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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  January 8, 2016 11:00am-1:01pm EST

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frankly, one of the big problems that my companies tell us is they are spending all their time on compliance, which means they don't have the time to spend on security. >> yeah. >> i have one company that told me a story how they were following a legitimate best practice, quarterly testing, testing your system every quarter to make sure you have not been invaded. they need to go from quarterly because there was 70% due to overregulation coming from different elements. we need to streamline that process, have a good process but have one process that is cost-effective. >> yeah. that's great. go ahead. >> if you both can speak on this and then i'll be finished. i think this is real important. >> the one point i would make and double click on is education. there is a huge gap in the number available and doing work with local universities. it's not just universities.
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it's primary education, getting the boys and girls in high school today and really focusing on girls as well to think about careers in cyber security and the skill sets that go with that. >> mr. wood. >> sir, i would just echo the comment, follow on top of it. yes, the determined hacker can get in today. there's no question. but as verizon focusing on 94% can could have been avoided. the 6% or 8% is harder to get in. we have the tools, we have the standards, we have the approach. the second point i make in this framework is indeed something we can all get behind. at least it's a baseline. the third and last thing i would say is compliance and mission are not mutually exclusive. you can make compliance work bit has to be automated and invisible to the guy who owns the mission so it doesn't
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inhibit their ability to get the mission done. thank you. >> thank you. i'm out of time. thank you, gentlemen. thank you all for being here. >> thank you. and i thank the witnesses for their very valuable testimony. i think we have got a lot of assignments for today and new issues and areas that we need to explore further. so i would like to invite you all to keep an open dialogue with us and don't wait for us to call. provide us with any additional information that you think or as you see issues going on. this is going to be, as you all said, this is going to be an exponentially growing problem. we do have a cyber war that is being waged against us. it's a little bit like post 9/11. they're at war with us but we weren't at war with them, i think. and we definitely have bad actors on all kinds of fronts
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from individual members to nation states who are waging cyber war on us. we need to respond in kind and have that be reflected in our budget and our responsiveness how we plan. the 94% if we can get covered if we get the right systems in place will allow us to spend time on 6% that we can prevent. i think we all agree here. no matter what we do, this exponentially increasing information world we are going to have breaches. like i was talking earlier with somebody before the hearing, when i was out in las vegas, it's like asking never to get sick. in the world we are going to be dealing with, there will be breaches. what systems do we have in place to identify them. if it's only 6% that we have to deal within our creator resources and all we need to do can be very quickly identified there and then move on to some of these bigger problems.
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so i thank you for the challenges that you have put before us. and the record will will remain open for two weeks or additional comments and any questions from the members. so if there are questions, of people who weren't here. i thank the witnesses very much. you're excused here, and the hearing is adjourned.
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the labor department on this friday reporting that american employers added 292,000 jobs but the unemployment rate is still 5%. that's the third month in a row as more americans started looking for work and succeeded in finding jobs. the last three months was the best quarter in a year. >> republican presidential candidate and ohio governor zone kasich is campaigning in new hampshire today. and this afternoon he will be holding a town hall meeting in exeter. coming up tomorrow, governor kasich will join six others in south carolina. they will be divided into three panels and be interviewed by house speaker paul ryan and south carolina senator tim scott. the questions are expected to focus on the candidates's ideas
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how to handle the country's issues. c-span will be there with live discussion starting tomorrow morning, 10:20 eastern. >> c-span takes you on the road to the white house. best access to the candidates at town hall meetings, speeches, meet and greets. we are taking your comments on twitter, facebook and by phone. and as always, every campaign event we cover is available on our website, >> here's a look at some of our featured programs this weekend on american history tv on c-span3. next tuesday, president obama will deliver his last state of the union address to a joint session of congress. saturday and sunday, 1:00 p.m. eastern, four state of the union speeches by four presidents. is president jimmy carter, followed by president reagan on
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saturday. on sunday, george h.w. bush, followed by president bill clinton. saturday morning at 10:30, lynn manuel miranda accepts the george washington book prize special achievement award. sunday morning at 10:00, on road to the white house rewind, we will look back to the 1984 presidential campaign and a debate between eight canndidate in iowa. >> he has to have the trust on the american people and it has to be spoken in public and private. it has to be for all our people. >> for our complete weekend schedule, go to >> house oversight committee chair jason chaffetz spoke at
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brookings institution. this is about an hour. good morning, everyone. welcome to brookings. i'm honored to have congressman jason chaffetz from the state of it to discuss government oversight. he is going to talk today about various things that committee discusses, analyzes and tries to keep government accountable to the tax payer and citizen and doing its job is as well as possible. one of the things we will undoubtedly talk about given my background is certainly homeland security and tsa, which is one
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of the many parts of the government that the congressman specializes in studying. but we look forward very much after 20, 25 minutes of conversation amongst ourselves, to your questions. fema that you want steve young was going to run for public office some day. this is a byu footballer that did run for office. congressman, welcome to brookings. >> thank you. i wanted to be steve young. i was a place kicker. not really a football player.
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>> we are gainful for what you are doing. it has to be daunting. if you can explain what the committee does, what you see as your duty. >> thank you for having me this is a wonderful institution and it's an honor to be from. it was fund indeed roughly 1816. the congress actually formed this committee. it was under a different name and it has grown and expanded and contracted and gone through a variety of different names along the way.
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nevertheless, it grew changed, had various different names. in essence we can investigate anything at any time. there are certain parts of intelligence, signals intelligence, human intelligence that is certainly the exclusive purview of the intel committee. but anything else we can get our hands and our paws on and every day we try to figure out how to narrow the scope because there's always somebody doing something stupid somewhere. 12k34r one of the things you have done a lot with is tsa. maybe that's an example. is that the case where you look and see if maybe you can play the greatest role or you keep an eye as where there's an issue other committees aren't looking at. how do you choose the topic that is of greatest importance?
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>> yeah. we have some degree of authorization that we authorize. washington, d.c. issues, for instance. census. these are types of things that we have. the postal service. we have jurisdiction on. 90 plus% of what we do are investigations. i believe it is the second largest committee in the house of representatives in terms of staff, budget for staff that do these investigations. so it's a rather large operation. but the government is so large. we're overwhelmed. we are broken into six different subcommittees. what's new this year is we have an i.t. subcommittee. that is the information technology. the federal government will spend roughly $80 billion a year on i.t. it doesn't work. since barack obama took office, it's the marker i take because it is the same time i was elected. the government spend 525
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billion, billion dollars on i.t. i can go through almost every department and agency, it doesn't work. it creates massive vulnerabilities. the tsa is a visible part of what comes in close contact with the contact. incident was supposed to come together, bring these various agencies together. what we have seen is this rapid decrease in morale. i mean, look at what's happening in the secret service. it was one of the more notable things we have done. it is a very deep investigation into the secret service. they hadn't had any oversight. and i think they suffered because of it. as it relates to the tsa, we have had a lot of security theater out there at the airport. those whole body images machines, the aits, the puffers,
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the single best way to find an improvised explosive device is a dog. it's a dog. but, you know what, dogs, they the don't have lobbyists. so we have purchased literally hundreds of millions of dollars for equipment. it doesn't work. and that scares me. scarce the living daylights out of me. we are providing oversight for that. i still think they are failing to do what they should do. one last note. the department of defense, when they were having all of these improvised explosive devices, blow people up in afghanistan and around the world, what did they do? they put up what's called jido, joint improvised explosive device organization. they found out the dog does this better than anybody else. do you see dogs in every airport? no. it's a shame.
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it is 10 years of wasted assets and hundreds of millions of dollars going into machines that don't work. they just provide theater. they don't secure the airport. >> we're going to stay with it a bit. it sounds like, forgive me for using this term, you are a bit of a radical on tsa. do you use the full body scanners or not. do we increase training or not? do we have a few more of this or that machine. you're saying the whole logic of a technological orientation is correct. we need think about a low technology exclusion. are you saying discard some of the machines? or are you saying complement them with a canine approach? >> i want to do what works. if you go overseas, you will see a lot more. when you talk to the israelis, the people in france, they teal with this in a much much more
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serious way. we are still playing catchup. behavioral profiling is something that has to happen. canines have the ability from when you enter the parking lot to when you enter the plane to be mobile. amtrak invested in dogs. up don't go through ait machine when you go to the white house. i asked why? because it doesn't work. you don't see them on capitol hill. i asked the head of the capitol hill police why don't you use these machines? they said, because it doesn't work. when i went to afghanistan, pakistan, all these places in the middle east, iraq, did the military deploy them there? no. why not? because they don't work. so behavioral profiling. i want them to go through a metal detector. it's ma euzing. go to tsa intra gram account. it was something like 50 guns
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were confiscated at airports. more than 40 loaded. and i think 18 had a bullet in the chamber. and that was one week. so i'll give compliments on that. that's just good old metal detector. they are scanning the bags, looking at the x-ray of the bags. but this idea of patdowns, the idea of taking this shot around, it doesn't work. there is a news report. go look at the news reports when the inspector general came in and looked at this. i think it failed almost 100% of the time. 100% of the time. >> so staying with this subject, one more question. because this is so important. americans all care about this thank you for your oversight. with your committee, you're not authorizing or appropriating funds so much as shining a
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spotlight on how things are going today. do you hope from your vantage point that simply the attention to the subject can then spur them on? >> that sunlight, which is the best disinfectiant is what we ae able to do. we're oversight and government reform. but actually in this case you have 450 airports. you've got roughly 2 million air travelers going through the system each day. you've got tens of thousands of tsa agents, most of which are good hard-working patriotic people. but we have to work with the authorizes committee. and then also with the appropriation committee. and that sort of triangularation is what we are trying to achieve. we are highlighting, working
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with the inspector general community. i think there are 72 or 74 inspectors general, representing about 13,000 people. we rely very heavily on them to do due diligence and work. they will look at an issue for a year. then we are able to have a hearing, highlight that, bring in an administration, ask questions. try to have them explain what they did to get in trouble and how to get out of trouble. >> how does it work in terms of bipartisan cooperation. having worked on capitol hill myself, the country sees congress largely polarized among democratic and republican lines. i wonder if this is a legislative versus executive branch and how you collaborate with democrats on the committee. >> there is a natural tendency to protect whoever is in the white house. i think it is a fundamental mistake to not hold him
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accountable. i was critical during the bush administration, republicans didn't hold the administration account accountable as much as they should they should have had more hard-hitting investigations. nevertheless, i think it comes down to personalities. i'm fortunate enough that i get to interact with elijah cummings. i got along with him in a wonderful way. we have done 200 joint letters. usually when you get a letter from the oversight committee, it's not hey, atta boy. it's a little more aggressive than that. we have done 200 joint letters. we are going to disagree on stuff. we are going to disagree. we are passionate about what we believe in. aoe line gentleman came out to utah, moab.
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parts of the world he had never seen before. i was fortunate to work with elijah cummings. good, decent man. we are working together on bipartisan stuff. >> one more question on tsa. you mentioned problems with morale. you were kind and gracious to say most of the tsa employees are hard working and dedicated. but they do have this crisis and morale. they are also the butt of jokes. we ask them to do things that are not possible and put it on them when it doesn't work. in the short time, while we continue to have big debates about technologies and you try to shine a spotlight on what is not working, what can we do about this morale issue? anything we can do to make sure tsa doesn't erode further in terms of the quality of people it is able to attract? >> one of the things we are looking at is the rise in morale in the fbi and yet the decrease of morale at homeland security.
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this is really a question for secretary johnson is. secret service, i think the survey, and i want to get the number right. i believe there's 320 different agencies that they surveyed. secret service was at 319. 320 was another one. they have a deep seated cultural problem at homeland security that best i can tell is worse than any other. it's not just more pay. because other agencies aren't necessarily getting more pay. but jobs out of satisfaction, management, treating people kwully. one of the things we found at secret service -- again, i think there are parallels to the tsa. meth was not held at the same standard is as rank and file. and that is very demoralizing to people. epa is another that has one of
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the worst bits of morale there is. a lot of sexual misconduct at the epa. people who are viewing porn sites by the thousands. and i'm not making this up, are still allowed to stay at work. that is very demoralizing that people have to go in and work with them. i don't have an easy solution. but management has to come up with a way to make those jobs more satisfying. tsa, it's difficult. it's difficult. grumpy people don't like to be patted down. don't want to have to take out their coats and their shoes. it's a tough job. >> maybe a quick question on the secret service, and then i want to ask about an upcoming freed of of information act, an issue you have coming up next week. and then we will turn things over to the audience. secret service has been beleaguered in recent years. where do you think we are in the repair of that unit, that
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agency? >> it scares me. i don't think we're there yet. we issued a 450-page bipartisan report. we offered more than two dozen recommendations along. way. they've got to turn that ship around. training is a huge part of it. you know what the average training time for a secret service -- take the officers, average it out. what is the average amount of time that a secret service agent spends in training over the course of a year? it's 25 minutes. okay. 25 minutes. you go into a major metropolitan police department, they will spend 10% of their time training. yet you find the secret service agents, officers -- i'm in support of spending more money to help with the training. how do you protect the white house? remember you had the guy jump the fence, get on -- he wasn't
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exactly karl lewis. but he gets into the white house. the secret service can't lie to the american people. well, they did. they said we stopped him at the door. in. he past that person, went right, went left, and got tackled by the east room. that's demoralizing to a lot of people. we found out there were officers who had never, ever been in the white house. you work for the secret service and you have never been inside those doors? i can get a pass and go on a tour and you haven't done that? no, haven't done it. people didn't have radios that day. so when a person jumps the fence. they said earpieces, we didn't have them. they weren't work. really? well, how do you train on the white house? when the president goes out of town, do you do training? no. they go out to ball field and
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spray paint on the grass what the white house kind of looks like. the audience is smiling, laughing. that's what we have been doing. how come they haven't come to congress and said i have to have a mock white house. this is going to be an elite force. that's how i grew up. secret service, fbi, this was right at the top. biggest thing i think with secret service is staffing levels have gone down. they authorize said and allowed the secret service to pull from other departments and agencies. when the pope came, everybody said, now, that was the way to do it. the only way they executed on that is they got people from the fbi, and the tsa, and they need to have some permanent or at least temporary for the next
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year assignments that handled in order to make sure they are staffed properly. the presidential election, travel increases, multiple cancelled dates. it's a hard thing to do. >> thank you. maybe the only agency in reality is worse than the way it is portrayed on house of cards. congress behaves a little better than most of the characters in house of cards. >> i will take issue with that. but yeah. >> good point. >> so you have something coming up monday with the freedom of information issue and a new report. maybe if you could share a little bit on that. >> the committee has been looking into this. freedom of information act public can go in and access information. media will off go and introduce freedom of information act request. it's not working. it is absolutely failing. and the hearings, we had two days of hearings. you heard from the
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administration -- i'm not trying to pick on just the obama administration. the bush administration would have been probably exactly the same. no, you can't see that. oh, that's going to be embarrassing. that's not the way our government works. you know, the united states of work, we are different than everybody else. . we are self-critical. we do open up our books. people are paying for it. and you ought to have access to that information. there are certain things maybe you shouldn't see, such as certain personnel files, certain classified materials. i get that. that narrows some of these exceptions. and we have a report that will shine a lot of sunshine on how broken the system is.
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some agencies, pretty good. but most of them are really, really not. 40% of the requests of homeland security. their backlog is just unbelievable how big the backlog is. it needs fixing. we will issue a report on that. >> what's your impression as month how well government works for the american people?
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>> i think we have a lot of good patriotic people, as i said before, who worked for the federal government. i worry about the management. i worry about the size and scope of the government. i'm a very conservative person. we have to figure out how to do more with less. some agencies need to be plussed up. look at the veterans affairs. look at what is happening with others. there are others where we need to spend mope. i think the military is behind on infrastructure. but a lot of what the government is doing they shouldn't be doing. a lot of it should be given to the states. or the government shouldn't be doing in the first place. so new laws, new regulations are added. very rarely do we have anything in -- that's what i would like to see us do. you have to trim the fat, get in there to the underbrush, clear it out. and remember the core function of our federal government, allow
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that to happen. right now we have too many people doing too many things. i don't believe the government solution to everything. i think the government can make these decisions themselves. not unfunded mandate, but a lot of these will just -- >> well, i have a lot of other things i want to ask. maybe i will come back later. starting with the gentleman in the back. please wait for a microphone, identify yourself. good morning.
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i'm todd wiggins. i have two related questions. i wanted to first of all, ask you to go back to the subject of airport security. obviously it's relevant to everyone here. in 2009, there was a situation which was referred to as the underwear bomber. how was that overted? if you could talk about the process and whether it worked in that particular case. and you talked about technology. you would it didn't work. so who is benefiting -- who is buying the technology and who are the providers that are benefiting from selling this technology? how should we look at better -- best practices around the world where things are working more efficiently with respect to the airports. secondly, i wanted to ask you if you had an opportunity to speak
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with either the secretary of the navy or the chief of naval operations. because there is a lot going on in the pacific. i'm sure you have insight as it relates to the south china sea. >> tsa, probably the biggest threat quite frankly, are the international flights. and how we go and help security those ports and work with people in, for instance, paris, where we have so many of these flights. heathrow. you can rank these airports pretty quickly. fortunately, the underbelly is very impressive. i spent seven hours at jfk. we they walked me through how they do the security under the plane of checked luggage. that is exceptionally well done,
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both internationally and domestically. there have been some other threats and things avoided that fortunately were rooted out. some get by. with the underwear bomber, they learned a lot about their process. the shoes. a lot we can't talk about on c-span. but they have made great progress. it is a no-fail mission. they have to be on their toes at every single moment. but if you go overseas and you go to, for instance, out of tel av aviv, you are going to get an interview. they will look to see if you are sweating or how nervous you are, and they will have you walking by a dog. and i think that is the right way to go.
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as it relates to the south china sea, i just got back from my second trip to dive into that. i spent more time a little while ago when i visited the pacific command, which is operated out of honolulu, obviously. but i spent time in vietnam, indonesia and others, understanding that the majority, the majority of our naval forces are actually out there in that region. we hear a lot about what's happening in the middle east and the volatility. we have to be able to fight on two fronts. as i look at the overall concern about the depletion of naval forces, reduction in physical infrastructure we have at the air force, my concern is our ability to be able to -- at one time. you hear about the problems in north korea. at the same time, they are going on in iran.
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when we have a limited number of carrier groups and ships and intelligence strained and personnel not getting enough flight time in our air force, then you have a recipe that could be disastrous. i think the united states of america has to be working with particularly the south china sea, our friends in the philippines, vietnam, in that area. you have the chinese making these pretend, you know, new facilities, new islands, nuland, and then building military capability on those. that's just not acceptable. and congress needs to pay much more attention to that, certainly as much if not more attention, to those types of things long-term in the middle east. >> up here in the second row,
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please. >> i want to give them more flexibility. half of all federal workers get a bonus. that doesn't make sense to the american people. should some people get a bonus for an exceptionally good job? yeah. i want to pay for performance. i want to be able to reward them. but you shouldn't just sit in perpetuity forever with the safety and comfort blanket that
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says, oh, they will never get rid of me, i will get my automatic pay raise. that creates a malaise that is unacceptable. i think the military and veterans have to be taken care of first and foremost. they protect us. they're out there on the front lines. we're not doing nearly enough good work for them. a lot of departments and agencies, i would challenge them to say are you telling me we are just -- there's no reason why we can't cut 5% of what they are doing. you do that in business. i think it is reasonable to start trimming the fat. i.t. is my biggest concern. they are spending a ridiculous amount of money. they are spending 70% of $80 billion roughly on legacy
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systems. we have places that i've heard have punch parties still. you have agencies that just have windows 97. they don't service that anymore. you have people looking at green screens, dos. people have to learn cobalt, which was introduced in the '60s. it is demoralizing. it takes more resources. technology is supposed to make life easier, faster, swifter. yet it ends up being more cumbersome. i want to root out the bad apples, get rid of the people doing awful, terrible things. we have heard from the epa, to the dea, to homeland security that they can't fire anybody. they can't fire anybody. they've got to be able to fire the bad apples and take care of
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those that do. >> good morning. thank you so much again for coming. my name is sarah thompson, a contractor at the state department, former consultant at the world bank. there is a governmental agency that has a congressionally mandated overnight committee regarding sexual assault issues. this agency has been investigated by the gao three times in the last two decades. the oig has investigated this agency and this agency has actually said that you can't have access is to our records. you can't get into our information. and so oig actually entered into an mou with this agency to get access. this is a federally -- well, this is a federal government agency.
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unfortunately, it is the peace core. it is like punching a puppy under very good international organization to a certain extent. even though it is a federal agency. how can-can this happen? how can we be more critical of agencies that are ignoring oig requests for information, and how can you flag this so they can be officially investigated? >> so a little bit of background here. we had a hearing with the peace corp. more people are out serving around the world. we get more bang for our buck for them than we do with any the fern aid that goes out there. and i could go on and explain that. but in this particular case, my concern, and, again, very critical of the obama
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administration here, there was an olc opinion, office of legal counsel opinion, that lingered for a long time at the department of justice. but basically they come up with a new theory that had never been implemented before that said there were certain things that the inspector general act would not allow them to get access to. so michael horowitz for the department of justice has been very critical of this. he leads the group of inspectors general. we're fighting this. there may be a new piece of legislation. you have the stiff arm from the obama administration saying we don't want you to look at this stuff. that is a dangerous precedent. the american people, the congress, we rely on an inspector general to go in and be the impartial body. no politics. they want to dive deep into this issue.
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in the case of the peace corp. where there were frequent rates overseas, there needed to be some look at operations and how this all worked. but they said, no, we don't want you to look at it. i think the primary reason they didn't want to look at that was embarrassing. it wasn't national security or some security clearance. it was embarrassing. and that's not a good enough excuse. so i am highly critical of the administration of not allowing that information. and then when you get to a freedom of information request act, that's not going anywhere. so that's a dangerous thing. this is how we operate in the united states. we are open. we are transparent. we are self-critical. we look at these things in the effort to improve. and so that peace corps. situation, olc opinion, believe me, it was the very first hearing we had was about the ig's ability to access information. i don't care what administration
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it is, they have to have unfettered access to the departments, the records. we're going to help change the law. so if is somebody just is retires, that doesn't excuse them. right now under the law it does. and that's got to change. that's got to change. >> can you please provide an update of the investigation into the irs targeting candle and your efforts to remove commissioner costigan. >> yes. the question about the irs. we did something not done very often. i filed papers to impeach the irs commissioner. we issued a subpoena looking for the lois learner e-mails. the short of it is they had these e-mails in their possession. they had a duly issued subpoena.
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and they destroyed them. now, somebody has to be held accountable for that. what would happen to you if the irs came to you and said, sir, you need to provide these documents. and you said, yes, we have them. and then you came back and said, we had them, but we shredded them. they're destroyed. we can't give them to you. what do you think they would say, oh, darn it? no. they would prosecute is and you would go to jail. congress has the power of the purse and the power to impeach. the last time we impeached a civil officer was in the 1800s. it is darn well time that the united states congress stands up for itself. not be afraid and bashful. not everything is at the level of nixon. but congress in this particular
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case, i think mr. costigan. he was brought in to try to clean this place up. but that is not what happened. that is not what happened. they knew they had the documents. the inspector went in and looked and they made the decision after two subpoenas were in place that these documents were actually destroyed in march of 2014. somebody is going to be held accountable for that. he had responsibility for it, and i think he should be impeached. by the way, it is now at the house judiciary committee. myself and six other members of the oversight committee are also on the judiciary committee. so it is moving forward. i realize there hasn't been any news in the last four weeks. but you would be surprised to know how much is going on behind the scenes. he better lawyer up because it's going to get ugly.
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>> -- independent journal review. what do you think are the most concerns, problems if any in the atf in light of the president's recent action, increased scrutiny on the with his appro. you know, the latest announcement that he made. you need to work with congress. i think the president's getting to the finish line and recognizing that he didn't make any progress on some of his core things that he believes in. i believe his sincerity. but the way to get things done is actually working with congress. and he didn't do that over the last seven years. he's throwing out things now that i've never heard them suggest doing. they want to change the hipaa laws now. that may be something we need to look at. but through executive order? that's just not the way to do it. atf, again, a lot of good men and women there. we had initially as a committee focused on dea, if you recall
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they had these severe problems, we had a meeting and she pretty much had to step down after our hearing with the dea. aft has its own set of problems and challenges that has not been tier 1 top of the spectrum for us to go and investigate. we've been much more about secret service and tsa and dea. epa is right up there, they don't seem to go away, they can't seem to solve those problems. so i can't tell you that that's like imminent, that we're doing that. but they have some of the same challenges within atf at the department of justice as others. and i'll give you one other quick example. sexual assault, sexual harassment in the workplace, is defined differently throughout government. and that's one of the things we're taking a deep look at is, how do you get a uniform definition of sexual misconduct,
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sexual harassment in the workplace? because even within the department of justice, it was pretty embarrassing, one of the last things attorney general holder sent out to employees was a memo saying, engaging in prostitution is not a good thing, you can't do it, even if it's a legal in a country, you can't engage in prostitutes. i mean, that's embarrassing, right? so that problem is found throughout the department of justice. different standards, different penalties, and. >> that's very concerning to us. >> before going back to the audience, i want to follow up on the issue of atf and gun regulation, because it seems like this comes pretty close potentially to your committee's jurisdiction in the sense that, often we hear the debate, rather than have new regulations, we should enforce regulations already on the books, which guess to the question of oversight of government process. donald trump and many others have been making this argument recently. i realize you may not want to lay out your full agenda, if you
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have one in your head, on gun safety broadly defined, but on the specific element of how well we should be enforcing laws on the books, what's your overall take, and is this really perhaps the most logical dimension for those who are concerned about firearms being in the wrong hands? is this the right way to tackle the problem? >> i've got a multitude of thoughts. i think the intersection and dealing with mental health is something that should be addressed in a bipartisan way. tim murphy, a republican out of pennsylvania, has a bill which is trying to do that. very deep concerns. what was the president's, one of the administration's, one of the first things they did on the gun front was what we call fast and furious, they knowingly gave ak-47s to the drug cartels to see where they would pop up. we're still in a lawsuit with the administration trying to get access to that information.
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they claim executive privilege. that's what the obama administration in the first year was doing on guns. let's be honest and candid about that. we still are pursuing that and need to know how that gets ferreted out. trey gowdy, my colleague, a long time prosecutor, has mediaade ay good point, a well-intentioned point, that the laws on the books are not being enforced. i hadn't planned on talking about this today. when you go to the airport and you do have a loaded gun, do you get prosecuted? the overwhelming majority of the time it's no. no. these are irresponsible gun owners. that seems like something that is ripe for prosecution. a lot of that prosecution happens at the local level, specifically to atf, as it relates to fast and furious, i hope they've tried to learn this, but straw purchasing is
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already illegal. and so the president puts out this statement about guns and whatnot. go enforce that. go enforce that. we're trying to get the department of justice to tell me -- tell us how many times have they actually prosecuted straw purchases. it's not a sexy crime. there is not a prosecutor that wants to go and try to make that case to a judge. it's a very small penalty. but they don't do it. instead they want to have other, more onerous types of things put on the books. enforce the laws that are currently there. if you're there illegally on visa, you're not supposed to be able to purchase a gun. if they populated the database with all of those information? we hand out drivers licenses in states to people who are here illegally. do they have all those people on the do not buy list? i don't think so. and so they are not nearly doing enough with the laws that are already currently on the books. and i think there's a lot more
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that they can do to make sure that guns don't get into people's hands. but they've also got to prosecute these laws, when these laws are broken, and i don't think they do nearly to the degree they should. >> the gentleman in the third row. >> one other thing i want to bring up while she gets to the microphone. this one really gets under my skin, okay? and this goes back to homeland security. we have a large population of people that are here illegally. not everybody here is to just better their family and provide for their kids, okay? they had -- this administration, the obama administration, had 66,000 people that were here illegally, committed a crime, got convicted, convicted of a crime, and they released them out into the public. they did not deport them. so you want to go look at public
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safety, you want to look at gun violence? i think that's a population. how do you release 66,000 known criminals that are here illegally back into the community and at the same time say, what we need is another law on the books to make it more difficult for a law abiding citizen to purchase? that's not the way you're going to solve it. the criminals don't give a darn about having some new regulation out there, okay? and when you have known criminal -- this is a criminal element. i still don't think the public understands. i don't understand how the secretary of homeland security says it's in the best interests of the united states of america to put these people back out on the streets. that's just not acceptable. sorry. >> andy purdee. i'm with a private company. i want to ask a question related to work i did at the u.s. sentencing commission. a few sentences ago, i'll paraphrase it, but whether we need to consider some management changes in government. we look at ethics and compliance programs that the sentencing
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commission of the justice does to root out ethics violations, to create independent, anonymous reporting and auditing so that folks can know whether these situations have been taken seriously. almost no agencies, almost no programs have goals, objectives, and milestones for what they need to accomplish. >> right. >> there are no mechanics in place to evaluate whether folks are achieving them. the igs and gao are doing a great job, but frankly there is a groundhog day aspect of gao reports. i use the example of cybersecurity. when you look at the opm breach and the ten years that preceded that, and the work coming out of the white house and opm, it reflects the multiple approaches the administration said was going to be done to take cybersecurity seriously, nothing happened. there's been no consequences. >> how is it that more than half
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of the employees get bonused up? for instance, we had people that engaged in the sexual misconduct, and yet where they punished? was there a consequence? no. they got bonuses. they got promotions and bonuses. what does that say to the workforce? what does that say to -- there needs to be consequences from the secretary on down so they feel the heat that good people get rewarded and the bad apples are weeded out and pushed out the door. as you relate to the opm data breach, one of the largest data breaches we've ever had, 20 something million people whose information is out there and has been stolen, the inspector general, i think it was seven years running, and come up and highlighted this. at one point they actually said, unplug it, uninfluenciplug it, vulnerable. and we had that same thing happening right now at the department of education. that, to me, the story that
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hasn't been written is about what's been happening at the department of education. if you apply for a student loan, you are sending this information, not only about yourself, but about mom, about dad, and all the investments, all the account numbers, all the assets that you have, they have how many of these records? almost half of america's records are sitting at the department of education. they administer more than a trillion dollars in assets. they're bigger than citibank. bigger than citibank. and they have 140 some-odd, i think it's 140, different databases out there, most of which are contracted. i asked the ceo for the department of education, do you need more money? he gave me a good answer. he said, no, i need better people. and it's a management problem. they've got all these contractors out there, and it's not safe and secure. i think ultimately that's going to be the largest data breach that we've ever seen in the history of our nation.
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and it's vital information, critical information. the ig's on top of it, we're on top of it, but the administration, they're asleep. and it scares me. >> the labor department on this friday reporting that american employers added 292,000 jobs last month. but the unemployment rate is still at 5 percent, and that's the third month in a row, as more americans started looking for work and succeeded in finding jobs. hiring over the past three months was the best quarter in over a year. republican presidential candidate and ohio governor john kasich is campaigning in new hampshire today. this afternoon he'll be holding a town hall meeting in exeter. tomorrow, governor kasich will join six other republican candidates in south carolina. they'll be interviewed by house speaker paul ryan and south carolina senator tim scott.
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the questions are expected to focus on the candidates' ideas on how to handle the country's issues. c-span will be there with live coverage starting tomorrow morning at 10:20 eastern. c-span takes you on the road to the white house and into the classroom. this year, our student cam documentary contest asks students to tell us what issues they want to hear from the presidential candidates. follow c-span's road to the white house coverage and get all the details about our student cam contest at as president obama prepares for his state of the union address on tuesday, he released this video on twitter. >> i'm working on my state of the union address. it's my last one. and as i'm writing, i keep thinking about the road that we've traveled together these past seven years. that's what makes america great, our capacity to change for the
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better. our ability to come together as one american family and pull ourselves closer to the america we believe in. it's hard to see sometimes in the day-to-day noise of washington. but it is who we are. and it is what i want to focus on in this state of the union address. >> and c-span's coverage starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern with senate historian betty koed and james hark in, looking back at the history and tradition of the president's annual message and what to expect in this years' address. then at 9:00, our live coverage of the president's speech followed by the republican response by south carolina governor nikki haley, plus your reaction by phone, facebook, tweets, and e-mail, as well as those from members of congress, on c-span, c-span radio, and we'll reair our state of the union coverage and republican response starting at 11:00 p.m. eastern, 8:00 p.m. pacific. also live on c-span2 after the
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speech we'll hear from members of congress in statuary hall with their reaction to the president's address. the japanese prime minister addressed reporters. during the q&a he answered questions on russia, priorities for the upcoming trilateral summit with china and south korea, and lower the voting age to 18. this is about 20 minutes.
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>> translator: the 2016 new year press conference. we'll start with the prime minister's prepared remarks. happy new year to you all. even now as we welcome the new year, in the distant land of south sudan, members of the japanese self-defense forces are participating in peacekeeping operations to help that country achieve self reliance. and in the gulf of aden, they're working to protect the world's shipping from pirates. i wish to express my heartfelt respect for their deep sense of mission and responsibility. i am deeply moved by their contributions. this is the fourth new year's that we've greeted since the election by which we became once again the governing party. there is a proverb that you can warm a cold rock by sitting on
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it for three years. perseverance is important. during these three years, employment has increased by more than 1.1 million and we have seen the greatest growth in wages in 17 years. the economy is on a solid path of recovery. last year the highest ever ratio of job offers to job seekers was recorded in seven prefectures. this marks the steady progress in the revitalization of regional economies. in the disaster-afflicted area of tohuko, people who were displaced are moving into new housing. the reconstruction effort is advancing step by step.
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both the peace diplomacy and economic diplomacy we have deployed from a global perspective are now beginning to produce real results. last year saw the adoption of the legislation for peace and security. we have successfully build the foundation for handing down a peaceful japan to our children and grandchildren. we have realized the first major reform of agricultural policy in 60 years. we have reformed the health system and deregulated the electricity market. it was a year in which we carried out our pledge to undertake the most sweeping reforms since the end of world war ii. we can now say that the post-war era is over. just 60 years ago, also in the year of the monkey, an economic white paper was issued that stated that the economic growth fueled by rebuilding from the devastation of war had come to an end.
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and it also called for a new model for building japan and achieving economic growth. over the course of the past three years, we have made economic recovery our top priority. we are still midway in our efforts. but we have created conditions where the economy is no longer inflationary. the end of one challenge marks the start of a new challenge. these are the words spoken by the hero of the novel "downtown rocket." in the novel, a small family-run factory continues taking on new challenges, making everything from parts for rockets to medical equipment. it was just such small and medium-sized companies that built japan's reputation as a country that makes quality products. the success of the 1964 tokyo olympics, the period of rapid
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economic growth that followed, our predecessors continue to take on challenges, never giving up, and were able to create an affluent japan, which they passed on to us. four years from now, the olympics and paralympics will again be held in tokyo. we will make sure that these are a complete success. and with our sights set on the future beyond that, we will take on new challenges to create a new country of japan. this is the kind of year i want this to be. the pace of growth and the emerging economies has started to slow, and there is great uncertainty about the world economy as a whole. right now the world is searching for a path to sustainable growth. in may, world leaders will gather for the summit, and together with them i want to
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make this an opportunity to confront the future challenges of the world economy. domestically, we will take on the challenge of the low birth rate and an aging population. we have set three major targets. a 600 trillion yen gdp, raising the birth rate to 1.8 children per woman, and eliminating cases where people have to leave their jobs to provide nursing care for family. we will now unleash three new arrows at these targets to create a society in which all people are dynamically engaged. we have already given our efforts a major boost with a 3.5 trillion yen supplemental budget. the regular diet session that starts today will be one that takes on the challenges of the future. whether domestically or internationally, we will
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continue to take on new challenges. this is what we must do. i want to make this a year of courageously taking on challenges for the future. this is my determination. 300 years ago, also in the year of the monkey, tokogawayoshi became the shogun. he is renounced for his various reforms, starting with the building of the government's finances. but that is not all that he did. he also planted cherry tree saplings throughout thecy of i edo, which is now tokyo. he was convinced that when flowers came to bloom in the future, people would gather together, even in poor neighborhoods, creating a new
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richness. this was his investment in the future. based on that conviction, he continued to take on the challenge of planting cherry tree saplings. thanks to his efforts, 300 years later, we are able to enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms. areas known for their cherry blossleoms are thronged with people. these saplings will not produce flowers right away, but by continuing these efforts, the young people were creating conditions were the trees would produce blossoms and ten or 20 years from now, people will gather beneath them to share and pass on lessons of the tsunami. i wish to be the kind of politician who plants trees with
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his eyes set clearly on the future of the country. however long it might take, whatever difficulty challenges we might face, i want to continue to plant the saplings of a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. this is the first year of that effort to create such a society. in closing, i would like to offer my best wishes to the people of japan and my hopes that this will be a truly wonderful year for all of you. this completes my prepared remarks. we will now take questions, starting with the hosting organization nhk. please state your name and affiliation. . >> translator: my name is hara from nhk.
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what kind of leadership do you plan to exert in such fields as economic, international terrorism, global warming, and economic uncertainty? what do you think will be the main themes for debate and the best outcomes of the summit? also, can you say something about a possible visit by russian president putin to japan and the prospects for the timing of a japan/china/korea summit? >> translator: japan will chair the summit being held this year. in addition, japan will be inducted as a nonpermanent member of the u.n. security council. further, the tokyo international conference on international development will be held for the first time in africa. we have been chosen to host the japan/china/korea summit. this will be a year in which japanese diplomacy plays a leading role in the world.
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at the summit, i hope we will address such issues as the increasingly opaque prospects for the world economy, poverty, the struggle against terrorism, the state of the asian pacific region, and other issues facing our world. the g-7 members are the leading proponents of such universal values as freedom and democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. as chair of the summit, we want to take a global and future oriented perspective in order to play a leading role in helping the world and the region find the best path forward toward peace and prosperity. with regard to russia, i share the view expressed by president putin that it is an abnormal state of affairs to have gone more than 70 years after the end of the war without signing a
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peace treaty. the question of the disputed northern territories is one that cannot be settled without a summit meeting. such issues as terrorism, syria, and iran, for these it is vital to obtain the positive engagement of russia. i intend to take advantage of all opportunities to continue dialogue with president putin. regarding a possible visit to japan, we will continue to explore possibilities in order to determine the optimal timing. regarding the japan/china/korea summit, last year's seoul summit realized the full normalization of the process for cooperation between the three countries. i want to ensure that this year's summit is meaningful and produces concrete results.
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as for timing, we will first have a meeting among our foreign ministers and the outcome of this will be communicated to the trilateral summit. and for this reason we will continue to confer with china and korea about timing. we will now take another question from one of the hosting organizations. >> reporter: my question regards the house of counselors election. this summer's election will be a major political battle. at present your liberal democratic party has 115 seats. when you add the seats of the other party, you have a majority. in the summer's elections, are you hoping to gain a majority or are you going to aim at two-thirds majority, all of whom are said to be in favor of constitutional reform? finally, what about the possibility that you will dissolve the lower house and
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have simultaneous elections for both houses of the diet? >> translator: first, the coalition government of the ldp and komato has withstood various challenges and is a very robust coalition. with this as a stable political base, i want to take up the challenges of building a society in which everyone is dynamically engaged. and also work to face and resolve the various domestic and international issues that we are now confronting. in the house of counselors election, i of course want all our candidates to win. that is my responsibility as president of the liberal democratic party. based on the premise of seeking victory for all ldp candidates, in order to continue to advance a stable politics under a
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governing coalition of the ldp and komato, we want to maintain a majority in the house of counselors between our seats held by the two parties. i will exert myself to the fullest to achieve that victory. with regard to amending the constitution, as i have to date, i plan to stress this during the election campaign for the house of councillors. at the same time i hope that this will help deepen the national debate on this issue. regarding dissolving the house of representatives and holding both elections simultaneously, i'm sorry to keep saying the same thing, but this is something i am not even considering. to repeat, there will be many different issues at stake in the house of councillors elections. but in the end this will be an appraisal of the achievements of the administration over the last three years and a judgment
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rendered by the people regarding our efforts to reach a society in which everyone is dynamically engaged. we would now like to invite questions from reporters not in the hosting organizations. please raise your hand, when i call on you please give your name and affiliation before asking your question. member of the foreign press core. >> translator: my name is harding from the "financial times." you said that the economy has entered a condition where it is not deflaktiondeflationary. but the inflation rate is still close to zero. do you think you might have been too quick in announcing the end of deflation? >> translator: i stated that we have created conditions where the economy is no longer
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deflationary. regrettably, we are still midway in the process, and it is a fact that we have not yet reached the point where we can say that we have broken entirely free from deflation. but because of bold monetary easing, prices have rebounded, and they have been in an upward trend for the past two years. employment has increased by more than 1.1 million and wages have been growing at a high rate continuously for the past two years. last year capital investment was up more than 11% year to year in july, august, and september. the economy is becoming more forward-looking. i think we are getting close to the point where we can say that we have freed the economy from deflation. whether or not we can accelerate these trends will depend on how we can powerfully continue the virtuous cycle driven by higher wages and growing capital
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investment. to this end, the government has decided to speed up lowering the effective corporate tax rate so that it will be below 30% from the new fiscal year that starts in april. president korota of the bank of japan says he wants to support in any way he can so the government and the bank of japan will be working in tandem to enable the economy to completely break free of deflation. time is starting to run short so this may be our last question. mr. nanao? >> translator: my name is nanao from niko niko videos. the lowering of the voting age to 18 will mean in this year's house of councillors elections, there will be new voters. at the same time there is a growing gap in the percentage of young and older voters who actually get to the polls. what is your feeling about the need to morefully explain to the
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general public the current and future policies of the government and the reasoning behind them? >> translator: in the upcoming house of councillors election, 18 and 19-year-old citizens will be voting for the first time. they will be casting their first historical vote, i think we can say. i hope that they will go to the polling places fully sensing the importance of this fact. at the same time, as you noted, the reality is that voter turnout among young people is low. for young people, the questions being debated in politics, whether this is foreign policy or domestic policy, such as the benefits and burdens of the social insurance system, healthcare or retirement insurance, all of these will have a major impact on young people's futures. i would like to make efforts to help them fully understand this. also, by working to ensure that
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parliamentary debates are not taken up entirely with exchanges of criticisms and attack, but that debate is constructive, with both sides presenting alternatives and comparing these, i hope that we can enable young people to feel that they have a real choice, that they can choose which party and which candidates they think are best. this is the kind of effort i would like to make. we've reached the end of our time, i'm afraid. we do actually have time for one more question. mr. nishiyaki. >> translator: in your remarks you used the expression, "take on challenges." you spoke about unleashing arrows toward three new targets. this year is an election year. and while it might not rise to the level of an election pledge, what kind of numeric targets will you set toward bringing more security to the lives of
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citizens in the diet toward the election? >> translator: for the last three years, we have pursued the policies that have come to be known as abenomics. as a result, for example, national and regional tax reveren revenues have increased by 21 trillion yen. this is the fruit of the economic policies of abenomics. the question now is how to make the best use of these fruits. to this end we have established three goals: a 600 trillion yen gdp, raising the birth rate to 1.8 children per woman, and eliminating cases in which people have to leave their jobs to provide nursing care. to realize the 1.8 child per woman birth rate goal, we have taken some of these fruits and budgeted it to child rearing
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support to prevent people from leaving their jobs in order to take care of a family member, we have budgeted funds to social insurance. by continuing to work toward these targets, to shoot arrows at these targets, so to speak, we can create a social foundation, solid social foundation for further economic growth. the fruit of economic growth will of course be invested to support more growth. by achieving these three goals we will gain more results and this will be used to bring greater security to people's lives. this for example will be used to prepare for old age or used to support rearing of children. we are looking for a virtuous cycle of growth and redistribution. this is the new economic model that we are striving to create. this is the challenge we need to undertake. it will not be easy, but nothing
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can be achieved without trying. we need to take on the challenges as quickly as possible, because if we don't, it will be too late. that is why we want to make this session of the diet one in which we initiate new efforts. to this end we wish to create a society in which everyone is dynamically engaged. i'm afraid our allotted time is up, so this concludes the press conference with the prime minister. thank you for your cooperation. republican presidential candidate and ohio governor john kasich is campaigning in new hampshire today. and this afternoon he'll be holding a town hall meeting in the town of exeter. c-span will have live coverage of that starting at 5:15 eastern.
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and coming up tomorrow, governor kasich will join six other presidential republican candidates in south carolina. they'll be divided in three panels and be interviewed by paul ryan and tim scott. the questions are expected to focus on the candidates' ideas on how to handle the country's issues. c-span will be there starting tomorrow morning at 10:20 eastern. the "time" magazine cover story, "how trump won." now he just needs the votes. joining us from new york is the editor at large from "time" magazine. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for the opportunity, steve. >> as your piece summarizes, donald trump is for real. >> he's absolutely for real. i think all of us, certainly in the media anyway, and most political professionals, thought that this was kind of a vanity campaign or a joke or some
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version of that, when he got into the race back in june. and people have kept forecasting his demise and predicting his decline. and yet here we are, less than a month from the actual votes starting to be cast in iowa and new hampshire, and then all across the country. and he's not fading. he's gaining strength. what's more, there's really no one in the rest of the field. it's not clear that there's anyone gaining any ground on him. so it's time to start taking him seriously. >> and you write about the huge crowds he's been gathering, whether it's burlington, vermont tonight, or lowell, massachusetts, or biloxi, mississippi. what has he tapped into? >> a lot of people have commented on the anger among voters. and definitely there's a lot of anger and frustration about the
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uncertain economy, world events, terrorism, just a very uncertain world. a middle class that does not seem to be gaining much ground, if any, over the past ten or 15 years. i think all those are factors. but another thing that i think he's really caught on to that we talked about in our piece is the technological change that's going on, and the implications that they will have for politics. you know, the same thing that netflix did to blockbuster or amazon has done to so many retailers, cutting out the middleman, connecting people in their homes with their mobile devices directly to the products that they want. i think that's starting to happen in politics. and the products are the candidates. the fancy term for this in
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silicon valley is "disintermediation," cutting out the middleman. trump is the first disintermediated candidate. because of his experience as a reality tv star, he has a very direct relationship with voters. and he's not waiting for voters. he's not waiting for the media or the republican party or elected officials who might endorse him. he doesn't need their approval. the voters don't need intermediaries to tell them what they think about or should think about donald trump. they have their direct relationship with him. and i think that may be the direction that all politics is going to be going in. >> david, for so many years candidates would travel to iowa and new hampshire, that one on one retail politics. but from day one for donald
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trump, this has been a wholesale politics campaign. >> it really has. but the interesting piece of that, steve, that i was hinting at is that so many of these people feel like they have a one-on-one relationship with trump, because they've seen him on tv, and these reality tv shows, you know, they're not reality, they're scripted, they're edited, but they do create the illusion that you're up close and personal with the tv star. and so people have, you know, seen trump in the back of his car, they've seen him in his boardroom deciding who is going to be fired and who isn't. they feel they know him. and in a sense, he's got that one on one relationship with millions of people now who follow him on twitter or on facebook, or watch his instagram. >> let me ask you the question that you pose in your piece at, are mainstream
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republicans coming to grips with the idea they've resisted since last summer. could they learn to love the donald? >> it's a conversation starting in washington and other places, what do we do as the republican party if he runs away with this nomination or even -- it could be a close battle all the way to the convention. are they willing to blow up the party, are they willing to risk him running as an independent and splitting the republican party in half? or could they find a to gway to get along with him? as savvy as trump has shown himself to be, i wouldn't be at all surprised if we don't start to see in the coming months a kind of charm campaign out of donald trump. we've seen how tough and mean and plainspoken he can be. but what we haven't seen yet is the charming side of the donald. and it does exist, according to
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people who have spent a lot of time with him. and he can turn it on potentially and have a lot of folks feel better about him i about late spring. >> so where does this put senator rubio, senator cruz, former governor bush, governor christie, governor kasich, all trying to get oxygen as donald trump continues to adodominate headlines? >> they've been trying to get oxygen now for six months, haven't they? senator cruz is doing the best of the bunch in terms of, you know, moving up in the polls while everyone else is kind of flat. and there's a sense among the political pros that there's room for one more candidate. trump, cruz, and then one of the above, rubio, christie, bush, kasich, some sort of more standard, conventional type of
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establishment, experienced politician in the race, and that that would be the three. there's a feeling that if it happens soon enough, that one of those might be able to burst through at the end and take the nomination from trump. but the clock is ticking. you know, donald trump in one poll over the holidays was above 40% nationally. and that's a very large number, as you know, at this point in the process, certainly in a field as big as this. and people have been talking about, you know, someone emerging to take him on. but that talk has been going on for months now and no one's managed to do it yet. >> it's a cover story in "time" magazine this week. thank you very much for being with us. >> thanks for the attention,
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steve. c-span takes you on the road to the white house. best access to the candidates. at town hall meetings, speeches, rallies, and meet and greets. we're taking your comments on twitter, facebook, and by phone. and always, every campaign event we cover is available on our website, here's a look at some of our featured programs this weekend on american history tv on c-span3. next tuesday, president obama will deliver his last state of the union address to a joint session of congress. this saturday and sunday, beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern, will feature four state of the union speeches by former presidents during their last year in office. on saturday, it's president jimmy carter followed by president ronald reagan. on sunday, president george h.w. bush's final state of the union, followed by president bill clinton. on saturday morning at 10:30, lynn manuel miranda, playwright
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of the musical "hamilton," receives an award. we'll look back to the 1984 presidential campaign in debate between eight democratic candidates in iowa. >> whoever we elect to replace that man, has to have the trust of the american people. it has to be for all our people. >> for our complete weekend schedule, go to the brookings constitution hosted a discussion this week on the future of afghanistan. panelists focused on the impact of the war and efforts to improve stability and security in the country. the panel included doctors without borders executive director jason cone. this is an hour and a half. good morning, everyone. happy new year and welcome to brookings. i'm mike o'hanlon with the
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center on 21st century security intelligence here. my colleague, vanda felbab-brown. we want to welcome our co-panelists, ann vaughan and jason cone for our discussion today as we begin a new year and an important year, as they all are, in afghanistan. and we were going to bring a number of different perspectives to this conversation today. we're going to begin with opening comments from each of the panelists. and there will be different angles and different approaches, i'm sure, for each. we're going to look forward to your comments and questions in the second half of the 90 minutes. but previously, we will have discussed the broad state of afghanistan today. you know, its overall political and military prognosis and trajectory. we will talk about the afghan people and their wellbeing, human security, and how the conflict as well as everything
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else going on there is affecting them. that will be a second main theme. and then a third, obviously overlapping theme as well, will be the very important role of nongovernmental organizations or ngos. and again, we're honored here today to have ann vaughan and jason cone. ann vaughan, if i can say a brief word about each of them, ann vaughan is policy and advocacy director at mercy corps. she is a former peace corps volunteer in nicaragua. she's worked with the friends committee on national legislation, a long time advocate for those in difficult circumstances around the world. and mercy corps of course is famous for this. and one of the topics i know she will address will be the overall state of the afghan people, and specifically a lot of it concerns about refugee flows and displaced persons. jason cone is the communications director for doctors without borders. and you all know that doctors without borders also does
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incredibly important and courageous work around the world and was the -- really the victim of a terrible tragedy, the most famous tragedy and probably the worst single tragedy of the entire fall of 2015 in afghanistan, certainly in terms of a tragedy that we all would have liked to see avoided, and that was caused by mistakes made by the u.s. military and the afghan security forces. and we are going to discuss that specific issue as well. vanda and i are very honored to have our colleague che bolden join us here. let me say a word about his role in the conversation. he is an active duty marine corps officer with considerable experience in the broader middle east conflict zones in previous assignments. we're pleased to have him here at brookings this year. in a sense, it's a year of mid-career education, sabbatical research and writing for him, but he draws on this great
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repository, and his own mind and his background, on various issues that get to the heart of what happened in kunduz, the basic question of how do you use military power in as safe a way as possible in a difficult combat environment. and he has experience not only as a pilot but as an individual who helped coordinate and run unmanned aerial systems operations in these conflicts, with a background as well in foreign area operations. so he's got a sophisticated understanding of the way in which military operations affect the populations in which they takes place. vanda is the author of "aspiration and ambivalence." when we had an each of the last year at brookings, one of our co-panelists described that in words i would fully concur with, as the single best book on the afghan conflict in recent years. her first book was "shooting up," the nexus of counternarcotics,
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counterinsurgency, and criminality and the ways in which these issues and concerns affected conflict zones in places like afghanistan. she's done a great deal of field research in a very brave and very forward-leaning way in afghanistan and other countries, and therefore has certainly wrestled with the country of human security as well as the broader issue of the trends in governance and in armed operations and politics in afghanistan as well. i'm just going to say one more brief word here of introduction, then pass things off to vanda. vanda will try to give us a little bit of the lay of the land in afghanistan today. she was there most recently in the fall. she had an extensive visit in different parts of the country. i had a much shorter visit in december myself. i'm just going to try to guide the conversation and maybe occasionally interject in response to questions. but we're going to start with vanda, then we'll go to ann vaughan, who as he mentioned has a broad concern about the wellbeing of the afghan people and what mercy corps has been
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doing here to address the concern. jason cone will then speak about, again, whatever topics he wishes to. certainly i know the kunduz tragedy will be paramount on his mind as it should be for all of us. and then che bolden will be able to react to that as well give a broader interpretation of how things stand himself from a u.s. military point of view. i'm just going to add one final word here, basically to summarize my take on afghanistan today, which is that there is reason for hope despite it all. and i think we're going to hear a lot of reasons to be very worried, a lot of policies that have to change, a lot of bad things that have been happening, and a lot of reasons to believe that this country is very fragile and perhaps even on the precipice of being able to hold it all together. but i will just note two things, that give me some reason for hopefulness. and i'm just going to frame this as not as poly an-ish happy
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talk, but a way to remember there are some things to hold on to here. for every military setback we've seen in 2015, we often saw at least some countervailing happier resolution or some degree of cause for hope that the afghan forces in particular, the afghan army and police, have if nothing else, resilience and a willingness to keep trying at this conflict. they often need help. they're not as far along as they should be. there's still corruption in the ranks. there's still overly excessive tendency to focus on checkpoint manning rather than offensive operation. there are a lot of problems. but if we look at kunduz, for all the atrocities that happened there when the taliban took over, it was largely afghan forces that took it back within a couple of weeks. for me, that's some reason for hope. a second reason for hope is the afghan people themselves. the asia foundation put out a survey. that survey, this year, this
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past fall, showed a lot of concern among the afghan people that they had seen deterioration in their own personal security, much greater fear about their wellbeing than they had in previous years, and that was all very bad news and very sobering. but they also expressed high confidence in their own army and police, and they expressed, believe it or not, a certain happiness. we've got a colleague here, carol graham, who studies happiness, and has long pointed out that the afghan people have something about them that is resilient. maybe "happiness" is a little strong, but certainly there is a degree of innate optimism that remains and was apparent in the polls as well. without further ado, to proceed with our three main themes of the overall course of politics and military operations in afghanistan, the wellbeing of the afghan people, and the role of ngos in that overall effort, let me please turn things over to vanda. >> thank you very much, mike.
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good morning to you all. happy new year. it's wonderful to see you here, to focus on afghanistan, where so much u.s. domestic attention, political attention is devoted to other areas. but afghanistan remains a crucial country, one in which we have made a commitment, and where we also raise tremendous hopes among the afghan people. so it is very important not to forget that war. and we are still at war. the afghan people are increasingly at a more intense war that has many indicators that it will become even more intense in 2016. i was enormously pleased to hear the comments on president obama's top ten foreign policy priorities to include afghanistan. ten priorities are many, of course, but russia was mentioned among them. so focusing and highlighting afghanistan and resurrecting
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some very serious international and u.s. thinking about where the country is heading is very important. so thank you all very much for coming. you know, when i was in afghanistan, mike, in september and october, i was asking the afghan people what makes you happy, what makes you happiest, what is the good story? and one of the answers i got quite frequently was, we still have our human. that perhaps indicates the resilience of the afghan people. but even that humor is increasingly challenged. and one of the most distressing aspects of 2015 is the tremendous brain drain. we often said the hope of afghanistan, the solution to the country's problems is the young generation that will act differently, that will be committed to the country. and we'll perhaps hear from ann some more about how that aspect, that hope is now challenged, or
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not. after all, afghan refugees were among the fifth largest group of refugees coming to europe, at least 70,000 of them. and many precisely the young people that were to be the hope of the country. 2015 was a very difficult year, as he mentioned. secular economics and politics, as i mentioned. i'll come back to them. 2016 has already kicked off in a difficult way. over the past day and a half, or day, we have seen news of the attack on the indian consulate in mazar. the battle is ongoing. what's significant about that is it's clearly designed to derail any hope of resurrecting peace talks with the taliban and the regional peace talks involving pakistan, china, afghanistan, and other actors. i am personally not very hopeful
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that the talks will get off the ground anytime soon. but nonetheless, it is significant that at least with the talks being on again immediately results in spoilers trying to undermine it. the day before, le jardin, one of the restaurants in kabul, was attacked. the number of casualties was not high but it too is significant, because it's another move by the taliban to really isolate the international community from the afghan people, to eliminate public and private spaces in which they exchange the deeper understanding, the mutual commitment could be resurrected. mother and more, the only access, the only communication is in government buildings with all the limitations this presents. there are few restaurants that westerners can visit left, in
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kabul very, very few, le jardin was one that i was at in the fall. the fact that they are being inkressley hit is clearly of th war and soon after suicide bomber near the kabul airport again apparently no casualties but nonetheless 2016 is off with a bang, and not a good bang. what happened broadly last year? well, the official assessment is the taliban has control and is influenced in one-third of the country. that number might well be an understatement. the casualties of the afghan security forces have gone up significantly. at least 26% in 2014 to 7,000 dead and 12,000 injured. already in 2014 and prior to 2013 the sense was that the level of casualties was not
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sustainable. now, we are actually seeing the recruitment keeps outpacing the attrition, whether it's from casualties or from many soldiers and policemen going awol. but one reason why that is happening is, of course, because the economy is in a critical situation. there is no job generation. so the only employment available for many is participating in the security forces but that dynamic has its limitation. at some point a family will calculate that losing a son to poor logistics, inadequate air support, big loss and drop in intelligence capacity, that risking that son is simply not worth it and that trying to get out to europe but also to neighboring countries might be the better solution. so the attrition rate while
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being compensated for is nonetheless very bad and needs to be addressed. the kunduz victory taliban was months in the making. it was not simply when it went down in late september, early october, there was months preview of the challenges that the province had and, of course, years and years of political buildup and i focus on kunduz because it's significant. it's very much about the political dysfunction that characterizes the country. the exclusionary politics, ethn ethnic and tribal competition resulting in abuse. kunduz for a long time was the snake pit of afghanistan politics and it's not surprising that the taliban was ultimately so successful in the province. they only had the provincial capital for two weeks but they did not expect to hold the provincial capital.
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they were utterly surprised by how well they did. and one of the reasons that compounded the difficulties of the government was the proliferation of the afghan local police, the officially sanctioned militia and many other militias that have been involved in problem abuse and exclusionary politics in the province and the taliban for months before kunduz went down was able to make its own version of the police and was a key factor for why they got the city and hold it so long but it was also a key factor in how abusive the taliban behavior was despite the orders from mullah mansour precisely because just like the government cannot control them often and other militias so cannot the taliban and we are
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seeing a big increase in militias in response to isis and i want to express my appreciation of the u.s. government, u.s. military determination not to expand the alp beyond currently authorized 30,000 despite huge pressure from the afghan government to double the size and perhaps even more it's a military band-aid but also political patronage appeasement of the of the power brokers that challenge the government. we have not seen much of bin talal at all. the situation in helmand is hardly good in spite of the fact there are 18,000 afghan soldiers and policemen station and in 2016 we can expect kandahar will come under significant pressure. already in 2015 the taliban was making a lot of maneuvers around the province preparing for a push on kandahar.
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that said, not everything is easy for the taliban, either, the movement is facing its greatest internal challenges that it has in the past decade and even longer than that. the transition from mullah omar to mullah mansour has not been smooth, has resulted in fractions in the group and although mansour has been able to neutralize the key opponents like mullah dadulla, it has come with many costs. zakir has come out against him the transition is challenging and we are seeing fragmentation in fact, the rise of isis in afghanistan, in places like zabul and herat has enabled that factionalization. for the first time, the political cost s disquieted
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disgruntled taliban leaders defecting are much lower as a result of isis isis is a serious challenge and and the politics with the government, local government officials and all associated power brokers in the taliban are fascinating. i'll put it aside. perhaps we can get into it in the q&a. the taliban will continue pushing but the country won't heal itself if it can not get beyond fractious political infighting focused on personal power grabs and focus on governance. and indeed the year was one of coupe plotting, efforts to undermine the dysfunctional non-functional so-called
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government of national unity with much of the fight not simply between two leading men, president ashraf ghani and ceo abdullah abdullah but with power brokers on the sidelines beyond the two men and fortunately insteadover whatever little bill talan there is being used to focus on govp nanernance and to some push on cleaning up perhaps the bad criminality and politics in jalalabad, the government is, instead, stuck with the political infighting and with the infighting with other brokers. president ghani announced in 2016 the parliamentary and district elections delayed for over a year will take place. we will see, perhaps so, but they will be once again contested, exploded and they will once again consume much of the political energy.
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but perhaps even more problem matally, 2016 is also supposed to be the year where the they are adjudicating major constitutional reform involving the relationship between the ceo and the president as well as broader electoral reform. perhaps, according to some such as abdullah abdullah moving the country to a parliamentary system. the loya jirga will be once again very contested, very challenged and it's already being ma anyone lated by important power brokers, including former president hamid karzai as a power grab. so what we can see in 2016 is continuing dire economic situation, out flows of people, major taliban push and the political system stuck in in fighting, basic survival and
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power grabs instead of focusing on the international interest and governance in the country. that leaves the international community in a very difficult situation, clearly we want to help afghanistan. the united states should continue assisting militarily and assisting politically. but we also need to demand far greater accountability and far greater focus from afghan politicians on governing that country as opposed to tearing it to pieces. >> thank you, vonda, a great framing. now i'll turn things over the ann vaughn, director of policy and hadvocacy at mercy corps. >> thank you so much for hosting this event and continuing to put poe cus and attention on afghanistan. mercy corps is a global development and humanitarian action. we operate in over 40 countries. we've been in afghanistan since 1986, so over 30 years now we're
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working with afghans to improve their lives through agriculture and economic development programs. we've reached 2.5 million afghans in trying to help improve their livelihoods and security including food security. we work in the north and the east and the south of afghanistan including kandahar, helmand and kunduz. and we use what's called a community acceptance model of security and community mobilization implementation approach which is development speak for we work closely with communities to make sure that we're hearing their needs and working on the projects they think will improve their lives. it's also working with communities -- security or helps ensure that we're able to be safe and work in some difficult and challenging environments. so i agree with vanda's assessmt.


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