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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 26, 2015 1:00am-3:01am EST

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screeria -- nigeria. -
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secretary of state john kerry was questioned by house lawmakers today about the administration's nuclear talks with iran. that hearing is next on c-span3.
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nato's top commander said he doesn't think ukrainian forces can stop a russian advance in eastern ukraine. we'll have that pentagon briefing later. after that a look at community policing programs. that's from the white house task force on policing practices. >> the federal communications commission holds a meeting on open internet rules and access to broadband, they'll be examining a proposal by commission chairman tom wheeler that would give fcc authority to ensure that internet service providers give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis without favoring or blocking some sources. you can see the meeting live tomorrow here on seec-span3, beginning at 10:30 a.m. eastern. >> secretary of state john kerry said that russian president vladimir putin is destabilizing
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the security of eastern ukraine. testifying at the house foreign affairs committee secretary kerry was also asked about nuclear talks with iran. woman from the code pink organization was removed from the hearing room by capitol police before congressman ed royce, who chairs the committee, gaveled in. >> today we hear from secretary of state john kerry. the secretary is just off yet another overseas trip, dealing with issues that we'll discuss here today, and mr. secretary, your dedication is clear to all. secretary kerry comes to present his department's budget requests. needless to say, given washington's chronic budget deficit, wasteful spending is intolerable, even good programs may be unsupportable at levels we would want, but we must also appreciate the many serious challenges we as a nation and the department in particular faces worldwide.
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these challenges seem to grow by the day. iran and north korea are pursuing nuclear weapons. russia is gobbling up neighboring ukraine. we see beheadings, crucifixions, and emulation by isis. cartoonists and jewish shoppers are targeted and killed on paris streets. indeed, some days it feels as if the world itself is coming off of its axis. regarding iran, all of us want to see mr. secretary, all of us want to see you get a meaningful, lasting agreement. but the committee, as you know, has real concerns about the direction of these talks. i'm hearing less about dismantlement, and more about the personal. nens of iran'seye iran's nuclear program.
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that's particularly disturbing when you consider that international inspectors report that iran has still not revealed its past bomb work. this should be treated as a fundamental test of the ayatollah's intention to uphold any agreement. iran is failing that test. also, it is still illicitly procuring nuclear technology. recently iran was caught testing a new generation of supersonic centrifuges. to be frank, as this committee reads about us being on the brink of a historic agreement, you have a challenge in terms of congressional buy-in. meanwhile, iran and its proxies are wreaking havoc throughout the region. and in eastern europe, russia's military aggression is matched only by the size of its propaganda. russia is spending more than one half billion dollars annually to
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mislead audiences, to sow divisions, to push conspiracy theories out over r.t. television. yet the agency charged with leading our response, the broadcasting board of governors, is, as your predecessor testified to us, dysfunctional. last congress the house passed legislation authored by ranking member eliot engel and me to fix the bbg, the broadcasting board of governors. we hope to have the administration's active backing as we again push this reform. and in the middle east, isis is on the march. the administration was tragically slow to react to isis' rise, missing the chance to devastate them with airstrikes during the first seven months, eight months of isis moving from syria in to iraq, town by town, taking these
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cities, air power was not used to devastate these columns out on the open road as it should have been applied. today the kurds are still severely outgunned. our training of the syrian opposition isn't off the ground. and arab allies complain they don't have the weapons needed. and while the administration is focused on the fight against isis in iraq today, it's still unclear what its plans are for syria tomorrow. as the committee considers the president's request for a military authorization against isis, members need to hear a better articulation of the administration's strategy, and see a strong commitment from the commander in chief. as terrorism from islamist terrorist groups spread, the committee knows that that puts more of our diplomats out there at risk. in the past half year the department has had to evacuate staff from two u.s. embassies,
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libya, and yemen. on this note, the committee stands ready to assist the department on embassy security. we passed a state department authorization, and embassy security bill last congress and look forward to working with you to get our next bill signed in to law. and as the department works to finalize its second quadrennial diplomacy and development review, know that we are ready to assist the department to be more effective and efficient to meet the demands of the 21st century's diplomacy. we have policy differences but these should never compromise the day-to-day operations of your department, and certainly not the safety of its personnel. mr. secretary, our nation faces great challenges. through it all, though, we must work together to ensure that america maintains its positive, and essential role in the world. that is our challenge. and i will now turn to our ranking member mr. eliot engel of new york for his opening
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statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. secretary, welcome back. we're fortunate to have you as our top diplomat as we face so many challenges around the world. whether it's violent extremism or nuclear proliferation, health epidemics or climate change, these are challenges that threaten our security and values. and that demand's robust investment in international affairs. that's why the president has put forward a strong international affairs budget, and that's why his proposal deserves the support of congress. the president's budget would end sequestration, something long overdue, including a 7.7% increase in international affairs spending. why is this increase so important? the kaiser family foundation reported recently that many americans believe we spend much more on foreign assistance than we actually do. here are the facts. international affairs total just over 1% of our federal budget.
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and foreign aid accounts for less than 1%. with that narrow sliver of the pie, we're keeping americans safe, strengthening ties around the world, and promoting american leadership abroad. we're getting a pretty good bang for our buck. still, we can always be more effective, more efficient, and more focused. and i'd like to mention a few of my questions and concerns. let me start with institutional and bureaucratic challenges at the state department. we need a department that can adopt to evolving foreign policy and national security issues. we need diplomats equipped to deal with constantly changing demands. are we recruiting the best talent? do our diplomats have the tools and training they need to do their jobs right? i'm curious about how the department will implement the forthcoming recommendations of the quadrennial diplomacy and development review. on our response to the ebola outbreak, mr. secretary, i want to applaud you. the state department, usaid and the thousands of heroic americans who play such an important role.
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this crisis has required tremendous resources, and our strategy is working. the situation in west africa continues to improve. but we must remain vigilant until this scourge has been eliminated. this crisis underscores the need for global health funding. preventing future epidemics requires investment in research, infrastructure, and personnel. so i'm disappointed by proposed cuts to global health programs dealing with tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and other dangerous illnesses. i'd like to find a way to avoid these cuts and keep giving these programs the resources they need. turning to ukraine. i have serious doubts that the minsk agreement will end this crisis. we've taken a handful of incremental steps but they have not been enough to get ahead of the crisis or deter further russian aggression. the united states is a major interest in europe's stability and security. decades of american investment is on the line. i know dealing with the kremlin is delicate, but we must not
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allow ukraine to lose more territory or to fail economically. in the middle east, more than 11 million people have been driven from their homes in syria. and more than 200,000 have been killed. this crisis has spilled across borders. it's created large-scale vulnerability to sexual assault, child marriage, hunger, and other kinds of abuse and exploitation. the budget prioritizes this humanitarian disaster, but much more needs to be done by both the united states and regional partners. this crisis has been fueled by political instability in iraq and syria. the new iraqi program has taken some steps to make iraq's political system more inclusive. but we remain far from the point at which sunnis, shia and kurds feel like they have a stake in iraq's future. the way forward in syria is even less clear. but we know one thing for certain. that country's future should not include assad. as you've said, mr. secretary,
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he is a one-man supermagnet for terrorism. so while we are going after isis or the islamic state, we should not forget that assad must go. he cannot be part of a syria for the future. on that note, i welcome the president's decision to send congress a request for a new authorization to use military force aumf against isis. the president's proposal is a reasonable starting point, and this committee will continue our efforts to review the language, and the overall strategy to defeat isis. i look forward to working with you and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure we get this right. briefly on iran, i said many times that my preference is a negotiated solution to the iranian nuclear crisis. however, we're hearing troubling reports on the scale and duration of the program that iran may be allowed as part of the deal. as you've said many times, mr. secretary, no deal is better than a bad deal and so we must ensure that iran has no pathway to a nuclear weapon, and that any deal we sign is a good deal.
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and finally, i want to commend the proposed $1.1 billion in funding to address root causes of child migration from central america. we need to ensure that these resources are targeted towards the most vulnerable communities that the children are coming from across the subregion. and finally, getting back to europe, and ukraine, and russia. i really believe that nato hangs in the balance. i think if putin continues to push ukraine around and threaten other countries, and nato is not a sufficient deterrent, we are sort of sending the word to putin that we're really a paper tiger. so i wish you would talk about that a little bit, because i really do believe the future of nato hangs in the balance. four countries give 2% of their budget to defense, as is required, and that's very, very troubling in terms of nato. so i thank you, mr. chairman, and i look forward to the
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secretary's testimony. >> thank you, mr. engel. this morning we're pleased to be joined by mr. john kerry, the 68th secretary of state. and mr. secretary, welcome again here to the committee. without objection, the witness' full prepared statement will be made part of the record. and the members here, each of you, will have five calendar days to submit any statements or questions or extraneous material for the record you may wish to submit. so mr. secretary, if you open for five minutes, then we'll go to the members for their questions. >> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman, congressman engel, ranking member, all the members of this committee. to respect your time, i will try to summarize my comments, and mr. chairman i hope i can do it in five minutes. there's a lot to talk about. and your questions will needless to say elicit an enormous amount of dialogue.
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which i really welcome. i can't think of a moment where more is happening, more challenges exist, there's more transformation taking place. some of it with great turmoil. a lot of it with enormous opportunity that doesn't get daily discussion. but all of it with big choices for you. for us. you representing the american people. all of us in positions of major responsibility at this important time. we rose to the occasion, obviously, and we like to extol it. we all talk about it. i did certainly as a senator. i do as secretary of state. and that is the extraordinary contribution of the greatest generation. and what they did to help us and
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our leaders did, republican and democrat alike, who put us on a course to win the battle against tyranny, dictatorship, and to win the battle for democracy and human rights and freedom for a lot of people. and no country on the face of this planet has expended as much blood, put as many people on the line, lost as much of our human treasure to offer other people an opportunity to embrace their future. not tell them what it has to be. it's really a remarkable story. and now we find ourselves at a moment where we have to make some similar kinds of choices, frankly.
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i don't want to overblow it. i'm not trying to. but this is a big moment of transport -- of transformation. there are literally hundreds of millions of people emerging on this planet, young people, count the number of countries where the population is 65% under the age of 30, 60%, 30 and under, 50% under the age of 21. i mean it's all over the place. and if they live in a place where there's bad governance or corruption, or tyranny, in this world where everybody knows how to be in touch with everybody else all the time, you have a clash of aspirations. a clash of possibilities and opportunities. and to some degree, that's what we're seeing today. that certainly was the beginning of the arab spring. which is now being infused with a sectarianism, and confusions of religious overtones and other things that make it much more complicated than anything that has preceded this. by the way, the cold war was simple compared to this. bipolar, pretty straight forward
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conversations. yeah, we have to make big commitments, but it wasn't half as complicated in the context of dealing country to country, and with tribes, with culture, with a lot of old history. and it's a very different set of choices. in addition, that's complicated by the fact that many other countries today are growing in their economic power. growing in their own sense of independence. and not as willing to just take at face value what a larger g-7 or g-20 country tells them, or what some particular alliance dictates. so that's what we're facing. and i heard the chairman say, you know, we shouldn't compromise the day-to-day operations of the department. but let me say to you, the day-to-day operations of the
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department are not confined to making an embassy secure. we need to do that. but if that's all we do, folks, we're in trouble. we're not going to be able to protect ourselves adequately against these challenges that we're facing that we'll talk about today. the united states, you know, we get 1% of the entire budget of the united states of america. everything we do abroad within the state department and usaid is within that 1%. everything. all the businesses we try to help, to marry to economic opportunities in the country, all the visas, the consulate work, the diplomacy, the coordination of dhs, fbi, atf, i mean all the efforts that we have to engage in to work with other countries, intelligence organizations, so forth, to help do the diplomacy around that is less than 1%.
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i guarantee you more than 50% of the history of this era is going to be written out of that 1% and the issues we confront in that 1%. and i ask you to think about that as you contemplate the budgets. because we've been robbing peter to pay paul, and we've been stripping away our ability to help a country deal with those kids who may be ripe for becoming part of isil. we've been diminishing our capacity to be able to have the kind of impact we ought to be having in this more complicated world. now, i'm not going to go in to all of the detail because i promised i'd summarize. but i believe the united states is leading extraordinarily on the basis of that 1%. we have led on isil, putting to together a coalition for the first time in history that has five arab nations engaged in military activity in another arab country in the region,
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against, you know, sunni against sunni. i don't want to turn this into that sectarian but it's an important part of what is happening. we help to lead in the effort to transition in iraq a government that we could work with. part of the problem in iraq was the sectarianism that the former prime minister had embraced, which was dividing his nation, and creating a military that was incompetent. and we saw that in the context of mosul. so we wanted to make sure that we had a government that really represented people and was going to reform and move in a different direction. and we worked at it and we got it. we have it today. is it perfect? no. but is it moving in the right direction? you bet it is. in afghanistan, we rescued a flawed election, brought together the parties, were able to negotiate to get a unified unity government. which has both of the presidential candidates working
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together to hold afghanistan and define its future, and create -- and negotiate a bsa that defines our future going forward and give afghanistan a chance to make good on the sacrifices of 14 years of our troops, and our contributions and so forth. on ebola, we led that fight. president obama made a brave decision to send 4,000 young american troops there in order to set up the structure so we had a capacity to be able to try to deal with it. 1 million deaths were predicted by last christmas at the time that we did that. and not all the answers were there for questions that were real. but the president sent those people in. we have made the difference, and now there's a huge reduction in the cases, in liberia, sierra leone, guinea, and we're getting not finished, but we're getting to a place where you're not seeing it on the nightly news every day and people aren't living in fear here that they're about to be infected. on aids we're facing the first
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aids-free generation in history. because of the work that we have done. on the ukraine we've held together europe and the united states and unity to put in place sanctions. the ruble is down 50%. there's been $151 billion of capital flight from russia. there's been a very significant impact on day-to-day life, on food, product availability. the economy is predicted in russia to go in to recession this year. and we are poised yet to do another round potentially depending on what happens with minsk in these next few days. on iran, we've taken the risk of sitting down. of trying to figure out, is there a diplomatic path to solve this problem? i can't sit here today and tell you i know the answer to that. but i can tell you it's worth trying before you go to more extreme measures that may result in asking young americans yet again to put themselves in harm's way.
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we are pursuing the two most significant trade agreements of recent memory. the tpp, in asia pacific, and the ttip in europe, both of which represent about 40% of gdp of the world. in order to have a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. if we can achieve that we will be achieving a major new structure with respect to trade rules on a global basis. in africa, we held the african leaders summit, an historic summit with more than 40 african leaders coming to washington out of which has come a series of events that will help, we hope, to meet our obligation to help transform africa. and finally on climate, there are other things, incidentally. i'm just skimming the surface, some of the most important. i know not everybody here is a believer. in taking steps to deal with climate. i regret that. but the science keeps coming in stronger and stronger and stronger.
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on the front page of today's newspapers, the stories about an alaskan village that will have to be given up because of what is happening with climate change. it is -- there's evidence of it everywhere in the world. and we cut a deal with china, improbable as that was a year ago, the biggest opponent of our efforts has now stood up and joined us because they see the problem and they need to respond to it. so they've agreed to target for lowering reliance on fossil fuel and a target for alternative renewable energy by a certain period of time. and we've set targets, and that's encouraged other countries to start to come forward and try to take part in this effort. so i will -- i will adamantly put forward the way in which this administration is leading. i know not everybody agrees with every choice. are there places where we need to do more? yes. we'll talk about those, i'm
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sure, today. but we need to work to the. together. i'll end by saying that historically, historically that 1% has produced more than its monetary value precisely because your predecessors were willing to let foreign policy debate and fight become bipartisan, let politics stop at the water's edge, and find what is in the common interests of our country. that's what brings me here today. that's why i'm so privileged to serve as secretary of state at this difficult time, because i believe america is helping to define our way through some very difficult choices, and frankly, and last thing, this is counterintuitive but it's true. our citizens, our world today,
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is actually, despite isil, despite the visible killings that you see, and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to americans and to people in the world than normally less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century. and so even a concept of state war has changed in many people's minds and we're seeing more now asymmetrical kinds of struggles. i would say to you that i see encouragement when i travel the world. i see people wanting to grow their economies. i see vast new numbers of middle class. people who are traveling. i see unbelievable embrace of new technologies.
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i see more democracy in places where it was nonexistent or troubled. big changes, sri lanka, and other countries. we can run the list. but i hope you will sense that it is not all doom and gloom that we are looking at. tough issues, yes. but enormous opportunities for transformation if we will do our job and continue to be steady, and put on the table the resources necessary to take advantage of this moment of transformation. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. mr. secretary, you're certainly right, it is not all gloom and doom. but, the reality for us is that even as we discuss these issues, there are still rallies going on in iran in which the refrain is death to america, death to israel. even as we attempt to engage and we hope that we get a verifiable agreement. but even as we attempt this we
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still have the ayatollah, and we still have the cadres that come out and say death to the great satan, death to little satan and that's a reality that we have to face, because sometimes when people communicate those types of threats, they mean it. and i mentioned my concern about the direction of iran talks. and of course we understand we're still negotiating on this. and i understand you've cautioned not to judge a deal we haven't yet seen. but it's important that the administration know the committee's concerns, as you negotiate. and one thing we do know is that iran has continued to stonewall international inspectors. concerning its past bomb work. and as you've acknowledged, this is a critical part of these negotiations. and it's a fundamental test of iran's commitment. and it's been well over a year, i think, and i've talked to the secretary-general of the iaea
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about this. you know i saw press this morning, i don't know if this is correct or not, and we could go in to closed session at some point to discuss it, but the concern of a secret facility. but the concern i have at the moment is what the secretary-general says. and he indicates that he's concerned about signs of military related activities including a -- including iran designing a nuclear payload for a missile. inspectors in iran, the iaea inspectors have amassed over 1,000 pages which show research, development and testing activities on technologies needed to develop a nuclear weapon, and of the 12 sets of questions that the iaea has been seeking since 2011, iran answered part of one of those, and so i'd like to ask you for a response on the concerns on the
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part of the iaea. and us on the committee. >> well, they're legitimate. and the questions have to be answered. and they will be unless -- if they want to have an agreement. >> well, we had 350 members write you expressing deep concern about this lack of cooperation, and of course from our standpoint in -- unless we have a full understanding of iran's program, we're not going to be able to judge a year's breakout time with certainty. that's the conundrum we face here. and they're withholding that information, and without going into detail again, but, as you know, i have concerns about the fact they were caught with that supersonic centrifuge, testing that, and the whole procurement -- >> let me just say on that centrifuge when you say supersonic. they have some advanced centrifuges that do more than the centrifuge they have today. we're well aware of that. we've been tracking all of that,
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and really there was a misunderstanding of the language in the interim agreement which did allow current testing. there was a question about whether that had been current. we raised it, and immediately, within 24 hours, it ceased, there was no question, and there's been no further effort on that. in fact, the iaea has signed off that iran has complied with every single component of interim agreement. >> and let me -- >> we raise these questions regarding the iaea, mr. chairman, and as i said, they're going to have to be answered. so that's part of the discussion right now. >> there's a piece today in "the new york times." inspectors say iran is evading questions as nuclear talks enter a crucial stage. per my conversations with the iaea i know those concerns are there. i want to just turn to broadcasting reform to discuss
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that with you because i know in an exchange you had yesterday in the senate you expressed your frustration that our effort to confront russian propaganda is simply nowhere near where it ought to be. it's an area where mr. engel and i also share frustration on that. we know that putin is dominating the essential information battle on the ground. that's not -- that's -- but this isn't just about resources. it is also about what we can do with an initiative that, for the broadcasting board of governors, to overhaul that institution, and make it effective, myself and mr. engel put that bill in to the senate last year. we were not able to get it up and passed. and the question i wanted to ask was, for your assistance on the senate side, in getting our legislation through this year, so that we can get reform that
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this troubled agency needs, and get up and running with the type of broadcasting that you and i, i think, want to see to offset what president putin is doing right now. >> all i can say is, mr. chairman, i'm with you 100% on this. i look forward to working with you further. i appreciate your leadership on this issue. you've been champion of reform on the bbg and i am absolutely committed to the reform of the bbg and our next meeting is on april 29th. i've had long conversations with our undersecretary for public diplomacy rick stengel, who is very seized with some things we need to try to achieve. now there are two issues here. one is sort of the reform of the bbg and the second is what we ought to be doing on a global basis with respect to the propaganda that's coming out of russia.
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on the bbg, we've just -- we've had a slight difference with you on the issue of whether or not we are -- whether it's improved to have a situation where you have two boards and two ceos. i think you know i raised that. and also, i think state, given our engagement with it, needs to be part of that process. i'm confident we can find a way to drive this more effectively. the bigger issue is, what is congress prepared to do in terms of putting some resources on the line to help us do this? i have found, when i have traveled to the baltic region, or to poland, or to bulgaria recently and elsewhere, they're just getting flooded with propaganda. and propaganda is exactly that. it's propaganda. it has the ability to affect the minds of those who hear it if they don't hear alternatives. >> well, mr. secretary, we're on the same page with you. i think your request was $1.3 million to confront russian propaganda in this budget. >> correct.
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>> we're on the same wavelength, mr. engel and i and the committee with you on this. just, if i could just turn to one other issue that's going to be a topic here of this hearing today. and that is the question that is on our mind in terms of aumf to ensure that the commander in chief has the authority needed to decisively defeat the enemy, and that will be part of our dialogue here with you this morning. i will turn now to mr. engel for his opening questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. again welcome mr. secretary. mr. secretary, i mentioned to you just before the hearing began my concern about a report, it was in yesterday's "new york times," that says negotiators plan to phase out nuclear limits on iran and essentially, it's saying that we could possibly
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be -- would accept a fudging so to speak, of how many years iran would be prohibited from these various moves to have nuclear weapon, whether it would be ten years, 15 years, so on and so forth. but it essentially would ease limits on iran's production during the later years of an accord in saying that by doing that it would be an attempt to bridge the differences between the two sides over how long an agreement should last. can you talk about this? because it's very disturbing. obviously i believe and others believe that the and i know you believe that the longest amount of time preventing iran from gearing up to have a nuclear weapon is preferable. and if we're sort of fudging it, those reports are true, at the end, it's very concerning. you know, no one here, certainly
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not you, needs to be told about the threat of iran, and that iran having a nuclear weapon would be a game changer. we need to support our ally israel. iran is an existential threat to them. and so when i hear that the end portion of this agreement is sort of nebulous or going to be a little cloudy about it it's very disturbing. so i'd like your response to the report in "the new york times." >> absolutely. couldn't be a more important topic. i absolutely welcome the chance to talk about it. i regrettably can't talk about it as much as i would love to talk about it because we don't have a deal yet. and so i am not going to go into great lengths and detail here for that reason, and i would caution others not to be running
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around combatting the deal that hasn't been made. secondly i will say mr. ranking member, you just said the language you used was we don't want to see a reduction of these measures that might then permit iran to go build a nuclear weapon. please understand there is no reduction at any time that permits iran to build a nuclear weapon. iran is forever forbidden from building a nuclear weapon. that is the nature of membership in the nonproliferation treaty, which they are a member of, and that is the nature of certain responsibilities that you accept in the context of verification and transparency.
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now i'm not going to go in to all of that here today. except to say to you that obviously that's got to be adequate. unlike north korea, which is not a member of the npt, iran has certain obligations that go forever. so don't get lured in to believing that because something might change or be reduced with respect to, you know, some component they're allowed to do or install there countries that live by the npt are permitted to have a peaceful nuclear program. that means they can produce power for their nation. with a nuclear plant. japan has very intrusive inspection and they enrich and they're engaged in producing fuel and doing their capacity. now iran hasn't already mastered the fuel cycle, folks. they did that a number of years ago. when president george w. bush was president in 2003, the bush administration policy was no enrichment.
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and they went -- iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000 that are installed, and there's claims of some others being out there. which we're going at. so, you know, they've learned how to enrich. by the way, a different administration had an opportunity to stop them or do something and they didn't. so we are where we are today. they know how to do fuel cycle. and the question is going to be, what restraints can you put on that now in a way that guarantees you that you know they're not going to build a nuclear weapon? we've said there are four pathways to that nuclear weapon. one is through fordau, another is through iraq, another is through natanz, and a fourth is through covert. covert is hard. that's the hardest. so we're now negotiating the methods by which we can show that the four paths are cut off. and that they're not cut off,
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folks, for two years, three years, four years, five years, they're cut off forever. for as long as they're living up to the npt. and you have to build some process of a knowledge base, and of a system that gets you there over a period of time. that's what we're trying to do. so mr. chairman i'm not today, i don't want to jeopardize these talks. i don't want to mischaracterize them in any way. they're tough. they're hard. there's some very big issues yet to be resolved. we are not there. but, we're not going to wade in on a piecemeal basis and we certainly don't think it's appropriate to condemn it before everybody knows what it, in fact, is, if there is an is. >> mr. secretary i want to ask you a final question about ukraine. i believe that the united states should provide ukraine with
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defensive weapons. i know that germany and france have resisted it. i really think what's happened with ukraine under the 1994, as you well know, budapest memorandum, ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons with assurances from the u.s., the uk, china and russia that they would be protected. that we haven't, in my opinion, lived up to the 1994 budapest memorandum at all and as i said in my opening remark, i think that the credibility of nato is hanging in the balance with putin bullying all the countries around ukraine. i'm wondering if you can comment on the defensive weapons to ukraine to help them repel putin's aggression? >> well, we've sent a lot of different items to ukraine, actually. over a period of time, we're one of the more significant donors. we've been sending
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counterbattery radars. we've been sending night vision. we've been sending communications gear. m-wraps. i mean there's a long list of items that we have sent. and in addition, we've been, let me just run through, we've got about 118 million we've given in training and equipment. 52 million including body armor, helmets, advanced radios, explosive ordnance, disposal robots, fir aid kit supplies, 47 million in protective gear for state border guard service, vehicles, up armored suvs, heavy engineering equipment, thermal imageing, monitoring equipment, patrol boats, uniforms, generators, and we've provided training and equipment to six companies, and headquarters elements, that's about 600 personnel, and ukrainian national guard and there's more. so we're -- we've been doing a lot. i think everybody understands
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that we're not going to be able to do enough under any circumstance that, if russia decides to match it, and surpass it, they're going to be able to do it. everybody knows that, including president poroshenko. the debate is whether or not there is some -- some weapons that could be given to them that give them a greater ability to defend themselves in order to prevent the creeping land grabbing that's been taking place, or at least raise the cost. that's a very legitimate discussion. president obama has not yet made that decision. partly because even yesterday there was a meeting in paris of the russian foreign minister, the ukrainian foreign minister, and the french and german foreign ministers, to measure the implementation of minsk and to see if they can move further, some weapons have been pulled back, troops, some troops have been pulled back.
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obviously debaltseve was the site of a continued battle. that's a violation. there have been many violations of the cease-fire since then. so the measurement now is are we on a downward track to actually seeing an implementation or is there now a mariopol or some other effort that may be taking place which would immediately merit a much more significant response, which is teed up and that could be very serious next level of sanctions coupled with other choices the president may or may not make. >> we go now to the chair of the middle east. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. secretary. i will ask about iran, cuba, venezuela and palestinians. you testified in the senate yesterday that, quote, the policy is iran will not get a nuclear weapon, end quote. however, last month your deputy testified that the deal being negotiated is meant only to constrain iran's breakout
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capabilities. so which one is it constraining or eliminating? and if the deal is to prevent iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon, why are we allowing iran to enrich, to keep some of their stockpiles and centrifuges. your agreement is based on the assumption that we can verify if iran cheats but the defense science board and former cia director hayden have stated that our capability to detect iran's undeclared or covert nuclear sites is either inadequate or does not exist. so can we catch when iran cheats and when they do cheat, not if but when, what consequences will iran suffer, and reports surfaced yesterday as the chairman said of an undeclared iranian enrichment site. what information can you share about this new site and will this development impact, how will this development impact the negotiations?
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on cuba, mr. secretary, yesterday in the senate you said, quote, the change that we are making, we believe, assists the united states to be able to promote the democracy and the rights that we want for the people of cuba, end quote. however, cuba spy vidal who's leading the castro delegation said that havana will not accept a u.s. embassy that will assist cuba's civil society and said that, quote, change in cuba isn't negotiable, end quote. now the regime has arrested over 300 opposition members in just the last two weeks. berta soleil was among them. only three weeks ago, she was sitting in your chair testifying before our committee on the gross human rights abuses going on in cuba today. she returned to cuba on a saturday. she was arrested sunday. yet the u.s.-castro talks are still scheduled to go on on
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friday here at the state department. but the u.s. didn't even get one cosmetic commitment to democratic reform from the castro regime and the regime keeps demanding more from us. pay us billions of dollars from the losses we suffered from the embargo, utterly ridiculous. and just yesterday, mr. secretary, castro bestowed metals on those whom your administration pardoned, including gerardo hernandez, who was responsible for killing u.s. citizens on the very anniversary of the killing of our citizens castro gave a medal to his killer, a killer who was pardoned by this administration. of all the bad deals that we have seen bergdahl, et cetera isn't this cuba deal the weakest one yet? and on venezuela, mr. secretary, yesterday, just a few days ago a
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14-year-old child was killed by police thugs, actually just yesterday, 14 years old. he was shot in the head during a peaceful protest. we in congress passed a sanctions law to punish such acts, but you have not fully implemented our law. states decision to deny some visas to some people is only a small slap on the wrist. people are dying in venezuela and all we're hearing are excuses. enough is enough, why have you not fully implemented every one of the sanctions laws that we passed against human rights violators in venezuela? how many more peaceful demonstrators must die before
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>> the answer is no because of the icc and what is going on. and the pa is nearly bankrupt at this moment. it is in nobody's interest madame chair, for this to -- for the pa to fall apart. >> cuba? >> we don't want that to happen. i'll come to cuba in a minute. on the 14-year-old in venezuela that is horrendous. venezuela keeps moving in the wrong direction and making the wrong choices. and the answer is, the sanctions are being implemented, right now, as fast as possible. we are working with the national security council.
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we're working with the department of the treasury and other agencies to implement the provisions in the law as rapidly as we can. so we have no disagreement what so ever on the e gree jous behavior. we invite frequently president midoro to realize that there's a completely alternative set of options available to him. we hope he'll take it. >> but he can commit these acts with impunity. nothing really happens. >> the law is being implemented. it is being implemented. the sanctions, everybody thinks you slap them on day one. there's a very specific set of requirements in the law for what you have to do to prepare in order to -- >> how about the killer of this 14-year-old? we know who did it. why don't we just -- why didn't we sanction them yesterday? we have the video. >> yeah, we're going to have to keep moving.
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and i'm -- >> let me just say that sapgs sanctions are being implay e plied. don't measure it where it is today. measure it by what gips to happen as this process of normalization takes place and we have an opportunity to be able to press those issues and shed more light on them and create the change we hope will take place. and i could go on in some length about that but i want to get to the other things you mentioned very quickly. on iran there is no equivalency between what secretary blinken was talking about with respect to preventing them from getting a weapon and the question of what happens with respect to their compliance with respect to their nuclear program. if you have a year of breakout time -- by the way, everybody, i think it's publicly known number that has been batted around in
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the press that prior to our joint agreement, the breakout time was about two months, maybe three, max. we've already extended that. one year breakout is time it takes to get enough material for one nuclear weapon which they haven't yet designed or been able to test or put on a warhead or explode or anything. so that's many more years it takes to get there. we don't lose one option that we have today not one option, during that period of time.
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slap back on the sanctions. israel is safer today than they were before we got that agreement, which by the way, the prime minister opposed. he was wrong. today, he's saying we should share the sbe rim agreement. >> are you share the agreement -- >> of course. of course. >> i -- >> i think even today our department is on the phones and we're having calls. >> mr. secretary i'm going to make a suggestion to the members. members, if you use the five minutes to ask your questions, we're just going to go on to the next member and then we'll do the response in writing. we're going to go right now to mr. brad sherman of california. thank you.
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>> i have a lot of questions to which i'd just ask a response in writing. >> i'd actually hoped for to encourage dialogue. >> i want to commend you for the actions in ebola. we kent chemical weapons out of the area. and we repelled the tax all without any u.s. combat casualties. a lot of people throw out other ideas. you should have done this, you should have done that.
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but every one of those other strategies would have resulted in an awful lot of american combat casualties. your strategy has done more than any other strategy should have. vietnam is 30 cents an hour. that is the bottom. they don't have freedom and they don't have markets. i hope that -- 30 cents an hour is the bottom and that's what we're racing to.
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goods that are 50, 60 80% made in china can get slapped with a tag and come into the united states duty free. the governor's issue. this committee voted to do that. senator kerry you championed recognition of the article mean yan genocide. we are now about to have the 100 anniversary. and i would hope that you show the courage that you are personally known for and on april 24th use the word
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genocide to describe what happened in antolia a hundred years ago. you said that iran is not permitted to have a nuclear weapon, ever because they're members of the mpt, unlike north dree e korea. i hope that you would if your honor i recall efurnish 23rfor the record that once you're in the npt, you cannot get out. you've talked about one year to breakout. what i'm concerned about is how
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long to sneak out? the mek sometimes givers us inaccurate information. they now say that there's a secret fa till sill at lavanz 3. what i'd like toe know is are you willing to accept an agreement in which the iaea does not have the right to go anywhere on short notice? or are we going to settle for the cat and mouse game?
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>> do we have time? >> we'll do the last question, but we need to keep moving. we only have five minutes for each member. we want to get as many as possible. so go ahead. >> clearly, iran does not have the right to step out. we will hopefully, have the ability to know immediately. and then we have the other options that are available to us. on the secret facility we're well aware of the allegations regarding that facility. it will, obviously have to be any questions would have to be annalsed to have any kind of an agreement and i think people should rest assured that will take place. and, on the iaea we are negotiating for the appropriate standards and process that the


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