tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 8, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
principle of source protection n and the idea that journalists ts like doctors and others have tha right to keep sources confidential has implication s for the robust practice of journalism. indeed in 2012, the justice n12, department argued that reportert privilege should not apply in national security cases and na compared journalists to someonei receiving drugs from a dealer.md preventing journalists from being able to promise confidentiality to their sourcer undermines the key aspect ofce journalism that is essential to so much reporting on issues thao are central to issues like national security and antiterrorism and are central to holding government accountable to the democratic process. the u.s. government's ongoing legal pursuit of jim sends a rn terrifying message to the 124 journalists jailed worldwide on antistate charges and detracts t
from its normative moral power abroad. i don't think that the united states wants to join cuba in becoming the only other countryr in the western hemisphere to have an imprisoned journalist. and that's what's at risk here.t it is much harder for the u.s. to be taken seriously when it advocates for press freedom and journalistic rights abroad when they are abridged at home. governments have many obligations, to enforce the law, to protect citizens, to provente attacks. but they also have an obligatio to uphold the constitution and to uphold democratic principles upon which this society is built and to ensure the functioning of the democratic process in which the press plays a central role. the committee to protect journalists calls on the united states department of justice to withdraw a subpoena seeking to listsd give force journalist james risen to give testimony that would reveaf a confidential source.
>> our next speaker has worked as the director of theto rgton f washington office for reporters without borders since 2011. b she runs the u.s. activities fo1 the organization and advocates . and overskaes media and she borders here in the u.s. she re regularly appears in american and overskaes media and she lectures at colleges and an universities at freedom of the press issues. she previously served as press attache and focused on a range a of french media focussing mainly on macroeconomic issues. delphine algon. >> thank you, norman, thank you
for all the work that you did to assist this mobilization coming together and thank you for all of you for being here today. all i will be short as a lot has en already been said and i'm as aro looking forward as you are to hearing jim risen. so the united states is ranked at the 46th position in the reporters without borders 2014 world press freedom index. pre the world press freedom index that reporters without borders have published every year since 2002 measures the level of in 1 freedom of information in 180 se countries. it reflects the degree of freedom that journalist, news organizations and bloggers enjoy in each country. one explanation for the united a states to be ranked at the 46th position, the whistle blower is the enemy.
eight alleged whistle blowers have been charged under the espionage act since barak obamai took office in 2009, which is the highest number under any administration combined. there is no true freedom of information, no true freedom of the press without protection of journalist sourcesue. leaks are the life blood of leak investigative journalists, givet that nearly all information at a related to national security isl classified in this country. it is then safe to say that this crackdown against whistle n agai blowers is designed to restricts all but officially approved rov version of events.th this outlines the need for is te comprehensive federal shield laws in the u.s. which could protect journalists at the federal level. for the moment the senate shield
law project still has major 13 l flaws. 2013 will remain the year of ths associated press scandal, which came to light when the department of justice alleged that it has seized a news agency phone records. 2013, will be remembered as the year where whistle blower year w manning was condemned to 35 blo years in prison.so b 2013 will also be remembered for the revelation of edward snowden who exposed the nsa and surveillance method. and now will 2014 be remembered as the year when jim was sentenced to jail for doing hise job? not.fe and we hope not. reporters without borders is deeply worried about the james continues efforts taking by the department of justice to force -
james risen to testify against his confidential source, and reporters without border calls on the agency to -- reporters without borders is the largest press freedom organization in the world. we have almost 30 years of experience, thanks to us uniquel global network of 150 continues investigated in 130 countries, 12 national offices and a status at the u.n., reporters without d borders is able to have a global impact by gathering and providing on the ground intelligence and defending and e assisting news providers all around the world. and today we are here to defendo james risen, to defend the first amendment, because freedom of an the press is the most importanto freedom.e this is the freedom that all of us to verify the existence of all other freedom. thank you. >> i should mention that this ht news conference is being hostedi
by rootsaction.org and co-hoste. by the institute for public accuracy. there are more than a dozen organizations with logos on the petition that's online and i hope you'll take a look at thatt constellation of groups and get in touch with them and again look at that petition at roots action.org. our next speaker pioneered the audience participation talk eerh format on television as host of the donahue show for 29 years, phil donahue has 20 emmy awards, nine as host and another for the show as well as the peabody the award as well as the president'w award from the national women'sf political caucus and the media e person of the year award from ig the gay and leisure lean worl alliance. he's done a lot over the decades ground breaking interviews with world leaders and newsmakers. there's so much to say and i will be very brief. much to
but i personally vividly remember as millions of people do, how in 1985, he introduced e the satellite space bridge telecast between the united states and the soviet union in the midst of abe lot of the ver cold part of the cold war, and e then brought his talk show to russia for a week of television broadcast. phil donahue was the first one to visit chernobyl after the accident there. in 2006 he co-produced and co-directed the documentary, body of war, the very powerful journalistic cinematic focus on one young iraq war veteran left in a wheelchair by enemy fire and the parallel process of match machinations on capitol hill. phil donahue.nk
>> thank you, norman and congratulations for assembling this very important event. i was a journalist, i was a nalt journalist first for wabj in adrian, michigan, the proverbial 250 watt radio station.al and i wondered what ever happened to wabj, so i googled, wabj and there it was, the washington association of black journalists. wabj is gone now, but it's a place where i learned a lot about journalism. i was 21 years old, i must have looked 12. i had a tape recorder with literally vacuum tubes. and i could stop the mayor in a his tracks. i covered city hall, i covered my first murder. i played ball with the cops, do i would cultivate my sources and i began to understand what a o noble, noble pursuit journalism is.
and now here i am at the press club with a lot of the people who are really, if they were ale men, they would be the sons my e mother wanted to have. >> i am very flattered to have norman ask me to make an introduction of james and i have monitored my talk show meter hes now, which he's saying, all right now, get off now, get offo but i asked the patients of the good people at the press club e for this just one observation. every major metropolitan newspaper in this country supported the invasion of iraq.y mcclatchey's warren stroebl and jonathan landday are exceptionse but many of their own papers f h didn't publish their work.sh the they were saying, wait a minute.
where's the evidence? wmd, where? this is what you get with corporate media. when i was a reporter in adrian, michigan, i didn't have to take a test. to i just said i was a reporter. and i was. i didn't have to pee in a bottle. all you had to do was get out there. t that's the way we want it.at way that way you have more people getting the news. that way it's more likely that y somewhere in the collective middle of this large crowd will be found the truth. today that collective middle iso occupied by five multinational companies, much more interesteds in the price of their stock than they are in funding investigative journalists, who by the way are not necessarily y cost effective, as we know. tti, investigative journalism can lead you down a rabbit hole with nothing to publish when you finish. that's what makes what james
risen has done all the more lis important. at a time when main stream media has a lot on its mind and a lot to be ashamed of.the pr the president said during the iraq buildup, you can't take cts pictures of the coffin, and theo whole media establishment said, okay. we aren't biting back. and if we ever needed to bite back, it's now, with the bill of rights being eroded, a fundamental values of our founders. we have no habeas, we have people in cages 15 years, no nothing, no phone calls, red cross, miranda schiranda don't make me laugh. and the american people are standing mute. and how much bite and bark havee we heard from our media as the bill of rights and the
fundamentals of this nation are eroding before our very eyes.erd into this environment comes james risen. we think we should put him on a pedestal and eric holder and apparently the president believes he should be put in jail. what's wrong with this picture?e and it's for that reason that w? assemble here today, hoping that the 20 pulitzer prize winners ns who have lent their names to this will be joined by thousands and thousands of other americans who agree that we have sent and thousands and thousands of ricas people to die for the privilegee of a first amendment and the ndn right of a free press and james risen is one of the people who took advantage of that right, who doesn't want it to die, as we stand here mute as people in power don't want to be embarrassed and begin to listen on your phone and mine.
now is the time for more of the kind of journalism that james risen is doing. and it's for that reason that if have this once in a lifetime opportunity to present to you a great american, a patriot, james risen. [ applause ] >> wow. i don't know if i can live up to that. i have to think about that for a minute. i just came here really today te thank everybody involved with this. i was not involved with this ths petition drive at all and anybody who knows me knows i couldn't organize a one-car lloy funeral.e-car the fact that this has happened just leaves me speechless. the main thing that gets to me
is i realize i don't deserve all this. but i also know that it's really not about me, it's about some basic issues that affect all s journalists and all americans. you know, when the -- my lawyers always tell me never to talk about my case, but there's a - couple things i can say. one is that the justice department and the obama wh administration are the ones who turned this reallyh into a fundamental fight over press freedom in their appeal t 4th circuit. they said that this case, the central issue to this case was not some details or specifics os
anything. but the fundamental thing that this case was about was that there was no such thing as a reporter's privilege. suore if you read the government's brief in the 4th circuit appeal, that is what they say. there is no such thing as a reporter's privilege.om and so i they turned this case into a showdown over the first amendment and over the freedom of the press in the united states s. and so i am happy to carry on that fight, but it wasn't me wh. really started it. i think what, you know, this has been a long case, i got subpoenaed in 2008 first. but what i can say now is with all of these people showing their support, i'm willing to keep fighting. because now i know that i have
just an enormous group of people supporting me.suppor and one of the things that i d e would like to say is that the real reason i'm doing this is s for the future of journalism. tr my oldest son, tom, standing e right, there is a journalist and i want to make sure that the same protections that i have had in my career are therefore the future reporters in america because there is no way we could do our jobs if we don't have tho ability to have aggressive ing investigative reporting in the america and to have the ability to maintain confidential sources. there's just no way to conduct s aggressive investigative . reporting without a reporter's privilege of some kind.rces.
without confidential sources. and i don't believe that you cao have a democracy without aggressive investigative reporting and without freedom os the press. so i just wanted to come here beginning and say thank you to everyone.eryone. it's just really amazing. thanks.. [ applause ] >> how does it affect your ability to do your job? it >> well, i didn't really want to answer questions. it's obviously had an affect, but i'm trying to keep working. so i'm just trying to do what i can.t i thanks. [ applause ] >> we have a bit of time for q & a and because this is being streamed live, i would like to askpe that people go to the mic
there, which is live.questio and if there are any questions, please keep them very brief and identify yourself and your news organization. i think i see a little bit of movement in this direction. and i think i see little bit ofe movement in this direction. are there any questions? the mic is over to my left. que >> i'll ask one more question. elysea craigman. this is to james -- hey, we're here defending press freedom, right?e', or anybody else who is familiare with the case that can answer we it. i know that attorney holder said that while he's in the position no reporter is quote going to jail for doing his job. can you speak to sort of the he specifics of, you know, how the case is going to play out from now on? it's my understanding you have no other options to appeal, so timing et cetera whatever specifics you can share on that.
>> just a brief answer. i do a lot of criminal cases.t mr. holder has said that on hisd watch no reporter will go to prison for doing his job. d however, the alternate evil is actually just as bad or worse s for the first amendment.orse and i'm talking to a room full of reporters. a roo if i told you that doing your t. job is going to result in bankruptcy, would you continue e doing your job? it's that simple. thank you. >> go ahead. >> sure.>> steven nelson from u.s. news. president obama just gave pressm statements less than an hour ago, i think, about the missouri protests. and he said that police there as should not be bullying or be arresting reporters who are doing their jobs. and i would like the panel's ke opinion on, you know, whether in you welcome this and whether you think that the president may thin maybe should take his own advice here for everyone.
>> i would like to just say i wanted to express -- >> do you mind?u >> one thing i meant to say is i wanted to express my support fot the reporters who were arrested or detained in ferguson. in and i think that with the think central question that we're all facing now is how does first amendment and the freedom of the press survive in a post-9/11 age? it's all part of the same issue, i think. >> leandra bernstein.i i would like to ask of someone i on the panel -- i know that you mentioned the trend away from democracy and towards an authoritarian form of towar government. other speakers brought up cases where the administration,
whoever is sitting in the executive office basically getss to determine the narrative of ie truth and whoever brings up a counter narrative is either slandered, not published or other things happen. so, if you and perhaps somebody else on the panel could just address this trend also that ith is happening more and more under president barack obama. bush was criticized so much fror the left.bu now it's happening under now its liberal -- democrat as a nder president. a so where is this trend going? >> go ahead. >> why don't you go first. >> okay. i >> so i think what this case illustrates in the broader thi trends that we were talking tal about are some threats to press freedom, but i think it's
fortunate put that into a globat context. and there are many countries, my including russia, that have fard worse press freedom records and where journalists are imprisoned, journalists are , killed and their murders are kid never investigated. murd indeed, in most cases of journalist murders, nine out of ten are never investigated. several outstanding in russia a well.ive. so i think we do have to keep in this perspective. i mean, there are threats certainly to the free practice of journalism. luckily we live in a country that has rule of law and due process. in many countries those things are missing.ou let's not let this become an excuse for say authoritarian governments to use in their crackdown on press freedom.ress >> just in the same light, nor should we let the fact that authoritarian regimes exist give us an excuse to brow beat journalists that are doing their jobs.
the core of the issue is the oie expansive national security tional and so one can make an argumentn that, you know, in the name of national security you can do x, y or z.me you can sensor speech by classifying certain information and so on. the problem is, though, that the number of classified documents has increased exponentially since 9/11 and actually turned into something where informatiog that is embarrassing to the matn government becomes classified.ci i know this in my experience as an attorney representing guantanamo detainees and later were representing criminal suspects in the united states.ie and never had you asked me fived seven years ago if i thought that my expertise in national e security or in guantanamo would make me suitable or would be the value add to joining a case where i represent a journalist,
i mean, just think about that. i i mean, i get calls from journalists that want me to represent them because i bec represented guantanamo prisoners. so that's perspective. >> so i had another question for james. i know you don't want to take i anymore questions.kn could you talk about the harassment you faced under the bush administration for your national security reporting?and and also the fact that this subpoena was dropped by the bush administration and has been renewed under the obama tnd h administration.as >> you're going to get me in trouble with my lawyers. now, first of all, the subpoena wasn't dropped by the bush wasnt administration. it expired. the first one expired in 2009.
so it was after the bush administration left and then it was renewed by the obama administration and a whole series of subpoenas. yeah.in m in my affidavit, one of my affidavits in the case, i think i filed several of them e seve actually -- i talk about the tm harassment that i got during the bush administration.on. so that's on -- it's public in the court documents where i describe the -- all of the efforts both public and some private efforts by the administration to, in my view, to harass me and to try to, you know, try and have a chilling effect on reporting that i was doing. it was -- if you remember what -- if you were around in 2005 or 2006, there was a lot ii the press about that.
so, it was a fairly concerted effort against both me and eric lichtblau, my colleague at "the new york times." so, yeah, it got pretty intense. thanks. >> hello.m wonde i'm wondering how hopeful are you that this collective effort will make a dent? twi i remember that you said that this is just the beginning and what would follow? and a sideline question is, is a this an opportunity to push again with the federal shield law?than thanks whoever really. thanks.ks >> well, i'll address the first part of that. you know, as a 2008 obama delegate to the democratic ama national convention, i can say that the democratic party has
given hope a bad name in the de last few years. so, your question about how hopeful i am, i have some trepidation to directly answer. but i do think that this is inherently a political case than is being pursued by this that administration. you'll notice -- again, if you go to rootsaction.org, you'll see where you can read all the statements and also at the freedom of the press foundation website, all of the statements issued -- now 20 this week by pulitzer prize winners. one of those journalists flat out says something that i sts fl certainly think is true based on the evidence, this is a at vendetta. this is a vendetta against jamea risen. and if you read john rizzo 's book, former head legal department of cia that came out this year, company man, he makes clear that there has been a lots of hostility towards james risen
at the cia for quite a while. qe matter of fact, he's the most named, vilified journalist in ie the entire book of memoirs of 30 years. so, that to me indicates the political nature of this entire effort by the justice department. and the hope that i think we genuinely have is to continued momentum of what we've seen in e recent weeks to bring this issue to public spotlight and to create more and more of a groune swell of public pressure. anybody have comments on the pb other aspect question? >> you know, one thing that i ng see from these kinds of actions is that -- well, first of all, if you look at it, there's a political washington and then there's a career washington.li and it's really career an washington, the fbi, the nsa re people and all those who do are these investigations and want to stop leaks in the first place. f
and post 9/11, they've had morei and more power to track that or information. and so my point is, you know, e not to give the obama it's administration any breaks here, but it's going to get worse no matter who is in charge politically. and so the best and maybe the only antidote to that is a hat ground swell of public support that says we're not going to stand for this anymore. and that's why i think petitionw like this are so important.nt. and that is also hopefully going to lead to a federal shield lawg because congress doesn't act in the abstract. it needs to see, unfortunately, somebody going to jail or il threatened with jail to really get going and act. and that's in the states that's often how we see shield laws enacted, when there is a state controversy and on the federal a level it's happened the same way, first with valerie plain and then with other incidents. this is the kind of thing that
will prompt action and i hope ic is enough along with the popular outpouring in favor of it to get something done in congress. >> i had a followup for you, mr. leslie.>> i h you're talking about the shield laws currently being discussed in the senate and the house, se would those apply to national oe security issues like the ones that james risen has covered?ne >> it's all in the wording, ri obviously.>> i that's always what it comes down to. viously. but we think it's finessed enough to say that the exemptio for national security cases is s really going to come into play when there's an on going threat to national security, not when , there's just an effort to s j examine something in the past.us as long as we maintain that and, you know, obviously the wording can change day to day as it goes through every step of congress, but that's a critical thing.ll the government will always want the ability to investigate incidents where there truly is a current, real, meaningful threat
to the national security. and, you know, we're never goinu to win that one. you know, it makes sense that if there's literally a bomb that'sb going to go off, they're going to want to investigate g to goi everything they can. so, as long as there's that limit in there and we can keep that, i think it can be the t meaningful and i think it can help in cases like this. can >> i'm not a journalist. but i have a followup question.a i'm a lawyer and stanford i'm student at stanford and ph.d. a there. i'm just curious if you could sf talk a little bit more about hot the shield bill would actually a as its written protect ten journalists like mr. risen. i know he spoke at the sources and secrets conference a couple months ago and indicated he didn't think he would be protected under the bill as its currently written.dited unde i think the language that might be relevant that you're pointin to in the senate version there's language about preventing or g mitigating future attacks and the idea of preventing or
mitigating doesn't seem to have future tense to it. the idea of mitigating an attack seems like we could be focussed on any sort of on-going terrorist activities. so anything could be covered under the exception.oc so, i ask you this because i me wonder if you could help me seey the bill the way you see it because the way i read it s goin everyone is going to fall g lo through the loophole and so the way it's written now it actually might do more harm than good. that said, aside from the shiels bill, are there other solutionso that you might be able to put forward that might be equally id useful to help address the kinde of situation that we're seeing here?well, thanks. t >> well, i think the thing i ous would point out is that e hope everything we hope for is an incremental change.chan there's no golden ticket that's going to solve everything.olve you know, you can't ask the government to solve everything.u they won't do it. you know, it has to be by reporters continuing to do great work and having the public stand up for that. so, you know, with that in mind,
you know, we've never felt thatt the shield law was perfect.l we feel it's an incremental change.chan we've never felt that the national security exception see should be as broad as the senate wants it to be, but you fight over every little word and hope to get something that will put h the brakes on most ininvest investigations. and, you know, mitigating harm r from a terrorist attack, if that's the only exception, that's going to allow -- that'so going to stop a lot of the subpoenas that we've talked subp about, a lot of the whistle outl blower investigations that we'v talked about in -- you know, even today or when we name all the ones that the obama ing administration is looking into. so, yeah, it's not a cure-all. there's no perfect way to get all this done. but every little thing helps. getting the department of hel justice to have a better policys about what it will do before itt issues a subpoena is a big step. you know, assistant u.s. attorn
attorney out there who now knows he has to jump through a lot oft hoops and ask for permission from washington and from directly from the attorneyd fr general will hesitate much more often than an ausa who can just subpoena anybody or get any records. so, it all helps and none of it is perfect in a sense the best i can say. you know, we've never felt the shield law was perfect. i would argue for an absolute privilege in the courts if onlye the courts would agree with me.i >> i think congress is your problem. >> i think we have time for one more question. t >> i have a question to james risen. it's not about your work but it's about the effect of the ix last six years on your sources. are they still motivated or maybe even more motivated and what new guarantees do they ask? what has changed in their way of coming out with the informations especially in the sector of national security?
>> you don't really think i'm going to answer that, do you? i'm not going to answer it.nswer thanks. >> i'll give you an answer.ou at least as someone who is some representing the sources in a lot of this. i mentioned that there are ed literally are -- i can count on two hands the number of journalists that i actually feea safe taking a whistle blower tow in this country because of the u climate. and one of them is jim risen. and it's a very strict test to ask someone if they would be willing to go to jail to protect a source, but whistle blowers have to face that question bloe everyday now. are you willing to go to jail to blow the whistle and to tell thd
truth and to reveal fraud, re waste, abuse and illegality, are you willing to be the one put ie jail or even worse, exiled frome your country and rendered stateless? it's a huge price to pay that both whistle blowers and journalists are taking to get this information out to the public interest, out to the public, and we need your suppori in congress on whistle blower protection bills, on surveillance reform bills and on reporter shield bills. i know in the whistle blower n e protection legislation the national security exemption loophole swallows just about everything because i could probably link this glass of laso water to national security if you gave me five minutes. so i hope that helps answer. >> can i make two quick points? go ahead. i'm sorry. t >> i just want to add to that, h mean, the community to protect journalists put out a report last year that includes dozens of interviews with journalists t
about the impact of those issuei on their reporting.impact and it's on the website cpj.org but essentially the broad overview was it has had an ew ws impact on sources going -- i urg mean, not only whistle blowers, but just sources in general.but and the society of professional journalists recently sent a letter about new rules that have come out from the administration and from various departments of the government prohibiting, youo know, basic contact with t journalists, the insider threate program and other things like ae this that cpj and other organizations here have signed on to in opposition. so we see across the board from whistle blowers on to just general functionaries and gene subject experts this is having an impact on reporters being able to speak to their sources. >> on that note, i want to mention that as we adjourn the news conference, we do have this room for another hour or so for one on one interviews and on
discussions, so you don't have d to rush off.scussi but i want to thank everybody o. for being here. [ applause ]. eryb >> i just wanted to add before f everyone leaves, i'm bernie lun lunzer, president of the spaper newspaper guild and we did award the herb block freedom award to james risen yesterday, which wep hope he'll receive in october. and it's not enough to commit c journalism, you have to act to d protect it and that's why we honor james risen.and and it was the night riddle bureau in the leadup to iraq, then it became -- >> thank you. [ applause ]. renee ellmers was first elected to congress from north
carolina's 2nd district in 2010. this year the republican congresswoman's being challenged by former "american idol" contestant clay aiken, a democrat. the two debated last night. >> we never ended the war on terror. this is just an extension of it. >> can you end it? >> well, that's the question. we're talking about radical islam. we're talking about jihadists. we're talking about those that believe this is the plan for the future. it has been in place since, you know, the beginning. we have to make sure that we're doing everything we can to keep our allies safe, working with our allies, working with those countries to make sure that we have a presence there. and we are working with them. when we leave, when we draw down, when we say we're victorious in a land that we are not, that's when these groups emerge. and we have to end that. to the point of the president, and support to the president,
yes, we will be doing everything we can too support the president on this issue but he has got to stop telling our enemies what we will do and what we will not do. it's just simply not a plan for strategy. >> mr. aiken. >> there are several things about congresswoman ellmers' answer that concerns me. first, a few weeks ago she said she is not in support of sending ground troops to the region, and just a few days ago, speaker of the house john boehner changed course and decided that he believed that it was important to send ground troops to the region, now we hear congresswoman ellmers saying she would send ground troops to the region. the men and women in our military should be protecting the united states and our soil. to hear her change her tune because the party leader changed his tune is concerning. congresswoman ellmers went on the record not too long ago saying john boehner was her boss and you don't want to upset the boss. so i understand if that's her mindset that's probably why she's changed her tune now.
but the people of the 2nd district are her boss and the military right now is overwhelmingly against sending ground troops. i am not going to change my tune. i said that i don't believe we need to send the men and women of the u.s. military into harm's way to protect another land. there is a threat. when we have seen that it is not a credible threat, we'll reconsider it, but simply going in and sending our men and women into harm's way because of the party leader tells us to do it is not a viable reason for me. >> one more note. you talked about our arab allies in the region. can we depend on them? >> we have to work with those groups. we have to show support. i do want to go back to what mr. aiken has said. john boehner may be the speaker of the house but the people of
district two are my boss and that is exactly why we're here today. >> no, i agree -- >> because i'm reapplying for this job. >> i agree but i want to speak to your point -- >> what i want to clarify, this and maybe as an entertainer you are not aware of. these things are fluid. when the president asked for his support he asked for it in a certain way, we gave him that support, that was what we voted on. i think there was much debate and much concern that that wasn't quite enough and i agree. but at the time, we allowed the president, we voted, we came together unified in a bipartisan fashion, to support the president on this initiative. i do believe that there will be much more that we need to do. >> more campaign 2014 debates on c-span tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern, pennsylvania's republican governor tom corbett and his democratic challenger tom wolf meet for their final debate. that's live from pittsburgh at 7:00 p.m. eastern on our companion network c-span. tomorrow, live on c-span at 7:30 p.m. eastern, a debate from the 17th congressional district of illinois.
director michael rogers talk about the mission and efforts to increase transparence. he spoke at event hosted by the national security alliance in august. it is 50 minutes.>> >> well good evening. can you hear me in the back? can you hear me in the back? excellent. first and foremost i want thank you for taking the time outof o your busy lives to spend a ther little time together this e evening. to be honest i am somewhat shocked. when i was asked to do this i this, said you i really want to do an event in d.c. in the middle of v august? didn't think there was going to be many people. so i thank you for your ime. willingness to spend time out of your busy lives. for i'm also grateful because i'm fi here tonight for several reasons. first and foremost, many of youi have heard me previously talk r about this as the director of a the national security agency a c as the commander of the united states cyber command, am a firmd
believer public dialogue and isa transparency is an important part of executing our mission today and in the future. we have got to be willing to n i have a public dialogue. so when i was asked if i would be willing do this, i said no restrictions on needia, no s restrictions on questions. iffer going to do this then rs h rogers has go into this with hi. eyes open. that's important because there is no doubt that one of my primary mission as the director of the national security agency is to represent the hard working men and women of that ame organization and help the american public understand who are they, whatwhat do they do a why do they do it. because quite frankly we haven't had much discussion about that.s now the national security agency in simple terms is tasked to ms defend the nation and its alliee to comply with the rule of law and toul ensure that we always remain accountable to the american people. that is what we are about, defending the nation and our allies, following the rule of l.
law, and always remembering that we remain accountable to the e citizens that we defend. much debate about many of the capabilities have been highlighted about what nsa can do.ut but what we haven't talked mucht about is, so what is the context in which those capabilities are applied? what are the policy and legal mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure those t in p capabilities are not misused pc against the very citizens that we would defend. what leads us to believe that wl the things nsa does are in the best interest of the nation andt our allies? i took this job in no small part because i believe in the ecurit national security agency, and i. believe in its mission. it doesn't mean we are perfect. you will not hear me say that. what you will hear me say is wee are're committed to the rule oft law. and we will be accountable. and when we make mistakes, we will stand up and acknowledge that. and we b wilel use the very
compliance mechanisms that have been put in place both internally within the agency, y, but perhaps more importantly the broader set of external at be compliance teammate, whether nt that be the congress, the courts the department of justice our teammates in the dni. when we make a mistake we will acknowledge t and much of what you have read from flowed from nsa self reporting where we have made mistakes and not properly l followed our own procedures. i highlighted in the course of the last few months you have seen multiple public reviews off what ornsa does for example in i compliance with anfisa act 702. in the 215 section of the fiez o is a.fisa who the external organizations who have looked at us and said hey nsa is complying with the law.
they have aro robust set of inspections in place to make sure we don't abuse the information we collect and appropriately protect it. it doesn't mean we are perfect but i am very proud of what we p have put in place. in no small part because we havt learned from our past mistakes. we implemented a pretty extensive compliance organization back in the 2009 time frame. because we realized we need to do things better. i compliment general alexander,o my predecessor for his commitment to that idea of compliance and oversight. do ou to dor our mission we have do that. a there is much debate, and it is a good one for us as a nation, to talk about what is the right balance between the need to ensure our security and the neee to ensure a recognition of the rightin rights of every one of our citizens. and it is not either or.
we have got to address both very valid concerns. to the harder challenge to me ways is what is the right arency balance between secrecy and me intelligence professional.protec if i'm honest, i have spent my o wholew life thinking about procedures and methods.lize i realize that as an der t intelligence leader in the 21stt century, rogers, you got to be willing to talk to a broader sew of people, and you've got to beb willing to talk at least in w broad terms about what we do and why we do it. v anerd while i'm very comfortably with what nsa does and why it does it. because ei believe we defend thd nations and it's allies, we follow the rule of law and we always remember that we remain t accountable to the american people. comes in ngressity
many forms, whether it's the ecs congress that o executes oversi' of our functions, whether it's the courts that grants us the authority to do what we do. we have to make a case in many n cases to a federal court afbnd t permission to do what we do. g and nobodyiv writes us a blank check. we're given permission for a fi finite purpose and a finite period of time and we have to make sure that we report to the court if we have failed in our compliance responsibilities. the other challenge i have as a challenger of the nsa, as i tell the new nsa director, we cannot be trapped by the past. we got to learn from the past and we got to drive, we got a tr mission that the nation depends on. and almost every major operation that i can think of that we as
nation have zone in the course of the last year, for example. nsa and many others in the intelligence community have abit played a major role in our ability to do that. is a go that is a good thing for the citizens of this country, and it is a good thing for our allies.' and don't ever forget, we're noo only about supporting the united states, but we are about supporting our allies. and i spend a good daeal of tim remembering what brought us the together in the first place.pla. so my challenge is how do i makt sure that nsa inremains effecti inma executing its mission?rld r how do i make sure that we're positioned as the world around us is changing to make sure tha we retain our relevance and ourr capabilities, always mindful that we obey the rule of law an that we are accountable to the citizens of the nation that we
defend. what do we need to be doing now that in five or ten years we'lln be in real trouble. because another area that i will give general alexander real poichlts in, i can remember him talking about and him telling tl me, what are some of the are s investments we need to make now that won't even be a factor in n five or ten years, but, mike, if we don't do it now, whoever ges. comes behind me is going to have challenges. that's hard, and it's hard to do in a budget environment that it's decreasing, not increasing. we have enjoyed relatively s steady increases in funding over the course of the last decade.ls
they sacrifice in many case ny their lives, but they became fundamentally different individuals, and i think about them all the time. in and as we move into the future,e constantly thinking to myself, what is it we need to do to e remain relevant to those men and women in uniform, whether they're working in an embassy -- and we're here to try to help make a difference in all of those scenarios.methese that is nothing to apologize for.e is and when we do it, we always remember we obey the rule of law, and we're accountable to the citizens of this nation.zeno and everyf review that we have had to date has come back and said, hey, look, you can argue, is the law correct? you can argue, is the policy what we need to be doing?ack a but nobody has come back and said, nsa has failed to follow
the law or nsa has failed to meet its obligations in ensuring that we protect the information we collect in the course of our duties, again, it doesn't mean we're perfect. but i fundamentally believe in o what we do, i fundiamentally believe in why we do what we do. if you were an employee of nsa, will you stand for a minute? come on, i know there's somebody here. the reason i ask you to stand in rogers gets all the attention as the director, but what really ad matters to me are men and womene like this who are dedicated their adult elys in many cases, to trying to ensure the defensey of our citizens and our allies. i just want to thank you very, very much.
i want to be very public in sayinging i need the help and un capable that many in this reem and others around the world bring to bear. ou we can't do this alone, i would like to tell you it's the 1960s and it's like the apollo space program and the u.s. governmentn is driving the technology, but n it's not the situation we see ce ourselves with in the 20th ging. century and i don't see that changing. remember, nsa has two primary missions, the foreign intelligence mission to gain ona insights about the world around us, about nations who would like to gain an advantage over us, groups that if they had their d way, literally every one of us would be dead. we don't think about that much
in the society that we live in. think about what we take for granted, a stable society in which the rule of law is dified respected and in i which the rights of individuals are codified in law and are practiced as a society. we have been blessed with that for 238-plus years. we take it for granted, you go u aroundnd the world today, and it just flat out doesn't exist in many other places, and there are groups and individuals that if they had their way, the entire idea of the inherent right of dc the individual to make choices in their lives would not exist.n
states in an a -- the individuals who perpetrated that, remain out there.remain and like-minded individuals remain out there. we need to remember that. now as i said, it's all about finding that balance, it's not p either/or. because if the price of achieving our security is fundamentally becoming something we aren't, then they have won, and i have no desire to fund mentally compromise the right of what is at the heart of america. and as the nsa director, i am lf always mindful of those rights and i am always mindful of what makes america, america.an i am always mindful of the lueso values of our allies and our partners. we aren't in this alone. and as i said, i need your helpi i need strong partners.the the men and women of the national security agency need d strong partners. and you got to see some of them here with us tonight.
let me conclude, because i want you guys to get something to eat, we're going to have a session after dinner where i'llt take questionse and answers, an we'll take it from there.e but let me just conclude, i want to thank you for being here wii tonight, i thank you for your iu willingness to be part of a dialogue, because we need a gue. dialogue, as a nation, we got t make some tough choices and we e want to have a well informed dialogue when we make those choices.rmedan and we have got to realize, that's rthere's a wide range o opinions out unthere, i understd that, but the dialogue has got to represent multiple viewpoints, that is at the heart of what is the strength of togeh america, that we can bring together lots of individuals, with lots of different are and viewpoints, and yet we can still remain who we are and what we are and what we are about.