tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN February 9, 2016 9:00am-11:01am EST
i'm adam liam. i work with demos, we disagree on lots of things. you mentioned joel gora, he's speaking at our event thursday afternoon. we'll have a discussion on both sides. i wanted to ask you a specific question about entrenchment because i think this is within area we agree there's a danger of entrenchment of incumbents and that's something we should be concerned about. i want to ask, what if it wasn't true, that restrictive campaign finance laws were good for incumbents, what if study you can point to suggests that the case i can point to another that it leads to more candidates being able to participate in the system what happen if we could experience the benefits of a system that was more equal and gave folks more of a voice without the dangerous entrenchment? would that change your views about campaign financing rules? >> it wouldn't change mine because my views are not rooted in the proposition which makes sense to me, but i don't have a strong view on at all that these laws are being written for the
purpose or will have the effect of keeping people who are entrenched in office in the office. look, my view is that the laws violate freedom of speech, that they are inconsistent with core notions of freedom of expression and that would be true regardless of whether the effect of having legislation in this area is going to be more pro-incumbent or anti-incumbent. >> i would largely agree. i think it's important, i think effect arguments are very important. for one thing, that's what matters. some people don't care about freedom of speech, right? but i think it's also, to me be they contribute to the argument i think that freedom of speech has an autonomy element but also a government threat element and the mere fact that threat may not be realized at any particular point in time doesn't
mean it doesn't pose a significant threat if we give government that kind of power. my own sort of theory is that any system, over time of regulation, will gradually become to be pro-incumbent or at least pro the party in power because simply if it is not, congressmen tend to recognize that's a real problem. outside spending is a problem, it's a problem for re-election. but if it works in their favor they tend not to view it as a problem and tend to say i don't think it's that big an issue. we have to be open to empirical evidence but i will say in the end, unlikely to be moved at least, because again, i'm very conscious of the sort of big threat that looms over everything of giving government this power to regulate speech and because of the commitment to speech itself. >> yes, michael. >> i'm michael, reporter at center for public integrity here in washington, d.c.
i wanted to pick up on a theme that was mentioned earlier about in this moment in time there are more and more political operatives, political professionals on both parties complaining about the dynamic of insider versus outsider. you know the outside groups and super pacs can raise unlimited amounts of money but we can't. there is sort of campaign finance writers, two years ago now that slipped into one of the bills and senator ted cruz of texas, proposed to eliminating campaign contribution limits. can you say more if you think the parties will come together to push any sort of raising of the limits or more easement to give what they see as them having more power in this equation any time soon. >> see, i thought the parties might come together on legislation which would give the parties more power as it were,
allow larger amounts to go to the parties with the -- with the benefit as viewed by many members of congress of limiting the impact of outside groups. and senator mcconnell did propose legislation to that effect, which has not been adopted. but i just think it's -- i don't want to be too pessimistic about members of congress getting together. but of all of the topics that i think of, campaign finance seems to me one of the farther rather than nearest in which the two parties have similar interests. i mean the reality is for better or worse.
the democrats think that not just for political reasons but on the ground reasons. i mean not just political to get elected to say this, but they -- i take them at their word, that they think it's very harmful, republicans think that opinion like citizens united benefits them. i don't care because i try to vindicate what i view as first amendment interest at stake here. but it just seems to me the parties are so far apart that in terms of cost/benefit that apart from, again, the notion that they might come together in saying, none of us really like where we've got to in terms of
the enormity of the impact of outsiders who we don't control or one side or the other that they'd want to rebuild the party parties as more of a central player in the area. outside of that, i don't see it happening. >> an interesting thing michael, we saw the other month in the omni bus, there was a provision that would have allowed parties to raise more money. democrats oppose this. but obviously this had gone through the committee hearing and the president was apparently willing to agree to it. i don't want to say agreeable but willing to agree to it as part of the political compromise. there can be pressure. what's interesting, who rose up in revolt were conservatives, right side of the conservative party in congress. why? they thought this was going to weaken their political power in the battles within the republican party. to me, to play off of your question rather than answer it.
one of the issues, this illustrates the danger of regulation here. people want to use it to try to again the upper hadn't over their political rivals and i think that's just something that can't be said often enough when we think about why we ask that question, why should the court have stepped in in buckley? that that that's a big reason why. if you give people this tool and say here's a tool you might be able to use to limit political opponents people will use it. >> i will note at end of 2014, this writer was slimmed into the omni bus and parties are able to raise $1 million plus checks from individuals because of new accounts set up. >> that's for very select restrictive purposes but that is important. this issue they were going to raise somewhat, not nearly as that much for general use the party could use. >> yes, in the front. >> my name is david hoffman.
here as a journalist but perhaps as a devil's advocate. let me pose a question that takes aside contrary to that being expressed from the panelist. >> that's not permitted. [ laughter ] >> ah, the irony. i know you're being funny, but anyway, the argument of course is that what has been presented is that more spending on speech will lead to better informed electorate, et cetera, et cetera. what i'm wondering is the following, if that's true, to get to the better informed voters, that's part of the rational to defend the various court rulings, it goes to the issue of the content of that paid speech. and i'm wondering about the argument that our system excludes, excludes many alternatives. it screens out, in other words, unpopular ideas that ideology
and power in the hands of those who have that power in effect trump -- and i mean that in the earlier sense of the word -- trump fully free expression and that some ideas in effect are essentially off-limits and to come to the conclusion here that there's a -- therefore there's actually in practice, as opposed to theory, in practice, there's a narrowing of 0 the debate rather than enlarging through money, through the power of money, and that as a practical matter there's a real problem here. >> i don't agree -- i don't agree that topics are off-limits because of money or the expenditure of money of one sort or another. i'm not at all sure, i would
never use the language of that being better informed. i don't know what makes people better informed. and we have so much trash that is routine in american political life that i wouldn't try to make the case to you, that it's a good thing, you know, to allow more speeches, as it were, even if a lot of it is coming from people with a lot of money. i wouldn't try to make the case it will make people better informed. i think it does lead to more expression, i'm confident of that. and i'm very concerned that the notion of some speech being off-limits would be augmented by increasing governmental power to limit speech. but i wouldn't go beyond that. just personal story, i happen to
be in ohio in the last week of the 2012 campaign on a matter totally unrelated to this. for me, it was a first amendment paradise. you put on television all there were were political ads, one after another, people of ohio hated it. they couldn't get their programs, they were bored, they were insulted, the same statements over and over. accusations and the like. you know, my reaction, but this is terrific, look at this, all this speech and at least in a presidential election two sides very well-represented in ohio, and particular. so i don't know if the public was better informed. i know it was free. i know the government wasn't involved in making a decision as to what would be presented to
them. but the bottom line, i think, is that you know, really, once you start adding incursions, major incursions, talking today, about major incursions, freedom of expression, that that eventually, if not immediately, it leads to more speech being off-limits rather than less. >> i hesitate to say anything because i love both the last comment, incursions it tends to lead to less speech rather than more. and i love i don't know if they were better informed but i know they were free. but i do have to add that the common criticism i hear is well, millionaires they don't represent the people, it's not what the people want to talk about. they're bringing new ideas into the system and keeping them afloat totally not what the people want.
it's kind of odd. but your critique suggests the opposite. it's narrowing ideas. the main critiques millionaires are raising new issues and keeping them afloat because they have millions. and i think, you know, again we have to compare it to what the system would be otherwise. the more people who are playing in the game, the more ideas out there, you know, if you were toty of it, if we -- say eliminated all spending, right? would we have more ideas or less? i think we'd have a lot less because it does take money to communicate ideas to lots of people and by definition, an idea that's a new idea or unpopular idea doesn't have lot odd supporters. that's the definition of a new or unpopular idea. to become popular, the people who believe in it, need to go out, spend money, be active, take effort public in that way. if you restrict the flow of money you're restricting the players in the game. i don't see evidence there are ideas being squelched or not able to participate in the
system or at least not evidence that they would be, you know, viable ideas in the system if we had a system that restricted expenditure. [ inaudible comment ] >> no, but my point is, i think there's no reason to see them. i mean, what i mean is, those of us who look and look in corners and talks to people and say what oddball ideas do you have, those who serve in government and come with the letters that come with the handwriting those are on the side. those of us go to events, these ideas are out there. if they don't become public -- it maybe because they don't have money, right in if others didn't have money, ideas wouldn't take off, right. >> they'd be obscure that nobody heard about or cared about. what they need is what buckley promises, maybe will come along and say that's a great idea and i'm going to back it up. >> the totality of what is discussed changes under the
current system. i mean we have a democratic socialist who is a credible candidate for the nomination of one party. we have the two leading candidates in the other party who are so far off what would have been considered center stage and middle of the road and they would both agree with that. than four years ago, four years ago, maybe less than four years ago. what is happening in this campaign is certainly the expression of vastly different, more extreme you could say, i would say, but vastly different level of advocacy of what would have been considered radical views not very long ago. >> yes, in the front row here.
>> i started a group called pro se america in the state of virginia. we have no oversight. michael gardner, major fund-raiser, by all parents raised funds for our governor, our attorney general, senators congressmen, warner and kaine. he was found guilty of molesting three young girls, guilty with dna. appeals court refused to allow him out the supreme court justice kinser did allow him out. not only did she allow him out he turned around and tried to hire a hitman to kill those three young girls. >> is this related to the issue here? >> yes. i was personally jailed for 22 days, 14 days solitary confinement 5:00 election day 2014 so senator mark warner could be elected.
we don't have oversight -- i don't really care how much money someone gets the problem is we have no one oversight, you file a complaint with ethics committee and they're not oversighting it. there's no one oversighting anything going on regarding when there is a complaint. they are basically policing themselves. so who would you say should be policing these people to make sure that when you have a complaint against somebody that it's actually follow through on and looked at. we have three young girls now living with the fact that someone tried to murder them in mclean, virginia, it wasn't really -- it didn't get the press. >> sorry, i think it's slightly off topic. >> it's the question is, who should be policing the funding? >> i have no idea what the virginia legal system is. i understand. so it's just not something i can comment on.
>> let's move on to the next question. i'm sorry, ma'am, i think it's slightly different than the subject at hand. go ahead. >> hi, steve klein, pillar of law institute. throw out there, and this speaks to your experience in the practice, particularly go to professor smith when he was a commissioner at fec, this riffs off some of the questions that have been asked. i was an intern at fec when i saw complaints filed, whether grassroots candidate attempting to run for office and for a guest to put a disclaimer on the newspaper ad and they have a complaint filed with the federal agency they never heard of before. is the first amendment there for that kind of person, that candidate, or is it oh well, your rights must yield to this collective purity that we're trying to pursue to save our democracy?
>> i think there are a couple of points there. one, i often said when i was at fec, we'd see complaints clearly violations of the law, and complains not violations and some complaints were close calls. we virtually never saw a complaint that had to do with anything with public corruption, people think about corrupt politicians. they made be violating a law inadvertently but they're not corrupt. the laws do impact grassroot as great deal. i've written about this at length, op-eds, couple of law reviews, use complaints from complaints we had. if we had 40 minutes i'd do a speech on it here. i would say i do think it's a problem, and to me, i will say that part of that could be resolved simply by having more truly, quote, reasonable regulation. i mean again i wouldn't favor the regulation at all but never understand why so many people in
the reform camp are insist tent on low levels on which you have to register with some committee, very low levels of expenditures that can be limited, low levels to put disclaimers on things and arcaneness of the disclaimer. we can make a lot of that go away and it's the compromise that might potentially be there where some say, i don't like limits on contributions or something but willing to accept that. but why do we need to be going after people with small grassroots organizations and so on. i think that's a problem. and to link it back to the bigger issue, maybe it shows the problem of getting reasonable regulation in this area and why the court should take a tough line on it. >> one more question. yes. >> going back to the previous question about whether speech is being marginalized, whether
ideas are being squelched, can you speak to the buckley's endorsement of disclosure, how disclosure seems to squelch speech? we've seen examples of the gay marriage debate, contributors have been discriminated against or fired from jobs. and recent d.c. circuit opinion in the van hollen case made -- spoke at length about tension between free speech and disclosure. >> well, i'll go first and give floyd the last word as our guests here. floyd and i have some disagreement on this. some of it, again, may be a question of degree. you know, it's interesting, the court of appeals struck down one provision of buckley. now this is a court that was ardently pro reform. the court of appeals opinion in the lower court buckley v. valeo is a remarkable opinion. the court flat-out says we
shouldn't strike this down merely because it might influence first amendment rights. whoa, i thought that was exactly your job, you know? the court at one point compares first amendment to a reflection in the water that looks nice and good but really is meaningless. if you try to grab it, you'll lose the bone in your mouth, esop's dog story. even that court struck down the provision, register as a political committee -- i have that language here -- it's absolutely remarkable. maybe i can't find it. if you were to spend any funds or commit any act direct to the public for the purposes of influencing outcome of the election or broadcast to the public any material, referring to the candidate, name, description, reference, advocating election or defeat of such candidate, you had to register the government. even the court appeals that was too much. buckley had a narrower disclosure statute that continues to work with and narrowed that down. it said you had to disclose
contributor whose gave to the candidates, right, to the parties, or who spent, made independent expenditures advocating. a thinker. a long time nobody worried about it. but it does seem disclosure is not used for the intended purpose of informing public but rather harass and attack people. nonetheless i think the buckley regime was probably a reasonable compromise there. i think the big issue before us now is this effort to expand disclosure regime. we hear people say, what happened conservatives used to favor disclosure, now they're opposed to it. nobody talked about narrowing the amount of disclosure. rather we have people in the regulatory camp pushing for dramatically broader disclosure. they want disclosure of contributions to think tanks and trade associations and nonprofit organizations that might get involved in politics.
and i think that this is a new frontier with potentially bad results. so again i would tend not to favor more restrictive regime. but buckley was a reasonable compromise and we're trying to push it into new areas. floyd has a different take. we'll let you wrap this up. >> just a bit. really, not much. i do think that the disclosure, that the affirmance of disclosure as being consistent with the first amendment was, in part, part of the compromise in buckley, justice scalia, for example, much later, of course, i think referred to it almost as a price tag. that you want all of this freedom, you really want the ability to import all of this money with whatever risks there are -- there are some risks there -- you have to pay at least for it by having more
disclosure. that's one way to view it. another is that it is, you know, part of -- it is advantageous in a democratic society to know more about who is providing money and on what basis. that's what the court said in buckley. that's what the court said in citizens united. 8-1 vote on the constitutionality of disclosure requirements. i accept the proposition that there will be -- accept two propositions. one i have no doubt that some of the people in congress who have been pushing greater disclosure are doing it for the purpose of limiting speech. that is to say, hoping that if you are to disclose, you won't speak or spend the money or be
allowed to spend the money to speak. that's an impressionistic reaction. but you know, beyond that there are people, there are organizations, of course, the great legal case the naacp having to disclose its members in southern state where everybody understood what was going to happen and what the purpose of seeking it was and illicit nature of the whole effort to obtain that information. and there will be situations in which disclosing someone's name or entity's name will lead to consequences. the question is, when you leave behind cases which are
intolerable like the naacp situation or in way people are going to be punished for their views based on something as unacceptable as race or religion or sexual orientation or something like that, if you leave that behind and get to governmental policies on a variety of topics my reaction is similar to that of justice scalia who said that we're supposed to be brave. we're supposed to be willing to pay the price for speaking out. that we shouldn't be a timid society that is silent because some people will be angry at us. so that's where i am at the end of the day. but i really don't disagree that there are situations and it's not limited to an naacp situation in which the
disclosure will so obviously lead to more than discomfort and more than criticism. there you get into an area in which you do need legal protection. and i think it will be available in the courts. >> we'll have to leave it there. thanks to you both so much for your insight and observations. thanks, everyone, for participating. stick around for lunch, i believe. every election cycle will remind us how important it is for citizens to be informed. >> to me spooe span is a home for political junkies and a way to track the government as it happens. >> i think it's a great way for us to stay informed. >> there are a lot of c-span fans on the hill, my colleagues, they'll say i saw you on c-span. >> there's so much more that c-span does to make sure that people outside the beltway know what'sing if on inside it. >> the reality is the best president
presidents the greatest presidents have been willing to recognize they weren't the smartest person in the room and to surround themselves with people they thought were smarter than themselves. >> sunday night on q&a, former secretary of defense and former director of the cia robert gates discusses his book "a passion for leadership: lessons on change and reform from 50 years of public service." mr. gates has served under several presidents, most recently presidents george w. bush and barack obama. >> at the end of the cold war, when i was director of central intelligence, i came to believe very strongly that the american people had given cia a pass on a lot of things, because of this existential conflict with the soviet union, and i believed that, after the end of the cold war, we were going to have to be more open about what we did, and why we did it, and even to an extent how we did it, to help the americanr)ulv(le better understand why intelligence was
important to the government, and to presidents, and why presidents valued it. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. live to capitol hill on this tuesday morning, intelligence officials testifying before the senate armed services committee on global threats. this is live coverage. >> -- global threats faced by the united states and our allies as part of our oversight of the president's defense budget request for fiscal year 2017. i'd like to welcome back director of national intelligence james clapper, and the director of the defense intelligence agency, general vincent stewart. as this is likely his final appearance before this committee at our annual worldwide threats hearing, i'd like to thank director clapper for over five decades of service to protecting our country. director clapper in particular, we thank you for leading the men and women who strive every day
to collect and analyze the information that helps keep america strong. i thank you for being with us today, and i've had the honor of knowing you for a long time, and i know of no individual who has served this nation with more distinction and honor and we're grateful for your service, and we know that that service will continue in the years to come. the list of the threats confronting our nation is drearily familiar yet it impossible to say we've seen much improvement. in afghanistan, 9,800 american troops are still in harm's way. the taliban al qaeda and the network continue to threaten our interests in afghan sustain and beyond and now isil has arrived on the battlefield, raising the specter of another isil safe to plan and execute attacks. regional order in the middle east is breaking down and the vacuum is filled by the extreme and anti-american of forces,
sunni terrorist groups such as isil and al qaeda, shiite extremists such as the islamic republic of iran and its proxies and the imperial ambitions of vladimir putin, isolationist, consolidated control over key territories in syria and iraq it is expanding globally from afghanistan, as i said, as well as lebanon, yemen, egypt and most worryingly to libya. it is also conducted or inspired attacks from beirut to istanbul, paris to san bernardino. more than a year into our military campaign against isil, it's impossible to say isil is losing and we are winning. at the same time, iran continues to challenge regional order in the middle east by developing a ballistic missile capability, supporting terrorism, training and arming pro-iranian militant groups and engaging in other malign activities in places such as iraq, syria, lebanon, gaza, bahrain and yemen. as the islamic republic receives tens of billions of dollars in
sanctions relief from the nuclear deal, it's obvious these activities will only increase, russia annexed crimea and continues to destabilize ukraine, with troubling implications for security in europe, and putin's intervention in syria has undermined negotiations to end the conflict by convincing assad and his allies they can win. in asia, north korea continues to develop its nuclear arsenal and ever more capable ballistic missiles, one of which in violation of multiple u.n. security council resolutions. china continues its rapid military modernization while taking coercive actions to assert expansive territorial claims. at the time of this hearing last year, china had reclaimed a total of 400 acres in the spratly islands. today, that figure is a staggering 3,200 acres with extensive infrastructure
construction under way or already complete. i look forward to our witnesses' assessment of the nature and scope of these challenges and how the intelligence community prioritizes and approaches the diverse and complex threats we face. as policy makers, we look to the intelligence community to provide timely and accurate information about the nature of the threats we face and the intentions of our adversaries. we have high expectations for our intelligence community as we should and as they do of themselves. however we cannot afford to believe that our intelligence agencies are omen in jniscient and omnipresent. the budget caps have damaged our nation's intelligence every bit as our national defense. unfortunately this misperception is only fed by the prideful assertions of politicians seeking to justify their policies. for example, during the iran deal, we were told that the
united states has "absolute knowledge" about iran's nuclear military activities. they were told the deal "absolutely guaranties that we will know if iran cheats and pursues a nuclear option." this hubris is dangerously misleading and compromises the integrity of our debate over important questions of u.s. national security policy. americans must know that intelligence is not like in the movies. although our intelligence professionals are the best in the world, they will not always be a sat lie in position or drone overhead and not every terrorist phone call will be intercepted, whether it is russian military activities on the border of nato, or the movement of terrorist groups across the world, or of any of the other number of hard targets that we expect our intelligence community to penetrate and understand, we will not always know how our adversaries make decisions, let alone understand their implications. this is doubly true if we
further constrain our nation's intelligence professionals through policy decisions that limit their effectiveness. our intelligence capacity and capability are just like anything else, constrained by the limitations of time, space, technology, resources, and policy. as one senior u.s. official acknowledged about limited understanding of isil two years ago "a lot of the intelligence collection that we were receiving diminished significantly following the u.s. withdrawal in iraq in 2011, when we lost some of the boots on the ground in view of what was going on. "put simply if our national leaders decide not to be present in place wes should not be surprised later when we lack sufficient intelligence about the threats and dangers that are emerging there. as we receive this important intelligence update today, we must remember that it is the responsibility of policymakers from the white house to the pentagon to here on capitol hill
to invest in cutting-edge capabilities that can provide early indication and warning as well as to provide our intelligence professionals with sound policy decisions and support, including at times military support that enable them to perform their often dangerous and always important work on behalf of our nation. if we fail to make these commitments, we will continue to be surprised by events at an ever-increasing cost to our national security. senator reed? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and let me join you in welcoming the director of national intelligence, general clapper and director of defense intelligence agency general stewart. your long service both you gentlemen to the nation is deserving of praise. i particularly want to echo the chairman's comments general clapper about your distinguished service and your continued service i'm sure. thank you, gentlemen. we live in a time when there is a complex array of threats facing the united states, some immediate, some in the future. it is a challenge for both the
administration and congress to decide how to allocate our nation's finite resources to address those threats. your testimony today will provide needed insight for our committee on that challenge. in afghanistan, for example, securing the political environments and security remain challenging. the taliban have sought to take advantage of the still maturing forces increasing their operational tempo especially in rural areas and isil affiliate has entered the battlefield in the form of the so-called islamic state in the corazon province. al qaeda continue to seek resurgence. pakistani army operations across the order added to the dynamic pushing other bad actors including the pakistan taliban and haqqani network into afghanistan. i look at the assessment for the challenges in the coming year and prospects for reconciliation between the afghan government and the taliban. while isil controls less
territory in iraq and syria than it did a year ago, it remains a significant threat to the region's stability, the united states and our allies. as our efforts to support the iraqi security forces and local forces in syria continue, there are a number of questions we must ask. what local forces will serve as a whole for us once ice sill removed from mosul, raqqah and the surrounding areas? how will iran seek to increase its interest in iraq? how will turkey respond to the threat of isil to its borders? will our partners across the gulf unify their efforts in syria and how will isil act within iraq and syria and tra transregionally as it is put under increasing amounts of pressure? again, i look forward to your assessments on these important issues. the past year has seen substantial changes in the nature of the international community's relationship with iran. the joint comprehensive plan of action between the so-called 3,
p5+1 in iran has a rigorous regime ever assembled. i hope our witness also provide their assessment of the likelihood of iran complying with the agreement over its term. while the jcpoa made substantial progress with respect to iran's nuclear program it allowed iran to return to the economic community. this presents the united states and partners in the middle east with an adversary with additional resources they may use to support proxies in syria, lebanon, yemen and other locations in the gulf. iran may also choose to use additional resours to advance its missile program. iran's decisions in these respects will be a key metric as we evaluate how to allay our forces across the gulf and what assistance our partners across the region will require to confront iran. i would welcome our witnesses' assessment of the current capacity to counter iran's proxies answer unconventional forces and where this committee
should consider additional investment to better support our partners' requirements. russia's postures and increasingly aggressive acts in eastern europe and the middle east are something we must continue to monitor, obtain and encounter. the president's decision to increase funding for the european assurance initiative say critical step. we must keep a watchful eye on the pup tin regime, unconventional tactics to bully its neighbors and others. russia's syrian campaign has eclipsed the aggression in crimea and the ukraine is the serious flashpoint in u.s./russian relations. in syria russia continues to bolster the military of the bashar al assad ree sheem while running an information operations campaign to suggest that its military operations are instead focused against the islamic state. unlike russia's obscured hand in ukraine its actions in syria are being played out in deadly headlines that report on indiscriminate bombing and support of the regime where moderate forces are aiming to
get out from under the rule of the assad regime. this is a complex problem. i look forward to hearing how the intelligence community sees this situation and how the united states can best protect and advance our interests. north korea presents an immediate and present danger to global security. the regime conducted a rocket launch a few days ago in violation of multiple u.n. security council resolutions following its january nuclear test. while china could exert pressure on north korea through economic sanctions to encourage the regime to desist, the xi administration without china's cooperation it is clear north korea will continue to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. china invests aggressively in its military, capabilities that allow china to project power and deny access to others. while china's economy experienced the most significant challenges in recent memory it
solidifies its claims to the south china sea despite the protest of its sovereign neighbors. it's critical to enhance our partnerships others across the region to bring china into the rule of war based on global regime that will guarantee peace and prosperity across the region. it's also critical we use all the nation's tools to ensure china's theft or intellectual property is put to a halt. i look forward to your slews regarding china's adherence to president xi's pledge to president obama to cease economic espionage. an area of equal concern is the threats and opportunities presented by cyberspace, from the military standpoint our forces remain dependent on our ability to collect intelligence, conduct defensive cyber operations, protect our networks and also intellectual property and as appropriate to counter with offensive fiber operations including actions against certain adversaries to utilize
the international for proper command and control. we look forward to our witness assessment of these approaches. let me thank you gentlemen for your service and i look forward to your testimony. >> director clapper? >> general mccain and ranking member reed and distinguished members of the committee, first thank you both for your acknowledgment of my service. it was last week marked 55 years since i enlisted in the marine corps reserve, very proud of that. and proud osit next to one. >> an inauspicious beginning. >> i also, chairman mccain, would want to thank you for your acknowledgment of the great men and women who work in the intelligence community for both of us, and i also appreciate your, i thought very accurate statement about the capabilities
of the intelligence community, what we can and can't do, and what it is reasonable to expect and not to expect us to do. i appreciate that. general stewart and i are here today to update you on some but certainly not all of the pressing intelligence and national security issues facing our nation, and after listening to both of your statements, i think you're going to hear some echoes here. so in the interests of time and to get to your questions, we'll just cover some of the wave tops. as i said last year, unpredictable instability have become the new normal and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. violent extreme is are operationally active in about 40 countries, seven countries are experiencing a collapse of central government authority, 14 others facesúfj regime threaten or violent instability or both. another 59 countries face a significant risk of instability through 2016. the record level of migrants more than 1 million arriving in europe is likely to grow further
this year. migration and displacement will strain countries in europe, asia, africa and the americas. there are some 0 million people considered displaced globally. extreme weather, climate change, environmental degradation, rising demand for food and water, poor policyuñi decisionsd inadequate infrastructure will magnify this instability. infectious diseases and vulnerabilities in the global supply chain for medical counter measure also continue to pose threats, for example, the zika virus first detected in the western hemisphere in 2014 has reached the u.s. and is projected to cause up to 4 million cases in this hemisphere. with that preface i want to briefly comment on both technology and cyber. technological innovation during the next few years will have a more significant impact on our way of life. this imknno imknow vasion is ceo our economic prosperity but bring new security
vulnerabilities. the internet will connect tens of billions of new devices that could be exploited. artificial intelligence will enable computers to make autonomous decisions about data and physical systems and potentially disrupt labor markets. russia and china continue to have the most sophisticated cyber programs. china continues cyber espionage against the united states, whether china's commitment of last september moderates its economic espionage remains to be seen. iran and north korea continue to conduct cyber espionage as they enhance their attack capabilities. non-state actors also pose cyber threats. isil has used cyber to its great advantage not only for recruitment and propaganda, but also to hack and release sensitive information about u.s. military personnel. as a non-state actor, isil displays unprecedented online proefficiency. iber criminals remain the most
pervasive cyber threat to the u.s. financial sector. they use cyber to conduct theft, extortion and other criminal activities. turning to terrorism, there are more sunni violent extremist groups, members and safe havens than at any time in history. the rate of foreign fighters traveling to the conflict zones in syria and iraq in the past few years is without precedent. 38,200 foreign fighter, including 6,900 from western countries have traveled to syria from at least 120 countries since the beginning of the conflict in 2012. as we saw in the november paris attac attacks, returning foreign fighters with firsthand battlefield experience pose a dangerous operational threat. isil has demonstrated sophisticateed atack tactics and tradecraft. isil, including its eight established and several more emerging branches has become the preeminent global terrorist threat. they've attempted or conducted scores of attacks outside of syria and iraq in the past 15 months.
isil's estimated strength worldwide exceeds that of al qaeda. isil's leaders are determined to strike the u.s. homeland. beyond inspiring home grown violent extremist attacks, although the u.s. is a much harder target than europe, isil external operations will remain a critical factor in our threat assessments for 2016. al qaeda's affiliates also have proven resilient. despite counterterrorism pressure that largely deps mated the core leadership in afghanistan and pakistan, al qaeda affiliates are making positions in 2016. the aqap and the al nusra front, the al qaeda chapter in syria are the two most capable al qaeda branches. the increased use by violent extremists encrypted and secure internet technologies enables terrorist actors to "go dark" and undercut law enforcement efforts. iran continues to be the
foremost state sponsor of terrorism and exert its influence in regional crises in the mideast, through the islamic revolutionary guard corps quds force, its terrorist partner, lebanese hezbollah and proxy groups, groups. iran and hezbollah remain a continuing terrorist threat to u.s. interest and partners worldwide. the threat posed in the united states by home grown violent extremists. the july attack in chattanooga and the attack in san bernardino. in 2014, the fbi arrested 9 isil supporters. that number increased over fivefold. turning to weapons of mass destruction. north korea continues to conduct test activities of concern to the united states. on saturday evening, pyongyang conducted a satellite launch. last month, north korea carried out its fourth nuclear test. but the yield was too low for it
to have been successful test of a nuclear device. pyongyang continues to produce material. it is also committed to developing a long-range nuclear armed missile that's capable of posing a direct threat to the united states. although the system has not been flight tested. despite its economic challenges, russia continues its aggressive military modernization program. it continues to have the largest and most capable nuclear armed ballistic missile force. it's developed a cruise missile that violates the intermediate range nuclear forces or inf treaty. china for its part continues to modernize its nuclear missile force and is striving for a secure second strike capability. although it continues to profess a no first use doctrine. the joint comprehensive plan of action or jcpoa provides much greater transparency in iran's fissile material production.
it increases the time the iranians would need to produce enough iranian from a nuclear weapon from a few months to about a year. iran probably views it as a means to remove sanctions while preserving nuclear capabilities. iran's perception of how the jcpoa helps it to achieve its overall strategic goals will dictate its level of adherence to the agreement over time. chemical weapons continue to pose a threat to syria and iraq. on multiple occasions since syria joined the chemical weapons convention. isil. including the blister agents. first time an extremist group in an attack since in japan in 1995. in space and counterspace, about 80 countries are now engaged in
the domain. russia and china understands how our military fights and how heavily we rely on space. they're each pursuing disrupptive satellite systems. china continues to make progress on its satellite program. moving to counterintelligence. the threat from foreign intelligence entities. both state and nonstate. is persistent and evolving. targeting a collection of u.s., political, military, technical information by foreign intelligence services continues unabated. russia and china pose the greatest threat followed by iran and cuba on a lesser scale. as well the threat from ensiders taking advantage of their access to collect and remove sensitive and national security information will remain a persistent challenge for us. i do want to touch on one issue. specifically drug trafficking. southwest border seizures in heroin or the united states have
doubled since 2010. much of it laced wi ed witd wit which is more potent than heroin. in that same year, more than 28,000 died from opiate ov overdoses. now, let me quickly move through a few regional issues. in east asia, china's leaders are pursuing an active foreign policy while dealing with much slower economic growth. chinese leaders are embarked on the much ambitious military forms in china's history. regional tension will continue as china pursues construction at its outposts in the south china sea. russia has demonstrated its capabilities to project itself as a global power, command respect from the west. maintain domestic resport for the regime. and advance russian interests globally. moscow's objectives in ukraine will probably remain unchanged.
including maining long-term influence over kiev and frustrating its attempts to integrate into western institutions. putin is the first leader since stalin to expand russia's territory. moscow's military venture into syria marks its first use since its foray into afghanistan of significant expeditionary combat power outside the post-soviet space. its interventions demonstrate the improvements in capabilities and the kremlin's confidence in using them. moscow faces the reality of economic recession driven in large part by falling oil prices as well as sanctions. in the middle east and south asia, there are more cross border military operations under way in the east since at any time since the 1963 arab/israeli
war. incremental gains through the spring. some of those made in baiji and ra maddy in the past few months. isil is now somewhat on the defensive. but it remains a formidable threat. in syria, pro-regime forces have the initiative. having made some strategic gains near aleppo in the north as well as in southern syria. manpower shortages will continue to undermine the syrian regime's ability to accomplish strategic battlefield objectives it the opposition has less equipment and firepower and its groups lack unity. they sometimes have competing interests and fight among themselves. in the meantime, some 250,000 people have been killed as this war has dragged on. the humanitarian situation in syria continues to deteriorate. as of last month, there were approximately 4.4 million syrian refugees and another 6.5 million internally displaced persons. which together represents about half of syria's pre-conflict
population. in libya. establishing authority and security across the country will be difficult, to put it mildly, with hundreds of militia groups operating throughout the country. isil has established its most developed branch outside of syria and iraq and libya and maintains a presence in benghazi, tripoli and other areas of country. the yemeni conflict will probably remain stalemated through at least 2016. meanwhile, aqap and isil's affiliates in yemen have exploited the conflict and collapsed government authority to recruit and expand territorial control. the country's economic and humanitarian situation also continues to worsen. iran deepened its involvement in the syrian/iraq and yemeni conflicts in 2015. it also increased military cooperation with russia. highlighted by its support of the regime. iran's supreme leader continues to view the united states as a
major threat. we assess his views will not change despite the implementation of the jcpoa deal, the exchange of detainees and the release of the ten sailors. in south asia, afghanistan is at serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016 occasioned by mounting political economic and security challenges. waning political cohesion increasingly assertive local power brokers, financial shortfalls and sustained countrywide taliban attacks are eroding stability. needless to say, there are many more threats to u.s. interests worldwide than we can address. but i will stop my litany of doom here and pass to general stewart. >> chairman mccain. thank you for this opportunity to provide the defense intelligence agency's assessment of global security environment and the threats facing the
nation. mr. chairman, my statement for the record details a range of multifaceted challenges, adversary, threats, foreign military capabilities and transnational terrorist networks. taken together, these issues reflect the diversity, scope and complexity of today's challenges to our national security. in my opening remark, i'd like to highlight just a few of these. the islamic state in the levant. with coalition forces engaged against the islamic state in the levant. our policymakers better understand both the ideology and capabilities of isil. isis, isil, as well as like-minded extremists are born out of the same extreme and violence sunni salafist ideology. determined to restore the calipha caliphate. willing to justify extreme violence in their efforts to
impose their social order on others. as the paris attacks demonstrated, isil has become the most significant terrorist threats the united states and our allies. in 2015, the group remained entrenched in iraq and syria and expanded globally. spectacular external attacks demonstrate isil's relevance and reach and are a key part of their narrative. eisil will probably attempt to conduct attacks on the u.s. homeland in t2016. and a large number of western jihadists in iraq and syria will pose a challenge for western security services. on the ground in syria and iraq, isil continues to control large swaths of territory. in 2015, coalition air strikes impeded isil's ability to operate openly in iraq and syria, curtailed its use of
conventional military equipment and foerrced it to lower its profile. in 2016, a number of isil forces and resource shortfalls will probably challenge isil's ability to govern in iraq and syria. however the group will probably maintain sunni arab centers in afghanistan. in their first full year, afghan security forces conducted independent operations. however these forces struggled to adapt to a lack of coalition enablers and a high operational tempo which led to uneven execution of operations. insurgents expanded their influence in rural areas. limiting the extension of government control. the deployment of afghan specialized units and their enablers will be necessary to continue secure in key population centers. russian military activity has continued at historical high. moscow continues to pursue aggressive foreign and defense
policies including conducting operationings in syria, sustaining involvement in the ukraine and expanding military capabilities in the arctic. last year, the russian military continued its robust exercise schedule and aggressively and occasionally provocative out of area deployments. we anticipate similar high levels of military activity in 2016. china's pursuing a long-term comprehensive military modernization program to advance its core interests which include maintaining its sovereignty, protecting its territorial integrity and projecting its regional influence particularly in the south china sea. in addition to modernizing equipment and operations, the pla's undergone massive structural reforms including increasing the number of navy, air force and rocket force personnel, establishing a theater joint command system and reducing their current military regions down to five joint theater of operations. china has the world's largest
and most comprehensive missile force. and has prioritized the development and deployment of reasonable ballistic and cruise missiles to expand its conventional strike capabilities against u.s. forces in the region and they feel that anti-ship ballistic missile which provides the capability to attack u.s. aircraft carriers in the western pacific ocean. china also displayed a new intermediate range missile capability of striking guam during its september 2015 military parade in beijing. north korea's nuclear weapons program and evolving missile programmings are a continuing threat. in early january, north korea issued a statement claiming it had successfully carried out a nuclear test. a couple days ago, they conducted their sixth space launch. the second launch to place a satellite into orbit. the dprk display of new and
modified mobile icbm during their recent parade and its 2015 test of a new submarine launch ballistic missile capability further highlight pyongyang's commitment to diversify its missile force and nuclear delivery options. north korea's also continues its effort to expand its stockpile of weapons grade fissile material. in space, china and russia increasingly recognize the strategic value of space and are focused on diminishing our advantage with the intent of denying the u.s. the use of space in the event of conflict. both countries are conducting anti-satellite research and developing anti-satellite weapons. making the space domain increasingly competitive, contested and congested. in cyber space, concerned about the growing capabilities of advanced state actors such as russia and china. these actors target dod
personnel, networking snetworks chain, research and development and critical instructural in cyber domain. iran and north korea also remain a significant threat. nonstate actors use of cyber space to recruit prop began diz and conduct open source research remains a significant challenge. mr. chairman, the men and women providing unique defense intelligence around the world and around the clock to war fighters, defense planners, defense acquisition community and policymakers to provide warning and defeat these and other threats. i look forward to the committee's questions. >> thank you very much, general. director clapper and all these many decades, you have served this country, have you ever seen more diverse or serious challenges to this country's security? >> no, sir, i have not. i've said that -- something like
that virtually every year. i've been up here. this is my fifth or sixth time. i decided to leave it out this year because it's kind of a cliche but it's actually true. in my 50-plus years in the intelligence business, i cannot recall a more diverse array of challenges and crises that we confront as we do today. >> and your job has been made considerably more difficult because of sequestration. >> yes, sir, it has, and i think the biggest problem with it, frankly, over time, is the uncertainty that it injects in a context of planning particularly and it plays havoc with systems acquisitions. it's the uncertainty fact they're we now have that has also become a normal fact of planning and programming. >> thank you. just in the last few days, the
issue of torture has arisen again. general david petraeus made a statement that i'd like to quote to you. he says, our nation has paid a high price in recent decades for the information gained by the use of techniques beyond those in the field manual. in my view, that price far outweighed the value of the information gained through the use of techniques, ie, water boarding, beyond those in the manual. the manual obviously prohibits water boarding and other forms of torture. do you agree with general petraeus' assessment? >> i do. the arm field manual is the standard and that is what we should abide by. it serves the purposes of both providing a framework for the ill lis tation of valuable intelligence information and it comports with american values. >> that's the point i think.
isn't it the fact that this is american values are such that no matter what the enemy does, we maintain a higher standard of behavior, and when we violate that, as we did with abu ghraib, the consequences are severe? >> yes, sir. >> and erosion of our moral authority? >> i would agree with that. >> isn't it already proven that mr. baghdadi is sending people with this flow of refugees that are terrorists that -- in order to inflict further attacks on europe and the united states? >> that's correct. that's one technique they've used. is taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow. as well, they also have available to them an operative
skilled at phony passports so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate traveler also as well. >> and they're pretty good at establishing secure sites for them to continue to communicate. >> that's true. i eluded to that in my opening statements about the impact of inscription and the growth of encrypted applications. which is having a negative impact on intelligence gathering. i recently travelled to texas. this is not only affecting us in the national security realm but the state and local officials as well. >> in addition to the atlas rocket which uses a russian rd-180 rocket engine, the alliance also maintains an american rocket with an american engine. as we continue to have this support and debate about how to break our nation's dependency on
russia for our national security space launch, do you believe we need to look seriously at that american rocket, the delta, as an alternative way to get off the rd-180? and encourage competition from other organizations capable of providing us with this ability? >> i'm a customer, chairman mccain, of the launch industry in the united states. my interest is in seeing to it that our overhead recognizance constellation is replenished and replenished on time. and there is a capability with the delta, as you allude, which is, we think, from our standpoint, since we pay the freight when we use these systems, which is both effective and cost efficient. and i certainly do agree on, you
know, fundamental american tenatenet of competition. that's why i'm quite encouraged by the aggressive approach space x has taken. our plan is to certify space x for carrying national security payloads into space. >> and it's not in our interest in anyway to continue our dependency on russian rocket engines. >> well, just speaking as a citizen, i'd rather we didn't -- we're more dependent on the rd-180s. we have been and they've worked for us. and again my interest though is getting those payloads up on time. >> thank you very much. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. general clapper, to date, what's your assessment of the compliance by the iranians with the jcpoa, the community? >> right now, i think the key
milestone was implementation day on the 16th of january and the iranians did comply with the requirements that were -- that they required to live up to. i think we in the intelligence community are very much in the distrust and verify mode. there are half a dozen or so ambiguities, maybe others, but certainly half a dozen ambiguities in the agreement we have identified and we're going to be very vigilant about iranian compliance. >> well, that's exactly what you should be doing, and i commend you for that. just going forward, are you confident that you could detect the deviation from the agreements in sufficient time to give the executive options? >> yes, sir, i am confident. my fingerprints are on the infamous weapons of mass
destruction national intelligence estimate of october 2002. i was serving in another capacity then. so i think we approach this with confidence but also with institutional humility. >> thank you, sir. there are many challenges that are being posed by the russians but the russians are facing a challenge of unexpectedly low oil prices that seem to be continuing. has the intelligence community made an assessment of the impact medium to long term on this, on the ability of the russians to maintain their military posture and their provocative actions? >> well, the price of oil, the falling price of oil has had huge impact on the russian economy. the price is running around $28 a barrel. the russians planning factor for their planning and programming for their budget is around $50 a barrel. so this is causing all kinds of
strain. if you look at all the classical measurements, economic measures, inflation, the value of the ruble, which has sunk to an all-time low, unemployment, stresses on their welfare system, et cetera, et cetera. that said, the russians appear to be sustaining their commitment to their aggressive modernization program, particularly in the -- with their strategic missiles. >> looking ahead, though, is there any indication or -- this is an area that you're picking up information, do you have any sources that are reflecting great concern of the russians and their ability to keep this up? >> well, that determination will be made by one man. i think, for lots of reasons, he will sustain the expeditionary activity in syria.
although i think perhaps even the russians are seeing that this is headed for stalemate in the absence of a substantial ground force insertion, which i don't believe the russians are disposed to do. >> thank you. quickly changing topics and remaining minute and a half. in afghanistan, multiple challenges, the president is trying to pursue reconciliation with the taliban. in that regard, there's at least a four-nation process. china, pakistan, united states and afghanistan. any insights about the possibility of reconciliation or the motivation of any of the parties to this action? >> well, i think, you know, the taliban position has consiste consistently been not to do that, not to negotiate. the precondition they always ascribe is a removal of foreign forces and i don't see them changing that position.
>> thank you very much. general stewart, thank you for your distinguished service. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's a very accurate litany of doom. you covered a lot of stuff in a short period of time. we'll have to go back and reread that. when you look at what -- right now we're kind of in a situation where russia is pursuing new concepts and capability, expanding the role of nuclear weapons and security strategy. a quote out of the u.s. national intelligence console. you covered that also briefly in your opening remarks. when we talk to people on the outside and they say, you know, you have russia stating they're going to make these advances, they're going to modernize, and yet we have a policy where we're not doing it, what's the justification?
what kind of answer can we give people who ask that question, including me? >> well, sir, that's a policy issue. i worry about the adversaries. i've used this metaphor before this committee. but general stewart and i and the rest of the intelligence community are just down in the engine room shoving the intelligence coal and people on the bridge get to decide where the ship goes and how fast and arrange the furniture on the deck. so that's policy issue. that others decide. >> well, i personally don't think it's a good policy but we all have opinions on that. i was fortunate notch enough to over in ukraine back when portchenko were successful in their parliamentary elections. first time in 96 years, there's not one communist in the parliament. that's really kind of exciting.
although i was upset with our lack of -- when putin came in, started killing people, with our lack of support at that time as a policy for ukraine. as we're looking at it now, and there's been statements made from russia saying that as the nato becomes more aggressive, we become more aggressive, they're going to become more aggressive, does it look to you like that's going on right now? what will be the end game of that? >> answer your last question on what the end game is, i don't know, but i will say that the russians -- i'm going to ask general stewart to comment on this, but i think the russians fundamentally are paranoid about -- about nato. they're greatly concerned about being contained. and of course very, very concerned about missile defense
which would serve to neuter what is the essence of their claim to great power status which is their nuclear arsenal. so a lot of these aggressive things that the russians are doing for a number of reasons. great power status. to create the image of being coequal with the united states, et cetera. i think could probably, possibly go on and we could be into another cold war-like spiral here. >> cold war. i was thinking of that at the time. isn't that what we went through for such a long period of time? where you had russia or ussr making the statements and preparing themselves and wanting to outdo us for the image? i see this as something kind of similar to then. director clapper in your prepared statement, this is a quote, u.s. air campaigns have made significant gains in isil and then we have reports that
the u.s. fights against isil is actually benefiting al qaeda. is there a relationship? what is that relationship between al qaeda and isil? >> well, i've seen that. i don't know that i could say that air strikes against isil are somehow benefiting al qaeda because we're still keeping the pressure on al qaeda. >> you're familiar with those reports though? >> i've read them. >> yeah. >> i'm not sure i would subscribe to them. there have been, you know, i think we have -- there has been progress made against isil and its iraq/syria incarnation. because that assumes some of the kudmentes and that presents vulnerabilities we can exploit. i think the important thing is to keep the pressure on multiple fronts and keep attacking those
things which are near and dear to isil. which is the oil infrastructure that it owns and its access to money. >> yes, one last question. my time's expired. but the 180 issue. it's one we're all looking at. recognition we need to keep using for a period of time as we make any transition that might be in the future. now, we have in the defense authorization bill of '16 i guess it was, we talked about nine additional ones. i think the air force has requested at one point in some form 18 additional ones. what is your thinking about that? the transition? >> well, i'll tell you, senator, my position here is i'm a user, a customer. i have to have certain payloads delivered on time to sustain the health and viability of our overhead reconnaissance system which is extremely important to the nation's security. and i don't get into too much
other than i like to pay the bills. because i pay the air force whenever we avail ourselves of their launch services. how many they design their systems, that's kind of up to them. i'm interested in delivery. the delta has worked great for us. it appears to me to be cost efficient. and it is effective in terms of when we've used it, it delivers. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i want to join my colleagues in thanking both of you for your extraordinary service to our nation. director clapper, you made the point in response to senator reed and also in your testimony that the international community is, in your words, well postured to detect any violation by iran of the nuclear agreement.
has there been any indication so far that it is moving toward a violation? >> no, not yet. no evidence so far they're mofing towards violation. >> i'm sure you would agree this nation and the international community need to be vigilant and vigorous in enforcing this agreement? >> absolutely, sir. as i said earlier, i think we in the u.s. intelligence community are in the distrust and verify mode. >> and the distrust and verify mode includes not only the iaea but also other investigative tools that you have at your disposal? >> absolutely. >> going to the ballistic missile issue, which i believe is profoundly important and general stewart makes this point in his testimony as well. i urge the president to impose sanctions and enforce them as a result of iran's continued
development of ballistic missiles which are a threat not only to the region but also to our allies in europe and fortunately he has heeded those calls from myself and letters that were joined by my colleagues. how important do you think it is that we continue to enforce sanctions in response to iran's development of ballistic missiles? >> i think it's quite important that sanctions be enforced. not only for missiles but for terrorism or any other things that are covered under sanctions. the iranians have a very formidable missile capability. which they continue to work on. they fired some 140 or so missiles since the original u.n. resolution 1929 of 2010. and about half of those firings were going on during the negotiations. which of course were, as you
know, separate from the actual negotiations. so for our part, this is a challenge that we must attend to by being as vigilant as possible on gleaning intelligence about these capabilities and reporting that to our policymakers. >> speaking for myself, i believe my view is joined by other colleagues, i will continue to insist on vigorous enforcement of those sanctions because of the threat that you have very powerfully outlined. general stewart, in your testimony, you make the point that the economic relief that iran will see as a result of the jcpoa is unlikely in the short term to increase its military capability. is that correct? >> i think it is unlikely
immediately because i believe the focus will be on internal economic gains. however, after 35 years of sanctions, iran has developed, as we just discussed, the most capable missile force in the region. it's extended its lethality, its accuracy. it's got all the ranges covered. it can reach all its regional targets. in the long term, i fully expect they'll invest some of the money into improving the rest of their military capabilities. >> what is the long term? in other words, how many years is long term are we talking? five years, ten years? and secondly, what should be our response, and i believe it has to be a robust and strong response, to that increase in longer term military capabilities that threatened our allies and friends in the region, most particularly israel with terrorism and other
conventional military capabilities, as well as the kinds of counterincentives we can provide? >> long term, might not be as far as five years. you've already seen agreement. we're seeing russia demonstrate tremendous capabilities as they've done their out of area deployment into syria. there's lots of weapons technology being displayed. i suspect within the next 2 to 5 years we can expect iran to invest in some of those weapons technology that's being d displayed on the syrian battlefield by the russians today. >> and what should be our response? >> i think i'm going to punt that to the policymakers on the response to how iran arms and how they might use weapons capability. >> you would agree we should respond robustly and strongly? >> i would agree we should have a policy to be prepared to respond appropriately. >> thank you, thank you, general, thank you, director
clapper. >> on behalf of the chairman, senator sessions. >> thank you, senator reed. we thank you for your service. director clapper, thank you for your deck kay ades of service t country. that's something we all respect and value. general stewart, i appreciate seeing you again. you've been in the battlefield and you've seen it from both sides and know the importance of intelligence. director clapper, it seems to me we are about to see a tremendous expansion of proliferation and the numbers actually of weapons and the countries that possess nuclear weapons. it's something that the world is uniting behind trying to stop the u.n. and the whole world. nato has fought to maintain a limited number of nations with
nuclear weapons. and we've been particularly concerned about nuclear weapons in the middle east. where do we stand on that from a strategic position? your best judgment of the risk we're now facing. >> well, of course we worry about north korea in this respect. and i think in the mideast, i think the agreement, the jcpoa, which does prevent, if it's complied with, a nuclear capability in iran, at least in the foreseeable future. that should serve as a tempering factor for the likes of -- for other countries that may feel threatened if, in fact, iran proceeded on with its nuclear weapons program.
>> we've got india and pakistan. secretary kissinger testified here a year ago i suppose in which he said that we could see multiple nations in the middle east move towards nuclear weapons. we do know that north korea will sell weapon technology, do we not, and have done so in the past? >> that's true. particularly north korea is a proliferator. that's one of the principal ways they attempt to generate revenue is through proliferation. i worry frankly about more mundane things like man pads which the north koreans produce and proliferate throughout the world which poses a great threat to aviation.
so i think our role in the intelligence community is to be as vij legilant as we can abouts and to report when proliferance spreads. it is a great concern. certainly particularly in the middle east. >> thank you. that is a serious subject. general stewart. tell us where we stand in iraq. do you serve there? are you involved with the sunnis in al anbar province. you saw them flip and turn against al qaeda. can we replicate that now and one of the prospects for the sunnis, once again, turning against the terrorists? >> i think the sunnis believe they have a real prospect either for an involvement with the iraqi government or some other
confederation construct with their views and interests are represented. i think they'll likely turn against isil. i don't think that message has been effectively communicated yet. i thing abadi would like a more inclusive government. but i'm not sure he has all of the members of his ruling body behind such inclusivity. until that occurs, then the sunni tribes are very likely to remain either on the fence or choose the least worse option, which is to not antagonize and maybe even support isil in the western part of iraq. >> but that would be the decisive action that needs to occur, that once again the decisive action would be if the sunnis would turn against isil,
as they turned against al qaeda? >> i think that would absolutely be decisive, but i think they'll be very cautious to ensure that we will not leave them hanging out there after they turn against isil. this is pure pragmatism. if we're not successful, we're not supportive of the sunni tribes, they will die. al qaeda or isil will be brutal, they'll be ruthless. if we're going to support them, we're going to try to convince them to turn and fight against isil, then we have to have the true commitment of the government of iraq and all of the parties who encourage them to fight against isil because this is purely about survival for those tribes. >> and then in our effort to push back against isil would be extremely important action, development? >> yes, sir, i believe it would be. >> what about mosul, city of 1 million, that would not have the heritage of isil and that kind
of extremism? what are the prospects for turning the situation around in mosul and freeing mosul from isil's? >> i'm less optimistic in the near term about mosul. i think there's work to be done yet, western part. don't believe ramadi is completely secure, so they have to secure ramadi. they have to secure the hadithah corridor in order to have some opportunity to fully encircle and bring all the forces against mosul. mosul will be a complex operation. i'm not as optimistic. as you say, it's a large city. i'm not as optimistic we'll be able to turn that in the near term, in my view, certainly not this year. we may be able to begin the campaign, do some isolation operations around mosul. but securing or taking mosul is an extensive operation and not something i see in the next year or so. >> thank you very much, general stewart. >> thank you, mr. chair. welcome back, director clapper,
general stewart. thank you for that predictably cheery briefing. director clapper, i've always believed that the ground war against isis must be won by our arab partners rather than by american ground forces. and so it was therefore pretty encouraging to finally hear saudi arabia and the uae over the weekend voice some openness to putting ground forces in syria. what's the intelligence community's assessment of the capability of saudi and uae ground forces? and how realistic do you think this proposal is? in other words, do you assess they actually have the political will to potentially do that? >> well, let me start with uae, which is very, very capability military, although small. the performance of their counterterrorist forces in yemen have been quite impressive.
i think certainly appreciate and value the saudi willingness to engage on the ground. i think that will be a challenge. would be a challenge for them if they were to try to take that on. >> okay. >> general. >> if i could add. >> absolutely. >> fully concur with the uae forces. whether they have the capacity to do both yemen and something in iraq/syria is questionable for me. >> yes. >> i think they're having a tough -- they're doing extremely well in yemen but the capacity to do more is pretty limited. >> thank you both. director clapper, one of the things we've been struggling with obviously is trying to crack down on isis' financing. they have multiple sources of revenue that include illicit oil sales, taxation, extortion of the local population, looting of the banks, personal property,
smuggling of antiquities and to a lesser extent even kidnapping for ransom and foreign donations. i'm certainly pleased to see some progress has been made where the u.s. coalition forces have escalated tactics buy targeting wellheads, road tankers, even cache storage sites. these efforts have forced isis to cut its fighter's pay in some reports, by up to 50%. what additionally do you believe we can be doing to further restrict their financial resources? >> i think the main -- sir, you've outlined pretty much the sources of revenue for isis. they have a very elaborate bureaucracy for managing their money. and i think the importance thing is to sustain that pressure on multiple -- multiple dimensions. to include going after the oil
infrastructure. now, isil has displayed great ingenuity by setting up thousands of these mom and pop refineries. >> yes. >> we just have to stay at it. as well, the recent bombing of the financial institution in mosul had big impact on them. i think we're starting to see some success with the iraqi government in reducing payments to iraqi citizens who live in isil controlled areas. there's a downside to that. when they do that, that alienates, potentially alienates them further with the central government in baghdad. but to me, the important aspect here, the important theme, would be sustain the pressure. >> you know, one of the sources that has been i guess surprisingly consequential is black market antiquity sales from the looting that's occurred.
it's my understanding the u.s. has sanctions that it can impose on anyone who imports an antiquities stolen by isis but it doesn't have abilities to sanction individuals who actually purchase looted syrian antiquities. would it be helpful to authorize sanctions not just against the buy, the seller of those, but against the middlemen who are also involved? >> i would want to take that under advisement and consult with my colleagues in the department of treasury. i will tell you in the relative scheme of things, the sale of antiquities is not a big revenue generator and it's really kind of tapered off some. but i'd be for exploring whatever -- whatever ways we can pressure isil financially, we should. >> all right. thank you both. >> i want to thank you both for your service. i want to thank you, director clapper, for your many decades of service to your country. we appreciate it. i wanted to follow up on your
written statement where in it, and i think you reiterated today, iran probably views it as a means to remove sanctions while presevening some of its nuclear capabilities. in the second part, you said, as well as the option to eventually expand its nuclear infrastructure. can you expand on that? >> well, the period of the agreement plays out, i think it's -- we should expect that the iraqis will want to push the margins on r & d to -- they've already done work on research and development on centrifuge design. now, they've sustained the position they've taken and, you know, one man that makes the decision here, is the supreme leader, that they're not going to pursue nuclear weapons. but there are many other things they could do in a nuclear contest that serve hs to enhanc
their technology and expertise. >> let me ask you. we saw iran actually have ballistic missile tests on october 10th and november 21st, post-jcpoa. and even prereceiving the sanctions cash relief they recently received of billions of dollars. we also know recently north korea had a space launch developing, continuing to develop their icbm program, and i wanted to ask you, first of all, do you -- we know in their statement, we've mentioned historically there has been cooperation between north korea and iran on their ballistic missile program. can you tell us what that cooperation has been and can we expect that north korea will sell or share technology with tehran that can expedite iran's
development of icbm missiles? >> of late, i have to be mindful of the setting here. there has not been a great deal of interchange between iraq and iran or between north korea and iran on the subject of nuclear missile capabilities. but there has been in the past. we have been reasonably successful in detecting this. so hopefully we'll -- >> let me ask -- >> with appropriate vigilance, we'll sustain that. >> let me ask -- >> -- north koreans interested in cash -- >> we know iran has more cash? >> they do know. a lot of the cash, at least initial cash is encumbered. iranians have a lot of obligations to fulfill economically -- >> let me follow up.
what do you make of the fact the iranians did in fact post-jcpoa in violation of existing u.n. resolutions make two launches of ballistic missiles. sanctions put in place, those sarn sanctions weren't very tough. do you think those are going to deter iran from developing its icbm program? >> the iranians have conducted some 140 launches since the original u.n. security council resolution in 1929 that was imposed in 2010. and so 70 of those -- about half of them were done during the negotiations. given the fact that the missiles were a part of the negotiation. as far as these two launches are concerned, i think this was a deliberate message of defiance and that the iranians are going to continue with an aggressive
program to develop their missile force. >> as you and i have talked about in the past, just to be clear, we judge that tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons if it builds them. that is obviously why you would build a nuclear missile in you choose to build a nuclear weapon. >> they have hundreds of them. >> right. >> that threaten the mideast. and of course the two under development could potentially, given the technology. although the immediate one that's i guess the most proximate that would be launched. civilians and ostensibly for space launch -- >> i only have five seconds left. on the heroin question. i believe you said heroin and fent fentonal, which is of course 30 to 50 times more powerful, coming over our southern border, and that has doubled by the
mexican drug cartels going back to 2010. do you believe that that's something we -- general kelly has raised this when he was commander of south com. that delivery system and those cartels could actually deliver almost anything with the sophisticated networks they've established. do you believe we should be focused also on more intro diction, specifically on the heroin product? >> i do. the experience, at least what i've observed and i think general kelly has said this consistently when he testified is that it wasn't for lack of intelligence, it was lack of operational capacity to actually react and interdict. so we, you know -- i'm a big fan of the coast guard. the coast guard's done some great things. these new national security cutters, fantastic capability against drug -- for drug interdiction purposes.
>> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thanks to the witnesses. i have many questions to ask but i think what i'll do is focus on one. i'm struggling with this and i would love to hear your thoughts about lower oil prices. and how they affect our security posture. this is not in a litany of gloom, this is a good thing, but it's got some elements to it i think are challenging. i was in israel once in april of 2010 and meeting with president shimon peres and i asked him what would be the most important thing the u.s. could do to enhance security in the region and he said wean yourself off dependence on oil from the middle east. and as i talked to him, his basic logic was to the extent that we develop noncarbon alternatives, our own native energy sources, our demand for middle eastern oil will drop. we're a market leader. that would have an effect of reducing prices. a lot of the nations in the middle east, iran, russia,
venezuela, they've used high oil prices to finance bellicose adventurism. so we've seen a dramatic development in american native energy. we've seen development of noncarbon energy. and we've seen oil prices go to dramatic lows and they're not going to stay there forever. many are predicting they're going to stay significantly lower than historic lowings. it's good for american consumers. it's good for american businesses. it poses challenges for some our principal adversaries. russia for example. it puts a cap to some degree what iran would get from being back in a global economy and selling their oil. but it also poses some risks as well. i've heard european counterparents say that they're really worried about an aggressive russia but they're even more worried about an economic basket case russia. so from the intel side, if you look at intel and threats, take
a little bit about the prospect of low oil prices and any negatives associated with that please. >> well, i think you've painted the picture pretty well, senator cane. it's working i guess you could say, one could say to our advantage. spoke about that earlier in the price, current price of euro crude for example is $28 a barrel. when russia's planning factor for their national budget is $50 a barrel. this has affected -- for example, they have been unable to invest in the arctic. so it's had profound impact and will i think for some time. just structurally in russia. venezuela's another case. a country that was -- it's been completely dependent almost for its revenues for a long time on
oil revenue. with the precipitous drop in oil, it's had a huge impact on their economy. which is status managed anyway. and is laced with all kinds of subsidies for its people. now they're having -- they're facing insolvency. so that -- it has that effect. to the extent we become independent and not dependent on anyone's oil, that's a good thing. countries caught in the middle, i think, it's going to be a mixed bag as to how well they manage themselves. where they're dependent on others for oil. the price stays low, that's great. if it's hiked either by virtue of the national forces or artificially, that could have a very deleterious impact on the economy, say, in europe. so it's a very mixed picture. >> just a follow-up about russia in particular.
it seems that sometimes they're more likely to engage in some adventurism outside their country when their internal politics and economy is in trouble. putin seems like a guy who when things are going bad at home, w things are going bad at home, he wants to divert attention, whether it's the olympics or the world cup or invading a country, that seems to be a move he'll make when he's got dissatisfaction at home driven by economic challenges. is there some degree to which lower oil prices they negatively affect an adversary and may make them unpredictable and hence, dangerous. >> that's true, all decision-making in russia is essentially made by, done by one person. russians have a great, great capacity for enduring pain and suffering. the polls that are in russia still indicate very high levelsen popularity of of 80%
range for putin. it is interesting, though, as in his speeches of late and domestically have taken a different turn or a different tone. in that that they are much more exhorting patriotic spirit in the great history of russia. as i think probably a way of diverting attention from the poor economic performance of the russian economy. and by any measure, you look at unemployment, inflation, the worth of the ruble. at an all-time low. and investment, et cetera. whatever measurement you want to use, it's all not good from a russian perspective. the issue of -- is that at what point does do people start turning out and demonstrating,
which that's what makes them very nervous. if people get organized and restive, on a large scale throughout russia. and russians are very concerned about that. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director clapper, in your statement you assess that foreign support will allow damascus to make gains to areas this year. >> and it's poised to enter 2016 in a stronger military position against the opposition because of they're receiving from iran and hezbollah and russia. given the apparently improving fortunes that we are seeing. do you see that people will transition from power?
or giving him more leverage in a transition. do you believe that is going to come to a head? again in the short-term, long-term, and what are the consequences of that? i mean i can remember it wasn't that long ago when we would all sit up here and say it's not a question on if assad is leaving, it's when he's leaving. that obviously has changed. >> the russian reinforcement has changed the calculus completely. the tactical relationship that iran and russia has today i suspect, at some point, it's pretty hard to predict at some point will diverge because they won't share the stage. iran wants to be the regional hedgemond. if it has to compete with russia in the longer term -- and again, i can't put months or years -- i suspect that their interests
will diverge because of competition as a regional power. in the near-term, though, their interests is simply to pop up the regime and the regime in my mind is not necessarily assad. it's the regime first of all that allows russia to maintain its interests, and allows iran to control syria and greater syria and parts of lebanon. when those two things become tension points where russia jetsons assad. where russia pushes for its removal. i suspect that they will have a tactical breakdown. however it's still in iran's interest to maintain a relationship with russia, because of what we talked about earlier, the ability to procure weapons from russia, russia seems to be an option for doing that the relationship might be
tense, it might break down at some point because of regional desires for control. they'll still have the enduring relationship from a weapons procurement standpoint. >> and director clapper, i'm out of time. but if you had just a couple comments that you would like to add there, i apologize for giving you less time. >> that's fine. the thing that i find interesting is, that both the russians and the iranians are growing increasingly interested in using proxies rather than their own forces. to fight in syria. the russians are incuring casualties. the iranians are. and so to the extent that they can bring in others, of course in iran's case, hezbollah. i think russians are not wedded to assad personally. but they have the same challenge as everyone else. if not assad, who? and i don't know that they've come up with an alternative to him, either. >> thank you, thank you, mr. chairman.
>> gentlemen, thank you for being with us this morning. i was discussing yesterday, with one of our five eyes partners, overall long-term intelligence and worldwide threats. i'm afraid and you touched on this director clapper in your report. i'm afraid that the syrian refugee crisis is a precursor of a larger refugee crisis that we could be facing over the next 10-20 years, based upon predictions of climate change. the band of the world that is going to be subject to drought, famine, crop loss. flooding in some areas. over incredible heat. in the band around north africa, central africa, into southeast asia. we could see mass migrations that could really strain the western countries. would you concur in that? >> well i think you're quite right and i alluded to that at
least briefly in my oral statement about the fact that we have some 60 million people around the globe displaced. in one way or another. and i think -- >> if that increases, it's going to create, because all of those people are going do want to go where things are better. >> exactly. >> the northern hemisphere. >> so that will place ever-greater stresses on the remainder of the countries whether here in the americas, europe, africa, asia, wherever. and the effects of climate change, of whether abberations, however you want to describe them, just exacerbate this. you know, what we have in the world by way of resources to feed and support the growing world population is somewhat of a finite resource.
>> the conditions you mentioned i believe are going to foment more pressure for migrants. that on top of the instability of governance that i spoke briefly about in my oral statement are going to make for a challenging situation in the future. >> thank you. >> turning to something that you touched on, the lack of capacity to deal with drug imports is something that is a real strategic and tactical challenge. we're suffering terribly in my home state of maine, with, with heroin new hampshire has one death overdose a may. in maine it's 200 a year. one death every weekday, if you will and we're trying to deal with the demand side and with the treatment and prevention. but keeping this stuff out to begin with and heroin is cheaper than it's ever been. which tells me that the supply is up. >> what, where should we