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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  February 18, 2016 11:16am-1:17pm EST

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let me start with this. i want to kind of follow-up with what mr. cicilline said. he asked about saudi arabia's contributions on a humanitarian level.in s in fighting against isis, isil, in syria, et cetera, i'm concerned about -- because a lot of this is sunni, shiia and what the arab states and what the sunnis and in particular in saudi arabia are doing on the military level. you know, on the ground. some io are they -- initially they sent out a jet, et cetera.ution t whether they're still fighting. what are they doing or what are the contributions that they're making on the military level in regards to this fight? and ao how does thatw play int equation? >> so it's something that secretary carter has discussed quite a bit publicly. he's discussing in brussels today with air our partners. most of the gccc states were with us. and jordan has w -- they have o
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renewed their air strikes in syria which we're grateful for. codiscus dids are about to do that. saudi arabia isit focused on thc conflict in yemen of course.ular this something we've discussed f with them quite a bit. so we're constantly engaged witr them about what the particular role can be. i don't want to get ahead of the process, but that's something that secretary carter is discussing with the defense ministers in brussels today. including mohammed bin salaam from saudi arabia. we need to be fully invested in this fight. not just military as was pen --e mentioned earlier it's the at humanitarian and thehe stabilization side.ared in iraq now, as i mentioned these are iconic sunni cities that have been cleared of isil and we want to return the w population to get back on their feet. the eternally displaced in iraq most of them are sunni, 70% of them are women and girls and they need help.re
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and so on the humanitarian, on the stabilization side that's something that we're hopeful can step up in a fairly aggressive way.he irr because we have the heo program place, we have the support of the government in place. but it's an issue of the resources. g is one thing that's really hampered this quite a bit is just the collapsing price of oil. which i can go into some detail. iraq is nowar facing a monthly r about $5 billion financing gap. they're producing more oil than they have in some time. over 4 million barrels a day. when i was working on iraq full-time five years ago that would have been imaginable. that's because of the decisions that the iraqi government has made and decisions we have made with them and that's a real testament to the progress, but the falling price of it has just greatly impacted their budget situation.ess.he fa oil hatly'si it's depleted the resources we had hoped to have had to deal with the humanitarian problems. so that is somethingngr , i
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congressman we're hopeful can contribute. >> i was surprised at a a recent statement that saudi arabia made, saying if the united states put troops on the groun aney would be right behind us militarily. i wass on wondering why, you knr that it has to be as you said ha something to be -- if anybody is going to be on the ground, it doesn't look like we are tates occupying anyone again. whether and those from the arab league, not the united states of america. when i heard that and statement was wondering whether or not they had been further engaged ii militarily or not and whether they have shown -- iso know abor yemen. but have they shown -- but isil is still a threat to them also.t so whether they're willing to step up. same thing to some regards with an may ey in what they may or may not be t doing. let me ask you this question, what they may or may not be doing militarily also in regards to the fight with isil. what about turkey? >> well, turkey is a part of this process, a very intense negotiatione t and an agreement
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with them to basically put planes after insur lick air base also grateful for the oreign greements we have reached with turkey. and they worked to seal that border, it's much harder for these foreign fighters to get into syria than it was un -- until then. turkey is caring for 2.1 million refugees from syria, spending almost $8 billion. something that people forget about. so turkey is doing a lot here. militarily, they were doing some very important air strikes in north of the country. right now, we're working with them to get them back into the campaign but we're doing that very carefully. because the conflict with -- not conflict but the tension between turkey and russia after turkey shot down a russian plane after the russian plane violated turkey's air space kind of
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complicated the picture. that's something we're working with turkey on. but we're comfortable with roha turkey's contributions. they're a critical nato allyb o ours so we'll work with them. >> thank you. out of time. >> thank you. mr. dana rohrabacher of california. >> thank you for your service, mr. ambassador, and tioned of when you mentioned in the beginning of your testimony that abu seeoff s left this world with our help, was that the same abu sayoff or another one? >> no, he was a legacy in iraq, acolyte. >> he was not the financier -- >> not to my knowledge. >> how many fighters do we ha have -- how many people are
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fighting assad? the number of fighters that are there and i guess aleppo and g that region?i >> i can't put a number on aleppo. you know, the upper most mod -- you know, our moderate -- the uppermost estimate is 70,000 fighters but antit in hundreds of different groups. to bring coherence to that is difficult. >> and are there any of those anti-assad fighterfightithis f fighting isil at this point? >> well, yes. and theairstri before the russi strike campaign, we felt pretty good about some -- the word i go it is coherence and capacity that we were gaining along that line which is on the map which i projected. but since then a lot of those guys have peeled off from the isil fight to fight the regime which isisreg lpful t -- which is not helpfulu
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to the isil campaign. >> well, let us just note that this administration has told us beforeat ther ess w that there will be no stability unless we get rid of so and so. and in fact, the opposite has been true.a in in libya in particular which you outlined today is being a catastrophe. until w we were told by -- and almost the same words that you have used today, there's never going to be any peace there until we gadh gadhafi and in fact, that's why we have to helpo the non-gadhafi forces and now we have testimony of course that isil is on the verge of taking over libya. let me note thatee i didn't see assad as ever a threat. rrorisad ever a threat to the united ststates? >> well, assad has given sustenance to hezbollah and terrorist groups for a number of years. he's a threat to some of our closest partners in the region.
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>> assad was never a threat to the united states. you know, frankly, we republicans made a mistake when we backed our presidentmisted o said we have to get rid of saddam hussein. and frankly, it looks like to me that all of this chaosa and stae confusion that you're describing today that unfortunately is in your lap to try to correct ve started when we made a mistake, that we have to get rid of saddam hussein because he's a guy and he's committing atrocities against his own ing people. destabilized the whole region and led to many thousands more of people being killed. i would think franklyoksad fro distance it looks like assad is in that same type ofha fighting assad is the same type of situation. let me ask, how many of the isil fighters are foreigners? meaning from other areas, rather than syria and iraq.
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>> total firm of foreign fighters have come into the deca theater are above 30,000, but many of them as i mentioned in my opening it's been decreased quite a bit. ow i pro foreign fighters fight with isil now, i'd probably putw it in the number of -- i think the most recent estimates of 15,000 or so. en i >> 15,000. how many come from places like chechnya? >> abat lot. in fact, one example when i was in iraq mos recently with the b refinery, and we were picking up mostly the fighters, our guys -- they were speaking russian. >> so we have all of these thousands ofical radical islami terrorist fighters andfi who con fromd russia and chechnya and m the russians maybe have somethingporto -- maybe even mo important for them to be involved than us to be involved. have hp. because they have had exact ay
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fighters from their country. i don't believe there are any americans over there with that terrorist group. let me just say the idea that s the turkish -- you don't know that -- that we don't know where those trucks are going and who's purchasing that fuel is russceptable. let me just say that before thei russians started bombing those trucks which then ignited this outrage from turkey that before they did, this body, this committeedence, saw evidence da after day after day of trucks loaded with fuel, thus needing supplies and money and wealth that would go into isil, were just not touched. they were -- how many -- how much evidence, mr. chairman, do we have? overwhelming evidence that our -- that this administration once stoing a thing about it. and once the russians started, then we did.th
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i think that this idea that --e >> well,th if i could just corrt the record since you raised the point, i think once the french at after it was the french fer t the attack in paris attributabl, to the french force, they made r the decision to hit on the open high waives. >> the russians weret for u doi and you never know who the russians are hitting, that's their business. they haven't been able to outline it for us. i would say this.peopl to t tune that people who are a threat to the united states of america, to our people, the terrorist network from around the world, we should be working closely with anyone like that whoho is d a threat to us and whether or not theyey oppress their own ga people, i'm sorry, we didn't like saddam hussein and look what we dids a n to the world bt
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getting rid of him and gadhafi, and there are a number of cases like this. our question shouldn't be how should we get rid of assad and g spending resources and attention on that. our vision should be how do we get rid of isil and the radicale islamists who will terrorize ush and kill us and the rest of the world. >> thank you. i go to mr. connolly of virginia. >> thank you. i want to concur with my friend from california in his critique of tiqby the mistake by republin supporting the reckless foreign policy of george w. bush. certainly want to associate ti myself with thoseque remarks. >> absolutely. >> i will point out though that some of the current critique like libya, it would be fun to t replay video of my colleagues who criticized president obama for not being more involved in libya at the time. for being too reluctant, for not taking the lead and being at the forefront of the revolution
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an gadhafi. ra and now we're bemoaning the fact that stability was a victim as well as the gadhafi regime. so that was then, this is now. welcome, ambassador mcgurk. li let me start with russia, one of favorite topics of my friend rned california. how concerned are we that russia's air strikes in syria are non-isil focused and that in fact they have targeted either deliberately or just coincidentally non-isil insurgentaga groups that we wer hoping to use as part of the coalition against assad? >> it's a huge problem. and - > could you say that louder, i i couldn't hear you. >> it's a huge problem. soey say they want to fight isil in nusra, but they're hitting groups as i mentioned we're ready to fight isil. sohis, you know, this is where
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we just have to bee honest.osito they're hitting 70% of their air strikes are against the opposition. many of the opposition groups are ready to fight isil. >> so we now have a situation thein sy activity in syria is directly in conflict with western goals?rlappi is is that correct, would that be fair? >> you can't put it in total black and white terms but s they're hitting isil around palmyra. >> given the factrth that o you 70% we don't want to equivocate. >> but the mara line north of aleppo, their air strikes have helpedprotest isil. >> is the united statess prepared to do something about that s on besides a diplomatic protest? >> as i think the secretary said yesterday, i think we have to t focus on the diplomatic process and that's why we'll get together tomorrow in munich, but we have to be thinking ahead in the event that doesn't work. >> yes.
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well -- all right. i think it was frederick the great that said -- w one needs to be bold. i hope diplomaticut protests wo. but we cannot afford to have russia counter -- tell countermandering of our work on the ground in syria and it seems like we need to follow frederick the great's advice. tell me a little bit about the complications of working with the kurds. from my point of view and i think a lot of my colleagues on pro-to fighe committee, the ku pro american.bea they're willing to fight on the ground.d. they have territorial gains. they have actually beaten isil on the battled field more than once. they are critical in looking at
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the looming fight with respect to aleppo.n the but they have got problems withm thepl central government and th have had other problems with some of our allies in the region like turkey.and how complicated is that relationship and what ought to be oto the u.s. posture with ret toining, e training, equipping financing the peshmerga? >> well, i'll start in iraq.r you know, there's vestiges of i whatma used to happen over the under the governor of prime minister --w former foreign s ministeringle maliki in which t relationship was different.he i want to be clear, every single shipment of weapons or supplies that we wanted to send to the centovhas gone. nothing has been held up by the central government under prime minister ba --d ou >> but they're not paying the soldiers. >> well, a lot of people in irae are not getting paid. but what's happening in iraq in terms of the oil allocation, the
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kurds are exporting their oil on their own. and keeping those revenues. they therefore enues getting the revenues from the south which is actually an equitable exchange. but as i mentioned, iraq writ large is focused every month on $5 million funding deficit salari a problem writ large.h pe for the kurdish peshmerga . there's a $400 million monthly gap. peshmerga salaries are about $50 million a month. a so we want to focus on this in e wholistic way.lp the working with the imf, i think our budget requests will have some recommendations for how we might help the iraqis here.aqis. but we want to focus on it wholistically. but the kurds have what they need to fightt. isil.be i i will see president bar sany will be inn munich.ister when i was in iraq last week, at
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senior delegation from the kurd astan regional government was there to meet with prime minister badi. in we want to keep that relationship good. thethe kurds in the north and i they have a lot of political divisions i that encourage them as a close friend of theirs to find a way to resolve. because when the isil wolf was pesthe door, all the kurds were uh- united. especially when the kurdish t peshmerga went through turkey to fight in a historical moment that i was a part of.hat tas littl now that the isil threat has receded a little bit all of ies these divisions have opened up so there's three kurdish parties in the north.e is great political divisions theret divisions between the syrian e n kurds and the kurds in northern iraq. our message to them is that this fight is not over.rder off regio the entire southern border of the iraqi kurdistan region is controlled by isil. as long as that's the case there's not a stable situation there. so our advice isvicunite e thr to unite hile,
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against the threat againstwe is despite all the differences. a lot of differences. meanwhile, we have to help them difficulties ciaties and it's something i look forward to working with this committee to do. >> mr. chairman, i just -- i'm glad to hear that. i think that's essential and i k think we need to be providing o that financial support because they're willing to fight. thank you, mr. chairman.u >> thank you. okay.mi ted poe of texas. ch thank you mr. chairman. isis is deliberately targeting religious minorities specifically christians, christians have been executed by the thousands. clergy has been assassinated. jihadists in mow zulleosu t -- h stamped the n homes of christia with an "n" for nazarene. convert or die to their way of conuredg or you die. christian females were sold in
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slave markets. three of them were feature by rs "the new york times" magazine last summer. isis' magazineomething approves enslavement of christian girls in nigeria and posts the prices of selling them on the opin marketplace and the pope has said this is genocide. i mention these things to get your opinion on this issue ne specifically of genocide.qu the omnibus bill that was passed the president signed requires de t the administrationires determine whether or not religious minorities like christians, shiia muslims, 18. yazidis suffer genocide by the hands of isis, by march the 18th. giveight owha can you give us some insight on whether or not the united states will take the position that what isis does against religious minorities is genocide or not?or
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>> thank you, congressman. and we're focused on answering that legislative request and our lawyers are s deeply -- as youw said, genocide is a very specific term so it's legal at ire's noon.e'rng and we're looking at it, i believe, across the board.ing and there's no question nities everything that you said is true and more. what isil has done to therticuie christian community and minority communities in iraq and syria is unbelievable.liliand on dour an and then on top of it destroying our common heritage, our common culture, our ancient history. d this is why we have to destroy this terrorist organization, period. is and what we want to do, to t particularly in liberating some i' thee areas near mosul is returnm christians to their ancestral homeland. that's something we're focused on.patriaturn
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when i'm in baghdad i try to see thebeen dri patriarch archbishoe thing that drives us is to help us do that. they have been driven out of their homes in the most ssi atrocious manner possible.rga, and we have to work to get theme back. in sinjar, again, i have to abo praise our friends inut the era peshmerga. they liberated sinjar from isil, about three or four months ago. very successful operation.yo sinjar is where isil came in and enslaved thousands of yazidis, killing many of the young men tr and taking off the women to e to deslave the women. that's why we have to destroy this barbaric terrorist organization, but in response to the specific request about the genocide determination that's something my lawyers are workin. on. >> do you see any reason why the administration won't get a verdict on the 18th?
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>> no. >> there was an amendment that i put in -- or i had put into the omnibus bill that requires a strategy to defeat isis. oing and it was passed into law that there would be a strategy by the administration to -- what we're going to do to defeat isis by june the 18th. i think there is no real concrete strategy to defeat isis. not contained, but to defeat to isis. june 18th is the deadline. do you see any reason we won't get the strategy by june the 18th? >> well, in terms of strategy,ta look, we're going to suffocate this network every single which way. we'll -- it's like an anaconda strategy, the constant strategy. the propaganda network and in e iraq and syria as i explained we're working to take away theif territory.
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the global networksetwork we're working to cut off and slice off their foreign fighter network. >> so we'll have a strategy to t defeat isis that's concrete? to train and equip, that was a disaster. and then the president has said that was a disaster. i'm not going to be argumentative, but will we have a concrete strategy so bubba down in texas will know what the united states is going to do to defeat isis? do you see any reason we won't f have that in writing for us and the american public by june the 18.? >> no, we have a it king stratea >> well, part is not working.m are we going to get the same strategy? that's really my question. cand the same thing or is it going to be a concrete strategye this something we can understane that we will defeat. go after the oil field, go after the trucks but we don't bomb the oil fields and thing like that. tactics. >> i understand that. the things that haven't na work
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we have adjusted. i'll follow up with you so you can have that narrative laid down. >> so we'll see that strategy by june 18th. i yield back. >> we go to karen bass of california. >> thank you, again, for your testimony and your time here in our hei wan few i wanted to ask you a few uesti onestions. congressman smith was asking you about boko haram and africa and i would like to focus some of my questions there as well. ju of the things that has beens just a little frustrating is when we think of boko haram and isis and knowing that boko haram actually has their reign of terror has actually continued every day and at the end of last year actually killed more people and i'm did and so concerned especially with what's happening in libya the deterioration in libya and knowing when libyaby i first fet essentially led to a coupe in
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mali and i was wondering what you're seeing now, especially with isis being i increasing th involvement in occupation in libya. what do you think or what are you seeing the fallout being in other countries? >>es well, as i mentioned, libyl remains an acute focus because libya is unlike like boko haram which was a pre-existingand proi before isil, the fact that theyi have raised the isil flag doesn't change the nature of the problem. isil in libya is different. so work in libya what we're worn very hard to do, one of my colleagues special envoy forer, libya, jonathan winer, we were in rome together on isil, working to form the government h of national accord, national unity government in libya.oping m and hoping to get that done vera soon. the u.n. special envoyve have m cokerr is a close friend of minu we have to have that because yon need a foundational partner.
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i mentioned the summer of 2014 is very important to get the nen iraqi government formed. iraq had an election, it was going through the government formation process. had we gone into iraq, i think it would have been hard to push back effectively and aggressively. a so the sequencing in libya is to try to get this national governmentgo formed.vernstrate and then to work with it. to come one the strategy to begin to combat libya but i will sayayat t if that takes some ti. when we see threats emerging to our own national security, the president will take military action in th libya. that's why we killed the overalt isil leaderert in libya, abu nabeel. the political anderso the milit here is quite intertwined. and so we're hoping to get that government formed very soon. >> so while we're doing that and i absolutely understand and recognize the significance and importance of that, are you seeing though any involvement in t iof of
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either isil folks moving south oror moving weapon? which is what was the situationa in mali.nd t while we're working to stabilize the government and i absolutely understand that. >> what i have seen, congresswoman, is the flowo noh to libya. primarily. they try to -- they seem to he be -- in libya, doing what they did iny'relish y syria. establish state like structures so insert on the central coast and you can see training camps coming up aelsewhere. their own dabiq magazine, their own open source magazine -- he they're trying to flow the resources to libya. if they can establish themselves there in a veryy closos rooted waywe'r and get rooted then the risk will bh it flows outward.
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so we'll try to make sure they can't do that. >> so you know back to boko haram. i understand that boko haram was aagas pre-existing and allymbo significance of them raising the flag if it was more symbolic, are they getting any resource, any of the financial resources from isil or just symbolic? >>syme see we have seen some me coordination. so some of the boko haram media products have been a little more sophisticated. which shows some connections with isil. but again, not the type ofisil direct weapons flow finance just because boko haram is already a self-contained entity. w we have to work with the nigerians to get at the boko haram problem period whether it calls itself boko haram or isil, it's a fundamental problem. t >> so the attack in that took p in mali, right after france recently, what do you know of ,e that? do of its relationship to isil. i believe it was in al qaeda. >> yeah.ai so this is where things, you know, we don't want to paint with no toot sharp a brush becat
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al qaeda often has the same goals. that was an al qaeda attack, that was not an isil attack.te but it doesn't matter. doesn't matter if isil is attacking or al qaeda is attacking the hotel so it's a huge problem. the french have taken a huge lead on the mali side..>> tha they have degraded that network but it's still able to launch attacks like that. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. cook of california. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. ambassador for being here. i don't have envy your job. very, very difficult. h i don't have your sense of the ism about syria with russians supporting them.ion of i think it's going to be very tough to dislodge them. backing up on that question of the turks and the kurds, point blank, any hope for aate separa homeland for the kurdistan? i don't think geography favors it, but we have disappointed thh kurds so many times.
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and after all the fighting and everything else, and particularly with the pressure kurds i just don't -- i think we're going to be trying them again. can you comment on that?> the he >> well, the kurds and i have dealt with the -- with my an regi and the s kurdistan region of iraq for almost a decade now. ande ri you're right. there's a historical memory of what happened to the kurds after world war i, which is something we have to all recognize and be quite sympathetic to. the kurds in northern syria, wes a relationship d with over the mee last 18 month so and in the counterisil campaign.r, i was able to go into northern s syria last week and meet a number of them. it's very similar historical narrative. i however, at this moment in time, creating new independent statess is not something that would be particularly stabilizing.
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so when it comes to the northern iraq and the kurds as i ih tioned, i think before something like that can be discussed in the serious way, first, you have to get isil off the southern border and in the h kurdistan region.o second the economic situation has to stabilize and third, the political situation has to stabilize. think so right now i think the kurds of northern iraq recognize thiso nobody is trying to do the impossible and create a unifieds iraqti that's a growing democran but a th federal iraq which is , defined in the constitution, which a empowers local leader, powers the kurds in iraq is something that's realistic and something we support. >> thank you very much. the other question i had was i just got back from the middle east and a a couple of things.real incilic, that really helps the
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pilot, eight hours flying down there. i don't know how they do it, i really don't. but the problem is in the past w is the turkse have been, well, we'll call -- we'll control all of the air operations by insir lick. i hope that doesn'tco go back the way it was a year or two years ago where they had almost complete control over air ops and what was going in. and i know that's kind of a uesti/foreign affairs th question, but i'm very, very nervous about erdogan and the politics and i'm not sure why we even have it there, other than it's very, very close to the middle east. >> so that is a question for my military colleagues but i have t been to insirlick, i met the pilots there. the agreement is that those planes fly within the air v coalition of the counterisil campaign which is coordinated out of qatar. air we do every day an air
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tasking order which goes out. so thoset of planes are integra. with that. so it's part of the overall cohesive campaign. >> i just got back from qatar. i'm just very, very nervous about the politics of turkey.e i the last question i had was about saudi, the gulf states and impything else. believe that their number one a focus is isis. no. the impression i have is it's all about the war in yemen. and their forces and everythingo else, yeah, yeah, we're committed to that. but the states that i talked tof it's all about what's going on with yemen and particularly the influence of the saudis in leading that coalition there. could you comment on that? >> you're right.have yemen is a primary focus in a uh lot of the abcapitals. you can have a different conversation depending on where you are. it's not like -- this is not
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necessarily hume. genius. >> i'm looking at resources going into er.yemen. >> yemen is a major focus of ths saudis.he it's right on their border. thes we're trying to focus minds and attention on isil which we do . consider the most fundamental threat be. hank y answers.. yourrk. i yield back. nl. >> thank you.b mr. higgins of new york. >> thank you, madam chair. isis has proven to be, you know, particularly effective at origin fund-raising. estimates in 2014 was they were raising $3 million a day.black originally through oil revenues and the sale of oil through the black market, and then thu territorial gains where they would text the people, provide serviceslo but text and provide protection and operate in a corrupt society whereby they ow would gain a lot of revenue.ly
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how much is known about isis funding from sunni arab countries, particularly saudi t arabia, who i think views the existential threat to them iranian territorial gains. and iraq, clearly with the nment direct involvement of ka sum and in syria,bian so in i suppose m question is, the saudi arabian influence in helping to finance isis terrorists activity. >> weav certainly don't see any indications of that and the saudis have been close partners on the countertside terrorism for some time. they don't rely on outside en't funding and financing. when there was evidence of thate we've worked with kuwait and other to shut that down. my cleggs in the treasury ut wh department have done a great job
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on that. danny glacier. but what makes ice ill different, it controls vast th swaths of territory,r millions f people under its control, acts through taxes and extortionnce have a revenue base. so to cut at its finance streams -- very early on we may have said there must be a lot of inside funding coming in. but in fact it's locally coursew generated. it's true, the french were led in this after paris, we of course helped them. suppli but cutting off their ability to move oil, emergency supplies, t cutting off their ability to n store cash which is something they've done in mosul.nd in you have to focus on that core o inur iraq and syria where it's controlling territory and and resources. >> how manyia u.s.-led air stris in iraq and syria in the past hu year? >> i mean total air strikes, kes congressman, it's about 10,000
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now. i can get you the breakdown. total air strikes as of yesterday, 9,901 to be specificr there's 6,615 in iraq, 3,286 in syria. the u.s. has conducted more tha. 7,000 of those and the rest of the coalition about 2300.lost 4% >> and in that, the past year i isis has lost 40% of its territorial gains in iraq and 10% of its territorial gains ins syria? >> yes. >> okay. isis -- the one thing that's constant in reading michael weis's book "isis inside the army of terror", the one thing that seem constant about isis il change. and isis. has evolved in its k i reach and organizational ability. libya i presencebin ing. think is particularly disturbing. it's a pivotal strong hold in it north africa.oit.
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africa is -- there's a lot of instability to exploit in nt africa. got, you know, 55 countries in that continent, many of which aresu very, very unstable from sudan to just -- there's a lot of countries to exploit. you know, my concern is that h while we may be influencing the loss of territorial control in both iraqbout and syria, what a the isis threat in expanding into other countries in the continent of africa?e >> again, it's a great question. and as we analyze it and discuss this with intelligence services and the governments and all of these different capitals all around the world, the common lf theme we hear -- i mean i've heard this from malaysia to brussels to the gulf, is that ay this falls notion of this
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caliphate is what is drawing so manyat young people to this ng e dangerous movement. and that is why we're focused on the core and shrinking that oversa,ove overall territory. exp expankin. it's narrative no those books that you mentioned. we had to show you're not g expanding, you're actually shrinking. andcrea ifm c you join this phot caliphate, you're not going to give a glorious life with ice o go cream cones.e to you're going to die a miserablee death there. some of these pa people want ton go die a miserable death and al we're happy to oblige them. we have to shrink the notion of caliphate to dry up the ad global networks. that does not mean that there e won't be a global jihadist u. terrorist problem under ida different banner ps. that is something that's going to be with us for some time. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. hig gns. my florida colleague. . i cgurk, you said there e will still be a global jihadist
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problem and i agree with that. i noticed if your written testimony there wasas no a reference to iran or hezbollah particularly with respect to. destabilizing role that they i both play in iraq and syria.s you know, they've murdered sunn civilians and you know, assad obviously drives people. sunni arabs who if the choice id between a militant shiite forces or government backed by iran and isis, many of them, unfortuna unfortunately are given to isist is the exclusion of the iran's t contribution to the problem tae deliberate or is that something you omitted?re >> no, certainly not. let me take it on directly. you know, when mosul feel in the summer of 2014, grand ayatollah issued a statement saying everybody rise up and protect the woucountry. it was a critical moment. had me not done that it would ye have been hard to check whattize l was doing.y.
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they were on a rampage and it caused a massive pan nick the i country.s you had 80,000 volunteers rise up to defend iraq. most of them are nationalists. they answer to the government.ta but there is a segment of them, 10 to 15,000 who are answerableh to militias that are controlled by iran. for th and this is a huge concern for r us. it's a huge concern for the government of iraq. w and it's a huge concern for prime minister abadi. prime minister abadi said iraq. publicly if iran is operating a malitia on iranian soil, that . would be a hostile act. he's clear about that. pre government of iraq hasnce acted. there were reports of shia malitia province. prime minister abadi went to tht site twice and just last week
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they've arrested nine individuals from some of these militias as part of that ll investigation. is a serious problem, hank something we're focused on all of the time. but we don't want to paint owl volunteers, many of them who are shia, with the same brush. that simply wouldn't be true. t >>he what about in anbar provin advances in places like ramadi. my understanding is that is em powered a lot my shia forces esn including the iranian-backed s? forces. whatat are you going to empower e the sunni trabl forces and the s sunni tribal elders because it seems to me that driving isis out of places like ramadi is obviously something that's desirable but the notion that those sunni arabs are going to be happy y living under a government dominated by iran and shia, that's going to be a touge sale. >> very much agree with you. ofn
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when it came to ramadi, it was the government of iraq's ra decision to ensure that that operation was conducted by the iraqi security forces, the iraqi counter terrorism forces and local sunni tribal fighters. >> >> so they were the integrated the securityar forces? >> they were integrated in the campaign. and the popular mobilization forces from the shia said were i not part of that ramadi what s campaign. that was very important because we wanted to know that the iraqi security forces can do this.e l and what's so important, is locals who know their territoryc and know their neighborhood, know whatal it's leek, know the alleys and the back streets, ininvested in s the fight. they're invested in the fight. they're getting paid. i gave the figures earlier in ma testimony.rt f it's a constant effort. but we have full support from u the new government in iraq and prime minister abadi.ng clo we have full support from the governor of anbar province. and they're working closely witf us. secuave two platforms in anbar
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province. t we're working every dayhese t we iraqi security forces and these tribal force to get them in the fight. and you know,e mo they're makin real gains.ng they were just on defense. now they're moving on offense, doing operations. moving the right way. >> the final question will be to the kurds.s.shouortin a lot of my colleagues, i share the view. d they're pro-american forces that we should be supporting. but turkey does not accept the r actions of a lot of the kurds. there is problems there. so you have one of our nato partners essentially opposes some of our battlefield allies. so can you address the conflict there between turkey and some of the kurdish fighters? >> let me first say turkey facet a real threat from the pkk. we have to recognize that, that this conflict between turkey and
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the pkk whichlled flared up aga over the summer began when the v pkk killed a number of turkish police officers. i've been very clear about that turkey has a right to respond ie its own self-defense.nt to at the same time this conflict has escalated to the point where we want to work very hard to ee. deescalate it.t. bidvice president biden discussed this last week.thin we want to protect turkeyg we t against the pkk.rds that's something we're going to help them do. but we also want to strengthen e the kurds in northern syria. the kurds in northern syria have joined a conglomeration, built a force with arabs, christians, i met a numberut of them.osit they just put out aive politic platform making clear they want to be part of syria. they want to have positive relations with their neighbors,l
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which means turkey. they don't want to interfereing those imrelations.s. this is a work in progress but something we're going to work on every day. but most importantly we'll continue to work with turkey to protect itself against iers and militarism which is dangerous and killing turkish police officers every day. >> thank you >> fsir. now we move to mr. sherman of california. >> first, i know the visa waivew program was mentioned earlier r about the idea that those who et visit enlibya. i want to point out that the via waiver program is not a right that we extend to all europeans and reducing it doesn't show wo that we would hate europeans.l e waivon't provide visa waivers to people from brazil and we love brazilians, et cetera. i believe we don't have a visa waiver relationship with any of the latin american countries that are ourcus allies.to wor
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but i would point out those that we want to focus on, who have visited syria and iraq to work with isis, they don't have a fm stamp on their a passport from syria. they don't have a stamp on thei passport from iraq.rovide t they have a stamp on their passport from turkey and we ought to be looking at whether a we should provide visa waive to those that have skrized turkey. at the same time we have to loot at our european friends to makep sure they don't give somebody a. new passport to somebody who doesn't like the stamps on thein old passport. so i do think we're going to have to look can at this visa wt idea. as long as any european do can a newt passport and then have or visa waiver without letting us know they visited turkey, syria or iraq or libya, we're going t. have a problem. but i want to focus on questions. we were serious in world war ii. we had a strategic bombing h civ
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program. i believe we killed 90,000 le french as civilians. and then we were welcomed by the french people as liberators. we were serious in that war. we won that war. da. ga did not arrange to provide food and fuel to those living in a nazi exploited occupied france. the iraqi government has told un that they finally stopped paying the civil servants in isis ivils occupieder areas. ablehat true? are civil servants who live in isis or isil-occupied area ablen to leave, get their money and drive back to mosul or have the? finally stopped paying people n who are taxed by isis?
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or don't you know? >> i've actually worked on thish quite a tbit. so that the iraqi government made a decision passed through e their cabinet last summer that t all -- >> i've got very limited time.a are they paying the civiln servants or not. abli >> no,sh they're not. ld i >> evenn if the civil servant w leave, they can't get their sen money? >> when the areas are liberated -- >> if somebody just drives from mosul, can they pick up the to o money that's being held in escrow for them in. c >> ifheck o they're living in m they should not be able to do that. >> you should check on that.rlda i'm told they can get their bomb money and then go back. we also have a bombing -- in world war ii we elec bombed electric . generation facile cities.ing in iraq, the iraqi government provides free electricity to isis.roug are we willing to bomb the
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transmission lines through which that free electricity flow to mosul? >> the problem in mosul isslot p a lot of the electricity in a mosul comes from the mosul dam n and we have toni keep the mosul dam running. >> we keep it running but why use it to supply electricity to isis? >> it's an't sophisticated engineering issue.l. we don't want electricity going into mosul. ed >> it's po a sophisticated d political question. mosul. you don't have to send electricity to mosul.ity don't tell me that the dam breaks if you don't send >> by electricity to the enemy. doe >> my keepings the dam running, as i understand it -- is. >> the dam should be kept running. that doesn't mean you have to send the electricity to isis. h >>ose, we o don't want electrici >> so bomb the lines, the transmission lines right outside -- inside or outside of isis-controlled territory. >> somethingg looked at and
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we'll look at it again.. i'll get you an answer. >> you've lookedt at it but you won't tell us why you're not doing it. why does the iraqi government provide electricity to mosul fo? free? is that consistent with thehe approach we took in world war ii when we were serious?l >> probably different than the approach in world war ii but nobody is more anti-isil than the guys i know in the iraqi government. there is a debate between local leaders andnd the government abt we don't want to drive the the hands of o thesese areas. i can get you a detailed specific answer on that. >> i look forward. finally we have a zero civilian casualty approach to our strategic bombing so we weren't hitting the tanker trucks.ilian now again, if we had had a zero -- >> mr. in wor sherman, you're or time. finish your question and maybe he could give a final answer. >>fa obviously in world war ii w
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hit trains and trucks and rgets factories. are wekno hitting isis's econom targets even knowing that that d will causedr civilian casualtie for example, oil tanker trucks. >> iit addressed the issue of o trucks earlier. yes we're hitting the trucks tra to do it in a way that does not kill the truck drivers. w >> are weay willing to hit the trucks while they're being driven? >> we figured out a way to hit the trucks and the trucks are not being driven. >> you're only willing to hit e the trucks if they're being parked -- >> i would really defer to my military colleagues here -- >> i yield. >> thank you, mr. sherman.and j dr. yoho of florida. >> mr. sherman, i share your anxiety and your pain. i feel the same way.id to is the administration planning on dropping humanitariani thi a
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aleppo? spir -- optio >> pretty much a yes or no. >> i think we're looking at all options on the humanitarian sid right now. >> that's not really answering. naat's just saying you're looking at them.ti that kind of reminds me of the y president's bumt that says national security and global leadership in president's budget thd it says that is why thealit united states is leading the po global coalition that will destroy the islamic state of od. iraq. and the budget provides for over $11 billion for the d.o.d. the n that's like wanting to learn to play the piano and youlessons b piano and put in the money for e lessons but you don't practice, you're not going to play the piano. i hear a lot of we're looking at it, we're looking at the safe zones in syria by jordon and in turkey. we're lookingas to at, studying for years. at some point it has to be acted upon. and i want to follow up with mr. sherman's comment. the reasoning to continually nos
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bomb these transport vehicles with oil when the no fly zone th that was initiated by this lo administration, along with hillary clinton to create a no-fly zone that led to a failen state, the fall of gaddafi and now libya is an isis recruiting and training center and they p have one of their biggest campsi 12 miles from libya's largest oil production facility. why are we not just bombing thet like mr. sherman said.tha in world war ii we had a strategy. we of the fallouts of war but it brought the war to an end. we've looking at options for four years or five years now, close to 300,000 people have pr died.d. the assad barrelon tbombs, we' been lookok at maybe putting pp pressure on that and we're studying it but yet nothing thew happens. largest migration ofad refugees around the world stcause of the failed policies
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of this administration. what areead are we doing? when are we going to stop looking and starting acting stronger and leading. >> i was just in kobani where we killed 6,000 isis fighters there, still pulling bodies out' of ther rubble. killed 6,000 in that battle t alone. destroyed 400 tankerst - trucks0 the idea that we're just watching this -- in >> when were the 400 tanker trucks destroyed?m what timeo period, in the last six months? >> probably thehe last four to n five months.yi >> butng we've known about a tn for over three years.ies? we hear constituents saying what why is isis allowed to produce anything. they should have been destroyed. back then. had he had a clear-cut strategy. one of my -- this is a real pointed question. what is this administration's a reasoning toin continually pres for refugees from syria and rel other areas in the middle east u to relax the entry requirementsi into the u.s., especially when r
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france, germany and belgium have documented that over 70 to 80 y isis members entered the eu gs through syria with fake ion passports and those were the people that did the shootings in paris. why is this administration held bent on relaxing these ringent restrictions?ogram what's the reasoning for that? >> i think we have the most stringent industry program for the refugees in the world. johns that's going to continue. >> fbi director come my and jeh johnson says there's in way to e vet these people. why not put a pause on this until we know for sure that at t they're not fake passports, er they're not there.f thi you know, you're saying that but yet france and germany and the other countries are saying wai a minute. we're not doing this anymore. why are we not heeding the issu warning that we know ise going o happen e >> i detai defer to my colleagut
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work this issue every day. ring i can get you a more detailed answer. we have one of the most stringent refugee processes in the world. i'm not aware of any terrorists who have entered into the refugee program. >> again, going back to the isi transport, we talked about the administration's failure to go after this early, four to six months ago they did this.itt at a war at terrorism, right?. and isis is the terrorist do organization thatn't we're in conflict with. and i don't know what poll you y have but i sure wish you guys would crank down on this administration. because what i see is a recklesn endangerment and a dereliction of duty on our national security by this administration and i hope you would help them >> coraighten that tout. i yield back.. d sp thank you so much. now my other florida colleague, mr. deutsch of florida. >> thank you, madam chairman. on the subject of reckless
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endangerment, as long as we're talkingggoin about some of thes i'm not going to ask you, mr. mcgurk to comment on this, but it's really hard for me to comprehend how we have pi this entire hearingci with all kinds of accusations made about the administration'sa policy, te request that the administrationo only to in actionsu explain that we're taking them and the criticism b well why didn't we take them nel sooner. when the concern thatpect can wi about fighting terrorism, at least in one small respect can be addressed if we simply his acknowledge that individuals who can't fly into this country because they're on a terrorism n watch list can still, if they'r in this country, go to any gun store and purchase a gun. i don't understand it. ifent th we'rehis going to talk reckless endangerment, that'sening something the on i congress ought to be doing,m th speaker ought to allow us to rig have a debate t on. it's impossible for me to has
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understand how after this entire hearing that single step that's logical that has the overwhelming support of the a american people has yet to be t done. mr. m ocgurk,f i want to circl back to a comment, ani exchangea you had earlier on iran. the focus was really on iraq.. i want to talk about iran's activities in syria. and the question i have is really straightforward after the iran nuclear deal and implementation day which has nor passed, has that had any impact with the way we interact with iranians with respect to their activities on the ground in syria both supporting hezbollah propping up assad but at the same time fighting isil? >> iran, since the nuclear dealt they're part of the vie yen thay process. they're at the table. that is significant.yria
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but certainly i think their tactic strategies in syria have worse.e conflict i think we're clear on that.he iran is focused on, they have an election coming up later this month which willl decide some h things about the direction the c country isha headed. but certainly we've got seen a significant change in terms of e what they're doing in syria. >> i would observe that i'm not be how many things will decided when the number of i formers who are allowed to run is mere tens out of the waousands who had sought that. but i appreciate that.ol and i just wanted to, i wanted to ask a follow-up. the fact is that iran and its proxies are responsible for so y much of assad's propping up assad and assad's ability tomas kerr its own people. in the earlier stages of these
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debates there was talk about individuals who would like to g after assad because of the butchery, the brutality against their family members and their s turnunity members. and if they didn't have that opportunity, sometimes they grop turned to whoever would give them the chance to fight, no tt matter how awful that group might be.tle how do we -- what are we doing a now to ensure that the battle t they wage is one that is againsl isil and yet also acknowledges that the assad, the brutal assad regime ultimately is responsible for so much of that problem tha exists? >> this ishe a real problem.pot because so long as the conflict between the regimeme and the rua opposition is running at whole o bore, which it is right now, ghe enabled by the russian air campaign, the pool of fighters, particularly in those parts of the country to fight isil are reduced. so i discuss in some detail,
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north of aleppo, groups we were working with to fight isil havem now peeled off to fight the regime. which is why the russian air i chmpaign in this respect has made the fight against isil more difficult. >> and finally, i know that thef chairman joins me in telling you that while -- first i want to ef commend you personally for your efforts in helping to secure thm release of american citizens who had been held in iran. as you know, mike and bob were t not among them.a i was with the family this morning at thehe markup of a fl resolution we're going to bei taking up here.th they deserve to have that same feeling of joy and relief that the other families are now feeling. and i just can't emphasize strongly enough how important it is for us, for the american you people an for you specifically to be unrelenting in your
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efforts to bring bob home. >> i assure you the issues with most difficult things i've ever done. i've gotten to know the families quite well. i met the family. we certainly will not seize in our efforts. >> thank you so much. thank you for that, mr. deutsch. mr. keting of massachusetts. >> thank you, madam chairman. and thank you for having this hearing. i'd like to thank mr. mcgurk for his service and the work you've done. it's important and you've done a great job and i appreciate that personally. and i'm speak as a member of congress as well. i would like to associate myself with some remarks my colleague mr. deutschven with made. putting things in perspective in terms of threats here at home, o evenrt with the language to scr
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the terrorist watchca list. it's important that we get a vote on that. the idea that people on that terrorist watch list can legalle procure explosives and weapons and do that legally in this country is something that we address as part of our own homeland security. a question i have along those c lines, earlier this last year i went with a group of my colleagues from the homeland tea security committee. we werend looking at tracking t issueson surrounding foreign terrorist fighters and those issues. could you give anrds update on security council resolution in that regard, 2178, and also more specifically, my concern is too with some of the progress we've made, you mentioned with turkey, we'll see how that turns out.bit i'm hopeful but somewhat skeptical of their ability to secure the border area.
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but two issues that stand out. passenger name record issue with eu countries. and even the kind of security that'sny pr done on the exterio border. the schengen countries.ur secur can you tell us the progress you've made with the european allies so they can tighten that up. that has a direct effect with our security at home, their ability to do that. >> so great questions, state congressman. iwe have addressed this somewh written statement. fir sincest paris we've seen a lot movement in thisn to regard. the first step was to focus international attention on this problem and get something concrete out of it, which was ce resolution 2178 which came out of the u.n. general assembly in 2014. since then about 45 countries have updated their law to track down foreign terrorist fighterst what we're trying to do now, as we learn more about the networks
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and through the coalition -- i this is why the global coalition is so important.effo it's not just the military. it's sharing information acrossh the mobilizing effort. and on the foreign fighter side we have a cell which shares information across borders. so we've had alests now in belgium, egypt, france, indonesia, kuwait, netherlands, turkey, cutter, here in the pseh united states, and now what etwo we're doing is sharing information to try to really collapse these foreign fighter r networks. and it's a very difficult endeavor. it's law enforcement, tim intelligence. constantly sharing information. we found that many of the countries we work with have a difficulty sharing information. >>-9/1 there's1 an different pr laws. we're finding outpost-paris, they're working to do the same thing. passenger nameitical recognitio critical thing.
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that. was getting in the way, e getting hung. on privacy laws in the eu. now they've passed name recognition. they knowig everybody on the airplanes. about everybody w coming into the u.s. a something we're diligent about. and within the coalition we now have a permanent structure set up on the foreign terrorist co fighter side and it's a permanent flat form now ti constantly sharing information cod connecting dots. it's led to a number of fbi ing investigations. this came right out of our coalition activities and it's something that we're going to continue. >> very quickly one other question before my time expires. there have been written reports out there that these terrorist fighters, that their salaries and the money they're getting i cut by as much as 50%.a what do you know about thosen av reports, how real are they and obviously what kind of impact would that have on their recruitment when this begins to break down because we're tryingn to hone in and really damage
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their ability to finance this terrorist activities?o >>go again, a very good questio. and one reason we decided to go after these cash, bulk cash storage sites, particularly in mosul, they're right in downtown mosul. to answer some of the questions from your colleagues earlier, is there a risk that some civilians might lose theirth life in an a. howike like that. the answer is yes.ortan however, the judgment was it's e important to strike those sitesr because this is how they're paying and recruiting their fighters and we eliminated those sites. but i just want toli goan ca ba. we're very careful about civilian casualties for a jusson. we're not going to be like the russians or some others who are just using dummy bombs on e civilian areas trying to kill ln people they consider extremists. this is the most precise air campaign in history and we're proud of that. it's also one of the moste donee effective air campaigns in matia
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history. what we've done tothe coal isild finances, sharing information rs across the coalition and withinm the u.s.et government to identie soe targets and then to action them targets with is something that takes time to piece together.as sometimes it takes longer than y we want.ve led no've done the air strikes. they've been very effective ands they have led to credible information we have now that isil has cut its pay to foreign fighters by nearly 50%. . >> thankk you.ian thank you mr. mcgurk.y i wish we could say the same thing about the russians and the way they're conducting their bombing exercises as we can a about our own exercises. ii yield back.c >> thank you so much. mr. h uskeating.i kn mr. mcgurk, we appreciate the r time that you tookto with us th morning. i know you're headed to the s airport to continue your work.tt but isis is an incredibly uing dangerous threat that is global and continue to grow and the su committee looks forward to at, continuing to work with you on this important issue.
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with that the hearing is adjourned. >> thank you so much. >> safe journey. urney. >> [inaudible conversations] you can watch this hearing again on our website. go to c-span.org. more on isis this morning from the website of russia tv. the turkish prime minister has accused forces linked with the syrian kurdish ypg malitia of the terrorist attack in an kara
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on wednesday. they denied all allegations saying that the islamic state is behind the attack. in a live television speech the prime minister said turkey has identified the perpetrator of the bombing attack and said that the alenged attacker received assistance from the kurdistan workers. a live look here at south carolina rally for jeb bush in columbia, south carolina. the state holding its gop primary this satdy. live coverage on c-span right now. and more road to the white house coverage today as ohio governor john kasich will hold a town hall meeting in clemson, south carolina. c-span will have that live and we'll talk to some of the attendees and take your calls after the event. hillary clinton is in nevada tonight as a get out the vote rally at the laborer's international union in las vegas. live coverage on c-span starting
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tonight at 11:30 p.m. eastern time. nevada of course holding its democratic caucuses this saturday where the polls are showing a very tight race there between mrs. clinton and senator bernie sanders. c-span's coverage of the presidential candidates continues this week with campaign event in south carolina and nevada. leading up to this south carolina gop primary and the nevada democratic caucuses on saturday, february 20th. our live coverage of the results starts on saturday at 7:30 p.m. eastern with the candidate speeches and your reaction to the results on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span, a debate on drone strikes. two former defense department officials take opposite sides of the issue. mary o'connell says the program increases national security
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threats and alberto cole defends the program. >> some of you might be asking why are we still talking about drones. isn't isis the only issue on the national security agenda. and i think you're rating ight that if but in my view, i'll bring these two topics together because i link or policy of counter terrorism that so came to focus on and use the drone as in part responsible for the rise of isis. isis came up from, according to the cia nowhere, but of course they were around. the cia just didn't watch as it was focused on using drone killings. drones that tear rirrorize the e who are not only the targets but those who live under the constant attack and they're open to recruitment by groups like
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isis when they say the people who sent you the drones are our enemies and we're going to train you to fight them. in fact, the drone has become the single biggest recruiting tool for islamic terrorist organizations since guantanamo was used for that purpose. >> obviously, you know, drone strikes are designed to be proportional. sometimes they do cause collateral damage. sometimes innocent people get killed and we could, again, look at how we could make some of these operations much more discriminate. we do go out of our way to make these operations very discriminatory and we try to avoid collateral damage. we make every effort not to hit individuals who are present in mosques, in hospitals, in places where there's a very high lily hood of high collateral damage. we still end up killing innocent
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people. but i suggest to you if we were to use so-called police tactics, if we were to send operational force to arrest these individuals, we would still have massive collateral damage, still end up killing lots of innocent people because the militants of which we could direct the so-called police tactics would have armed supporters around them and they would use shelters in the civilian population to force us to cause these civilian casualties. >> that entire debate hosted by the chicago council of global affairs can be seen tonight at 8:00 eastern. tonight's white house briefing is scheduled to begin shortly. a lye look at the room. when rhodes will be joining josh earnest to talk about the president's upcoming trip to cuba. while we wait for the briefing
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to start, a portion of today's washington journal on campaign 2016. >> politics add editor with the washington examiner. let's get to it and talk about south carolina. i want to show our viewer what is the governor nikki haley has to say when he enforced marco rubio yesterday. >> we have good people in this race. we have good people running for president. and i thank them today for their sacrifice and their willing to serve to honor this great country and to make her better. but my job was to find the person i thought could do it the best. so i wanted somebody with fight. i wanted somebody with passion. i wanted somebody that had conviction to do the right thing but i wanted somebody humble enough that remembers that you work for all of the people. and i wanted somebody that was going to go and show my parents that the best decision they ever
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made for their children was coming to america. [ applause ] we say that every day is a great day in south carolina. ladies and gentlemen, if we elect marco rubio, every day will be a great day in america. [ cheers & applause ] help me welcome the next president of the united states, let's go to the polls on saturday and move that down the way, marco rubio! [ cheers & applause ] >> what did that do to the race in south carolina? that endorsement for marco rubio. >> it's a big endorsement for marco rubio. nikki haley, her personal story,
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her family history and her relative youth for an elected official reinforced some basic messages and some of the narrative that marco rubio is looking to promote his own candidacy. and he needs a little bit of a boost. he disappointed in new hampshire after a strong showing in iowa. and he is generally -- he's in contention for second place, but he is generally behind ted cruz as well as donald trump in the polls. he could use a little bit of a boost. i think it was a helpful endorsement. >> what does this mean for senator ted cruz who has been trying to frame this race since new hampshire as a two-man race between him and donald trump? >> well, it's clearly not a two-man race yet. i think what you're seeing at the moment is ted cruz and marco rubio are fighting for a serve slice of the conservative electorate. rubio is fighting with jeb bush and john kasich fb establishment
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loosely defined backing within the republican party. and then there's a trump versus cruz contest going on for another slice of pop you list voters. >> according to a "wall street journal" poll, national poll that ted cruz is now on top nationally, however other polls show that donald trump is still on top nationally. and ted cruz has been -- he's ratcheted up his arguments and criticism of donald trump. i want to show you viewers what he had to say recently about donald trump's record on social issues. >> you know, i have to say to mr. trump, you have been threatening frivolous lawsuits for your entire adult life. even in the annals of frivolous
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lawsuits, this takes the cake. donald, i would encourage you, if you want to file a lawsuit challenging this ad, claiming it is defamation, file the lawsuit. it is a remarkable contention that an ad that plays video of +รง speaking on national television is somehow defamation. the operative words in that ad come from donald trump's own mouth. and i understand if a candidate has a record like donald trump's, how he could consider anyone pointing to his actual record being defamation. but if donald trump files the lawsuit that he threatens in this letter, that lawsuit will be frivolous and it will result in both donald trump and any lawyer that signs his name to
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the pleadings being sanctioned in court for filing frivolous litigation. >> all right, jim mantle. donald trump is pushing ban on this criticism from ted cruz. does this poll showing that cruz is making headways, are his attacks working? >> we saw in iowa when donald trump is attacked and treated like a normal candidate, it does have an effect on his numbers. certainly had an effect of his favorables even if it doesn't dent his core base vote. you know, being good disciples of adam smith as republicans are, they're each looking at their comparative advantage. ted cruz is a checklist conservative. he can check all of the boxes on the issues and say i have taken conservative positions and voted a conservative way on those issues. donald trump is more of an
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attitude nal con sesh serservat. cruz is attacking him on whether he's been consistent on the issues and seeing if he can get some traction there. >> and then you have jeb bush who has put all of his chips in new hampshire and south carolina. >> right. >> according to these polls that we're talking about, he's still not fairing well in south carolina, 4%. >> right. >> what does the endorsement of marco rubio from nikki haley mean for jeb bush and what does the south carolina primary mean for jeb bush? >> well it could conceivably be a changing of the guard. he brought in his brother, the former president, george w. bush, he has the support of lindsey graham, a big player in south carolina politics for a couple of decades. we could be seeing a younger generation coming to the floor which is certainly what marco rubio would like to see and has been a big part of his argument. jeb bush really needs to do something in south carolina. spent a lot of money, not a lot
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of results. >> south carolina will decide bush's campaign. if it doesn't do well is it over for him in. >> well, it depends on whether he decides it's over. but a lot of voters and donors are going to make that decision for him. if he does poorly, given the fact he has some organization there and pulled out big endorsements there, if he can't make any impact with the voters there, it's going to be hard to see how he has an impact going forward. >> here' what donald trump had to say about jeb bush and his campaign yesterday. >> if we can win in south carolina, we're going to go -- we could very well run the table. i don't know if you saw -- i guess a lot of you have seen actually next week in nevada, it's going to be phenomenal. the relationship there to the people -- that's right. bush is 1% in nevada. this guy, why doesn't he just give up, just go home.
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go home. go home to mom. got to go home to mommy. yeah, bush is only at 1% in nevada. a couple of them are a 10, 11, 12 and i'm at 40, something. 48. >> what has donald trump done to jeb bush's campaign. the first criticism of being low energy and now he never lets up on jeb bush. >> right. trump clearly views jeb bush as a convenient punching bag and he is a symbol of what trump is running against. jeb bush is a dynasty figure, old money, he's party establishment. he is symbolic of what trump and people who support him argue is a republican leadership that has failed to deliver for the party's base. you know, jeb bush wouldn't have been able to raise $100 million without his family name. but in a lot of ways the family
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name with voters has hurt him. maybe if he were jeb smith he would be polling better. >> here to take your comments and committees about campaign 2016. we're a couple of days away from the republican primary in south carolina and the democrats caucusing in nevada on saturday. dialing in, republicans 202-748-8001, democrats, 8000 and independents, 8002. let me go to michael first in jamaica, new york. independent. good morning. >> caller: hey what's going on. i would like to comment on donald trump. >> sure go ahead. >> caller: come in second. i honestly feel like, you know, ted cruz would be my second choice. i think donald trump is a great businessman. he has great ideas for our country. ted cruz just doesn't have that great of a plan.
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i would rather take donald trump over hillary clinton -- >> how is it shaping up, jim, in these hypothetical matchups that polling companies like to do if it's donald trump versus hillary clinton or another republican candidate versus hillary clinton on bernie sanders? what's it looking like? >> it doesn't make a difference among the top tier republicans. bernie sanders is outperforming hillary clinton in some of the most recent matchups. maybe not significant in some polls. so i think you're really seeing a generic partisan vote, low to mid-40s for both candidates on the democratic side and the republican side. >> so does a possible entry by former new york mayor michael bloomberg, is that a credible strategy for michael bloomberg
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to get in? could he win an independent bid? >> it's hard to see how that would work. michael bloomberg himself said in 2013 it's really difficult to win if you're not a major party candidate. he got elected in new york the first time as a republican. decided to run as a major party candidate. bloomberg would clearly have some degree of a constituency, maybe more to the left. but he would be competing mostly i think with hillary clinton's gas vote. and it's hard to see how he gets out of the teens and really even competes for electoral votes. >> does it help the republicans? >> if donald trump was the nominee, you would have a vote that could be split. but bloomberg would draw a more liberal vote coming at the expents of the democrats, not the republicans. >> tim. good morning. >> caller: thanks for c-span.
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this is a crazy politic race we got going this year. i kind of like bernie sanders and i hope he'd get a woman to run with him. there's a lot of problems in our country that we could fix with a little common sense. we need our troops on the border. fix social security, take 50% of the earned income credit from day one the baby comes out of the hospital, take 50% of the earned income tax credit and put that on social security. that would more than probably pay for health care in this country. minimum wage, yes, raise it, wait until they're 18 years old to do that. there are a lot of common sense things we could do. i hope things get better. thanks very much for c-span. >> okay. jim, what's it looking like heading into nevada for democrats this saturday between hillary clinton and bernie sanders? >> it's a state with hill clint is favored and has been favored. it will be a relatively low turnout caucus so it's hard to
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poll. it does seem that bernie sanders has been making head way. the two groups you want to watch are latino voters who should be able to deliver heavily for hillary clinton. where do the union voters who are going to be big for if nevada caucus, the nevada democrats, where do they go. union leadership has been favoring clinton but there's a lot of support for bernie sanders among union rank and file and do we see that disconnect play out? >> that's why they've said they're going to hold off on a presidential endorsement. this is a big win for bernie is what they put on the headline. >> it is a big win for bernie. there's a desire among the union leadership the coalesce around hill clint, get on board with the front runner and the nominee early even though bernie sanders is closer to the heart of the rank and file union members. the longer he can delay
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organized labor all getting into the clinton camp, the more he can create the impression that this is still a competitive race. and if you continue to create that impression after strong performances in new hampshire and iowa, that could become a reality. >> hill clint is in vogue magazine with the headline will hillary clinton make history, the reporter there having access to hillary clinton, following her on the campaign trail from iowa to new hampshire and then sitting down to do an interview with her in test. corky in atlanta, michigan. a republican. good morning. >> caller: i'm very disappointed in the republican voters, if they are republican, supporting trump. it just seems like they're not voting with their brain, they're just voting on what they think they can get. and as an example, you know, trump cannot finish -- maybe i won't do any better.
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he can't finish a complete sentence when he's asked a question. in fact he doesn't know anything about our trade packs with the asian countries. he thinks we're dealing with china which is wrong. when he was asked who he would pick for a supreme court replacement for scalia, he quipped well, my sister is a federal judge. i may appoint her. and then when he was pushed on it, you know, three days later, he said no, i was just joking. but his sister is the most avid pro-abortion judge there is even saying that partial birth apporti abortion is okay. >> what do you make about what she's arguing there. that was a republican calling. >> scalia's death is going to heighten the scrutiny of donald trump on judges. he's made a lot of conflicting
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statements on social issues. no real track roshd of legal or judicial issues. if you're ted cruz or marco rubio, this is a really huge issue for you to highlight and to sow seeds of doubt. do you want to nominate donald trump because do you want to have the judges that donald trump will choose. it's a big issue that will eventually peel off the evangelicals and conservatives drawn towards trump. >> saying the stakes in south carolina, donald trump can talk the talk but has not mastered the walk. and they say only the foolish having examined the record are per swayed that donald trump is a conservative or a man looking out for himself. the voter in south carolina call him a moderate because they can't fit him into either ideology. they say his rough persona has worked because republican elites
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earned a reputation of big talkers. millions of americans are fed up with him. upon close examination, he reveals himself to be someone without an an core. the risks and challenges this time are considerably greater than usual. and the every voter must keep that in mind. the rest of us are depending on them. why do they write that? looks l
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circus outside of trump, it makes trump look like he is more in keeping with the dynamic of the race. there's this feeling that we have this sophisticate d -- fore showing up uninvited but a lot of beam saying, well, was the guest list that exclusive? anymore it's a lot of name calling and a lot of anger, the more donald trump doesn't really look like he's -- it plays into the message that trump is sending that this is a circus to begin with before i even got there.
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>> union point, georgia. independent caller. hi, richard. >> caller: how are you doing, ma'am? >> good morning to you. question or comment here? >> caller: well, i think we look at a race that's going to really change america this year because if you look back for what america was founded on was working class. people came to america to get free, to live our lives with work ethics. i think the whole campaign and we look back at history we'll find that republican party freed the slaves. it wasn't the democrats. and so we look at that and i also was a union member. i worked for general motor for 32 years, but i didn't ask the people to give me stuff. i worked hard for it. and that is something you work on even if you're home you keep a budget you can afford. and i think we came to a place where everybody expects the governor -- but john f. kennedy said don't look for what the country could do but what you can do for the country.
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>> heard your point, richard. jim antle. >> that is a theme you're hearing over and over again in the republican primaries. it's really across the spectrum of all the candidates. marco rubio argues that president obama is changing the nature and the character of the country. donald trump is trying to be the champion of the working class. ted cruz is arguing that over leaning government is zapping the american people. it's a big theme throughout the primary. >> on twitter by the way saying this, if jeb was jeb smith, he wouldn't be in the race because he wouldn't have that $150 million war chest. jim antle. >> yeah, there's no question that his family ties are why he is so well-funded. the question is, you talk to republican primary voters all the time who say, you know, i kind of like jeb, but one, i don't think the country needs another bush. and two, i'm tired of there being so many bushes.
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so the politics maybe a benefit to him as he got out of the gate have really been more of a stumbling block as we head into the primaries. >> kathy, good morning to you. independent caller. >> caller: good morning. how are you? >> good morning. who are you going to vote for? >> caller: we're trump supporters. >> okay. >> caller: just about my whole family is a trump supporter, even my sisters, her husbands. and we don't have land lines. and the thing that i like about -- all right. good afternoon everybody. nice to see a good crowd here today. i have joining me at the briefing the deputy national security adviser ben rhodes. as many of you know and have covered ben was instrumental in implementing the president's vision for advancing our cuba policy. and made a pretty historic announcement today that next month president obama and the first lady will be traveling to
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cuba. ben is here to talk a little bit about what we hope to accomplish over the course of that trip. and then he'll stay and take as many questions as you all have about that trip. i shall also point out today is also the day that pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training in arizona. so i know there are a lot of royals fans that have opening day circled on their calendar because they're squaring off against ben rhodes' new york mets in kansas city. nice world series rematch there. ben, do you want to do a topper and then we'll take questions? >> josh, i'd point out that reporting to the mets at spring training so -- >> that's good. that's good. >> keeping with the cuban theme here. okay. so i'll just make a few opening comments. you saw the announcement that the president will be going to cuba with the first lady on march 21st and 22nd. this is the first president to visit cuba since calvin
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coolidge. as we noted he traveled there on a battleship so the optic will be quite different from the get-go here. but i just wanted to step back and put this in a little bit of context. clearly this has been a sea change in terms of u.s. policy towards cuba and u.s.-cuban relations over the last year and a half since president obama and president castro announced on december 17th, 2014, that we would have a process of normalizing relations. to date since we've made that announcement there have been a number of steps forward. we intensely negotiated over several months the formal re-establishment of normal relations which cull mill nated in secretary kerry raising the flag. this allows us to engage the cuban people and cuban government, to facilitate travel to cuba from many different
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delegations from the united states and to pursue bilateral cooperation on a number of issues. and we've had an ongoing process of bilateral dialogues with the cubans. what we've seen is enormous interest from the cuban people in this opening and from people in the united states. and we've had businesses travel down to cuba, state and local governments, academic exchanges and a significant increase in american travel to cuba. there's been a 54% increase in the number of americans visiting cuba since that announcement. i think we've also seen that the opening to cuba holds out real promise to improve the lives of the cuban people. and this is really at the core of our policy. our judgment was that the embargo that was in place was doing nothing to do its stated aims of bringing about a political change in cuba. in fact, the castro government, raul castro and fidel was in
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power for many decades, because it was hurting the cuban people. they were again not benefitting from u.s. policy. and we're seeking to reverse that dynamic. we've made a number of regulatory changes to increase travel and commerce to cuba. those again have had some benefits. the increases in remittances that go to cuba that directly benefits cuban families. the increased travel benefits the cuban private sector, shop owners, restaurant owners, u.s. companies like airbnb have gone into cuba. this is their fastest growing market. that means travelers staying directly in cuban homes benefitting the cuban people. and increasingly as businesses have gone down and had discussions with the cuban government we're finding out ways that they can establish a presence and just earlier this week cleburne announced it's going to starpt to operate the first u.s. owned factory in cuba that will provide tractors for
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small farmers. these are just some indications of the fact that increased trade, commerce and travel is going to benefit u.s. companies that are very interested in operating cuba but ultimately going to directly benefit the cuban people. now, we have a potential to significantly increase those travel links with the announcement made earlier this week that we will be restoring direct flights between the united states and cuba for the first time in several decades. that will allow up to 110 flights to cuba every day. that's more people-to-people engagement and more opening between our two countries. we've raised a number of issues repeatedly with the cuban government in terms of steps we think they could take to improve conditions on the island, both economically and human rights. we have seen some progress with respect to internet access in terms of additional wireless internet hot spots and efforts to link neighborhoods to broadband connections, but we'd like to see more in that space.
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so we continue to indicate to the cuban government that internet connectivity is essential to the ability of the cuban people to connect with the global economy. it also, again, advances their ability to access information. we've also been support i of iv the reforms that have created more space for private sector within cuba. self-employed cubans, this is an area where we believe we can continue to increase our economic engagement and see reforms within cuba that can empower the cuban people. at the same time we of course have significant differences with cuba on issues related to human rights, which we continue to raise directly with them. you know, they took some steps in releasing political prisoners and hosting the head of the international committee the red cross last year, but we'd like of course to see more respect for the basic fundamental rights of the cuban people, freedom of
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assembly, freedom of speech. so as we considered whether to go this year to cuba, the president's judgment was that, number one, going to cuba was an important step forward in signaling this new beginning between our two countries and peoples. and also importantly that going to cuba could help enlarge this space that benefits the cuban people and increases ties between our countries. and that in fact going earlier this year would allow us to try to get more done, both around his visit and in the days and months that follow. we've made in our policies and regulations and try to connect them to changes in reforms that the cubans are making so that there's more commercial activity. so that there's more of an opening for u.s. businesses, but importantly for cubans to
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benefit from that activity and to be able to access more resources and, again, achieve a better life. how can we expand our people-to-people ties so that there's increased travel but also increased cooperation in a number of areas? and we've had good cooperation for instance discussions on issues related to medical cooperation, cancer vaccines, there are other areas where we can expand our people-to-people engagement. how are we supporting and encouraging efforts around, as i said, increased access to the internet and tel communications in cuba. how is cuba, again, investing in the private sector there. and of course how are we enga engaging not just cuban government but cuban people and cuban society and speaking out for the human rights that we support around the world. and certainly on this trip the president will have the opportunity to engage not just the cuban government but cuban
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civil society, cuban entrepreneurs, cubans from different walks of life. so it's an important opportunity. it's historic in nature. but we also see it as a means of pushing forward this normalization process trying to achieve greater opening between the united states and cuba commercially but also supporting and advancing the values that we care about. all of which taken together we believe will be enormously beneficial to the cuban people and frankly to u.s. interests. following the trip to cuba, i'd just note the president will be traveling to argentina. you know, the cuba opening also has to be seen as part of an effort by the united states to significantly increase our engagement in the hemisphere. this is a region that had long rejected our cuba policy. our cuba policy had in fact isolated the united states more than it isolated cuba in the hemisphere. argentina is a country that until recently had a president
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who had i'll say problematic relations with the united states. the new president there has indicated his interest in beginning and restoring and renewing u.s.-argentina relations. that will be the business of that trip. so we'll be able to discuss how to increase our diplomatic, economic and other forms of cooperation. i'll just close by saying that we've been engaging the cuban government leading up to today, but we've also been engaging the cuban-american community that follows these issues very closely and will continue to do so. we've been engaging with our business community, human rights advocates and we will continue to do so between now and the trip. we believe at the end of the day part of what makes the cuba issue so unique is the interest and passion that cuban-americans feel about it. we want to make sure that we're
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hearing their voices as we prepare for what will be a truly historic occasion. i'll stop there and take questions. yep, jeff. >> will the president meet with dissidents when he's in cuba? and how would you negotiate that with the cuban government? >> yes. he'll be meeting with dissidents, with members of civil society including those who certainly oppose the cuban government's policies, just as when he went to panama for the summit of the americas and met with raul castro, he also met with critics of the cuban government and his civil society roundtable. i think the point we make to the cuban government is that we engage civil society in countries around the world. that this is part of how the president does business. when he travels in different regions, he meets with a broad range of actors. cuba is no different. so we may have a complex
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history, but, you know, the fact that we meet with and support people who are seeking to have their voices heard is part of what the united states does. and doesn't mean that we're seeking to overthrow the cuban government. it means that we're seeking to support basic universal values that, again, we would care about in any country. >> do you expect him to see fidel castro while he's there? and do you expect this to be tied in any way to the colombia peace talks? >> so i wouldn't expect him to meet with fidel castro. raul castro is the president of cuba. he'll certainly meet with president castro. with respect to the colombian peace process, we have had good cooperation from cuba on that issue. the cubans have hosted the talks between the colombia government. we've had a member attending a number of those discussions. we and the cubans together have
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worked to support the colombians as they are pursuing a peace agreement. i think it will certainly be a subject that we discuss with the cuban government that the president discusses with president castro. at the end of the day, as the president told president santos when he was here, we want the best deal for colombia and the colombian people and that's what matters here. and we're willing to support that in any way we can. >> back when, you know, the opening -- the start of normalization was announced, you guys mentioned some things that you expected the cuban government to do including the release of those prisoners. but ahead of a presidential trip to cuba, were there any conditions or was there anything specific that you expected them to meet before this happened? >> yeah. so i think the basic question we've explored including discussions with cubans whether we could use demonstrate to make normalization process.
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there are very different types of steps each of us have to take. on the u.s. side we've been methodically reviewing and in some cases changing our regulations to allow for more travel and commerce. and we will continue to do so in the weeks leading up to the trip. with respect to the cubans, what we would like to see is that, you know, they are taking the types of steps that allow those regulatory changes to take hold, that allow u.s. businesses to start -- in ways that benefit the cuban people that allow for, again, greater opportunity and access to information for the cuban people. so, again, it's not as specific as the process we had with the vatican in terms of the commitments that were announced on december 17th. but we do want there to be concrete progress that creates momentum for normalization, that demonstrates normalization benefits the cuban people and
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the american people. and that frankly it can help make the changes that we're pursuing irreversible going forward. so there's a range of steps that the cuban government could take to advance that process. and we'll be continuing to discuss that with them in the coming weeks. now, of course, on human rights we regularly raise a whole host of issues around certain cases of prisoners, certain patterns of detention and certain limitations on rights. and that will be of course part of the discussion as well. yeah, margaret. >> since you announced this sort of normalization process, there's been a dramatic spike in the number of cubans fleeing for the u.s. are those numbers sustainable? and is that wet foot/dry foot policy in the u.s. something the president is going to address? >> so we've seen certainly an uptick in the number of cubans, particularly cubans traveling to
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central america as part of an effort to make their way to the united states. i think that's tied to perhaps expectations around our policy changes but also greater freedom of movement for cubans to travel from cuba. and frankly in some cases increased resources from some changes in our policies in other countries. we are not planning to institute change with respect to wet foot/dry foot, but we do regularly, again, look at our broader migration policies. we have a dialogue with the cubans about those issues. we've worked very closely with our central american partners as they've dealt with this influx of cubans who are making their way to the united states. so we will be addressing the migration issue, but again, our focus is on how conditions can improve in cuba so that over time there's more economic
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opportunity and less of a need, frankly, for cubans to have to pursue opportunity elsewhere. >> and will you be bringing a delegation of congressional members with you particularly since you need congressional help to lift the embargo and those big things that are still in the way? >> we'll certainly want to incorporate members of congress into the president's trip. there are a number of members who've been -- on both parties i should add, this is an issue that does engender bipartisan support, will want to make sure they're incorporated into what we're doing. >> are you satisfied with what the cuban government has done on human rights? you sound disappointed. >> look, i think -- i don't think we will be satisfy ied. i don't think we've been satisfied to date. and frankly i think we're always going to have differences with this government because they have a different political system. at the same time even with those kind of fundamental differences about how they organize their political system, we do think that there are steps that they
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can take that can improve conditions for the cuban people and be a part of the evolution that is taking place on the island. thus far we've seen these incremental steps with respect to internet access and connectivity. we've seen some incremental increase with their engagement with the international community on these issues. i mentioned the head of the icrc. but we'd like to see more. >> then why go now? >> because we believe not going and isolating cuba doesn't serve to advance those issues. that we will be in a better position to support human rights and to support a better life for the cuban people by engaging them and raising these issues directly. whether that's individual human rights cases we're concerned about, whether that's the types of reforms that could broaden opportunity for the cuban people, or whether that's just how do we directly engage cuban civil society so that we are speaking out for the values that
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we support. again, in our judgment engagement is a far more effective means of addressing these issues than isolation. >> how concerned are you that all of this is still very reversible, is it not? >> so we want to make this policy change irreversible. and that means that we want links between cubans and meshes and the links between our countries to gain such momentum that there's annin evidentabili -- inevident ever itability. we have an embassy open. it wouldn't make a lot of sense to shut down an embassy we have open. you have significant increases in americans traveling to cuba that will only get higher as we institute direct flights and other measures. it wouldn't make a lot of sense
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to tell americans that their government says they can't be allowed to travel to cuba. we have a lot of interest from the business community and the chamber of commerce in supporting this opening. it wouldn't make a lot of sense to tell american businesses that they have to shudder projects they have initiated in cuba. so our objective here is to do as much as we can with the time we have remaining to make this an irreversible policy. and frankly, i think the indications to date are that the american people support that. >> on guantanamo bay, how do you anticipate the conversation going about the property there? and secondarily, will there be a conversation about reparations? there are a number of cuban-americans in particular in south florida who lost potentially millions if not billions in personal assets, will that be part of discussion as well? >> so guantanamo bay, i'm sure that will be part of the discussion. i know that because i've had that discussion many times with my cuban counterparts. you know, they are insistent
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obviously that our presence there is not legitimate and the facility be returned to them. but again, that is not on the table as a part of our discussions. we're focused on the range of issues that i discussed, but i'm sure they will raise it. it continues to be an issue of concern to them. with respect to the claims issue, that will certainly be on the agenda as well. we have initiated under the state department's leadership a dialogue with the cubans on the issue of claims. there are many claimants in the united states. we've been engaging many of them to try to determine the best way forward to see that, again, their concerns are satisfied. so the cubans also frankly have substantial number of claims against us as well. so there's a formal dialogue on claims. i think it will be part of the agenda as well. >> so i can circle back quickly on the prison. that is not going to be part of
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this. there's no way the government is going to give that back? there's not going to be a provision to give that back? that's not a part of this trip? >> that's not a part of this trip. yeah. >> who determines which dissidents the president will meet with? is that something that's negotiated? do you already have -- is that something that's already been discussed? >> we determine, you know, who we, you know, meet with in different countries. and we've certainly indicated to the cubans this is something the president will be doing on this trip as he does on other trips. >> i was hoping you could flush out why now. you've talked previously about using -- trip as the carrot to get some of the concrete progress you are hoping to see. you know, previously you have said that you would go when there was enough progress. this morning you wrote you're going because there's insufficient progress. what's changed? >> well, you know,

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