tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN February 9, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
arab-israeli war. iraq will probably make incremental gains in the spring s sim blar ilar to ramadi in the few months. isil remains a formidable threat. in syria pro-regime forces have the initiative having made some strategic gains in aleppo in the north. and manpower shortages, however, will continue to undermine the regime to accomplish strategic battlefield objectives. the opposition has less equipment and firepower and the groups lack unity. they sometimes have competing battlefield interest and fight among themselves. in the meanwhile, 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 of internally displaced persons which together represent one-half of syria's pre-conflict population. in libya despite the december agreement to form a new government national accord, establishing authority and security across the country will be difficult at best with hundreds of militia groups operating throughout the country. isil has established its most developed branch outside of syria and libya in libya, outside of syria and iraq in libya and maintains a presence in benghazi and tripoli and other areas of the country. in yemen the conflict will probably remain stalemated at least through mid-2016. and meanwhile aqap and isil's affiliates in yemen have exploited the conflict and collapse of government authority to recruit and expand territorial control. the country's economic and humanitarian situation also continues to deteriorate. iran deepened its involvement in
the syrian, iraqi and yemeni conflicts in 2015. it also increased military cooperation with russia highlighted by its battlefield alliance with syria in 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 u.s. sailors. in south asia, afghanistan is at serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016, occasioned by mounting political, economic, and suret challenges, waning political cohesion, increasingly assertive local power brokers and financial shortfalls and sustained countrywide taliban attacks are eroding stability. needless to say there are many more threats to the u.s. interests worldwide which we can address most of which are covered by our statement for the record, but i'll stop this litany of doom and open to your questions. before i do that, i do want to answer one question that madam
vice chairman asked about the state of the community now versus five years ago. i would like to think that we are better as a community just from the simple proposition the sum being greater than the parts because we operate as an integrated enterprise and others may have a comment on that, and none of them are unwilling to disagree with me, but that's my view, so i'll stop there and open to your questions. >> director clapper, thank you for that testimony. i remind all members that everybody at the witness table is available for questions directed at them. with that, i'd recognize senator langford for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and for all of you, thank you. i do remind people back home, because in oklahoma we're extremely grateful for many folks in the armed services that serve us every single day. we recognize them by their uniforms but i remind them also
there's a lot of people in the intelligence they don't recognize at all and they'll never see and thank personally, so would you pass on our gratitude to them and we're incredibly grateful for the work they do every single day. director clapper, you said this morning in the 50 years in intelligence you can't think of a longer list of challenges. whether it be space, whether that be proliferation, whether it be radical islamic terrorism and such. i want to focus on one of the areas you touched on specifically and that's narcotics and the movement into our country and what we deal with on a day-to-day basis as a challenge. you, again, this morning you mentioned you thought the focus should be more on interdiction, so my challenge is for this group and my interest, what are we doing on the intel gathering to be able to find out what's happening, the pathways that some of these narcotics are moving into the united states and the interdiction and how we
cooperating among agencies, how is that communication going? >> well, sir, the challenge as i indicated this morning and i harked back to a series of testimonies by general kelly, the former commander of the southern command, in which he made the point that we did have a great deal of intelligence on drug flow into the united states. our challenge has been the lack of resources sometimes to react to it, to actually interdict it. so, in once sense i think that's a plea or a commercial for more operational assets to respond. i am a big fan of the coast guard. and i think the coast guard has done some great work. the deployment of these new coast guard cutters, which has a national security component to
it has had a dramatic impact when they've been able to be employed. so, to me the big thing here is the operational resource to respond. i think the community works very well together on the issue of drug intelligence and facilitating interdiction. >> any comments on that from any of the other leaders? let me move on, then, as well, because there's been a lot of conversation about libya and isil into other areas they call provinces and moving all around the world. libya has been especially large in that. what do you think is isil's intentions in libya? >> well, i think not unlike what they've done with -- in syria and iraq, what's unique about isil, of course, is its possession and control over
territory. and that's been the case in syria and iraq and, of course, that presents certain vulnerabilities when they assume the accoutrements of the traits of the nation-state. i think it's similarly their goal in libya, you know, essentially in ungoverned space and also access to substantial oil resources just as they've had in syria. so, i think there is some commonality. so, they are right now kind of centered or head quartered in cert which is in the center on the coast of libya and they are trying to spread out and take over more and more areas. they are present as i indicated in my statement in the major cities, notably benghazi and tripoli. >> you mentioned as well about iran still being the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. how have you seen that role and that direction towards terrorism and support of terrorism since
the signing of the jcpoa, since that has occurred have you seen a change in iran's behavior towards sponsor of terrorism? >> have not seen a change in the behavior of the qods force. they are right now kind of consumed with the situation in iraq and syria. and as well in supporting the houthis in yemen. so, that has been the focus predominantly. that's not to say they're not interested elsewhere, but that's where the focus of their effort's been. >> again, you mentioned this morning there had been 140 missiles launched by iran in violation of u.n. agreements. and then two additional just in the last few months. any change in behavior you've seen in their testing of ballistic missiles? >> no. and you are exactly right, senator langford, that's what i said. since 2010 and the promulgation of the u.n. security council
resolution 1929 they've fired off about 140 missiles. about half of them that took place during the negotiations. they've launched, one in october, one in november, which i personally think was a message that they are still going to continue to develop what is already a very robust missile force. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, senator langford. the chair recognize himself for a couple of questions. director comey, what's the risk to law enforcement and to prosecution if when presented a legal court order a company refuses to provide the communications that the court has ordered them to? >> the risk is that we won't be able to make a case and a really bad guy will go free. >> and can you, for the american
people, set a percentage of how much of that is terrorism and how much of that fear is law enforcement and prosecutions that take place in every town in america every day? >> yeah. i'd say this problem we call going dark, which as director clapper mentioned, is the growing use of encryption both to lock devices when they sit there and to cover communications as they move over fiber optic cables is actually overwhelmingly affecting law enforcement because it affects cops and sheriffs and detectives trying to make murder cases, car accident cases, kidnapping cases, drug cases. it has an impact on our national security work but overwhelmingly this is a problem that local law enforcement sees. >> this would include pornography and the list goes on and on and on and i think there would be a consensus in america that if that's carried that if a court certifies that the reason
is there, that a company ought to then produce that information. is that logical? >> yeah. especially with respect to devices, phones, that default lock. that is -- that is the overwhelming concern of state and local law enforcement, because all of our lives are becoming increasingly digital. those devices are going to hold the evidence of child pornography, communications that someone made before they were killed, before they went missing. the evidence that will be necessary to solve a crime and including things, like i said car accidents, so it is a big problem with law enforcement armed with a search warrant when you find a device that can't be opened even though the judge said there's probable cause to open it. as i said, it affects our counterterrorism work. san bernardino a very important investigation to us, we still have one of those killer's phones that we've not been able to open. it's been over two months now and we're still working on it. but it also happened on the criminal side, a woman murdered
in louisiana eight months pregnant, killed, no clue who did it, except her phone is there when she was found killed and they can't open it and they still can't open it. this is something i hear from all over the country. >> is it safe to say that if companies were required to honor that court order, that law enforcement and the prosecution element isn't concerned at all at how they access that. that can be proprietary and within each company. but supplying the information is absolutely crucial to the continuation of that investigation and prosecution? >> yeah, that's one of the aspects of the conversation, which is healthy. there's a robust going on and there ought to be because these are important issues. but the part that gets confusing is we want access to companies' servers, we want access to the source code. what we'd like is a world where people are able to comply with court orders. lots of companies do, people
that make phones are able to unlock it when the judge orders it and people that provide communication services are able to comply with the judge's orde orders. others can't. i don't want a door. i don't want a window. i don't want a sliding glass door. i would like people to comply with court orders and that's the conversation we're trying to have. >> thank you, director comey. vice chairman? >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. mr. brennan, i'd like to ask you a question, if i may. subject libya. how does the cia assess isil's intrusions into libya? >> we see libya as the most important theater for isil outside of the syria-iraq theater. they have several thousand members there. they have absorbed some of the groups inside of libya including alsharia that was very active. libya has been a place where
this form of extremism and terrorism has grown up over the years. as the borders of the syria-iraq area were being tightened down, we know that some of those foreign fighters started to divert into libya. and so libya has become a magnet for individuals not only inside of libya but from the african continent as well as outside. it's a real issue, a real problem, but we see isil in libya as a very, very important hub for isil activities. >> second question, assessment on north korea. we know they possess anywhere from 10 to 20 both uranium and plutonium weapons. we now have seen the recent launch on the taepodong ii which my understanding is capable of reaching the united states, and then there's the kn-08. how do you assess korean -- the
korean leaders' intentions with what he is doing with respect to these tests and the development of both a plutonium and uranium string of weapons? >> well, i think it's very obvious that kim jong-un is trying to demonstrate to the world that he has capability both in terms of the nuclear test as well as ballistic missile, intercontinental ballistic missile capability, that he wants to showcase as a way to demonstrate his strength, but also as a way to help to market some of his proliferation capabilities. and so it is something that is obviously a key concern for the intelligence committee as a whole. it is a priority collection area for us, but the assessment at least from my perspective is at? he has developed both the nuclear capability as well as developing this ballistic missile capability, bringing them together to demonstrate he
can reach far beyond the korean peninsula. >> third question, a little bit more time. how do you assess the taliban and al qaeda in afghanistan? how much of the territory of afghanistan today is controlled by the taliban? >> it's a difficult question to address, because a lot of times the taliban control of certain areas is dynamic and fluid. so, they'll go in and take various government and military outposts, seize it and then pull back. there's a lot -- large parts of that country that fall under taliban influence and we've been working with closely with the afghan military and service services, intelligence services, to try and concentrate their focus on areas that need to be protected whether it be critical infrastructure, cities, transit and transportation routes. but as you well know the taliban control a lot of terrain outside of the central government's reach. and al qaeda continues to have a presence particularly inside of
the eastern part of afghanistan. they continue to work with the taliban as well as with the haqqanis. collectively they present a serious threat to the stability of the afghan government as well as our personnel, u.s. personnel, inside afghanistan. >> thank you. that's it for now. thank you. >> thank you very much. gentlemen, my view is you couldn't have passionate debates in this room without the great work that the men and women of the intelligence community do to preserve our freedom. and i just want to start by saying we're very grateful for that. director brennan, in 2014, the cia conducted an unauthorized search of senate files. including the e-mails of senate staff investigating the cia's use of torture. the cia inspector general later stated that the search involved improper agency access to senate files and a review board that you appointed concluded that the search resulted in inappropriate access to the committee's work
product. you initially denied that the search took place, but the reports of both your inspector general and the review board show that this denial was at odds with the facts. after the facts were publicly exposed, the cia even wrote an apology letter that you did not send. now, senior officials from the nsa, the fbi, and the office of the director of national intelligence have all testified that it would be inappropriate for their agencies to secretly search senate files without external authorization. but we still have not gotten an acknowledgement from you. so, i think it would be important. i'd like to hear from you. i'd like to set the record straight that this would never happen again. would you agree that the cia's 2014 search of senate files was improper? >> this is the annual threat assessment, is it not?
>> yes. >> i think, senator, as you well know, there were very unique circumstances associated with this whole affair. these were cia computers at a cia-leased facility. it was a cia network that was shared between senate staffers, conducting that investigation for your report as well as cia personnel. when it became quite obvious to cia personnel that senate staffers had unauthorized access to an internal draft document of cia, it was an obligation on the part of cia officers who had responsibility for the security of that network to investigate to see what might have been the reason for that access that the senate staffers had to that document. they conducted that investigation. i spoke to the chairman and vice chairman about it. i tried to make sure they understood exactly what the challenge was that we had. we conducted that investigation. i then subsequently referred the matter to the ig, when the senate leadership was concerned
about the actions of cia officers. i also subsequently convened an accountability board. and i think you -- if you were to read those reports, including the accountability board, it would have -- you would see that it's determined that the actions of the cia were reasonable given the very unclear and unwritten -- or unspecific understanding between the committee and cia at the time. in terms of what -- >> mr. director, my time is short, but that's not what the inspector general or -- >> i respectfully disagree. >> i'd like to read the exact words. the exact words of the review board were "it resulted in inappropriate access to ssci work product." and your inspector general reached the same conclusion. and so the question here, is when you're talking about spying on a committee responsible for
overseeing your agency, in my view that undermines the very checks and balances that protect our democracy. and it's unacceptable in a free society, and your compatriots in all of the sister agencies agreed with that. now, you disagree? >> yes, i think you mischaracterized both their comments as well as what's in the reports. and i apologize to the chairman and the vice chairman about the de minimis access and inappropriate access that cia officers made to five e-mails or so of senate staffers during that investigation. and i apologized to them for the very specific inappropriate action that was taken as part of a very reasonable investigative action, but do not say we spied on senate computers or your files. we did not do that. we were fulfilling our responsibilities. >> i read the exact words of the inspector general and the exact words of the review board. you appointed the review board. they said nobody ought to be punished, but they said there was improper access.
and my point is in our system of government we have responsibilities to do vigorous oversight and we can't do vigorous oversight if there are improper procedures used to access our files. my time is up. >> and, senator, do i say do you not agree there was inappropriate access that senate staffers had to internal cia documents? was that not inappropriate and unauthorized? >> i can tell you having talked at length to our staff that everything we determined they did was appropriate, but i asked about cia conduct and two reviews. the inspector general and your review board, said it was improper. >> and i'm still awaiting the review done by the senate to take a look at what the staffers' actions were. separation of powers goes both ways. i apologized to the chairman and vice chairman for the very specific inappropriate access that agency officers who were investigating this incident made to those e-mails.
very limited, inappropriation actions, overall that investigation was done consistent with what our obligations. consistent with the law. consistent with our responsibilities. and i do think that you're mischaracterizing the full tenor of both the accountability board and the inspector general's report. >> pretty hard to mischaracterize word-for-word quotes, they used the word "improper acts." >> i'll exercise here and represent senator heinrich. >> i want to thank the panel for the work the agencies do in providing world-class strategic analysis and in keeping our country safe in a world of growing and complex threats that director clapper so eloquently laid out twice today, the work done by your agencies is critical. and i want to thank the men and women of those agencies who continue to do excellent work. i also want to thank chairman
burr for holding this hearing. it's been two years since we had one of these, and i hope we don't wait that long next time. i think it's important that the american people have a chance to hear from these officials directly especially since so many of our actions with these directors take place behind closed doors. and while that's certainly appropriate in most circumstances, public debate i believe benefits tremendously from transparency and i appreciate the opportunity today. i want to start with admiral rogers. admiral, as you know, the world has seen a truly alarming increase in attacks on critical infrastructure. for example, in december dhs reported a 20% increase in cyber incidents between fy-'14 and fy-'15. while critical manufacturing was the most targeted sector energy ranked second in the number of incidents with water and wastewater systems coming in third. on top of that we've seen recent attacks against turkish banks
and israeli utility providers and a dam was infiltrated north of new york city in 2013. so, my question for you is this, does the ic particularly nsa have sufficient insight in to the sort of cyberthreats to u.s. critical infrastructure that we're seeing by foreign actors? what can we do to better position ourselves against those threats specifically to critical infrastructure? >> you never have all the insight that you would like. i don't think you're going to hear an intel professional tell you, hey, look, i couldn't use more insight. i think the biggest challenge in some ways is not so much the level of insight but it's how do we generate -- take that insight and generate action and make the changes that i think we all believe are necessary given the dynamics of the world that you outlined that i don't think are short-term trends. i don't see this changing in the near term. i see this as the nature of the world we're living in and we're likely to be living in for some period of time, so the challenge
i think is how do you take the insights and generate action. that's the biggest challenge to me. >> have you thought about particularly given the focus of those on things like electrical generation and water and wastewater systems, the ramifications of some of the changes within those fields of distributed approaches and resiliency as opposed to the very traditional approaches of sort of one-way generation and large-scale transmission? >> right. you're watching most of the sectors in the area trying to go that approach. how can you build redundancy or resiliency and look at fragmentation and duplications. i talked to several elements of power and water over the course of the last year and you can see elements within the sectors trying to go that way. but i'd be the first to acknowledge, given the breadth of infrastructure in our nation the amount of time it will take across the entire breadth of our
nation it's not a insignificant problem. >> things like microgrids, distributed storage, distributed generation are helpful in mitigating the potential impact of a large-scale attack? >> yes. i think that's part of -- that should be a foundational element of a broader strategy. i just try to remind people there's no silver bullet if that makes sense. >> as a smart senator said, sometimes there's silver buckshot when you don't have silver bullet. while the -- director brennan, while the united states is obviously not addressing the isil issue alone in syria and iraq, the reality is that many of our foreign partners in the region are at times heavily distracted by unrelated conflicts that are sometimes counterproductive to that fight. for example, as you're well aware turkey is targeting the very kurds who have been some of
the most engaged fighters in the battle against isis. you have saudi arabia pouring money and equipment into the fight in yemen instead of focusing on isil in syria. you spent a lot of time in the middle east over the years. what has the cia done, and what else might be done, to get our regional partners more focused on confronting the threat posed by isil? as you point out, the middle east is wracked by more instability and violence and interstate conflict than we've seen certainly in the past 50 years. and the amount of bloodshed and humanitarian suffering i think is unprecedented. we at cia work very closely with our partners throughout the region trying to make sure the intelligence and community services are fulfilling their responsibilities professionally as far as making sure that we can share information with them about the flow of foreign fighters in particular, given that there is such transit between and among the countries of individuals who might go to syria, iraq and then down to libya and egypt. we're trying to give them the
intelligence they need, give the training they need, but also give them the professional training that is required because there are tremendous obligations on them to make sure that they areqyjpp((sq to carry their responsibilities while at the same time respect the human rights obligations that they have as security services. so, what we're trying to do is to serve as an interlocutor with many of them and see whether or not we can enhance their relationships. sometimes not only do we have interstate conflicts we have intramural conflicts among some of these countries which then extends to the services. so, i think building up the intelligence security services, giving them the wherewithal to address the problems but, again, making sure they carry out the responsibilities professionally is very important. >> thank you, senator. the chair would also make a note that senator's correct, we didn't have an open threats hearing last year. we had a closed one. but last year we had open hearings with admiral rogers from the nsa, director rasmussen from the nctc and director comey
from the fbi and we had an open hearing scheduled for director brennan and were blitzed by a snowstorm. and maybe had we had him in he wouldn't have fallen and wrecked his knee. it is the intent of the chair to continue to allow every agency the opportunity not just to be here for a worldwide threat hearing, but to come in and share with the american people what it is they do, why they do it, but more importantly, why the american people should care about their success. today is drinking out of a fire hose trying to address the entire globe at one time. the rest of it i think is going to be more constructive, so i think the committee has attempted to try to increase the amount of open exposure with a degree of specificity that we haven't had in the past. with that, senator koets. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, i note here on the
very first page of the statement for the record, you say the order of topics presented in this statement does not necessarily indicate the relative importance or magnitude of the threat in the view of the intelligence community. my question is, is this because we are dealing with such a complex and ever-expanding level of threats and it's difficult to prioritize, or is it because maybe we ought to be talking about this in thursday's closed session? if that's the case, please tell me. but if you had to prioritize, we have to make decisions here. we have budget limitations. you have budget limitations. we want to try to address all of these threats equally, but that's not possible, so it seems to me that as a committee member and as part a member of congress, we need to know how to best allocate our budgets toward what you need, and i know that
this can be ever changing. but what's your response to that and how should we best address this? >> well, the more time i've spent doing this, i think the more loathe i've become to try to rank order threats. because any of them can leap up and bite us. and so we don't have the luxury of -- i don't like to mislead people that, well, this one threat is the one that we're going to focus on at the expense of others. so, that's why the statement there. what does that mean from a resource standpoint and the funding and resources we're given to do our job? the approach we've taken, at least the time i've tried to champion in the past 5 1/2 years, those resources that
enable resilience and agility so that we can respond and hopefully anticipate and then respond to a variety of threats. and that's one thing that i've said this before, in answer to a question this morning, again, in my time in the intelligence business. i don't recall a point in time that we've been faced with a more diverse set of threats whether it's the nation-state and russia and china and particularly their nuclear capabilities or the nonstation-states in the likes of isil and al qaeda, et cetera. so, all these threats are serious be it terrorism or weapons of mass destruction or cyber. others may have a view here. john? >> as it was pointed out, we're facing this array of threats. the one area that i'm very concerned about is the increasing concerns about vulnerabilities in that digital domain in cyber. i do think we as a country need
to make sure that we understand what those vulnerabilities are and then i think to jim comey's and other points making sure that we understand that the intelligence and security services and law enforcement services of this country have a role to help to protect that environment because our way of life, our future really depends on making sure that that is strong and we have adversaries overseas as well as nation-states that have the intent or capability to carry out attacks. >> the other -- >> the other part that i want to make, the thought that john keyed here, the add mixture, the combination of both threats posed to us in the cyber domain and the connection of that with terrorism. so, that makes ranking these discrete threats kind of difficult. >> and maybe that's why you have cybertechnology as number one. maybe i just assumed that -- and i appreciate the response on that. admiral rogers, i'd like you to comment on that also, because
this is your domain. and where do we stand on that? >> so, for me, like my counterparts on the panel, i tell our team, i am always leery about this hierarchical approach of doing business, because i watch it is encourage the workforce to think very linearly, we focus on number one, and then we think about number two and number three and the world around us just doesn't work that way. for me the way i try to do it with our team, is protection of u.s. interests and infrastructure is priority number one. i look at this and i see cyber and the counterterrorism world in particular bringing those together in a very concerning way as you heard from director clapper in his opening statement and cyberremains so foundational to every aspect of our daily lives. it's just in a way that, you know, we haven't necessarily seen as much in the past. and it represents both a great opportunity for us as a society but great vulnerability with potential for great impact.
and that's what's of concern. >> thank you, senator coats. senator king? >> to follow-up on that point. i was a governor during september 11th, and shortly afterwards we tasked our state police to go to all of what we thought were the vulnerable pieces of infrastructure in our state, electrical and chemical plants and those kind of things and assess their level of vulnerability and to in effect red-team them about how they could be attacked. do we do that with our critical infrastructure? there's a lot of talk here about legislation. but it seems to me you could create a team to go to our power grid, to go to our water and gas, utilities, financial services and say, look, this is what could happen to you. have you thought about this? you don't really need legislation to do this. in other words, more proactive -- >> right. >> -- trying to alert them to
the risks and to alert them to some of the protections that may be available. >> right. so now, you're really talking outside of my lane as the director of the nsa and the department of homeland security and i don't want to speak to secretary johnson. i share your concern. that's why speaking within my lane of dod, we do just that, aggressively go out and attempt to make sure we understand our structures and their importance to execute our mission and then their vulnerability. so we do penetration testing, we do red teams and no-notice inspections, for example, to make -- >> it seems to me we ought to have jeh johnson here, but we need to be talking about being more active and not just wait and hope they're doing the proper defensive measures. but to alert them to where they're vulnerable and then to help them figure out the defensive measures. let me change the subject for a moment to heroin, which is an absolute epidemic, 10,000 or 12,000 people a year now dying.
the numbers accelerating astoundingly and tragically. director clapper talked about mexico and that's where it seems to be coming from. a specific question, one of the problems with the heroin that we're now seeing it's often laced with fentanyl which makes it more potent and often more dangerous. where does that come from? do we know? do we have intelligence on where the fentanyl is coming from, where it's being manufactured, how it gets into this unfortunate stream? >> senator, i know there's a lot of work being done on that. we have a pretty good sense that a fair amount of it is being manufactured in china but it's places in the developing world. so, i know dea and fbi and the rest of the intelligence community is spending a lot of time trying to understand where the sources are. >> i think we should know that and it should be publicity and we should name and shame those countries. because this is entirely
unacceptable. it's a trade in death. and i would hope that there would be further analysis of that and also analysis of the trade stream that allows it to get to mexico or central america. second question, do we have adequate resources in terms of intelligence but also in terms of interdiction in mexico and central america? my understanding is we have pretty small number of people in some of those central american countries which also are contributing to this. do you feel as the intelligence community that you have adequate resources to understand this trade, where it comes from, who is behind it and then, of course, that leads into interdiction? i'll follow-up with that. mr. comey, your thoughts? >> surely not given the size of the tidal wave of heroin that's washing over from mexico. there's two waves. we talk a lot about the heroin wave nor gofor good reason.
another wave washing over the western united states ands this methamphetamine and they are crashing together in the middle of the united states. surely not is the honest answer. we have built as director clapper said much more effective relationships among ourselves in focusing on that problem and with our partners in mexico and central america, but honestly, it's not good enough given the size of the threat. >> another question is, how's it getting in? do we know how much by land and how much by water? my understanding is a great deal of this is coming by water and one of the problems is a lack of adequate interdiction resources both in terms of the military and the coast guard. >> well, large amount of it comes by water. and it tends to switch from both sides of the north -- of the central american landmass, pa 7:00 pacific or atlantic side, but what i've heard from the coast guard specifically they have a lack of resources to interdict. a lot comes by land.
tunnels, smugglers, trucks, because it's a tidal wave, it's washing in a lot of different ways. >> a tidal wave of death is what we're talking about. i appreciate your efforts. but i think we have to realize this is something that's really exploded almost literally in the last three or four years. and we have to react to it proportion that to the threat to our people. this is killing people right now in the united states, in every state. and it's not an abstract concern. it's not a possible virus. it's something that's happening right now. so, i commend you for your efforts, but i hope that this is something where the community can work together to develop the information necessary, but then we can also -- it's got to be all of government to react, to take the information and act upon it. thank you very much for your testimony. >> senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director clapper, i suspect that this may be your last public
global threat hearing before our committee. so, let me join with our colleagues in thanking you for your decades of service. you and i first met in 2004 when joe lieberman and i wrote the law that created the dni office, and i take special pride in the work that you're doing and want to thank you for all of your years of service. >> thank you very much, senator collins. >> let me follow-up on the questions that my colleague from maine just posed. is there actionable intelligence that would allow us to disrupt and interdict more of the heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin that is coming in from mexico than we are able to act on because of
operational constraints? >> well, i discussed this morning before the senate armed services committee the testimony that general kelly, former recently retired as the commander of southern command. i heard him say on more than one occasion that, you know, had a lot of good intelligence on drug flow in the united states. and he was limited because of his lack of operational resources to react. now, that is getting better. again, a plug for the coast guard. any do magnificent work. these new cutters that they're building and deploying are a fantastic capability ideally suited for this interdiction mission, particularly with the
sea borne and specifically the semisubmersible vehicles that the druggies are using. when you are caught at sea, you take a lot of drugs off the street. >> thank you. director comey, you talked earlier about encryption and how difficult it is making the job of both law enforcement and our efforts to prevent and detect terrorist plots. in fact, you have been quoted as saying that encryption is at the center of the terrorist trade craft. yet the administration has not submitted to date any legislative proposal to deal with encryption. i would like to know whether you -- and i'm going to ask
general clapper and director brennan the same question -- have any of the three of you made recommendations to the president that he submit legislation dealing with the encryption problem to congress for our consideration? >> i'll go first. thank you, senator. i would never -- i don't think it would be appropriate for me to share recommendations that i might have made within the executive branch. but i will tell you this -- encryption is a problem with our investigations. it is also a great thing. and there therein lies the challenge. i am optimistic that we'll make progress through our conversations but i don't know whether that will get us far enough. i can't quite clearly see what the future looks like from here but i'm just not comfortable talking about the deliberations inside. >> well, then, let me change the
question then. do you believe we should pass legislation that deals with encryption? >> i'm going to have to dodge that because that's not the fbi's job to make recommendations. i do think that congress and the american people have to grapple with this because there's a collision between something that is great, encryption, and something which is also great which is public safety. >> general clapper, you're retiring at the end of the year so you don't have to be careful in answering this question in any way. >> well, i'm not sure we've exhausted all the possibilities here technologically. i'm not an i.t. expert by any means. i would hope that we have not yet exhausted what could be done voluntarily. as director comey indicated, encryption is a good thing for all kinds of reasons, for security and privacy and all that. but at the same time, it enab s enables -- it is enabling
nefarious activity of all sorts, whether it's law enforcement or in the national security arena. to go on and we're losing information because of it. so, my hope is that that -- the technological solution we haven't fully explored the potential there. i'd also ask admiral rogers to comment as well. >> encryption is foundational to the future and anyone who thinks we're just going to walk away from that i think is totally unrealistic. the challenge becomes to me given that premise that encryptional is foundational to the future, what's the best way for us to meet both of these imperatives. to ensure the privacy and the rights of our citizens and to ensure their protection and
safety. both are incredibly both to us as a nation. the challenge that i've seen in the discussion to date is from mike rogers' perspective, we're spending a lot of time talking about what we can't do and i keep thinking to myself. we are the most innovative, technologically advanced nation in the world. let's start thinking about what can we do. and let's start trying to figure out how are we going to make this work. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director clapper, thank you very much for noting -- well, first of all, for your service, and to all of you on the panel. thank you for noting that the drug threat is ever growing in our country and that while interdiction and enforcement are very important challenges to us, i suspect that we are not putting very many resources into the prevention side of the drug equation. that's just a comment. moving on, as north korea continues its nuclear weapons and missile programs, do you
assess that locating missile defense systems closer to north korea or locating another carrier, say, in japan could provide greater deterrence against north korean aggression? and i welcome comments from lieutenant general stewart and anyone else on the panel who would like to comment. >> well, that's a policy call. and -- but having said that, i think -- i think it would. i think even the discussion about missile defense has -- certainly gets the chinese attention. they would prefer that, you know, thad, for example, not be deployed. but the north koreans are making it is hard i think for the chinese to sustain that position. so, to the extent that there are force displays, force presence, missile defense, i think that
could possibly have a deterrent effect on the north koreans, but it could also incite them to do more. >> and with kim jong-il it's hard to tell which way he that's just an editorial comment. in your statement, you note that we will monitor compliance with china's september 2015 commitment to refrain from conducting or knowingly supportisupport ing cyber theft with the intent of an advantage to companies of kmshl sectors. private security experts have identified limited ongoing cyber activity from china but have not verified state sponsorship or the use of exfiltrated data for commercial gain. so understand that there's much that we can't discuss in this open forum. help me understand the
u.s.-china cyber agreement is helpful when we can't effectively monitor compliance. >> i think admiral rogers to k back me up here, but i think there has been a decline, but i this we're going going to have to have more time to assess to at least state sponsor the cyber actors that are in control of the state have actually reduced their activity or they were told don't get caught. and i think what we're going to need some more time to assess that. there's also the challenge of determining whether per the agreement that any information that was per loined is used for economic advantage. i would agree and i don't think there's any doubt we have been able to showcases where that was the case. i think that's what led to the
desire to say this behavior is not acceptable and we have to work our way through this because the status quo, the use of the powers of the state to generate economic advantage through cyber is not acceptable to us. that's what drove the discussions in september and as the dni has said, our view to date as we have seen some lessening in activity, but we're not yet prepared to say that's result of a policy choice on part of our chinese counterparts. >> because it's so hard to determine atricks in the cyber threat arena, do you believe we'll ever be able to e resolve this dilemma and ask you gentlemen to respond. and general would you care to comment on my first question regarding the assessment question that i had. >> i u think north korea has a number of objectives generating strength against its allies. the second is to deter u.s. actions if they take unilateral
actions on the korean peninsula. and third, among the objectives is to separate the u.s. from its south korean ally. so the things we can do that will show that we still have strengths, that we will not be deterred and not be separated from our ally will be very beneficial. however, kim jong-un is unpredictable. therefore, i think we should do owl those things to maintain our relationship, show strength, show we can't be deterred for taking action, but he's still an unpredictable wild card that none of us know how to e react. . >> some of our force structure would have an impact on china, which is a more reasonable actor. could the other two gentlemen answer briefly? >> you never have perfect knowledge. the historic have been able to put together a a fairly good
picture. i'm not going to argue it's per affordable care act. i'm the first to acknowledge it's getting harder, not easier, because they are spending a lot of time trying to hurt or diminish our ability for specific activity for specific actors. >> did you want to add to that? >> no. >> it's going to be a challenge. >> the correct answer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me start with thanking all of you for your service and equally important the thousands of men and women who work to keep our country safe. let me just say the outset the fact that we have the offices at cia, ngo, nga and a series of other entities and director comby make ths the right decisi
but i hope you know we give you the credit and we don't get the credit that they u deserve. director clapper, a couple questions tr you. first of all, i want to commend you in terms of your testimony today. and the recognition that talking about encryption and i want to come back to that in a moment. we need to forward leaning thinking about the things and artificial intelligence and the fact of the matter of the foreign data science is moving ahead rapid ly and tools and challenges, this genie is out of the bottle. i commend the comments.
people who want to relitigate the origination of encryption, that issue is behind us. i think it's appropriate to point out that when we are threatened in terms of intellectual capital, other kinds of intrusions, encryption and i appreciate the comments as both an asset and potentially a liability. i fear that sometimes we have focused just on this piece rather than the whole encompassing issue around digital security. and admiral rogers, i want to give you kudos for this notion around innovation. and my concern is sometimes with all of these competing interests with nationalsbkr security intes with security interest with civil liberty securities with american business, i'm not sure
all of these competing interests have actually all come together in a thoughtful reflective way to try to challenge folks around american innovation about how we get this back. there needs to be a a real debate between all of these communities. the information security specialists, law enforcement, intel, advocates for privacy and civil liberties. if e we had such thoughtful approach, would that be a value to this debate which has proved to be quite contentious. >> it certainly would. i think you named most of the key constituencies here. there are many countervailing interests. there's the pull of the needs for national security and law enforcement that you have heard. there are the privacy and civil liberty concerns and simple
security. so there's a myriad of interests here that at play. and we have certainlrgf/ tried sort our way through all those competing equities. it's a complex issue as you've heard from discussions transp e transpired so far. >> as somebody who spent 25 plus years in the tell con industry, i don't think it's totally equivalent. the notion of a top down solution, which might give us a static solution for a short period of time, but this is going to be a a constantly e evolving challenge. and the response is going to need to be flexible and constantly transitioning. as you lay out some of the challenges, we're talking about a piece here on encryption.
it's a much broader issue and we have laid out some of the buckets that have to be part of this conversation. my time is running out. i just want to add a subject that the chair and the vice chair have been very helpful as we think about on overhead on our satellite issues. one kpan is kpan is going to go to 250 this year. director clapper, would you spend a a moment in terms of how commercial is going to fit in with our overhead needs. >> i think commercial imagery have been a huge component of it as i served right after 9/11. as a crucial part of our overall u architecture.
if they have a product or service they can use, we should take advantage of that from the standpoint of additional coverage, what is it with can unload from our complex, which i think we'll always have a need for. and also importantly for resilien resiliency. but i don't think is a good thing is if they become dependent upon the government and so we have to find the balance there. and that's why i would like to make a change in the architectural responsibility so that that is accounted for in the totality of our overhead consolation. >> the people you work with and
the people that work for us, thank you for what you do, i'm going to mention a couple questions. i'm not going to ask one for the record. but you mentioned your leadership at nga, the spatial efforts we have. i have been spending a lot of time with the director in those discussions we have been talking about the workforce of the future. and so one thing i'm going to ask in a question for all of you that we don't have time to ask today is with engineering with technology, with science, with math, are we doing the kinds of things we need to do and what can we do earlier to identify people we want to get on that track of being able to do these jobs in the ic community generally and admiral rogers in your field specifically. some information on that would be helpful. i'm also going to not ask a question -- i will ask that question for the record. i want to ask about robert levenson. that's probably more appropriately asked in a closed
setting. i'll be doing that later, but in that regard, i am concerned that the transfer of money occurred when it did. the supposed $400 million from a past military sale that we had had happen to be given back just coincidentally the same time those three hostages, as i see them, were released. this is money, by the way, that the congress in 2000 said had to go to victims of iranian-backed terror and it all did. so this is clearly giving the money away twice. this is like the meeting of the church where we have a real problem, we have $1,000 deficit, what should we do and somebody says let's give half to the pta and half of it to the girl scouts. this money was gone. but it was excused to do the right thing in the wrong way. what i want to ask you is you've
said secretary kerry said in the last few days that undoubtedly some of the money returned to iran would go to terrorist groups. you verified again today that you see no real change in behavior in this number one sponsor of terror in the world. are we doing any analysis and anybody that wants to answer this can. what do we think happens when suddenly iran gets $100 billion or half of that? maybe they get $50 billion. what do we think happens in places where not very much money can drive a lot of bad activity. $400 million in yemen can make lots of bad things happen. are we evaluating what happens when hezbollah, when the taliban get this new infusion of money that i think everybody understands they are about to
get. >> senator, a little constrained on what can be said about this publicly, but we are watching to the best of our ability the unsight we have on actually where this money is going. most of it so far has been taken up with what i would call do outs, loans and other needs that it iran has. and those fall mainly in the economic arena. they need to recapitalize their oil infrastructure, which is deteriorated if they are going to do something with that. they have a lot of obligations and debts that they need to pay. so the actual -- we can go into this in more detail, which has actually flowed to the force has
not been very much. bear in mind, even during the period of heavy sanctions, the forts, the republican guards and specifically were funded and the iranians found a way to sustain them. they themselves have business interests by which they generate their own income. >> i think that last point is the best point. even when iran didn't have whatever amount of this money they get, say they get a tenth of the purported $100 billion even when they didn't have money, they were able to fund terrorism. i think as whatever percentage of that money comes back to them, the argument we sometimes hear that schools and hospitals and pay debts, they could have done all those things before they got this money as well and they still found money to finance terror efforts all over the neighborhood that they are
in and outside that neighborhood. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator cotten? >> let me associate myself with the comments of so many members in thanking you not only for your service and your many years of long service, the service for the men and women that you represent. director brennan, you stated earlier we have not seen as much violence, instability and conflict in the middle east in the time period was your lifetime. >> i think i said 50 years, which is less than my lifetime. >> why do you think that is? what are the key drivers causing all that? >> i think it's been five years now since the arab spring started to take route, which had a very traumatic impact on governments throughout the region. and the street became alive and al qaeda and terrorist
organizations did not trigger that, but they have taken full advantage of it. and so the instability that we see in libya and yemen and syria certainly was an outgrowth of the arab spring and the turnover in governments in libya and yemen and so this is pitting individuals from different areas of the country of ethnic backgrounds that might be different than the governments. there's sectarian tensions that are playing out. all these things that were repressed because of the governments that were in power for many years, and once their control was shaken, i think it has a popular reaction that now is finding expression in basically civil war, sectarian conflict and challenges against the government. a lot of these governments do not have the political institutions nor the ability to address the many, many challenges, political, economic and social in the region.
finally, as e we well know, a lot of these countries were carved out of previous colonial realms and were watpatchworks o people and various backgrounds that now are finding ways to fight among themselves. >> thank you. director comby, i want to address electronic communication transaction records. i have introduced legislation to rectify a problem commonly known as the ectr fix. the legislation would clarify the government can obtain sets of electronic communication transaction records and fix an oversight made in an earlier law. what's your position and what's the position of the fbi on the need for this fix? >> we need it very much. it's actually quite an ordinary fix that it's necessary because what i believe is a typo in the 19 3 statute that has led to some companying interpreting in in a way congress didn't intend. it's ordinary, but it affects our work in a very big and
practical way. . >> would you characterize that as a top legislative priority for the fbi? >> yes. >> thank you. general stewart, i want to turn to north korea's recent nuclear test. the treaty organization has not reported any collection of nuclear particulates. are you of nuclear particulates collected from the test? >> thank you for let iting me participate. i appreciate it. we have not detected any particulat particulates. >> what does that tell us about technology? >> to contain, hide the full
capability and capacity. and i'd like to talk about this some more in closed hearing about both our capability and what we're seeing that they are doing. >> thank you, i believe we'll have a chance to do that soon. director brennan, i want to return in closing to your exchange with senator widen. you mentioned the removal of a c cia document from the shared space in violation of a memorandum of understanding with this committee. has any member of this committee or staffer ever apologized to you for the removal of that document? >> no, senator. >> i believe it was inconsistent with the understanding that we had the common understanding, yes. >> has that document been returned to you? >> i will have to check on that. >> classified information is a very serious matter, right? >> yes. >> thank you.
>> i thank all senators, we're going to have a second round. it's going to start in the same order as the first one. the second round will consistent of one question or two minutes, whichever happens fastest. and it's my intent that we'll be out of here shortly. you were recognized too soon because i have a question for you. i'm not sure it's in the ten questions you'd like to answer. assessing where we are today in iraq, share with me what iraq looks like at the end of this year as it relates to being different, if at all. >> the kurds in northern iraq solidify their positions. they probably won't move any if further south because it's not in their interest to move south.
the militia moving out west just a bit. we can sol vat our gains in roma day. the sunni forces and iraqi forces consolidate gains and begin the movement to secure the quarters moving from heat up to possibly begin the isolation effort around mosul, but in the western part of iraq, i'm not optimistic we have done much to move isil forces out of that region. >> mosul will change hands in this calendar year? >> i am not betting on that, senator. >> i think it will be difficult to both isolate and conduct a clear operation that would look like a securing of mosul this
year. >> director comby, i want to thank you. you really are a man of principle and you stand up for what you believe. it's very much appreciated. last year i think some of us zeed a report from 2015 that showed that individuals on the fbi terrorist watch list attempted over a ten-year period to buy a gun or explosive over 2,000 times. could you describe the standard used by the fbi to make sure that only individuals who pose a threat to national security are based on the terrorist screening database? >> i'll try and do it briefly. there's an extensive process to vet the information around an individual to see if their meet our threshold. there's reasonable basis to believe they are involved in terrorist activity to then put
them on the wash list. >> can you describe here the safeguards to ensure that the fbi minimizes false positives. making sure innocent americans aren't placed on the database. they have driven redress procedures so there's a process through which they can challenge that. >> thank you. >> mr. brenen, i want to go back to afghanistan for a minute. talk a little bit about al qaeda's presence in the country. and whether it's increasing and isil's influence in the country. and how u probable is the
emergence of an isil stronghold in afghanistan? >> al qaeda is probably about 100 or so, somewhere in that area, of al qaeda members in afghanistan. the leader there have married up with some of the other militant organizations in the area including the taliban. so they continue to apply their trade on the ground inside of afghanistan. but we're concerned that al qaeda can regenerate in that afghan border are region, which is why we need to maintain the intelligence collection as well as working with our afghan partners. isil has been able to take advantage of some elements within the taliban have that have been disenchanted with the organization. so isil is seen as a threat certainly by afghan officials when i have traveled over to afghanistan just two months ago. it was one of the real concerns they had that isil is planting the flag in different parts of
afghanistan and they are now seen as a competitor to some of the existing militant and terrorist organizations there. >> stop there. how do you assess that? not the methodology, but in a vernacular, how big a deal is that? >> it's a concern, isil probably has several hundred members inside of afghanistan, i would estimate. it is distributed. they have had some setbacks there as they have gone up against some of the other militant o organizations, but it's a concern. just like we see these various franchises growing in places like indonesia or nigeria, somalia, libya, we see the same thing in south asia. >> some time ago, we did a four corners intelligence trip and went to afghanistan. i had the privilege of spending time with women parliamentarians
and ifrs was amazed at their strength and the taliban was not going to come back. now as i watch the developments happening there, the worry goes up and up and up and you see the these terrible things being done to women again and also school children who happen to be girls. and i wonder whether we can make sufficient progress in the next decade or so. do you have any assessment on that? >> as you point out, i think the afghan people are very resilient people and there have been thousands of afghans who have given their lives for the future of their country. that's why we want to work closely with them. their military organizations are there. they face a host of challenges. foreign assistance is critically important to the military front as well as the economic side. but the president and ceo need
to make sure their u government is able to address concerns. but as you point out, some of the afghan people are some of the bravest people we have worked with. >> as the vice chair has worked five questions sbo the one-question round, i don't question the strength of women, i can assure you of that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will not incur the wrath of the chairman and stick to one. and director clapper, i wanted to ask you about encryption. i'm not sure you're familiar with the report, maybe you already got it, brand new. written by an independent group and it's on encryption and the title is "don't panic." and matt olsen, who we have enormous respect for, was very involved, former director of counterterrorism center. i'm struck by this because i think when you get into the nuts and bolts of it, obviously, encryption is available all around the world. often very cheaply. the basic thesis in this report is that with wireless
connectivity and sensors and the like there are going to be more opportunities to prevent our country from going dark. my question to you would be because of matt olsen's involvement and the experts involved in it this, i would like to have your team take a look at this report. and give us an analysis within an agreed upon time, maybe 60 days. i would like an unclassified version. it if it had had a classified annex, that would be fine. would that be something you could agree today? i think this is really a breakthrough report in my view given the cross section of experts involved. . is that something you could do for us? >> sure, we'll do that. >> thank you very much. >> senator? >> one quick comment and one question. >> there's been a lot of praise. i'd like to join you on that.
the more i read, the more i appreciate washington. not for necessarily the war and the presiding over the constitutional convention, but his role as the first president establishing precedence and sort of how this enterprise would function. i realize you're not the first director of national intelligence, but i think by your tenure and your character and intelligence and your experience you have served a similar function in establishing how this entity should operate and will operate in the future. for that i want to profoundly compliment and thank you. i think you have helped to create an institution that will serve this country well for some period of time. that's my comment. my question is a very broad one, and i don't think it's one we can answer here today. you comment in your report that sunni violent extremism has been on an upward trajectory since
the '70s. more safe havens than any time in history. we have killed 20,000 members of isis and yet we now know more than 36,000 fighters have gone to join isis. the point is we're dealing with a high dra where we cut off one head and two grow back. i wonder if it isn't time to stop and say what should -- do we need a new strategy? other than trying to kill our enemies as they arise. thinking of george kennen and the strategy of containment, not saying that's the right strategy, but there was a comprehensive strategy rather than an ad hoc dealing with each individual attack or crisis. i would just suggest it seems this would be a role maybe at the end of this administration or the begin pg of the next administration to think how do we deal with sunni extremism and how do we develop a strategy that involves other countries
that can get at the roots instead of the tactics. your thoughts? >> senator, i think you hit on a very important point. by the time you get into our business where we're trying to track down terrorists who are bent on doing harm to us it's way late. . what really needs to be focused on are what are the fundamental systemic conditions that give rise to this. and you can kind of rattle off ungoverned spaces, a population bulge of young unemployed and frustrated males to whom such propaganda appeals. what has to be gotten at fundamentally while we're doing
our thing of collecting intelligence and taking people off the battlefield is what are the root causes that gives rise to this phenomenon of extreme jihadism. >> thank you. i hope we can continue. >> senator cotton? >> one question or two minutes, whichever is longer? >> whichever comes first. >> can i take the vice chair within. >> you get no sympathy from me. >> i'll address briefly section 702 which expires if i'm not mistaken at the end of next year. 702 authorizes the government to target nonu.s. persons reasonably believed to be outside the u.s. for purposes of acquiring for intelligence information. i believe section 702 is a vital
national security can tool. it's constitutional as multiple layers of oversight. . 2012 clapper wrote to congress requesting authorization of title 7, which would include 702. do you believe that congress should pass reauthorization of 702? >> i believe we need to continue 702. >> thank you. i converted questions into a speech and then asked if you agreed with my speech. >> i will follow up the line of questioning just to say this. that the committee will take up 702 very quickly u not to the standpoint of the legislation, but the preparation we need to do in educating in having admiral rogers bring us up to speed on the usefulness and any tweaks that might have to be made, but i dare say this is something that director clapper
has said before. we cannot do without this. this is absolutely crucial. it's been at the center piece of a lot of things. if i could before we end go back to encryption since it was brought up. i have had r more district attorneys come to me than i have the individuals at this table. the district attorneys have come to me because they are beginning to get to a situation where they can't prosecute cases. and it ranges from new york to a rural town of 2,000 in north carolina. it's something we need to take seriously. one of the responsibilities of this committee is to make sure those of you at the table and those that complete the compliment of our intelligence community have the tools through
how we authorize that you need. the traditional tools i see no different than i look at encryption and say we need to provide a tool for you to have the access to that information when the courts give you permission to do it. i could careless how that's accomplished. it is, i think, the priority and i think i can speak for the vice chairman that this be voluntary. but if, in fact, it's not something we can achieve the balance onóbxñ voluntarily, the feel like it's the committee's responsibility to pursue it in any fashion we can. i won't commit the committee to do it to pursue that. i think it's invaluable in the future. i fear that this is not the toughest dgs we're going to make based upon what technology might
impact the world we're in. . the american people expect us this year to exceed 72 individuals that you incarcerate before they commit a a lone wolf event. you're on track to probably do that and based upon intent. i'm not sure that we can turn around and say we only got 11 of them because we couldn't see inside the communications of the other 60 some and, america, you're out of luck. you won't stand for it. the american people won't stand for it. so i hope we're working with the administration and hopefully we can we can all work towards the same end goal. at any given point in time everybody at the table workforce
has been challenged to work 24/7 to address events that happened over the worst times, i might say, over the holidays. i can't imagine what the bureau was going through. trying to track down the threat streams. and i don't think anybody had a real comfortable holiday season, but we got through it without an event. i don't think many of us bet would have been the outcome, but we did. now we're focused on tomorrow, not yesterday. my hope is that we will continue to do and to do it successfully and with that i will tell you how much we look forward to seeing all of you again on thursday and this hearing is adjourned.
you can watch tonight's primary results live on c-span at 8:00 eastern. you'll see candidate reaction and we'll hear from you, the viewer, through facebook, twitter and your phone calls. i'm currently on the fence between hillary and bernie. and the most important issue to me in this election is education, i'm an high school teacher and an elementary school teacher. i want to know where their stance is on the common core and what they want to do with that. >> what's most important to me is our national debt. it's going to affect us teens and what i find most important is not who you're voting for, because i'm not endorsing anyone. i want you to get out to your polls and use your voice, your vote is your voice, use it. >> my number one issue in this campaign is getting big money out of politics. citizens united needs to be
overturned. until we address that in our politics, everything else is going to keep getting worse and worse, a very small number of people are making decisions about what comes before the rest of the population. for that reason i'm supporting bernie sanders. >> i believe it's every american citizen's duty to politically active and to vote in elections. as a first-time voter i'm trying to figure out what i like. i'm bouncing from candidate to candidate. campaign to campaign. events and i'm here at marco rubio's pancake breakfast. i believe there's a candidate for everyone. and i'm really excited to find out who i like and who i'll vote for. president obama addressed reporters following a meeting with national security and cyber security officials. the president highlighted how his budget release will approach security issues and the administration's plans to combat cyber threats. he spoke for just under ten
minutes. >> everybody all set? we made a lot of progress on our economy, unemployment is down, deficits are down, gas prices are down, job creation, wages, the rate of americans with health coverage are all up. so as i said at the state of the union, america is as strongly positioned as any country on earth to take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st century. what we're aware of is we have a lot of work to do. not only to try to maintain momentum, but to go all the some of the structural issues and problems that may be. impeding people from making progress and getting opportunity and living the kind of lives for themselves ask their children that we all want for every american. the budget that we're releasing
today reflects my priorities. and the priorities that i believe will help advance security and prosper itty in america for many years to come. these are proposals reflected in the budget that work for us and not against us. it adheres to the budget agreement, drives down the receive it, includes smart savings on health care, immigration, tax reform. it also invests in security for americans through education and training, new ideas for retirement savings and unemployment insurance and it invests in innovation harnessing tech following to tackle climate change through clean energy and transportation as well as the initiative that joe biden to make sure we're going after cancer in an aggressive way.
it strengthens our national security by increasing defense spending and advancing our global leadership through diplomacy and through development. more and more, keeping america safe is not just a matter of more tanks, more aircraft carriers and bolstering security on the ground. it requires us to bolster our security online. as we have seen in the past few years and just in the past few days, cyber threats pose a danger to our financial security and the privacy of millions of americans. so i have u joined with leaders from across my administration over the last several months plan on how we're going to go after this in a more aggressive way. today we're rolling out a new cyber security national action plan or to address short-term
and long-term challenges when it comes to cyber security. my budget includes more than $19 billion for cyber security, and with this plan we intend to modernize i.t. by retiring outdated systems vulnerable to attack. i just want to say as an aside here. one of the biggest gaps between the public sector and private sector is many in our i.t. space and it makes everybody's information vulnerable. our social security system still runs on a platform that dates back to the '60s. our irs systems are archaic as with a whole host of other agencies that are consistently collecting data on every american. if we're going to secure those in a serious way, we need to upgrade them. that is something that we should all be able to agree on.
this is not an ideological issue. it doesn't matter who is president. if you have broken, old systems, computers, mainframes, software that doesn't work anymore, then you can keep on putting patches on it, but it's not going to make it safe. we have 400 people in the social securityar administration whos soul job is to continually deal with this ancient software because it's consistently breaking down or insecure. we have software where the operator does not exist anymore. and yet we're expected to provide the kinds of service, security and privacy to americans base d on these leaky systems. so that's going to have to change. we're also going to reform the way the government manages and responds to cyber threats. we'll invest in cyber security
education, we're going to build on the work we have done to recruit the best in i.t. and cyber security. we're also going to create the first ever federal chief information security officer, who can oversee these activities across agencies and across the federal government as well as make sure that the federal government is interacting more effectively with the private sector, which contains a huge amount of vital, critical infrastructure and has to be protected. we're going to make sure that security also means privacy. so with the help of companies like google, facebook, microsoft and visa, we're going to empower americans to be able to help themselves and make sure that they are safe online with an extra layer of security like a fingerprint or code sent to your cell phone. finally, i'm going to establish a new commission on cyber security to help us gather the best ideas from outside of
government to focus on long-term solutions. some of these issues are ones that we can solve relatively quickly, but in an area where technology is constantly evolving, we have to make sure that we're setting up a long-term plan anticipating where i.t. is going and anticipating where the cyber security threats are going to be. we're beginning to appoint a broad bipartisan group of top business, strategic and technical thinkers and i look forward to receiving their report by the end of this year to help guide not just my administration but future administrations in how to think about this it problem. government does not have all the answers when it comes to this area. because of the explosion of the internet and its utilization by almost every person on the planet now, we're going to have to play some catch up.
but this action plan that we put forward is a critical and vital start. it builds on the fine work that's been done and the lessons that have been learned by many agencies over the course of the last several years. some of the best practices that we have been able to establish it builds on the u.s. digital team of top silicon valley engineers we have been able to recruit to work in various agencies where they have some problems that have cropped up. but if we are able to execute this in an effective way and if congress provides us the support to make this happen, and they should, i spoke to the speaker directly about this and indicated this is an important bipartisan effort we should all be concern canned about, if we do this right, not only are we going to be able to make government safer and securer, the data that's collected and
help individual families and businesses to protect those things that are most important to them and to realize their full potential in the digital age. i want to thank all the agencies represented here. the last point i will make is that i'm going to be holding feet to the fire to make sure they execute on this in a timely fashion. all right? thank you, everybody. thank you, guys. appreciate it. the director of national intelligence james clapper says that russia's aggressive military intervention in caukrae u and other moves could put moscow and the u.s. into another cold war like spiral. he told the senate armed services committee that russia's actions are intended to demonstrate that moscow is a
super power co-equal to the united states. this hearing is about two hours. >> good morning, the senate armed services committee meets to discuss the 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 chal. in afghanistan the political and security environments remain challenging. increasing their operational tempo especially in rural areas. also isil affiliate has entered the battlefield in the so-called islamic state in the corazon prove vens. all the while remnants of al qaeda seek to add in. pushing other bad actors including the pakistan taliban and haqqani network into afghanistan. i look forward to the assessment of our witnesses of these security challenges for the coming year and the prospects of 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 regional 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 force once isil is removed from mosul, iraq and the surrounding areas. how will iran seek to advance its interests in iraq. how will turkey respond to the threat posed by isil. and will the partners across the gulf unify their efforts in syria and how will isil react within iraq and syria and transregionally as it is put under increasing pressure. questions our military forces must factor into their planning efforts in order to assure the success of our campaigns and i look forward to your assessment. the past year has seen substantial changes with the international community's relationship with iran.
the p-5 plus one has halted and rolled back dangerous elements of the nuclear program and placed it under a regime ever assembled. but i hope you will provide us with your assessment of the likely hood of iran complying. while the jcpoa made inroads to the nuclear program but iran has also returned to the economic community. it provides an adversary with additional resources they may use to support its proxies in syria, lebanon, yemen and other locations in the gulf. iran may choose to use the additional resources to advance its missile program. the decisions will be a key metric as we evaluate how to array our forces across the gulf and what assistance our partners across the region will require to confront iran. i would welcome your assessment of the current path to counter iran's proxies and unconventional forces and where the committee should consider
additional investments to better support the partner requirements. russia's posturing and increasing aggressive acts in the middle east are something we must continue to monitor and contain and counter. the president's decision to increase funding for the european reassurance inititev is a critical step. we must keep an eye on the puten regime. russia's syrian campaign has for the moment eclipsed its aggression in the crimea and the ukraine as the most serious flash point in u.s./russian relations. while simultaneously running an information operation s campaig to suggest that its military operations are foe kuls cused a the islamic state. its actions in syria are being played out in daily headlines about indiscriminate bombs where
moderate forces are trying to get out from under the rule of the regime. 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 merchandise and present danger to global security. the regime conducted a rocket launch just a few days ago in violation of multiple u.n. security council resolutions. while china could exert pressure on north korea through economic sanctions to encourage the regime to desist, the shia administration prefers to remain on good terms with the north korea regime putting the entire region at risk. without china's cooperation it's clearly that north korea will continue to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. chinan't coulds to invest aggressively itself in its militaries to deny access to others. china's continuing its aggressive efforts to solidify
its claim to the south china sea despite the protest of its sovereign neighbors. it's critical we enhance our partnership with others across the region to bring china into the rule of war based on global regime that will guarantee piece and prosperity across the region. it's also critical that we use all of the nation's tools to continue to assure china's continued theft of our intellectual property will be put to a halt. i look forward to your views. and an area of equal concern is the threats and opportunities presented by cyberspace. from a military standpoint our forces remain dependent on our ability to collect intelligence, conduct defensive cyberoperatations to protect our networks and our intellectual property and as appropriate to counter with offensive cyb cyber operations including
always versa adversaries who use the internet for propaganda and command and control. again, let me thank you for your service and i look forward to your testimony. >> director clapper. >> chairman mccain, ranking member reid and distinguished members of the committee, first, thank you both for your acknowledgement of my service. it was last week marked 55 years since i enlisted in the marine corps reserve. very proud of that. proud to be sitting next to one. >> an inauspicious beginning. >> i also, chairman mccain, would want to thank you for your acknowledgement 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 is 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. 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, unpredictability instatemebilii become the new normal. violent extremeists are active n several countries. 14 face regime threatening 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 now some 60 million people who are considered displaced globally. extreme weather, climate change, and environmental degradation, rising demand for food and water, poor policy decisions and inadequate infrastructure will magnify this instability. infectious diseases and vulnerabilities in the global supply chain for medical countermeasures will 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 an even more significant impact on our way of life. this innovation is central to our economic prosperity, but it will bring new security vulnerabilities. the internet of things will
connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited. artificial intelligence will enable computers to make 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 nonstate actor isil displays unprecedented online proficiency. cyber criminals remain the most pervasive cyber threat to the u.s. financial sector.
they use cyber to conduct theft and extortion and other criminal activities. turning to terrorism there are now more sunni violent extremist groups and members and safe havens than at any time in history. the rate of foreign fighters traveling to the conflict zones of syria and iraq in the past few years is without precedent. at least 38,200 foreign fighters including at least 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 attacks returning for fighters with first hand battlefield experience pose a dangerous operational threat. isil has demonstrated sophisticated attack tactics and trade craft. 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