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tv   Open Phones with David Reynolds  CSPAN  April 14, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

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one's bigger and in terms of the dynamics i think the surprising thing has been a lot of the division and gridlock we get accused of is it's surprising it's not necessarily fermented by us. it's outside groups that seem to period of time from the division, and, you know, dust it up to raise money. >> how do you fix it? >> i think you fix it by -- the american public has a low opinion of congress and yet most people like their particular congressman or congresswoman. i think just trusting us a little bit, that the things that we are trying to community kate back, if they are in contradiction to the i love america or i hate america peck whatever it might be, maybe take
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the information that we have and realize there's some truth behind it. >> walk us through your routine. oklahoma is not the easiest place to get to from washington d.c. how much are you in washington? what's your daily routine here in d.c.? when you go back to the district. >> well, oklahoma city, it is, you know in the middle of the country, and it does take time to get here. i will be here not every weekend do i go home. some weekends there's just things to do. if there's a particular large build in mark up and committee 600, 700 pages long that takes time to read, so i try to do the diligence, what i was elected to do. other times you know, i was a national speaker for eight years with premier speakers bureau traveling all over the country, and i still do some of that, but the rules have changed on what
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that is but i still get around. i was in missouri this past weekend speaking. so i won't get home every weekend, but i try to get home about two weekends a month and then i'll be here, the remind every of the time or in and out of here. >> let's talk about you. why did you decide to run for congress and when did you think of public office? >> politics has been a surprising path. i retired from the united states army infantry in 2006. i had been deployed three out of five years, so it was pretty hard on my family. my oldest daughter at the time was -- she was a senior in high school, so i wanted to settle all of our kids, the last chance that we had and so i took it. i did a lot of veterans advocacy work, traveled around the country, trying to take my personal story to convince people to back the troops while they fought rather than bicker
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about it and let them get it done. in the course of that, that gathered the attention of "politico"s and others, and i was approached to run for state senate in oklahoma and ran in 2008. i did a term there left in 2012 under my own mind and i have a rifle business that i wanted to pursue, in my book and in my speaking. coming to congress, really, was not on the horizon. it was a result of when senator dr. tom coburn retired early, james langford ran for his seat vacateing oklahoma's fifth district. i looked at it. i saw a path to get there. i thought i don't want to look back on my life thinking that maybe i could have helped my
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country. and didn't try. i thought, win or lose, i'll try. people in oklahoma sent me here. it's been a real honor. >> you come from a long military tradition. the army in particular. talk about that and also why you decided to begin your career in the military. >> well my ancestors go back all the way to the revolution serving in uniform by sixth and seventh grandfathers were captured by the british imprisoned in detroit until the treaty of paris, and they you know, were eventually released and then all of -- nearly every major war since that time on one side of the family or the other i always wanted to be a soldier. most of my family were not career soldiers, but they did serve. my brother served eight years in the navy. my dad served in '53 and it was just something that in our
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family it was always an interest. it was always a topic of discussion with relatives and so anyone that knew me as a child would not be surprised that i became a soldier. >> where did you grow up? how many in your family? where did you go to college? >> i grew up in dill city oklahoma, as far as we can ascertain, i'm the only federally elected congressman ever to come from there. it's a small suburb of oklahoma city and i have an older sister and then an older brother. he's in the middle of the three of us. and i had a four year army scholarship. rotc scholarship. got some good marks in high school allowing me to be able to afford to go to college. i went to university and got a degree in public speaking, and debate and never thinks i would ever use it for a living, i just thought if they'll give you a degree for talking, sign me up.
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i was trying to get a commission in the united states army, and that was something i enjoyed. it was a good decision. i met my wife there, married 30 years this year, and embarked on a military career. >> what's the key to being a successful public speaker? what's your approach? >> i think a lot of times the most effective speakers are those that can relay with stories. we see that, you know, through so many examples. christ, sermon on the mount or in parables he told story and would connect to people. you see many many history the great orators they don't do it on the fly. abraham lincoln getprepared remarks, winston churchill,
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looked like it was not but he had prepared remarks. martin luther king you know prepared remarks. often times if you go to the podium meandering, it comes across as well, meandering and so i think that diligence behind it the study, and then to make it appear natural and connect with stories so people can relate to that. >> how influential were your parents in your life growing up, and as you pursued your career? >> very influential. i nearly died several times from birth. i almost died at that time. i had the opposite blood type of my mother and the factor was different, and she had had a couple miscarriages prior to me and i nearly died at birth, so she's always told me that i was her little fighter and, you know, that does something to a
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child that, you know, you're not going to quit. you're going to persevere and stay with something until you get it done, and then survived a bout of appendicitis. my appendix ruptured, and it was six or seven hours before i had medical attention to deal with that. i did not know what it was. felt better after it ruptured, and then infection set in, intensive care for weeks two major surgeries, and my folks at that time, they thought they were going to lose me. >> you didn't know it ruptured? >> no, i didn't. i had a stomach ache, it hurt, and then it felt better, pressure was relieved and i went outside and played. it was on a saturday. and then by that night i was doubled over blinded by pain. i remember asking my mother during that time i asked am i going to die? she was honest with me. she says we don't know.
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she said, but we're praying, and we believe you're going to make it, and i appreciated that. and so it made me want to fight that much harder, and on the heels of that prior to that, oklahoma, no stranger to tornados, i was in a devastating tornado at my grandparents, and it killed a neighborhood girl next door to them, and it just levelled the entire area. we crawled out from under ma tresses and a small tin building, and because the alternative was to be in trailers, not a good idea so i've -- i have always felt that you know, we are pretty much immortal until god's done with us, and then at that point it's time, and so i'm not really given it a lot of thought. i approached it that way in combat. i think those childhood experiences conveyed that if there is some plan that i'm meant to fulfill and i'm
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diligent and then perhaps it can be done. if not you know then all of my efforts are not going to matter, and i certainly had that kind of faith when i was in combat. >> so you're not afraid of death? >> no. i'm really not. the act of it does not sound thrilling, but as far as what happens afterwards i'm not. i know christ as my lord and savior, and i take that faith very seriously as most of our framers and founders of the great country have, and it should be no surprise, you know, to millions of americans who hold similar faith, and i great comfort in that, that were something to happen i believe that i'll be eternally secure because he promised that if i would believe in him, that i would have eternal life. >> with any experiences in your life, has your faith been tested? >> it absolutely has.
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in battle i think your faith plays a tremendous role. i had to do some terrible things. you know processing that has been a long journey. you're not dealing with some electronics or a computer or working on a machine. you're on the front lines carrying a rifle bayonet grenades, and water. basic implements. with those organizations, they are the ones who are designed to go find the enemy, not just react to the enemy but to go find them. in my excursions we certainly found a lot of different enemies, and i've had to watch friends, you know get hit, and i've lost soldiers. it's very very tough to deal with. i had to take human life and fight my way out of ambushes, and those experiences are --
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they stay with you your entire life. they are not insurmountable. i try to relay to people that if you were in a horrible car wreck or in a devastating storm or you were in something traumatic, it immakt impacts your life and largely shapes it. it does not mean you don't function, but you take the experiences and they shape you for the future. that's the way my faith helped me to process my battle experiences. >> one of the enemies, hussein, the book behind you now in paperback, "we got him." what happened? >> i had the opportunity to test a soldier task force. we were there in 2003 to 2004. we got involved largely due to geography. it was not something that we
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thought specifically we'd find s saddam. we were a task force in his hometown, and it became readily apparent very quickly that daum was probably being harbored there. we get incredible information and intelligence, and we began to work that. we worked that with a number of other teams, two special operations forces teams over a six month period. we worked very, very close with them and developed from the ground up a lot of our own intelligence. my commander, who works on the senate staff now, he was a marvelous warrior the chief of staff in the united states army he was our commander in the fourth infantry division. those were my two mood commanders who gave me great latitude, and i'm very grateful for not only their bravery, but also their trust, and we worked together as a team. my unit was not the only one
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involved, but it was one of about a half dozen and it was very humbling to participate in that time to lead the raids. we nearly captured saddam in the summer of 2003. didn't get him, but we got personal effects and papers $10 million in cash and $2 million in jewelry, and turns out he was captured six months after the raid across the river. you could see the two places from one another and his home where i had soldiers using it as an outpost from all three mutually see one another. it was really interesting, and i -- i counted a great privilege to have participated in that, and i give great credit to all units involved. you know, my book, it has been noted for its vivid detail and a
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lot of the experiences we went through which was important to me coming home, was to tell our portion of it. it was not to make sure that it didn't get told but not erased from history. >> three adopted children from hungary, how did that come about? >> well we had two children at the time and we wanted more -- she was concern about flairups of childhood arthritis and more pregnancy, there was a chance it could recur, so we began to look at adoption. we were stationed in europe at the time, and i went to a men's conference in germany and there was an army dock there who adopted two boys from hungary and worked in an orphanage that. one thing led to another
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explored how he did the process, and then we used a facileitatefacilitator, a marvellous lady, and she and her husband with their two very, very small children the oldest was 18 months and hungary revolt of '56 they fled and made it over the mountains to austria austria. nixon picked five families to be instant u.s. citizen, and they were one of five. a miracle story. when she retired, she worked to place orphan children in hungary with soldiers because she had such love for the military having worked around it, and one thing led to another, and we adopted a set of orphan siblings. they were 5, 6, and 8, and that was in the year 2000. >> and where are they all now? >> they are owl in the oklahoma city metro area. my oldest daughter, she's
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graduated from college, and runs a business, and my oldest son, he works, and they are all doing pretty good, you know, trying to find their way, and i got them all to 18 without incident or crime, so, you know i'm thankful for that, and now it's on them to make a good life of their own. i'm very proud of them. >> what about your life here in washington as a member of congress? what do you want to achieve? what's your objective? >> i think the main thing is we need to get back to basics of life liberty and property. the government has a federal role. abraham lincoln put it well when he said those things that we can do ourselves the government ought not to interfere but those things electively that we cannot accomplish, the government may have a role, and i think that we ought to keep it in that perspective. it's tempting for the government
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to want to take over every aspect of our lives but that's not something we need to do. the american people are resilient. they largely want to be left alone. they want to have fruit of their labor, they are willing to pay some taxes for roads, schools, things we all collectively need law enforcement, but they do not want a government that tells them what to eat, what to drink how to be clothed, you know how much they can do this that or the other. the american innovative spirit defied that and it still does today, and i hope to bring that reminder as we go back and look at the framing documents right here in the town, magnificent to see them, they remind us that we can pursue that happiness, that we have life liberty and property. and the government has to protect those things and also promote good policy to protect those things. not take away and encroach upon
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them. >> can you carry on with those principles and yet also compromise with democrats? >> sure. i think the framing of the constitution was a huge compromise. you had states that wanted autonomy autonomy. you had a need for road, communication, and defense system that they could not really provide, and so they were willing to ditch the articles of confederation for the constitution, and they labored over it. john jay and james madison, alexander hamilton many other, they debated, studied, looked at past democracies and wondered why they failed and determined we needed a representative republic with checks and balances so one side could not usurp the other and divide it further among the branchs and so when we hear complaints we can't get anything done in washington, it was designed that
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way. it was literally designed so that there would be competing interests, and i think when you come to overlapping circles of need, that's where you can find the compromise. that's where you can find the things that most americans can get behind and you can do. already seeing it, already beginning to do some of it, my dad was a democrat. my mom, a republican. i grew up in a house divided. i think it's important to listen to both sides. no person is the font of all knowledge. i learned something from everybody i talked to and i think it's important that we keep that perspective. at a minimum we'll be more so lid fied eddwsh solidified in believing they were correct, but we may be persuaded to another view but you can't do that if you don't hold relationships, reach across and talk to one
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another. that is a problem. we have to work on that more. >> how cool do you intend to serve? >> i have not thought about that. i find it amazing i'm here, and i'm very humbled and honored, and i think as long as i'm here -- i wouldn't say i like the work, that's a strong word, but enjoying it, i do enjoy the work. i'm equipped for it with my life experiences as a businessman soldier, author, speaker, i worked with teems my entire life, building them, leading them, solving tremendous problems, and so i feel equipped to be here and i hope to be useful to the country for as long as is practical. >> which is the final question, not on the policy side but on the the personal side. what's the biggest challenge of
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being a member of congress? >> your time is completely consumed by handlers and others and i think having time for my faith and for my family. i'm fortunate that with our kids grown, we travel back and forth together. now, the government does not pay for us to keep an apartment here or her travel to come up. there's a cost associatesed with this, but there's a cost if you don't, and we're still rather fond of each other after all these years, so we have determined that we want to do that, and she's been a great support to me, and i think that building those types of margins in your life so that you can take a step back with the fresh look, and then as a warrior, i tried to keep fit my whole life to have a clear head and good energy, and so trying to find the time for that has been a
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challenge, but challenge, doable. >> congressman steve russell of oklahoma, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> our conversations with new members of congress continues with republican will hurd of texas. he's the first african-american republican to represent texas since reconstruction. he served abroad for a number of years in the cia. he talks about his family background, education, and views on national security. this is 30 minutes. >> congressman will hurd from the 23rd congressional district of texas. a district that includes what, approximately 5,000 square miles, 8 00 miles of border along texas and mexico? how do you manage that? >> i put a lot of miles on the car. it's a big district. 29 counties, two time zones, as you said, 800 miles to the border and it's a huge space
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but that's one of the reasons why i love this district. we have some beautiful parts of the state, and this is why, you know, pretty much a no-name new fresh face was able to win this district was because the amount of time we spent criss crossing it, and not afraid to burn up miles on the car and chew leather. that's what makes this exciting. >> give us a sense of the demographics in the district, the cities or towns, and what struck you the most as you traveled in your campaign? >> right. san antonio is the most popular city in the district a fourth of san antonio. that's where i was born and raised. my parents still live in the house i was born into. that's on the eastern end of the district. on the western end is el paso a large city also covered by two members of congress. in between, you have towns like castroville and hondo, and alpine, big ben national park and it's about a 67% hispanic
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district, and so you know, you have such a rural part and urban areas of san antonio, and el paso. the thing that struck me the most when i was criss crossing the 29 counties is that people care about national security. they're worried about their future, and they are worried about the safety of their children and their family. that was great because of my background. you know, i spent almost a decade as an undercover officer in the cia, and this played well to be able to represent the district very well. >> talking about that in a moment, but if you traveled from one end of the district to the other, a straight shot how long would it take? >> 11 hours going 80 miles per hour. the speed limit in most places is 75 but if you go a couple miles over, they are okay. >> have you been pulled over? >> i have. i have. first time my chief of staff came in the district -- one of the things that's important for me is that my d.c. staff
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understands the district and gets out there and sees it and the first time my chief of staff was driving, we got pulled over. >> what did you tell the police officer? >> nothing. he said, slow it down. slow it down, and it was late at night, and they were really looking at us to say, hey be careful. so, you know, it's great folks throughout the district and you know i don't know if he recognized me or not, but they were making sure that we were being safe. >> you're also the first african-american republican since reconstruction to be elected. >> yes. >> how did that come about, and why are you a republican? >> you know look, it was funny getting up here to washington, d.c. because the first question i got asked by mostly everyone was, how did the black dude win in a hispanic district? right? what's interesting is that, you know, when my parents -- my dad is from east texas, my come grew up in indiana. they met in los angeles and got
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married and moved to san tone know in 1971. my father is african-american. my mother is white. it was not in vogue to be an interracial couple in south texas in the early '70s. what's great now that their youngest son is about to be -- is a member of congress all right, and, you know, when they first moved to sap tone owe, they had difficulty buying a home, and now, you know, i'm representing my hometown, and part of that is because people are no longer voting on the color of your skin, but content of the character, and people knew i was going to work hard and try to get things done, that i was going to work across the aisle, and that i have an experience and background that is unique. nobody up here has that, and so, for me, it's about working hard, and at the end of the day, whether you're black, brown, or anything, you know, people care about a couple things -- food on the table roof over their head and the people they love to be healthy and happy, all right? when you address those issues it does not matter which
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community you're in, it's going to resinate with people. >> you're different obviously, from the president in terms of parties, but do you understand what it was like for him to grow up in a similar situation like you? >> no. i'm aware. look. it's not just about him. there's a number of people that have had this experience all right, and it's great you know you learn to be empathetic. you learn to excel in places where you're the only person that looks like you. this was a skill helpful to me when i was in the cia. it's app honor to be up here and represent my hometown. it's a great example how texas has evolved and putting people in office because of who they are and what they are going to do. >> as a graduate of texas a&m, one of the premier schools in pride, being an aggie what's that mean for you? >> look. we have this code of honor at texas a&m. we say, aggies do not lie,
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cheat, or steal nor tolerate those who do. if we had that thinking up here in washington, d.c., it would be a better place. i'm proud to be an aggie. i learned a lot about leadership. i learn a lot about representing people student body president the year of the bonfire collapse. we built a big fire, about 100 or so feet tall, and it collapsed on to the building and killed 12 kids. in 1999 it was the worst accident to have ever happened on a college campus and to help lead the aggie family through the darkest time in our history was an honor. to give that experience up if those 12 kids still alive. that, to me solidifyies what it means to be a part of the aggie family, and i was able to leverage that in the run for congress, and so it's a great school, an awesome to represent my school, and the system has
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the school in san antonio, which is new, been the district, cool to represent my school. >> for those don't remember what happened, explain the circumstances that led to the collapse, where you were when it happened, and how you responded personally. >> sure. this was what we did to show our burning desire to beat our rival, university of texas, and this is all stay tuned run and student built. when it collapsed there was a lot of rain the ground shifted, the center pole that held up the entire thing cracked. it caused spinning, and the hoop stress and the entire thing collapsed on itself. when it collapsed i was actually asleep. it happened at 2:00 in the
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morning. one of my dearest friends called me and said, will, get up here. about 11 minutes after it collapsed, i was on campus involved in all the aspects of it. of, you know, helping to rescue 12 kids and dealing with the press and also making sure loved ones knew where they could go to get more information about their son and daughter and brothers uncles cousins. >> how did that change after the incident? >> it does not happen anymore. that was the last, you know the year before that was the last time a bonfire burned. >> why student leadership? why did you go decide to be student president? >> i was not going to go to texas a&m. texas a&m was actually -- i applied as a backup. i was a computer science major. i wanted to go to stanford. i was accepted to stanford, my agent got a significant scholarship to go and i went to texas a&m because i had a counselor at my high school, a big aggie and he kept badgering
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me to go up for a campus tour a visit. i had friends that lived there. i said, okay if i go to texas a&m for the visit will you leave me alone? he said, yes. i went up for a tour, watch a football game, and i fell in love with the place, fell in love with what we call the other education, the opportunity to get involved, and, you know there's something special there at texas a&m, and i decided to run for student body president because i was involved on campus, and, you know, i thought there was problems, and my mom said you're the problem or the solution. i decided to run. my buddies who i needed to help me, they said yes and we won. >> how did that experience train you for running for congress? >> it's a big school. at the time, it was 45000 students, and when you -- that's undergrad. add graduate and you know, the number of professors and administrators, you know you're talking 80000 people.
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you know, it taught me to stick to your principles and a handful of committed individuals can change the world. that's all that ever have, and so it's -- it was a good test run. i never would have thought i was going to run for congress after that. but it showed that we know how to get a message out and knock on doors. >> how do you approach the job of being a member of congress and what is your routine when you are here in washington and back in the district? >> sure. i ran for two reasons. one, to be a thought leader on national security, and then two, to be the gold standard when it comes to relations. we talked about this, 29 counties, 50% of the vote comes from san antoniotoenantonio, and the other counties because they are far
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away from the major centers, they are not represented, and my title is representative, right? i ran to be a representative, not a congressman. the way we spend a good deal of the time, you know we are here for votes, monday through thursday or tuesday through friday, and i'm back in the district every weekend. i try to fly in and out of san antonio two weekends a month. i deal with parts of the district, and then we try to focus our ideas on those things that resinate with importance in the district and the fact that we're the chairman of the sub committee, technology, with an oversight is a great opportunity to leverage my experience and background and have a degree in computer science and i did offensive cyber operations in the cia, and i lost my first run for congress, i was part of the consulting firm and started a
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cyberer security company, and to be able to use that to focus on privacy, it procurement technology. that's where we spend a good deal of our time because of that chairmanship. >> why did will hurd a republican? >> i'm a republican because look, i believe in freedom. i believe in small government. i believe in having a strong national defense. i believe in, you know equal opportunity for all. these are all things that have always resinated with me. my dad likes to say he was the first black republican in san tone know. i tried to fact check that have not been able to but i saw that in my parents. my parents started my dad was a salesman for 30 years when he retired, he and my mother started a beauty supply in beauty school and saw what it meant to build something from scratch and be rewarded for efforts, and so these were the
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experiences i had growing up. this is what i -- i believe in. >> brothers sisters? >> i do. i'm the baby of three. my sister's four years old, brother is five years older both live in san antonio and we're really close. >> when you took the oath of office what were your mom and dad thinking p. >> mom was crying, dad was proud. my dad was 8 2 years old, showed up to the capital, usually walks with a cane, and he did not have it. i said do i need to send someone for your cane? he straightens up stiff and he said, i'm in the capitol, i don't need a cane today. he walked without it for a day. i know they were super proud. you know my parents have always believed in me, and, you know, they've always been, you know my rock and the biggest supporters, and so it was great. it hit home when i stood up and
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raised my hand and saw them up in the gallery. >> what was your biggest setback growing up or early in the career. >> when i left the cia to run, i was frustrated with the caliber of our elected leaders you know, my job was to collect intelligence on the homeland, but also to brief members of congress, and i briefed members of congress, both parties all 50 states shocked by their lack of understanding with some basic duties that they were you know, for, and i decided to run for congress, and i did not have a plan b. when we won, we ran, and we run the first round and everybody was excited and they said wow, and everybody thought we were a shoe-in to win the runoff and the other side even was already sending resumes out for jobs and when we lost by 700 votes, i
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felt like i had let everyone down. i knew in my head that was not the case. in my heart, i felt like all these people never been involved in the political process before were excited i felt like i did not pull that out for them. it was hard. it was tough. i did not leave the house for a while, and then i realized, you know, and then i had to figure out a plan b, and i -- i interviewed, called had coffee with 75 people, all walks of life, you know different parts of the country and i asked them, you know, if you were -- i was 32, i said if you were 3 2, what would you do? if time and money was not an issue, what would you do? there was no great idea generated, but the father of one of my closest friends, my closest friends guys i've known since 13 years old said do something meaningful and hard. all right. that's -- i was like, you know, it's simple, but that's how i've live life, you know, since that period, and i realized most of
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my life i was trying to do things meaningful and hard, and so i've learned a lot. i'm a better person, and i think for that loss prepared me for where i am today. >> why run in 2014? >> the opportunity was there. i had the fire in the belly, coming that close, realizing that the, you know, i had significant disagreements with the person in office and thought that that person should be representing the district a little differently, you know, it was -- i love my country. you know, i ran for office. i had the honor to serve you know my country for almost a decade in the cia, and, to me i look at this as serving my country in a different way, and the opportunity was there, and, again, the folks needed to be a part of the team were in for one more, and we decided to do it and the rest is history. >> let's talk about the cia. >> you graduated from tech a.m. you get a job at the agency. what was your first position, what was the challenge?
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what did you learn from your job? your tenure there. >> sure. so my first job, i was 22 years old, driving my toyota 4-runner from san antonio to washington, d.c., i stopped out a gas station. there's a tv on. the uss cole had blown up in the gulf of aden by al qaeda. i remember thinking i wonder -- if i'm in the cia, i want to know anything going on there and after going through the initial orientation i was the desk officer for yemen. i was the guy back at headquarters in langley supporting the men and women, and our station, which is the cia headquarters and that was my first job and one of the biggest challenges, while i was there, it was fighting the bureaucracy bureaucracy. it's, you know, when i was in afghanistan, i managed to run undercover operations, and i felt there was rules and
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regulations that we were having to use to keep our jobs preventing us from protecting ourselves and doing the job we needed to do and within the cia, find the bureaucracy back in langley was an incredible challenge, and in the end, it was getting done, but it was a great experience, because guess what? that's what i do here. my responsibility is a representative from the area and it's to fight bureaucracy for those folks who need bureaucracy fought. it's that simple. it was a great lesson. it was a great challenge but for me, what i learned in the cia is that it's fill with, you know, gun fearing red-blooded patriotic men and women who are, you know trying to do the right thing to make sure that you and i can sleep well at night and
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our families are safe. and that commitment to saying, you know, nobody -- when we were at task, never, we can't do this, but yes is the answer what's the question? that can-do attitude is something that permeated everything we did, and it was something that e learned at texas a&m that was refined further in the cia in something that i always use now. it's come in handy. >> if a future president says, will hurd, you want you to be the cia director. is it a job you'd undertake, how would you approach the position? >> you know, that is a good question. it would be an honor to serve. it really would be. how i would approach the position is, you know, go back to the basics. the cia are the collectors of last resort. if you can't get a piece of
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information, you call the cia. you have to have clear goals on what to collect and how you have a perspective. you know right now as the number of threats to the countries increase we have to have more intelligence. with the problem against isis now and syria and iraq is, we don't have enough on the ground human intelligence. that's something where my good friends, ambassador ryan crocker, he's pretty much -- he's one of the best things foreign service produced and now he's down at texas a&m running the bush school. sometimes you need more pumps and wing tips on the ground. that's going to prevent us from sending boots on the ground. if i was there, i would be aggressive aggressive, would be in hard
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places, but clear collection priorities based on the threats we were facing. >> having spent time in yemen afghanistan, langley at the cia, what worries you. what should americans be concerned about? >> the microactors having macro impact, right? this is where one person has a human impact. who would have said 11 people would have the impact they did on 9/11, and those are the folks we have to worry about. when you look at isis right now, isis is the talent they attract from around the world. it's significant. it's at higher levels, than afghanistan or the original wars in iraq ever were, and what they are doing is their ability to
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leverage social media to get their messaging out is unprecedented. when i was in afghanistan and pakistan chasing al qaeda and the taliban, they did night letters. they would write a letter and leave it on people's doorstepsing right? you know you can only hit a couple hundred people in one night that way, but what isis was, they hit tens of millions of people every single day. they are getting their message out in a way that is unprecedented. so their ability to grow is scary. when you look at the cyber threats that we're facing, you know, around the world is just up believable. the question -- it's no longer about preventing someone from getting hit. if you give me the time, ooem getting into a digital network. the question becomes how can you detect it, how can you contain it? how can you kick people out. the number of people able to get into our digital -- sophisticated digital infrastructure is increasing
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exponentially as well. the great thing is is we have -- we have smart hard working americans and intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies and our military and civilian agencies that are keeping us safe and protecting us from these threats. >> i have to ask you about the knife behind you. >> oh, that? >> it looks scary. where did that come from? >> came from pakistan. what was, when we left, you know award you were given for good service. it's an adaptation of a girka knife. they were a group of south asians that were fierce warriors right, and the saying goes, if you pulled your knife, you can't put it back in the sheathe without drawing blood, so this is -- this is a variant of that knife that was prevalent in pakistan. >> over your career, has work made it difficult to have a
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relationship? you're still single. >> yes it has. you know, i was engage once to a girl from north texas, and when you come home and say, hey hopny, guess what, i work for the cia, and we're moving to pakistan, that has a chilling effect on the relationship. but, you know it was the right choice for her, and, you know, i i have not found the right person just yet. i do travel a lot. i move around a lot. you knowing i'm young enough. my parents have grand kids so they are not pushing me too hard. >> members of congress, that you used to breathe as a staffer, do they view you differently now that you're a colleague? >> >>. >> so what i had that caused me to run no longer exist. here's what i will say. i had been shocked about how warm member-to-member relations
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are on both sides of the aisle and the fact that people have been here and have a lot of experience have sought me out from my perspective and experience, you know, and that's. pretty fantastic. >> what is the biggest learning curve for a freshman member of congress including dealing with the bells that go off from time to time. >> the biggest learning curve is how do you manage your legislative team, your district team, and your political team? right. and those are three separate organizations that are managed that way, and, for me, i realize a lot of my work up here is about responding to my constituents so if one person has a problem in the district, i guarantee you hundreds of people across the country are. how do we take those ones and twos and use it in a way to fix the problem on a macro scale, right? that is, i think, how we can be even more effective in
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representing our district and fight that bureaucracy for the folks that need it. >> and finally, are you where you are expected to be at your age of 37? >> i don't know. i don't know. you know my thing is like i said before, i've learned to do things that are meaningful and hard, you know, for me it's about having a positive menial attitude, something my father taught me, be honest to people, and treat people with respect, all right, and i was taught that as a young age, and i continue to do that now. it's app exciting place to be in order to represent my country and hometown and fight for 800,000 people that need to be fought for. >> any thought of what else would interest you politically? >> no. you know look i'm interested in going back and running a business again starting something, you know, who knows, for me, the first -- the next political objective is getting reelected, all right, and there's a lot of folks that
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doubt my ability to do that and, you know they doubted me plenty already and we know what we're doing, and we're going to prove everyone wrong once again. >> congressman will hurd, republican from texas, thank you for your time. >> thank you. next we speak with freshman democrat norma torres of california, currently the highest ranking official of guatemala dissent. she served in the california state assembly. this interview from her office on capitol hill is 25 minutes. >> representative norma torres from california's 35th district. what's the difference of serving here and the california assembly
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or time in the state senate? >> thank you steve. it is quite a difference between the two chambers or the three chambers, because i served in the assembly and state senate. the biggest difference is the inability to work across the aisle. in california, we did a better job with that. >> how do you fix it? >> i think members just have to commit to working together take time to get to know each other, traveling into each other's districts and learning of the issues that are important and respecting those issues that, you know the difference is that we have between each other is important. >> i would suspect a big difference is the amount of money it takes to run for congress, and to get reelected what's that been like for you? >> it is incredibly hard to get here. the money involved in politics
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is -- makes it almost impossible for someone like me and i'm an average mom from pamona, a 911 dispatcher by trade, incredible i made it this far, but here i am. >> why did you decide to seek elective office? >> i answered a call, and as a 911 dispatcher of a little girl, 11-year-old girl who died at the hands of her uncle. it really pushed me into a political world that i, frankly did not know existed. i was the average mom raising children. i just wanted to go to work, come home, and pay bills and be involved with them but over that issue it was a very difficult time for the city of los angeles, and the state of california, and we were facing proposition 187 at the time and
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i was asking for changing to help primarily the spanish speaking community in los angeles to hire bilinguals and be responsive to their needs. >> let me go back to the story because you talked about it but i have to take a a step further. what happened? you get the call. she's with her uncle, 11 years old, tell us the story. >> it was a very hot summer night, and there were only three dispatchers that spoke spanish at that time, and this person called for help, this call started very early with her uncle taking his live-in girlfriend into -- put a gun to her head and dragged her next door to where the little girl lived. it took 20 minutes for me to answer that -- her call. by the time i answered it, all i
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could hear was screaming. thumping. later, i learned that you know, the horrific sounds i was hearing was her head being bashed against the wall. she was shot five times point-blank. the person that shot her fled and our officers were there within 20 seconds of me advising them of the crime in progress. i felt we could have done more. so i did more. i began a process of trying to get my department to be sensitive to recruit bilingual dispatchers, not just spanish, but in other languages. then i had to go before the public safety committee in l.a. and many times i have to testify against my own department. certainly, that's not easy to do. >> did they apprehend the
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suspect? >> they did, eventually. he turned himself in. he served four or six year ss in jail for that crime. i spent many months waiting to go to trial. it was the call that captured the shooting, that captured the screams, that captured our last words, which i really did not know, you know, what they were until i went through the process of translating the tape for her, for the officers. her last words were, upgle please don't kill me. that changed my entire life. >> what's that tell you about our criminal justice system that he only served six years? >> it was very disappointing. disappointing that his family was well off and they were able
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to hire an attorney able to convince a jury that by drinking one beer, he was intoxicated, and, therefore he did not know what he was doing and it was a crime of passion. >> what was the girl's name? >> yahira. >> have you talked to her family at all over the years? >> i have not. i have not. >> that was really the starting point for your political career? >> that was my starting point. i often say, you know, i hate politics. it's not really what i want to do, but it's work that i have to do to do what i love to do, which is serve my community. public service has been, you know my life. >> you were born in guatemala. you came to the u.s. when? >> i came to the u.s. in 1970 i
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was sent here with my parents to live with my father's oldest brother who lived in whittier, california, but his younger brother was here serving in the u.s. navy at the time. my mother was very, very ill. guatemala was a war-torn country at the time. lots of violence. my father felt that they couldn't care for me being busy with my mother's illness it was better for me to come to the u.s. i was told i was coming on vacation, and so in my ways i think, you know i owe this country a great deal. i had a wonderful life here. >> did you speak any english? >> i did not. back then, we did not have esl programs. you know i was thrown in one night, went to school in a classroom with you know, other
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kids, and i learned english fairy quickly because as a child, maybe you -- you don't have work, you don't have you know, a lot of things on your mind other than i want to be able to play with other kids and communicate with them. >> what do you remember about your mom? she's since passed away, correct? >> i don't remember a great deal about my mom. and i think that's unfortunate. >> and your dad? >> my dad is living in -- very close to where i live. he's remarried. he came to the u.s. about five years later. he moved back in with him within eight years of me living guatemala. i ended up back with my dad in my teenage years, which are difficult, you know, for a girl not having her mom. or for any child having their same-sex parent. >> brothers sisters, cousins? >> two oldest sisters. we are all seven years a part,
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so i was the baby. they still treat me like that. >> why? >> oh i think, you know they've always tried to protect me. they've always felt since i was the youngest, you know, that they needed you know to protect me. >> your first elective office was in city hall, correct? >> yes. i ran for city council in the year 2000. i was a member of -- still am actually a member of ask me, and at the time, president mcintyre challenged the membership to run for elected office. he said, i don't care what you run for, you know, county commissioner whatever it is. put your name on the ballot. run. you know, america needs their workers to have a voice at the table. america needs their workers to be at the negotiating table. i took that to heart. after being through what i went
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through, in the city of los angeles, i felt if they can do it, why can't i? i love my community. i want to help my community. and i have a lot to offer. and i won. by 75 votes. broke my ankle. five weeks before the election. and rented a wheelchair and kept on ongoing. i defeated an indumb bent who had been in office for 11 years. he switched parties because the area that we represented was very conservative, republican, and i defeated him with his own constituency constituency. >> how did you break your ankle? >> walking on a broke p sidewalk, and i continued to walk four blocks. i had no idea it was broken. when i got home, luckily my sister was there, and she's a nurse.


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