tv Homeland Security Officials Testify on U.S. Commercial Flights to Cuba CSPAN May 17, 2016 2:00pm-4:16pm EDT
where you start, perhaps washing dishes and cleaning tables to being in a position where you're in management and perhaps ownership one day. it appears to me that the pipeline of opportunities starts to vanish as we see more and more red tape from the federal government. your competition no longer is simply other businesses, other restaurants, but the oppression, sometimes it feels like, that comes from the red tape in government also creates a competitive disadvantage from my perspective. >> it does. >> can you talk about that a little bit? >> yeah. especially in our industry, entry-level jobs, management job is -- when you go from -- and remember, the restaurant industry is an industry where you don't even have to have advanced degrees to be an owner, to be an entrepreneur, to reach the american dream. you can be a waiter and take that entry-level position which probably pays less than while you're waiting tables at $38,000 a year, on average, and get on-the-job training on managing, on timekeeping, on labor costs, on food costs, and you're doing that, you do that because you want the opportunity to be able to move on. once you increase the level to a
point where restaurants can't afford to pay $50,000 a year for entry level, what happens is we have less of those jobs. that's what's going to happen to my restaurants. we can't bring in an entry level, which that person wants the opportunity to come in at $38,000 a year and do on-the-job training so they can own their own restaurant or move into management or be a managing partner or it can be a profit-sharing manager, and it leads to further growth. well, if that opportunity, that middle level is gone, then yes, there's no more opportunities. >> yes. thank you very much. there's one thing for certain, our economy is growing at an anemic rate. i think it was 0.5% for the first quarter. there are at least 6 million people who are involuntarily working part time because of the oppressive environment we have in this country from government red tape. i think this has been a fairly informative hearing. thank you all for your
on your screen is congressman john catco. gaveling and a hearing looking at plans to resume commercial aviation between u.s. and cuba announced by the federal government back in february this year. hearing is just getting under way. live coverage here on c-span3. >> countless attempts by this committee to obtain information about various aspects of the negotiations and requirements to begin regularly scheduled service to cuba have been stone wall. despite having been briefed numerous times i learned only yesterday from a press release that on may 5th, deputy secretary mind a m.em of understanding with the cuban
government that has far-reaching implications for the deputy of homeland security. the lack of transparency is unacceptable and leads me to believe the administration is hiding something or, worse, simply negligent of concerns associated with this policy. immediately signing the february 16th agreement the department of transportation opened the application process for u.s. aircraft carriers to bid on air service to all ten of cuba's international airports. after a 54 year freeze in diplomatic relations the administrations attempts to designate these airports as last points of departure, or lpds to the, u.s. as early as late summer this year. they include some of our closest allies and trading partners. yooungdem, canada and mexico. china with estimated 1.3 billion
peoples has only 11 lpb airports to the u.s. but the administration wants to do ten into cuba. it could fit into china 110 times and less than 1% of the t the population of china. they stated their intention to certify three additional airports by late summer. the picture officials of tsa paint is indeed bleak. cuba possesses no explosive trace detection equipment. let me repeat that. they do not have any explosive trace detection equipment at their airports. the bomb sniffing dogs have been described as some as mangy street dogs. these scanners are chinese made as almost all of the security
equipment cubans possess and we have know yod how well they work. to matters worse the inned even clear whether federal air mar e marshals will even be allowed on the flights. given the continued u.s. embargo the administration's prohibited from supplying any security equipment or offering training to the cuban government. additionally tsa predicted with the introduction of the commercial air service pang volume would increase to a level cuban authorities are simple unprepared to handle. if the status quo remains the same the cuban government will not allow u.s. airlines to hire their own personnel to perform basic functions such as ticketing or check-in or more
complex things as well. instead employees of the cuban government instead of the commercial airlines may be the ones doing all of those tasks. even though earlier this year general stewart testified before the senate armed services committee, "cuba also remains a critically count intelligence threat." but the administration is telling us to trust the safety and security of american citizens to the cuban government. a country just removed one year ago on may 29th. who's leaders have repeatedly derided the values and principles of our great nation. this is unsettling at the least. in may 2007 two armed soldiers went awol hijacked a bus and attempted to hijack a plane bound for miami. two cuban flights were hijacked
to the united states in 2002 and 3. there are other example asks and i could go on. these other incidents raise serious concerns about the ability and willingness of cuban officials to take airplane security and passenger screening seriously. to make it more concerning the washington posted an article on the increased flow of individuals from afghanistan traveling to cuba. stating that travel agenting in kabul have been surprised by passengers showing up at their offices with a cuban visas. it is suspected they use cuba as the gateway into the u.s. or canada. and without objection i ask unanimous consent this haarticl be inserted into the record. given the fact cuba has zero documentation verification means
at the airports. so there you have it. these are the concerns and they are multi facetted and serious. we are hear today not to elaborate on the merits of the administration's reproaapproche with cuba but to take a serious look as our job says as to national security implications of a policy pushed through at breakneck speak with minimal regard to the security and safety of the american people. i now recognize ms. rice. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank our witnesses and dhs, cvp, and the state department for coming here to discuss commercial air travel between the u.s. and cuba. i know is it state department played an important role and i hope the principal department say assistant secretary can give us on insight. right now we know only chartered
flights operate. but under the terms at some point this year american air carriers will be allowed to operate more than 100 scheduled flights each day in addition to the chartered flights. before that can happen, relevant agencies must verify cuban airports meet security standards. i'm looking forward to hearing from tsa and our witnesses how they would assess their airport security right now and whether they have concerns about security kaptabilities. i'm also looking forward if to hearing what the tsa is looking to hear from air carriers and the what mechanisms are the place to make sure we know exactly what was on board for a flight bound for the u.s. how does cvp intend to verify travel documents and ultimately
determine whether or not a certain individual can enter the u.s. those are some of the salient questions that i think need to be addressed in this session. because allowing this clearly has the potential to benefit both of our countries but it also comes with unique security challenges. so i hope our conversation today will help clarify those challenges and help us over come them. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i now recognize mr. mccall for any stimulate he may have. >> thank you, chairman. for your leadership and on to cathleen rice, ranking member. thank you as well. i believe this issue at security last points of the departure airports is the critical to our homeland security. examining the spread of islamist
militant groups and had opportunity to visit egypt and examine security measures in place in cairo. i think the egyptians are making progress buzz what i saw was still concerning especially compared to our own airports. for instance, they are not using full body scanners. and airport workers are apparently not fully vetted against up to date terror watch lists and yet the cairo airport is a last point of departure to the united states. now the administration is working to open regularly scheduled transportation to cuba and designate ten new airports as lost paints of departure into the u.s. i fear security here is much much worse than places like cairo. and while only five flights or so each week from place like egypt. the administration's proposal
calls for up to 110 daily flights between the u.s. and cuba. i hope to visit cuba in the near future to evaluate the airport security situation myself. the administration's plans to open direct commercial air service to cuba is in my judgment being unnecessarily rushed. there are serious security concerns here that seem to be taking a backseat to a legacy-building effort. although cuba has taken steps to liberalize its economy in recent years, the company is still being led by a communist dictator who's been ruthless against his own people and brutally suppressed call for more open and democratic governments. still little has been done to lessen the hateful rhetoric towards. instead it's rewarded bad behavior and now the regime is
giving us no indication that it is acting in good faith or has the good faith or the u.s. or our citizens in mind. accordingly we must do all we can to ensure the safety of americans. and so far i remain entirely unconvinced the administration has down done its due diligence. while the obama administration might be willing to put the american security at risk to appease a dictator. today's hearing will show the united states congress will not. >> i now recognize a rank member. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for convening this important hearing. i welcome our witnesses also to the hearing. earlier this year the obama administration and cuban government finalized an arrangement that will resume commercial aviation between the united states and cuba.
we as a committee with over site jurisdiction and security measures have the great responsibility of insuring the transportation security administration the department of homeland security, customs and board protection and other relevant agencies are doing their due diligence to ensure that the flights departing from cuba are secure. recent bombings of planes originating from mogadishu which one was killed and sharm el sheikh tragically killing everyone on board serves as the stern reminder there are those willing to do us arm via aircraft. the standard is always that tsa
and other relevant entities perform the investigation and mitigation measures necessary to ensure these flights are not able to be targeted by nefarious characters. as i understand it, the agency's efforts to inspect and prepare the cuban airports are no different than stringent inspection efforts and regulatory schemes that are in place at other last points of departure airports. the title of this hearing flying blind would lead you to believe that nothing has been done to assess these airports before they schedule commercial service to and from the united states. tsa informs us that they are inspecting and evaluating airports even as we speak. these airports must have a level of security at least on par with international civil aviation organizational standards. and inspectors are ensuring this
now. tsa also has the power to implement regulatory scheme that compel airlines to perform additional security measures beyond ico standards. i'm looking forward to hearing tomorrow on what teams are doing to ensure security at airports. and i also look forward to hearing from dpt assistant wagner who will talk to us about the role cvp plays in foreign flight travel prevention and document protection efforts. i thank assistant secretary stoddard for appearing today to speak on the broader aspects in these matters. i understand deputy assistant
caucus good morning. >> whafls your initial thoughts on the transgender bathroom law there. >> it's been no problem with any sort of the solution to the transgender using the bathroom appropriate to them. and all sorts of problems can ensue including physical violence so this has really raised awareness about this issue and i think as americans examine it and look at it more and meet people who are transgender. they come to the. >> how do schools respond to
what the president put out, considering your background in education? >> boulder valley has had policies with this district for a long time. and most students have that had trans students come through have adopting some sort of policy that are consistent with the guidance. it is always hard for the first kid, the first family that is going through it. frankly school districts don't know what the do. i think they are well intended but they are just not quite sure what to do. and i think this combinguidance absolutely help school districts across the country. >> do you think because it is guidance alone or because those raised concerns about federal money being pulled if it isn't followed. >> they just want some kind of legal safe haven. they don't know what the answer
is. if they are suppose to dez that it a different restroom al letang. i think the guidance is welcome. we've had a district. originally they didn't have the best practices and wound up doing the right thing with this guidance. so i think it reduces the learning curve in the appropriate way to deal with gender transition for students. >> editors talk about the decision or the guidance hand down. they said the meaning that the obama administration intends to obliterate lots of stuff.
they went on to stay let the states decide. >> i don't know what this has to do this. title 9 of course wires equity in sports opportunities for girls. we have laws that require kids of difference races to be treated equally within the schools. so it should be of no surprise nor is it any additional federal involvement to say of course that applies to gender identity. really we want to make sure and there is a national interest to make sure schools are a safe and civil learning environment for every student. and every student means every student. and of course matters of curriculum and teachers and all of those things are locally determined of course. but the basic concept because we do support schools federally through title nine. through reduced lunch. idea, we have a number of
programs to sport our schools. and of course schools have to support all comers and whether you like it or not there are going to be kids who are transgender. and the school is going to serve them. >> should they have to be pulled? >> well they have to be provided a safe and civil learning environment. and i think it is important to have best practices and we don't let schools have a different restroom for white kids and black kids under the same argument. >> as far as congress, the lieutenant governor of texas talked about this last week. and part of the argument he made is really a chance for congress to get in on this decision and do more. make it clear as far as how schools should respond. do you think there is a role of congress for this. >> i don't think what it would be. i think congress hopefully has better things to do than discussing restrooms when it is a non issue for the many
districts that have transgender kids. it's simply never been an issue. parents are happy. everybody's happy. it's worked out for the kids. i mean there is really i sure hope we have better things to do in washington than discussing school bathrooms and who's using which one. it just doesn't make any sense to discuss here. >> our guest representing jared -- joining us. democrats >> what did your office here, i know here in colorado. but did you hear results from
this from the lgbt caucus? >> many of the school districts i represent have had similar policies consistent with this guidance for a decade or more. frankly a lot of school districts deal with it for the first time when they actually have a transgender student or a student that transitions over summer. there are other school districts that aren't even aware. because often times a family might move. if they have a child who was one district and was a boy and they simply might move to another district and register as a girl. this is every school district of any size whether they know it or not, served transgender kids. and it is the role of our schools to serve every child, black, white, poor u rich, whether you have a special
learning need, whether you don't. whether you are a transgender, gay, strait. school districts have to serve everybody. and that is the basic proposition. >> you suspect you will see lawsuits by the obama administration guidance decision? >> i hope not. i hope that no one sues over it and i think that is one of the reasons for the guidance is to help make sure districts have the best policies to avoid them having a to take on liability if they get sued by the families of transgender kids. >> you are a co-chair of the hgt equality caucus. >> we have over 80 pro equality members. we have six lgbt members of congress that are the co-chairs. and really they are the member of congress that really stand for equality. we have equality act which we've introduced to amend the civil rights act. people, you know, think and
rightly so there's been a lot of progress in the equality movement lgbt people can get married, for instance, in any state however in 30 states it is still perfectly legal to fire somebody just because they are gay. in everybody more states it is legal to fire somebody because they are transgender. so that is really what we're trying to change to make sure that we can appropriately preekt individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity just as we do based on race and gender. >> calls for you. this is rick on our democrats line. you are on with our guests. representative jared polis. go ahead. >> good morning. i'm a little confused on this issue. i've always believed if a person is born as a male and they have surgering surgically been converted to a female, or the opposite, the way this law seems to say to me is, even though that male has been converted to a female
surgically, that person is still required to use the men's bathroom? so could you clear me up on that? i'm confuse opd that. >> it is a pretty ridiculous law. and not to mention of course the almost 1% of people that have some degree of ambiguity with regard to that you are birth gender and we refer to them as inter-sex. so absolutely if there was a man who in transition from a women to a man through surgery and appear to be a woman and are through surgery, and to say they have to go to a men's bathroom, which is is what the law says. and you can imagine the threat for someone who is basically a woman in the men's bathroom. and it really makes no sense and shows a profound misunderstanding of what gender identity is.
>> from greensboro, north carolina. jimmy. good morning. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. as a grandfather, and as a grandfather who has a granddaughter. if i happen to be with my granddaughter who's 2 and a half right now and i am in a public place a government place or a school what have you. if i happen to be with her and she needs to use the bathroom. i will go in with her to protect her. so i won't necessarily follow any law basically. i will be doing what i do as a grandfather to protect -- you know, to be with my granddaughter. i'm not going to let her go in there by herself. >> that's right. and i assume you probably take her to the men's room if you take her -- >> in f that is the choice i had. >> i have a 2-year-old daughter as well. again, when we're in public a
it's best to try to avoid the dirty public restrooms but if we absolutely have to go of course we take her -- i take her to the men's room. i wouldn't think it was appropriate for me to go to the woman's room with her. i think there is already some some degree of fluidity in our designations. it is very common for mother's to take young boys to tth woman's room. and very common for fathers and grandfathers to take young girls to tth men's room. and those things i think are totally appropriate and there is not a problem in the world i've heard of with those. and one of this things i think these discussions are so ridiculous on so many levels. i think to the extent there are people of any ilk doing bad things this restaurant restroom reported and they are arrested. the if people want to have laws for harsher sentencing for people who do things in
restrooms that are bad, that's fine. but it really has nothing to do with gender identity or any of those things. and hopefully we can focus on if there is a problem what those criminal penalties are for people that are doing any kind of mischief in restrooms. >> betty. good morning. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. i'm confused with this gay and transgender rights things. the people promoting this, this is a mental health issue and nothing more than that. how many sane adults really believe the garbage that is being pushed around about all of this gay rights? there is a small percentage of people who are represented as gay and transgenders. i mean, why don't you really build some more mentality facilities and treat these people as opposed to encouraging them. let's go back to biblical days.
this is really something that is completely out of control. and i'd like to see more common sense than this lunacy that i see you guys talking about all the time. >> we'll let your guest respond. >> well the protocol for gender di disphoria, certainly includes counseling and treatment. before an irreversible transition occurs, whether that's hormonal or surgicalal there are extensive conversations to make sure the person is getting it right, that this is what's best for them. so absolutely the mental health professionals are involved. this is not something that should ever be taken lightly. so the involvement of mental health professionals is absolutely critical, particularly when you are talking about ab an irreversible
decision with regard to gender transformation. >> and transgender troop, one of the things they have discovered according to a survey done. one estimate of 2450 transgender military members is likely the most accurate. >> i think that number is probably modelled on statistics. but there are a number of people that are publicly out about this their transgender status in the military. and again we should judge people based on performance. and we need the very best men and women to serve in those roles. and some are going to be transgender. some are going to be gay. some are going to be women. some are going to be black. some are going to be white. doesn't matter. that is the beauty of the institution in the military. it is designed to judge people based on their capabilities and
promote them and assign them responsibilities based on their capabilities and we have many fine americans chosen to serve in the military and military is adapting to a just as society is a whole as is. >> i think they are work to be protocols. there are transgender troops that serve, absolutely. and they are with the allowance of women to serve in all combat roles it is little less of an issue. of course we still have issues around where they live and so forth. but there had been a larger issue when women were uni believe to serve. but thankfully we've made a lot of progress and women are now able to serve in all combat roles. >> representative jared polis.
ed, clarks burg, west virginia. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i'm 81 years old. and i -- here is my question. my question is you guys, or ladies, whichever. you never stop. after this is all settled and you get your way with this, what's gonna happen next when some guy about 6'4" wants to play? he thinks he's a girl and he wants to play on the women's tennis team? they have to let him play because he thinks that he's a girl. and then when the game is over they can take their share. he thinks he's a girl. so he wants a share with the other people who can look at him and they know he ain't go girl -- >> so i think ed's question was
about eligibility for sports. and that is something that the olympic committee is dealing with all the way down to the high school level. there was a young olympian who failed the gender test and turned out that she was at least genetically a boy. determining gender is difficult. we would like it to be black and white. but god has made it a continuum. there are many kids born in between. they are often assigned one gender. there are some people misassigned what gender there are and there are some who transition. and when a man transitions to a
woman they will have the muscular profile because it takes hormones and the you build muscle more appropriate to a man or a woman. so it is appropriate posttransition to be eligible for sports under their new gender identity. now that provides no room for i think what the caller was worried about which is somebody who is still a man and simply claims to be a woman. if they have not transitioned to a new gender they would only be eligible under their current gender. it is not simply something that you say. there are of course, you know, medical tests that would verify that in fact the hormonal profile, the chromosomal profile, whatever it is in that particular case that you would be eligible to play in the new vendor. but that is entirely appropriate and that has been an issue in
the olympics for as long as i can remember. some russian athletes turned out had been given steroids and hormones and might have a looked like men but weren't actually men but when you become a men and when you are giving somebody testosterone and for all intents and purposes they become male you are having an unfair competition which is something if olympic committee has always tried to avoid. >> the some only the justice department and education department say this is. overly broad generalization or stereotypes about the differences between transgender students and other students of the same sex, ie -- what does that mean to you. >> well i think it means that everybody knows that we're try your best on eligibility. it is not easy. again there are many people born in between or ambiguous gender to transition.
to have an overly brood catch all is not the right catch all. we want the fairest. for the student. for the process of competitive sports and to make sure they are able to participate in some way in sports. >> ronald from north carolina. you're next. >> good morning, kmcongressman. >> good morning. >> i heard the statement about the operation. you can have all the operations you want. you are on born as what you are. and something you are overlooking. what about you are a rights to privacy. don't we have any rights anymore? and also one other thing. would have been your democratic famous statements are when it comes to abortion, keep out of our bedrooms. well please keep out of are
bathrooms. don't legislate our bathrooms to us. and that is all i have to say, thank you. >> it is actually ronald the republicans trying to legislate bathrooms. it is democrats generally speaking saying we should not have these laws like north carolina laws. people use the appropriate bathroom and if there is ever any funny business reported to the cops and people should be arrested. there is no doubt about that. again, people are born, again it is important to keep in mind that there are ambiguities in the gender continuum. there are many people born with elements of both genders. there are many people born with some elements of one gender. some elements of another. it's been conventional practice to assign them a gender at birth and in prior times, several decades ago there were often operations performed as when
they were infants that would assign them a gender for life it. turned out that gender is more than external appearance and some of t people that had those procedures later in life realize that wasn't what their gender was. and obviously they had no cincinnati tsay in the matter being a newborn baby at the time and again it is appropriate for them to transition back to the gender they were born at. there is chromosomal gender. hormone aae aal gender. and external aappearance. and fundamentally there is the perception of the gender in all of us. i'm sure in your mind ron you're a male. no doubt. i'm a male. but there are those who have doubts of what their gender is
and different perceptions on all levels. >> chuck in washington addiction. good morning. >> caller: thank you congressman for being on the show. it was very difficult for me originally to understand the different types of gender differences and i this i for most people that is the case and it seems a little bit clinical. however for various reasons my wife was pregnant. we know why she was pregnant. so we had some genetic testing done and we discovered we were having a boy. very happy to have a boy. when our child was born however we had a girl, low and behold. so i have some firsthand experience in, you know, street experience finding out that gender is not all you expect it to be. it is very complicated. and for all intents and purposes she is 100% female but if you look at the cells in her body
very closely i think a scientist would say no, she's male. and if somebody doesn't want her to go to a bathroom -- [inaudible] i think we ought to give those people a opportunity to go to a bathroom with other people who feel comfortable with others who were made the way god made them. >> and thank you for your sharing your story, chuck. a lot of this have has not been talked about much in the public's fear. not too many people of course talk about what they consider private matters if their child was born in an ambiguous way. they don't often share that. and of course again, it is a fairly common where the external appearance doesn't confirm with the gender or the chromosomal aspect doesn't conform with the appearance. there is a ocurrences that happen all the time. we don't fully understand the concept of gender identity, what
makes someone know they are male or female. but at the end of the day whether we like it or not. and this doesn't mean people have to like it. but yes, there are people that are in between or have been assigned the wrong gender. and the best thing for them is to transition to the appropriate gender. best thing for society to be able to recognize their skills and talents is to provide a way to allow them to do that. so it is not that anybody necessarily wanted it this way. but that is the way -- again, that is the way god made it and that is what we have to deal with. and of course the best thing we can do is show compassion. and of course make sure that people's rights are protected regardless of their gender identity. it is something that any of them chose for themselves. >> caller: hello.
please give me a little bit of time to explain my thoughts and i guess opinions, you might say. i've been looking at this situation and i believe what is happening the world is changing a lot in a lot of different ways as you can tell, and one of them is the sexual ident ity and the sexual chromosomes and the other aspects of male and female it is. so as far as understanding this situation, i think people have to be more humane. they have to be more understanding. and there's a saying going on in china that says whatever fluffs your twinkie, it means something funny, but whatever fluffs your twinkie means you have freedom to think you are who you think you are. and you are who you think you
are based on mother nature that is changing the whole world very much so, and i think we'll have a lot more freedom based on the big changes, but we need to attain a level of civility considering that everybody's different, that everybody has freedoms, especially to do with who they think they are. so, give this a whirl, okay, please? >> thank you. and i think that's a good spirit to approach this debate is to really have that compassion and support and realize that everybody should be able to, you know, pursue their dream. obviously what this country was founded on. and, you know, that takes different forms. it doesn't mean that you have to agree with choices that somebody else makes or the way somebody else is but, of course, in the public sphere, of course, you need to accept them just as they need to accept you. >> some polling, what public
opinion is cnn and orc did a poll on this topic and they asked this question saying overall would you say you favor laws that require transgender individuals to use facilities that favor their birth gender. do you think the thinking on this issue will change like gay marriage thinking has changed over the years? >> look, i hope this show has been educational for some of the shows that have watched it. but for anybody who knows transgender americans and knows people that might have previous -- by the way, most people do but you might not know it. you know them as a woman. you didn't know they were a boy before and vice versa. if you know them as a man perhaps a co-worker and you wouldn't know unless they shared with you that they used to be a woman. it's ridiculous that they would have to use a bathroom for a gender they're not. to have somebody with a beard, you know, and who stands up and
goes to the bathroom forced to use a woman's room just because they were a girl at one point is absurd. so, i think most americans realize that once they learn more about the topic. >> jacksonville, illinois, republican line. steven is up next. hello. >> caller: hi, how you doing? .03 of the population is transgendered and the obama administration wants to open up the rest of the world or the rest of the country to possible perversion in the bathrooms and in our schools. got a question for you, congressman, would you let your child go to school knowing that they could shower with the opposite sex? >> well, i dispute the 0.3, it's higher than that and the
prevalence of inner sex and people with ambiguous sex is considerably higher than 0.03 percent. i think the way you characterize the issue is somewhat backward. it's not the obama administration trying to do something here, it's states, some states, that have tried to change the status quo. transgender people have been using the appropriate restroom forever, we're talking since ancient times and certainly throughout the history of our republic transgender have used the appropriate bathroom and now you have some states saying we want them to use a different bathroom. we're going to say this man who with a beard who stands up and pees is forced to use the woman's room. someone who looks like a woman and has the attributes of a woman somehow has to go into a men's room? that is not only chaotic, but it can actually be very dangerous for the individual involved to force them to go to an
inappropriate restroom. and, you know, as for, you know, obviously as a parent you often wouldn't know which kids might have been a previous gender at the school. as i mentioned, what hopefully will have to become less common but many families now will move schools and their child will enter a school under their gender so they don't necessarily have what unfortunately in society might be considered the baggage of having been a previous gender. that used to be the norm. now we're seeing more families able to stay in the same school and able to transition over summer and come back. in fact, i talked to a parent of a transgender girl just this last week and they said that their school has been very good about the transition and they were able to keep their child there. so i think we're making a lot of progress in this regard but, again, it's noting? that is up to you as a parent. there will be, you know, some students that have gender dysphoria and in any public environment your kid is in like
school. guess what, that's just like life. you may not like black people, you may not like christians, i don't know what you like or don't like but they'll all be there in school because it's a public school and that's great because it's a mirror in society. in society you have to get along with atheists and christians and blacks and whites and latinos and gay people and straight people, and that's what we do, we all get along together. >> janet, republican line. >> caller: yes, it seems to me like these states that does not want that, why don't they pay their taxes to the state? i mean, they're paying taxes and they're being blackmailed. and i just don't think it's good for the children. i have grandchildren, and i sure don't want them to be exposed to that stuff. thank you. >> i'm not sure what the taxes is referring to. obviously people pay state tax and they pay federal tax. and as we said often people take
their grandkids or kids into the appropriate restroom. i take my 2-year-old daughter into the male restroom with me because she can't go to the girl one by herself and i'm not about to go into the girl one with her. if you have a grandson you probably take him to the women's room with you. i don't think you accompany them to the men's room. so, that's very appropriate and i think that's the best way for obviously for kids to be safe in restrooms is that we certainly accompany them and we do so in a gender appropriate way. >> another topic real quick, you're listed as a superdelegate. who are you supporting? >> i'm a big fan of hillary clinton. been a longtime supporter of hers and very excited with the experience, the vision for our country she brings, the leadership. she is going to i think be a terrific president of the united states. very excited to support her. >> what do you make of the recent losses in the states especially during the primary
processes? does that concern you at all? >> she has a strong lead any way you count it, in the delegate vote we know. but she has even a larger lead in the number of votes she's actually received. and the democrats have a proportional system of delegate allocation so it's hard to get a breakout lead like they have on the republican side but she has a very large lead on the delegates. she has over 3 million more votes than her main opponent in the primaries and i think she continues to build momentum toward the general election. >> do you think the convention process is going to be smooth or do you think it will be contested 1? >> it will be smooth. she has the delegates to win. hopefully she'll pick a good vice presidential candidate that will excite everybody. i expect it to go smoothly and i think it will be important to tap into the enthusiasm around some of her primary opponents and really make sure we can motivate everybody to see the major differences between hillary clinton and donald trump in november.
and how disastrous a donald trump presidency would be for our economy, for our national security. >> representative polis, "the colorado independent" has a story, you order food and you get a note and it says the constituency has spoken, feel the bern. can you talk a little bit about this note? >> there's a lot of misperception out there about superdelegates. unliked pledged delegates, we're not pledged in any way, shape or form. pledged delegates, it depends on each state. it gets into the nitty-gritty. superdelegates usually swing to whoever the winner is. that's how barack obama won the nomination eight years ago. if somehow bernie sanders were to overtake hillary clinton the superdelegates would likely go with him. they are not in a position to overturn the will of the people or the voters. hillary clinton is the handsdown favorite choice by over 3 million votes and in the delegate count. keep in mind the superdelegates
are not pledged. if somehow there were a change of circumstances it could go a different way. >> do you get lobbied in a sense about senator sanders and giving support to him? >> i get lobbied by everybody. people that support trump want me to support him, people that support bernie sanders want me to support him. people like to see me are always trying to say i should conform to whatever their particular belief standards are. i try to do my best with the information i have to use my judgment on behalf of my constituents to lead the country in the right direction towards greater prosperity and security. >> here is essie from tyler, texas, independent line. >> caller: yes, good morning. >> good morning. >> caller: i was calling in about the transgender. where i live in texas it's considered, like, the bible belt, you know? but i look at it like this, if a child is born as -- the word they use is hermaphrodite,
meaning they have both genitals, doctors have a way to determine the chromosome they have the most of and that's the gender they would be. i am against someone who was born full-fledged male and have a sex change can come in the bathroom with females. that's a choice they're making. because they think they were born to be a female. no. they weren't. we let people make choices. then we want to bring it to the government, and the government wants to do things when we have more important things going on in the world than to talk about transgenders, i think. people are starving right here in the united states. we got war going on. >> we'll break away here to take you back live to the house homeland security, transportation subcommittee hearing. they are looking at the recently announced opening of u.s. flights to cuba.
round-trip flights. the first hearing of its kind on capitol hill, they broke for a series of votes and are back here live on c. fan 3 c-span3. >> okay, assistant administrator for the office of global strategies at the transportation security administration, mr. john wagner, deputy executive assistant commissioner for customs and border protection. that's a big title. mr. seth stoddard, the assistant secretary of homeland sector for border, immigration and trade policy at the department of homeland security. i recognize mr. stoddard for a statement from all witnesses from the department of homeland security. >> good afternoon, chairman, ranking member rice and distinguished members of subcommittee. i'm the assistant secretary of the homeland security for border, immigration and trade policy. on behalf of my colleagues from
dhs that sit beside me today i thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the department's role in aviation security specifically as it pertains to commercial air service between the united states and cuba. i'll be providing a brief opening statement on behalf of myself as well as my three dhs colleagues and we would look forward to anxious iswering any questions you might have. i'll get to the issues more specific to cuba. since the 9/11 attacks and with the help and support of congress dhs has worked to develop a robust risk-based strategy aimed at securing aviation from threats and allowing commerce across our borders and throughout the system. as repeated incidents have reminded us from the 9/11 attacks themselves to the recent destruction of 9268 above the northern sinai in october of 2015 the aviation sector remains a target for attack or
exploitation by terrorists, criminals and other bad actors. to meet this challenge the dhs strategy relies upon the following core elements. first, under u.s. law dhs acting through tsa is required to atess security at all foreign airports serving as a last point of departure offering service to the united states. pursuant to the law tsa has people on the groundworking with foreign partners, air carriers, airport authorities and others to assess all aspects of security at such airports. only after tsa determines that an airport meets international security standards may that airport offer flight service to the united states. once flight service begins tsa continues to inspect and monitor the airports and carriers and it has the authority to take action if security standards are not being met or if intelligence warrants. tsa can suspend service entirely or issue security directives and emergency amendments for mandatory amendments. bottom line tsa keeps a close
eye on security on foreign airports that offer air service to the united states. second only those with valid travel documents are permitted to fly to the united states. most foreign nationals seeking to travel must possess a valid visa issued by the u.s. embassy or consulate unless they are nationals that participate in the visa waiver program in which case they must apply to travel authorization through the electronic system for travel. third, both tsa and cdp collect information from passengers and air carriers so we can identify and vet for security purposes all air passengers seeking travel to the united states. through the secure flight program tsa vets all air passengers against the terrorist screening database. including the no fly list prior to wheels up. once travel is booked, cdp's national targeting center gathers information from the air carriers to conduct risk and conduct predeparture vetting of all passengers. if they identify a security enforcement issue we'll
coordinate with the liaison groups to prevent that person from boarding the flight. finally on arrival all inbound air passengers and their luggage are subjected to further screening before entering the united states. the multilayered security and enforcement strategy applies to all international aviation to the united states and will also apply with eke qual force to and from cuba whenever it begins. specifically with regard to cuba dhs has worked closely with our inner agency partners including the state department as the united states has worked to evolve our bilateral relationship. we play a key role in the u.s./cuba relationship by working to secure lawful, and orderly flow of commerce and people between our countries and working with law enforcement and maritime safety and security and migration among other issues. we signed a memorandum of understanding with cuba focused on law enforcement cooperation. this week senior dhs leaders including the deputy secretary are in cuba as part of the
dialogue co-chaired by the departments of state, justice and homeland security with the dhs delegation including representatives from the u.s. coast guard, cdp and i.c.e. with regard to the start of scheduled air service between the u.s. and cuba all of the security and enforcement requirements in place for international flights to the united states will be applied with equal force to cuba flights. indeed these measures are already in place with regard to the charter flights that have for many years offered service between our two countries. furthermore, tsa is working to finalize an arrangement with cuba for the deployment of federal air marshals. in short dhs is working closely with our inner agency partners and the commercial air carriers and others to ensure the security of scheduled commercial flights to and from cuba once begun. we'll continue to work together and in consultation with this committee as we work in general to strengthen ongoing efforts to secure air travel and promote safe international travel and
tourism to and from the united states. thank you for the opportunity to testify here today and my dhs colleagues and i look forward to answering any questions you might have. >> i now recognize mr. kurt tong principal deputy assistant secretary at the u.s. state department for his testimony. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member rice, distinguished members of the committee. i welcome this opportunity to testify on behalf of the department of state regarding the process and rationale for negotiating an arrangement -- the arrangement recently signed between the united states and cuba on international air transportation between our two countries. consistent with u.s. law and long-standing practice, the department of state leads u.s. delegations in negotiating with foreign governments on bilateral aviation agreements and arrangements in consultation with the departments of transportation and commerce and other departments and agencies as appropriate. shortly after the president's
december 17, 2014, announcement that the united states would be taking a number of steps to work towards normalizing relations with cuba and after coordinating with all relevant agencies, the department of state approached the government of cuba to propose technical discussions on restoring scheduled commercial air service. for many years all air travel between the united states and cuba has been via charter service. charter flights have adequately served the relatively low levels of travel between the united states and cuba during the decades of strained relations but amid the process of normalization the administration aimed to expand authorized travel and people-to-people contacts between the united states and cuba. by expanding people-to-people ties we believe that we can more effectively support the aspirations of the cuban people for a better life. the administration, therefore, concluded that restoring
scheduled air service would be necessary to accomplish those objectives. the cuban government accepted our proposal to hold technical discussions about the modalities for restoring scheduled air service and the department also informed u.s. industry about our plans and received the airline industry's full and enthusiastic subport for this effort. this united states and cuban governments held three rounds of technical discussions, in march, september, and december of 2015. and the u.s. delegation comprised officials from five federal agencies. the departments of state, transportation, and commerce, as well as the transportation security administration and the kept of treasury's office of foreign assets control. ofac amended its regulations in january of 2015 to allow by general license u.s. carriers to offer scheduled service between the united states and cuba to
authorize travelers. at the third round of consultations in washington in december of 2015, the united states and cuba finalized the text of a memorandum of understanding which was signed in havana in february of 2016 by anthony fox and assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs charles rivkin signing for the united states. this mou is an informal, nonbinding arrangement delineating the terms for international air transportation between the two countries. with respect to scheduled service, the mou provides for u.s. carriers to operate 20 daily round trip frequencies to havana and ten daily round tip frequencies to each of the nine other cuban cities with an international airport. it also provides for charter services to continue to operate without limitation. u.s. carriers, the reaction from
them, they are very eager to offer scheduled service to cuba, and they universally welcome the mou and have submit applications to the department of transportation to operate flights on specific routes to havana and other cuban cities. in the case of havana, applications for u.s. carriers far exceed the mou's limit of 20 frequencies per day. the department of transportation is currently conducting a frequency allocation proceeding to determine which u.s. carriers will receive frequencies, that procedure based on the public interest. we believe this new mou will support the objectives of promoting authorized travel between the united states and cuba and people-to-people contacts. the mou will also generate new business opportunities for the u.s. aviation industry and help create american jobs. if i can anticipate a couple of questions with regard to the use
of an informal arrangement at this time, the reason why we had a limited negotiating objective dissimilar from our usual approach with bilateral -- such bilateral negotiations which is to aim for an openskies agreement fitting our openskies model was based upon our understanding of if you will how much the traffic would bear in terms of demand given the ongoing restrictions on travel and trade between the united states and cuba. throughout the negotiations with cuba, the u.s. negotiators carefully articulated to cuban counterparts those aspects of u.s. regulations affecting cuba that have changed and those that have not changed. for example, the mou does not affect or change current u.s. travel restrictions. it does not change persons subject to u.s. jurisdiction who travel to cuba must still be authorized by general or
specific license under one of the 12 categories of authorized travel. while negotiating the mou, the u.s. and cuban governments reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their already close cooperation on aviation safety and aviation security matters. they reaffirmed their commitment to abide by the provisions of international conventions relating to aviation security and to act in conformity with aviation security standards and appropriate recommended practices established by the international civil aviation organization. as noted a representative of the transportation security administration participated in the u.s. delegation throughout these negotiations and provided valuable advice on tsa's ongoing cooperation with the cuban government to strengthen aviation security. thank you very much for this opportunity. >> thank you for your testimony. i understand you have a hard stop at 3:30? >> i would like to be able to
honor that because i don't want to create a diplomatic incident with a japanese colleague who is doing a panel together with me at 3:30. >> i understand that. i think we can dismiss you now, but i want to thank you for your testimony, and members will provide you with questions in writing and we would appreciate your responses with a ten-day period, and at this time you're dismissed. thank you. >> i look forward to responding. thank you. >> i also want to ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from pennsylvania mr. perry be allowed to sit on the dais and participate on today's hearing and without objection so ordered. i now recognize myself for five minutes for questions. i thank you, gentlemen, for being with us this afternoon. i'd appreciate, you know, brief and concise answers to the best of your ability and i'll start with mr. misell. what is your title currently? >> my current title is tsa representative. i'm based in nassau, bahamas, and it covers several different countries, most particularly being cuba, haiti and the
bahamas. >> thank you. and in that capacity, have you been asked to review the lpd airports in question in cuba? >> i don't necessarily review them. i'm not an inspector. my goal and my job is to work with the foreign government, the government of cuba in this case, ensure that they meet all the security requirements that currently exist. i share with them best practices, lessons learned, and one very important aspect of my job is to ensure that once the inspectors have identified a deficiencies, if any, i work closely with the government to ensure that that deficiency is corrected. >> have you visited the ten lpd airports? >> i have not visited the ten lpds. >> how many have you visited? >> all seven of them. >> thank you. with respect to the ones you visited you recall speaking with us prior to coming in here today and giving us some general findings from those visits? do you remember telling us about
the general -- your general observations from those visits? >> yes, sir. >> now, could you tell me in those seven airports that you visited, how many of them have explosive trace detection equipment? >> the last time i folk with you, sir, we were in a closed session and i spoke frankly about what we had and what we did not have within cuba. with this open session i'm reluctant to get into exactly what equipment they have. >> let me pause for a moment, please. so just for the record, i want to be clear are you saying the information you provided to us in a nonsecure setting is considered ssi information? >> yes, sir. >> okay. then we will probably have to move this to a secure hearing at some point, is that correct?
okay. well, let me -- give me one second. okay. i just want to make sure the record's clear, i understand i have to make a record as well, sir. with respect to the canine discussion we had with respect to the seven lpds, is it your understanding or your position that those are also ssi? >> yes, sir. it's a level of security that's out there, so, again, ssi. >> okay. and with respect to the discussion about body scanners, you're saying that's ssi as well? >> yes, sir, all the equipment.
>> with respect to the training we discussed, lack thereof, of the cuban airport personnel, is that also ssi in your opinion? >> we don't conduct training so there's nothing to discuss really. >> well, let's discuss that, then, if there's nothing to discuss of a sensitive nature. do you know how the cuban authorities train their airport personnel? >> no, sir. >> okay. do you have any idea what type of background checks are done of cuban employees that are entrusted with scanning documents and bags that come into the airports? >> i do not. >> does anybody in the united states government have any idea what that is? >> sir, yes, sir. >> yes. >> thank you, sir. the tsa foreign airport assessment program is -- operates under the authority of title 49 u.s. code -- >> i'm sorry. we have a limited period of time. do you understand if there's any training that -- what type of training these airport personnel have? >> yes, sir, the standards require that airport personnel who work at the airport are
trained and undergo background investigations and are cleared according to the national authorities operating in cuba. our tsss or inspectors have gone to cuba and ascertained they meet the standards including access control and background checks, sir. >> thank you very much. now, with respect to the -- i think, mr. stoddard, you mentioned the travel documents. i know we spoke about the document verification capabilities or lack thereof with respect to the cuban airports. do you consider those answers that you gave us in that meeting to be ssi as well? >> yes, sir. >> okay. all right. and we mentioned -- somebody mentioned the federal air marshal service here. who mentioned? mr. stoddard? >> yes, sir. >> with respect to that is it your testimony that there will be no flights from the united states -- from cuba to the united states unless a federal air marshal service has been
allowed to be on those flights like they normally do elsewhere in the world? >> yes. >> okay. thank you. you just don't know what the time frame is? >> yes, that agreement is still being under negotiation but it's being negotiated now. >> so, there will be no flights until the federal air marshals are allowed to be on the flights? >> correct. >> when do you expect the flights to begin -- the commercial flights to begin between the united states and cuba? >> it's really a question for the department of transportation at this point. that's really more in their hands. >> what do you anticipate? >> we don't know. >> mr. mizell, the officers handling the ssi inquiry that we spoke about, i apologize, because i did not understand that to be matters of importance because you did not delineate that when we spoke. we simply sat down and had a conversation in a nonsecure setting, so forgive me for raising those questions, but we are going to submit questions to you and you're going to -- i want you to designate for us which ones you believe to be ssi. now, is it fair to say, though, during that meeting that you had
some pretty significant concerns about some of the security aspects at those airports? >> the concerns i had that i shared with you was over a five-year period. certainly i had concerns at the beginning, which i don't have now. >> so you don't have any concerns whatsoever right now? >> right now the government of cuba airports that have been assessed and inspected by the inspectors meet the standards. >> that's not my question, sir. my question is i'm talking about you, based on your personal observations, do you have concerns? because you certainly enunciated those to us in that meeting. >> i shared concerns with you from what i saw early on, which was quite different than the situation we have today. >> so, it's your testimony here today that you have no more concerns about any of the security aspects at these lpd airports? >> my testimony is that they meet the standards required. >> that's not the question, sir. >> as long as they meet the standards, if there's anything
else i can do to improve security i'll certainly do so. >> i'll try to ask it one more time. do you have any concern on the security aspects at those airports based on your own personal opinion? >> my same answer applies, sir. the concerns i have are very minor compared to what we were looking at five years ago. >> but so -- but you're still not going to anxious the question whether you have concerns or not? >> sir, they meet the standards. >> okay. we'll move on. i have one question and any of you gentlemen can answer this question if you'd like. the question i have is, why the rush? why the rush to open ten airports which is an awfully large number of airports from a country that we've had very
little relationship with in the past five decades? why the rush in getting this done so quickly? and why ten airports to start with? why not start with a few and see how it goes? >> i think that's a question best directed to the department of transportation and the state department with regard to the broader u.s. policy on opening commercial aviation with cuba. >> you don't have any opinion on the matter? >> i don't really have an opinion on that. >> okay. anybody else have any input on that? >> sir, i would note as mr. tong pointed out public charters have been operating for some time and they're operating from six current last-point departure airports and they fully meet the standards and we're completely comfortable with the security standards on those flights. >> you are talking about a approximately 100 more flights a day, is that correct? >> i think the number of flights is a department of transportation question. that's not my area, sir. >> if you are air security, assuming there's 100 more flights a day, we've told at
least that, perhaps as many as 110 a day, isn't it fair to say that the infrastructure at those airports it may put stress on the infrastructure capabilities quite a bit? >> sir, i wouldn't want to speculate on the capacity of the cuban infrastructure. i would note, however, that flights from europe involving many of the major european carriers are flying into cuba every day as well as regional traffic is coming in and out of cuba. it's a very heavily trafficked airport. so, i would note that, and that there are -- is -- they are currently meeting all standards and major aircraft operators are comfortable flying in and out of cuba as well. >> have you been to cuba yourself? observed these airports? >> no, sir, i have not been to cuba. >> mr. mizell, you've been to cuba and you observed the havana airport, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> is it fair to say it's going to put a stress on that airport when they have a large increase on the passenger travel there?
>> i know the cubans have been working on terminal three where the international flights all come into. they are -- the number of flights into each terminal has not been determined. it's something that will be worked out between the cubans and the air carriers, so whether or not there's going to be a crunch remains to be seen. >> do you have any observations based on what you've learned so far? because you certainly expressed them to us before. >> the only observations that i observed that were of concern was the fact that they lacked a couple of buses, so when it was raining we had delays getting off the airport. >> no other concerns. >> no, sir. >> okay. thank you for your time. ms. rice, i will now recognize ms. rice for five minutes of questioning. >> i just want to assure all of you, this is not a criminal inquiry, much to the -- you know, to the tone that the questions have taken so far. i like to think that this is an
information-gathering hearing, that all of you clearly feel that you have some information that would be good to see exactly how this whole process is being set up. and one of the questions that i have for you, mr. mizell, which i think you'll be able to answer is, is there -- has there been a statement on behalf of the cuban government that they are going to be investing in infrastructure to be able to deal with the increase in tourism and flights and cruise ships and everything else in terms of now that, you know, the -- there is this new relationship? >> the investment into the cruise ship industry, i'm not familiar with. >> i'm talking about in terms of what the chairman was just asking about, in terms of -- can the infrastructure handle this? has there been a commitment, to the best of your knowledge, by the cuban government to actually
put money into the infrastructure to be able to handle the increase in flights if they -- it comes to that point? >> as i mentioned, they have a project under way at terminal three where the international flights come into other than u.s. flights, whether or not the cuban government plans to divert some of the u.s. flights to terminal three, remains to be seen. >> mr. fujfujimora, i have a question for you. there are seven lpd airports in cuba that we're talking about here. although the number ten has been thrown around. we're talking about seven airports? >> there are currently seven lpd designated airports but only six are active at this time. >> so, we'll work with the number six. so, was the inspection of these six lpd airports by the tsa any different than any other airport operating as an lpd airport
anywhere around the world? >> no. our tsa assessment program is very standardized. we have a cadre of about 150 inspectors who work around the world, and they follow a very clearly articulated job aid that assists them in conducting these assessments. it's a very regular process that we operate around the world. >> now, how regularly is the tsa going to be inspecting the six lpd airports in cuba? >> so, we'll be there annually to look at the airports on a regular basis. if we're talking about any kind of start-up service or changes our tsa inspectors are there before service starts up, while service is starting to ensure that everything is going smoothly and they'll be there afterwards after about a 30-day period to ensure that operations are running snoo ning smoothly normally in accordance with the standards. >> in your opinion how secure is
flying to and from cuban airports as compared to any other lpd airports in the world? >> i would be very comfortable flying from cuba myself. they meet international standards. >> so, you know, we were talking before about the inspire -- the most recent issue of "inspire" magazine. can you, if you think you can answer this, can you talk a little bit about where you think cuba fits into the larger threat picture that tsa and all of us are concerned about? not just here but in other lpd airports abroad? >> thank you. so, the "inspire" magazine which came out on the 15th of may is still being evaluated by the intelligence community, but it clearly articulates a focus from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula on targeting aviation. recent events, metro jet, and the aircraft in somalia, brussels, paris, these indicate
to me a focus for us on africa, middle east and perhaps the foreign fighter issue in europe being a major concern for aviation. >> that's not to say that cuba could not become a focus in the future, correct? but is tsa working towards ensuring that the -- all of the databases that are available to us here and other countries especially lpd airports are going to be accessible to the cuban government when they do their assessment before -- >> absolutely. >> -- that process? >> we will not take our eye off the ball on any of the lpd airports. in fact, the biggest value added that we put on the traffic is we know who is coming our way. we have master crew lists. we have crew manifests, we have passenger manifests that we partner with with our colleagues from cvp. we have a very clear idea of who is coming our way whether they are on any kind of watch list. so, on top of the physical security that is undertaken at
that last point of departure airport, at tsa and cvp we have the advantage, again, of having a very good idea of the identity and the person and the kind of person coming to our country. >> has anyone on this panel been asked in our duties and responsibilities vis-a-vis opening up travel between the u.s. and cuba to cut any kind of corners in terms of security or anything like that? any of you? have any of you been asked to cut corners to ensure that this gets done in a timely manner? >> not at all. >> no. >> okay. thank you. i don't have anything further. >> thank you, ms. rice, but i must take issue with reference to criminal inquiry. the reason for the nature and tone of my questioning is because when we met with mr. mizell previously not once did he say any of the information was of an ssi nature and not once before this hearing today did anybody at homeland security or tsa make any mention that that information was of a sensitive nature.
and why that information is so important is because the information mr. mizell delineated offered serious concerns about the nature and quality of the equipment at those airports throughout cuba -- >> my understanding is there was some -- >> let me finish, please. so we had a very robust discussion. i thought was a very helpful discussion and i thought was a very fruitful discussion. and i encountered two weeks, my staff did, at least two weeks of back-and-forth trying simply to get mr. mizell to come here today because it was resisted repeatedly for two weeks at least and my staff spent the good part of a full week just trying to get without a subpoena to get you to produce the witness we wanted you to produce and then when you get here today for the very first time we hear that the stuff that he talked about in an open setting was considered to be ssi. well, if you did that earlier, we wouldn't have had that back and forth, and wouldn't have had to have the tone of the inquiry we had today --
>> why do you have to take the tone anyway? why don't you just ask him the question. we're all professionals and adults. with all due respect to anyone here and everyone can adopt any tone you want, but if you want to get answers, we're not prosecutors anymore. we're not. no one -- mr. radcliff is not, mr. chairman is not and neither am i. >> but we have a solemn duty to our country to make sure that we do proper oversight with tsa. >> don't play politics ask a question and answer for an answer, that's it. >> ms. rice, there's no politics going on here. >> then don't sound like it. because it sounds to me like we're playing politics here. >> i'd like to reclaim my time. thank you, ms. rice. >> great. >> the bottom line is we're trying to get to the bottom of what we consider grave concerns we have about the opening of the airports before the rest of the inquiry is done -- >> if you are really worried you wouldn't be doing it in this setting. >> we expecting fully to have mr. mizell tell us the things he
told us because we had no idea that mr. mizell was going to claim that this stuff was ssi. that was the nature of the inquiry, so if you take issue with my tone, let me apologize for that but i do have the interests of our country is the biggest thing at stake to us and making sure that the airlines are safe and that people are safe. and overlaid with all this is an article in "the washington post" that came out recently talking about afghanistan individuals trying to use false keucuban documents to get into cuba and ultimately the united states. there's serious concerns. i'm not saying that anybody here is involved in malfeasance, we're simply trying to get the facts out. let me understand that the interests of this country and the interests of keeping airlines safe and making sure before you open up travel to a former communist country there's been testimony this year saying there are still very major concerns about the counterespionage activities that make sure we dot our "is" and
cross our "ts." >> if i can interject, let's not make it us versus them. no one has a corner on the market of national security. there isn't a democratic or republic in this congress who doesn't have a priority of keeping this country safe. and if you want to really get to the bottom of whether or not the proper analysis is going forward before we open up actual travel, again, in normalize -- this is part of the normalization of relationships, then do it in a private setting. where we can get the real information instead of putting on a show and asking questions that people can't answer. that's all i'm asking for. let's just take the politics out of this. clearly politicized issue, and get to the heart of the matter here. >> we were attempting to do that today, ms. rice. thank you very much. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you all of you for being here and i will preface my
remarks by apologizing for my tone. have any of you been to cuba? just raise your hand. i have. and i think this is the most ludicrous thing that i've ever heard of that we'll open up travel to cuba. when i visited to cuba i was really excited because we had dinner with an 83-year-old and a 20-year-old and i was interested in knowing what that 20-year-old had to say. i was appalled to learn that that person actually believed that the united states of america had dropped the atomic bomb on pearl -- excuse me on japan after they had surrendered. honest injun, that's what she told me. i was appalled to hear that. let me ask you, mr. fujimora, once the commercial service to cuba begins, how many passengers do you anticipate having come and go to cuba?
come from cuba to america and go to cuba from america? >> sir, the scheduled commercial service that you're referencing, that would be a department of transportation economic estimate of -- >> okay. okay. i've heard that. i got 3:41 left. let me tell you, again, about my trip to cuba. they hate capitalism. they hate everything we stand for. i learned that in my trip to cuba. i can tell you that. they hate america. they do not hate us as americans. but they do hate america and what we represent. they blame us for all of their economic woes. everything. and this was not just the 83-year-old and the 23-year-old. everyone that i had the opportunity to speak to over there felt the same way. i took great offense to that. great offense. i love america. i think it's the greatest country ever in the history of the world. i can't for the life of me understand -- you know, i'll tell you another story. we -- we had the opportunity to
visit with some journalists, and i asked them -- i had the opportunity to ask them, i said, you know, are they -- is there -- is the regime still taking political prisoners? on a stack of bibles i will tell you this is their answer. yeah, they're still taking them, but they're not keeping them as long anymore. well, there you go! that's progress. what do you think's going to happen, i want to know your personal opinion as americans, i want to know your personal opinion, what do you think's going to happen whenever we open up travel between these two countries and their economy starts doing better, do you think that's going to suppress the current regime over there? do any of you think that's going to suppress them? do any of you think that that's only going to empower them even more than they are now? i am interested to know. anyone. anyone. mr. stoddard, please? >> i mean, i'm not going -- i can't opine on that, all i can say is we as representatives of
the department of homeland security are focused on the security of air transit between cuba and the united states. >> i understand that. i wasn't asking you as a representative of whatever you said, i was asking you as an american. >> and i'm here testifying as an assistant secretary of homeland security. >> and an american. >> and an american citizen, certainly. >> that's what i'm asking, as an american. >> i'm testifying as a representative of the department of homeland security and we are securing aviation between cuba and the united states. >> help me out here, mr. stoddard, help me understand the difference between what international requirements are for checking and for going through security and what american tsa policies are and requirements are. are they the same? one in the same? >> with regard to international aviation from last points of departure for flights to the united states, tsa enforces and inspects airports to ensure they meet international standards under the standards. so, that's one piece of it.
as i discussed in my opening testimony. so, that's one piece which is ensuring the security of the airports themselves, but then also cvp and tsa both have a role with regard to vetting -- >> is that what i asked you? i thought i asked you were they one in the same. >> the standards -- >> are they the same standards? >> yes? >> yes, sir, i can take that one. >> okay, good. >> the difference between what tsa standards are and what the international standards are performance based. they set what should happen. what tsa does is when we assess, we assess how well those performance measures are being carried those, those standards and recommended practices are being carried out. in the united states the tsas sops are much more prescriptive. >> more prescriptive. let me ask you as straightforward as i can be, are you comfortable with someone coming out of cuba as you would be someone coming out of america? >> sir, of course, i believe at tsa we have a gold standard
aviation -- >> is that yes or no? that's a yes or no. >> yes, sir, i'm very comfortable traveling internationally from place -- >> no, someone who has gone through security in cuba and is now coming over to america, are you as confident that they have been vetted as someone who is leaving america and going to cuba? >> sir, they meet international standards -- >> okay. i can see where this is going. >> let me say, again, you all need to go to xcuba. i've been there and i've seen it. and i'm not in favor of this at all. i can tell you not only am i not in favor of it, i think it's the worst thing we could do. the worst thing that we could possibly do. mr. chairman, i apologize for my tone and i yield back. >> the chair now recognizes mr. radcliff for five minutes of testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will do my best to leave politics out of this.
but i think we all have to acknowledge, and hopefully my friend and colleague from across the aisle who i respect greatly, ms. rice, would agree with me, we have to acknowledge that as he's often wont to do with the stroke of a pen president obama did announce a dramatic shift in u.s. policy here, this time towards cuba, and we're all left to adjust to that. and i appreciate the witnesses being here. the department of homeland security obviously will be tasked with implementing and enforcing the new trade and travel regulations as a result of the policy changes that this administration wants to invoke. so, i appreciate you all being here today to provide clarity. regardless of tone, i think we've got a foresponsibility on this committee for oversight and that oversight responsibility is to protect the american people as they travel. and so to that point, let me start with you, mr. fujimora, i
want to make sure i understand all the facts straight here. so, the u.s. embargo on cuba prohibits tsa from lending airport screening technologies to cuba, correct? >> sir, that's my understanding of the restrictions that we are not allowed to provide training or equipment to cuba. >> okay. and likewise, the u.s. embargo prohibits the cuban government from buying these types of high-quality checkpoint screening equipment from the united states. >> yes, sir, that's my understanding as well. >> okay. and i know from mr. mizell's testimony there's some question about whether cuba has or, in fact, lacks the equipment that the united states would deem necessary to conduct some aspects -- important aspects of screening like explosive trace detection equipment and properly trained bomb-sniffing dogs. and i think it's been further
evidenced that the cuban government apparently only has two full-body scanners located in havana, is that correct? >> sir, it would -- we can't discuss in this open setting the specifics of what equipment or what capabilities are in cuba right now. >> okay. >> but i think focusing on technology is focusing on one element of a security system that involves people, processes and technology. >> well, that's why i'm including all of these different questions that we have about what we know that they're not able to obtain, what we know that they -- they can't purchase from america, what we're not able to provide to them. and so if the obama administration's looking to authorize -- and i understood it to be ten lpd s or last points f departure airports in cuba, there may be some discussion whether it's seven or six, but if they're lacking this equipment to the tune that we
believe that they may, what -- how does tsa plan to certify that cuba has the necessary equipment and personnel to detect potential threats to the united states? >> sir, we send down teams of tsa inspectors on an annual basis to cuba to look at these airports that are currently operating as last point departure airports. they look at people and process and technology against the international standards. they're professionals. they have three years of training -- >> let me stop you. i heard you said that before. they meet international standards and you set them down annually. annually meaning once a year, right? right? >> yes, sir, but -- >> so, is tsa going to certify the standards that the cuban government is employing with respect to airport safety? you send inspectors down. are they going to provide some sort of certification?
>> it's not a certification per se but it's an assessment that they meet international standards and service can proceed. >> okay. let me shift to you, mr. wagner. according to the state department cubans continue to favor land-based entry at u.s. points of entry particularly through mexico. what's the current policy for cubans that enter the united states without proper documentation at points of entry? >> well, as per the cuban adjustment act we would parole them into the united states and if there's any, say, national security, derogatory-type information or they present any type of risk we have the option of having them detained with a hearing before the judge. >> okay. so, what will the policy of the united states be if a cuban immigrant arrives at an airport without proper documentation? >> it's the same policy. >> okay. and so do you have any -- i'm from a border state.
i'm from texas. do you have an opinion as to what you expect to see in terms of the number of asylum declarations at points of entry based on the shift in policy? >> we are seeing the numbers increase from last year to this year. >> okay. i see my time's expired. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. radcliff. the chair now recognizes mr. perry for five meainutes of questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for indulging me and providing this privilege for me to sit on the panel here. mr. mizell, in an april 12th letter i sent to the secretary regarding cuba and aviation security, i asked about the goals of annual visits by cuban officials to the u.s. and to our airports which have been occurring since 2010. and its response to my letter dhs stated the visits involved the exchange of technical information on aviation security and best practices. exchange of technical information. my concern and curiosity in
speaking with you is about what we're giving to them, not what we're getting from them particularly but what we're giving to them. given cuba's history as a counterintelligence state this is extremely concerning to me. as you know, cuba is ruled by a government hostile to the united states with close relationships to other u.s. adversaries including china, russia, and north korea. indeed, russia and china both have listening posts some of the largest in the world if not the largest at the planet in that country. i think personally it's outrageous to think that dhs is sharing our information with cuban when they know they will very likely share it if not just plain give it to our adversaries. so, my questions are these -- what exactly, precisely, specifically, constitutes technical information that we shared with the cubans? was any information shared regarding security operations or security equipment? was any of this information
classified, confidential, sensitive but unclassified, law enforcement sensitive, for official use only or sensitive security information? and what assurance do we have as americans that this informations americans that this information won't or hasn't already been leaked to our adversaries. >> let me start by saying the reciprocal visits with the cuban government representatives began in 2011. we do it annually, and part of the reason we do that is because we have free access into cuba to conduct rirz airport assessments and air carrier inspections. without those reciprocal visit, i'm not sure we wouldn't have the access. as far as the visits go, we take them to different u.s. airports, normally in the south or east. we give them an opportunity to observe our checkpoints and how
we operate them, the through-put that occurs. we don't share any ssi information with them. it's a sharing of best practices, basically. >> so let me ask you this. would you -- if i were to ask you, since we're sharing, right? sharing is a two-way street. i give you something, you give me something. that's sharing or exchanging, the terminology exchange is used here as oppose to do share. would you be able to tell me what we as the united states have gotten from the visits that we wouldn't have known already? that we wouldn't know already? if you know, sir, please let me know. >> sir, one of the key elements of flight coming into the united states involves security flight information. this is a data transmission of passenger manifests that comes from all flights, including crew, coming from cuba. so we get that information from cuba for the public charters that are coming to us.
so this is information that we're getting that's fed into customs for our protection and is acted upon. >> see, i feel like we have this reciprocal agreement where we should get something, of course they want something, right? we should be getting something we can't otherwise get. we're going to give up some of our best information. bepractices, for me quite frankly as a layman, i've never worked in the system, but what best practices is cuba using that we need to get to use in the united states? >> cuba is a member of a -- 191 carriers, as a member of the international aviation community, we have a shared goal in security of our -- that's a shared goal, and the 189 members illustrates i understand a shared goal. it says "best practices." it says we talked about
technical information on security and aviation security and best practices. i want to know what we're getting that we new york, jfk, and miami,ford lauderdale and tampa. it's all listed here. in the dates they came to america, they're interested in collecting information. i'm not dumb and neither are they. but we're america, we're the free country. they're the communist country. i want to make sure we're not giving them something and certainly when we're not getting anything in return and quite honestly neither of you have allayed my fears and my concerns that that's happened. quite honestly, sir, mr. mizele. i asked about classified, law enforcement sensitive for official use only. does this need another setting
to discuss that? ant did you just say no, none of those are included, which would be an answer that's great to here, but i'm concerned it's not. >> nonefuls those have been included on their visits to the united states. >> none of those were included on their visits to the united states. they have none of that information? >> correct. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield. >> thank you, mr. perry. a couple quick follow-up questions. mr. fuji mara, you indicated the standard as some sort of considerate of the airport quality of their security. is that correct? >> sir, under 44-907, it's based in statute this is the -- the standards are what we begin or assessment program from. so it's -- it's encapsulated in statute. >> i understand that. so just do you know in sharm el
sheikh or mogadishu have met those standards? >> they are not last point of departure points, sir, so i don't know if they have definitively met them or not. >> mr. mizell, i understand what you're saying in a secure setting, did you let me ask if i can ask it a different way. how many of the last point of departure airports have you visited? >> there are seven last point of departure airports, six of which are operational, and -- the seventh, did you visit that as well? >> yell, i want to ask you about what you personally observed if i may. personally in think those airports, did you observe any explosive trace equipment anyway? >> again, you have asked this it -- it's not something we want to discuss in this setting. >> i understanding, but i'm
asked based on personal observations, not what what is considered secure on sensitive. so based on your personal observations, did you observe any equipment at these airports? >> again, i'm not going to discuss that in an open meetings like this. >> are you saying your personal observations are sensitive and secure, ssi? >> i'm saying that the question you're asking about that is sensitive. with regard to equipment. security clearance, you need to have before you can discuss this. i'm not asking about what you told us in a secure setting, i'm asking about what -- >> sir, if i may -- >> yes, sir. >> mr. mizell would have been travels on an official passport as a tsa representative, so his observations would be part of a government effort, as it were. so again, i would again ask that
we could, if we could, take this to a different setting, to articulate more details for you. >> so you're not going to answer the question in this setting. is that correct? >> is that to me, sir? >> yes. >> yes, sir. >> would that be the same question with respect to body scanners, whether or not there were body scanners on any of these seven airports you visited? would you give me the same answer that you're not going to answer it in this setting? >> that's correct. >> would that be the same answer you would give with respect to the seven airports you visited, whether there's any documents verification equipment at these airports? >> correct, sir. >> just, imi'm knowning to quarrel, what security level are you saying applying here? mr. fujimura or mr. mizell, you can answer that. >> the security is ssi >> you're saying this is all ssi?
>> i would want to go back and review with my subject matter experts on security back at headquarters, but that's my understanding, but i stand open to be corrected by true experts. >> let's handle it this way. why don't we do this? if you could, sir, within ten days, consult with them and give us an answer of whether or not you believe each of those questions warrant ssi label on them. if they do not, then i ask you to respond to those questions in writing? would that be fair enough, sir? you're nodding yes? >> sorry. yes. >> i quite understand. all right. ms. rice, do you have any further questions? >> no. >> okay. mr. perry, any further questions? >> i do, just to finish up, if
you'll allow, sir. mr. chairman? >> yes, sir. >> mr. mizell, my first question was -- what exactly constitutes technical information that was shared with the cubans? was any information shared regarding security operations or security equipment? technical information. >> nothing was shared with respect to technical equipment. >> and in the memorandum of understanding under j, it says to coordinate in the area of transportation security, the screening of cargo, travelers, baggage and the design, design of secure, efficient inspection of airports. anything rather design other than the layout? when you say design, i want to make sure what we're contemplating. >> no, the design is what you would see walking through the airport at the security checkpoint. >> all right. i yield.
>> thank you. i would like to thank you for your testimony today, and members of the committee may have some additional questions for the witnesses. we ask you to respond in writing. pursuant to committee rules 7-e, the hearing will be held open for ten days. mr. f of ffujimura, we'll delineate those questions, and you can tell us which you believe are of an ssi nature. without objection, the subcommittee stands adjourned. thank you. >> thank you.
starting at 5:30 eastern tomorrow morning. congratulations to the class of 2016. today is your day of celebration and you've earned it. the voices crying for peace and light, because your choices will make all the difference to you, and to all of us. >> don't be afraid to take on cases or a new job, or a new issue that really stretches your boundaries. >> extend the summer abroad. and the specter of living in your parents' basement after this graduation day is not likely to be your greatest concern. theyout this month watch commencement speeches to the class of 2016 in their entirety, from colleges and universities around the country, by business leaders, politicians, and white house officials.
data available finds 22 vet advance a day dying at their own hands. finally provided national data to the v.a., consider the critical interests, including data, i can't emphasize 1/2 to pursue an analysis with a sense of urgency. it's my fevant home, as a result of the investments we feel maid in v.a mental health care. i'm soap that witnesses today could provide more recent -- and
to shed some light on whether the efforts dedicated to this crisis are indeed making any impact. for almost every single democrat grams, except for veterans. i think that is due in large pardon to the hard work that v.a. health care providers do every day. to imply the current ray is in any way acceptable. i continue to be concerned that again, according to the latest data from v.a. that is admittedly dated, the number of sued signs has not fallen
care is not one size fits all, and while suicide undoubtedly is a mental health issue, it is much more than that. eliminating suicide altogether will take a comprehensive approach to ensure that those most at risk have not only the case they knee, but also a job, a purpose and system of support in place to help care them through their struggles. therefore, v.a. must adopt a strategy that recognizes a need for wrap-around services that treats patients as individuals, and embraces complementary and alternative approaches to care where appropriate. further more. v.a. needs to better integrate a veteran and family perspective that incorporates the lessons learned. can offer a message of hope to those that are still struggling today.
last year, the clay hunt suicide prevention for american veterans or save act was put into law. he returned from the battle, but who in 2011 lost his personal battle to the demons he brought home with him from those conflicts. the law included a number of providers that i believe will -- need both in v.a. and in their communities, that will provide valuable information about what programs are working for veterans in crisis, and assist v.a. in recruiting high quality mental health -- fully implementing the clay hunt save act should not v.a.'s highest priority. i look forward to discussion the department's progress to date.
in clay's memory, in the memory of the countless other veterans who have lost their lives to suicide, we have to do better. with that, i yield to the ranking member ms. brown for an opening statement she may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman for calling this hearing strong oversight of the prevention program remains a priority of this committee. we are all aware of the often cited statistics of 22 veterans a day --, and reports in 2014 there is a decreased rate of suicide among users of the veterans health care system with mental health condition much the question becomes how can we ensure ready access to safe quality mentality health service of veterans in need of care.
i hope the v.a. witnesses here today will be able to update us on those numbers as much of the country was not included in previous estimates. my subject -- i understand that addressing the suicide problem is not one of those. increased access to health care and proven comprehension and pension exams, continuing to reduce homelessness and transform the supply chains are all on the list, but specifically reducing suicide is not included. given that suicide nationally is considered by somebody to been a public health problem, i believe v.a. should include suicide prevention as number bun
priorities. i look forward to the testimony on this and where suicide prevention fits into the 12 priorities. i still believe that suicide prevention should be one priorities of their own, top priority. mr. chairman, this hearing will also examine and -- passed in the early days of 114th congress, this law focused the nation on this terrible epidemic affecting veterans. this law requires that the secretary of veteran affairs and secretary of defense to arrange for an outside evaluation of the mentality health care. of any evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder
or military sexual trauma we have been at war for over 14 years. there are -- for purpose of mental health treatment, veterans from -- today's discussion should include how they reach out to they veterans. that many of the veterans even though we have 22 a day, only three of them are involved in the some. who they return home wasn't receive properly, so we need to figure out how to reach out to these veld ran and include them in the systems. with that, i yield back the balance of my time.
thank you, chairman miller. thank you for the tuned. this xam centers around the principle that timely access is critical in the fight to combat suicide. the signing of the law was an important first step. congress for passing this legislation, and the v.a. for commitment to fully implement the law. we knew it would take time. and new initiatives that are certainly to follow. personally i've been