terrorists use of violations and just look at the situation how difficult that was. we are seeing what could happen down the road if they terrorist groups gets a hold of him develops, weaponized is something and it puts us in danger. i think we all agree anybody who has looked at this issue it structures itself to do with prevention and the response
level. >> congresswoman? >> i would say the security of our energy grid and our financial system. >> agree with all those points but i will add a new one to the table. that is space-based threats not just directed energy but probably the biggest news story that normally would get a lot of attention was just last week when the chinese launched a satellite that could do quantum computing. that's a game-changer. it is as a space race we have to win and right now i'm not even sure we are at the starting line >> i'm going to end the way it started. i think we are talking about all the threats. the question is whether we are having the right conversation about all these threats. should we have a conversation about what happened last year or should we be having a conversation about how to address these threats and the way forward? >> and people coming together to solve these problems build
majorities in both houses of congress to pass legislation to address these issues. >> i think that's a great place to end. thank you so much to our panelists. please give them a big round of applause. [applause] thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] now more from the national security forum with senator marco rubio and in conversation
with u.s. ambassador to united nations, nikki haley. they spoke about the lessons she has learned while at the u.n. and how she approaches her role in advancing the trump administration's foreign-policy goals. this is 35 minutes. [applause] >> thank you for being here. let me just first say backstage i wanted to her to confirm that i successfully encountered a hug. thank you for being here. we appreciate you being part of this and you have such an important assignment and is the turnout shows there's a tremendous amount of interest in u.s. foreign policy and our national security and the u.s.'s