tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 1, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
that. >> what would be a good answer? is there a good answer. >> they probably don't have the systems to do it. it takes a lot of work. it does. it does take some good data. but that's not a good reason necessarily for not doing it. >> mr. williamson, so you've laid out a blueprint for how the va can improve whether it's tracking wait times doing better audits to see where these multibillion dollar expenditures are going, and i guess -- maybe there isn't an answer to this. it seems to me that you have not been able to get my satisfactory answers as to why your recommendations have not been implemented. maybe you're not the right person to answer this. i don't know if anyone teva i haven't heard mr. murray give my explanation as to why. >> well i think part of it is it always comes back to the same
issues no matter what you're -- what program you're reviewing in the va. the data is of end insufficient. the automated systems they have in many cases cannot produce that, the kinds of things they need. it comes down to a lack of oversight both at the local level and headquarters level and time and time again the claims processing problems we found on emergency care for nonservice connected veterans same thing. >> the problem is that there will be no overall cultural shift at the va unless there's meaningful change or how whistle blowers are treated or anything else. that's really part of the problem. >> comes down accountability and it's not there.
>> thank you. here it is june 1st another month and another scandal. and i want seems like the whole year has been like this. i for one am getting sick and tired of it. mr. williamson i would like to ask you for some background in this whole issue. whether we call the contracts illegal or just improper or noncompliant, what can go wrong when the va doesn't follow the proper procedures as regards these contracts? >> you talking to me? >> yeah. from a gao perspective. >> you know i'm not a lawyer or a procurement expert either and i'm listening to what i heard today from the va witnesses.
i'm a bit confused because on one hand, you know they say there's no impetus or no reluctance to go a far based process for purchase care for nonva providers. there obviously is otherwise mr. fry wouldn't have had the difficulty he's had. i would want to know, i would want to know what a far based system would mean to accessible care for veterans because the end game here is still providing high quality accessible and cost effective care for veterans. and so to solve the problem if it's determined that a far based system should be used here, the remedy should -- i would want to know how long will it take in this process for a person for a contract to be executed and what
the process means and i want to know how it would affect the accessibility to care for veterans. also one thing we haven't mentioned yet is a whole idea what it would mean for the acquisition workforce. when we did our clinical contract care work we found that the contracting officers and the contracting officer representatives who do most of the leg work for the contracting officers are already stressed in terms of workload. if you increase that workload you double it ten fold whatever it would mean to get a far based system, then you know, what would it mean in terms of budget for hiring new people and so on. i just don't know what a far based system would do in terms of accessibility and the workforce and that's what we need to know. >> it's interesting the gao has identified six categories of problems that can arise when
proper oversight is not provided by the va. the type of provider care, credentialing and privileging, clinical practice standards, medical record documentation, business processes, and neighbor most important to me access to care. so let me turn now to mr. frye. would you agree those six areas are called into question when proper procedures are not followed. >> absolutely. in addition to that when federal contracts are required and you don't use them there are terms and conditions that are completely missing from the contract by federal statute you're required to have terms and conditions. these include the termination of convenience for default, disputes clause, fair and reasonable price determination, just a whole host of issues not
and probably even more important in terms of health care the safety and efficacy terms and conditions that are required to be followed. without contracts without those terms and conditions, the contractor is free to do what he or she wants. >> and that's my concern, and miss anderson in regards to your statement earlier, i have to agree with you the government is obligated to pay for services rendered even if the proper foundation wasn't -- the procedures weren't followed in soliciting those services. >> thank you for the opportunity to respond to that. we were comparing a far based contract and what it will take to become far compliant and then to mr. williamson's point to what end?
will that result in medicare to the veteran? and i chaired a work group in july of 2014 and that work group was responsible, tasked with identifying measures and how do we become far compliant. we quickly -- we realized after three hour sessions over four months -- three hour weekly sessions over four months that there's lots of hurdles to overcome. not the least of which labor issues consultation with labor, hiring hiring contracting officer workforce, estimate 600. then how immediate can we really give the care at that point? still we need to go through the hurdles. so we quickly realized we really
need to begin aggressively pursuing legislation and aggressively pursuing legislation we working with -- working with the department of labor, working with omb, working with the department of justice -- >> ma'am -- >> we've embedded in the legislation problem texases credentialing, quality of care. >> ma'am you're getting into another issue that's a very important issue the proposed legislation. my time is way over. i just want to make the point, no one is arguing the government should not pay these contracts. i'm concerned about what gao and mr. frye has identified as what can go wrong when the procedure is not followed. mr. chairman thank you for your indulgence, i yield back. thank you mr. chairman. first of all, mr. labonte my deepest apologies for you and what i understand and you
understand much more clearly is that veterans care is a zero sum proposition. if one veteran doesn't receive the care they are entitled to and the guest quality it's a failure. so your situation is unacceptable. the thing i would encourage you on is and i looked into this, the tort issue. that's your recourse on this and they will always try to throw barriers up both in the private-sector and in the public but there are a lot of good folks out there that can help with that so i would hope you pursue that. >> the tort program is the va essentially investigating themselves. the attorney acts as the investigator. >> trust me. there are people that win these and what i'm saying if this was wrong there are people out there to assist you. there are veteran attorneys, veterans themselves their job is to help make this right. >> the va has a six month head start to coach witnesses. >> i agree.
it's never easy. as you're sitting here listening to this, the issue for you is that all the rest of this is kind of irrelevant. the issue is what happened to you and i would just say from your perspective there's two things happening here. we're at the 40,000-foot reform discussion here. my advice to you is go down that road pursue that hard and that's where you can get redress. >> that's what i'm doing now and i'm witnessing that program is ineffective as far as va investigating themselves. the va attorney sends information that i send the attorney/investigator to the actual hospital risk management coordinator who then tells the privacy officer which records they need to keep or manipulate or lose and then tells the department head how to coach their residents to specifically the legal matter. so i would say to that recourse is ineffective and designed to protect the hospital's reputation rather than actually help the veteran.
>> i wouldn't disagree with you. there's folks out there to advocate for you. stick with it. veteran organizations and others. stick with it. >> thank you. >> i want to move back to this 40,000-foot and i appreciate you all being here. my colleague from new york was hitting on this, mr. williamson. i've seen this before. gao puts out 22 recommendations. what exactly is the weight of a gao recommendation? exactly what does that do? >> where you are because the congress is -- we report to the congress and the congress provided the leverage we need and its forums like this that we have that bring those things to light. >> exactly. again, mr. murray, i can go down here and ask some of these. i don't think it was necessarily a rhetorical question. i do think you're the wrong person to answer this. this is a much broader issue. this is the reform issue. this goes back to the va being
all things for all people and not antagonize my chairman but this is the va trying to build hospitals, this is the va trying to do everything for everybody and i've been saying we need to have that discussion to figure out how do we best leverage both the private sect jobs the public sector, our promises to veterans and get quality care and do it in the most cost effective manner. we're here i would argue dealing with a very important issue. it's very granular. we're discussing inappropriate versus illegal. they do matter. the bigger issue here is if i would ask the questions and again i don't think they are fair to you, mr. murray what should the va be doing, how do we fix this contracting, what's the purpose of it and we'll get back to mr. frye pointing out the holes in there. this is not the forum for that. i appreciate you all being here. i don't question that we're all trying to get to the same point but you heard mr. labonte, this
is what happens when you break faith, he doesn't believe anybody will get good care and we can tell him countless stories of the highest quality health care delivered in the country by the hospital and it's irrelevant to him. that's a noble goal for us to continue to strive for but i don't think we'll get there in the current system. i feel like -- i'm quite confident your 22 recommendations will be recommended in two years from now and still be trying impleament them and that's a horrible condemnation on the entire process. >> i have implemented seven of them. >> it is. again it's not because of the motive not to provide quality care. i think it goes back to the institutional design and some of the issues on culture that we're trying to get to. i think that level over the thunderstorm watch will make answering many of these questions very difficult. so i thank you, chairman, for your time. >> well, again, mr. labonte i certainly apologize for your situation and i think you
personalized the problems in this contracting process. i'm stunned by the kind of bureaucratic incompetence, the corruption the lack of leadership demonstrated here today where what i've heard is yeah we have these rules but they are really not important. the kind of lawlessness that exists in this department is extraordinary. mr. frye how do you, what you heard here today was essentially all splitting hairs, it's really kind of not proper, not really illegal but we continue to follow the law here because we're somehow above through. mr. frye could you comment on what you've heard here today? >> that's exactly right. let's talk about those purchases above $10,000. they are using the same methodology from $1 that's used to $10,000 above $10,000.
that authority has never existed. every purchase, every acquisition of health care above $10,000 must have a far based contract in place, it must be signed by a duly appointed contract officer. i'll take issue with miss anderson we can't pay that unless it's been ratified bacon tracting officer. ratification is a requirement where a contract officer must do an investigation. we're going ahead without doing ratifications and liquidating the regulations. our own regulations. the gao red book and other statutes state we will not pay unauthorized commitments until they are ratified. we've done it wholesale. to my knowledge not a single one of these requirements above $10,000 has ever been ratified. we bought billions of dollars of
health care. if that isn't illegal i don't know what is. i guess we can parse words here. >> mr. frye, is there anybody in senior leadership that actually cares about getting it right? >> it doesn't appear there's anyone outside of my organization that cares. i come to work every day and i watch this malfeasance, this mall malpractice. and we're just ignoring it. this isn't done in any other government agency if you were to bring other government agencies, senior procurement officers you wouldn't get the same story. this is just another example of us trying to blow smoke up your sleeve. >> secretary mcdonald just a place order? i don't sense he's working to make a difference here. does he care? >> i hope secretary mcdonald
cares. again, i think secretary mcdonald dislikes these scandals, this malfeasance more than anybody else because he's got a very short window here to move the va forward. he moves us two steps forward and we move 12 steps backwards every time one of these scandals arises. >> thank you. >> ranking member you're recognized. >> let me follow up on this. if every single one of these contracts was far qualified or whatever the verb would be what would the time commitment and cost to the va be for that process? >> thank you for asking that question. so, from $1 to $10,000 we have a nonfar compliant however it is far based system in place. like falling off a rock. it's nonfar compliant.
the appropriate terms and conditions are in that contract. it is simply a process where authorized personnel, not contracting officers sign this document and they are on their way to the doctors. it's not hard at all. it's been this way four years. we all recognize including counsel that it is not compliant with the far and so a year ago in july we began a four month effort to bring it into compliance. in november after all that effort veterans health administration summarily rejected it. it didn't go far enough for them even though it was far compliant. >> that's my concern is that we've heard from my colleague that a company that had been providing services was obviously somebody drawn attention that, they didn't have a contract they tried to go through a contract, but, in fact, the process was so burdensome what ended up happening is that the
veterans didn't get the podiatry they needed because that company was disqualified and there was no other company available. i want to understand how do we get from here -- i recognize the problem. i agree with you, we got a problem. how do we get from here to veterans all across the country getting timely care in a cost efficient high quality manner? >> sure. and i realize there are issues sometimes with veterans getting care. no matter what system we have. whether it's in the va hospital -- >> but would you agree that there's an added cost for all this administrative procedure on top? i mean i'm not condoning it i'm just asking you -- >> i have no idea if there's an added cost. there's a requirement. >> we talked about 600 additional people. >> there's a requirement under the federal acquisition regulation to do it. i don't and make the laws. >> i'm not asking you about the
requirement. that's up to us. what i'm asking you is what is the cost to the system for each one of these authorizations to be compliant? >> you're asking the wrong person. you would have to ask the program officials. >> do you agree that there is a cost? that there's potential delay? there's administrative procedure that has to go on? there are individuals that have to be involved? do you agree that -- >> i agree there's a cost of doing business using any system whether it's federal acquisition regulation or any other system. by the way i'm am by va lentz if the federal acquisition regulation wasn't used that's fine but we have to have a system. we can't just spend money like drunken sailors willy-nilly. if we have a nonfar system let's put a nonfar system in place. let's go through the rulemaking process at omb. let's promulgate those rules and comply with those rules. >> what do you think is the
correct dollar amount is that we would have the balance of being able to supervise contracts but not have every last paper clip be covered by this contractual obligation. >> again, i have no idea. i'm not a program official. i can tell you this. we have far based contracts in place. pc 3 is a far base contract. it provides specialty care. and it goes up into thunder of thousands of dollars and veterans are getting care every day using pc 3. >> do all the providers in the pc 3 network have a far based contract? >> a what contract >> a far approved contract? living in a rural area like i'm in. >> no, there are some rural areas -- there's another far based contract called arch. i'm not that familiar with because i'm not a program official. i know it exists because of care that's required out in rural
areas. >> so my time is nearly up, but i think what i'm interested going forward is let's separate out the ones that are possible, i would like to hear more about the pc 3 far based contracts and then not chase every last one down a rabbit hole with 600 new employees but let's try to use a public-private arrangement. i know it's expensive. i've been in health care for the past 25 years. it's expensive to supervise these contracts and we have to get to the bottom of it. so thank you. >> you're now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. murray i have a question or two four. i want to ask you about the proposed legislation that the va has come up with and i think miss anderson made reference to it basically to let va off the hook and say you don't have to
follow far any more for these kind of contracts and it bothers me because one of the potential abuses that can happen when far or something equivalent of far is not followed is that there's the potential for cronyism or higher price like sole sourcing of contracts and the taxpayer isn't given the benefit of competing bids and that kind of thing. so would you agree with me that the legislation -- or i won't put it that way. are you concerned that the legislation va is proposing could allow for those problems to arise? >> i am. and i'm concerned about that sort of thing fraud, cronyism paying more than you should across programs whether it's travel or conference spending or
whether it's payroll, got a major initiative to make sure payroll is where it needs to be in terms of control. so absolutely. why it's so important that controls that we suggested and perhaps more are required in this legislation be implemented. reviews, the control that i'm intrigued with is that we review these individual authorizations to see if they pass a threshold a million dollars annually and if so we start thinking right away maybe this needs far based. we're doing a lot of this, for instance. >> the specific language that concerns me in the proposed bill says quote, that health care can be awarded quote without regard to any law that would otherwise require the use of competitive procedures for furnishing of care and services. unquote.
so to me that opens the door for potential cronyism. mr. frye would you like to continue that same question? >> well that piece disturbs me as well but i think in the background there may be some additional information. counsel down at the end of the table was involved in putting that together. but certainly, again, if you give us legislation that allows us to do something besides the far, i'm ambivalent, but we got to develop those rules go through the rulemaking process put those rules in place and then we have to enforce the rules and hold people accountable. we don't hold people accountable for anything right now. you know we come down here. i read the newspapers every day. chairman miller says why aren't things working? why don't we follow the rules? it's because no one is held accountable. no one. no one has been held accountable at all for these violations of federal regulations and law in
the course of events with these obligations for fee basis care. and i suspect no one will ever be held accountable. there are hundreds of thousands of these transactions that should have been ratified. there are billions of dollars that have been spent and we'll just sweep it under the carpet. >> well i'm truly concerned about that, mr. chairman. i appreciate your leadership on this issue and i yield back. >> thank you. mr. o'rourke you're recognized for five minutes. miss rice you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. williamson i just want to follow up on miss kuster's line of questioning in terms of the va's position that was stated previously that following far would impact a large number of veterans by compromising immediate access to care and our community providers. forgive me if this was already spoken b-but do you share that?
>> i share it's very much a concern. again, unless i know more about how a far based system would work for purchase care for nonva providers and i know how long that takes to execute these contracts i can't give you and answer. if i had that i would -- what my concern is it will take a longer period of time to do and in the meantime that veteran the access that that veteran has to that nonva provider is going to be degraded. >> so you have to figure out a way for far not to apply and implement your recommendations. >> i'm listening to the
dialogue -- we have to know some facts about how such a system works. >> where can you get those facts from >> where can i what? >> where do you get those folks from? >> first of all, for the care that's given -- by the way pc 3, if 80% of veterans use pc 3 for network providers that would solve the problem. they don't. very minute currently use it for any number of reasons. in any case -- >> do you think that's the answer, that could be one of the answer? >> certainly part of the answer it is. it is. for every other form of care you have this issue of far based and whether we're doing this illegally or not. but the remedy has to be once you know the answer to the question and get some clarity
not only on the accessible care issue but also the cost because i think that the impact on the acquisition workforce in va would be potentially quite a bit more in terms of having to hire more people. you have to get those answers first and i haven't heard it here. >> well that's the problem at these hearings. a lot of questions are asked andry few answers actually are received. thank you. >> ma'am can i follow on the your question please? >> mr. chairman? >> sure. >> so, i find myself in complete agreement with mr. williamson that we have to balance this need for access and provide the right structure that represents the interests of the taxpayer. so it's balancing what's good for veterans and what's good for taxpayers. the answer to the question is how we look at that and how we balance that i own that for the
department. i'll work to put that together. i would love to meet with the committee or staff as we do this to get entrepreneur put. i have to find a way that allows to us balance this to meet needs of the veteran, to manage their access while at the same time representing the interest of the taxpayer and recognizing the federal acquisition regulations and all the appropriate laws. i own that for the department. >> well thank you for that offer. >> i would like to thank the witnesses. you're now excused. it doesn't matter if the system is changed because if you continue to follow, you don't have the discipline or the leadership it doesn't matter. at the end of the day there has to be a rule of law. and this is just -- i think some of the witnesses today just you know, really demonstrated how lawless this organization is.
you're now excused. we had an opportunity today to hear about the problems in the va. this hearing was necessary to accomplish a number of items. one to identify the continuing widespread problems of procurement of nonva health care. two to allow va to provide answers as to why these problems still exist and have been allowed to continue for so long. and three, to assess next steps that must be taken by the department in order to stem the continued waste of taxpayer dollars and jeopardize services provide to veterans. i ask unanimous consent that all have five legislative days to submit their remarks. without objection so ordered. i would like to once again thank all of our witnesses and audience members for joining us at today's conversation.
more live coverage tomorrow. ceo of amtrak and chairman of the r transportation safety board was the about the amtrak train derailment in philadelphia last month. there were eight fatalities and about 200 injuries as a result of the crash. that's here on c-span 3 at 10:00 a.m. eastern. at 2:00 the steering of the status of the takata airbag safety and recall issues and a subcommittee will ask takata vice president and other witnesses about how long it will take to fix the vehicles and the findings of airbag inflating testing over the last six months. that's also on c-span 3. tonight on the communicators, gene kimmelman
and harold furchtgott-roth on the merging with time warner. >> hardly anybody has two broadband providers. wireless providers are available but can't provide the video streaming you get from your cable company or fios if you have a telephone delivered service and so the question is where do you get more competition? the competition is coming over that very same wire so it's the same company the cable company controlling two parts of the service, one of it is your tv package, the other is your broadband service. a lot of content companies want to provide to both and they want to have, provide service new package of services, the cable company has an incentive to provide its own favored product bundled service so law enforcement has to make sure there's no unfair benefits to cable through this consolidation. >> lots of americans
particularly young americans under the age of 30 have cut "the wire." they don't have eat ear cable subscription or a telephone. they are purely wireless. they get the broadband they want. they are not -- these are not broadband illiterate people. they are quite sophisticated. you have new companies coming online to compete wireless broadband offerings. the idea that there's any sort of market power or monopoly power in this industry right now i think is very difficult to understand. >> tonight, at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span 2. this weekend the c-span cities tour has partnered with time warner cable to learn about the history and literary life of lincoln, nebraska. >> this is one of the most
important writers of the 20th century. she was given every literary award possible in her lifetime before she died except for the nobel prize. she was known for some of her masterpieces like my aunt tania the professor's house and many others. in 1943 she made a will which had a few restrictions in it. one of which she did not want her letters to be published or quoted in whole or in part. she left behind 3,000 letters that we know about now. fortunately the biggest collections are here in nebraska. furthermore in her will she left one other important thing. she said she left to it the sole discretion of her excutters and trustee to enforce her preference. they belief as educational organizations she believes to our heritage and we should know more about her. >> an important historical
figure in nebraska's history was solomon butcher. >> he was a pioneering photographer out in custer county in western nebraska. he took photos from about 1887 1886 until early 1890s of homesteaders and was able to tell the story of this important development in american history. okay. i'm going show you one of my favorite images of the solomon butcher collection. it's actually the photograph of the christman sisters. it is four serious who each took a homestead claim in custer county. this shows women homesteaders. it was the first time that women could own land on their own. it didn't belong to their husbands. it didn't belong to their fathers. single women could own their own
land and that was a really big deal with the homestead act. so each sister each of the christman sisters took a homestead near their father's ranch. they each built a small house on the homestead which is part of the homestead act. and they would take turns staying in each other's house and working each other's farm. so the sisters really pulled together and made it in nebraska. >> watch all of our events from lincoln saturday evening at 6:00 on c-span 2's book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span 3. house homeland security committee chair allowing the patriot act to expire could
invite terrorist acts. he spoke at washington, d.c. the senate is working on the house passed extension of the surveillance bill and a number of the patriot act provisions expired last night. >> okay folks. some people will join us in progress but we'll get going so we can remain on schedule. i'm dave cook from the christian science monitor. our get is michael mccall chairman of the house homeland security committee. we appreciate his much. our guest is a dallas native who earned his degrees in stoorngs a bachelor's degree at trinity university and his law degree at st. mary's university. he worked as a federal prosecutor from 1990 to 1999 and then moved to austin to become a deputy to then john cornyn. our guest joined the u.s.
attorney's office and was chief of the terrorism and national security division for west texas. in 2004 he was elected to the house and became chairman of the house homeland security committee in 2013. he and his wife linda are the parents of five children. and thus ended the biographical portion of the program now on the arrive eat mechanical details. first thanks to our underwriter northrup grummann. we're on the record. no live blogging or tweeting, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way to give us time to listen to what our guest says. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge we'll e-mail several pictures of the session to the photographers here when the breakfast ends. if you would like to ask a question please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle nonthreatening signal and i'll happily call on as many reporters as we can.
we'll start off by asking our guest to make some opening comments and then move around the table for some questions. >> thank you for hosting this. and the northern. i just got back from the middle east and europe and we all came back with a strange and mysterious cough. cold. i hope it's not mers disease from the press standpoint. i think we'll be okay. i have five teenagers at home. i'll never forget when i was elected chairman i met with rudy giuliani and the guys in new york and they asked me about my kids and they said teenagers. we've had a couple of those.
teenager and a terrorist? you can negotiate with a terrorist. i come to washington for a little peace and quiet sometimes. but it's a good training experience both on the home front, at home but also in washington. i'm not going to talk long. i think the threats, threatening environment has never been more intense since 9/11. both from foreign fighters that we investigate going over to the middle east and into europe where these fighters go to but also over the internet you all read about the imminent threat to military installations. much of that is internet driven by individuals in syria and elsewhere, through twitter accounts to activate followers in the united states. so that dual threat along with
syrian refugees is a serious concern of ours, protecting the homeland and then, of course finally the complete disaster in iraq, i just note prime minister of iraq last week before ramadi fell and the idea we're bringing shia militias in to fight this war against isis really goes against the grain of everything we try to do over there and inflames sunni tribes, inflames sectarianism and i don't know how you can politically unify the country with that kind of strategy. we're failing there. ramadi is a good example of that. and i often tell people back home and say why ilt so important, it's a safe-haven, a failed state it's a base of
operation from which they can breed terrorism and conduct extra operations against the united states and so that's why it's so important not to mention the fact that so many of my constituents have lost their sons and their daughters in the conflict the gold star mothers they want it to account for something. the precipitous withdrawal and lack of forces agreement along with maliki's malfeasance created isis and led to the resurgence of aqi which is now modern day isis. with that i always keep succinct. i throw that out as an opening salvo. >> i'll do one or two. then well go to others. i want to ask you how consequential it will be to homeland security if the nsa's
bulk data collection expires maybe for a brief time during the congressional recess. you said yesterday that it's a dangerous thing to do. why is it dangerous and aren't there work arounds at least in the short term? >> that's our hope is that without congressional action it expires and we go dark and that creates a danger to the american people. i'm a little disappointed in our leadership on house and senate side couldn't work this out in advance. i think we pass ad bill out of the house that threaded the needle pretty well between security and privacy that worked when i was a counterterrorism prosecutor. we went through the private phone carriers. it can to be done. i think it can to be done. the way we used to do it and still be effective.
i think the political reality is i don't think we can pass bulk collection data and what you're seeing in the senate now is a filibuster which very predictable which is now going to tie up the legislation. i think the better approach would have been to pass what we passed out of the house. >> one other for me and that's on ramadi. obviously disconcerting, you talked earlier about you know the disaster, complete disaster in iraq. from homeland security purposes why does it matter if ramadi falls? why does it matter that ramadi fell is the way i should have said it. >> you know, isis is a phenomenon of not only governance but the way they communicate very sophisticated over the internet.
the more of a stronghold they have the more power vacuums we have, more failed states which is what iraq is becoming. we left iraq, i think, we won. we had a secure nation but the president's decision to not negotiate a staff of forces agreement coupledle with maliki's disenfranchising of the sunni tribes created isis. and that is a threat to the homeland because people say iron prior to 9/11 and we got when it the world trade center. it's not syrian and iraq but it's northern africa, libya. it's all throughout northern africa. it's going into asia as well. every where we see power volumes and this is why most counterterrorism officials will tell the threat is the greatest they've seen in quite some time because of the fact that they
have more safe-havens to operate out of. when they have that then they have better opportunities to conduct external operations not unlike the corzine group in syria that we know is intent on developing nonmetallic devices to get on airplanes to blow up airplanes over the united states. now i think we took out the frenchman with an air strike. we need more of that. we need to embed our special forces with ss with iraqi army. they are a brand new army incapable of defending iraq. they dropped their weapons in mosul and ramadi and now sadly for those of us who appreciate art and antiquities have taken
over another city with the greatest antiquities. the cfo is important because he's the cfo of isis that control the oil and energy supply routes, smuggling routes. the data we got from him i hope we will be helpful to expose the networks but from a terrorism financing standpoint but also networks inside syria and outside that we can exploit. >> you feel better about it than we had adam shift here earlier in the week and he said can you dose our special forces but concerns about whether it was worth the risk especially the risk and it failed. that's not a view you share i take it. >> no. i respect him a lot and he's a good friend but i think just like the take down of bin laden
that was worthwhile. if we can take down an isis leader like abu, critically important. if we can take out their leadership -- the argument is they will out a lot of expertise. obviously abu sayyaf had a lot of expertise. of course his wife was involved with the enslavement of women. the hostages some argue kayla may have been a part of this hostage situation. i argue take even one particularly those at the top of the chain and take out their expertise, that's a worthwhile endeavor. i think we need to do more of that to defeat isis. otherwise we may as well just wash our hands and walk away from the situation. but we do so at our own peril to the united states. >> we're going to go to martin first from the hill. over there. >> earlier this year you talked about syrian refugees you
expressed concern about the state department dhs efforts and possibly creating a federally funded jihadi pipeline into the u.s. i was wondering if you could give an update of sorts. have you talked more to the administration? have your concerned been allayed? are you no longer worried about it? >> i came back from our trip to the middle east but also europe. we met with our european counterparts. they're absorbing thousands of syrian refugees on a monthly basis going in to whether it's italy, going up north through germany, to amsterdam, europe is absorbing these refugees on a daily basis. the assimilation i don't know how you can assimilate that number. they usually go to the diaspora communities, more radicalized. the muslim community is very isolated in europe from the rest of that integrated with the european society. and it causes -- it's a threat to europe. and they know that.
they'll get into the foreign travel out of istanbul airport, into europe, how they don't screen their own citizens past a watch list which is a huge vulnerability with the europeans. and the istanbul airport does not screen outbound at all. they screen inbound very well now, but not inbound. they didn't screen at all a year ago because they wanted to fight assad. going through turkey. after i met with them and after isis took 20 of their diplomats then they changed their course of action. but, the question that you're posing is, bringing syrian refugees into the united states, how safe is that proposition? if it's -- if it's just mothers and children, i'd -- i've been over to these camps by the way. so i've seen what it looks like. and there are a lot of mothers and kids. but there are a lot of males. of the age that could you know conduct terrorist operations, and that concerns me. the problem i have is that michael steinbach is the
assistant director of the fbi testified before my committee that we have no way -- we don't have databases on these individuals so we can't properly vet them past databases to know who they are, to know where they came from, to know what threat they pose. because we don't have the data to cross-reference them. and the fbi -- as has homeland security privately, and i think what you're seeing in the administration is a split between the state department which is you know john kerry and homeland security and fbi on the other hand saying this is a really bad idea from a security standpoint. we even had two iraqis we brought with all the intelligence we had in iraq we had two guys that came in that were making bonds in iraq to kill our guys that were a threat to the united states when they came in. in syria if we don't have any intelligence footprint or capability, we have no way to know who these people are.
so i think bringing them in is a serious mistake. we brought in 700 of them already. we're slated to bring in 1,000 more by the end of the year. and the number is going to tick up, you know, over the next two years. i'm not aware of many communities in the united states that want to welcome this. i'm not trying to be an alarmist about it but i don't want to bring in potential terrorists under, like i said a federal program. >> we're going to go to -- you want to do a quick follow-up and then go to brian? >> well unless i have assurance that we have databases to properly vet these people. when i questioned kerry on foreign affairs he said that there's a super vetting process. but when i asked the fbi what is a super vetting process, they said there isn't any. there is none. we don't -- because we don't have the data bases on them.
and so, we have the biometrics and databases to ensure us that we can safely bring them in, i don't think that's what the american people want. and i think europe, europe has a real problem on their hands right now. >> brian, then from the "l.a. times." >> i want to go back to the expiring provisions of the patriot act. two of the provisions are going to expire on june 1st haven't gotten that much attention unlike the bulk of the data collection provisions, the lone wolf provision and the roving wiretaps provision. in addition the other business records that the fbi and other intelligence agents collect on the fbi collects on g-15. those are also set to expire. could you talk about the impact if those are allowed to expire and the senate doesn't act? >> those are probably the two most significant provisions that were passed after 9/11. look, i think i may be the only few members that actually prosecuted and practiced under the patriot act. the lone wolf provision gave us
great flexibility. the roving wiretap was absolutely essential because as we're seeing now with these twitter accounts where they will drop their twitter account and open up a new one same thing with the phones. they would just drop the phone and get a new one. so the roving wiretap targets the individual, not the actual communication device. i asked the question can we apply that now to the more imminent threat we're seeing coming out of syria over twitter accounts in terms of if they drop a twitter account, can we still keep our coverage up on the individual? now part of the problem is identifying that when they open up a new twitter account, identifying it's the same individual. i would argue the roving wiretap would apply to that. but there is a gap in time where, you know, you have to identify it's the same person. and if i can expand i think one of the great estest concerns is
what's called going dark. and this is a phenomenon. what they do is they're very smart. what they will do is they won't communicate. there are followers and followings. the followings are the people that they're pinging. that's ones they're in constant communication with trying to radicalize. trying to convert. attack military installations, et cetera. they'll say let's go to dm. that means let's go to the message box. when they go into the message box, unless we have coverage we lose that communication. but if we do have coverage say by fisa or otherwise then they can go in to other platforms that are -- that are very temporary platforms that go up, that what we call going dark. once they go outside that box into other platforms even if they're up on our coverage we cannot get the context of that communication anymore, and it's one of the most serious concerns
within the icu and ct communities that they have the ability now to communicate what we call securecom, in dark space, without our ability to cover and monitor those communications. that may take legislation. and there's some controversy to it all. but a lot would argue i talked to jay johnson just the other day, it's one of his biggest concerns. it's one of comey's biggest concerns, we can't track the communications of these individuals who are radicalizing individuals in the united states. a foreign fighter is one thing traveling across the ocean. through airports and airplanes and all that. but if you've got somebody you can activate in the united states over the internet, and that's what we call terrorism gone viral. and it's very hard to stop it. >> kate noser ra from buzzfeed. >> you mentioned that republican leaders in the senate in the
house, could come up with a deal before this reset -- the house is leaving -- >> could you speak a little louder for the hearing empired? >> the house is leaving today. is there any scenario in which a short-term extension could an proved by, uc, or is leadership said no to that? and sort of what's the consequence even if a short-term -- >> i can't speak for the senate leadership. we did our business. i thought we did it right. we warned that this could happen and it is happening now. they're in the filibuster now on this. but the worst thing congress could do is play politics and let it expire. to go dark on international security and play politics with it is the most dangerous thing we could do. and it would be highly irresponsible. what are the alternatives? i guess you got that window, i think between the time we come back and what june 1st, and so
it very well may be a uc on the floor to at least extend it. but i don't know what the impact of the filibuster is going to have, either. the easiest thing to do is just pass what we passed. and the president would sign it. that's the thing. i don't know if it, what mcconnell's doing, i'm not -- you know the white house could very well veto that. to me, the best thing to do is pass what the house did and the senate and send it to the white house. and yeah, it's not perfect. but it will continue to protect americans. and right now, it's -- i hate it when we send messages to the terrorists we're going to be vulnerable. >> i want to go to todd gilman from the dallas morning news. >> thank you chairman. always a pleasure to see you. couple questions about the attack in garland which i guess is a few crises ago now but the
muslim cartoon event attack. we have had conflicting reports about whether there was a breakdown of communications between fbi and the local authorities. can you clarify whether there was a breakdown, and i am also wondering -- these were isis inspired. how big a threat do you consider they were? were they trained? were they activated by isis? were they lone wolf types? >> the garland is a demonstration of what i was talking about, a network of terrorism over the internet. they were isis inspired. over the internet. the guy had malaki on his facebook page. right? or twitter account. and had the #attacktexas. so he was, for a variety of reasons, i can't go into, got back on the radar. of the fbi.
it was noticed that he had left his residence in phoenix -- and this is where law enforcement actually worked. they sent26 intelligence, homeland security, fbi, about the art cartoon contest a week in advance to all, you know, law enforcement saying you got to keep stay on the lookout. because anticipating, clearly, this kind of activity will provoke a response. right? so when it was noticed that these individuals, these two, but particularly elton simpson were listening then that information was sent to the joint terrorism task force in dallas about him specifically. that was in, and you know i've been critical of the fbi in the boston bombing. and the sharing of information the jttf. i will say in this case that that information, the fbi did its job, and they properly shared that information with the garland police.
i understand what you are referencing, that there was breakdown in further communication beyond the part of the local. >> the police chief said we were never informed about this -- >> but the garland police officer on the church terrorism task force was advised of mr. simpson. >> are there any lessons to be learned from that event or is that just as you say in a way the system worked and a lot of people acknowledge that. are there lessons to be drawn? >> sure there always are. because a jib went out in advance they were all on such high alert that when they came in in their van with the shooting spree they were automatically taken down by the s.w.a.t. team. they were kind of waiting for them. if there was any breakdown i could analyze in that case it's that typically the argument is that the fbi didn't share information with the state and locals. in this case the fbi did.
and it would be an issue of you know locals sharing it with their counterparts. and you know the jttf model, when it works well, it works very well. and sometimes you have breakdowns. no one said it broke down in that case but if there was any it was on the part of the locals not sharing it. that garland police officer on the jttf should have taken it to his chief. >> is there any reason to think that these guys were activated, ordered to do this? or was it just self-inspired? >> it's a matter of semantics. what they were trying to do was activate through calls to arms over the internet. they identified an art cartoon contest of muhammad. so they had followers on twitter, and those following who they're actively communicating with, and this is a new age of terrorism now where they will just send out a directive and
hope that out of those 1,000 people, on their twitter accounts, they're going to get a couple that will say, you know what? i'll sign up for that. >> we're going to go, we're about halfway through. we're going to go next to damion of the "journal" and after that paul bedard aaron kelly anna, sean and daniel. damien. >> can you tell us a little bit about your visit to iraq. you said you met with the prime minister. was he acknowledging how bad the situation there was? obviously they're very defensive about us potentially giving assistance to the kurds, to sunni tribes. was he asking for more time? what was his response? >> she's a shia. he asked the administration for more military assistance. and my judgment was not given that so he had an issue with that. he also and our state department for that matter when we were over there were very
much against the idea of bypassing baghdad and funding or arming the peshmerga and the sunni tribes, because they thought that goes around baghdad and therefore undermines the central government therefore undermines the unity of government, and therefore splits up -- partitions the three different kurd shia, sunni states. right? that was a state department line and that was the prime minister's line. now the speaker who is a sunni, the speaker of the parliament, he had a little different version of the story where they would like to see more direct funding. when i met with the kurds, and you know peshmerga and the mayor of mosul and the kurdistan prime minister or president, they want what they see is these weapons that we're sending go
through baghdad not getting to the peshmerga, to the kurds or to the sunni tribes. but rather getting diverted to the shia. and from their perspective, i don't know if it's accurate, but they see the prime minister as a proxy of the shia militias, shia militias are a proxy of iran. and when you have these shia militias it's a fact when they go into these sunni communities they completely inflame and disenfranchise the sunni tribes, which was very contrary to what we did with the sons of the awakening, where we were bringing these tribes over to fight al qaeda and iraq. right now the strategy is not working that way. in fact, bringing the shia militias is in direct contradiction of that. and it's pushing them away. we have the sunni sheikh just two days ago, the largest one, who is the biggest part of the sons of the awakening say with the shias here, shia militias,
yeah, they're either staying out of the fight or they're going to join their sunni brethren in isis. i see that as a real political disaster. we talk about the military efforts. but there's a political diplomatic piece to all this. and that's a failure of the administration. it's a failure of iraq's leadership. but when i asked jeh johnson that question, he's like well they don't have a choice. it's the only fighting force that can defeat isis now. >> is the prime minister in denial about that? >> he knows the army is incapable of defeating isis. so he feels like he has to, you know, out of necessity he has to bring in the shia militias to win. but they're not given the kurds and peshmerga, i think they're not helping train and fortify them as much as they should. and this goes -- there's a greater issue here. and that is, what is a ground force? i think our guys have got to be
embedded with the iraqi national army. but the arab nations have the responsibility and the role, it's in their backyard. the arab nations are never going to go in to syria and iraq to fight isis. as long as they know they're helping assad in the process. right? so as long as assad is sitting there, i mean look at yemen. right? so saudi's got aqap, operating freely in yemen. that's okay. right? because they're sunni. they're al qaeda but they're sunni. houthis come in boom saudi wakes up, we've got a problem. same tine amic. so until we find a safe exile for mr. assad, and can bring in a more stable form of government into syria, i don't think we'll ever get the arab league of nations to put up ground -- which they could turkey, egypt, saudi, could put a fighting force in there a ground force but they will never commit to that as long as they think that in any way, shape or form they
are helping assad by taking isis out. >> paul bedard, washington examiner? >> [ inaudible ] growing concern about terrorist threats to the electric grids and legislation in the house. talking about backing up the system with transformers and expensive kind of process. do you think the grids got dpshs is threatened in any way? and if so, what should be done? >> it's always vulnerable. anything tied to the internet is vulnerable. the only way you could be completely safe is to disconnect yourself from the internet. and so cyber is an ever evolving threat that we have to stay in front of to protect our critical infrastructure. so i think the legislation i passed out of my committee, that passed 355 votes on the floor, again this is another issue with the senate. i mean, overwhelming bipartisan
support, security groups, president would sign it into law, and essentially what it does is you make homeland the lead civilian portal to the private sector to share malicious code information 80% to the private sector so they can share with their government but also across private sector lines. only through doing that can you patch your networks and have the keys to lock the door so they can't get in and that's not happening right now. and particularly in the private sector it's not happening. so the companies i talked to want this. but the only way that they can make it happen is to provide liability protection. so they're not incentivized to share in the safe harbor we call it with the akh dhs if they don't know they'll be protected by lawsuit or sharing that information.
so we provide that it had broad based support from the tech industry. private sector as a whole. the chamber of commerce. also the privacy groups like the civilian interface rather than nsa the military interface. we think it's the right place for this information sharing. you know dhs can't prosecute you, can't spy on you. it's not like the fbi. it's not like nsa. it is the outreach to the state and local and private sector critical infrastructure. we think we're going a long ways to helping protect our power grids. our financial institutions are under attack from iran. every day russia and china are hitting us every day. you have the anthem records, the sony attack, it happens on a monthly basis. and cyberwar fare is a serious concern of mine that shut things down like the power grid if we can't stay ahead of it.
now the cyber jihadists are trying to get this. they don't have the capability but they sure as heck have an intent to want to do it based on the capability right now. >> aaron kelly from "usa today." >> what's happening with your border security? is that something that you want to see come to the floor soon? >> well you know, i'm still want to go to the fore. the criticisms that it didn't have interior enforcement, my committee was compromised of a political compromise ten years ago, or after 9/11. so you know isis within dhs judiciary committee has jurisdiction over that. so, there were some criticisms, it doesn't deal with interior enforcement and this and that. the judiciary has marked up and
passed out their interior enforcement bills and so we had discussions and we think now with that piece done and with the homeland approach bill out of the way because that was creating some problems for us, as well, that you know the boogeyman so to speak is not in the room anymore. so, yeah, i think that it's time. i know the number one issue when i go home is when are you going to get the borders secure and they look at me as chairman of homeland security to get it done. i think we are owe it to the american people to get it done. i talked to the speaker about it. i'm pushing leadership. i'm trying to galvanize members to at least start the process where we can now that we have enforcement, let's put the security bill on the floor. and the interior enforcement bills, and get that passed out of the house.
>> we're going to go to maria from mcclatchy. >> i was going to ask about security and some of you may know my home paper is the fort worth star telegram, and -- so i know you know. so i have texas questions. i just wanted to follow up a little bit on border security to see if what senator sessions, which was one of your problems last time on this, if he is in agreement. i know he's in the other chamber but he presented the problem last time. and since this is my one shot i want to ask you about the five texans, we're counting five, running for president, and if you're supporting any of them. >> are there five of them now? >> we have five. >> oh, come on. >> we have -- >> did you tell rand paul -- >> and jeb bush, native texas and carly fiorina native texan. >> oh, carly. >> i'll take the first question first. >> santorum because santorum works near the airport, near
dfw. he runs the christian movie studio or something. >> -- >> texas -- >> who? >> culverson. [ inaudible ] >> i'm feeling left out. i'm not from texas. >> well okay so first of all -- no, look, i sat down with him in good faith and explained to him i didn't have jurisdiction over the -- it was in my bill with what wasn't in my bill. the issues and i explained to him what was in my bill was within judiciary's jurisdiction. had to explain jurisdiction to him. and, i hope he understands that now. that now you know, with the
bills out there i would think that it would resolve the issues that he had with the bill. but i know that there's a growing -- people want this done. they just want it done. and every day i've got members on the floor coming up to me saying when are you going to -- when are you going to get that bill on the floor? and you know, it is not easy. you think it would be a very easy thing to do. but you know the people raise all sorts of issues about it. well it's a first step. and this and that. and the earliest theories you can never pass a border security bill. my concern -- it's not immigration bill. my bill is a security bill. first and foremost to protect americans from the threats that i see. and that's why i've always been adamant about it. even back when i was a prosecutor i had the mexican texas mexico border in my jurisdiction even back then and i saw potential threats.
terrorism is always on the radar. we're always worried about that. but you got a lot of bad elements coming in drug cartels, ms-13. a lot of bad actors. and the people down there are crossing -- not the people just coming to work anymore. they're a little more on the violent side from what they tell me. the presidential ride is way too early. we don't know who's going to be in the race. i would like -- i'll tell you what i would like to see in our nominee, is someone who can unite our party and not divide it. a lot of us are tired of this division going on. i like more of a reagan type person to bring the party together and the country and not be a polarizing divisive figure. and i think that i would also like to see someone that has some experience, you know. that i'm not going to go through the litany of names. but somebody's got some
experience in what i consider to be the number one issue today and that's our national security. and foreign policy. i think that is going to be the issue that's going to be sitting front and center against hillary clinton. who's going to basically tout her credentials as the foreign policy expert. if we don't have a guy who's nominated who has little to no experience in foreign policy or national security how can we possibly take her on with any credibility? >> anna moline from the monitor? >> [ inaudible ] -- in iraq and perhaps more troops more even forward operating bases near the syrian border, so we can send troops in to syria. and so you've become a student of this war, given your expertise on the committee. and so you know i'd love for you to paint a picture of that. i mean we've been at this war for ten years. you know should it be another ten years, should it be just as long as it takes to get this done because it's such a priority? you know how much as the
pentagon likes to say blood and treasure is worth expending? and then i'd also like to ask you about the jade helm exercise and whether you were worried -- >> what exercise? >> exercise jade helm where the national guard troops -- >> -- over texas -- >> and the governor was worried about those troops. >> i knew that was going to come up. >> and spoke at the pentagon about that. >> it's a great question. i think people are war fatigued. there's an isolationist movement even in my party prior to isis cutting heads off. i mean if they hadn't beheaded the journalists, american journalists and woken up the american people, i'm not sure the american people would be paying attention. i think that's our own demise. it's hard to sit back and watch an evil force like that grow. that are intent on kill inging jews,
christians, the west, americans cutting heads off, lighting jordanian pilots on fire. that type of barbarism and the potential for external plots, can't be left to fester on its own without us being involved. i'm not an isolationist. every time we've done that as a nation we've gotten into trouble. and world war ii is a good example. i think churchill was right and chamberlain was wrong. he had a policy of appeasement. you know weakness invites aggression, whether it's putin as well in ukraine. and look i think it's a mess. i wish the problem would go away. and the questions as to would you have done anything differently had you known today what you knew -- or known back then what you knew today. i think the right question is would you have pulled out precipitously and not negotiated a status of forces agreement if you knew then what you know today.
that being by doing that. remember we had status of forces agreements in germany, in japan, had them in korea after our conflicts, and the idea that we didn't have that in iraq was i think irresponsible. and so i would answer that question that yeah, we should not have done that. and we had a residual force in iraq that i don't think this -- we'd be talking about this. we wouldn't be dealing with the threat of isis that we are today. we beat al qaeda in iraq. and all the constituents of mine whose sons died over there, we beat them. and we left a stable country and then it became destabilized because of the lack of engagement by with drawing completely, by not engaging maliki. mrs. clinton went to baghdad one time in her tenure as secretary of state for three hours in baghdad. that shows you the level of
disengagement in iraq and that, i think, created isis. so -- >> [ inaudible ] do you think we should stay there another ten years? is it -- is isis such a threat that we should just stay there as long as it takes? >> well, i think just like we -- i mean they're not, i mean they're not some monolithic giant that we can't read. although they took over ramadi, pretty scary and mosul because of the iraqi national army is so incapable. i think if we came up with a military strategy, and political one, that was aggressive and serious about destroying and defeating them, not containing them, that we could do this, in short order. we did it with al qaeda in iraq. we could do it again with isis. it's very similar to what we saw with al qaeda in iraq and leave a more stable -- the problem is destabilization of that region
not only in the middle east but also in northern africa, as well. countries like saudi, they don't understand our foreign policy anymore. there's a lot of uncertain. why are you negotiating with iran? why are you letting the muslim brotherhood take over egypt when i was in saudi? they think it's me, that's my decision. and you know it's not. but the foreign -- there's no certainty in foreign policy. with that there's a lot of confusion, there's a lot of destabilization going on. and when you have failed states that destabilize and become power vacuums just like pre9/11 afghanistan with bin laden you got a problem. i agree that's going to be the great national debate, i think probably in the 2016 election is how engaged do we really want to be over there? i do think most americans see isis for what it is. it's one of the most evil forms of barbarism that we see in our
lifetime. >> mr. zoeller -- >> really quickly. were you worried about that at all? did you talk to the pentagon? >> i'm a big supporter of our united states military. >> what does that mean i'm a big supporter of our united states military? >> our united states military is not our threat. isis is our threat. >> sean. >> and iran is our threat. >> senator cornyn your former colleague proposed a deal basically where the usa freedom would be the base of it but it would be transitioned more slowly. so the data would go back to the foreign companies more slowly. and there would be safeguards built in to ensure that that's working. >> yes. >> that the law enforcement can still get that data quickly.
and perhaps some requirement that the phone companies hold onto the data for a certain period of time. it sounded like pretty reasonable offer given senator's prior positions. do you think that a deal can be reached around that fairly quickly so that if there is any expiration it's very short lived? >> yeah i think, i work for john for four years as his deputy attorney general and i -- he's always very thoughtful, rational thinker in the room, more adult in the room. and i think that proposal is very sound. i think part of the concern i've heard is that you're not given enough time to make that transition. then the retention time for the records. that's the kind of creative proposal that i think could hopefully bring the house and senate together. i just don't know what's going to happen with this filibuster. but you know, that's an idea that i would support.
in the house. >> talking points memo? >> so i wanted to ask you since we've done jay helm jeb bush and this you know, all the attention last week to whether we should have gone in to iraq or not again. i mean you talked about being interested in someone who, or supporting a candidate who would show foreign policy leadership. was the former governor's response s responses a sign of like political acumen on foreign policy? what did you think of that? and would you have you know, what would your answer have been to the question if we know now what we didn't know at the time? would you have authorized military invasion of iraq? >> you know, the key would be prepared for that question. but i would have answered it differently that you know when i got elected we were already in. and my goal was to make sure that we stagized, and
responsibly got out and left a residual force. and so you know, mistakes have been made all throughout that conflict. i mean connie rice admitted that post-invasion of iraq was not handled well. i mean bremer made a lot of mistakes. the de-baath-ification was a huge mistake. all these baathists went and joined al qaeda in iraq and dark which because they were thrown out on the streets. so that created a whole other wave of terrorists. and some of whom we're still dealing with today in the isis organization. >> you said you would have done differently. how would you have answered that question? >> i think the question is, you know you can't change the past. you can try to learn from the past. but you can't change what happened. the question is how do you deal with iraq in the present. yeah, i would not have -- i
would have had a status of forces agreement. that was a mistake, too. we had bad intelligence. that was a mistake, as well. dealing with it today how are you going to stabilize that region again? can we afford to leave it destabilized? can we allow isis to flourish and govern and then conduct external operations like they're doing right now against the united states? it's going to take one big attack and people are going to say, geez, what were you doing in the congress to stop that? oh, i just allowed this safe haven to flourish over there. how do you deal with it in the present? and i think there are a series of things that we can be doing tactically, that we're not being aggressive. whether it's air strikes where we have zero collateral damage whether it's embedding special operations with the iraqi army with training, arming the peshmerga. trying to get the arab league of nations involved. trying to get assad exiled out
so we can have a goal here, galvanize the force against isis that we know it's in their back 3 yard. the saudis don't like isis but they're sunni. >> we know that qatar and kuwait are funding a lot of their operations. that's a weird phenomena the gulf states, a lot of money comes out of there. that's a whole other issue. >> we've got about three minutes left. sarah from the monitor. >> there was a letter -- major companies including apple, google cisco, protesting against some of the most recent demands floated by officials go encrypting or finding back doors or other ways to access encrypted data. you had fbi director comey yesterday saying this makes depressed. where do you stand on this issue and where do you think congress will ultimately go? >> yeah, it's a great -- it's called dark space. it's what i referenced to earlier. it's a tricky issue and it's
controversial on some levels. it's controversial when you talk about iphones and encryption and the inability to back door into that. where i don't think it's controversial are the platforms that the terrorists use to communicate in dark space. and that is primarily these platform servers that go with -- they said well let's go -- i've seen the communications between the terrorists and who they're trying to radicalize in the united states. what they say is let's go into dm. and that's the message box. and then they go in to that box. now those communications, if we don't have coverage we can't even -- we lose that content. that communication. but if we do have coverage in many cases we do if there's a fisa up, it's fine but they're smart. and they realize if they get --
they start communicating there but then they will jump out of that into another platform large mom and pop shops out of colorado that have these platforms that we can't get access to, and that's what's called dark space. they can communicate freely in what's called securecom, and launch their directives to launch an attack against the united states. and there's no way law enforcement intelligence community is completely incapable of picking up those communications. that's a threat. foreign fighter is a threat. i would argue that threat is one of the biggest threats to the homeland. it's one that needs to be fixed. and the only way it can be fixed is legislatively. >> want to thank you for doing this. we appreciate it. we hope you'll come back. >> i appreciate it. thanks for having me. >> thank you.
more live coverage tomorrow the ceo of amtrak and the chairman of the national transportation safety board testify before the house transportation committee about the amtrak train derailment in philadelphia last month. there were eight fatalities and about 200 injuries as a result of the crash. that's here on c-span3 at 10:00 a.m. eastern. then in the afternoon at 2:00 eastern, a hearing on the status of the takata automobile air bag recall and safety issues. a house subcommittee will ask takata executive vice president kevin kennedy and other witnesses about how long it will take to fix the vehicles and the findings of air bag inflater testing over the last six months. it's also on c-span3.
>> tonight on the communicators, public knowledge president and ceo gene kimmelman and former fcc commissioner on the proposed merger between charter communications and time warner cable. >> we'd love to have more competition. very few consumers have more than one wire into the home. some have satellite for video but hardly anybody has two broadband providers. wireless providers are available but they can't provide the video streaming that you get from your cable company or your fios if you have a telephone delivered service. and so the question is where do you get more competition? the competition is coming over that very same wire. so it's the same company the cable company controlling two parts of the service. one of it is your tv package. the other is your broadband service. a lot of content companies want to provide to both and they want to have -- make provide new services, new packages of services. the cable company has an incentive to favor its own
favored product, its bundled service. so i think law enforcement is going to have to just make sure there's no unfair benefits to cable through this consolidation. >> lots of americans, particularly young americans under the age of 30 have cut the wire. they don't have either a cable subscription, and they don't have a telephone. wire subscription. they're purely wireless. and they get the broadband they want. they're not -- these are not broadband illiterate people. they're quite broadband sophisticated. and you have new companies coming online to compete wireless broadband offerings. the idea that if there's any sort of market power or monopoly power in this industry right now i think is -- is very difficult to understand. >> tonight, at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2.
the new congressional directory is a handy guide to the 114th congress with color photos of every senator and house member. plus bio and contact information. and twitter handles. also, district maps, a foldout map of capitol hill. and a look at congressional committees, the president's cabinet, federal agencies and state governors. order your copy today, it's $13.95 plus shipping and handling through the c-span online store at c-span.org. humorist and author garrison keillor spoke at a national press club luncheon recently and gave advice to the movers and shakers in town. he delivered a speech he entitled 15 things that need to change right away. this is about an hour. >> welcome to the national press club.
my name is john hughes i'm an editor for bloomberg first word the breaking news desk here in washington and i'm president of the club. just for today i also want to mention i am a native minnesotan. so our guest today is minnesota's garrison keillor the greatest american storyteller and host of the long running radio show. a prairie home companion. i want to introduce our head table. each person should stand briefly as names are announced. from the audiences right sam husseini communications director at the institute for public accuracy. laura litvan, reporter from bloomberg news. al eisley a minnesota native. editor at large for the hill and former press secretary for vice president walter mondale. martha craver, associate editor for the kiplinger letter.
allen bierga a minnesotan and agriculture reporter for bloomberg news and former national press club president. tameka smith, national public radios wamu. allison fitzgerald managing editor for finance at the center for national integrity. skipping over our speaker for a moment angela keen a minnesotan, a white house correspondent for bloomberg news, a former national press club president and the speaker's committee member who organize organized today's lunch. thank you, angela. menachem wecker, a tremendous lance reporter who covers art religion and education. elizabeth jia a multimedia reporter producer or cbs affiliate wusa channel 9. verdoze al farouk medical
reporter for the gray sheet. and devon henry a native minnesotan and energy and environment reporter for the hill. [ applause ] i want to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. and remind you that you can follow the action today on twitter. use the #npclunch. and remember the public attends our lunches. applause is not evidence of a lack of journalistic objectivity. well garsen keillor is a storyteller, author, humorist and radio personality. he's best known as the voice on the radio program he created 40 years ago. a prairie home companion is now heard by more than 4 million listeners each week. the program as we know is set in
lake woe begin a fictional town in minnesota. this is the place where children are above average men are good looking, and women are strong. as a humorist, keeler is often compared with mark twain and will rogers. like mr. rogers keillor has made multiple visits here to the national press club. he spoke here in 1986 1987 and he spoke again in 1949. after 21 years we are so glad that he's back again and clearly he was waiting until minnesotans were more in charge of the place before he was going to come back. keillor is in the nation's capital for performances at wolf trap today and tomorrow, and this summer he hits the road for a prairie home companion's america the beautiful. this is a tour of 30 cities in 36 days. his latest book, the keillor reader, just came out in soft
cover and on july 4th, a prairie home companion will celebrate its 41st anniversary with a live outdoor broadcast in st. paul at mcallister college. that was the location of the first broadcast of a prairie home companion on july 6th 1974. keillor is active in democratic politics so he may have a thought or two about that subject. he's going to talk with us about 15 things that need to happen tomorrow. ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm national press club welcome to garrison keillor. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. john, you're much too kind. don't make that mistake again. you'll be held to account. honored to be here with you, and such a great honor that i have gone to the lengths of writing
out a speech which i never, ever do. reminds me too much of being in college. 15 things that need to change right away is the revised title of my speech. i came up with this because i was thinking about another speech i gave which also was a great honor. i was invited to give the baccalaureate address at princeton university. i was up in princeton earlier this week, and it all came back to me much too clearly. so i wrote this speech. i thought i should say something inspiring to these young graduates and something about, you know life is adversity, and you know, it's in struggle that we come to understand ourselves. and then i thought, no i should make it funny. and, so i worked on that. and i had a story in there about
the first outhouse tipping that i experienced in minnesota. which i was very much involved in as a victim. but you can change these things around. you know, and so i was going to do that. and then i wasn't sure that princeton graduates would know what an outhouse was. so, i revised that. and wound up in princeton with this speech in high pocket and it was an academic procession through the campus through these, you know, silent, you know, awestruck crowds. and all of these people with gorgeous academic robes and multicolored hoods and sashes and so on, from having gotten a ph.d. at oxford or cambridge or you know dubai, or the university of phoenix or wherever. and there i was in this plain
black robe which seemed to say, vocational school. so i made my way into the great gothic chapel there and i've got this introduction even more fulsom than john's, which sounded so much like a eulogy. and then i made my way up to the pulpit. you have to cross over the nave, and you have to climb this steep stairway, two-part stairway, up to the pulpit, which is up against a wall a stone wall. the applause lasted about halfway up. and so the first thing that the audience heard from me was heavy breathing. and i launched into this speech, which was funny. i mean, it was conceptually funny. and there was -- and there was nothing, people looked sort of
studious and their eyes were closed, some of them. and there was a little bit of laughter way off in the corner. but not much. and, and it dawned on me about three minutes into this 20-minute speech that my voice was bouncing around in all of this gothic grandeur, i could hear things i had said 15 or 20 seconds before. so that the people who are sitting out in front of me could not hear a single word i was saying -- they could hear a few words, but not whole sentences. and, i cut about ten minutes out of the speech by eliminating pages four and five, and shot to the end. and there was grateful applause. and i came down and through the crowd, and to a reception.
and people walked up to me and said, good job. nothing specific. good job. you know, as you would say to a child who had had a bowel movement, and, you know, not that i disagree with that fourth point that you made. which i hadn't made. and it dawned on me i thought at this reception and in the long painful ride back home to minnesota, that as i look back on my career in broadcasting, nobody had ever complimented me on a specific thing. nobody had ever quoted back to me some brilliant thing i had ever said. it was always general. we like your show. it really relaxes our children. we listen to it late at night.
and it occurred to me that perhaps i had spent 40 years in radio as a sort of comforting baritone presence. and that nobody heard anything in particular that i had said. i'm willing to accept that. i'm a christian. we want to be of service. but today i want to give a speech that's a little more specific. so that you'll find things to disagree about. it's inspired by the feeling that i had when president obama announced back in december that the administration is going to pursue an opening to cuba. this was thrilling to me. it was like spring coming to minnesota in mid-june.
it was -- it was like -- it was like when the plane finally begins to move, you've been sitting on the tarmac for hours, perhaps days you've lost track, you've heard one explanation after another, weather related air traffic control, a flashing light in the cockpit one pilot is depressed, i don't know what. but, and then finally you begin to move and you feel incredulity. that's how i felt when the president announced that and things started to move forward. somebody in washington was recognizing reality. and this to the rest of us, is just astonishing. i was a college kid when this blockade of cuba went into effect. i was a poet. i was writing poems in all lowercase letters.
and now i am on social security. now people address me as sir. people say would you like to use the stairs, or would you like to take the elevator? all of this time has gone by. and to see the government move on this is astonishing. something happened. something was done. and now you hear about a ferry service that's going to open up between miami key west, and havana. the minnesota orchestra has gone on tour to cuba. they were thrilled. they came back ecstatic. these are musicians, they never get ecstatic. and things aren't -- things are happening. it's just so utterly astonishing. the president recognizing reality. i felt the same way when he announced that he was going to take executive action to protect
5 million undocumented workers from deportation. nobody was ever talking about deporting these people. because they work. we need them. they're part of our economy. perhaps 11 million undocumented workers. nobody was talking about shipping them out. the work, the paperwork, just astonishing to think of what it would take and nobody wants to send them away so why not recognize them and give them some stability in our country so that people cannot pay them $0.85 an hour and have the work 85 hour weeks? why not? this was astonishing. somebody in washington recognizing reality. and so my speech today. 15, numbered, 15 numbered sings -- things that need to happen that need to happen tomorrow.
washington has such a reputation for inaction and blockade and things that need to happen that need to happen tomorrow. washington has such a reputation for inaction and blockade and things that need to happen that need to happen tomorrow. washington has such a reputation for inaction and blockade and things that need to happen that need to happen tomorrow. washington has such a reputation for inaction and blockade and dysfunction that some of small symbolic thing would be a good first move and and i think it is time to finally name the streets downtown the only have initial letters. i just -- everybody else names their streets. and why not? i think they should be named for philosophers just to give the city some tone, you know, some class. only suggestions. but emerson franklin, hagel henry james, kierkegaard for "k" street, why not?
martin luther. machiavelli, of course. and so on. number 2. see how quickly the speech moves along? number 2, i think we need to relax with the flag pins. i am not looking at anybody right now. it just seems to me it's become a requirement for anybody running for public office in america to put a little flag pin on their lapel. it has become required that the president end every speech with god bless america just so people won't question whether or not he loves his country and i think it is of bad way to go. this is a free country. it really is. i mean, it's trying to be. and parts of it certainly are. and there should not be any requirement that we wear a badge or symbol in this country. this is not germany in the 1930s when you were required to wear an arm band and it had to -- and the swastika had to be the right
size and you had to say -- and pronounce it correctly and your right arm had to be at the correct angle. let's not go too far. i looked senator john mccain's web site and there are pictures of him there and he has no flag pin in his lapel. so if he doesn't need to wear one, than neither do you. i think we should put out a cease and desist order on the announcements still heard in airports in this country to notify authorities if a person or persons unknown to you come up and ask you to carry something aboard the aircraft. nobody has ever done this. nobody. nobody. nobody ever will do this. this is fiction and it is not harmful to anybody to have fiction, but it gives young
people the sense that authorities are not in touch with reality. and there's enough evidence of that already without adding to that. i also think we can continue the movement in this country to remove some of those fortifications the barriers the flower pots and so forth that were put up in public places to defend someone driving a truckloaded with explosives. they do not have a good purpose. they're more symbolic and anything else, symbolic security is dangerous and engineers told us that in the case of most of these barriers if a truckloaded with explosives pulled up alongside and was detonated, these barriers would be splintered and they would become flying missiles and we don't
need that anymore of that. number 4, i think we should stop making dimes, nickels and pennies. i just think it is time. i see young people dropping small change in parking lots. i can't speak for you but i no longer bend over to pick up a dime. i just don't go there. the fund-raiser for polio used to be called the march of dimes, but diners don't march anymore. they just -- they don't. they are not worth enough. we used to say a penny for your thoughts. we don't say that anymore because it would be insulting. so i think if we leave the current supply of small change in circulation, it will gradually, you know, dissipate and disappear and these coins will in time become more valuable. so let's just try that. number 5. we need to change the seating arrangement in the house and the senate.
mix democrats and republicans in the chambers so that members don't have to reach across the aisle. they can just turn to the person next to them and hold out their hand, if they wish. schoolteacher's know that when clicks or gangs form in the public school, you separate them. you don't let them all sit together. we need to do this in congress. no more red on one side, blue on the other. we should go for a checkerboard effect here. and seat them by seniority with the old ones way in the back and the young ones down front just so they get the idea. number 6. it just makes no sense that people who work hard cannot support themselves let alone supporting a family. this is just part of the social compact in our country that if
you work hard and you keep your nose clean you're going to be okay. but you cannot do this on the minimum wage as it exists right now unless your apartment is the backseat of your car and your car is up on blocks and you live on pet food. it just cannot be done. los angeles did something about that this week and the rest of us should do something about it tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. the way to do it is to do it. number 7. here is an item for which there will be no applause in this room. not that there was any before. radio and television frequencies are a public resource just like public grazing lands out in wyoming and they never should have been sold. they should have been leased. maybe it's too late but when a
frequency is sold one party to another, there ought to be a flip tax of 50% of appreciated value that goes into the public coffers. radio and tv spectrums are public property and they should be required radio and it have stations to provide commercial time without charge to political candidates. and it's time to bring back the fairness doctrine which required stations to present a range of opinion on controversial issues. it didn't inhibit anybody, the fairness doctrine. it just meant that when top-40 stations stations applied for renewal of license, they had to file reports to the fcc that at 4:00 a.m. on sunday they played
something from the league of women voters and that is all they had to do. it was a ritual, and meaningless ritual. but it symbolized the fact that the station, the frequency is public property and that they had public responsibility. number 8. our u.s. seventh fleet has been sent off to support japan in its defense of the senkaku islands in the south china sea which are also claimed by china, the senkaku islands, which are at last word unpopulated, nobody lives out there which makes all of this rather meaningless. we should not expect men or women to die defending rock outcroppings in the middle of large bodies of water. let the nature conservancy go out there and defend that. that green peace and some people in boats. but not our seventh fleet. number 9. the drought in california is
simply meant to show people that you cannot have a nice green lawn in a desert. it doesn't work. in minute we don't have giant space heaters in our backyards to make it possible for us to sit in our backyards in february and barbecue. we don't expect that. so people in southern california have to learn how to love gravel that's all. and they have to think twice about what they are growing for export. they are major exporters of almonds and alfalfa and avocados, all heavy water-use crops. and those are just the ones that begin with the letter "a." there are a lot more. california is exporting their precious water in the form of produce. and so the rest of us may need to accept that for certain