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tv   House Oversight Committee Examines Iran Nuclear Deal Messaging  CSPAN  May 17, 2016 10:00am-1:01pm EDT

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appreciate. but i think you can understand where none of us at the panel are particularly thrilled what with u.n. has handled the peace keeping issues and -- called for prosecutions to take place. let me close with this. i think, this certainly this hearing has given us a good hearing of complexities that exist. we have similar complexities in the middle east that we're dealing with countries that, you know leave thesing vacuums discriminate against various sex that are not. this is a challenge we have around the world we're dealing with issues like this. but we thank you for your focus today on africa we'll close that as of thursday afternoon if you can respond fairly briefly, we
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appreciate it. we thank you both for your expertise and knowledge to share it with us. and with that, the meeting is adjourned. thank you. >> thank you. thank you. >> the house oversight committee is holding a hearing on how the obama administration is sought to win support for the nuclear agreement it's coming after "new york times" profile of deputy national security advisor ben rose, in which he talked about efforts to over change. today's hearing is entitled the iran nuclear deal. . we take this up and deal with the situation as we get going and there are three the article, a aspiring article who became a
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goo rue. talking about how the white house would not this is from senator mark kirk and the senator john and without objection i would like to enter these three into the record. >> it's one of three countries that are still on the state sponsors of terrorism. and i think it's important that we have some clarity. there are some issues that are outstanding. it's one of the most important policy initiatives that the president has taken forward. but i still think it demands a lot of clarity. we're hoping that the clarity
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for strategic communications and speech riting. in the white house, i do not doubt ir have serious questions about the transparency, the truthfulness and when it really ultimately started and i think those are legitimate questions as we move forward because you have state sponsored terrorism and we still don't fully know the answer to a lot of these questions. some may think they know the answer it is to all of these questions. and think this is a very viable thing to look at, mr. roeds was in a unique position to offer this perspective given heavy duty and work on this. what is mystifying to me is how readily available he made
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himself to the media, but only select media, those in the cham per, he showed obvious disdain for people he showed great disdain for the media themselves. he's entitled to the personal opinions he elected to share those with the "new york times" and put them out there. he's also very neg give about congress going so far to say could not have a rationale discussion i'm summarizing here. so we provided that. said perhaps we should be calling other members up such as senator tom who should also raise the right hand and i took that suggestion to senator cotton, we accommodated that mr.
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rose elected not to speak. he does have a public speaking engagement today. he's out giving a public speech today, but refuses to come and speak with congress. >> leet's watch this. one final question on the subject. there have been reports that intermittently and outside of the p five plus one mechanisms, the obama administration or members of it have conducted bilateral talks with iran, is that true or false.
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>> we have made context in the larger plus p 15 framework we would be prepared to talk to iran. with regard to the kind of thing you're talking about on government to government level, no. >> let me try it one last way. is it the policy of the state department where secrecy is to learn to lie in order to achief that goal. >> i think there are times when diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. this is a good example of that. >> as you can see there, victoria offered what turned out to be totally not true that's
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not what happened. that was fiction as well. i think they would believe to have access and be able to see and get in there and go into the nuclear facilities 24/7. i want to play another clip. this is clip number e or letter e. >> they have put out the list of things they thing will be in the final deal with iran, including allowing inspectors to go anywhere any time, that seems perfectly reasonable now.
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>> under this deal you will have access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that they have. you'll also have access. >> what about the military facilities. >> what we'll have under this deal, jake is the strongest we can expect that site through the the iaea. >> he told on april sixth, under this deal you will have anywhere, any time 24/7 as it relates to the nuclear facilities that iran has, is that a lie? >> no. nuclear facilities. it's 24/7 access to iran's to verify their compliance with the
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agreement. >> any time, anywhere, to their nuclear facilities. >> now, over the past week i've spoken at length about what exactly this deal is. >> i can tell you, i never uttered the words anywhere, any time nor was it ever part of the discussion we had with the ianians. >> you can -- iranianiranians. >> thanks. you can take that down. >> is there 24/7 access. can you access anything anywhere any time. spinning quite a different story as we go along. we heard a lot of numbers related to sanctions relief an escrow dealing with oil funds. president obama was quoted
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talking about $150 billion they say they've had access to $100 billion. and then blamed treasure, talking about a lot of money going into a state sponsor of terrorism. there's questions about ballistic missiles in december 2015. he said there was a violation of the united nations resolution 2231 by the iran deal coordinator. in march of 2016, you have ambassador power -- the united states ambassador power to the united nations who toned it down a little bit. now they're calling it an inconsistent width as opposed the to violation of the united nations resolution. you have issues about boosting irans economy.
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-- that we're obligated. the united states of america is obligated to boost the economy, the iranian economy. again, something we need to understand. we don't understand the side deals. and then there's questions about everything that has actually been agreed to, not just in writing, but side deals and any other verbal commitments that were also made. i will note to our colleagues that secretary -- or that the chairman of armed services, mr. thorn berry, has a very important amendment, i think we should all consider and look at will be part of the ndaa issue as we move forward. again, there are a lot of outstanding questions. we wanted to get the person who is right in the thick of things from the white house to come here and testify, white house on thursday claimed that this wasn't about executive privilege and then less than 24 hours before this hearing, they
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reverse course and said oh, it is about executive privilege. who is being irch consistent. who is being inconsistent. you have plenty of times, mr. rose, to go out and talk to all the media friends and talk to the echo chamber that you brag about in the "new york times." when it comes time to actually answer our questions under oath and decide not to do it. by the time exceeded allocated, recognize the ranking member. mr. chairman, sitting here today i'm surprised, i'm very surprised and shocked that you would invite john hanna to testify before our committee as an expert witness.
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he helped prepare secretary of the infamous speech to the united nations to the iraq war, a speech called a permanent lot on his record. mr. hanna was identified by the iraqi national principal point of contact, end of quote. in the vice president's office
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her husband, ambassador joe wilson has debunked the claims about the iraqi nuclear program. that was end of quote that vice president cheney actually directed him to leak information about ms. flames covert status?
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>> if our goal is to hear from an expert who actually promoted false, false white house narratives and i think you picked the right person. but if our goal is to hear from someone who is not involved in one of the biggest misrepresentations in our nation's history then you picked the wrong person. he dick cheney and their colleagues and white house the profound tragedy thousands, thousands of u.s. service members from our districts are killed in iraq and thousands more sustained terrible
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injuries. the american taxpayers have spent hundreds of billions and billions of dollars even by the most conservative estimates you did not invite prominent republicans like richard who support this agreement. other committees have held dozens of substance tif hearings on the iran agreement.
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now our committee is rushing to hold today's hearing without one week's notice required by the house rules to the policies they're all repeating the same talking points for the same political narrative. basically created its own echo chamber. with respect to ben rose i'm struggling to understand the allegations against him. if i understand it correctly, republicans accused him of misleading the american people by claiming that nothing happened with iran before 2013. when they elected a so-called modern president. republicans claim that if the americans just knew the president was working towards an agreement before 2013, they
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would have rejected the deal. from every single year from obama administration documenting how they were working with varying service. all you have to do is move it. by the time the president barack obama was a candidate for president until today, press reports of full of accounts and negotiations are being launched. and not as what way to obtain. designed the to mislead the
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american people. that is not just ironic, that is hypocrite cal. with that and thank you for being here. >> thank you gentleman. >> and appear.
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>> that's my point, just be fair about it. you can say what you want. >> gentlemen, state is correct. >> i just want to know if he was here. >> he's here. >> take it. >> mr. rose is not here. i would also note that the democrats were free and usually almost always in my experience invite democratic witness. but there is no democratic witness today because you didn't invite him. >> you over? >> you know for a fact that we got less than the notices required in the rules. and did not object and went on with the hearing, you know that. >> i disagree with the timing issue that you -- >> you gave us the required time? >> yes. >> i disagree with you. >> okay. >> we'll sort that out. we have good working relationship mr. cummings and i.
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>> parliamentary required. >> gentleman from south carolina. >> do they media interviews or only appearances before congress? >> i don't know the full answer to that, but believe they're free to talk to whoever they want to in the media, but they did claim in the letter to claim executive privilege? >> so is that a yes or is a no? does it apply when you're being interviewed by the "new york times" or abc or cbs. >> or just when members of congress. >> thank you, chairman, for that clarification. >> we are here to -- we are going to continue with the hearing. we do have mr. michael ruben the resident scholar at the american enterprise institute. mr. michael dor ran, a senior fellow at the hudson institute and mr. john senior counselor for defense of democracies.
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we welcome y'all and thank you for being here all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. if you will please rise and raise your right hand. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. we would appreciate you limiting your verbal comments to five minutes, give us time to answer questions and entire written statement will be written into the record now recognize mr. ruben for his opening statement. >> chairman, ranking member cummings, honorable members, thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. the major related issues by which the white house misled when selling the deal were verification. the loosened the standard set in south africa and libya, erased the voluntary compliance with additional protocol that
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voluntary compliance. it also ignores the problem of off site research, have iranians transferred some nuclear work to labs in north korea under the jcpo we'll never know. another issue, loyalty to the vision was a major theme of his campaign commercials. he stuffed his cabinet with veterans of the intelligence ministry in effect constructing neither a cabinet but kgb cabinet. in 2005 he laid out doctrine. complacent si with dialogue and deliver knock out club. just last week he offered sful endorsement no the legacy of force chief. the real tragedy of the deals that comes money into the guard. history rely it is idea showering moderates the country or trickles down to ordinary people between 1998 and 2005, european union tripled its trade with iran and price of oil, iran
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took hard currency when fallen and invested in and ballistic program and covert nuclear facilities. bragged about how he defeated the rest. we had an overt policy which was negotiation and confidence building and covert policy which was continuation of the activities. the person in charge of directing the money to the military, in his capacity of chairman of security council. it goes between the supreme leaders the economic wing controls perhaps 40% of the economy, including every sector now open for business. many of those who supported the jcpo acknowledged it to be a flawed and faulty agreement but argued the ualternative was mor. it under mined the u.s. position by creating a buy nair choice between the jcpoa and war. they removed credibility to the notion that the obama administration in addition to best alternative to negotiated agreement.
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this played into the hands because they knew no matter what they pushed for curry would concede. the problem is now what roads did become the exception. in my written testimony, i detailed the long history of diplomats and politicians lying to keep diplomacy alive. too often they blame political opponents, more than foreign adversaries for the failure of diplomacy. as i document in dancing with the devil, the history of the last half century with terrorist groups as diplomats proceed, they too often calibrate today the fantasy they constructed rather than reality. senior state department of officials testified that they can draw no direct links between terrorism to avoid triggering an aid cut off. they show clinton's peace team knew they were false. like in 2007, christopher hill,
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state department's command presented to congress in artificially rosy picture of the diplomatic process with north korea in order to keep support for engagement alive no matter the truth of the behavior. more recently, diplomats advocating the new star treaty lie, in order to avoid reporting that. so what to do, they placed a security of the united states in its allies at risk. certainly any dissemination broader investigation. national security and congress's credibility are at risk, that's not enough. in the past six decades with u.s. state department has failed to pick ped up lessons learned exercises as to why conducting a broader review, that would be poisonous and counter productive, but if the state department refuses due
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diligence, even supporters acknowledged serious deals about the flaws, i'm concerned by creating an echo chamber and talking to people within it, ineffect what rose did was create propaganda operation in which he entrapped john kerry. if not, he's a victim as well. >> job ear recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> chairman, ranking number -- >> if you can move that microphone right up close and comfortable. there you go. >> thank you for inviting me to address some of the problems
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raised by recent profile and ben rose, the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications. mr. rose admitted that he created a war room of some two dozen detail lees from around the executive branch that came to the white house and monitored all communications, all public communications about the iran deal. communications of coming out of the capitol hill, the think tank world and social media and the traditional media. he also created what he called an echo chamber that was network of sympathic ngo, think tanks and members of the press to whom he seeded narratives, false narratives, i would say, about the iran deal and then he directed the reporters to these ngos and think tanks to give verification to the narratives that he put out. in my view, the creation of the echo chamber and the war room
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does constitute a deception of american people and their representatives but the question is, what exactly was the nature of the deception and i think to understand that, we have to understand the larger policy context. that is the strategic goal of the president was to with iran. it is to end the conflict with iran as a -- as a necessary precondition to pulling the united states back from the middle east because over all goal. now, if the president had been up front about this and said he wanted to pull the united states out of the middle east and b make iran part of the security architecture of the region, he would have encountered immediately severe. and former defense secretary,
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former chief of cia, said as much to the "new york times" magazine, now. that's the need for a propaganda operation it's not to misrepresent what's in the deal but to misrepresent everything that's around it the main lines that the war room and echo chamber put out and in my prepared statement i go into more detail about this, i'll just summarize here five major points, numb befr on-- number o conjuring, that the president of was a moderate coming to power
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to representing a wave of moderation in iran. and the need to support becomes the gift that keeps on giving to the president obama's diplomacy. it creates it creates a pleasing story of breaking down a barriers. it creates a moral equivalence and political terms between those who are critical of the deal in the united states and hard liners the enemies and in iraq. and importantly, it makes -- it lulls us into a false sense of security about all of the concessions that we have made to iran, in particular, the sun set component of the nuclear deal of which gives iran effectively in ten years a completely legitimate program and the ability to move nuclear program and the ability to move quickly
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toward a -- toward a weapon. if iran is moderating. if we have -- if we're supporting a process of moderation in iran, allowing it to have these capabilities is really no danger. the second -- the second they were initiated by the united states the third deception is erasing concessions from the united states along the lines of what dr. ruben just discussed. the president has recognized syria. one of the goals of the deception mr. rose is to prevent people from connecting the dots between the syria policy and the
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ie rainian nuclear policy. the fifth part of the deception is blaming ie lies. the white house on background and in public is very willing to criticize creating secretary and extremism in the region. it's willing to criticize -- in very derogatory terms prime minister of israel in pursuit of the support -- in support murder machine. i'll sum up now what i think we need to do about this. that we do not know what is in the iran deal. we still to this day don't note. i completely agree with your
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assessment about the. he was in europe drumming up business and they're saying this is part of the deal. this is part of the deal or is it not, we don't know, so i would support further investigation and then secondly, i think we have to trim the size of the nsc. i don't see how anyone who looks at this and sees a war room of 22 -- of 22 detailees around the executive branch with the job of monitoring communications and create ago false. it should not be imperial body running rough shot over all of the executive branch. so i would add my voice to those who are saying the nfc should be cut back severely from the 400
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members and currently asked if something more like 100. thank you. >> thank you gentleman. now we'll recognize mr. hanna for five minutes. >> chairman, ranking member cummings, members of the committee, on behalf of the foundation of defense and democracy thank you to testify on the iran nuclear deal. for me, as a foreign policy analyst, perhaps, the most important revelation made in the recent "new york times" profiled what's its allegation concerning the overriding in seeking a nauk lar deal with iran. a purpose which until now has been largely concealed from the american people. according to the article, "by eliminating the fuss about the nuclear -- of iran's nuclear program, they hope to eliminate a source of tension between the countries, which would create the space for america to
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disentangle itself from established system of alliances with countries like saudi arabia, egypt, israel and turkey with one bold move the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the middle east." this is truly a stunning admission with very big implications, as suggested elsewhere in the article, it does represent nothing less than a radical shift in american foreign policy. according to the article, the passion for iranian nuclear deal did not arrive from any investment in technical details of emergency and radically reorienting american policy and in the least in order to make the prospects of any american involvement in the region future war is a lot less likely. nour, whether you agree or
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disagree inclination to step back from the leadership role that the united states has played in the world war ii, the troubling factor remains this this fundamental shift in american strategy has never been openly communicated to the american people. long-time allies, determining whether or not this very claim is true, that is whether the white house is now in reality seeking an engineer large scale american disengagement from the middle east, is a question of vital importance to u.s. national interest, again, whether you agree with it or disagree, and it's one that i think the congress should seek clarification on. if in fact the nuclear deal with iran is, as mr. rose suggest, is center of the ark, president obama's efforts to radically transform u.s. policy it raises a host of concerns.
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it cast doubt that no deal is better than a bad deal. to the extent the objective instead in mr. rose' view was to eliminate the fuss about iran's nuclear program, rather than to actually eliminate that program itself might otherwise have been. when congress was reviewing last summer, the administration made repeated assurances to the congress that it would invigorously imports the agreement while using every tool to counter iranny terrorism. since then, however, the bad behavior has dramatically
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escalated. it's inkres creased or arrested u.s. citizens, conducted multiple missile test, fired rockets and very close proximity to u.s. and held ten american captive and threatened to close the streets. the u.s. response to these repeated provocations despite the administrations nonexistent. more worrisome, perhaps that it failed to negotiate in the jcpoa. specifically demanding access to dollarsize financial transactions this will be huge that will greatly expand iran's ability to do business internationally while legitimizing an iranian banking sector that remains in elicit
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financing activities. let me close by stressing in light of the questions raised by the "new york times" profile. in pursuing the iran deal. it's important that congress now hold the administration's feet to the fire when it comes to the commitment that they continue aggression at a min stum, congress should do everything to ensure it receives no new sanctions in the absence of significant new iranian concessions should be made to constrain iran's expanding missile program and deter the iranian from there activities in syria, iraq and yemen. the bottom line is that the united states should not be sending iran a message that we now place such a high premium on its continued adherence to the nuclear deal that it will have part launched pursuit
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increasingly threatening policies in other areas that endanger our interest and those of our allies thank you, again, for the opportunity to testify, i know this is a place where i would normally say i look forward to your questions but i may be more appropriately stand by and ready to try and answer your questions. >> fair enough. i think that's fair summary. . he said some truly amazing and this quote that he said, he said it's printed out, i don't know any more where i begin and obama ends. you let that settle in, that's a
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truly stunning statement. he also said some other things that i think are concerning. all of these newspaper use to have foreign bureaus. >> i think he makes a good point on that. >> then he says "now they don't, they called us to explain to them what's happening in moscow and cairo" from washington the average reporter we talked to is 27 years old and they're only reporting experience consist of being around political campaigns that a c change, they literally know nothing. end quote. he went on to say, then there are other sorts of multipliers we have our -- i will reach out to a couple of people and, you know, i wouldn't want to name them. it's really interesting in his approach. here is what -- that's one component. you compile that on top of what you also here former secretary
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this is what the secretary said, you know my view, if i brought it to the point where we had evidence that they're developing an atomic weapon, i think the president is serious that he's not going to allow that to happen, but then stopped in the article and the author says "would you make that same assessment now?" . the secretary is i would make the same assessment now, probably not. so he said it once, i've repeated it twice. this is what's deep concern. i think it would be naive to gloss this over and say, hey, we've got this deal. it's in the best interest of the united states, it's not something that's fully brought before the congress. i would hope that we would walk out with an understanding from the three of you of what those big outstanding questions are, but maybe somebody could shed
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some light on these so-called side deals, these things where iran has maybe made other deals. do you have any insight, any of you on what the so-called side deals might be as time goes on, we keep finding out more and more what wasn't in the tex. there is nothing else, but the iranians -- the iranians are saying that there is a larger deal. in particular with regard to access to dollars and the behavior of officials suggest they are right.
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>> trying to get us to overlook concerns about the elicit activities there's a mix match here of what we're saying or doing. what we're doing actually does match quite closely with what the iranians are saying. the deal has been shaped by the red line ts of the supreme leader and not by the red lines of the president of the united states. our red lines are dropped all along the way and they've stayed consistent with theres. one of the subjects for oversight would be with regard to changing the language and restricting the missile work. was it delivered recession or was it the result in competence,
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what troubles me, mostly, how we seem to be having become iran's lawyer, for example, the iranians will now complain that we are not enabling enough openings for their economy and yet what didn't hit the western press was last week, the iranians on the order of the supreme leader cancelled an order of $2 million for chevrolets and the answer was, we shouldn't be doing business with americans. who is kneecapping, us or the iranians, it's time to have the iranians stop blaming other people and take accountability to themselves. >> thank you, my time has expired. i'll recognize if ranking member. >> thank you have much, mr. chairman. >> you're ground zero in the bush administration marketing campaign to sell the iraq, is
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that a fair statement. >> no, i don't think it is. as you've said we've played an important role in making the first draft of the house speech to the united nations that was certainly true. >> so you were -- you did -- you were involved in making first draft; is that right. >> yes, that's correct. >> is this pretty much the draft that he presented to the united nations, i know first draft usually goes through many more drafts. >> sure. sure. if you hear them tell the story now, they say my draft was filled with reports that couldn't be supported by the intelligence community, so at the end of the day, they threw out my draft, secretary powell then spent four days with the highest levels of our intelligence community at langley doing a new draft and he said was primarily based on the intelligence community, communities nie.
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so i -- their claim is that there were -- that my draft did not actually form the foundation of what he presented to the united nations. >> now, you -- i'm sure -- having heard that i'm sure you probably said let me at least listen to what he did say, is that right? did you read that? >> yes, i did, absolutely. >> and was there any mention. he seemed like he was disappointd with the information you provided him that said pretty much that he, you know, e until the day he diez.
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>> when he said, i think he was talking about what he presented to the united nations, i don't think he was talking about the draft and i presented and what he did with george and the rest of the intelligence community that he ended up present gs that that was obviously filled with errors. when i started that draft, you need to go look at all the intelligence there is, including raw intelligence which regularly got into the white house for individual reports by individual intelligence sources. i did that and put it into a draft. and then have the intelligence community look at that draft and decide what pieces of intelligence could they support, which ones weren't they able to support, that source was nonreliable and did have enough reliable record of reporting and they would throw it out. so i wrote the draft knowing that large segments of it would
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be thrown out because the intelligence community didn't have the necessary confidence level in that reporting. let me -- to see the staff senate said about your document and i take it that's the first draft. >> he said,wrote. he said, hannah was constantly flipping through his clip board trying to source and verify all the statements. it was clear the thing was put together by cherry picking everything, end of quote. if had fact you did not use a dia report properly. did not as i a cia report fairly and you referenced a "new york times" article that quoted an intelligence report out of context. so they scrapped, as you said, your entire document. secretary's chief of staff described it in this way, and i quote, finally i threw the paper down on the table and said this isn't going to cut it. this was the chief of staff, right? for secretary powell.
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how could you have given him such a document that appears in his opinion to have been baseless and misleading? >> there's long history of this. it was mister -- >> yeah. yeah. >> who was his chief of staff. he has a long record that anybody can go read about his views of the iraq war andgre regrets. we have a different view of the draft i presented y. acknowledge it included a lot of stuff i knew that came from the intelligence community they would not be able to support. if they thought it wasn't used properly they could use it properly if they thought it was useful. we have a basic, i think difference of view about what i actually provided and what the purpose of my draft was, it wasn't meant to be a final draft, the final word that would go to the united nations it was meant to be a rough draft the intelligence community would go through with a fine tooth comb
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and pick out the parts they thought made the strongest case that saddam did have weapons of mass destruction. >> it wasn't just mr. wilkerson, it was also general tenet who reportedly turned directly to you, i'm sure you'll remember this, and said you wasted a lot of our time, quote, end quote. is that true, did he say that, george tenet. >> he didn't say it to me. i could easily see him saying that kind of thing. he didn't say it to me. >> thank you very much. >> recognize the gentleman from michigan for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. and thanks to the panel for being here. we wish that there were other members, of course. mr. duran, you discuss the need to restore check and balances and note that while mr. rhodes' behavior is scandalous and i think propaganda is a word you used, it wasn't a rogue operation.
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he was carrying out the will of the president. questions, i'm sure my constituents would want me to ask in reference to this is number one, how can congress take steps to prevent this president and future presidents from circumventing congress? >> i think this is part of the inherent tension in our government. i did say that i think mr. rhodes is doing the bidding of the president. it's important to remember that. we have numerous accounts from -- mainly from former defense secretaries pinetta and gates especially. showing how there's an inner core of the white house of five or six people who consult closely with the president about his views. and everybody else is pretty much left out of the conversation. including principles on the
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national security council. mr. rhodes is part of that inner circle. the only answer i have are the two that i gave you, one is just exercising the oversight responsibilities that congress has asking the hard questions, and continually putting pressure on the executive branch to come clean. the second is i think cutting back the size of the nsc. it's simply wrong, i think anyone on both sides of the aisle would see that the national security council created by statute in 1947 was created to be a coordinating body. not an operational arm of the government. and under president obama it has slipped into becoming an operational arm. i think when you look at the war room as described not by me but
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by mr. rhodes, this is an operational white house. just one last point here, there's an issue here i think we all just need to be aware of. there's not much we can do about it. that is, the collapse of the press. so one of the reasons why this is a threat to our checks and balances is because of the collapse of i would say certain informal check husbas on govern power that have disappeared over the past decade very quickly because of the rise of the internet. what ben rhodes said in that article about foreign events being reported from washington, from the white house by young reporters who don't know anything and don't have any other sources of information except what the white house is telling them is correct and it's dangerous. there's nothing much in terms of legislation we can do about that. we need to be aware of it. it's a double danger not only do
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those reporters not have alternative sources of information, but because all of the information is coming out of the white house they have a special interest in maintaining good relations with the white house and reporting the news stories as the white house once them reported is. >> let me go on from that as well, mr. ruben you may want to jump in. ben rhodes' assistant in the article, his comments in the "new york times" magazine article, indicated that they were compadres volvinvolved in . who would he be referring to in a think tank and policy world? >> the plow shares fund. >> what? >> plow shares fund has funded many of the elements of the so-called eco chamber to use ben rhodes' words. supposedly neutral assessors, for example, in various arms control think tanks, perhaps in
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the atlantic council as well. and elsewhere were receiving grants. one can say just because one has received a grant from this high level funder, by the way, this funder also had provided grants to senior iranian officials working in the united states as well at universities and so forth. just because they have funded doesn't necessarily mean that there's a quid pro quo. what you will find is that anyone who has received plow shares funding, especially for the bulk of their grant or salary never, not once, contradicted the assessment which ben rhodes sought to put forward. >> thank you, i yield back. >> now recognize the gentle woman from new york, ms. maloney for five minutes. >> thank you. after a good deal of deliberation and research, i voted against the iran nuclear deal.
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and at the time i was hoping very much that i was wrong. but everything that has happened since and the additional information that has come forward, it literally has convinced me that i made the right decision. but i have to say as a member who took the time to carefully study the plan before making a decision as i believe all of my colleagues did, i had absolute complete access to all documents, i read every document, even classified documents. every meeting was addressed in various areas of the administration bent over backwards to provide accurate information to us. and i must say that this was one of the most hotly debatebed issues i've southeasternexperie i've been in congress. both sides were putting forward their cases there were demonstrations, petitions,
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meetings, conferences. there were debates. there were -- it was completely and totally open to everyone to learn and to make their own decision. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are taking another opportunity to attack the administration with a futile fishing expedition based on a widely questioned "new york times" profile of an advisor to president obama. i believe it's quite a stretch to suggest that the white house building a comprehensive information campaign to support a major policy -- foreign policy initiative amounts to any way in misleading the american people. and i find it incredibly hypocritical to invite mr. hannah who worked for dick cheney and helped market the
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iraq war based on false pretenses to come now before us as an expert witness on an alleged false white house narrative. i find the hypocrisy really beyond belief. and i'd like to ask mr. hannah, do you know who scott mcclannen is yes or no? yeah. scott other people may not know. he was the white house press secretary and he wrote a book about his experience. he explained how a small group of advisors called the white house iraq working group helped sell the iraq war by misleading the american people. and i'm quoting from president bush's press secretary. he said the white house iraq group had been set up in the summer of 2002 to coordinate the marketing of the war to the public. and, mr. hannah a wasn't scooter libby your boss and dick
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cheney's chief of staff, weren't they part of the iraq group? >> the vice president was and i think scooter libby was, i'm not 100% sure. i think you're right. >> yeah. scott mcclellan further wrote. he explain ed how you and other misled the american people. he said this, and i quote as the campaign accelerated qualifications were down played or dropped all together. contradictary intelligence was largely ignored or simply disregarded. mr. hannah, why did you ignore evidence that contradicted your political narrative for the war? >> congress woman i would just say that, you know, to the extent i got it wrong in believing that saddam had weapons of mass destruction an awful lot of people got it wrong. it was not a figurement -- >> are you saying, mr. hannah
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that he was wrong in the book when he said you misled the people. >> there have been bipartisan commissions that have looked at how the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction came to the conclusion the president of the united states did not lie about the evidence -- >> i'm not talking about him, i'm talking about mcclellan, was m mcclellan, when he wrote we were misleading the american people, we down played any contradictory information. >> congresswoman i haven't read his book. a lot of people who know scott very well, i don't know scott at all have contradicted his presentation, they believe he was wrong in his judgments. >> are you saying that you did include contradictary intelligence showing your case was weak or non-existent? >> no. i think we were instructed to
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write what we thought was the best case of why saddam had weapons of mass destruction. >> gentle woman's time is expeered. >> i have 20 seconds. >> you are 27 seconds overtime. >> okay. all right. i'd like to put my closing statement in the record, it's a zinger. and it's very hypocritical, mr. chairman. >> you know, what's -- mr. hannah is here to answer question. mr. rhodes is not here to answer questions that's what difficult about this meeting. >> thank you for your testimony and for providing valuable information to this committee. which sheds light on the deceptive manner in which the obama administration sold out the american people and the allies across the globe with the iran agreement. the facts each of you have laid
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out in your testimony, the administration bolics doubles down and tries to discredit anyone who disagrees with the false narrative, including me. when asked about ben rhodes's interview with the "new york times" magazine, press secretary josh earnest dodged and decided to lam bast several members of congress including me as liars. why? because i said that under the illegal iran deal and lifting sanctions iran would be able to access 1$100 billion that was frozen. the president of iran said his country would get $100 billion. despite the fact i said something similar, the white house is trying to brand me as a liar in attempting to deflect ben rhodes' statements. the fact is not whether it's $50 billion or $100 billion. the real problem is president
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obama is funding the world's largest state sponseper of terrorism. iran is no friend to the united states. to christians, to jews or even sunni muslims. iran is a rogue nation hell bent on nuclear war in the middle east. a responsible president who loves the country and supports the allies would not lift sanctions and give this regime money. this is a strain on our national secretary. our next president we can only hope will promote freedom accountability and opportunity overseas not a regime that stones women, hangs home sexuals and skilled members of other religions. josh earnest suggested i show up to the oversight committee. here i am. where is ben rhodes? i guess you can run and hide. mr. doran, much of the news cover focused on mr. rhodes and the lies he had spun relating to the iran deal. we know that no one operates in a vacuum. does mr. rhodes represent a rogue employee of the white
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house or does this spin campaign represent something more deeply about how the white house handled the iran deal? >> i believe it represents the president's strategic vision and the president's will. he -- the president is on record as early as 2006 saying he wanted to improve relations with iran and syria and saw iran and syria as sharing core interests and we should work with them to do that. i don't think he ever lost that -- >> you would say he actually is ultimately responsible for developing this frame of cusp h capitulati capitulation? >> absolutely. that's the key factor to understand why we made the concessions to iran. we're not actually trying to stop it from getting a nuclear weapon we're trying to develop a partnership with it. >> unfortunately, as you said, the lies and misrepresentation that are deeply woven deep within the iran agreement are
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the latest example of a culture of deception that has been the administration's mo. let's not forget this is the same administration that sold the american people out to the insurance companies under the guise of healthcare reform. the president and his congressional minions drove legislative garbage truck by repeating the lie if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. this is the same administration that promoted its waters of the united states regulation. the government accountability office confirmed the executive branch under the epa director unleashed an illegal propaganda campaign in order to force it down the throats of the american people. mr. ruben, it's clear the obama administration had a covert agenda to reach a deal with iran by any cost that was driven by the optics of diplomacy and
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legancy than real facts. w what are the dangers to a negative approach to policy making? >> when one calibrates policy to a fantasy that is constructed rather than to reality the cost is often paid with blood. iran has not become any less of a terrorist sponsor as a result. in fact, if we take the $50 billion figure, that's ten times the annual official budget of the islamic revolutionary guard corp. i would take the ability of the state department, take the ability to designate state sponsors of terrorists out of the hands of the state department and put it in independent commission so it doesn't become a political football. >> i think the gentleman -- this behavior has become the status quo for an obama administration that has disregarded the rule of law and respect for the american people to enact its partisan agenda. it's a dangerous precedent and needs to be stopped by congress, thank you, chairman. >> gentleman's time is expired
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recognize the gentle woman from the district of columbia. >> thank you. we can relitigate the iran deal as much as the testimony attempted to do or discuss the central allegation that brought us to this hearing. it is, of course -- that's what i like to pursue. that republicans, my colleagues accuse ben rhodes of misleading the american people. but claiming that the obama administration began negotiating the deal and the operative year is 2013. after iran elected a so-called moderate president. the claim is if the american people knew that the president was working towards the agreement before 2013, they would have rejected the deal. so here is how the claim is
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worded in "the new york times" magazine. that rhodes shaped the story of the iran deal of the iran deal began in 2013 when a moderate faction within the iranian regime beat the hard liners leading to an election where there was quote, more openness. the author says that mr. rhodes claimed the story began in 2013. that's what brought us here gentleman. the problem is that isn't true. the president's efforts with respect to iran were widely reported from the time he became president. so i'm going to ask that a clip from "the washington post" 2008 when the president became
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president be posted. it describes how the iranian president wrote to president obama after he was elected in 2008. now are all a panel of so-called experts. i assume you read "the washington post" on occasion. were you not aware of this 2008 report? were any of you unaware of that 2008 report? >> i don't remember the report exactly, i think you're right. everybody knew going into the election president obama had made clear he thought he would be the one to end our three decade old -- >> this is about negotiating the agreement itself and about being in touch with the iranian regime before there was a regime change. let's go to the washington times in 2009. i assume you read the washington times, it describes how
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president obama sent two letters to iran's supreme leader, now i know you ayatollah khomeini. this is 2009, well before 2013. there are many reports from every year of the administration this is why this hearing befuddles me. 2010 from the economist. mr. obama says the various components of his policy should not be seen in isolation. first he tried to engage iran early and directly. not because he was naive about the regime but in order to make clear to the world that america was not the aggressor and he was willing to work with iran if it
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behaved reasonably. 2011 from the atlantic quote, on three occasions as -- in as many years u.s. diplomats have set down -- this is 2011 -- with high level iranian officials to discuss confidence building measures. as part of a six party body negotiating issue. 2012. all of this is before 2013. united states and iran have agreed in principle for the first time. to one-on-one negotiations from iran's nuclear program. you're supposed to be experts. some other experts not invited here have said that it is nonsense that only after regime change did the president begin to negotiate.
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the president of plow shares fund called it utter nonsense. suzanne maloney of the brookings institution agreed and she explained the core claims of official deception around the iran deal were never actually substantiated. none of these experts, so that we could have some balanced picture were called here. unfortunately, mr. chairman, by not inviting these experts we're getting a very one sided story. >> will the gentle woman yield? >> i'll yield to the chairman. >> democrats have always, always have an opportunity to invite a witness to come to the hearing. the democrats chose not to invii invite a witness. ben rhodes also refused to show up. >> i understand, mr. chairman. the ranking member has already
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indicated that had there been time there would have been a democratic witness. i thank you very much. >> recognize the gentleman from ohio, for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. are you familiar with the name jonathan gruber? do you know that name. >> rings a bell but can't call it up. >> mr. ruben do you know mr. gruber? >> know the name. >> do you know what his occupation is? >> i think he's an economist who was enlisted to help with the healthcare reform. >> yes, sir yes. >> the famous guy -- do you know what title he was given when he was help ing with obamacare and healthcare reform? do you know what he was titles? anymore remember? architect of obamacare. that's one thing. architect of obamacare and all, but he got a little notoriety in the press and had to come and sit where you guys are sitting a few years ago. al any of you guys know why he was brought in front of the
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committee and had to sit here? want to take a guess? >> he lied about the cost of obamacare. >> yes, he was deceptive. he talked about the stupidity of the american voter. direct quote. bragging after it was passed. lack of transparency is a political advantage. that's a nice way of saying if you deceive people you might get your way, right? might help your case. so here is jonathan gruber architect of obamacare talking about deception, things like if you like your plan you can keep it, like your doctor you can keep it. premiums will go down. everything turned out to be false. now we hear about another person in the obama administration, mr. rhodes. he comes along, and he is given the title, according to the piece in the "new york times" the single most influential
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person. talks about the eco chamber and deceiving the press. his derision for the press because they literally know-nothing was one of the lines i think mr. rhodes used in his piece. you talked about this false choice i think in your opening statement that mr. rhodes set up and used this eco chamber of folks who literally know nothing to further this message to the american people. the binary choice either it's the deal or it's war. that's what he set up, right? the thing that strikes me -- i won't take my full time. i wanted to make this point. this isn't the first time this administration on some big
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policy decision has deceived the american people. maybe more importantly, it's not my judgment the first time mr. rhodes on a big policy issue, big concern to the american people has tried to deceive them. mr. ruben you're getting ready to say something. >> it comes oftentimes in the way of cherry picking. if we want to look at previous iranian letters, for example, what's interesting is when supreme leader khomeini on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the american embassy, mocked president obama for the letters he was sending and said we are not going to talk to the americans until they fundamentally change their position. and so one of the reasons why we need this transparency, the transparency about what you're saying is sometime around 2012, the americans fundamentally changed their position but
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didn't come clean to the american people about it. >> i thank you for that. let me just finish up with this, then. just to i think make this point. mr. gruber deceives the american people on obamacare. along comes mr. rhodes on the iranian deal uses deception to create this false choice and help get this agreement passed. and as i said this is not the first time mr. rhodes has done it. not the first time the administration has done it or mr. rhodes, i think he did it on the benghazi issue when he said in the now famous talking points which became the catalyst for the formation, the reason the house of representatives and the speaker formed the committee when he created this false choice between it's not a failure of policy it's rooted in a video. straight from the talking points. and so, again, a pattern with the administration, what appears to be a pattern with mr. rhodes
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himself. when he's given the ask to come testify, doesn't have the courtesy to show up. mr. chairman, i yield back my four seconds. >> thank the gentleman. recognize the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman, and thank you to the panel. i have to -- i can't let this go. earlier mr. duran said if only the president had been up front with withdrawing from the middle east. i have to say that, you know, the president was clearly during his campaign, going back to 2007, 2008, i mean ad nauseam at the time the president took office we had about 165,000 troop and 180,000 contractors in iraq. he went on and on about the fact he was going to get those people out of there. he was going to withdraw from the middle east. i think he got elected based on that claim. he was like trump does with the we're going to build a wall, make america great again. president obama during his campaign he went on and on.
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he hammered away at that and said if i get elected i'm going to withdraw those troops. in the first 16 months he said he's going to get all the combat brigades out of iraq. he was very much up front about that. he was perfectly clear on that. the other fiction here is is that the american people were tricked by ben rhodes. and remember, we were the audience, us here. they were trying to get the bill, the iran agreement through congress. we're the ones getting all the information. and i have to say i was never tricked by ben rhodes. and with all due respect to ben rhodes in terms of the merits of that agreement, he was probably not as qualified as a lot of the other people that were coming to congress and testifying before both republican and democratic caucuses. we have a list of experts, it's very lengthy. i'll hit on a few.
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78 nuclear non-proliferation experts. 60 national security experts. five former ambassadors to israel. 29 nobel prize winning scientists. 36 retired generals. 100 former u.s. ambassadors and 500 iranian americans with experience both in the u.s. and iran. 340 rabbis, 53 christian leaders. the sciences include a physicist that helped design the first hydrogen bomb. we had stone cold experts. we were not listening to ben rhodes. those are the people -- i actually sat with one of the experts from the iaea about what he thought after having been in iran and at some of their -- at iraq, and what they thought about the ability of this agreement to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon. so those are the people we also listened to. it wasn't ben rhodes and, you know, some political spin.
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but i would say that if we're really trying to measure this agreement -- that's what's going on here. we're rehashing the agreement again. i think the best way would be to go to the iaea. under the agreement they're the ones we've put on the ground and asked them to do these inspections. and so i would just like to for the record i'm going to ask have admitted the first two reports, january and february by the iaea, the international agency -- iaea verification for monitoring the islamic republic of iran in light of the security resolution 2231. this is an inspection done by the iaea because of the agreement. and some of the things i'll just tell you what they report. i'll give you the greatest hits. they determine that iraq, they went into arak, everybody thinks i'm saying iraq.
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but arak heavy water research reactors. al they determined iran was not pursuing the construction of the kpa existing reactor. they had removed the existing one from that reactor they had rendered it inoperable by filling with concrete which is part of the agreement. they had stored monitoring uranium pellets and fuel. they modified the fuel process line at the fuel manufacturing plant. so that it cannot be used for the fabrication of fuel. iran was not accumulatediing uranium through his activities. it goes on. i got 27 seconds left. a lot of good stuff in here. these are people who have actually been in iran doing the inspections. m iran was not conducting any
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uranium enrichment. had removed all of its nuclear material. this was all pursuant to the agreement. so and -- i'm getting to eight seconds. completed the modalities and facility inspection arrangements to allow the agency to implement all transparency measures provided in the agreement. so that's what the iaea is doing. you know, that's part of the agreement. that's what we put them for. the great advantage to us, no matter what happens in the future, is that up to the time that this agreement was signed, we never had people on the ground in those facilities. we were guessing about the level of progress they had made on their nuclear weapons program. we will have people on the ground looking at the facilities. for military or diplomatic purposes that's a good thing. i yield back.
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>> thank you gentleman. we'll enter that into the record. the chair recognizes mr. gowdy. >> not only did ben rhodes not appear and cost us an opportunity to question mr. rhodes, it cost us the opportunity and the privilege to ask questions of our friend and colleague tommy cotton, speaking of constitutional crisis. hauling a united states state senator before a committee of congress would have create adconstitutional crisis. good thing for us tommy was willing to come on his own. the background contrast would have been interesting to me. the white house is very critical of senator cotton and has been for several months now. senator cotton, of course, when he was serving tours of duty in the united states army in afghanistan and iraq, ben rhodes was navigating the mean streets
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of a creative writing curriculum and -- i mean that literally. that is not figurative. he has a masters in creative writing. if you're interested in writing haikus and sonnets and noviella he's probably the right guy. if you're advising the leader of the free world on foreign policy matters i don't know how a haiku helps. but i would have enjoyed the opportunity to ask mr. rhodes how his background prepared him to sell the iranian deal, but yet tommy cotton's background did not prepare him to criticize the deal. that would have been an interesting dichotomy for me. what i really wanted to do, mr. chairman, was ask mr. rhodes to help me as gruber did in the past understand what he meant by certain things. mr. chairman, he said we created an echo chairman. does the chairman know who we is?
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>> i do not. >> he couldn't be referring to other presidential advisors because he invoked executive privilege and he can't talk about what other presidential advisors said. it couldn't be that, could it? >> i do not know. >> okay. he said reporters call us to explain to him what's happening in moscow and cairo. i'm curious which reporters that would be. which ones call him to find out what's going on in cairo? but we can't ask him because he's not here. i would add he has plenty of time it sit down for what he had hoped to be a fluff piece in the "new york times." he's been on television plenty of times. plenty of times to draft memos for the president but he doesn't have time to come before a committee of congress. this is what concerns me in talking about those reporters he said they literally know
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nothing. how does someone literally know nothing? he said they were 27 years old, which suggests that they probably have a driver's license at that point. you have to know something to get a driver's license. if they're 27, they'd be eligible to vote in the democratic primary more than likely. you have to know something. so when you say they literally know-nothing, that struck me. i wanted to ask him about that. i think his appearance today had he bucketerothered to come woul contributed to bipartisan. he said he expressed contempt for the editors and reporters at "the new york times" and washington post and new yorker and that might have provided opportunity for bipartisanship. it would z given us an opportunity to share our own frustrations. he didn't come. mr. chairman, you do a great job leading the committee. it's up to you whether you
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assert the people's right to question ben rhodes. the selective use of executive privilege on one day and not the next. at some point congress will have to stick up for itself. we'll have to decide whether we have a right to question people. if you have time to make these comments to a reporter you ought to explain yourself. if you time at the white house to send a bunch of mean tweets about a guy who served two tours, two combat tours, and tommy cotton and he's willing to come but the creative writing expert isn't willing to come, at some point this body is going to have to stick up for itself. i yield back to the chairman. >> we recognize the gentleman from virginia, mr. conley for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. lordy lordy, the outrage of my friend from south carolina. does a heart good. does a heart good.
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from my point of view this hearing is nothing but a spomok screen in a long try to deny what is manifestly true that the iran nuclear agreement is working. it's not a panacea for all iranian behavior, though they would like you to believe that. just as disarmament agreements with the soviet union are implacable during the cold were were not designed to address every aspect of soviet behavior. would that they could but they're not designed to be the be all and end all to circumscribe an entire rip relationship. this was designed for a specific set of goals. and lord almighty we had a hearing the house foreign affairs committee were again my friends on the other side of the
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aisle desperately wanted not to talk about compliance. but being the skunk at the picnic, i did. and let me see. in terms of compliance, we found that the agreement has reduced the number of centrifuges as planned from 19,000 to 6,104. that the fuel enrichment plants so those centrifuges reduced. iran is no longer enriching uranium above 3.67%. verified by the iaea as my friend mr. lynch indicated. and has reduced its stockpile of enriched uranium as required to no more than 300 kilograms shipped out of the country. verified. centrifuge production and
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uranium mines and mills under constant surveillance. and verified. and, of course, the plutonium production capability eliminated. they -- i asked point blank is there any evidence of cheating. al that's all we heard they were going to cheat they couldn't be trusted this was nothing but enabling behavior to allow iran to become a nuclear threshold state. and the answer was no. so far, no cheating. now, my friend from south carolina, we are friends. we have sometimes sparring partners. just is all exercised about the fact that somebody would not accept a friendly invitation to come to this committee. we're a very hospitable to witnesses. we call them names, we sensor
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them. a lot of times we interrupt them when we don't like their testimony. they ought to come here nonetheless. you're lucky mr. rubin, to be here today. mr. hannah, when you received an invitation from the senate intelligence committee in 2006, did you accept it? >> i don't remember getting an invitation. >> they published a report. >> i must not have. >> well, let me help refresh your memory. they issued a final report and they said that every request made to you for an interview was denied. and it concludes these decisions inhibited the committee's ability to pursue legitimate lines of inquiry. any reason why you would say no to the senate intelligence committee when it was under -- it wasn't under democratic control in 2006. but you still said no.
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you can't -- that doesn't refresh your memory? >> it doesn't refresh it. but i can tell you there was obviously especially in the office of the vice president the counsel there was an aggressive proponent of executive -- >> go ahead say it. >> you say it for me. >> was that word coming out. >> executive privilege. >> privilege. there you go. so for a republican white house it's perfectly okay. and you had a very aggressive counsel saying you're not going. but here with somebody who gives a profile for a magazine where he boasts about himself, we got to haul him in chains because we're being denied access and that's wrong. you agreed to testify knowing that. do you think mr. rhodes should be here? in a way that you were not ten years ago? >> in our administration what i
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remember is that dr. rice when she was in her capacity as nsc advisor actually did testify so i think. >> i'm talking about you. you were named by the senate intelligence committee by name and singled out for your refusal to make yourself available to that committee when it was doing its work. was there less gravity at the issue at hand ten years ago involving you than there is today involving mr. rhodes? >> issues were very grave in both cases i think. i think mr. rhodes actually is more influential player. and he's been willing to talk about all of these issues openly and with contempt for people. >> we're glad to have you here talking as well. i'm sure my colleagues ten years ago would have enjoyed having you. one good aggressive white house counsel deserves another. >> gentleman's time is expired the chair recognizes the
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gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is just -- i would think that ben rhodes would be falling all over himself to come here. he seems to think he's so much smarter than everybody. educate everybody. tell us why those of us who oppose it were wrong. educate the american people. it would have been great opportunity for him if in fact he is as smart and worldly as he says. part of this yes, there is deception involved. anytime a major time policy is sold to the congress and the public that's a major thing. rhodes himself said the iran deal was going to be the obamacare of the second term. of course, with obamacare in the first time the presidentaid over and again if you like your plan you can keep it. not only was that not true, the administration knew at the time it would not be true and they did it in order to engineer passage of obamacare. with this deal the president was
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in the presidential debate in 2012. he said the deal was very simple and i'll accept. they end their nuclear program. it's pretty straightforward he said. and of course what we see now is iran retains really a major, major nuclear program. i believe they're on a path to a bomb at worst, once the time -- the eight to 15 years goes up. there's a lot i think that's important about that. it's important to talk about it. i also think that some of what we're talking about with rhodes, for example, the idea that well, rouhani's election changes everything. this guy is a moderate. never mind he would never have been allowed to run by the ayatollahs if he wanted to change the nature of the regime. you have a regime that's the world's leading state sponseper of terrorism. you have a regime that people fail to mention they were responsible for as many as 1,500 american deaths in iraq. they were leading the force,
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they were funding massive bombs that took out hundreds of our soldiers and probably as men as 1,500. that's the nature of the regime. and the notion that was propagated and rhodes is honest, look this is an opening, we got to take this opportunity. it's a once in a generation opportunity. well, it turns out they never believed that. they knew -- in fact they were negotiating with the regime before rouhani had ever been elected. so all that was kind of a rouge to camouflage the basic policy. i think you hit it on, this is a policy that understands the nature of the iranian regime and the hostile nature of the iranian regime and it doing a deal to solidify the hard liners, they think that's the way to have a more peaceful world. and so the deception is important just for itself. what it really masks -- when we were going through all this. this is the biggest thing we've
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done this congress. i thought that john kerry and the president were naive about how they conceived the iranian regime. turns out they really weren't that naive. they knew what we knew and they still wanted to go ahead with it. so that's why i think it's very, very troubling. then we're seeing that now play out with really gratuitous conceptions such as giving iran indirect access to the american dollar. that wasn't even called for by the iran deal. yet that is something that the administration is doing. and so i think that this is important. there are a few -- i don't think we've done an issue this important in the congress in years and years. so the idea that you're not up front with the american people is important. i think what this should allow us to do. i'd like to tease out the implications now of this policy with somebody like mr. rhodes. so mr. dorin, what is your view? it seems like rouhani as a moderate they admits it's a
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rouge. they knew the nature of the regi regime. they think us stepping back is going to be better for the world's security? >> i think that's right. i think the president has a vision of the middle east as a kind of round table now the security architecture and we have all the stakeholders and the iranians are stakeholders. and the assumption is fetretrea them with respect and respect their interest that they'll come to us. the key assumption i think the key false assumption here is they share the same interests we do. defeating isis, stabilizing iraq and so on. i think particularly relevant are the views of fred hoff who was president obama's point man on syria from 2009 to 2012. somebody who understands the -- there's nobody's been closer to the obama administration's
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policies on syria than fred hoff. he has now come around to the view that president obama has in effect recognizes syria as an iranian sphere of interest. and did so in order to reach the agreement with them. >> i appreciate that. i think the upshot of all this, the nuclear obviously very significant. even beyond that, iran is really emerging as the dominant power in the region. how you can see that's good for our security is beyond me and i yield back. >> now recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. cartwright for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, at this time i'd like to associate myself with represe representative lynch and maloney it's with great regret this has turned into political football
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the way it has. al mr. hannah, let me get this straight. you drew up the false talking points for caolinpowell when he spoke. you wrote that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq and that was what ended up in his speech and that you're here today to question someone else's credibility and somebody else's professionalism. am i getting that straight? >> not exactly. i'm not sure i'm questioning his professionalism. i'm questioning the tactics he used. we based our intelligence on the intelligence that was there. it was wrong. that was a mistake it wasn't any kind of purposeful desire to deceive or not give the american people what we -- >> you told us earlier in your testimony today that you drew up that speech not knowing if it was true. knowing that it would be vetted by the intelligence community, drawing it up as a piece of
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salesmanship to see if anything was true and if it was, it would stick. your words were quite clear on that. one of the parts of the salesmanship was that this idea that was that the bush administration cooked up the idea that there was yellow cake uranium coming from the african nation of niger and it was ambassador wilson who gave the lie to that fiction. he said it was nonsense. he wrote an op-ed in the "new york times" in 2003 in july debunking the claim. that yellow cake uranium was going to saddam hussein from niger. you were one of dick cheney's top national security advisors you worked with cheney, scooter libby before he was convicted. surely you discussed ambassador
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wilson's op-ed with him with vice president cheney, especially since it was contradicting one of your key talking points in selling the war in iraq. did you talk about ambassador wilson's op-ed in the "new york times" with vice president cheney? >> i did not talk to the vice president, but we did talk about it within the office -- >> talk to scooter libby about it? >> i'm almost sure i did, yeah. >> ambassador wilson wrote it did not take long to conclude it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had taken place. he directly contradicted information you put out publicly in response the bush administration retaliated against him by publicly outing his wife, valerie, who was a cia operative at the time. mr. hannah, my question for you is what was your role in outing his wife as a cia operative? >> i had no role in outing her
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as a cia. >> mr. hannah, special counsel was appointed to investigate the criminal leak of classified information. it was patrick fitzgerald, he concluded there was, and i'm quoting here, concerted action by multiple people in the white house to seek revenge against ambassador wilson. do you dispute those findings? >> i haven't looked at it. yes, i dispute the way that the name of valerie reached the press. it was by a person who seemed to have no desire in the state department was deputy secretary happened to mention her in a conversation ing with a reporter. >> mr. hannah, the bush administration smeared ambassador wilson and his wife. ruined her career. sacrificed a national security asset in the cia because ambassador wilson had the temerity to debunk your false claims and he told the truth.
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your boss and dick cheney's chief of staff, scooter libby was convicted, but then president bush commuted his prison time. that is correct correct? >> he was never charged with releasing the name of a covert cia operative. >> the second voice that you talked about outing valerie, that was karl rove, wasn't it? >> i have no idea. i know his name was in there but i had no dealings with karl. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> now, recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. meadows for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me come to you, because as these decisions continue to get made with regards to the validity of iran deal as we would call it, decisions by members of congress hinge on very small sometimes often minute pieces of information
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where they can justify going one way or another. do you believe some of the statements by mr. rhodes was a factor at all in some of the members of congress casting their vote one way or the other. >> yes, i can give you examples if you would like. >> please. >> when it comes to verification according to use law incumbent with the quarker compromise. all agreements are supposed to be submitted to congress. it emerges there were secret side sgreemagreements with the . that the state department agreed the iaea would not need to report to the level it had reported under sanctions, especially with regard to the possible military dimensions. to say that the iaea has said verification that iran is complying with the deal that's
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like bragging someone is the valedictorian of the summer school class. it becomes a major problem, it lets them off the hook. we only found out about that afterwards because the white house kept it secret. >> well, we've had sworn testimony both in a number of house committees and senate committees where the sworn testimony by administration officials were -- that there are no and were no secret side agreements. would you say that that's a incredible argument under sworn testimony to make? >> they are lying to congress. >> all right. so that's a pretty bold statement, mr. rubin that they're lying to congress. if we go back and look at the tapes where they say there was no side agreements in sworn testimony do you think it's incumbent upon this committee to hold those particular individuals who gave sworn testimony in contempt of congress? >> yes. >> thank you, mr. rubin.
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let me go on a little bit further. the troubling aspect of this is somehow members on the other side of the aisle aisle to sugg that there is wrongdoing in previous administrations that would justify wrongdoings in a current administration. is it your opinion, mr. ruben, regardless of who the administration might be, whether it be republican or democrat, that it's incumbent upon them to be honest and straightforward with congress when they are negotiating something of this type of magnitude? >> yes. national security should not be a political football. >> so is it your sworn testimony here today that because of the talking point of mr. rhodes, and inaccuracy or as you would
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characterize them, the lying that took place, the whole debate that transpired within congress was based on faulty assumptions that had no relevance or relationship to the truth. >> it was almost as if, instead of looking it he whole chess board, the white house was directing congress to look at four pieces. >> so if we were only looking at four pieces, and something that is come critical to national security, and to the security of our allies israel, do you think it was disingenuous to suggest that some of the talking points that were coming out of the israeli government were, indeed, characterize as being dishonest and not truthful, do you think an apology from this government.
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>> this government coddling adversaries and throwing allies under the bus. perhaps apologies are due when domestic politics got in the way of foreign policy discourage. >> i think, mr. reuben, and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> now recognize the gentleman from vermont. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, if the at the heart of this is a question, the one faced by the president, is iran without nuclear weapons better for security and middle east and the world than iran with nuclear weapons. that was the question. the engagement of mr. rhodes was one significant person among hundreds were, and along with our best allies, france, germany, england, and also our sometimes frenemies china and
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russia. and the collective decision of those countries and us was that the iran nuclear deal was in our collective interest. now, there was fierce disagreement about that among the witnesses and among many of my colleagues here in congress. but this was a long and complex negotiation that was ultimately ratified by our strongest allies. there was a judgment that the commander in chief had to make as to whether or not this agreement was in the national security interest of this country. i agree with him. i work closely with mr. rhodes and found him to be an exceptional public servant, knowledgeable. and despite what you're saying candid and direct. let me just ask a couple of questions here, because the decision the president made was
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in contrast to decisions that a previous president made. do each of you believe that the american people got the right information that there were weapons of mass destruction in iran? each of you. iraq? thank you. >> no, it was shown that it was false. >> no. >> no. the american people got what the intelligence community believed. >> who has supervisory power? >> congress. >> the president has no role. >> if we're talking about oversight, that's what separation of powers was about. >> i'll go along with this, congress blew it and the iraq
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resolution. there was not ultimate responsibility for evaluating the intelligence community and the matter of sending our troops to war, spending trillions of dollars, throwing middle east into upheaval and he is not the one who ultimately bears the responsibility for that decision? >> war, not willing to put on his shoulders. needs to be accountable for iraq. toppled saddam hussein, promised we would make money on the war. that was testimony from some of the presidents add advisers. fwoob over in -- it would be over in 60 days and troops would be greeted with flowers in the street. didn't work out this way. afghanistan, longest war in the
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country. we still have troops there. the lass is a mess. nation building. an arrogant policy embraced by a prior administration. didn't work out so great. any of you think afghanistan is on solid footing? yes or no. can i get that from each of you. >> no. >> sir? >> no. >> sir? >> no. >> we have a president that says, you know what, this war approach isn't so great. he had to make a decision, and he said, look, less try negotiations. i supported sanctions. every tough sanction we were able to impose on iran, i supported as did -- you know what, the sanctions worked. it brought iran to the table. this decision you're focusing
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on, ben rhodes, something disregards the fact we blew it in iraq, blowing it in afghanistan and the president decided to pursue negotiations, got an agreement and had the full support of those allies, the p5+1. so if there's implementation issues, let's get on it. i'm all for that, to sit and suggest history, that's essentially what the alternative was, essentially what the alternative was, i don't buy it and i don't believe the american people will buy it. we're trying to pick up detail to suggest unravel the whole thing. i disagree. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. now recognize gentleman from north carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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on september 11th, 2015, cnn stated the effort was one of the most aggressive lobbying drives ever to take shape between congressional democrat leaders and the obama white house. on this bill, hr 3461. now, among the people who voted no were 25 democrats. you heard miss carolyn maloney acknowledge that. she wasn't the only one on the committee, there were others. my question is what did those 25 members know, or sadly in some cases chose to ignore or even lobbied. in regards to mr. shapiro, we've heard a lot of talk today. i'm sure you guys may be dads, and is always interesting when you confront one of your children and ask them if they did something wrong. the telltale sign of the giveaway is when they
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immediately acknowledge that another brother or sister did something wrong. that's what the smoke screen that been here today? onso much of the smoke screen has been about mr. hannah, nobody wants to talk about mr. shapiro. let me talk about the difference if i could for a second. here is a big difference between mr. hannah and shapiro. he ran to the press with false information, became the poster boy, almost spokesperson of a flawed and horrific iranian deal. the words any time, anywhere continue to ring true as far as even today. my question, gentlemen, if you would, please, whether intentional or not, did mr. shapiro, in your opinion, mislead the american public with this any time, anywhere multiple times. mr. reuben. >> mr. rhodes most certainly did. the key here is that by lying about whether rouhani was a moderate, he provided cover for the fact administration left
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iran with 5,000 p 1 centrifuges and the administration never had any hope once this agreement expired that resulting iran with industrial scale nuclear program would be any different. i should note, sir, that's the number of centrifuges pakistan built, not a bomb but an arsenal. >> maybe one question, i said mr. shapiro, ben rhodes. >> yes, i think he deceived the american people. >> mr. hannah? >> if the article is accurate, yes, i think that he engaged in certain deceptions about what administration was really up to and what we were facing in iran. >> the iran agreement lifts restrictions on sales to iran after five years. after eight lifts ban on iran developing ballistic missiles potentially capable of reaching the united states. question, mr. reuben, can you elaborate on the threat ballistic missile capability poses to the united states? >> one of the problems i have with the reporting in the united states.
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people tend to pat themselves on the back every time there's a failed missile test. the fact of the matter is you learn from failed missile test. iran has made clear in its public statements that it intends to continue with ballistic missiles until such time they can strike any where, any time. i should say a major flaw in the agreement bans arms sales for five years for offensive weapons but never defines that offensive is, which is why iran is on a shopping spree in russia and china right now. >> thank you. >> one of the things the agreement did was effectively remove ballistic missiles from the kind of sanctions they were under by change in language the chairman mentioned. if the administration had told
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congress before the deal that the deal was going to result in iranian/russian military alliance, which was going to -- which was going to intervene in syria and result in rise of power around the region, i think we would have had a very different debate. >> mr. hannah? >> i would say the only thing on the ballistic missile, i think everything my colleague said was right. essentially iran is determined to do this. it's important to note that the only really rational military use of these missiles is if you can put a nuclear warhead on them. that makes them really militarily useful. the fact that iran is so dedicated to expanding and building out this program including essentially icbm, not only being able to hit all of their neighbors, including israel, but eventually at some point in time being able to hit the united states. the fact they have had such deep
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cooperation with north korea over the years that already has icbm capable of range within the united states, this nuclear deal is only kicking the can down the road. they fully intend a time when they are stronger and more able to stand up to sanctions, to american power, to go ahead and once restraints are lifted to go for a nuclear weapon. >> thank you. mr. chairman. >> now represent the gentleman from missouri. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank the witnesses for being here today. mr. hannah, you worked for dick cheney, activity participated in the secretary's infamous speech to the united nations about iraq's weapons of mass destruction. i find it incredibly ironic that the children invited you here to testify about false white house narratives, given your involvement in that debacle.
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one of the primary calls for war was saddam hussein had so-called mobile labs roaming around inside iraq manufacturing biological weapons. secretary powell showed a cartoon drawing of one of these mobile labs during his speech to the united nations. we have a slide of it. could someone please put it up on the screen? there it is. those are the mobile labs. mr. hannah, who drew this picture? >> i do not know. i assume whoever in the intelligence community was responsible for the graphics for his presentation. >> and you used this as part of your preparation -- as part of you preparing mr. powell for that speech? >> my yes is, yes, the issue of biological labs would have been in whatever i provided for the draft. >> let me read secretary powell,
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who stated during his speech to the united states, and i quote. one of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on iraq's biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents. what was the source of that claim, mr. hannah? >> i believe the primary source was a defector, human intelligence. i think it was a defector. >> wasn't it a source known as curveball? >> i believe so, yes. >> secretary powell highlighted the so-called eyewitness account in his united nations speech. he warned that iraq could use these mobile labs to produce enough biological weapons, and i quote, in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. isn't that right? >> is that what he said?
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yes, if you're reading it accurately, yes. >> but we now know that that claim was false. in fact, secretary powell said his claim has, and i quote, totally blown up in our faces. do you agree with secretary powell? >> i agree the claim was false. >> is it true no u.s. officials ever personally interviewed curveball before we used -- they used that information? >> i don't know that firsthand but i think the cia has said that this was controlled by a german intelligence service. >> it's true that the germans who were speaking with curveball could not believe you were using this information publicly, because he was so unreliable. isn't that true? >> that's the claim. that was never relayed to me by the cia. they were talking to the cia at that time. if they said that, it wasn't a claim relayed to me. >> i have an article from
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november 20, 2005, from the "l. a. times" and it says this. quote, the senior bnd officer who supervised curveball's case said he was aghast when he watched powell misstate curveball's claims as a justification for war. quote, we were shocked, the official said. my god, we had always told them it was not proven. mr. han ark, is thnahannah, is ? were you warned from the begin this information was not verified. >> that was between the intelligence and cia, that's what the germans have claimed. >> but it got into the secretary's speech, secretary powell's speech. your narrative at best was misleading. and at worst, blatantly false. as a result, thousands of people
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were killed and injured when this nation went to war based on those false claims. do you have any remorse about that? >> i have great, deep remorse about any american soldier lost, especially if it's based on information we put out in good faith, that our intelligence communities and other intelligence communities around the world thought was true and thought we were acting in the best interest of the united states. i do have great remorse. >> it wasn't vetted. the information, you just threw it out -- >> that's not true at all, congressman. >> gentlemen, time has expired. >> i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. will also note worked for president clinton and will now
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recognize the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this seems to be a great deal of confug as to the purpose of this hearing, which is supposed to be about this current administration in the white house narrative on the iran nuclear deal. in mr. samuel's article, leon panetta stated that he, during his tenure as director of the cia and secretary of defense, never saw the letters that obama covertly sent top iran's supreme leader in 2012. he goes on to say he would like to believe tom donnellan, then national security adviser and hillary clinton, then secretary of state, had a chan to work on the offer. let me start with you, is there any indication they worked on those? >> none that i know of.
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>> mr. ruben, is circumventing -- relevant department and agency heads foreign policy for security council and other white house staffers. >> it has become a problem grown with time dating back to administrations. >> so this is common practice these days. >> this has become all too common, yes. >> mr. hannah? >> i do think something has changed in that regard. just the fact that we have a deputy national security adviser for strategic communications whose job is to develop policies, it seems, closest foreign policy aide to the president and the guy sell it i think is worse. i've got to say in our administration, you can maybe fault us for a lot, but the fact is people like karl rove, who is in charge of our communications
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never sat in national security council meetings. there was a pretty strict divide between those 2014. >> mr. ruben, back to you. how much undue influence do you believe these staffers have over national security policy. >> as mr. hannah said, i believe administration blurred a line over previous administrations, both democratic and republican. >> mr. hannah, you mentioned in your testimony earlier that with one bold move the administration made a radical shift in american foreign policy. is that a correct assessment of your opinion? >> yes, it certainly is. >> the question comes down to who is responsible for that shift in foreign policy. would you say ben rhodes, other staffers or the president himself in the the policy towards iran seems to be
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president obama, he's in charge of that policy. >> yet there are some influencers in life, in roads earlier red cross knifed as the single most influential voice on foreign policy to the president. so what kind of role did he have in shaping this radical shift? >> i don't know. i do want the caveat this is the shift presented by the policy, although it is consistent as mr. doran said of the shift of the administration's policy toward iran and middle east since 2008. i just don't think it's been presented that way. they want to remove and distance them selves from our closest allies in the middle east including israel. what they tell our allies and tell the american people is that their relationship is stronger than ever and will forever have israel's back. that's defied by what's presented in the article.
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it's that that worries me what is going on, are we having a full and open debate about what we want don't ask, don't tell. you've got to hand it to mr. trump, he says i want to get out of this place. it's too expensive, too costly, our allies are too much trouble. >> let me clarify what you're saying because it's troubling to me as well, extremely troubling, american people, congress, our allies when there is such a radical shift in policy that american people and our allies are not aware of it. do you believe the american people and congress would support a shift that major had they known about it? >> no, i think as mr. doran said, secretary panetta is quoted in the piece saying if they had done that, they would have gotten the blank kicked out of them. >> the only way to pull this over american people's eyes and allies is cover the truth?
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>> extremely strong suggestion of the article you are h to spin it. >> right down the line would you agree with that assessment? >> yes. >> yes. >> mr. hannah? >> yes, sir. >> all right, thank you, mr. chairman, i yield. >> gentleman yields back. now recognize gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. ruben, first i assume you are vigorously opposed to the iran agreement? >> i'm opposed to it, yes. >> and you have been all along. >> i thought there could be a much stronger agreement and could make much better use of leverage toting a more favorable agreement. >> but you oppose. >> mr. doran. >> yes. >> yes, i associate myself with michael's. >> to be clear, for instance, former secretary of state colin powell, he's called the verification regime vigorous in the agreement. these are remarkable changes, put in quotes. we've stopped this highway race they were going down. i think that's very, very important. would any of you agree with
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secretary powell's quote and his view of this agreement? >> it reminds me of statements in support of agreed framework with north korea which we know did not merit those endorsements. >> you wouldn't greet with it? >> no. >> former adviser to presidents ford and george h.w. bush, to turn our back on this accomplishment would be abdication of america's response, allies and friends. do you disagree with that quote as well? mr. doran, do you have any comment? >> yes, i disagree with it. >> mr. hannah, it strikes me, your response to some of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, comments about your role with vice president cheney, and the agreement or decision to invade iraq is that it was a mistake and you apologized for that in your own way but we should just move on from that. is that a representation of how you view your actions. >> it's somewhat more
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complicated than that and too long to explain. but yes, if the case depended on weapons of mass destruction in iraq, that was false and the american people didn't understand the grounds on which we were going to war to take out a guy who was a horrible dictator and major strategic threat to american interest, that the american congress in 1998 passed a law on this unanimously saying iraq liberation act, saying we've got to do something to get rid of this guy. didn't say war, necessarily, but said we've got a big problem with iraq. we need to do something about it. >> but it was based on the assumption there were weapons of mass destruction in these mobile biological labs? >> no, in 1998, it was the clinton administration. you had secretary of defense standing up and holding a bag of sugar and said if saddam had this many chemical weapons, he would kill thousands and thousands of people. >> that wasn't part of a discussion to commit to send
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young americans to war in iraq, it was weapons of mass destruction, which you admit now was a mistake? >> that intelligence clearly was false. bipartisan commissions looked at it and said most of that was wrong. >> on balance, comparing these two processes, whether you think it's spin or not, consequences strike me as being much more significant obviously, the decision to tell people we were going to invade iraq, not because we didn't like saddam hussein, although that was the case as well, but that there were biological weapons and weapons of mass destruction versus what we saw with the iran nuclear deal. now, you can assume, as experts, this is not going to turn out well. to this appoint they are not equal in terms of negative consequences in this country and stability and peace in the middle east, would you say? how could you possibly say at this point? >> i would say that you're right, that war and the death and injury of american soldiers is a terrible, terrible price to pay. we haven't seen a lot of americans dying.
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just take a look at the middle east right now after eight years of this administration. it's hard to say it's better because americans aren't dying but half a million syrians have died. chemical weapons are being used. russian, iranian -- >> always because of a decision you were very much a part of to get the country to go to war in iraq? >> you know, it's much more complicated than that. >> no, it isn't. not from my perspective. i'm not an expert, i've gone to funerals of constituents who are dead, in 20s and teens you and vice president cheney encouraged invasion in iraq. >> because iranian ieds, ifps that killed americans, not a narrative. understand not letting anybody off the hook. >> how did invading iraq stop those other actions? you sat here and testified they continued to support terrorists in the region. >> we didn't gaza strip, yemen,
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syria, yet see iran on the war path all over. what this agreement did was take -- take the budget of the islamic revolutionary guard corps, the hard currency available to it and increase it by an order of magnitude. >> doing that before. that's why we went into iraq is what you're saying. yes? no? >> trying to explain narrative on the fact iran has been leading state sponsor of terrorism according to u.s. department of state since 1984. to try to somehow distract from that and distract from a narrative of false moderation is counter-productive i would argue. >> i have to tell you in all honesty replay of dr. strange love and would be nice to have a balanced discussion. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i would agree. nice to have a balanced discussion. that's why we invited mr. rhodes and senator cotton on the other end of the spectrum. but when the white house refuses to make them available, democrats call no witnesses, we can't have that discussion.
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that's what's a shame about today's hearing. recognize the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. russell, for five minute. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in dealing with iran nuclear issue, i'm saddened that rather than look forward to how best secure united states from a real nuclear threat, we see a progressive attack on our entry into iraq to cloud the issue. it is almost like the classic page from the communist playbook that advises admit nothing, deny everything, and make consider accusation. i take exception to the twisted narrative that our entry into iraq was based upon bad faith and false pretense. if an abusive neighbor attacks everyone in his neighborhood, and then threatens him with total destruction, are we to believe, as progressives seem to, that we should sit idly by and not take action to secure our selves from such threat? the truth of the matter is saddam had technical capacity to develop a bomb.
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in the summer of 2003, i have firsthand knowledge that the first battalion 36 infantry along with special operation forces they secured a zippy centrifuge, highest order of nuclear material and smuggled out of europe. they obtained technical drawings and hardware from drawings of saddam's nuclear physicist. dr. obadie's threat is documented in his book "the bomb in my garden" and account the cia describes as largely accurate and balanced. i remember as i served in iraq during that time, as we were hunting for saddam, this would be major news as zippy centrifuge and technical drawings would come to light. instead it is largely hidden to this day. it is also interesting to note senior leaders, and one in particular who relayed to me during a major syrian flood he was directed by saddam to move
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material to an eastern syrian site. this was material that both a nucle -- of both nuclear and chemical nature. that very site was attacked during operation orchard by israeli air force and this site was completely destroyed because they were making a nuclear reactor. again, the silence on these issues is deafening. as one of the commanders that helped track down and catch saddam hussein, it is very emotional for me to hear members of this congress condemn our efforts, but it is not surprising. from day one, as we sacrificed in the field, progressives in this congress condemned our efforts. with progressive leaders even going so far as to declare that the war was loss while we buried our friends in the field. that steady drum beat forced us to bury friends not only there but ship them home and put them in section 60 of arlington, and then we come home to watch
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politician, "many still in office, destroy what we fought for. they persist even today, mr. chairman. i will never regret bringing a dictator to justice. i am proud to have played a part in it. history, should we even allow it, will judge us and our efforts in iraq kindly. i'm not sure the same can be said of congress. now, we turn to yet another nuclear threat with iran. dr. obadie in reflecting on our security stated to succeed, quote, illicit nuclear programs share a common weak spot. they need international complicit, end quote. mr. rhodes and this administration, i appears he provided and they provided all of it to iran. mr. ruben, how and how early
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didded administration start talking congressional oversight of the iran deal? >> i'm not privy to the internal stucks within the administration but appears from secondhand sources almost from the beginning. >> i have passed the iran terror financier act, the only effort to oppose the nuclear deal, which now sits in the senate. with mr. rhodes exposure, the need for congressional oversight there are key provisions in my measure and sits in the senate. that language, even today, could be acted on in the senate that would provide us key oversight on decisions. the president acted unconstitutionally. while he is free to make greenspan and have negotiation, he is not free to bind us with treaty like obligation. do you think if we passed key provisions out of the measure that currently sits in the senate that would increase that oversight, which was noted last week by "politico," do you think
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it would be helpful in determining and at least making what we do have better? >> yes. very briefly, the strongest, most effective actions taken by iran, both under the clinton administration with executive orders and under the bush and obama administrations have been the unilateral american sanctions rather than watered down united nations security council resolutions, even though the bush administration achieved a number of those as well. >> thank you, sir. thank you gentlemen for your service. thank you for being here today. mr. chairman i yield back. >> mr. russell, we thank you for your service and sacrifice and your time serving this country, and we're better for it. thank you. now recognize the gentle woman from new mexico. >> thanks and thank you for the opportunity to talk about what's important in this agreement and issue, which is making sure we're holding iran accountable,
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we're clear about what those btability issues and measures are. not just how that's being communicated but how it's being verified. my only disagreement in the hearing today, mr. chairman, is that we're having conversations about -- without respect to members, who is response in, who is accountable, from my constituents, the people i spoke to with experience, concerned citizens, organizations, and administration and people outside of the administration, that's my core focus. in fact, as part of the hearing of this nature, i was more concerned, i had like information about reductions in the iranian stockpile, status of centrifuges in iran, monitoring and detection measures u.s. has
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and allies have also been doing. does anyone on the panel have specific authority or expertise on any of those issues, because you're directly involved in accountability. >> are we serving government now, the answer is no. however, we've dedicated years to the study of these issues so could give suggestion if you would like. >> i appreciate that. for example, i've spent 30 years in the health care industry and i have a variety of very credible opinions but at the end of the day i'm not your physician. so i can't talk to you boit your specific health. what i think it's important, no disrespect, gentlemen, one of the things i appreciate about this hearing we tackle tough subjec subjects, i expect that of this committee, keep america safe, be
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cheer that we will ensure everyone is accountable, we're clear about what the risks are. i think those are incredibly valuable things to pay attention to. i can tell you my consit wentz back home and in the country expect that from me. but to know exactly where we are, opining -- again, no doctors to credentials, no better than mine on these issues directly. again, mr. chairman, i think we ought to be talking to the individuals who are absolutely responsible for assuring, verifying these issues so that we know exactly what we're dealing with because they are actually doing it. what could we be doing better to make sure we're getting that information and accountability enforcement efforts are what they ought to be and we have a way, bipartisan, to weigh in to reshape them productively if need be. anyone. >> i totally agree with you.
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i agree with everything you've said. i think i would like to have a discussion with those people, but the administration has worked to obfuscate the entire agreement and all of the processes around it. i think that's one of my main messages here, not that i'm the expert on centrifuges, so on but those of us who would like to understand what is happening are not given information we need. we can't have an open and honest debate about this because we really don't have the key facts. i think if you read my prepared statement, you'll see i made a pretty cogent argument to that fact. >> anyone else? >> well, what i would say is when surgery goes awry, oftentimes the doctor will conduct an after action study about what went wrong. likewise in the private sector, businessmen will practice negotiations and look at a what they might have done better.
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in the u.s. military, sergeants, major and chiefs willby rate soldiers for making a mistake, not for a political axe to grind but make them better soldiers and sailors. what they have not done us prepare an after action report about high-profile diplomacy. this goes across administrations. yes, we can say this is what the iaea needs to be looking for, not only declared nuclear facilities but undeclared nuclear facilities. there has to be independent testing of work done on iranian nuclear military sites and there has to be extra territoriality in the inspection in case iran takes some of the work to north korea. those are all specific things that could be done. but we have to go broader and look at what diplomacy hasn't worked. let's have the state department be intro speculative, if they aren't going to do due diligence, maybe congress
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should. >> i appreciate those points. my time is up. in response, again, without having that expertise in this hearing, we don't have a debate based on facts and i might disagree with you about our efforts i'm going to call complex and high level diplomacy. without having those individuals before the committee we're ill equipped to do that. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i concur with gentlewoman. executive privilege is claimed and they decide not to have them. you're right. congress is kept in the dark because administration won't share information with us. >> the chairman is very patient with me, this is not a place to debate that. i appreciate the chairman more than he knows, and i mean that earnestly, again, i'm not sure mr. rode is the right person. we do. we need to continue to make an effort to have facts so we're
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not speculating where we are enforcing that agreement. that's all of our responsibility. thank you, mr. chairman, for again giving me maybe the last word and thank you for being patient with me today. >> thank you, gentle woman, now the gentleman from wisconsin. micro phone, please. >> the easiest way -- this is an article, easiest way to shape the news, briefing podium, each has its own dedicated press corps. then there's sort of force multipliers adding we have compadres. i will reach out to a couple people. i wouldn't want to name them. hey, look, some people are spinning this narrative this is a sign of american weakness. well, since he won't name them,
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mr. dorn, do you want to take a shot who is he speaking of when they talk about the administration's compadres and press that helped them spin the white house narrative who in the press there. >> i wouldn't want to speculate on individuals, in general major newspapers and networks supported the line out of the white house. one of the things mr. rhodes brought our attention to and important to focus on, blurring -- in spite of the fact newspapers and networks are reporting foreign news from washington, we have this blurring now of opinion and news so that the line that mr. rhodes is putting out finds its way into news articles and also finds its way into opinion
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columns at the same time. then they have a kind of mutually reinforcing effect. at the same time only 13% of americans actually believe what they are hearing anymore. we can draw our own conclusions about that. >> having been here 14 months, i don't believe anything i read in the paper around here. major papers, "new york times," "washington post," consider those major papers you're talking about? >> yes. i'll give you an example. recently the saudis put to death this cleric, nim ra nim ra a shiite. the line you got universally in the newspapers and in the newspapers and news articles and opinion pieces and then on the networks was that there's a huge saudi sectarian escalation which is destroying relations with iran. all the things iran is doing around the region, flexing muscles, like dr. ruben described, we're not hearing
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about. i believe that was news reported out of the white house. i'll just say one more thing about this, too. because of the rise of the internet, we have all these -- we have all these nontraditional news sources now that people go to. it puts enormous pressure on the serious reporters that are out there. i'm thinking of people like david sanger and michael gordon of the "new york times," these are very serious reporters, right? they know and they are thinking about it in their own minds, their editors know, if they take a line hostile to what the white house is saying, the white house can go to vox or buzzfeed and give the story. so even reporters i think we would all agree are extremely serious reporters are under pressure, i think, not to report a story that's going to harm their access to the white house. >> okay. just so we understand, we mentioned "new york times" and welsch post by name.
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but because th -- mentioned "washington post" by name. just because i don't get the welsch post, not to say that's not the article i'm getting in almost any major newspaper around the country? >> yes, it replicates itself almost immediately. >> com padres, any opinion talk about think tank or policy world. >> two mentioned were plow shares find and nyac. it's not hard if you followed what happened on twitter when this article came out, the friends of the white house and the friend of the echo chamber -- you can identify echo chamber by seeing how they pounced immediately on the article, picked out one or two little facts that they could criticizes and built a whole, i think, speeshs article they had
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a narrative in this. that narrative was spun out of social media and into the mainstream media. >> if i may say very quickly, sir, i don't know david samuels, the author of the article, but to criticize him of nothing being supportive of the iran deal ill straits the problem of echo chamber. journalists saying only sympathetic journalists can cover the administration, that's the sign of a huge problem. >> can i play the video or are we done with our time. >> let me go here and then we'll come back. now we'll recognize this gentleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think we've worn this out. we've covered anything from iraq to i think mr. meadows established clearly we were lied to by this administration with contempt. i wan to go to something else that i think is really at the core of what we're talking about. a key promise in the
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administration is that the iran nuclear deal would provide republican assurance iran meeting obligation, and ability to engage in proliferation would be substantially mitigated. we go back to the rhodes statement, it would be the strongest inspection regime any country faces in the world. we could go to what the state department posted on the website, that the international atomic energy agency would have regular access to all of iran's nuclear facilities. they would be providing iaea much greater access. they would require they be granted access to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of covert enrichment. that's not actually what happened. i want to share with you after the deal was implemented, iaea published its report on iran. i think it came out in february.
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the report contained less information than iaea had regularly provided about iran before the deal was in place. in fact, when asked about these gaps, iaea director general amano said the deal restricted iaea's ability to report correctly about iran's nuclear program. mr. ruben, given that, how much confidence do you have in this deal? >> i have very little confidence in this deal for reasons that i've outlined in my written testimony. it falls far short of the most rigorous inspection regime ever and the danger isn't just in iran briefly, the danger is it permanently dilutes standard by which potential proliferators are held. >> would you agree it validates the concerns you expressed from the beginning? >> yes, i would.
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>> also given this statement from general amano, exaggerated perceptions this administration say they obtained might be called into question as well? >> yes, i would. >> you know, we've been talking about echo chambers, misrepresentation i go back to the statement secretary of state made he was chief negotiator we know the framework was already in place before he got involved. these statements in the "new york times" article, what we really haven't talked about is the fact the deal is a fraud and iran could be on the path to a nuclear weapon. here is something else we haven't discussed that we need to be talking about, too. according to ben rhodes is part
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of abandoning our allies in the middle east. does that give you concern? >> yes it does. >> how about you, mr. doran? >> absolutely. >> how about you, mr. hannah? >> yes. very much so. >> do you believe that the obama administration withheld information from congress about the deal intentionally. >> yes, do i brf do you believe that was in violation of the agreement, the law he signed into law himself? >> it absolutely was. on top of which the amendment was written in such a way to prevent this from happening. unfortunately the administration simply broke the law. >> i couldn't agree more. pet peter, from illinois, house passed the resolution this deal was illegal from the get go
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because the corker cardin law required all information be provided to congress including the side agreements. it clearly wasn't. i think there's one issue, really one question, that we need to ask. i'll ask each one of you to answer this. do you believe this deal has actually ensured iran a path to developing a nuclear weapon? >> yes. at the very least it leaves iran with industrial scale nuclear program upon the expiration of the controls and the administration went into this knowing iranian regime was not moderate. >> mr. doran? >> i agree with that. >> mr. hannah. >> i agree with michael's conclusion. >> mr. chairman, i'm not sure it's this jurisdiction to look into the possibility but i think that's what essentially we should have been talking about this entire time. the fact that administration misled congress is one issue we
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need to pursue. i think at some point congress needs to look at what our positions ought to be going forward p with respect to iran. >> totally agree. that is right. the ultimate fear we have, iran, not a friend of the united states, not a friendly partner within the world community, that they are even more so on a pathway to develop a nuclear weapon and that is what's scary. we'll go one more time to mr. grothman of wisconsin. >> one more time to ben rhodes. not ben rhodes, to michael doran. ben rhodes commented on the white house's desire to avoid scrutiny. i'd like to look at video clip d and ask you a question about it. >> we're already thinking through -- so we don't require legislative action right away. >> how do you feel the process
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circumvented the transparency with congress? >> they structured the deal so they could take it to the security council and effectively move out on it before congress ever really got to look at it. there is a second dimension to what we just heard that's disturbing. that was ben rhodes talking to a group of progressive activists and telling them what was coming down the line and giving them the talking points about how to support it. what you just heard was ben rhodes talking to the foot soldiers that are going to create -- in his chamber. >> tell us again what those foot soldiers are. >> i'm sorry? >> tell us again -- >> these are progressive groups. i don't know exactly.
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we're talking -- regularly briefed groups, not pseudoexperts on nuclear proliferation and things like that. i'm talking about just grassroots progressive organizations to help them carry the water politically. it's one of these blurring of the lines between roles that i don't think we saw in previous administrations where you have somebody who is in charge of communications, yet sitting at the table with the secretary of defense and sometimes telling secretary of defense that he's wrong and then going out and talking to domestic political groups and telling them how to go militate in favor of the policy of the administration. >> thank you. >> thank the gentlemen. i thank you all for your participation here, expertise illuminating what is a very
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disturbing situation. the committee stands adjourned.
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. coming up later today on c-span3, we'll show you a hearing of resumption of commercial flights between u.s. and cuba. this hearing of subcommittee of house homeland security committee gets under way 2:00 p.m. eastern. you'll be able to watch it live on c-span3. this evening on companion network c-span 2, senator bernie sanders campaign rally at dominguez hills in carson, california, gets under way at 11:00 eastern and 8:00 west coast. california's presidential primary comes up on june 7th. our campaign 2016 bus continues to travel throughout the country to recognize winners from this year's student competition. recently the bus stopped in massachusetts to visit several winning students from that state. they went to the school in foxborough where all the students attended ceremony to
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honor seventh graders for their honorable mention video titled "dunning for safety." also to paul r. beard middle school in loud lamb honorable mention winner and her video "veteran services." james elliot won for his video lgtb rights, stop the discrimination. the two were honored in front of classmates, family members and local officials wing $250 for the voe video. special thanks cable, comcast for helping coordinate these visits in the community. can you view all the winning documentaries at student cam.org. the house judiciary committee today held a hearing on synthetic drugs. a father told the committee about his son's death after using synthetic drugs. >> it's my hope that my testimony will help provide some heart to the head knowledge that
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you hear so frequently in these conversations. sadly my wife, family, and i tragically know the devastating impact of synthetic son conor was a bright, vibrant young man with a full life ahead of him. he was really what most would have considered the all-american young boy. he had a great job. he was preparing to go back to college. he loved music, surfing, the outdoors. he had lots of friends. and of course, he was deeply loved by his family, his sisters, his mother, and of course me, his father. this first photo was a family shot taken july 5th of 2014. it was the last time we would be together like this as a family. eight days later, conor was with a new friend. he made the seemingly innocent decision. he agreed to try something called spice. a synthetic poison. and the result was a second photo there.
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after many days in the hospital with our son in a coma, he was ultimately declared brain dead. conor died july 16th, 2014. after one smoke of an illegal high purchased at a local store. at the time, we were unaware of mpss and made the decision to share our story publicly to be painfully transparent and naked with our tragedy before a watching world, with the simple hopes that perhaps it might change one person's live. it might spare them and their family the horrific circumstances we were facing and live with each day. since the death of our son, 671 days ago, we have met far too
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many parents who have also lost their children to synthetic drugs like spice. and through our outreach speaking and education efforts over these past 671 days, we've communicated with literally hundreds of thousands of people throughout the united states and around the world who have lost loved ones or had their lives tragically destroyed by synthetic drugs. unfortunately, what happened to conor is not unique. far too many people have suffered irreparable harm including death as a result of trying or using these poisons. however, what is unique about his story is how it's received an overwhelming global response to what we shared publicly through social media, news interviews, tv, radio broadcasts around the world. his story has cut through the racial, socioeconomic and religious bereas typically encounter said. they're affecting everyone everywhere. we're not just one voice. conor is not just one face or some statistic. we represent -- we represent the
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voice and the face of many others just like us. we've had the opportunity to reach millions of people on this subject. we have been interviewed by most of the major news and media outlets around the u.s. and globally and of course, we have leveraged social media. we had individual unique facebook posts that reached millions at a time with one reaching over 37 million people globally. we had the opportunity to speak in many settings. we worked with and have spoken to senators, legislators, law enforcement officials and many in government. we medwith a lord from the house of lords in the uk this past summer when we were there on this subject. we worked with numerous organizations in an effort to education and spread awareness and change laws so the poisons are removed from our streets, stores, and communities, but more must be done. the problem is getting worse. hundreds of new synthetic drug ko compounds have appeared, and
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we're allowing these to come into our country. illicit drug manufacturers are kaubsitantly working and developing new chemical derivatives to eivavade the law and they're working faster than we are. the issue needs to be addressed and it needs to be done now. when this congressional gathering is ended, you return home. you'll return to your families, your children, those you love and care for. when we return home, we return to a family that has been forever changed because the death of our beloved son is a result of synthetic drugs. as long as the people around the world pushing these poisons into our communities know that there are little or no consequence for their actions, and they do know this, we will continue to see the spread of synthetic drugs and the terrible harm they're bringing to our communities. you have the power to do something about this. you're in positions of influence
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in leadership and we're pleading with you to please take action. don't just talk about and debate the issues. bring about change that will get these substances out of our communities and deal appropriately with those behind the manufacturing and distribution globally. thank you for your time and your consideration on this. >> last year, the obama administration issued a rule expanding overtime pay to millions of workers who were previously not eligible. under the new regulation, people making less than $50,000 a year would be eligible for overtime pay if they worked more than 40 hours a week. previously, only workers making less than $24,000 a year were automatically eligible for overtime. the senate small business committee recently held a hearing on the new overtime rules. louisiana senator david vitter is chair of the small business committee.
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>> good morning, everybody, and thanks for joining us today for the senate small business and entrepreneurship committee hearing to examine the obama administration's proposal to more than double the current salary threshold under the fair labor standard acts overtime exemption for administrative, executive, and professional employees. we're going to hear from a diverse panel of experts and stakeholders on the impact this proposed rule would have an small businesses and organizations around the country. and i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today.
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in previous hearings, this committee has focused on the need for regulatory reform in light of how federal agencies often issue new rules and regulations that cause extreme undue burden on small businesses. as one of the most controversial labor regulations pushed by the obama administration, the white collar overtime exemption from the department of labor certainly falls in this category. under current rules, most employees making up to $23,660 a year are automatically entitled to overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week. the proposed rule we're discussing today would more than double the threshold to extend overtime requirements to earning up to $50,440. additionally, the proposal sets the minimum threshold at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers, meaning the amount
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could increase every year going forward. while president obama's administration believes this is the correct way to increase pay for workers, it will actually have the opposite effect through small businesses. it's very likely that employers will respond to higher overtime costs in several ways that will actually reduce workers' opportunities for long-term advancement and increased pay. many employees could see their hours cut or limit to less than 40 hours per week and lose the benefits that come with a salaried position such as flexible work hours and health insurance. these reactive changes would have severely negative effects in the workplace. along with small businesses, several different types of employers are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of this rule, including nonprofits, charities, state and local governments, and colleges and universities. my colleague and chair of the senate health education labor
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and pensions committee lamar alexander found that the new rule would increase operating costs for at least one tennessee college by more than $1 million annually. the increase labor costs would ultimately have to be passed down to students in the form of an $850 tuition increase or result in job cuts for the college's employees. >> senator alexander joined our committee senator tim scott to author s-2707, the protecting workplace advancement and opportunity act. which would prevent the department of labor from finalizing president obama's proposed rule. i strongly support these efforts to move forward with the bill and want to commend their work on this important issue. along with the small business administration's office of advocacy and members of congress from the house and senate, i have raised several concerns about the role and representation of small businesses throughout this rule making process.
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i strongly believe this proposal lacks adequate economic analysis and i was alarmed when the office of advocacy submitted comments that sharply criticized the manner in which the dol crafted the proposal. their comments stated that the dol's initial regulatory flexibility analysis was inaccurate and severely undercounted the number of small businesses that would be effected by the rule. i hope our conversation today will also touch on the impact the rule will have on small nonprofit organizations. advocacies comment letter referenced a roundtable discussion that was held in new orleans where a small nonprofit operating head-start programs in louisiana stated that this proposal would result in $74,000 of first-year costs. since 80% of this organization's operating budget comes from federal programs which cannot be

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