tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN September 27, 2016 12:15pm-2:01pm EDT
unwanted intrusions in the federal civilian dot-gov system. a year and a half ago we only covered 20% of the federal civilian work force. today as we sit here we're up to about 65% and we have mous with all but three cabinet-level departments. i scheduled a meeting with the secretary of one of those cabinet-level departments and lo and behold mou fell into place before we had the meeting. >> maybe you have to schedule a couple more meetings. >> and the other two i'm confident we're going to have very soon as well and those will be the last three large remaining ones, i'm not referring to anybody at this table here. and i believe we're going to meet the statutory deadline. >> that would be great. >> i think it's critical that we do that. >> a little bit of a status, if you will, the information sharing -- cyber information sharing portal that's being established at dhs, please? >> we now have automated information sharing at the
nkick. we put in the place of march of 2016 and so it's now a matter of getting agencies and companies online with this new capability. we have the intelligence community, we have the law enforcement community of the federal government online with this. a few other departments and we have a number of large companies in the private sector and information sharing organizations but there's a lot more to do there and so i'm continually promoting this new capability in the private sector in particular. and so that's a work in progress. >> all right, good. i think i mentioned i want down to flexi, the federal law enforcement training center in what used to be glen we, georgia, and i was real impressed by what i saw. it was a wonderful day with a lot of dedicated committed people doing good work for our country. i want to talk about the tsa training academy to train everybody who works at tsa and
i've been especially impressed with steps that admiral neffenger took at tsa. remember the day you called me to say that we've got someone we want you to consider for confirmation of head of tsa, a guy named they having jer. i think a spree-star admiral. he's a good one and you were right. you were right. give us a flavor, an update of how's t how tsa has been doing. >> first, the day pete was sworn in i handed him a 10-point plan for improving aviation security in reaction to the inspector general's covert testing last year. tsa has done an excellent job at implementing that 10-point plan including investments in new technology and less managed inclusion at airports, the longer line, where you take people from the longer line and put them in the shorter line.
that contributed to the additional wait times we saw this spring along with the increased travel volume. we addressed that by -- with the permission of congress expediting the hiring of new tsos and convert ago lot of them from part time to full time. we've addressed the wait times. we're continuing to invest in new technology and i think we have to build back that work force so we have a long-term plan with congress to do that. >> mr. chairman, can i just end up with another minute and this is the last time i'll have jeh before us. as much as i admire and respect and feel gratitude toward mr. comey and nick, i want to say what a joy it's been to work with you. thank you for your leadership. our job was to try to make sure you're surrounded by a first-rate team and that the folks that you and the president gave to us to consider really are a first-rate team. we're really pleased with that.
ever since this department was created they've suffered the bad morale. through all these disparate agencies all over the place, they make it hard to communicate to work together, for a long time we didn't have confirmed leadership at the top and we tried to address that and provide reasonable amounts of support financially. and the morale of the agency has finally turned for the better. would you just take a minute and talk about that? just a minute and give us what advice -- tell us what advice would you give to your successor on the importance of continuing management reforms at the department? >> i would say that it's important to continue what we have begun, particularly when it comes to employee satisfaction. we turned the corner and i hope that continues. the deputy secretary and i did this year 55 employee engagements in 22 different cities to hear concerns, to meet
employees, we have a more transparent hiring system, we have a department-wide mission statement and we've been stressing to our work force the importance of their mission and i think people are responding. i think it's significant to note that the levels of employee satisfaction went upmost significantly in the immigration components. ice went up seven full percentage points. customs border protection went up four percentage points. these are two large government agencies in and of themselves. i'm very proud of that progress and i think we need to continue that along with making our department more centralized, less stove piped, more streamlined. so i hope that happens and i will note that that it was members of this committee, including you in particular, tom, that told me that management reform needs to be one of my priorities if i'm confirmed and it has been. >> thank you. >> senator peters?
>> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you to our witnesses here today. and thank you for your service everyday in defense of our nation. you have a very tough task and you perform it with professionalism and passion, thank you for that. and i also wanted to say thank you to secretary johnson who i know may -- this may be your last appearance. you've heard many of my colleagues praise your efforts, i want to join in that chorus, appreciate your efforts, particularly in michigan, your many trips that you have made to our state, particularly to engage the community as i'm sure most folks are aware, we have a very large middle eastern population in michigan, one of the largest concentrations anywhere. you have been actively engaged in that community and i know that's been part of your efforts to make sure that this is a community approach to dealing with the threats that are there. you were recently there in august. we spoke briefly before the beginning of the hearing, your meeting with some police officers of middle eastern descent.
just briefly, i think folks need to know what's happening in a vibrant middle eastern community in michigan and how that can be a template for how we handle this issue around the country. >> senator, you have in michigan some really dedicated, terrific dhs personnel who took the initiative to form this middle eastern law enforcement officers' association which consists of largely but not exclusively dhs people -- customs, immigration, tsa centered around the detroit/dearborn area. i went out to meet with them several months ago, i think it was january. i was really impressed and i encouraged them to grow nationally for a couple of reasons. one, community outreach, two, recruiting, and, three, cultural sensitivity when it comes to others in law enforcement. and when i went back in august, i was pleased to see that they
were having a national level meeting, their organization has grown and i'd like to see this concept grow across the entire federal government. and so i've encouraged them to do that and, senator, i encourage you to get to know these people and support them as well, they're a terrific group centered right there in your state. >> well, i look forward to it and appreciate yourer in shepherding that forward in giving them the support they need to continue to grow and we'll hopefully be able to involve all sorts of agencies, local and federal, in that community. i also want to change course a little bit and just talk about some potential future threats. certainly we've had a discussion today of a variety of immediate threats that we have to be very concerned about and you're actively engaged but i also -- i stay up at night thinking about the future threats that may be there and are we adequately prepared. and one area i have that thought about and we had some testimony here before our committee not long ago dealt with biodefense and bioterrorism and it had potential for that. we heard from secretary ridge and senator lieberman regarding
some findings from the blue ribbon study panel on bio defense and basically declared the united states is unprepared for biological threats. the government accounting office also has found that the bio defense enterprise is fragmented, it's lacking strategic oversight necessary for efficiency and accountability and certainly i'm concerned a bioterror attack could be the next threat that we have to deal with and we need to be prepared. secretary johnson, i'm particularly interested in the dhs use of biowatch program developed to provide early detection of bioterrorism events. as you know, last year the gao identified flaws with biowatch, including it isn't possible to test in the an operational environment so could you give us an update on biowatch and some of your efforts related to bioterrorism, please? >> senator, it's been a focus of mine. we have an office and a mission
dedicated to the chem bio threat to the homeland. i'd be happy to give you a more fuller written report on exactly where we are with biowatch. but this has been a focus of mine and obviously it's been a focus of others, including secretary ridge. and the way i look at it is this, there are threats and all three of us deal with this everyday. there are threats that are high probability and there are threats that are perhaps less -- lower probability but high impact, high cost. and we've got to be responsible and keep our eyes on all of it, and that includes the chem bio threat to the homeland. but i can get you a fuller report in response to your question, sir. >> well, appreciate that. and i didn't realize you had multiple threats and you have to make those kinds of assessments on a regular basis but certainly something of this nature, as you mentioned, even if the probability is maybe lower at this time, the impact is significant.
and when you look at the new technologies coming on board in bio tech, crisper technology which could be used in nefarious ways has potential but you can buy these kits fairly inexpensively and could present significant issues. >> i want to talk on cyber security, another area that's critical and perhaps one of the biggest threats we have as a country. i had the opportunity to be out yesterday and visit with folks at nsa and with the cyber command and i'm encouraged by the cooperation i saw. i know a couple of you have mentioned about how we're now working together on cyber, all agencies coming together. i saw that firsthand, it was refreshing to see. but i'd like a brief comment on an area i see as a vulnerability that we have to be thinking about is that when it comes to cyber risk, it's usually the weakest link. where the bad guys are going to go and although the agencies have hardened systems and are -- our departments have done -- you
think i think of small local governments, i think of small businesses, others. we know some of the attacks we've seen have gone through contractors that are small contractors tied to a larger organization. so i see significant threats from that potentially through local governments, municipalities as well as small businesses. are there things that we should be doing here in congress to aid those efforts? i know all three of you are very aware of that. >> i'll start, i'm pleased with the law congress passed on cyber schurt has aided what we do in dhs. when you talk about the weakest link. the weakest link is always the employee vulnerable to an act of spear fishing. so the very basic thing we need to do is raise employee awareness among our respective work forces to the hazards of spear fishing. the most sophisticated attacks very often occur through an act of spear fishing.
>> senator booker? >> director comey, i'd like to change the direction of my questioning, specifically to issues of race in america. there's been a lot of talk recently about law and order and you and i both -- you in your position, me when i was mayor and had a city with high levels of violence and crime -- did focus on law and order and it's critically important. but we make a distinction in america between law and order, which is a baseline, but we seek a higher level of standard and that is justice. we pledge allegiance to this idea of liberty and justice for all. we look at our highest ideal is on the supreme court building equal justice under the law. now, in birmingham in 1960, there was law and order but there was a clear lack of justice. and many people complained when
some rabble-rousers -- outside agitators -- came in, literally breaking some laws, actually, but exposed the fact that there was law and order but without justice. now, king wrote eloquently in the letters from the birmingham jail about that distinction, really focusing on the difference between law and order, which he used germany and other areas as places that had law and order but didn't have justice. we are americans and we strive for that ideal. now, what frustrates me is 50 years from that time we still seem to be dealing with a lot of the same issues. the kerner commission put forth by johnson 50 years ago was seeking to diagnose why there was so much violence and rioting in cities as well as non-violent protests going on and the report identified police incidents as the most common cause of riots and criticized the overpolicing of black neighborhoods. now, what frustrates me is that you read the kerner report, you
read the letters from the birmingham jail and you read your words, sir, your courageous words, and you see we're still struggling from those issues. now you gave a speech that i found amazing, i actually used your speech in my book that i wrote, the "new york times" called it an unusually candid speech and, frror the record, ts is what you wrote. "when the death of michael brown in ferguson, the death of new york city police officers, we are at a cross roads" you stated. "as a society, we can choose to live our everyday lives raising our families, going to work, hoping that someone somewhere will do something to ease the tension to smooth over the conflict. we can roll up our car windows, turn up the radio and drive around these problems. or we can choose to have an open and honest discussion about what our relationship is today. what are it should be, what it could be, what it needs to be.
if we took our time to better understand one another." these are your words, sir. "much research points to the widespread existence of unconscious racial bias. many people in our white majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face. in fact, we all, white and black, carry these biases around with us. but if we can't help our latent biases, we can help our behavior in response to these instinctive reactions which is why we need to work to design systems and processes that overcome the very human part of us all. although the research may be unsettling, it's what we do next that matters most. you were incredibly courageous in this speech about talking about racial bias in policing. you and i both have an adherence to the idea of data. we have wild conversations in
america, and sometimes i listen to it and it seems like we're not even talking to each other, we're not leading with courageous empathy. but what i am frustrated about is while i think we need that empathetic -- courageous empathy to create the understanding to heal as a country, we still consistently 50 years since the kerner report based on data have different standards of justice being applied to different communities in our country that is creating understandable tension and, frankly, if we saw the overpolicing the kerner report talked about being done in other areas of affluence we would have a very different reality in american politics because it wouldn't be tolerated. now, you go on in this great speech to talk about specific needs that we have if we're going to correct this problem. you state "not long after riots broke out in ferguson late last summer i asked my staff to tell
me how many people shot by police were african-americans in this country. i wanted to see the trends." you wanted the data. i continue in your words "i wanted to see the information, they couldn't give it to me and it wasn't their fault. demographic data regarding police officer involved shootings is not consistently reported to us through our uniform crime reporting program because reporting is voluntary, our data is incomplete and therefore in the aggregate is not available. i recently listened to a thoughtful big city police chief." i stop and say you and i both know there are police departments trying to do very good things about confronting implicit racial bias. there are a lot of good thoughtful leaders in this country who recognize like you do that this is a problem. i continue in your words. "thoughtful big city police chief, his frustration with the lack of reliable data. he said people didn't know whether the ferguson police shot one person a week, a year, or one a century. and what the absence of good
data all we get are ideological thunderbolts when what we need are agnostics who use information to try to solve a problem." and you say he is right. and so i don't want to be here 50 years from now or listening to my kids and grand kids struggle with what should have been done in the 1960s when thoughtful police leadership like you called for understanding this data of what does exist in our country, which is racial bias. and so i put forth legislation saying, hey, let's get away from the ideological thunderbolts and get the data. we can't solve a problem unless we measure it. you're a manager of an agency, i was a manager of a city, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. and so i want your opinion on basically what you stated clearly on the need for national
collection of data on implicit racial bias, on police interactions with community. >> you can provide that as a written answer to that question. >> sir, that is -- you allowed so many other people to go over, my time has just ended? >> not really. i'm going to ask another round and you can have another round. i'm going to keep this to seven minutes. there are three questions i want to ask based on your testimony as well as other questions asked during the hearing. first, secretary johnson, it appears now this administration has let in about 10,000 refugees from syria. i've certainly been on the record saying one of the ways we could minimize any kind of risk would be to establish criteria. i've suggested women, children, relatives of syrian american citizens, they have the financial wherewithal to support them. is the department in any way, shape, or form establishing a criteria or are we just vetting whoever the agency from the u.n. is providing us in terms of
asking us to take in refugees? >> we establish criteria in the following sense. between us, the state department, unhcr we focus on people who we think would be good candidates for resettlement in the united states. that's number one. we have criteria in the sense that we've added security checks to the process and if you fall into a certain criteria there's going to be extra vetting. that was particularly true around syrians. and so we made the 10,000, frankly, by surging a lot of resources and adding a lot of people to it. but we do have criteria, the criteria are not all public and they shouldn't be but we added security to the process, to the vetting process. >> so you are fairly confident that the vetting has been robust, we haven't taken any risks? i mean, i'm the lead sponsor of the safe act that would have
asked you three gentlemen to certify that but are you very satisfied the that 10,000 syrians we've let into this country represent no risk to america? >> i'm satisfied and comfortable that we put a lot on this process with a lot of additional security, a lot of additional person power and i know for a fact an awful lot of a 10,000 are families, women and children who are fleeing violence, fleeing terrorism and will be honest, hardworking people in this country. >> okay. in testimony we've talked about more robust use of social media. looking at that when we're evaluating and vetting refugees. can you describe that in a little more greater detail? one of the things i've suggested, i've certainly asked people, why not have anybody seeking refugee status come in
with their devices and basically have a plug in program that can very rapidly scan these things. how are you doing it? are we trying to utilize technology to the maximum effect to do what i'm suggesting? >> senator, i want to expand the use of social media not just for refugee vetting but for visa-free travel, for example. we have a notice and comment period we just completed on adding social media questions in the esta system right now. >> but, again, those are questions. is there any automated system where literally you ask people to come in with their devices -- >> we have a system. >> you plug it in and bam. >> the answer to this question is we have a system for vetting social media. we need better technology sew that it's not manual. >> right now it is manual. >> it's manual and it's time consuming which is why we need an investment in the technology so that we can look at social media not just for refugee
vetting but for a whole host of things that this department and i suspect other departments use it for. >> my guess is that's technology that ought to be rapidly developed. am i incorrect there, either director comey or director rasmussen. can you weigh in on that one one way or the other. >> i don't have any specialized knowledge. >> i know it's something we worked hard to develop the technology for our investigations to go through huge amounts of seized media and publicly available social media so i know there are tools out there. whether it would -- it's fit for this purpose or not i don't know. >> i would suggest your department, your agency work together on that. finally, director comey, i do want to talk about these terror watch lists because i think we're throwing a lot of terms around and people don't really understand them. i want to make sure people understand what we're talking about here. from my understanding, the overall massive database is really the tide, the terrorist identity data modern environment. i'm not sure what's law
enforcement so i don't want to talk about numbers, foreigners versus americans. a subsidiary list of that is the terrorist screening database. and then much smaller subsets of that are no-fly lists and selectee list, correct? >> that's correct. >> none of these lists were ever developed -- they were developed for law enforcement use to give you an indication whether or not you should investigate somebody or should be pinged for further investigation, correct? >> they're intelligence and law enforcement databases. standards to get identities in there but their primary purpose is for that. >> they are far from perfect, correct? >> correct. >> the standards for getting on to those databases are not exactly what you would call completely tight. let me put it this way, they were never intended to deny an american constitutional right, correct? that would be a misuse of that list? >> i think that's fair to say. i hope that's true of all of our
work. >> how do you get off the lists? >> you get off the lists either in -- nick will help me with this, but you get off the list either when an investigation has been closed and then the agent sends the appropriate notification to have the name removed. or you make use of the redress procedures that dhs runs to challenge and have it looked at and have your name removed if it's a mistake. >> of course, you have to know that you're on the list in order to seek redress and then even help the that's not a judicial process, correct? that's just through the agency and, let's face it, a bureaucrat in the agency makes the final determination, you don't have the ability to get redress through the courts? >> it's an administrative process but people do and have gone to court to challenge beyond that as i recall. >> but, again you have to know you're on the list. >> that's correct. >> that does represent a problem. and, again, i understand if you don't want to speak to this in open session but i think your've
h -- you've had reservations about utilizing those in terms of those lists tipping off some of you investigating, are you willing to speak to that? >> i think what i can say in open setting is i want to be thoughtful about any operational impacts to anything we set up. >> okay. my time is up. i'm happy to let you respond to senator booker or senator carper do you have further questions? >> i want to give my time to senator booker, go ahead, please. >> mr. chairman, just for the record, it's ironic that i was giving a question about equal application of the law and you did not equally apply the rules. if i can finish, sir, you literally even said to somebody "since there's only a few people here, i'll let you go a little longer." and right before you seemed to be incredibly strict with your application of the rules to me. >> i cut other people off as well. now you can ask the question. >> i'd like for the record the details of how long people went over so i can point out to the chairperson how many minutes he
allowed other people go over and when i'm bringing up issues of race and equal application of the law you cut me right off. >> that's an absurd characterization but -- now you can get your answer. >> sir, it's not a characterization, i'd like for the record so you can see how you're conducting the hearing, sir. director comey, i'm going to finish the last paragraph of your speech that i do not read going back so i can height than issue of data. the first step to understanding what is really going on in our communities and in our country is to gather more and better data related to those we arrest. those we confront for breaking the law and jeopardizing public safety and those we who confront us. data seems to be dry and boring -- seems to be a dry and boring word. without it, we cannot understand our world and make it better." could you please comment on the lack of data in regards to policing in the united states and how hard it makes this to
address the issue of implicit racial bias in policing? >> thank you, senator booker. this is one of the most important issues we confront in the fbi. i think we confront as americans. there are all kinds of people of tremendously good hearts in law enforcement, not in law enforcement, in communities of color, protesting. every single one of them is unguided by actual data and information. every conversation, in my view, about the use of force and race and policing in this country is uninformed. people of tremendous good will trying to resolve these things. what we can contribute as a country is information to that conversation for the reasons you say so that great people care deeply about these things, can come to solutions that are practical and just. we simply must collect data that is reliable nationwide about police use of deadly force in altercations, encounters, with civilians. we simply must. if there is anything more inherently governmental than
that, i can't imagine what it is. but we're now in a situation where we've got newspapers that are the only source of that kind of data, and their data isn't comprehensive. we are going to do this. i have spoken to -- one of the beauties of a ten-year term is i am not going to shut up about this. i have seven years to go. we will build a nationwide database that the fbi will collect that shows us what happened when, who was involved, what were they like, what were the circumstances so we can have informed conversations. no one in this country knows whether the use of deadly force against any particular group -- african-americans most particularly -- is up, down, or sideways over the last ten years. nobody knows. do we have an epidemic of violence? no one knows that. we could, we might not, we simply must gather the information so we can care deeply and solve these problems. >> director comey, i really celebrate your leadership around this issue, as was said, the courageous speech you gave and your remarks right now. but the one thing i'll ask you, sir, is where we do have data it shows an alarming fact pattern
in our country. not only the studies you cite about implicit racial bias in your speech but the department of justice has dozens and dozens of police departments, including the one that i ran where i was even surprised at the data they collected to the create transparency. so priolice department after police department where we do now have the data is showing very draw mat frimatmatic from y to new orleans to ferguson showing dramatic biases to policing. so doesn't that lead you to believe where you see this consistent fact pattern where we have collected the data that we don't just a problem in the united states to a nation that aspires to high lef levels of justice and equality and the law, don't we have a policing crisis in the country given the data we do have? >> i believe we have a chasm in this country that in many places where a divide is open and opening between law enforcement and communities, especially
african-american community. it is -- the causes for it are complicated and long-standing but not elusive. we can stare at it. we have problems, things we can do better in law enforcement that are obvious and we're working very hard to change. where we have to -- where i think we can close the chasm is everybody wants the same kind of policing. everybody does, moms and dads and law enforcement want the same kind of policing, up close, responsible lawful firm but fair policing. transparent. we are safer when we have it and the good news for america is there are a ton of police leaders who feel exactly as i do and we are going to drive that k chasm closer together. >> i'm going highlight what you just said as a guy who ran a police department. we have incredible police leaders out there. the overwhelming majority who seek the exact same thing as the black community, as other communities, and, frankly, who are undercelebrated in the level of daily heroism that they show
in conducting their jobs, as i just mentioned in my testimony about the two linden police officers, that goes on everyday, people out there putting themselves in harm's way who share our same values but what you so astutely pointed out is that a lot of this is not cop. sometimes people aren't even aware of how they're not applying the law equally and when i see justice department investigation after justice department investigation, police departments large and small, police departments run by african-americans as well as white folks, all coming up with the same set of data that's presenting the same fact that we do not have the equal application of the law. we have prisons that are now full of folks that -- whether it's vermont where there's 1% african-americans but 11% of the prison population is african-american or states like mine, this dramatic unequal
application of the law throughout the entire justice system we have to get to the core of this understanding of what can we do to correct for this implicit racial bias? i conclude with just saying your prescription of having better national collection of this data, we cannot get there unless we first engage in an objective dispassionate analysis of the facts and the data and the fact that we don't collect them, 60 years, 50, 60 years after the kerner report is outrageous and unacceptable. thank you. >> thank you, senator booker, senator carper. >> mr. chairman, just before we break up, we came here with a hearing in mind to how to better protect our homeland from threats foreign and domestic and i want to thank senator booker for adding something that i didn't expect and i really want to say to director comey thank you for the way you've engaged on what i think we all know is an important -- really important
subje subject. when we had -- it's been many months in this room years ago on the heels of 9/11 with the 9/11 commission led by lee with 9/11 commission who had lee hamilton and governor king. they had a vision that we would address, fix some of the problems that led to 9/11 and allowed it to happen. part was stove piping information, talking together, you said we're not perfect, i like, we the people of the united states in order to form a more perfect union, doesn't say perfect union, a more perfect union. none of us are perfect. i look at problems, find out what works and do more of that. i must say i am encouraged by the way you worked together and the way your agencies work together. i think we're all better for it.
jeh johnson prepares a couple months for more fertile fields maybe, i don't know. i learned we're baseball fans. one of my favorite detroit tigers players was curt gibson. he had a memorable home run playing for another team l.a. dodgers world series sparked them to world series victory. years later back with the tigers, middle of the season he announces he's going to retire. he does it in a very different way. usually when people are going to retire from baseball they do it at the beginning of the season or milling of the winter or spring training, said i just don't have anything left anymore. he did it in the middle of the season. he called the press corps to the tiger dugout in july. he said i have an announcement to make, i've been traded back to my family. so jeh, we're going to trade you back to your family but you can
with best words of affection and thanks to your wife susan and family. god bless. >> thanks, senator carper. i'd also like to suppress my appreciation. you've hired great people and improved the department. thank you. gentlemen, thank you all for your service to the nation and attendance at this hearing. remince open for submissions and this hearing is adjourned.
we're back on capitol hill later this afternoon hearing from a report from government accountability office on need for stronger oversight for dangerous pathogens in laboratories. witnesses from the national institutes of health and center for disease control live at 2:00 p.m. at c-span there. tomorrow federal reserve chair janet yellen will testify before house financial services committee about monetary policy and regulation of the financial sector. this comes a week after the fed announced that interest rates are remaining unchanged until later this year. you can watch her testimony live at 10:00 a.m. eastern tomorrow
on c-span3. on the senate side of the capital minority leader harry reid warning democrats will block short-term spending bill if help for flint, michigan, sentence include. came ahead of the schedule to vote this afternoon on gop proposal to fund the government through december 9th. the measure earned swift opposition from top democrats because it does not include aid for flint drinking water crisis. harry reid on tuesday blasted republicans for creating a manufactured crisis ahead of the deadline to fund the government. mitch mcconnell, majority leader, hit back at democrats accusing them of playing election year politics. read more on thehill.com and watch on companion network c-span 2. just before hillary clinton's campaign plane left new york she spoke with reporters about last night's debate with donald trump.
this is five minutes. >> hey, everybody. we had a great, great time last night. i have to say i was thrilled that i got a chance to lay out of the middle class economic policies and pro family policies we've been talking about to this cam pane to all the viewers who found in. i felt so positive about it. one of the thoughts that popped in my head was, you know, one of my favorite baseball players growing up, ernie banks, used to get so excited about going to play, he'd say let's play two. i'm looking forward to the next debate and the one after that. >> what do you think were the most critical moments last night. >> i think viewers got a real chance to begin to compare us on policy. policy gets lost a lot of the
time in the coverage and back and forth that goes on. laying out my plan for strong growth and fair growth and dealing with family economic issues like affordable child care, relief for college, no response from my opponent. the tax plans we put forth are so different. his would explode the deficit and debt and it would be a huge gift to the wealthiest of americans, including him and his own family. i think that all began to come into focus for people. >> what about the way he kept interrupting and the way he answered the questions about gender, do you think women would react to that? >> i think his demeanor, temperament, behavior on the stage can be seen by everybody and people can draw their on
conclusion conclusions. i thought on several occasions he was making charges and claims that were demonstrably untrue, offering opinions that were upsetting and off putting. he can offer his opinions however he wants to but the real point is temperament, fitness to hold the most important, hardest job in the world. i think people saw last night some very clear differences between us. >> are you concerned that donald trump will not show up for the next debate? are you concerned he's not going to show up. >> i'll show up. he gets to decide what he wants to do. i'll be there at washu and then las vegas. if i'm the only person on stage, well, you know, i'm the only
person on stage. >> donald trump says he actually showed great restraint last night and he could have gone after you and your husband for personal matters. >> like i say, he can run his campaign however he chooses and i will continue to talk about what i want to do for the american people, lay out specific plans with very clear goals in mind to deal with all the challenges we face. i'm excited about where we are in this country. he talks down america every chance he gets. he calls us names. he calls us a third world country. he talks in such dire and dark terms. that's not who america is. we are the best problem solvers in the world. our diversity is a strength. i am excited about helping to pull our country together to set some big goals on infrastructure and advanced manufacturing and
clean energy to take on climate change, which, by the way, is not a hoax made up by chinese. >> you should know by now when i set my mind on something i keep going. i don't quit. whatever the static, whatever the incoming is, and that's what i'll do for the american people. i am looking forward to it. thank you. >> what about his stamina? what about his stamina? >> anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night. cia director john brennan kicked off an intelligence conference in washington, d.c., with keynote remarks on challenges facing united states intelligence operations. it was co-hosted by george washington university and the conference also featured a panel of intelligence officials and
experts discussing a number of issues including challenges presented by russia and its president vladimir putin. >> i have the great honor of being the director of the central intelligence agency. it's an absolute pleasure to be here and to kick off this day of discussion and examination of the ethos and profession of intelligence. thank you for being here and supporting this important endeavor. i want to first thank the president, b.j. penn and the hospitality. thank you to all of the staff and support here at gw university. george washington is a true center of excellence, particularly in the realm of cyber security and studies. i'm thrilled to have so many individuals with ties to gw who are involved in today's proceedings. i'm confident it will be a fascinating day of panels and debate. having gw serve as our setting
made a lot of sense for several reasons of the for starters it's nice to return to one's roots. i'm not talking to myself as much as i would enjoy being an alum of this illustrious institution. instead i'm talking about the organization i've had an opportunity to lead for 3 1/2 years, central intelligence agency. signature blocks from the former headquarters of office of cia's predecessor during world war ii. later cia's headquarters until 1961. in fact we have a sign in our museum, one that most of you will never get to see that proves that point. originally the building's only marker read government printing office. that is until a number of presidents dwight eisenhower staff had repeated difficulty finding the headquarters. legend has it an annoyed president made a couple of calls and another sign went up
immediately. such responsiveness doesn't surprise me. i can tell you firsthand you do not want to be on the receiving end of an annoyed president let alone two phone calls. welcome to the conference. since it's ensemble been two years since we held our first conference, i believe we've stabbed a lasting electric addition. looking at the agenda, i'm excited about our topics and what they will bring a to dais, discuss dpinlg tal age, different perspectives of intelligence layson. addressing humanitarian disasters and debate the right balance between secrecy and public accountability. you can see we kept our focus for this conference quite narrow. in all seriousness, i cannot think of another setting where such a wide range of deeply significant issues could be so coherent. each panel addresses an essential element of what cia
and intelligence community have to deal with day in and day out. our mission is both regional and functional. it is both tactical and strategic. today's agenda really puts the global nature of cias and intelligence community's mission on display. the conferences first panel moderated by frank sesno, is proof although responsibilities change over time some never change, the topic is rivalries and future. top countries in the world always a focus of the cia. looking back at daily briefs from nixon and ford add manages, documents we recently released to the public, these issues at the forefront oferation and analytic mind, remain duration of the cold war and still a priority today. with a surge of activity by terrorists, most notably the horrific acts of al qaeda 15 years ago, many in our country
shifted attention to threats from nonstate actors. but all the while strong nations such as china and russia did not dampen their global ambitions. we still see evidence of that today as their efforts to project power beyond their borders are provoking tension in the south china sea and in southeastern europe. today's panel promises to pose tough questions. have we diverted too much of our attention away from weighty issues of great power politics. where are the flash points that could turn local conflict into something much more serious what can intelligence officials and organizations do both to better understand these rivalries and best equip our policymakers to address them. second panel moderated by frank is no less provocative, entitled interruptive technologies and digital dilemmas and examine how rapid emergence of innovative and ground breaking technology is a double edged sword.
u.s. government and intelligence in particular are at the forefront of our nation's effort to meet this challenge. now, cia and intelligence community have been slow at times to embrace aspects of the digital revolution. concerns about security serve to caution and restrain our enthusiasm. but most recently cia and intelligence community are rapidly catching up and even shaping this technological aha moment. while i spent the lion's share of my career in operations i would love the opportunity to stretch creative muscles as science and technology officer at cia. i find these fields to be endlessly fascinating. i know our panelist will provide us with an in sighsive discussion of latest trends, how best to harners new technologies in a manner that allows taos optimize our nation's security
as well as our civil liberty and privacy. what should we be keeping an eye out for over the horizon, what is the government's role in all of this. today's third panel, which i have the honor of moderating is a special one. i'll be joined by three colleagues all current serving intelligence chiefs as we publicly discuss role of intelligence, layson partnerships and more in an ever complex and pressing world. talk about espionage, analysis, covert action dominates discourse about the intelligence realm. what is all too missing, however, is understanding of how important layson relationships are to cia's mission. despite the size and breadth of u.s. intelligence community, there are things we cannot do easily and places we cannot go without immense risks and complications, which is why we rely so heavily onlayson relationships. from our closest alliances that have been with us throughout our 69 years history to the more
recent global network of partners in the fight against al qaeda, these relationships around the world are of course multiplier. i do not see how cia could fully carry out our responsibilities without those foreign intelligence relationships. this applies not only to operational manners but extends to changes as well as a host of our activities. i'm sure my dear colleagues from united kingdom, australia and afghanistan agree. i look forward to hearing what they have to say. i know the views from london, kabul provide unique insights we at langley await and benefit. our third panel will focus on the topic the public generally does not associate with intelligence organizations. that is assessing the potential toll of humanitarian disasters. this fascinating discussion will shed light on aspect of intelligence work that rarely receives regular recognition it
so rightly deserves. instability is a defining feature of the international landscape today. it foments some of the greatest challenges we face, specifically the syria once a refugee safe haven is a serious source of massive population displacement. it is a country that has lost at least 35 years worth of development in terms of income, education and health. more than 13 million syrians need some form of humanitarian assistance. you might not think this humanitarian plight and similar ones consume much of my time as cia director. but as i have stressed before cia's and intelligence community mission is to scope, officers devoted to these issues as well as hurdles that lie ahead as government tries to mitigate effect of such vast destruction and displacement. for example, cia treats its role on the atrocities prevention
board with utmost gravity as officers collect, assess and share intelligence related to threats of genocide. we at cia and intelligence community are honored to contribute to this crucial mission and our governments many other humanitarian efforts. and as our panelists will tell you, they are absolutely critical to our national security interest. finally our last panel moderated by my deputy david komen look at the provocative and always central issues of intelligence oversight, public accountability and openness. i know their people who wish we could return to an era when nsa stood for no such agency. but when the existence of services that conduct espionage around the world and even their directors for that matter were secret. that is no longer a feasible option for democracy which i think is a reasonable one. the american people have the right to know the types of
activities their federal government performs on their behalf. history has shown that blind trust is a false currency. cia and the rest of the intelligence community have to maintain requisite level of public confidence in order to do our jobs effectively. we have seen the consequences when that faith is lost. but this does not mean opening our doors wide without regard. we as intelligence professionals seek to do but not secrecy for secrecy's sake. secrecy for the security and safety. in our profession concepts such as compartmentation and need to know are critical. they are essential because as we have seen when they are discarded or ignored, people have lost their lives and our national security is harmed. the topic of intelligence activity and the public trust is a complicated one, one where
different people will have reasonable disagreements. as you can see from the panel's makeup, we are not shying away from those differences of opinion. i'm positive that the results will be enlightening. there is a need for public debate about the serious issues facing our great nation and the world we live in. deeply complex and emotional issues such as cyber and surveillance. these are difficult topics. ones where differences are to be expected. while there are legitimate agreements to be had about the nature of government involvement in the cyber realm, what i do know with certainty is that there is a role for government to play. the threats and adversaries we face are far too dangerous for the government to simply stand back and admire the problem. cia and intelligence community have a vital place in this debate and larger role of intelligence in our democracy. we cannot return to passive
posture of years ago. we cannot cloak our selves in secrecy and simply hope for the best. we have an obligation to earn sacred trust the american people have placed in us. otherwise without such debate, misperceptions rather than the reality of the intelligence profession end up driving the discour discourse. so once again thanks for joining us, your participation, comments and perspectives are the reason why we put this conference together. at cia, we have tried to instill a sense that our employees should be intelligence officers first, excelling at their individual craft but always knowing how their personal skill sets nest within the larger goals of the agency and our national security establishment. after today, i hope that we all have a better sense of where cia and the rest of the intelligence community fit within our own national security apparatus and how we can strengthen our performance going forward. from my perspective, profession
of intelligence has never been more for security and defense of the united states than it is today. from what ki tell after 36 years in this profession success of our intelligence practice ultimately comes down to the women and men who join our ranks and so selflessly serve federal citizens. intelligence officers with integrity and courage, devoted teammates who know they are stewards of this profession are what we and they are all about. i certainly hope that many of the students here today will think about cia and intelligence community as a future place for them to pursue their professional ambitions. those selfless qualities are at the core of what the cia is all about and they are defining characteristics of ethos of intelligence we constantly strive to uphold day in and day out. now it is my great pleasure to
introduce b.j. penn former secretary of navy, george washington university and the individual who will serve as master of ceremonies for this morning's session. [ applause ] >> thank you, director brennan and good morning. i'd like to welcome you to the campus of george washington university and to the ethos and profession of intelligence conference. i am very pleased that george washington university is once again able to partner with the cia and to host their third national security conference. i'm b.j. penn and it's my privilege to be your host for this morning's session. i echo the director's comments.
he's just really great, in my humble opinion. and i share his excitement. we have a very, very aggressive schedule today. the world has changed since my initial exposure to the intelligence community as with many of you my initial exposure i was very brief on targets and the threats surrounding those targets. sitting on the white deck of an aircraft carrier when we saw the launch and aaa firing the briefers really, really gain credibility. started this very deeply. we have a wonderful schedule going today. there are a lot of people here that will be briefed and mentioned later in the program.
our goal is to look over the horizon and get a glimpse of the issue that will shape our world today and in the future. i want to express my appreciation to the staff of george washington cyber and homeland security and cia for their efforts planning this conference. it's really a lot of work. i also want to thank all of our panelists for sharing their experiences and expertise with us today. before we get started, some housekeeping. please, please silence your mobile devices and your cell phones. you are allowed to take photos of the speakers on stage but not the members of the audience. food and drink are not permitted inside of the auditorium, but you're welcome to bring in bottled water.
the conference is open to the press. it's being webcast live and recorded. the comments on the stage from the conference speakers, panelists and moderators are all on the record for direct recognition. each panel will have discussion and q&a portion. during this phase, please use the microphones carried by the staff throughout the auditorium. the speakers time, please ask precise and relevant questions to the topic. let's get started. director mentioned has tensions with russia and continued with china. first panel will ask great power rivalry is enduring danger or a
thing of the past. to discuss this topic, we had the following experts with years of experience on china and russia. their full bios are in your program. our moderator is gw's own frank sesno, director of school of media and public affairs. panel members, cia's deputy assistant director, europe and eurasia peter clement. former director and cia director, john hopkins, sias, john mclaughlin. georgetown professor and former cia and national security council east asia expert dennis wilder. please welcome them to the stage. [ applause ]
>> well, good morning, everybody. we're going to have interactivity later, want to make sure we're here and ready to go. i'm frank sesno. it's a tremendous pleasure and challenge to address this topic, rivalry, a thing of the past, we'll come around with microphones to take your questions. i would ask you when we do that if you're in the middle move to the aisles, someone will have a microphone. if you can, ask your question and make it as succinct as possible so we can cover as much terrain as possible. so our discussion here today resolves around this notion of
great power rivalries, which we spend a lot of time historic context in institutions as where you are. we want to look at a couple of key questions. how do we look at the potential for great powers and great power rivalries today. do we underestimate that potential? what are the risks and opportunities to leverage those rivalries should they exist going forward. very importantly, how should the intelligence community calculate this and ensure that it is well positioned to navigate where these rivalries may take us. so perhaps john mclaughlin, get started with this in terms of giving a frame for this conversation. you and i chatted the other day as i was dashing through the airport, had a good cell line for a while and you talked about this remarkable century we've
been through and how it has defined and experienced these rivalries and how it delivers us now. perhaps you can deliver that to the group and set the context. >> we step back and look at issues in the larger context and that's what we were trying to do in that conversation, i think. it's important, i believe, to think about this century that we've been through, which has been in many ways and ahistoric century, one without precedent in modern times. two world wars, 70 years of cold war, fall of the soviet union and following that a period of i would say about 17 years between 1991 when the soviet union fell and the 2008 financial crisis when the united states had a kind of unchallenged position in the world. that ended to a degree in 2008 as confidence in our kind of position in the world was shaken a little bit around the world. and in that period of time, we had the luxury of dealing with
issues that look to us perhaps artificially, but look to us kind of black and white. clear mission in world war i, world war ii, cold war, bipolar, two of us and then unipolar moment for those 1 years. >> that's when there weren't great powers but a power. >> there was a great power in that period of time. now we arrive at a moment when a lot of the issues start to look a little gray. now when our relationships first off i think great power rivalries are here to stay at least for the foreseeable future. >> not a thing of the past. >> not a thing of the past. but it's different than it used to be. we don't have a lot of practice with this type of world. the closest thick you would have to it might be the interwar period between the two world wars when there was a kind of balance of power situation in the world.
but at that time, we didn't see our selves having global power. remember, it's 1929 that the secretary of state basically eliminates the budget for crypto graphic work in the united states. shows you how much interest there was in intelligence back then. so it's after world war ii we see our selves as a world power and we have that rather unusual period of the cold war. today you look at relationships and they are all complex. on the one hand we're disturbed with russia. on the other hand hard to settle syria without it. probably couldn't have gotten an agreement with iran without it. we're disturbed about china. on the other hand it would be hard to manage the north korean problem without it. we have the economic interdependence. this is an environment in which the united states is not very practiced at the kind of great power rivalry we're starting to see. >> it would seem your reference to the interwar period is also concerning if not alarming because it was the interwar period that led to the second
world war, led germany to go in the terrible directions it did. >> exactly, over -- the munich analogy is overused. nonetheless, the lessons of that period do apply to a degree but once again in a very different world. the other big factor that's changed here is that great powers now share the stage with so many non -- so many actors who aren't states, terrorists and so forth, ngos, multinational corporations and also the fact that technology through things like social media has empowered small groups of people and individuals in ways that are unparalleled in modern history. >> peter, dennis, what is your take on this frame john has set for us. >> i completely concur the great power world is not going to go away, i don't think ever. i think there will always be this struggle among great powers
to constantly jostle, compete, to strive some kind of equilibrium, unless you have someone totally bent on being a dominant force. i don't know if i see that now. although, dennis, you might have a view on china for that. >> i think from the chinese point of view, the world changed in 2008 with the asian financial crisis. the chinese -- before that, sort of believed that the liberal world order was in the ascendancy and you remember talked about hide and bide strategy. >> hide and bide. >> the term we use, although the chinese say it's much more complicated. the bide part, they would say, not as nefarious as some of the west have considered it. but basically it's the idea that china needed to get strong before it took its place in the
world. 2008 comes and the united states, the flaws of the western system showed itself. while china is growing at remarkable rates, another thing that happens is a new chinese leader comes on the scene. mao founded china. he made them economically strong. xi jinping comes to power in 2012 believes he'll take china forward as a great world power now. china is not going to hide anymore in the world power. china has the opportunity to be second world power. one of the things he did when kae to washington in february 2012 is he talked about a new great power relationship with the united states.
what does that say? it says for the first time china is a great power. if this is going to be a great power relationship, china wants to be here. we've struggled with that since 2012. we don't really consider china yet a peer of the united states. of course china in this new great power relationship wants us to back out of situations that believe are their business. they don't see south china sea as their business. they don't see east china sea as tibet, other issues. so i think john is absolutely right. it's a nuanced sort of great power rivalry. they need the united states on the economic side but they also want united states to recognize there are two great powers in the world and china is one of them. >> peter, this is fascinating. since you're the russia expert here, if putin wants to be ascendant and assertive he has
to deal with a situation soviet union did not have to deal with and that's china. the great power alignment is a very different alignment than it was once upon a time. >> i'm glad you make that point. it's interesting putin and china have a relationship. putin has baseball to china several times in the last three years. xi has been to moscow. >> yes, many times. >> there's almost an echo of the '70s when there was this balancing, triangular balance between u.s., china, and russia that kissinger frequently focused on. i'd like to go to really putin's clear effort to try to reassert russia's role in the world. i think basically there are two things driving putin. one is to restore russia's rightful role as a great power, given where the russians were. you see this in so many ways.
i'm struck that in some ways he would like to restore the world in which he grew up. if you think about putin's coming of age in the '60s and '70s, his early years in the kgb, the soviet union was the other great power. it was a bipolar world. >> and the world knew it. >> and putin clearly in my view seeks to make sure the world understands there's very little you can do these days in many areas without that russian role. i'm reminded of adage about no wish in the world that can't be resolved without a soviet hand or soviet role. middle east. i think the intervention in syria is exactly about that. in part it was about shoring up a severely beleaguered client state with whom they had a relationship for 40, 50 years. but i think as much it gave putin a chance to show we have a
role to play. they literally insert themselves in this conflict which forced in a section the united states to acknowledge that role. here we are negotiating cessation of hostilities, which is touch and go right now. >> what i'd like to do is spend a few minutes on russia and putin and a few minutes on china and weave these things together in the context of the questions we pose as we discuss great powers rivalry. we should think about. what do we think -- what do you think putin is up to? what is his objective here? sure, to let the world know russia is a great power. but more than that presumably. >> i'd say two things and they are intertwined. the first is this restoration of russia's rightful status and role in the world. that particularly applies to the area so-called abroad as we see
very clearly in ukraine. be interesting to see what happens, secession challenges in china and asia where china plays an increasingly important role. the other thing and i'm really struck by this, there is a domestic portion to putin's agenda here. when people ask me what's he really up to, it's not just about restoring russia's greatness in the world, it's also about defending his regime and specifically legitimizing his "breaking bad" of authoritarian rule. we kiddingly call it managed democracy. they just had an election, proof for all the world to see. they had an election, multiple parties. in other ways, he's in my view a little defensive. more than a little defensive. and what we're seeing domestically is to legitimatize this authoritarian regime, he's constantly attacking the west and the u.s., which in miss view is a little hypocritical.
>> so, for example, if you look at the weeks that came out most recently on the dnc, russian media quick to pick up, see, the west is always lecturing us, look at this primary system. was it a truly level playing field, which is something the americans always criticizes russians about. we see this sensitivity we've also seib in the other leaks from the world doping agency, anti-doping agency. the russian media were very quick to pick up on the fact this was very interesting after the russians, many of their athletes were banned from the olympics, we now find out from leaked materials that a lot of other athletes in the world, including americans, were legally given a pass because they had attention deficit disorder. if you watch the russian media
closely, these things come through loud and clear. to me it highlights sensitivity. the other thing putin seeks to do, this is where i see a lot of intertwining, one of the main arguments for defending his system, we promise the people order and stability. he'll frequently cite, look what happened in lyria, syria, which is why we had to go in, by the way. in other parts of the world. we cannot have that in russia, particularly after what he saw in 2011, which was, i believe, a wakeup call to him, unexpectedly large number of people protesting after the duma election. >> isn't it also important thinking about russia to once again step back and ask our selves what have they been through. hundreds of years of czar dom, 70 years of cold war, a real
history, 1999 at the end of which he apologize to the russian people for the mess he's leaving, a period of great instability, turmoil and in some ways good things for russia because they opened up the media and so on and so forth. putin comes in at the time and in a way has to stabilize the place, which i think is a reason for initial and enduring popularity, life, whatever its down sides are, has become predictable in russia once again. they have a very different view of recent history than we do. it's very easy to refute. but have you to listen to them. the first thing with your adversary is understanding where are they coming from. their recent view of history is very different than ours. they look at the balkans, libya, syria. >> look at poland, ukraine. >> and they look at nato enlargement.
>> absolutely. their doorstep. >> they have a feeling, i don't know whether i was there, i don't know whether it's true, but they will tell you you promise not to enlarge nato beyond inclusion of germany after germany's reunification. i don't know. i don't think we did that but that's their perception of it. >> peter, let me come back and ask you about something you said and a headline in today's "new york times." here is the headline in case you haven't seen. vladimir putin tightens grip on russia's parliament with election rout. there's a lot of suspense around this, i know. it reads as follow. president vladimir putin leveraged his popularity to assert even greater control over russia's already malleable parliament and national elections with nearly complete results showing ruling united russia party gaining absolute majority of seats. the landslide was made possible in some part by a record low voter turnout of just over 48% in election sunday for 450 state
duma. what's going on internally, politically in putin's russia. >> this election turned out 48% in 2011 was 60%. sing one of the challenges in trying to manage a democracy was striking balance. russians were worried. early polls showed 40%. they were worried the number needed to be closer to 50. maybe it really was 48%. at the same time they were worried too big a turnout might actually give an edge to some of the other parties competing, although admittedly the four many parties now are not particularly anti-regime. the true opposition parties are almost miniscule. it's very hard to run a candidate and get them on the ballot. i wanted to get back to the issue of what putin is really worried about. since he -- by the way, he's
publicly said now he's considering the re-election bid. i don't know that he's actually said he's formally run in 2018. i think most of us believe he's going to run for re-election. he's got to be thinking now what happens between now and 2018. there are some interesting little indicators. the day after one of the russian newspapers they reported may be major restructuring of intelligence services. they are talking about amalgamation that would put spr with fsb. most would agree fsb is dominant force certainly domestically in russia. what i see there potentially is a continued tightening up on society and for a number of reasons. one, i think putin generally fears instability and disorder. if you read his autobiographical first person book issued after he was elected in 2000, he
described a scene as kgb officer after the wall collapsed in germany and there was a large mob that approached the facility where his people were located, kgb. and he says i called moscow for guidance and i basically got told, we don't have any guidance. he was shocked. i think he was also a little afraid. and then, of course, 2011 we see these protests pretty spontaneously erupt from pretty angry urban moscowites who recognize sham democracy imposed on them and they were unhappy about the particular election. he's mindful of that and wants to ensure that's not going to happen again. >> let's tie up a couple of points on russia and china and then the two of them. all this being said, russia wanting to reassert themselves, putin wanting to lock things
down at home dealing with plenty of domestic challenges, economic challenges we haven't talked about. let's assume we take those for granted, what does he want from his confrontation from this great power rivalry with the united states of america? what's the point of all this cyber meddling we've seen? is this about territory, influence? what's his end game. >> these are my views, not necessarily those of the colleagues of the agency. i always want to be careful on that because we have a wide range of analysts and it's what i love about the case, we have a wide range of views. >> so there's not one answer to this. >> definitely grown and matured from his time in office since 2000. if you read his millennial speech in 2000, this is a man who recognized how weak russia was and he felt russia needed to get much more integrated in the world.
it was actually very interesting fascinating document, it spurred debate among analysts. now i'm saying much more full range, much more kgb putin we've known from earlier years. i've come to know personally, i think a little what's going on is putin thinking about his legacy, the annexation of crimea, bringing back to russia what he believes was rightfully russia. it was spurred by crisis in ukraine. i don't know if that was a planned event. i think in his own view now he feels he's done something that will mark his place in russian history. he would also like to be the man who restored russia's greatness and definitely believes russia needs to be a strong competitive military power. the defense spending has gone on the upswing every year since 2000. in the last six years there are huge jumps every year. this year for the first time there's a public debate with finance ministry officials that we need to have a cut in the
next three years. very interesting. i think overall i see him thinking about the future and his role in russian history. he's constantly talking about russian history. >> how do you see looking at the future his relationship with united states and the, which is by objective measure nonproductive because of sanctions and control with the u.s. >> i think relationship, the thing i'm most struck by the intervention in syria, clearly was about bucking up assad and ensuring russia had a role in whatever the outcome is to protect their interest in the region. another thing at play was he forced the u.s. to come to the table and acknowledge him essentially as kind of not just an actor but equal on the table. we cannot resolve the syria thing about russia. >> what about russia meddling in the baltic states, what about
russia meddling in romania. >> i think that has a lot to do with their obsession with nato. they really believe, first of all two things. nato expansion, why does nato insist on moving out further? why does georgia have to be in nato, ukraine in nato. missile defense. in their view that's legitimate threat in nuclear world they need to be positioned to counter. >> how worried shoot world be about russia's modernization of their nuclear arsenal and other steps they are taking that sound like -- >> we have to acknowledge that russia is still the primary cub in the world that could destroy our cities in 35 minutes. no one anticipates that's doing to happen. but the nuclear arsenal is very important for putin, i think, to underline that russia remains a great power. it's particular important in view of a weakness russia has, which i think we need to just
take a minute on. that is he is playing a weak hand very well. >> a weak hand very well. >> by saying -- by that i mean in terms of the economy, russia is a wasting asset. it is still an economy that lives primarily on exporting natural resources, primarily energy. if you look at the price of energy and what i think is a fundamental restructuring of the international market. that's a personal view. oil prices between $40 and $50 a barrel, probably not going to go much above that at a time when russia historically has needed over $100 per barrel, because that's their principle export, $100 a barrel in order to basically make their budget. so combination of sanctions plus the oil price pressure puts putin under a great deal of pressure to probably move to some kind of painful austerity for which he may need this
additional power that he's aggregated. >> dennis, let's take our diplomatic passports and move to china for a while. talk about the shape and origins of chinese assertiveness. you spoke about it a moment ago but there are so many different fascinating things happening. if putin is playing a weak hand, it would seem chinese are playing a strong hand. >> they may be playing a strong hand but may not be playing it as well. >> he's playing a weak hand strongly and they are playing a strong hand weakley. we won't talk about the hand we're playing. >> first of all, i don't carry diplomatic passport now. i'm a professor now. >> professors don't get diplomatic passports. >> we don't get diplomatic passports. to go back to john's construct of looking at the long-term. i once had an economic professor
to me said mao had stood at tiananmen square. the professor said mao was lying. we were crawling. we were the sick man of asia. remember that old term people used to use about china. he said now, today we are standing up. we are reaching our destiny. the last century was yours, this century is ours. there's a certain chinese thinking this is inevitability of history. that if you look at gdp, china will be the world's largest economy within a couple three decades. in the chinese view they will surpass us at some point as world's greatest economy. gdp per capita is another question but overall gdp. what they see right now, and it's very similar in some ways to putin, which is why i think you see xi jinping and putin
having a lot of common thinking. what they see is we're trying to keep them from achieving this goal. they talk about containment all the time. we say containment, we buy all your goods, how can we be containing you? they are not talking about that. they are talking about geo strategic containment. they believe we want to create a china as we did from their point of view, ukraine support and occupy central, they see us continuing to keep taiwan out of their lane. and the most important recent thing we did was the pivot. the pivot is the equivalent to chinese of nato enlargement. what the pivot says to the chinese is we're going to put a lot more force in your area of the world because we don't trust you. and we don't want the new great power relationship. we prefer our alliance structure of the past in east asia, our
close relationship with japan, south korea, southeast asian states. so one of the things that's very interesting is the expansion in the south china sea occurs the same year putin takes crimea. >> you see south china sea as crimea. >> it's an assertion, yes, an assertion of their authority over that piece of water. >> how do they read the u.s.'s response? >> i think they were disturbed. i think this is where i would say china is still herng how to be a great power because we effectively use the situation to bring the azan's closer to us. china lost ground with people who had been their good friends like malaysia, indonesia. these countries were confused by why china all of a sudden was
being so aggressive toward them and it sort of raised the china threat issue in a way i don't think -- i know chinese diplomats are uncomfortable with what xi jinping had xi jinping huge points for this. because china again was telling the west, telling the united states, this is our sphere. >> china is also asserting itself, jonathan and peter fell free to jump in here -- asserting themselves economically around the world in ways russia has not. where they are spending money. yes, go ahead. >> i don't know whether dennis would agree with this, but one of my themes at the outset was we're in a much more competitive world than we're accustomed to. if you look at what china has done with the asia infrastructure investment bank,
and you look at what they are beginning to do, those are big transformatio transformations and ideas that rival anything the united states have come up with in terms of changing the dynamic. what these two countries are doing now, there's a broader meaning to it. they're essentially challenging what we consider the global order. borders, there's a certain set of rules putin has broken in his challenge in ukraine and crimea. three different treaties we consider sacred. the chinese in the south china sea and east china sea are challenging the principles we relied on for the air and maritime domains as parts of the global order. global order to overuse that term that came out of really decades and firmed up after
world war ii, from the united states' perspective, that's what's at issue here in these tensions that we have. >> some of what jon is talking about with the new silk road. >> right. >> and the incredible economic dominance and role china is playing takes superpower rivalries and moves it to a place that we didn't see when we had our last version of this with the soviet union. what does that say? how do you view that rivalry, threat, relationship? >> well, i would agree with jon completely on this idea that china's put out a big idea in the one belt, one road or new silk road. i remember in the bush administration all the way back then we were talking about how do we create a vertical line to central asia? how do we connect central asia in a positive way through pakistan down to the oceans? we've been experimenting with that for years and really not
gotten anywhere. the chinese come in with this one belt, one road saying we are connecting everything. and they have this huge ability at building railroad infrastructure, building what these countries desperately need. and they have an overcapacity right now. they have a huge steel overcapacity. their industries are way overproducing for their domestic. >> is that a rivalry? >> with whom? >> with us, with the united states, with the west. >> it's a challenge, absolutely. they are saying we're the new power and we're going to connect these other areas and they're going to connect europe. they want to connect between shanghai and brussels. >> the larger issue here, throw this out if i can in a way, strikes me that through most of my career, china behaved on the international stage as a kind of
mercantilist power. it feels that they are starting to behave, not the stent we do or the russians, but starting to tip toe out into the political realm, not quite taking global responsibilities but showing up in port visits, had a large peace-keeping operation. >> they are building their first overseas base in jabuti. they would say we are better than you are because we don't station our troops in foreign countries. that suddenly has gone away as a talking point on the chinese side, and they are now the biggest contributor and peace-keeping forces around the world. they are offering a great deal of money, and i'd also say and it's overlooked, chinese private enterprise. all of this direct foreign investment around the world. if you want to look at a corporation that is the most fascinating corporation in the world to me today, it's alibaba.
and is there a new book out called "the house that jack built." and this is jack ma. alibaba is all over the world now with their version of paypal. they call it alipay. jack ma has this vision that we will have a worldwide e-commerce system, a global e-commerce system. he raised it at the g-20. the idea being that there are no borders for e-commerce any more. these are big visionary ideas that you don't hear in the united states these days. >> let me throw this question this way then to you. playing right off of that. how do, how do great power rivalries change when we move into the digital domain? when we move into the jack mas and the alipays and cyber attacks and these invebl
transactions that happen in realtime, instantaneously, globally? that's a different great power rivalry, isn't it? >> it is. >> how? >> first of all, china has the opportunity now with the internext to reach people that never did in central asia or other parts of the world. >> and steal ideas it never stole before. >> and to steal ideas, absolutely. and one of the things that we will struggle with on the trade side is what is the new trading order? what are the rules for data flow? s for ipr protection? there are a huge number of issues on the commerce side we are only beginning to touch. >> other panels will get into this cyber business, why you burr take. >> interesting as i listen to dennis, i can't say much about the russians being particularly creative. they are stuck in an economy
that's largely based from much of its internal revenues on sale of oil and gas. if luc at what's going on in the future -- and this is why i think putin is not necessarily the strongest guy and why i think he's late concerned about the strength of his political position -- the economy is a huge, huge weakness. i'm struck, again looking at the russian press, they are talking about increasing the retirement age because they have a budget crunch. they are going to move the retirement age for men from 6 to 65, from women 55 to 60. the average russian male dies at age 64, by the way. so i'm thinking, you're not going to have a big retirement plan here. >> or they can move to france and it will be a lot better there. >> they are starting to count nickels and dimes. the reason they are talking about we need to cut the defense budget, they recognize we have a big problem. they suffer from the sanctions and there is no great idea of
growth. and you have the huge massive problem with corruption and stolen money and money going abroad. >> picking up on the same point with regard to china, a point we haven't really discussed, despite the vibrancy of chinese innovation and the jack mas of the world and so forth, isn't it true at some level the chinese economic model is beginning to sputter? >> right. i was actually going to interject on that point because we can overstate what's happened in china today. one of the problems they have now is the export-led economy that was so effective for them, south korea, japan, the little dragons of southeast asia. with the world financial crisis and slowing growth in the world, china has to move away from that model because there aren't the markets there used to be. those markets aren't growing the way they were. chinese are a little reluctant
to move too fast away from that because what comes next is hard. real reform of the chinese economy. moving upscale in the sort of manufacturing area. and xi jinping has an election next year called the 19th party congress. this will be where he selects his next bureau standing committee. he needs the chinese economy to be very stable fween now and then, but there are some real cracks showing. the debt, the huge amount of debt they've been running what. what they've been doing is very large stimulus packages. these have been successful, but they lead to the kind of overcapacity in things like steel then the rest of the world gets angry about and president obama had to talk about in china when he went to the g-20. so the question is, can china make that leap? can china make the leap from the
command economy it has today still, the sort of half command/half market, to a much more competitive economy? and that's still an open question. >> that leap also involves a political dimension in that one party rule is based on the fact that -- >> command. >> the economy does well. a social contract. >> going to come to your questions in a minute. john, i want to put this before we do that. we are always accused, the great collective we, of fighting the last war. of thinking back when we need to be thinking forward. let's just blow up this conversation for a moment in the way we're thinking and say wait a minute, maybe we're thinking all wrong. and the 21st secretariry rivy cd tlts threats and challenges will be on a completely different playing field. is there something to t