tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN December 3, 2014 9:00am-11:01am EST
to deal with the foreign fighter problem. it's not to explain our set of policy. >> you've been briefed on our policy on syria otherwise you're in a -- >> our policy and i've give the one sentence answer is to bring about a political settlement which would provide syrian people an opportunity to have a democratic future without assad in power. >> okay. i like the i'll point out that, in fact, during the discussion of the red line, the infamous red line a year ago i was one of the vocal supporters of the need to enforce that red line, and there was a lot of discussion of an off-ramp for assad during that time period. let's give him money and send him somewhere else. let's get him out of government. it was the failure of enforcing that red line. i have not heard a proposal to get assad out of office. toppling him by force is not the best answer. it is what it is right now. so you do engage with fsa
elements in terms of being involved with foreign fighters. >> i do not. >> who in the state does any of that? obviously fsa is part of counter-isis if that's our strategy, would obviously have to be involved in the foreign fighter and they would be on the front line of why are these people being recruited. where does that connection happen. if you're the foreign fighter gi -- >> my task, my responsibility is the things i have been asked to do are to pursue a diplomatic strategy with our foreign partners, our foreign countries on foreign fighters. i do not engage directly with the syrian opposition. ambassador rubenstein is our envoy for that. certainly others in the state department are dealing with this issue, others in the pentagon in terms of the military, intelligence agencies. >> why is it that isis is attracting foreign fighters versus foreign fighters coming
to fsa, you know, al nusra front. is it the jihadism? what is it? that you have seen. >> i think it's partly the discussion i was having earlier. it is the perception that they are successful. >> right. >> it's the perception that joining them is a way of trying to combat assad. in some cases the way they have marketed, if that's the right word, themselves as being a place where you can come and you can be involved in this adventure, and that is one of the perceptions. it is their declaration of a caliphate which has attracted people who misunderstand exactly what isil is doing and what this means. so these are some of the factors that have caused isil to be -- attract foreign fighters. >> i agree with you. i think that's right. i think success brings success.
i have seen some of the isis propaganda and it's powerful. it looks like if you're a young person, if you're in your teens and you're looking for something fun to do, they make it look fun, right? come here and do whatever you want to do, be with a bunch of guys that are out pushing this idea of jihadism and the caliphate, and you can see that. and i think my concern, and you're not the guy to talk to about this evidently, but my concern is, you know, the message we've been sending for years about the free syrian army is quite the opposite. these are the people that we actually want to be emboldened. these are the people we want to be part of a post-assad syria. instead the message we send, and we have a lot of members of congress that question -- that basically say they're no different than isis which is actually offensive if you have met any of these folks. you're going to have allegiances switch, but the other thing is if you're somebody looking to overthrow assad, what is attracting you to the fsa. there's no no-fly zone over their territories as of yet. there's been a lot of talk that the united states is helping to
train and equip but you really haven't seen it. now the discussion is in our newfound strategy that we may train a few thousand fighters over the next year. that would not attract anybody. i agree with you on that, and i hope -- i'm not going to go past my time, but i hope this administration really wrestles with the issue of syria and understands you're not going to defeat isis until you take care of the syria problem. it is the incubator of the problem. so with that, thank you for your testimony and i'll yield back. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. grayson, for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. warrick, is joining isis is crime under u.s. law? >> certainly giving material support to isis is a violation of federal statutes, yes. >> is that true of both u.s. citizens and non-u.s. citizens? >> well, i mean, the question of whether a foreign citizen
violates foreign law -- >> no, u.s. law. >> oh, u.s. law? we have been known to prosecute foreign nationals who are in the united states for violation of material support statutes, yes. >> all right. so let's be specific about this. let's talk for instance about the 26 irish residents or residents of ireland who apparently have joined isis. what would happen if one of them traveled to the united states? >> well, i'm not going to get into exact hypotheticals. i do want to say, however, that where somebody has been identified as a foreign fighter fighting for isil in syria and it's possible to watch list such a person, they're going to be in all likelihood on a no-fly list or another list of the u.s. government that will attract a great deal of attention before they are allowed to get on an airplane to the united states. >> tell us regarding the no-fly
list, what would that mean? they'd never be able to come to the united states, right? >> well, they wouldn't be able to fly here. the no-fly list obviously doesn't apply to other modes of transportation. however, i can tell you there are equivalent measures in place so somebody on the no-fly list is almost certainly not going to be allowed entry into the united states if they come by cruise ship or if they fly to canada, for example, which they may not be able to do if they're no-flied for us, and they were to try, let's say, to come across the u.s./canadian border. >> what are the names of those lists? >> i'm sorry? >> what are the names of the lists you're referring to, not no-fly list but the no cross the border list? >> these are all systems managed by the terror screening center which is an arm of the fbi but includes participation by dhs and others. dhs, however, has the authority to make admission decisions when
someone presents him or herself at a border or at an airport, and so we have the authority to refuse someone entry to the united states if they're deemed inadmissible. there are specific grounds in the immigration and nationality act that allow us to say someone that is reasonably suspected to be a terrorist or to have given material support to terrorist groups, that that person can be denied entry into the united states, and i can assure you, congressman, we exercise that authority when it's appropriate for us to do so. >> so regardless of whether in a country that requires a visa or not for nationals of that country and the united states, they're simply not going to be let in, right? >> if they meet the standard of the immigration and nationality act, we're going to comply with the law i assure you. >> by not letting them in, right? >> there are a host of footnotes and exceptions i'm not going to go into in open session but essentially, no, we're not going to do that. >> let's talk about the u.s.
citizens with u.s. passports, reputed to be 130 of them. what do we know about them? >> you should ask that question of the fbi but when they give numbers, which i would describe only as greater than 100, the numbers that you see on this chart are private groups' estimates. so the fbi is the better source for actual statistics. in those cases what we're talking about are identities where the name of the person is known and certain other information that allows us to be reasonably precise as to who it is. we at least have in mind when a decision, for instance, on someone being on a no-fly list is made. >> or, for instance, when they come back. when they come back, if they're identified as a foreign fighter for isis according to what you said earlier, they have committed a crime and they can be arrested upon entry, correct? >> that's correct. >> and, in fact, that has happened, correct? >> yes, it has. >> all right. and then what happens after that? they're put in prison, right?
>> first of all, when they're referred to the fbi for further investigation and prosecution, that actually is outside of dhs' purview and into the fbi's purview. if you want to start tracking people from that point forward, i would refer you to the fbi. and then to the department of justice. >> but you're familiar with the procedures, right? >> i'm familiar with the procedures, yes. >> and you work with the fbi to get that done, right? >> yes, we work very closely with the fbi and our partners in the intelligence community. >> hearing all that i guess we can sleep a little more soundly now, right? >> well, sir, yes, you can. however, as we always tell everyone, prunes and vil lens s vigilance is something that's the responsibility of all of us. >> i yield back. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. perry. >> thank you for your time. ambassador, a few months ago taxpayers were asked to spend a couple hundred million dollars or several hundred million dollars for the training and i guess some equipping of fsa
fighters. can you give me and us any update on -- we're quickly approaching the time when that proviso was to expire. what's our investment gleaned us at this point? >> again, that's an area, and there was a previous line of questioning in the same direction. i am not the person who deals with the free syrian army or the syrian opposition. that's really beyond my responsibilities and my mandate at the state department. >> all right. that's unfortunate. it's very frustrating for us. you come here. we have questions that we have to respond to our constituents, and either you don't have or won't give the answers, and so we just walk away with nothing. so it's very frustrating. i mean, you have no indication whatsoever. like you're not even aware -- you're aware the program is happening and that's your complete knowledge of it, like mine? >> again, i am not an authoritative spokesperson --
>> what do you know? do you know anything? >> congressman, i have testified here for the better part of two hours about what i am trying to do, leading an effort to deal with foreign fighters, about our engagement with our partners, about the different approaches we're taking with those partners. again, i'm not responsible for our overall syria policy or our relations with the syrian opposition. my understanding is that you have a hearing scheduled in the reasonably near future with someone who will be able to address those issues but if there are specific questions you want addressed, i'm confident that we will find someone at the state department who can provide you -- >> listen, i can appreciate that, you've got a long record of service and thank you very much for that, but you must understand when you come to these things as a representative of the department of state, you should have a modicum of information regarding many subjects, specifically the one that we're talking about. as a member of congress when i
go out to a town hall meeting, i can't say, look, i'm not on appropriations. it's not my responsibility. i'll see you later. my constituents don't accept that and with all due respect, i don't feel like your answer is acceptable at this time. but with that having been said, if you could give me the unclassified version of a long-term -- unclassified of a long-term strategy regarding a peaceful transition in syria. look, we got a couple minutes here, but do the best you can. give me the high points. i mean, syria doesn't like us -- turkey doesn't like assad so they're not helping us with isis. we don't like assad or isis but we've picked isis as the more problematic one of the two at this time, but paint some picture of where we're going because we just spent $500 million for free syrian army fighters which you can provide no answers on and the american people are supposed to continue to support the administration in some policy. i'm asking what the heck it is.
>> congressman, i was asked to come up and testify and the subject was isis and the threat from foreign fighters. that is what i have tried to do to the best of my ability. i was not asked to be a witness on our broader syria policy or to be prepared to discuss the future of syria. i have said that the essentials of our policy are to try to have a political settlement inside syria that enables the people of syria to have a democratic future without assad, that enables them to be free from terrorist threats, from terrorist organizations as well. i really feel that if you want to delve more deeply into our syria policy, then someone who can be an authoritative spokesman on our policy on syria should be asked to come and testify. >> i appreciate that. those are great platitudes that all americans can agree with and probably all people around the world can agree with. let me ask you this then. the khorasan group. are you familiar? can i ask questions about that?
>> i am familiar with the khorasan group. some of the questions may involved classified answers but i'd be happy to try to answer your questions, sir. >> they are described as seasoned al qaeda operatives in syria. would you agree with that? >> yes, i would. >> so when al qaeda -- seasoned al qaeda operatives. so when the president told us a couple years ago that -- and i don't remember the exact verbiage but it was something similar to al qaeda is decimated and on the run. would that comport with the success of the khorasan group in syria or would that be con ter vening? >> what i would say is that my understanding of what the president meant was al qaeda as an organization had been severely damaged. that did not mean that al qaeda and all the individual elements of al qaeda had been defeated. we see al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, and this group of fighters who have gone to syria coming in some respects from
pakistan and afghanistan from core al qaeda have tried to create space to operate in syrian territory. >> so could i say it was a little true and maybe a little deceptive? or untrue? whatever you want to call it. it wasn't completely factual. >> i don't share your views, congressman. >> i appreciate that. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. snyder. >> thank you, mr. chair, and again i want to thank the witnesses for joining us today to specifically talk about the threat of foreign fighters going into syria vis-a-vis isis. looking at the numbers that were presented to us and the source or location of where many of the fiders are coming from, of the 16,000, roughly 5,000 are coming from north africa as mentioned earlier. about another 2,500 from europe, 40% of those from france. and then from the gulf states you have another 4,000 roughly.
so my general question, and i'll ask a couple questions and leave you to answer. my general question is are there any common threads attracting these fighters from these different regions? are there specific regional trends that draw those fighters and how do we deal with that? those are my general questions. ambassador, you mentioned peter kn newman who released a study in the spring and identified a muss lick clai muslim cleric with a large following. not necessarily sending people to fight but preaching in a way that inspires those folks to fight. what are we doing specifically about folks like that, not just in the united states but globally with specific concern of people preaching from the united states? with that i'll leave it to the witnesses. >> just to address briefly your question about regional trends. there are differences. i think the one common theme is
the attraction of foreign fighters to the conflict in syria. the idea that sunni muslims are being attacked and need to be defended. this is a fairly common theme throughout the conversations i have had with our foreign partners. as to the reasons, the primary reason that foreign fighters are attracted to the conflict, but there are variations on this theme. in the western balkans i have had conversations with officials there who have pointed to the fact that the foreign fighters from their country are coming from the poorest areas and that their foreign fighters from those countries are being told if you go to syrian, you will get paid, you will have a vob, you will have status. the ideological element is less important. partners in eastsoutheast asia motivation seems to be to get training and skills to be brought back to the home country
to be potentially used in terrorist activities in the home country. not so much an ideological motivation. there are regional variations and individual variations. the most important motivation is the conflict in syria. the idea we need to defend our muslim brothers, our sunni muslim brothers in syria. >> if i can, the large number coming from france, almost 1,000 fighters from france, are those residents or citizens of france who have connections to tunisia or morocco or libya or are they disconnected? >> many of them are from north africa originally, but many of them are second or third generation. these are not necessarily first generation immigrants. and that raises another kind of regional variation. certainly the problem of the inability of some of our european partners to integrate their immigrant populations into
their societies has left a degree of alienation that has made some of these people susceptible to the kind of propaganda that isil is putting out. there's also another element here, sir, which i think can't be totally neglected. i believe, and it's hard to come up with specific evidence of this, that there are some foreign fighters who are simply attracted to the violence that is taking place. there was a mention of a man alleged to have committed the killings at the jewish museum in brussels. he has a very deep criminal background. i think there's an element in some of the attraction of foreign fighters. it is this attraction to violence itself. >> and in the last minute as far as some of the preachers, the study put out by mr. neuman and two others said -- specifically identified two preachers globally who were having a disproportionate influence on promoting fighters going into syria. >> i don't know whether my
colleague wants to address that. the state department doesn't do activities inside the united states of this nature. >> mr. warrick. >> i'm not the right person to answer that question. >> so i'm not going to obviously address the specifics of any individual case, but i do want to make the point that in all the work that we do in community outreach, working with federal, state, and local law enforcement, we're very mindful of the distinction between those who are exercising their free speech rights and those who are to the contrary urging people to carry out acts of violence. the former is a protected constitutional right and the latter is a crime. and we distinguish in all that we do carefully between those two characteristics. so i'm not going to assess the statements of any individual religious leaders from the table here today other than just to assure you that we are very mindful of the distinction and we use that in all the work we do. >> with that my time is expired and i yield back.
>> chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate the time. i want to follow up, ambassador, just on a couple quick things. i was unable to be here for the whole time but i watched the hearing and several times you have basically and even with my friend from pennsylvania sort of punted the issue of commenting on the administration's policy on syria. to an extent i understand that, but i do have a question because you're part of the policy of working with foreign fighters coming into syria and how we deal with that, correct? do you understand the policy of the administration? i'm not asking you to comment on it. i'm asking do you understand it? >> again, i'm not the authoritative -- >> i'm not asking -- >> do i understand what the main elements are, yes? i think i do. >> okay. i'm not going to chase that last i think i do, but because this is an important part to me. i'm not trying to pin you down, but punting the question like the gentleman from pennsylvania said i think is a direct issue
of what we're dealing with here because there's a lot of folks just trying to understand our policy in syria and someone like my friend who has served in iraq and served in this region during wartime, this is very much of a concern. if we don't understand the policy and you're trying to carry out a bigger part of that policy, to say that you do at least attempt to understand it is encouraging. my question is if you understand it, what is your understanding of that policy as short as you can -- what is your understanding of the administration's policy? >> the president has spoken about our policy. the secretary of state has spoken about our policy. ambassador ann patterson has spoken about our policy. brett mcgurk -- >> with all due respect -- >> they're the ones -- >> i want yours. in a job description, you're given a job and you are there to carry out your part of the policy, correct? okay. from your understanding of what the policy is on how we're to
contain or how we're to fight and how to curb fighters because i have other questions about the violence aspect which i tend to agree with you. i think there's the soldier of fortune attitude, they want to go, they get their experience and go. do you have a clear enough understanding of the policy objectives inside of syriaened a the influences to carry out your function and if so, what do you feel like your part of that policy is? >> i think i do have enough of an understanding to carry out my role, sir. because as i understand the policy, and again i'm not the spokesperson, it is to try to bring about a political settlement in syria that women allow the syrian people to have a democratic future, that will be a future without assad. that is the core, the fundamental of the policy. that is the basis on which i try to do what i do, which is the idea that why we're trying to deal with this foreign fighter problem, there are bigger syria
pieces that are being dealt with by the secretary, by the president, by ambassador patters patterson, by ambassador reub rubenstein who is responsible for our syria policy -- >> you're actually -- in dealing with it i think is part of the problem. there's basically a three-prong kind of attack however you want to look at it with the assad regime, the fighters against the assad and the fighters against the fighters of assad and you have fighters coming in from all over to fight here. i have read and listened to the president speak about this. we basically chose to leave the current regime off sort of the table when we're training free syrian fighters to go after isis or isil, however you want to describe it. we're saying we'll deal with the assad part of this later. i'm trying to figure out what are you doing or are you doing to curb outside fighters coming in on his behalf? is that part of your policy? and if it is, that contradicts the policy of basically leaving him for another day.
>> it is certainly most of the efforts that i have talked about here today are related to sunni foreign fighters. they are fighters going to fight for isil or al nusra, the khorasan group, those groups. we are concerned about the other foreign fighters, if you will, that come into syria. the shia foreign fighters, the hezbollah foreign fighters. the reality is we have fewer tools to deal with those fighters. >> would you say that those fighters are more in it for the fight? you know, we all grew up in neighborhoods. you just had one of the guys in it's class, they're just going to fight. and sometimes there's a reason, sometimes there's not a reason. would that classify more of that fighter? >> i say as not being the expert on the subject that i feel the fighters who have gone to fight on the side of assad are different than the fighters who are coming from other countries to fight for isil or al nusra. it is a more organized effort, supported by outside countries effort. >> i appreciate your understanding because i believe
you have a difficult job and understanding the policy is important, at least your part. i still think that we need to be arming those who want to fight. that's the kurds. we need to get them involved in the fight and then anybody else that wants to join, you have a tough job. i commend you for doing that. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> chair recognizes the patient gentlewoman from florida, miss frankel, for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i often feel like the agatha christie novel, and then there was none. >> there's three now. >> i have been there many a time. >> thank you very much, gentlemen, for being here. it's been a very interesting discussion to listen to, and to me it sounds like the problem is the problem, and i say that not to be facetious but it sounds to me like one of these rock and a hard place situations, not to be
trite. i think some of the frustration you have heard -- there's an old saying the knee bone is attached to the thigh bone and so forth, so it's very difficult for us to hear a discussion just of the foreign fighters with not an overall discussion of the strategy. so i'll try out of respect to narrow my questions to the foreign fighters and if i ask a question that deviates, you just have to say. i'll respect your answer. so let's start with this proposition. we are to assume that these foreign fighters coming back to our country or to our allies are -- is an immediate present danger to our security, is that something we should assume? >> well, we certainly treat them as if they are a threat. if they've been a foreign fighter for isil, that's going
to be taken with enormous seriousness. i think we do need to recognize that there is the possibility that some foreign fighters walked away from the fight because they decided that isil was not what it was advertised to be and its social media, which i would echo secretary johnson's character zization as slick is totally at odds when people fight for isil. undoubtedly there are people who walk -- >> i have other questions. can you just answer, is it an immediate threat? i'm trying to understand the seriousness of it? >> the answer has to be some are and we're treating everyone that way until otherwise it can be established. >> i want to get back to you, ambassador. i think you said these fighters that are coming from other countries, many of them are going to fight assad. is that what you said?
>> i said i think that's one of the primary motivations. >> so when we go after isil, air strikes let's say in iraq, or we try to denigrate isil, we are in a sense helping assad. is that correct? >> i don't think we're helping assad. i think assad's problems go well beyond whatever we do with isil. and certainly if he's taking some consolation in the fact we are attacking isil, i think he's making a big mistakes. >> well, i just am trying to figure this out. if isil is coming in -- the fighters are coming in to fight assad, we're trying to denigrate isil, so as we -- do we encourage or incite more fighters to come in? i guess that's the question.
are our atictions or our inactions -- either our actions to go after isil inciting more fighters to come in or our inaction to go after assad, is that inciting more fighters to come in? >> i'm not sure i can give you a definitive answer here because i can't point to specific evidence. it's hard for me to put myself in the head of a foreign fighter who sees air strikes being carried out -- >> what about in terms of the advertising that they do to bring the fighters in? do they use our actions or inactions -- >> clearly they are trying to use our actions as an incentive or motivation for people to come and fight, but i can't point to specific evidence at this stage, particularly in this setting, that says whether there is, in fact, happening or not. >> are most of the fighters coming in through turkey? >> yes. turkey is the primary -- >> and so it seems to me another countervailing issue here is
turkey is under deluge from syrians who are fleeing assad, and so their resources are hurting badly. so it seems to me that we want somebody to be fighting assad, so do you think that that is a factor in their not keeping the borders more secure? >> turkey has made to secret that one of the primary elements of its policy is to see assad go. but at the same time i think turkey also understands the threat that isil in particular poses to turkey. we had an incident back in march where some isil fighters crossed over into turkey and engaged in a shootout with turkish policemen, killed turk policemen. they held hostage turkish
drivers in mosul. we had a case in october where turkey broke up a group -- isil group inside turkey that had gathered weapons and explosives. again i think, yes, turkey wants assad to go. that is certainly a key element of its policy, but i think at the same time they recognize that isil is also a threat to turkey itself. >> thank you. mr. chair, i yield back. >> you yield back all of the time. thank you very much. i want to thank the gentlemen for being here for this hearing. the hearing of the joint subcommittees is concluded. thank you. coming up on c-span3, a
house committee looks at defective car air bags manufactured by the that kedah corporation. the recall process for millions of vehicles equipped with them. members will hear from a senior official from the takata corporation. you can see it live at 10:00 a.m. eastern. and later live coverage of this year's foreign policy initiatives forum held in washington, d.c. we'll hear from senator ted cruz and louisiana governor bobby jindal as well as experts on the middle east and russia. that will be live at 1:00 p.m. eastern also on c-span3. now an on site update of the two-year, $60 million restoration project for the u.s. capitol dome. officials spoke recently about the construction of 52 miles of scaffolding that now encircles the dome. workers also demonstrate restoration techniques, many of which were developed specifically for this project.
it's 30 minutes. >> good morning. my name is justin keifer. i'm the media spokesperson for the capital dome restoration project. thank you for joining us today. following brief remarks by mr. ayers and senator hoeven, the dome restoration manager will walk through a live demonstration of the tools and techniques used to repair the dome. additional information from today's update along with still photos and "b" roll for your usage can be found at www.aoc.gov/media. if you have follow-up questions, please contact me. i'd like to introduce the 11th architect of the capitol, steven t. aier. >> thank you, justin. good morning, everyone. thanks for joining us on this
cold morning. i'm pleased to announce this morning that the scaffold you see behind you is complete. this is a significant milestone for us in our dome restoration project. i'll provide a number of details on that in just a few minutes. but first i'd like to introduce senator john hoeven. senator hoeven is the current ranking member of the legislative branch subcommittee. thanks to senator hoeven and our other congressional partners from both the house and the senate, we've had outstanding bipartisan support for this critical project, saving an american icon. senator hoeven? >> thank you. appreciate it. thank you, and thanks to all of you for coming up on this bracing day and, you know, this is incredibly important, and it's a symbol, the dome is a
symbol, not just for our country, a symbol of freedom and liberty, but really a symbol of freedom and liberty for the world. as the ranking member on the leg branch of the subcommittee of the appropriations committee, this has been a priority for me but i really think it's a priority for all americans when the architect of the capitol said we have on the order of 1300 cracks and other structural type problems with the dome in terms of maintaining it, not only now but for future generations, that's a priority. and so we worked to include $60 million in the fy '14 budget to make sure that this work is done and to make sure that this work is done before the next inauguration so when the next president is sworn in, the people of america can see their capitol and the dome and, you
know, be comfortable and confident that just like this great nation, it's here for the long term. so thanks to all of the -- not only steven ayers but everybody that works with the architect of the capitol. they do an incredible job. not just on this dome or just on the capitol, but all of our buildings here in washington under their supervision. they are absolutely professionals, and, again, this isn't just about america. this is about the freedom and liberty, the strength that america represents to the world. again, thanks for being here. we know it's a cold day so we'll keep it moving. >> thanks, senator. appreciate you being here. thank you so much, senator hoeven. again, we appreciate your support and that of the congress enabling us to undertake this
project. as i mentioned moments ago, the completion of the scaffolding system you see behind us is a significant milestone for this restoration work. the purpose of the scaffold is a very practical one. with its completion workers are able to access the dome freely and can use the equipment necessary to begin the restoration work in earnest. weighing in at more than 1.2 million pounds, the scaffolding is especially designed to distribute that weight throughout the dome rather than directly on the roof. you can see behind me it actually hangs from the dome instead of sitting on the roof. in total, more than 75,000 pieces of scaffolding pipe were used totally approximately 52 miles of scaffolding.
in addition, would planking is laid down on the scaffolding allowing workers to safely access the dome without wearing safety harnesses. in total the scaffold has 25 levels reaching up to the base of the statue of freedom. this restoration is the first of its kind in the history of the dome since its construction in 1855 to 1866. the capitol dome was constructioned with nearly 9 million pounds of cast iron cast at the new york foundry of james foul ler kurt company in new york city. the dome is made of cast iron plates ranging from 3/8 of an inch to 1/2 inch think. the total surface area is about 100,000 square feet. you'll note there are 36 columns
around the perry style and a total of 108 windows on the dome. and thousands of decorative elements, some of which we're going to show you this morning. each of these elements will be thoroughly inspected and repaired and replaced if necessary and much of that restoration work includes repairing the more than 1,300 cracks that senator hoeven mentioned. while this project preserves the 150-year-old cast iron, many of the tools and techniques were developed specifically for this restoration project. this is the first time that the layers of lead-based paint will be completely removed and remediated. the first time we're using tablets to document every crack and every defect in the dome. the first time we're using a specially adapted crack repair
process to repair the cracks that are in the cast iron. and the first time we're removing many of the large pieces of ornamentation and recasting them and reinstalling them. this work on the exterior of the dome will be complete by next fall. this is an incredibly complex project, and it takes a team of talented employees and talent contractors to make it happen. i'd like to introduce to you joe abatis. joe is our dome restoration construction manager, and joe will walk us through an in depth review of the techniques and tools we're using to repair the cast iron dome. joe? >> thank you.
thank you and good morning. >> spell your name. >> abriatis. thank you, good morning. i'm joe abriatis, construction manager for the capitol dome restoration project. i'm responsible for the management of this project. i will walk you through the major steps we will be taking. after i provide an overview today, we will start the live demonstrations. you may have heard there are over 1,000 cracks in the capitol dome's original cast iron. we're going to walk you through the steps that are required to repair each and every single crack. we begin with the abatement of the lead-based paint. to do this we build these large
containments around the dome for the work to take place. the large enclosure you see on the east front today is the first containment to be erected. these containments will be erected and moved around the dome as the work takes place. once the containment is erected, the lead-based paint will be blasted off the cast iron dome using the abrasive media blasting gun which is supplied by come pressed air from the compound below. this is used to remove 14 layers of paint from the dome. some of which are over 150 years old. because we are working with the removal of lead-based paint, the workers who perform this work must wear specialized suits. this will be seen here later on. these suits protect the workers from the material they are working with and allows them to
breathe while performing the work. the removed paint coming off the blasting dome and the blasting media is vacuumed up and sent through large hoses to equipment down below on the ground. these hoses are visible from the west front. once the paint is removed, a coat of prime paint is applied to the bare cast iron dome to prevent rusting. flash rusting is a thin layer of rust that will form -- that could form on the surface of the material within eight hours. this is due to the cast iron's exposure to moisture in the air. if not addressed, this thin film of rust could prevent paint from sticking. after blasting is complete --
after blasting and prime paint something completed, the aoc surveys all the cracks and catalogs them in a tablet seen here. we use this in a specialized softwa software. there are ten steps in our quality control process that are documented in the tablet before the final repair is approved. to identify and determine the extent of a crack, a magnetic particle test is performed. this will be shown on the table next to me. you will see two large magnetic rods placed on either side of the crack. steel shavings will be sprinkled over top of the crack and the excess shavings will be blown away. using this process, the full length and shape of the crack is identified. this process will be repeated at the end of the repair to check
the integrity of the completed work. next we'll begin repairing the cracks with a metal stitching process. this technology was adapted from repairing engine blocks. this process has also been successfully used in 2012 for the restoration of the capitol dome skirt. first holes are drilled and then threaded using that tab to begin inserting threading pins into the crack. a cutting fluid is applied during this process to control temperatures. these double hooked pins are used for this. these pins are specifically designed for the capitol dome to accommodate working with historic cast iron. as the pin is inserted and
tightened, the head shears off when it reaches a specified torque. then the rest of the pin will be ground smooth, flush with the cast iron. this process is repeated twice for overlapping pins. these pins fill the crack and they provide the initial strength for the repair. next, a series of locks will be installed to provide stabilization and final strength of repair. to create the proper cavity for these locks, it takes a series of holes to be drilled into the cast iron to create a dog bone patte pattern. using this specialized jig, a series of over 18 holes will be drilled for every single lock that gets installed. once the cavity for the lock is
created, two locks will be hammered into every repair. there's both a surface lock and a bottom lock that will be installed. as mr. ayers previously indicated, the majority of the dome skin is 3/8 to 1/2 inch in thickness. these locks are installed to a depth of 40 to 75% of that material thickness. once the locks are installed, the entire repair will be ground smooth and blended with the surrounding cast iron. at this point the repair will be inspected using the same magnetic particle test that is used to check the cracks in the beginning. this is to ensure there are no defects in the repair or the crack has not extended during the repair process. after an inspection and approval by the aoc, each repair is
cataloged by the inspect team with the tablet cataloged in our ten-step quality control process. after inspection, the completed repair will receive a layer of prime paint. this is again to prevent flash rusting. in addition to repairing cracks on the dome, we've also been removing various ornaments. there's examples to my left of the ornaments that have been pulled off of the dome already. all of these ornaments will be blasted as well and repainted. any badly damaged ornaments or ornaments that are missing will be recast and reattached to the dome. once all the repairs are made, we'll be repainting the dome from the top down. as the paint something completed, scaffolding will be
removed. the final completion planned for later next year. at this point we're going to start the live demonstrations. at station one, far to at station one far to my right we have juan marquez and tim green. we're going to put on the equipment that they use for the blasting and painting. juan is on the left. he has the equipment for the blasting. and tim is on your right and he has the equipment for the prime painting.
and that concludes the demonstration for how the lock stitching is performed. at this point we'll turn over to mr. ayers. >> thank you so much, joe. and thank you, guys, for that demonstration. so we'd be happy to open it up to questions for senator hoeven or myself or joe at this time. anybody have any questions? right here. go ahead. [ inaudible ] joe can answer that in terms of temperature, and working through the winter. >> you mean do they not only work on nice days like today? yeah, we will be working all winter. there's plans for heating the enclosures when the work is being performed. [ inaudible ]
the question was, did we find any surprises as we've begun this work. and we haven't on this. you may recall that we actually undertook the skirt restoration, which is the lower part of the dome, you can see behind me, at the base of the scaffold, down to the roof is called the skirt. and we refurbished that a year and a half ago. so, all of the kind of surprises that came up came up in that phase, and we incorporated all of that into this work. so there hasn't been any surprises on this part of the work yet. go ahead. [ inaudible ] so the question is how long will
this extend the life of the dome? so certainly, the last restoration of the dome was 1959 and 1960. so it's been 50 years since it's been restored. and will certainly last another 50 years. but more likely, with today's technology, paint coatings, and our repair techniques, we hope to get 75 to 100 years out of this restoration. >> so then you'll be back covering that. joe? schedule? >> yes, we're still on schedule. >> and the other question you wanted to ask, are you still on or under budget. that was the other question, right? and? >> still on budget, as well. >> excellent. >> the question is how much work has already been done. joe?
you see the scaffolding has been completed. this is a major portion of the work. we've been moving a lot of the ornaments in advance of the paint removal. enclosures are being erected right now. and we're getting ready to start painting and removing the paint shortly. windows have not been removed. >> anybody else? question is did we have to change the lighting of the dome. >> we did not change the exterior lighting of the dome. besides on the scaffolding there's over 750 l.e.d. lights attached to the scaffolding. and this is what allows the workers to see when they're doing the work in the containtment and at night.
[ inaudible ] >> so this is not the first of its kind. there's certainly many other cast iron domes in the country. several of them have been restored over the years. and companies like the ones that are working on this john have worked on other cast iron domes and cast iron facades, as well. so it's not new work. the columns that surround the peristyle this lower portion of the dome are all cast -- the columns that surround the peristyle are cast iron and they're hollow. okay, thank you everybody. >> you guys are fantastic for coming up here. way to go.
>> thank you, guys. good work. going to leave the last few minutes of this to go live now to capitol hill. it's a house subcommittee hearing this morning investigating the situation surrounding defective car air bags that are manufactured by the takata corporation. the national highway traffic safety administration has requested that takata issue a nationwide recall of defective driver side air bags. a call which takata, thus far, has resisted. committee members will hear this morning from a senior official with the takata corporation. also hear from representatives of toyota, honda and bmw, as well as the head of the national highway traffic safety administration.
so, next year mr. burgess, as i understand, is going to take over the gavel for this subcommittee, and so he, even though he is not currently a member of the subcommittee, is joining us today to just kind of get a feel for the importance of the subcommittee. and certainly the importance of this hearing today. so, the title of this hearing is takata air bag ruptures and recalls. safety recalls are often marked by tragedy. that's what brings it to our attention. but they are even more troubling when they -- the very equipment being recalled is intended to save lives. now this morning we'll begin piecing to the history of a safety defect that became known only by what appears to us as fits and starts. and seemingly has several
potential causes. the first known rupture occurred in 2004 in alabama. three more ruptures in 2007 led takata to identify a bad stamp press at a manufacturing facility in moses lake, washington. in 2008, honda recalled 3,940 cars in the u.s. however, two more air bags ruptured in may and june of 2009. one of which killed the driver. at that point it appears that takata believed the air bag inflaters were being improperly exposed to moisture during the production process. however, around the same time, takata confirmed that a stamp press was to blame for the at-risk air bags. in early 2011, uncertainty about the cause of the continuing ruptures led to another recall. and previous recalls were
expanded in late 2012 upon the discovery that takata's production records were in disarray. nhtsa, takata, and car manufacturers all indicate that the vehicles with faulty air bags tied to manufacturing or storage issues have been recalled. and yet, several more ruptures subsequently occurred in southern states. this led manufacturers and nhtsa to believe that the prolonged exposure to high, absolute humidity levels was a major contributing factor. however, nhtsa recently demanded that manufacturers broaden the current recalls in southern states to the national level. nhtsa believes that the recent incidents in california and north carolina indicate the possibility of ruptures in areas with lower absolute humidity. i understand takata disagrees with nhtsa's assessment, and i look forward to learning more about that.
while the oem sitter before us today have all stated publicly that they are willing to do a national recall now, there are several questions here to address. for example, are the current testing methods adequate? how much testing is enough to determine a cause and how quickly it's being carried out? what is the appropriate level of coordination between nhtsa, automakers, and their suppliers. what metric should be used to determine whether a recall is necessary. there are also questions about the supply of replacement parts and whether those replacement parts are truly safer than the parts being recalled. our highway safety depends on the vigilance of manufacturers as well as nhtsa. sometimes the regulator is in the best position to defend the defect and sometimes it's the manufacturer.
the time has come to bring the facts together and make sure the unsafe airbag inflaters are off the market. consumers can get their faulty parts replaced and that future recalls are handled better. the safety of american drivers depend on our collective success. so i thank the witnesses for being here today, and help achieve these goals and put a stop to this deadly problem. and there's one minute left of mine. marshall would you like to claim that? >> yes, thank you, mr. chairman. >> yield. >> thank you, and i thank our witnesses, also, for being here, and as the chairman said, 2004 is the first time when you have this issue. it was when the first inflater exploded. and then we go through the process of looking at the propellant change and finding out when the change was made going to ammonium nitrate in '01. now we do hope that this hearing
is going to give us an opportunity to talk with you about the decision making process. who was involved in that. why they made the decisions that they did. we'll drill down on that. we are very disappointed in takata. refusing to work with nhtsa on the deadline for a national recall of the driver's side airbags. it expired last night. we will want to address that with you. we welcome our witnesses, and i am finishing right on time, mr. chairman. back to you. >> well done. now chair recognizes the ranking member, the gentle lady from illinois for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman for holding this important hearing today. before i turn to today's business, i'd like to thank ranking member waxman for his decade of leadership, and his service as chairman and ranking member of this committee. he will leave an indelible legacy of achievement when he retires at the end of this year,
and i am so proud to have learned from, and worked with him on so many issues of great importance to the american people. mr. chairman i'd also like to recognize you for your eight terms in the house, representing the people of nebraska, and i've enjoyed working with you during your chairmanship of the subcommittee offer the past two years. i wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. i'm deeply saddened that we're here again today to discuss preventable deaths but i'm determined to understand exactly what happened and to respond in a way that improves driver and passenger safety. in 2004 a driver in alabama was killed by shrapnel ejected from a takata airbag. four years later the company issued the first recall to address airbag ruptures, a recall that expanded over the next five years. earlier this year, in a regional recall was initiated to find the root cause of similar ruptures, and last week, nhtsa asked
takata to order a national recall, and yesterday the company rejected nhtsa's request. media reports suggest that takata, and honda, knew about the serious risks its airbags posed to drivers and passengers as early as ten years ago. if prompt action had been taken to investigate the airbag ruptures and truly address the cause, we wouldn't be here today. because takata refused nhtsa's request for a recall, auto manufacturers, whose customers are driving vehicles equipped with airbags that could be deadly, now have to determine whether they will recall the airbags on their own, while the mandatory recall process moves forward. i've received letters from constituents who are literally afraid to drive their cars. and this is unacceptable. i want to know why takata has been so slow, and ineffective, to respond -- in responding to this deadly defect. and why it believes a national recall is not warranted. i want to know what commitments takata and the auto companies
represented here today plan to make in the immediate future to protect their customers. i want to know what more nhtsa needs to do in order to prevent problems like this from continuing to repeat themselves in the future. and i want to know, since the cause of the airbag ruptures is still not certain, whether replacement of these potentially dangerous airbags with very similar products actually eliminates the risk of airbag explosions in the future. so i look forward to our witness' answers to these questions and more. the incredibly slow response to this problem is just the latest reminder that we need stronger laws to protect drivers, and passengers, and to hold manufacturers accountable for the cars they sell. earlier this year, i introduced hr-5654. the vehicle safety information act. legislation to improve auto safety, and the efficacy of -- and efficiency of recalls. that bill would expand and
clarify the information manufacturers must provide nhtsa about defects, and fatal incidents. increase information about auto defects that nhtsa must share with the public. increase financial penalties, and remove the statutory maximum penalty for manufacturers that violate nhtsa reporting requirements. provide an imminent hazard authority so that nhtsa can expedite recalls of potentially deadly cars. limit the resale of cars with the serious defect unless the problem isn't fixed. or the buyer has been notified. and end regional recalls. i urge the chairman to bring this bill up for consideration in the subcommittee, or to ask house leadership to put it on the suspension calendar without delay. and with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> chair now recognizes full committee chair, mr. upton. >> well, thank you mr. chairman. and i appreciate your leadership the last number of years, and we
also will miss mr. waxman, and i think we'll have at some point a formal recognition of both of your service. so i'm from the auto state. i'm sorry to say that it has been a bad year for auto safety. the latest danger for drivers, malfunctioning airbags that, in fact, can shoot shrapnel through the air and make a bad accident even worse. drivers are being told that their vehicle is subject to a recall, but there are not enough parts to fix it, and if they do get a replacement, that airbag may be subject to the same safety failure in the future, because we still don't know if the root problem has been addressed. there are still lots of questions surrounding these airbag defects and recalls, and today, we all want some answers. american people deserve to have confidence that the cars that they drive are safe and that the industry and the government are doing everything that they can do to improve safety. the first question that has to
be determined is whether or not it's a design flaw for the airbag, or is it a manufacturing issue? until that question is answered, you're not going to be able to resolve the issue. unfortunately, deadly auto defects, and massive recalls, are not new subjects for this committee. i've listened to and led multiple recall hearings ranging from the ford firestone crisis to the toyota floor mat problem. obviously to the gm ignition switch debacle earlier this year. in over a decade ago i authored the bipartisan tread act so that we could help catch and then fix defects sooner and avoid the kind of disaster that we're facing today. yet here we are again. tread act was very simple. requiring manufacturers to report the information needed to help nhtsa quickly identify vehicle defects and remove flawed cars from the road right away. our goal was to prevent injuries
and save lives but we need industry and nhtsa to do their part. cars are safer today. but not because a company hires lawyers and consultants to avoid reporting safety incidents. i'm going to ask some tough questions regarding what we've read and heard about honda manipulating the system to report as little as possible. companies need to know that there isn't anything safe about shorting safety. we need more automakers to make safety a priority, and institute safety incentives. in the case of gm, they acknowledge their safety failure, their ceo volunteered to testify, and they hired a new safety officer to implement companywide culture changes. i'd like to see that same level of urgency, that same admission of mistakes, and that same commitment to do better today. complex safety technology can lead to complex problems and the takata airbag issues are, indeed, complex. there were manufacturing issues and there were handling issues,
and as soon as one problem was identified it seemed like another sprang up, sort of like whack-a-mole. and now we're waiting to find out if humidity is the issue or if there are other manufacturing concerns. in the mean time, testing is slow. and we are short on replacement parts. what is worse, no one can say for sure that the replacement parts are any safer than the originals. we may be right back here after the replacement parts have reached their humidity half-life. the complexity is not an excuse for incompetence. we need to make sure that companies and regulators can keep pace with innovation. we need a regulatory agency that breeds confidence and offers solutions, not one that is often too -- part of the problem. for witnesses i pose this question, what should i say to the mom in michigan who asks me if she and her family are safe behind the wheel. families across the country expect safety devices in their
vehicles to work. they expect them to provide life-saving protection that they can count on in the event of an accident. and they expect that problems from earlier models be reported, and fixed and they expect to be able to get a defect repaired when they find out about it. but sadly i don't think i can give that assurance right now. one thing is for sure. we've got a lot of issues to resolve. i want to again thank chairman terry for calling thises hearing to start the process. i want to thank him from the bottom of my heart. for his service as a leader of this subcommittee and wish him well in the future and i yield back my time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. that's much appreciated. now, it's time to introduce our panel. -- oh, i'm sorry. getting ahead of myself. gentleman from california is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. neither you nor i have left the committee yet. which we will do at the end of thises year, and i thank our colleague, for our kind words.
here's what we know so far about the takata airbag recalls. we know that there's been a series of airbag recalls affecting millions of vehicles dating back to 2008, and we know that at least five people are dead and dozens have been injured by these defective airbags. there are questions about the takata airbags that remain unanswered. we do not know exactly what takata and auto manufacturers knew about this defective airbags, and when they knew it. we do not know, and it appears that the national highway traffic safety administration, takata, and the auto manufacturers, do not know, either, the root cause of all these exploding airbags. so we have questions about whether the replacement airbag inflaters are safe. new documents provided to the committee reveal new questions. the national highway traffic safety administration, known as
nhtsa, recently requested a national recall of all defective airbags on the driver's side of the car but has limited its action to regional recalls of passenger side airbags. but data we received is raising new questions about the safety of passenger side airbags and the scope of recalls. takata has tested over 2500 driver and passenger side airbags for ruptures. none of the driver's side airbags ruptured in these tests. but takata has observed over 60 passenger side airbag ruptures. given these testing results, we need to understand why nhtsa has requested a broader recall for driver's side airbags but has not made the same request for passenger side airbags. mr. chairman, i have some
documents that i've referred to showing these test results, and i would ask unanimous consent to put them in the hearing record. >> without objection. so ordered. >> we need to find answers to these questions and i hope the committee will continue its investigation, even after the time you and i, mr. chairman, will be gone. but we know enough now to begin our legislative work. mr. chairman, last april i joined representative schakowsky to introduce hr-3364 the motor vehicle safety act of 2014. there are many important provisions in this legislation that would address problems that the committee found in our investigations of takata's exploding airbags and the gm ignition switch failure. in both cases, auto manufacturers and auto parts manufacturers, failed to provide key information to the federal agency, nhtsa, in a timely fashion. and we learned last week of another major auto safety
failure, for over a decade honda failed to report to the nhtsa more than 1700 claims of injuries or deaths caused by accidents in its vehicles. our legislation improves the early warning reporting system by making more information public and ensuring that nhtsa receives significantly more information from manufacturers on any fatal incident involving a safety defect. additional data and greater transparency will help nhtsa identify deadly safety defects sooner. in both the gm and takata cases, nhtsa has been criticized for failing to recognize and act quickly enough as evidence mounted of deadly auto defects. our bill provides more resources to give them the additional enforcement authority, and increases the fines for
manufacturers that violate safety vehicle safety laws. mr. chairman, today we'll learn of other needed fixtures to the current system. i think our legislation is a good place to start. while i have a very short time left i'd like to yield it to the gentleman from vermont the balance of my time. >> thank you very much. the two concerns i have that i hope are addressed in this is one, public safety. obviously automobiles are extremely important, but can be dangerous, with the defect. and number two, public confidence. when a serious incident happens that threatens the life, causes the life, it creates an immense amount of insecurity among the driving public and obviously my view the burden has to be on the manufacturer and our governmental agencies to take the appropriate steps to revive and restore public confidence. thank you. >> thank you. now, it's the appropriate time to introduce the panel. i'll introduce the panel as a
whole, and then we'll start with takata as the first speaking witness. so today our first panel representing takata hiroshi shimizu. shimizu, sorry. >> yes. >> from honda, rick schostek. from bmw, chris west brook. from toyota, abbas saadat. appreciate all of you being here. we will go from right -- on my left, your right, and start with mr. shimizu. but before i ask you to start, i want to recognize that you're appearing with a translator, because english is not mr. shimizu's first language, and while the committee will alou mr. shimizu to confer with the translator for the purpose
of clarification, he will be required to answer the committee's question in his own voice, and in english. we've already discussed that, and i appreciate your acceptance of that. so, mr. shimizu you are now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. chairman terry, ranking member schakowsky, and distinguished members of the subcommittee, i'm honored to be here on behalf of takata corporation. mr. chairman, takata is dedicated to making products that save lives. millions of takata airbags have inflated properly, preventing thousands of deaths and avoiding serious injuries in hundreds of thousands of accidents around the world. but any failure of even one airbag to perform as designed in
automobile accident is incompatible with takata's mission. all of us at takata know that the airbag ruptures that have been the subject of recent recalls involve serious ish as of public safety. we are deeply sorry about each case where takata's airbag had not performed as designed, and the driver or passenger has suffered personal injuries or death. takata is working closely with the automakers and nhtsa to support the ongoing recalls and the field actions and to address the potential for. we are increasing our production of kits to fulfill the automakers' orders. we're also devoting extensive efforts, and attention to
answering requests for information about these motors from nhtsa and other investigators. we are committed to bring -- being fully transparent with the government. our one important function -- for testing and analysis. in the past several months, we have tested thousands of returned inflaters in our michigan facilities, and we are increasing our testing capacity. we regularly share all of these test results with the automakers, and nhtsa. based on the data currently available, and our best engineering judgment, takata continues to believe that the public safety is best served if the area of high absolute humidity remain the priority. for the replacement of suspect
inflaters. but make no mistake, we will take all actions necessary to advance the goal of safety for the driving public. including working to produce additional replacement units to support any further recalls that may be announced by automakers. takata is also prepared to cooperate where feasible with other producers to create additional production capacity for replacement units. we are confident that the inflaters we are producing today are safe. because we have confidence in the integrity of our engineering, and our current manufacturing processes here in the united states and across the world. we believe that properly manufactured and installed, the
inflaters we are producing today will work as designed to save lives for the expected life of the automobiles. to provide added assurance for the public and the automakers, takata is forming an independent quality assurance panel to audit and prepare an independent report regarding our current manufacturing processes for the production of safe inflaters, including inflater --. upon completion the panel's report will be made public. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. now, gentleman from honda, mr. schostek, you are recognized for your five minutes. >> mr. chairman, ranking member schakowsky and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to testify. my name is rick schostek. i'm executive vice president
with honda north america. i want to begin by expressing our deepest sympathies to those individuals and families who have been affected by these tragic incidents. we offer our sincere apologies to the families of those who have died, who have been injured, or who have been in any way inconvenienced due to the defects in the takata airbags in our vehicles. airbags save thousands of lives each year, but we recognize that even one customer who is injured or loses their life when an airbag does not perform as intended is one too many, and it is completely unacceptable. on november 17th, nhtsa called for a nationwide recall of the driver airbag inflaters that have been included in the regional safety improvement campaign undertaken in four
states and territories with consistently high absolute humidity. we understand that takata has not identified or acknowledged any defect of the driver airbag inflaters. and thus far takata has not announced plans to follow nhtsa's request for a national recall. we want to inform you that honda is going to expand our existing regional safety improvement campaign on affected driver airbag inflaters to a national campaign. why are we doing this? because our customers have concerns, and we want to address them. we believe this expansion and acceleration of current action, we believe there will be a part shortage that may occur. despite takata's efforts to increase the supply of inflaters. to further increase the part
supply, we have been in discussions with takata, and two other suppliers auto leave and disel about expanding the production of replacement inflaters. these talks have been encouraging and we believe will ultimately reduce the duration of any shortage. however until those parts are available we will continue to discuss with nhtsa and takata how to best manage the supply issue. based on the information from them we believe it is best to prioritize the replacement of driver airbag inflaters in what are considered to be the highest risk areas in the country. in addition, honda believes that all stakeholders would benefit from expert third party testing of takata airbag inflaters that was announced yesterday as a industrywide program. by coming to the as an industry
and sharing information and testing and with takata's continued cooperation we believe we can achieve greater results more quickly. let me briefly summarize how we got to this point. between 2008 to 2014 honda has conducted seven national recalls related to specific takata manufacturing defects. since june of 2014, honda, along with other automakers, mass been supporting nhtsa's request to conduct regional safety improvement campaigns in states and territories with high absolute humidity. we understand the urgency of the current situation and we have been taking pro-active steps to address the needs of our customers. in addition to the required first class mail notification we have made hundreds of thousands of phone calls, used overnight
mail delivery, and routinely sent letters in both english and spanish. we have also hired a search firm to help us locate hard-to-find customers in some circumstances. and importantly, for customers whose vehicles cannot be immediately repaired, honda has instructed our dealers to provide loaner or rental cars at no cost to the customer. to summarize, we are going to expand the safety improvement campaign on affected driver bag inflaters nationwide. prioritizing the high risk areas. we are working with multiple suppliers to increase parts availability. and we are participating in the joint industry research effort. our entire company is operating with the greatest energy and focus to quickly address our customers needs and concerns in the days ahead with every action of our company we are dedicating
ourselves to honor the relationship we have with our customers. thank you. thank you. now mr. west brook you are now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. terry, ranking member schakowsky and members of the subcommittee. >> start again. >> thank you chairman terry, ranking member schakowsky and members of the subcommittee for your invitation to participate in today's hearing. my name is craig west brook, vice president of bmw of north america. i'm here on behalf of our company, representing the 70,000 people who have jobs provided and supported by the bmw group in the united states. in total the bmw group's presence is represented in 48 states. this includes our north american headquarters in new jersey, our financial services in ohio, and our manufacturing facility in spartanburg, south carolina. just to name a few locations. in fact, bmw group's south carolina production site is the
largest single exporter of vehicles by value in the united states of america. the bmw group has been to the united states -- in the united states for nearly four decades. we have worked hard to become part of the fabric of the communities in which we are present. central to our investments in and commitment to the united states has been a focus on earning our reputation for delivering on our word. and, building trust with customers and communities alike. vehicle safety is fundamental to the bmw group. because of this, i highly appreciate the opportunity to appear today before this subcommittee. i will share a brief time line of bmw north america's activities related to takata airbag recalls. in may of 2013 after takata informed bmw america of production issues with certain inflaters we initiated a voluntary national safety recall. this involved the passenger front airbag on approximately 42,000 model year 2000 and 2003
bmw vehicles. in may of 2014, nhtsa met with takata to discuss consumer reported issues with certain passenger and driver airbag inflaters. in mid june, after follow-up calls with takata, nhtsa opened a preliminary evaluation. in an unprecedented approach to determine the root cause, and the potential safety risk, nhtsa held a conference call with all affected automakers. during this call, automakers were asked for their support to conduct a voluntary parts collection campaign in specific, high-humidity regions. bmw north america promptly agreed to participate in this campaign. in july of 2014, out of an abundance of caution, bmw of north america expanded its voluntary campaign and previous 2013 recall of passenger front airbags. on july 15th, 2014, bmw north america notified nhtsa of the voluntary nationwide recall of an additional 574,000 vehicles. the next day, july 16th, 2014,
bmw dealers were notified of the recall, after notification to nhtsa. standard practice for notifying customers involves an auto company preparing a draft customer notification letter for nhtsa's review. in late august nhtsa approved our letter. bmw of north america mailed notification letters to our customers in mid-september, using first class mail, as required by nhtsa regulation. another way customers are informed of recalls is at our dealerships. when a customer visits a dealership the service adviser at every bmw dealer conducts a vehicle inquiry for outstanding recalls. once the vin is identified the service adviser cross references the vin against our recall database. if affleckable customers are informed that their vehicle is subject to a recall. repairs are either taken care of on the spot, or an appointment is scheduled as soon as possible. we have also made the recall information available on our consumer site, bmwusa.com.
additionally, the information is also available on the nhtsa site, www.safercar.gov. on either side customers have the ability to access recall information just by entering their vin. we even issued a press release regarding the takata airbag recall for bmw. in total, this voluntary nationwide recall affects approximately 616,000 model year 2000 to two house six 3 series vehicles. nhtsa estimates over 7.8 million vehicles industrywide are currently affected by the takata airbag recall and parts collection campaign in the united states. bmw of north america is also currently conducting a voluntary regional parts collection campaign in certain states. this campaign affects the drivers front airbag on approximately 11,600 model year 2004 to model year 2006 bmw 3 series vehicles. we are significantly increasing our loaner fleet to provide any bmw customer who needs a loaner,
rental vehicle, or alternate transportation of the customer's wish. i can assure the subcommittee that bmw of north america will continue working with nhtsa and takata on these issues. we will remain vigilant in identifying safety issues. and pro-active in addressing them. thank you for your time and attention. >> thank you, mr. west brook. now mr. saadat you are recognized for your five minutes. [ inaudible ] >> chairman terry, ranking member schakowsky, and members of the committee thank you for inviting me here today. my name is abbas saadat and i'm the regional product safety executive and vice president of toyota north america. i am a senior executive in the united states responsible for toyota's interaction with nhtsa, and currently have oversight responsibility for field action in the u.s. regarding the takata airbag inflater recalls. i am an engineer by training and
function. first, toyota shares your goals of helping those affected by these recalls, and keeping them safe. we are committed to resolve this issue for our customers as quickly, conveniently, and safely as possible. we believe the actions we have taken reflect this kitment. from the beginning toyota has responded to defect information from takata coordinated with nhtsa and supported takata and nhtsa in their ongoing investigation. in april of 2013, toyota launched a nationwide recall for front passenger airbag inflaters. this recall is still in effect today. in june of this year we expanded the remedy for this recall to replace all affected takata inflaters. also in june in response to nhtsa's request to industry, we were among the first automakers to recover airbag inflaters for testing by takata.
in october, takata provided testing data toyota and nhtsa that suggested the safety risk was highest in the area of consistently high absolute humidity. in response, we intensified our effort to reach customers in those humid areas, which was publicized nationwide. throughout these recalls we have worked to alert customers and get them the information they need. beyond our initial national outreach, we have mailed more than 300,000 notification letters to known owners in designated humid regions. we also have made it easier for customers to find recall information on toyota's website. in addition we have started a secondary customer outreach program in humid areas that include telephone calls, e-mail, and direct mail. and we are staffing our call centers to handle any increase in takata related inquiries. at the same time we are working to get replacement parts to
toyota dealers, and this effort is going well in humid regions. if parts are unavailable we have empowered dealers to meet our customers' needs, and minimize their inconvenience. for example, in humid areas, dealers can disable the front passenger airbag and affix a prominent glove box label that warns against using that seat until a replacement inflater is installed. dealers are also making loaner vehicles available and towing affected vehicles for customers, if necessary. to this point, the faster we get replacement parts, the faster we can fix our customers' vehicles. takata estimates that its supply will increase significantly starting this month. like you, we want additional assurances about the integrity and quality of takata's manufacturing processes, particularly in the light of previous experiences. for instance, in 2010, toyota had to recall certain takata inflater in japan to address a
different manufacturing problem not involving u.s. vehicles. in terms of testing, we have conducted and continue to conduct some testing on takata inflaters, and we have also inspected takata production facilities. additionally, we have retained an independent engineering firm to evaluate affected takata inflaters, and replacement parts. separately, toyota is inviting all affected automakers to participate in a joint industrywide initiative to conduct independent testing of takata airbag inflaters. toyota will further address the issue of testing in our response to nhtsa's recent general order, and ongoing communications with the agency. again, our nationwide recall remains in effect, and we plan to replace all involved inflaters as parts become available. in closing, toyota is taking this issue very seriously. we will continue to respond promptly to new developments,
and do what's best for our customers. thank you. and i'm happy to answer your questions. >> thank you, mr. saadat. at this time we are now to the question and answer period. and i have the opportunity to ask the first questions. mr. shimizu. >> yes. >> following nhtsa's june, i think it was 19th, 2014 request that takata and ten vehicle manufacturers to participate in a regional field action, how many passenger side and driver side airbag inflaters have been tested to this date? so june 14th to today. >> to my knowledge, up to today we complete the test around 4,000 pieces. >> now is that the 4,000 tests,
are they evenly divided between passenger and driver side? >> it's most of the product is the passenger side, and i think for driver side tested quantities about, i believe, around 400. >> 400? >> yeah. 400. >> so 3600 of the tests were on the passenger side. >> yes. >> so out of the 3600 on the passenger side airbags how many ruptures have occurred? >> it's -- i don't have accurate number but i believe around a little bit less than 60. >> less than 60. okay. how about on the driver's side of the 400 that was tested? >> zero at this moment. >> zero.
how many tests are you doing currently, per day? >> currently we are testing about 100 inflaters per day. >> 100 what per day? >> 100 pieces. >> pieces, are those all passenger or again is it both? >> it's sometimes only passenger side. sometimes only driver side. or mixed. it depends on what kind of inflater we collected from the region. >> very good. then, with your continued stance on opposing a national recall, what about takata's test results leads you to believe that a national recall of all drivers side airbags is not needed or appropriate?
>> based on the data we are collecting from the inflater from region, and also other regions the data still support that we should remain focused on the region with high temperature and high humidity. >> okay. now the crashes in california and north carolina led nhtsa to believe that takata airbag inflaters pose a risk outside of the states with high absolute humidity. so why do you disagree with nhtsa's conclusion here? >> first, let me just state what i mentioned in opening statement. we are not opposing that the nhtsa direction. we commit to take any action necessary to advance the goal of safety for the driving public. that also includes the work to produce -- working to produce
the initial replacement kits to support the further recall announced by automakers. so once automakers decided to expand or change the range of recalls, we support it. and regarding your question about california event and north carolina event. california event is covered by current recall, but also i want to explain that it's a -- we do some investigation about the event, but it is not completed yet, and still under investigation. and regarding the event in north carolina, at this time we had no chance to check the vehicles, and the actual materials. we only have the production serial number information, and the pictures. so we will do the inspect the actual vehicles later together with nhtsa and automakers and
takata. >> very good. well, i only have 28 seconds left so i'll yield back my time and recognize the ranking member from illinois. for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the letter takata sent to nhtsa yesterday, the company rejected a national recall. your director of product safety wrote that, quote, under the nhtsa only manufacturers of motor vehicles and replacement equipment are decided to require in good faith where their products contain a safety related defect and if so, to conduct a recall. end quote. and mr. chairman, i would like to submit this letter for the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> let me ask you, do you agree with the conclusion in the letter sent by your company yesterday?
so do you believe takata is not requireded in good tate to decide if your products contain a safety-related defect. . >> congresswoman, i agree with that statement. >> so are you telling us that your company has no legal responsibilities to determine if air bags are defective and to recall them? >> if the products are defective and supported by scientific study, we are responsible for that. >> so you believe that you are responsible for that if they are found to be defective, but it's really up to you to decide that? >> yes, we need extensive research of the products involved in the the.
so once we decided, we determine if it's defective. yes, it's our responsibility. >> so moving forward, takata will be removing millions of replacement air bags. are the replacement air bags that you're having installed as a result of the recall safe? >> yes. -- manufacturing process proces >> so you believe that you have in fact discovered the root cause of the ruptures? >> excuse me?
>> are you sure that takata has discovered the root cause of the air bag ruptures? >> yes. we identified root cause of the the issues, of the products we did the recall in the past. however, we still complete the the investigation to happen in an area with high humidity and high temperatures. >> so are you saying that it is only in high humidity areas that this is is a problem? that that is the root cause? >> it's a main contribution to the problem is high temperature and high humidity together with the age of the products and that's why we're collecting data
with support, and continue to analyze this. >> interesting. so who is the highest ranking takata official that is actually signed off on production of the air bags that are now being recalled? the ones that are -- the ones that are being recalled? who is the highest ranking official that signed off on that? >> it's any related issues. i usually sign. >> you sign. okay. and who is the highest ranking takata official with oversight over the production approval process? >> usually signed by head of operation and also -- >> okay. and let me just ask each of the manufacture manufacturers, oh, wait, one more question for you, mr. shimitzu.
have any of these individuals been held accountable for these? >> can i ask? >> yes. >> have there been consequences? >> we more focused on correcting the problem, and we are not addressing that area yet. >> but let me quickly can i ask, just yes or no. are toyota, honda, and bmw cars on the road right now nationally, both for drivers and passengers with takata air bags safe? the real question is would you tell your children and spouses there is no danger of this type of rupture, so keep on driving? >> we want our customers to be safe. as you've heard, there are national recalls in effect.
we want our customers to first understand that we are subject to a recall. they can do that by checking the website, by calling us or by visiting the local detailer. if they are, we want that car. we want to replace that car. if they are not subject to a raum, we believe they are safe in those cars. >> yes. >> please keep in mind, for vehicles, the problematic infla inflaters are all on the passenger side, not driver's side. i just want to make that clear for toyota vehicles. >> how do you know that? all the deaths were on the driver's side. all the deaths. >> i understand. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. chair now recognizes the full committee chair, mr. upton. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to go back to my opening statement where this committee has been very involveded in
autosafety for a lot of years. and i can remember rolling a flawed tire down this about ten years ago. really seeking action, and we did it. we worked at the end of the session. we significantly raised the fines, and we added criminal sanctions for violations, jail. it was to get through, but we got it done. and i want to say it was certainly bipartisan, and it was pretty close in terms of what we did. it was reenforcing the manufacturers to share details with the regulator to make sure that consumers, us, got the information and felt safety
behind the wheel. now there's a report that came out this morning. i have not read it. just literally within the last half hour or so. reuters is reporting today that takata ran an investigation into an air bag inflater that ruptureded in a bmw as early as 2003. and that additional testing for air bag inflateer defects was done in 2004, ten years ago. that was the time when western passing the act. both would indicate that takata was investigating this situation well before it was previously disclosed. can you comment on the 2003 and 2004 investigation is? are they related to the the current recall?
>> congressman, my answer is no. >> you can use the mike. my answer is no regarding the incident in 2003, it happened in europe, i believe switzerland, and that the cause of the problem is not the corporate issue we are talking about right now. that was manufacturing issues and so it's not the same as the problem we are discussing right now. >> so they're not related is what you're saying? >> not related to the current issues. so do you know whether the issue today is manufacturing related, or is it a design flaw in the infla
inflater itself? do you know the answer to that question yes or no? >> in my knowledge, the current issue is most likely manufacturing related. not design related. >> it is not manufactured related? >> it is. >> it is manufacture related. okay. mr. shasta, in 2011, toyota relaid a code that could have reported the accuracy of the early warning reports, and additionally in 2012, nhtsa made honda aware that it was underreporting claims.