tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 27, 2016 7:00pm-12:01am EDT
making mr. pagliano's employment arrangement unusual at best. other employees in his bureau later questioned his ability to support a private clients e-mail server given his capacity as a full-time government employee. he left the state department in february 2013, the same month as secretary clinton. he worked at the state department almost four years, the agency has been able to find a handful of e-mails. we have questions about this. mr. pagliano's e-mails are federal records just like secretary clinton's and subject to production and response to information act request. the committee has jurisdiction of both the federal records act and foya. we have oversight investigative and legislative work in this area. the committee subpoenaed mr. pagliano to appear september 13, 2016. he did not show up to that hearing. i explained he was uniquely
qualified to provide testimony to understand secretary clinton's use of a private e-mail server thchlt is undisputable. i made clear the committee provide options regarding the failure to appear including the recommendation he be held in contempt. we then heard testimony from mr. cooper who was involved in setting up the server. mr. cooper, to his credit, explained a lot. we appreciate his participation in answering all the questions this committee asked. throughout his testimony, he referred to mr. pagliano as the individual more appropriate to answer questions who knew more about the server. it was clear his words, not ours, we needed to hear from mr. pagliano. his attorney asserts because his client took the fifth before the select committee on benghazi, he shouldn't be required to provide testimony to this committee. that is not a good faith
argument. it makes no sense for a number of reasons. the jurisdiction is limited and relates to september 11, 2012 terrorist attack in benghazi. in contrast, this committee's jurisdiction is broad with oversight to the records act and freedom of information act. questions about the two topics are -- secretary clinton's e-mails and mr. pagliano's were subject to the laws. mr. pagliano could explain what he knew or was told about those laws. he could tell us whether or not they were considered by him or others in setting up secretary clinton's private e-mail server. his testimony could provide important information informing legislative reforms this committee may want to consider ensuring this disaster never happens again. this includes reforms based on how he's able to grant the state department from locating e-mails. another ke difference, this
committee had the benefit of reviewing this during his interview with the fbi. the select committee never did see that, 302. nor were they aware of the thousands of e-mails that traveled over secretary clinton's server when they spoke with mr. pagliano. this committee's questions are broader, more informed any any questions making a comparison unnecessary. further, answering a number of these questions could never subject him to criminal liability. the department of justice confirmed he was granted immunity before he spoke to the fbi. dr. comby said he was recommending no charges be brought against anyone in the matter. attorney lynch closed the case. under those circumstances, he has no fear of criminal liability preventing him from answering questions. they recessed the hearing with mr. cooper to give mr. pagliano another opportunity to show up
and testify. to clear up ambiguity and the six lawyers about whether they would confirm service, which they refused to do, we had the u.s. marshalls personally serve him. we scheduled a continuation of the earlier hearing for this morning. once again, he failed to show. this committee cannot operate and perform its duty nor any committee of congress if subpoenas are ignored. we are left with no choice but to consider this resolution, report, recommending the household mr. pagliano in contempt of congress. now, recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. yesterday, our committee held a very important hearing on a very critical issue that matters to millions of the american people.
the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. members on both sides of the aisle joined together to examine these abuses in a truly bipartisan way. that is exactly the kind of investigation our committee should be conducting and that is the kind of investigation that the american people would want us to conduct. but, today's spectacle is just the opposite. this is nothing but a blatantly partisan republican attack on a democratic candidate for president of the united states of america. it undermines the integrity of our committee and it makes our constituents disgusted of congress instead of proud of our work. today is our fifth day of,
quote, emergency, end of quote, hearings on hillary clinton's e-mails in the past three weeks. fifth day of emergency hearings. on hillary clinton's e-mails in the past three weeks. in that period, the chairman issued an astonishing 12 subpoenas. if you don't count weekends, that's more than one a day. it's also more than a third of the total number of subpoenas he issued in all of 2016. an emergency hearing. he issued every single one unilaterally with no debate. i ask the question, are hillary clinton's e-mails really worth a third of the committee's
attention? of course not. what exactly is the emergency? as far as i can tell, the only emergency is the election approaching in a few weeks. i suppose republicans can argue since hillary clinton is running for president, the american people should know everything they can before entering the voting booth. so, i ask this simple question, then where is our investigation of donald trump? his potentially fraudulent business practices. his campaigns potential connections to russian hackers. what about that emergency? his charitable foundation illegal campaign donations, pay to play schemes, payments to settle corporate debts. the answers obvious. the republican frenzy is focused
exclusively and obsessively on secretary clinton. that is for political reasons. i do believe this is an abuse of authority, taxpayer dollars to inappropriately affect the presidential election. there's one key fact that everyone needs to understand about today's vote. mr. pagliano already asserted his fifth amendment right before this very congress on this very topic. he did it in person. right in front of me and chairman gowdy on the select committee. this critical fact is not mentioned anywhere in this contempt resolution, not mentioned. you can search all you want, but you will not find it. why is that fact so crucial? because it demonstrates there is
no legitimate legislative purpose enforcing mr. pagliano to assert his fifth amendment rights before congress a second time. there is certainly no legitimate purpose enforcing him to do so in public. to do so could open the flood gates for every republican led committee on capitol hill. committee members may not know this, but last friday, the chairman sent u.s. marshalls, yes, u.s. marshalls into mr. pagliano's workplace to personally serve a second subpoena for his appearance before the committee. the committee could have sent a staffer in a coat and tie, but he sent federal marshalls. this served no purpose but to
intimidate mr. pagliano. the chairman ordered this action in secret. without even notifying the democratic committee members of his plan. got an emergency going on here, secret. no consultation, secret. no debate, secret. no vote, secret emergency. these actions are the definition of abuse. they are harassment. i believe that they are unethical. i have said it before and i will say it again, and i echo the passion of mr. lynch who has spoken on this subject extensively. the committee's actions in trying to force mr. pagliano to come back to congress and envok his fifth amendment rights yet
again raise serious legal, ethical and constitutional concerns. members should not be placed in position of voting for a resolution that could subject them or their staff to potential disciplinary action. the american bar association, the d.c. bar and the maryland bar, which i had been a member of since 1976, all have ethics rules that prohibit attorneys from taking actions to embarrass, harass or burden private citizens. it is professional misconduct. the d.c. bar's legal ethics committee warns no attorney should compel any witness to appear in a congressional hearing when, and i quote, it is known in advance that no
information will be obtained and the soul effect of the summons will be to the witness, end of quote. that is exactly what we have here. now, republicans may try to argue that mr. pagliano received immunity from the justice department. but that immunity agreement was limited and we all had the opportunity to read it to confirm that. that is why a federal court is already ruled that mr. pagliano can continue to assert his constitutional privileges in separate proceedings which he has done. as i close, what exposes the committee's abuses for what they really are is this, sf f the chairman wanted to obtain mr. pagliano's fifth amendment assertion for the record, he could have easily held a closed
deposition, just as chairman gowdy did on benghazi. that is obviously not the goal here, ladies and gentlemens. the republicans want a photo-op. they want a ready made campaign commercial. no matter what anyone says, that is not a legitimate legislative purpose and as i said before, i deem it and believe it to be unethical. although i strongly support the committee's authority and per ogtive of the house of representatives, i simply cannot vote for a resolution that is potentially so unethical that it can subject members of this committee or our staff to disciplinary action for all of these reasons i urge all members to vote no on this resolution. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. i ask consent to enter into the record the correspondence we have had with mr. pagliano's
attorneys. does any other member wish to speak on the nature of the substitute? are there any -- >> i do. >> oh. we recognize -- we'll recognize mr. mica of florida. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. this is the difficult situation when you have to hold someone in contempt for a vote, but, again, i have to refer to my years on the panel and being a senior member. this -- what we do here in this committee, ladies and gentlemen, my colleagues, one of the most important things that anyone thooz do in our government, we all represent hundreds of thousands of incredible people who are working, struggling, make a living, pay their taxes, raise their families and retire
some day. they send us here to make certain the constitution laws of the land are upheld. we have one of the most responsibilities in this committee to see that just that is done. our responsibility and authority under the constitution gives us the right to demand the appearance of any individual particularly those who have been involved in government activity and legitimately asked questions of them. this gentleman was requested in a proper request to appear before us. we had others who came at that same hearing and came and they had the same opportunity. they exercised their fifth
amendment right. they took the fifth amendment. this gentleman defied and was in contempt of this committee. he was in contempt. we can't make this government work. we cannot function if people will not adhere to the constitution, the rules and the basic ability of the congress to talk to these people. he could have come here, immunity, whether it's limited or not, doesn't make a difference. he would not be denied his fifth amendment right. he could have expressed that here. but, you cannot have, as an option, you will destroy this committee, destroy the congressional oversight process and whether it's a republican or democrat, now listen to this, it doesn't matter whether it's chairman cahaffetz or chairman
cummings, we cannot have people deny the right for us to question them. they may not want to answer and they have that right under the constitution just like we have the right to question them. so, again, this is very fundamental to the process. he acted in contempt. he thwarted the constitution and laws and procedure that is will -- if you continue that, you destroy the whole basis of our government. that's the difference between our government and other governments. it's really the principle responsibility of this committee. so, i tell you, this isn't, aga again, a partisan issue. it's not a political issue. this is an issue that goes to the very core of the integrity of our democratic and constitutional process.
mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank the gentleman. i recognize the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch. >> thank you mr. chairman. it is my opinion, at least from the course of the investigations that mr. pagliano has indeed previously complied with the subpoena for the same information that the committee seeks today and he has been given limited use immunity, only limited use immunity in the previous interviews which would, again, expose him to possible prosecution if he were to, i think it's reasonably predictable he would be subject to criminal prosecution because of the referral by this committee. on this matter.
in essence, what's going on here, this is really what we are engaging in is a review, a review of the decision by director comby, not to prosecute. that's what we are doing here. that's why the notes were requested by this committee and surrendered. that's why all of this is ongoing because it goes beyond the legislative function we have and have a review of what the attorney general has dismissed and closed and what the director of the fbi refused to prosecute. i think that especially this is a violation of the separation of
powers clause constitutional. what we are doing here today is denied even to the judiciary. when a prosecutor looks at the facts and this is an extensive interview process, review process, investigation process, when they decide that there is -- there are not sufficient facts to prosecute then that is their decision. they can decide which statute. because of the nearness of the election, this committee is going where no committee has gone before to basically review the decision of the fbi, not to prosecute in this matter. and this particular hearing to
hold mr. pagliano in contempt boils down to this. the chairman is saying his rule, his rule is the witness has to come before the committee and be subjected to what they were last week, which was total embarrassment. quotes of e-mails were read and other evidence and forcing them to repeatedly declare their fifth amendment rights. being publicly embarrassed on tv. that's the chairman's rule. that is not the law. we know, because in previous hearings, mr. gowdy and i give him credit, in compliance with the law brought that witness in, in a closed hearing, executive
session and that witness exercised his fifth amendment rights. that was the decent and fair and legal thing to do. that's not what we are doing here. we are continuing to try to embarrass this particular witness as other witnesses were embarrassed last week. that is not necessary. i think it's beneath the dignity of this committee and as well, i think violative of the constitutional rights of that witness. that's what this boils down to. i think this contempt proceeding will have short in the district court. i don't think it's going anywhere. i take comfort in that fact because we are so far a field from the constitution again in
this committee. not only the fifth amendment, but also now the separation of powers where we try to take up a new, this -- this matter that's been settled by the fbi director and the attorney general. >> i thank the gentleman. >> the gentleman yields back. >> recognize the gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy, five minutes. >> thank you. i suspect most members know how they are going to vote, probably knew earlier this morning how they are going to vote. i don't think this is going to change minds. i do want to talk for a second to the folk who is may be following this back home, trying to figure out what the lawyers are arguing about. there are two issues at play. one is whether or not you have to come when you have been issued a summons or subpoena. there are people sitting in jury rooms right now all across this country because they received a
summons. they are not going to be called for jury service, they may be excused, they may be disqualified, but you still have to come. there are subpoenas being issued all across this country to firefighters and ems and police officers and doctors and everyone else who may have witnessed anything from a crime to a traffic accident. they may not get called as a witness, but they have to come. so, issue number one is whether or not you have to come when you are issued legal process and the answer is yes. the witness, himself or herself, does not get to pick and choose which legal process you are going to follow and which one you are not or nobody would go to jury service. issue one is do you have to come? issue two is whether or not you have to talk. unless your name is jack bower, you cannot force anyone to talk. now, we can have a robust debate
about whether or not this witness has been immunized. i read the immunity agreement. what i find interesting is the double speak that i hear from some of my colleagues. you cannot in one sentence say doj refused to prosecutoe, this is a noncase then you are worried doj is going to prosecute. congress cannot prosecute anyone for anything. the only entity in this country that can level criminal charges is the executive branch. they have already said they are not going to do so. where is his criminal exposure? where is it? unless they are going to say, mr. chairman, that we are worried he is going to make a false statement before congress. a-ha, that would be interesting if that's the argument. we are worried this witness cooperated with the fbi, they
tell congress something different. guess what? the agreement he has with the department of justice requires him to be truthful. so, you wouldn't want people to say the same thing to congress that you say to the fbi. this is what i find most interesting of all. department of justice already said they are not going to prosecute anybody for anything. this matter is closed. nobody is going to be prosecuted. i bet you that agreement allows for this witness to cooperate with other entities of government. in fact, in the old days, it required that witness to cooperate with other entities of government. i tell you why, mr. chairman. i have sat while some of the very members who are sitting in this room right now provided oversight over the fbi over national security letters. they didn't give one second
thought about second guessing the fbi and the issuing of national security letters. i mean, who else would provide oversight over the fbi if not for congress? i listened to some of the very same members on this committee provide oversight over the department of justice. over the prosecution of ted stephens. they have no problem providing oversight over the department of justice when they don't like the outcome. but when they do like the outcome, oh, no, no, no, we cannot second guess. that is the one entity that can never be second guessed, the fbi. i find that fascinating, particularly coming from as many criminal defense attorneys we have on the other side who made a dadgum living questioning the fbi. that's how they made their living is second guessing the fbi. no, once you take the oath of
office for congress, whatever they do, you don't want to prosecute the fbi. we are fine with that. don't do anything about the people who committed fraud during the housing crisis. god forbid we ask the fbi anything. all i want to know is did you give immunity to the person who destroyed federal records of a subpoena was in place? that's a fair question and i would think every member in congress would want to know the answer. >> i now recognize the gentleman from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my friend from south carolina wanted to help clarify for the folks back home what this is all about. i don't know if he did that. but certainly the rising tenor of his voice outraged us. that has gone awry. let me take my crack back home.
what's gone awry is the trampling of your rights and fellow americans. election not going well? presidential level. maybe we can take a piece out of hillary clinton. pagliano might be the key to doing that or at least a key. so, we are going to send marshalls, u.s. marshalls to someone's office to degrade and humiliate him and overreach if there ever was one? without any consultation with this half of the committee, which kind of tells you they are up to something they don't quite want us to know about. my friend from south carolina says this is double standard. i certainly supported the critique of the prosecutors that they overreached for ted stephens. it was wrong.
in my own home state of virginia, i don't applaud the actions of our former republican governor, but i supported the supreme court ruling it was overreach and there was way too much ambiguity. i was sensitive to their rights and my colleagues here, many of them, shared that sensitivity and that concern. we also share a concern about a broader principle here than a short term political cheep shot. in the hopes that it might work and the fifth amendment rights of the u.s. citizen. that's not right. after all of the drama is over in this election cycle, the sad legacy of the expediency of dispensing with a constitutional
right of every american to protect himself or herself against legal jeopardy. to have a set out process that protects them from testifying if they choose not to whether we like it or not. this isn't sadly the first time we trampled on the rights. we self-declared somebody that had given up fifth amendment rights even though she protested that's not true. her attorneys insisted that's not true and there's plenty of case law during the mccarthy area, ironically, that clearly suggests that's not the standard. but that didn't stop us. so, today we are going to vote on a party line vote and we are going to further degrade the reputation of congress and of this committee. it ought to make every american
tremble just a little bit. because if we can do this to mr. pagliano, we can do it to you. oh, by the way, while we are at it, what other rights in the constitution. not the second amendment. that's sacred. that's uber -- that's not conditional in any way shape or form. the first amendment, not so much. fifth amendment, apparently not at all. we'll get to the rest, if it's convenient, if it's expedient, if it politically serves our interest. when i took an oath for this job, it wasn't to insist mr. pagliano compromise his rights at that table and be humiliated. it was to protect the constitutional rights of every american to the best of my ability and we are about to compromise those rights in this vote. that's wrong. that's a legacy none of us should be proud of.
i yield back. >> thank you. any other member wish to speak? ms.maloney, first, we have to go to misplaskett. >> thank you mr. chairman. my colleague from south carolina knows not everybody on this side of the aisle was a criminal defense attorney. some of us were prosecutors and never see themselves as a criminal defense attorney so i take going within the scope of the law extremely seriously and i'm very concerned about this being an unethical act on the part of this committee. now, my colleagues question this is not about politics and this is not partisan so i'm wondering what it is about? i think it's about an abuse of power and a waste of time. and it's a waste of this committee's time and it's
destroying this committee. it's destroying the reputation of this committee because it's very clear what mr. pagliano would do if he came here. i guess many of my colleagues believe they can break the man and take away him asserting his fifth amendment right when his attorneys have told us, in writing, that should he be brought here, he will assert his fifth amendment right to every question. so, what's the point? what's the point of bringing him here and having him in contempt in front of the camera? except for the camera. because it's something we can do in closed doors under deposition and it would be on the record. his attorneys have been clear in writing, if he came before this committee, he was do that. they offered to bring him to
assert his rights in a closed session. that's not good enough for this committee. that doesn't serve the purpose of what this committee wants. i thought my colleagues were interested in coming to the truth and finding out information that we hadn't already found out, that's the purpose of the oversight and government reform committee. it seems, really, the name of this committee possibly should be changed to the abuse committee. the abuse of power committee. the committee that likes to make soundbytes, the committee that likes to be on cnn and msnbc and how political fodder for whatever they need it for. that's a problem. it's also a problem because we are not protecting the attorneys on this committee because it's very clear, under legal ethics rules set forth by the american bar association as well as the district of columbia bar, if we move forward on this, you are exposing the attorney's who practice or have decided they
want to keep their bar standing or the staff attorneys. i would like to ask the chair, are we going to protect the attorneys that are here if contempt should be brought against them in a place where they can have criminal charges, that being a court of law? is our attempt to be in front of a camera so important that the staff that worked for us should be put out on a limb for us to be able to meet our needs, our expediency before november 8th or, as i understand from some of the assertions that have been made, maybe after january 20th, if it doesn't go the way they want it to go. so, i pose that question to this committee as to how far we are willing to go. are we going to expose the attorney that is are here and practicing and trying to uphold the law because we want to skirt the edges a little bit for the politically expediency that we need to move forward in this. i yield back the balance of my
time. >> i want to thank you for raising the issue with regard to the ethical rules of the bar. i said earlier that i had been a member of the maryland bar since 1976. i worked hard to get that license. matter of fact, even though i'm not practicing now, i still pay my dues because i don't want anything to happen to that license. i worked hard for that license and i sworn to uphold the ethical rules of my profession just as i know you have just not the letter of the law, but the law. in maryland, like d.c., has a legal, ethical rule that says, and i quote, this is a maryland rule. an attorney shall not use means that have no sense of purpose other than to embarrass the third person, end of quote. so i just do not see how the
actions of this committee regarding mr. pagliano do anything other than that. that's why i'm voting against this. i want to thank the gentlelady for bringing that up. >> the time is expired. gentleman from texas is recognized. >> i'm not concerned about voting for this. i'm a licensed attorney. i'm confident legislative action i take will be protected under the debate clause. i shall not be questioned in any forum for activity i take add a legislature. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. miss maloney. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. chairman, you have repeatedly claimed on television and other places that this is and to quote your words, one of the biggest security breaches in
the history of the state department, end quote. now this claim is completely false, outlandish and frankly, really unsubstantiated in any way, shape or form. the fbi director has been on record and has said already and concluded and i am quoting from the fbi director, we did not find evidence confirming that clinton's e-mail server system were compromised by cyber means, end quote. now, the fbi is an independent agency, apolitical, non-partisan, whose purpose is to find the truth, protect the american people and protect our system of government. and they found that this was
totally unfounded and outlandish and untrue. so, what are we doing? the only person that is being hurt by this is hillary clinton. the fbi said there's no case there. there was no harm there. but in contrast, the official state department system was hacked in 2015 by a reported russian hacker and it apparently was a terrible cyber intrusion against a federal agency and our country. i would like to put this in perspective about what we are really talking about and some members of this committee may not remember that in the 1990s, this is exactly what the republican leadership did under former chairman dan burton, who was chairman of this committee.
they falsely accused, undisputed, undisputedly, falsely accused the clinton white house of intentionally destroying e-mails to hide them and they launched hearings, massive investigations and their claims turned out to be completely false. completely unsubstantiated just like these claims that they are putting forward now are unsubstantiated. then, back then, just like today, they wildly exaggerated their claims. i want to read from the actual report that this committee put out under former republican chairman dan burton in october of 20, 2000. where they actually claimed that the fake scandal was bigger than watergate. may i quote from their report,
the e-mail matter can fairly be called the most significant obstruction of congressional investigation in united states history. while the white house obstruction and watergate related only to the watergate break-in, the potential obstruction of justice by the clinton white house reaches much further. well, this was propostrouse and i read last night a report and i ask eunanimous consent to call t unsubstantiated allegations involving the clinton administration. i feel, may we put this in the record? >> without objections. >> thank you. >> i urge everyone to read it. what we have today is another deja vu, a repeat of the same false allegations.
i would venture to say they are political, totally, politically motivated. our independent fbi said there isn't a problem here. they are trying to create one with false allegations. here we are, again, and the same republican hysteria is now being thrown at another clinton, the same unsubstantiated allegations, the same completely exaggerated false claims and i -- i -- i urge the listening public to read the report of the fbi on the current e-mails and to read the report on the prior hysterical hearings that prove to have no basis to truth and reality. my time is expired.
>> gentlewoman's time is expired. i would like everybody to read the fbi report. unfortunately, it has not been released in totality. recognize the gentleman from north carolina. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate your recognition. i would like to ask the gentlewoman from new york to remind her of the rules -- >> members are advised to not address other members. they can address the chair -- >> mr. chairman, i would make a point of order, the debate here is getting to bring in personalities. we have rules in this committee where attacking members of either their motives or anything else is not to be done. so i would kindly ask the chair to remind members that if they are going to make personal attacks that they need to keep those in a generic and
nonspecific form. i field back. >> before the gentleman yields back -- >> point of privilege since my name was mentioned? may i clarify? >> no. >> i was talking claims, not members. >> i said no. what the gentleman has yielded to me, members are advised and i'll read from the parliamentary statement. members are advised to observe the house and standards debate and conduct. speak and act respectively and not use disorderly words such as words inpuning the motives of other colleagues, end quote. my point here is, you can be disgusted by it, you can be frustrated by it. there is a seminole question, i don't think it's a partisan question. when there is a duly issued subpoena, that person must appear. it is not an optional exercise.
it's not hey, i want to dial it in by sending a letter from my attorney. no matter which side of the aisle you are on, if you believe in the rule of law, if you believe in the morality of our constitution, it requires people to obey that law. now, non-attendance is not an option. i feel very strongly about that. mr. cummings talked about in his statement about secret this and secret that. i believe it should be open and transparent. i don't think it should be done behind closed doors. i think it should be open and transparent. that's the way the judicial branch operates. i think it's the way this committee should operate to the maximum extent possible. i would like it to be as open and transparent as possible. we issued a -- we issued a subpoena in the right way. it is not an optional exercise.
that is the question today. twice, i mean i was very generous -- twice, twice, we gave him an opportunity to show up. i wish we weren't here today. we shouldn't have to be here today. but, that was the choice that was made and we are left with no choice to hold him in contempt. he violated the subpoena. so, i yield back to the gentleman from north carolina. >> gentleman yields. >> i would hope miss maloney's name came up. i think she was trying to take a min tout explain what she was trying to -- >> reclaiming my time. >> he was not supposed to -- >> reclaiming my time. i didn't mention anybody's name. i mentioned the gentlewoman from new york. specifically, as it relates, the
ranking member will know full well this is something that is very personal to me because i came to his defense when someone on my side attacked him. so, it is important that we have debate. it is important that we do that without personalities involved and we must rise to the occasion to have differences without making personal attacks. i yield back the balance of my time. >> point of personal privilege? >> no. i want to give members each an opportunity, if they have -- if they would like to speak on the ans. does any other member wish to speak on the ans. sorry, mr. desantis. >> when i hear these things, i sit and listen to the director, read reports, he did say that the fbi did not find evidence that secretary clinton's e-mail system was hacked by foreign
agents. the implication that was just made by the gentle lady from new york is because that did not in fact happen. that is not what he said. what he said was we would not have been able to determine if they had done it because they are sophisticated. if you look at somebody like former director, deputy director of the cia supporting secretary clinton for president, he said any good, intelligent service would have anything on any unclassified system, but particul particularry something like the e-mails. the issue the subpoena is driving at is you have a lot of classified information on unclassified server. you have people like pagliano who was involved in that. we have a fact pattern with being deleted after not being subpoenaed publicly, but after they had a conversation with people affiliated with secretary
clinton, then, of course, we are now the read it transcripts found by people online that suggest somebody with a similar profile talking combetta talking about how i want to figure out how to strip a vip's e-mail address from a bunch of e-mails. once that became public it was deleted. there's a lot of questions about how the i.t. side of this investigation was handled. whether the fbi pursued a case involving potential obstruction of documents. and people like pagliano and combetta are just central to that. i think it's really an appropriate use of oversight authority because i think people who know, who have been involved in the federal system, a lot of times the fbi can't get you on a substantive offense, they go after the process crimes. lying to them, obstructing justice, destroying evidence. and there didn't seem to be, from the reports we've read, that concerted of an effort to do that in this case. and so i'm supportive of what
the chairman is doing, and i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. any other members which to speak on the ans. recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've been reluctant to speak on this, but i feel compelled to because i think this is bigger than the e-mail issue. it's bigger than the politics that our colleagues keep bringing up. it's about the rule of law, constitutional separation of powers, and i am not the only one that feels that way. jonathan turley and laurence tribe who are widely recognized as preempent in liberal law prefers have warned the constitution is in grave danger. it's essential that we as a committee exercise the authority and responsibility invested in us by the constitution to protect the nation from abuse of power. abuse of power by the executive
branch. abuse of power by the justice department. i mean, clearly, it's against the law to destroy evidence. it's clearly against the law to alter documents and documents were altered. it's clearly against the law for people who are not authorized to handle classified information to be given classified information. and it's our responsibility to protect the constitution and protect the nation against people who violate the law. it shouldn't matter what party is in power. shouldn't matter who did it. that's our responsibility. it shouldn't matter what point we are in an election cycle. that's our responsibility. and when you have law prefers such as laurence tribe and particularly john than turley who testified in a senate judiciary hear iing that we're watching a fundamental change in our constitutional system, and it's changing in the way the framers warned us to avoid. so i think this is bigger than the politics. it's bigger than the issue.
it's about preserving the separation of powers. and this committee upholding its constitutional oath of office to do its duty. i yield back. >> are there any amendments to the amendment in the nature of the substitute. any other member wish to speak? the question is now on the amendment in the nature of the substitute. those in favor signify by saying aye. >> aye. >> those opposed no, no. >> no. >> the ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. you want to do it on the ans and the overall? that was just the amendment. the question is now on adoption of favorably reporting the contempt report as amended and transmitting the report as adopted for filing as the privileged report to the house of representatives. all those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> those opposed no.
>> no. >> the opinion chair, the ayes have it. roll call has been requested. clerk will call the roll. >> mr. chaffetz? >> aye. >> mr. micah? >> aye. >> mr. micah votes aye. mr. turner? >> [ inaudible ]. >> mr. duncan? mr. duncan votes aye. mr. jordan? mr. jordan votes yes. mr. wahlberg? [ inaudible ] mr. amash? mr. amash votes yes. mr. gocar? mr. dejarle. >> yes. >> mr. gowdy? >> mr. gowdy votes yes. mr. farenthold. >> yes. >> mrs. lummis? mr. massey? >> yes. >> mr. massey votes yes. mr. meadows? mr. meadows votes yes.
mr. de santis? mr. de santis votes yes. mr. mulvanemulvaney? mr. buck? mr. walker? >> yes. >> mr. walker votes yes. mr. blum? mr. blum votes yes. mr. heis? mr. heis votes yes. mr. russell? mr. carter? mr. grothman? >> yes. >> mr. grothman votes yes. mr. herd? mr. herd votes yes. mr. palmer? mr. palmer votes yes. mr. cummings? >> no. >> mr. cummings votes no. >> ms. maloney. ms. maloney votes no. ms. norton? mr. clay? mr. clay votes no. mr. lynch? >> nope. >> mr. lynch votes no. mr. cooper?
mr. conley? >> never, no how, no way, no. >> mr. conley votes no. >> ms. duckworth? >> no. >> ms. duckworth votes no. ms. kelly? ms. kelly votes no. ms. lawrence? >> no. >> ms. lawrence votes no. >> mr. lew? ms. watson coleman? ms. watson coleman votes no. ms. plaskett? >> no. >> mr. desonnier? mr. desonnier votes no. mr. boyle? >> no. >> mr. boyle votes no. mr. welch? mr. welch votes no. ms. luhan grishham? >> no. >> how is the member from the
district of columbia recorded? >> ms. norton is not recorded. >> ms. norton votes no. >> does any other member -- have all members been recorded? oh. >> ms. lumis is not recorded. ms. lumis votes yes. >> have all members had an opportunity to vote? how is the member from michigan, mr. wahlberg recorded? >> mr. wahlberg is not recorded. he votes yes. >> are we good? anybody else?
clerk will report the tally. >> on this vote, there are 19 ayes and 15 nays. >> the ayes have it. the report is ordered favorably reported. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. pursuant to close 2l, members have two days to submit their views on the report considered today. i ask unanimous consent that the staff be allowed to make necessary technical and conforming changes to the report, ordered report 9 today, subject to the approval of the minority. hearing no objections, so ordered. the committee stands adjourned.
coming occupy c-span3, a hearing on enforcing u.s. customs and trade laws. then defense secretary carter and joint chiefs chair general dunn ford on the military budget. after that, president obama presents the medal of arts and humanities. later, we'll look at challenges facing the u.s. intelligence community. now a hearing on enforcing u.s. customs and trade laws. customs and border protection commissioner gil kerlikowske testified. this hearing is just over an hour.
>> good morning. the subcommittee will come to order. welcome to the ways and means trade subcommittee hearing on executive -- or effective enforcement of u.s. trade laws. i'd like to extend a special welcome -- warm welcome to the honorable gil kerlikowske. i think most members know that gil and i were partners in the city of seattle a number of years ago. gil was the police chief in seattle, and i was the sheriff in king county, which is -- seattle is the county seat for king county. so we partnered on lots of things prior to coming to the jobs back here that we hold in washington, d.c. it's been a pleasure working with gil and to have him here this morning. as you know, he's the
commissioner of the u.s. customs and border protection. and brings a lot of experiences with him that helps him lead that team. today we're going to talk about robust enforcement of our trade agreements and trade laws. they are essential to ensuring american businesses and workers are treated fairly by our trading partners. strong trade enforcement goes hand in hand with the opening of new markets through trade agreements. it's part of our commitment to the american people that we don't just assign trade agreements and let our manufacturers, farmers, service providers and workers fend for themselves. if foreign competitors ignore their obligations, we'll call them out. u.s. customs and border protection, cbp, plays a key role in ensuring our trade agreements and our trade laws are enforced.
and that legitimate trade is facilitated. customs serves as the nuts and bolts of trade. and a strong customs service is vital to our competitiveness, safety and security. offer the years, the volume and complexity of trade has grown, and the challenges that we confront such as stopping the invasion of anti-dumping and counterveiling duties and protecting u.s. interlectual property rights have grown as well. as we face increasing competition around the world, we must keep legitimate trade flowing by focusing on our enforcement efforts of high risk trade. the trade facilitation and trade enforcement act, or the customs bill, which became law earlier this year, was the result of many years of hard work and commitment by the members of this committee on both sides of the aisle. in it, we established the necessary balance between trade and facilitation and trade
enforcement that will help american businesses succeed and keep us competitive. streamlining legitimate trade will increase u.s. competitiveness in the global marketplace and create jobs here at home. the customs bill reduces paperwork burdens by increasing the dimminimous threshhould where paperwork is not required from $200 to $800 as well as for the u.s. goods returned and for residue of bulk cargo contained in tankers. these improvements save time and money for our small, medium and large businesses that drive our economy. the customs bill also modernizes and simplifies duty draw back. in place since 1789. to increase accountability, the customs bill also strengthens and establishes reporting requirements for existing cbp
trade facilitation programs such as the centers for excellence and expertise, trusted trade programs and the automated commercial environment. these programs cut the red tape in government, reward businesses for good citizenship and streamline trade. the customs bill reporting requirements allow us to do our job as the committee of oversight, of ensuring that cbp stays on track with these programs, strengthening enforcement of u.s. trade laws is the other major pillor of this customs bill. enforcing u.s. intellectual property rights and counterveiling laws prevents our competitors from gaining an edge by cheating. the customs bill establishes tools for cbp and holds it accountable to clamp down on invasion -- evasion of anti-dumping and counterveiling duties. enhanced targeting of high-risk shipments by requiring information from brokers and strengthen interna controls over new imports.
to protect intellectual property, the customs bill requires the cbp to provide right holders with samples to help them determine if imported products are counterfeit. i want to congratulate my fellow subcommittee members and thank them for their hard work on the customs bill. former trade subcommittee chairman teaberry who led our efforts together with chairman brady. dr. vistani for his tireless efforts on the enforce and protect act. mr. marchant for his work on reducing paperwork burdens for residue in instruments on international traffic. mr. young for his good work on his diminimous bill and the country of origin markings on certain goods which is common sense approach to increasing transparency. mr. jason smith and ms. sanchez were also very constructive in working on the enforce protect act. we also worked closely with mr.
blumenauer, mr. kind and others on the enforcement fund and they joined ef eed several members it force labor. and ranking member rangel was instrumental. today we'll have an important discussion about cbp's efforts to implement this you critical law which if carried out effectively will enhance our competitiveness, level the playing field and prevent our competitors from gaining an unfair advantage. just on another note, mr. rangell. our witness today has to catch an airplane so we're going to be going to three-minute questions. i yield to the ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for calling this hearing. commissioner, we recognize your tremendous responsibilities and
we are here to help for you to point out how you can be more helpful especially during crises that we're going through. we all are concerned about the forced child labor law. we understand there hasn't been enforcement over 16 years. anti-dumping and intellectual property, the chairman has actually covered that. we recognize that you have to leave. we will keep our questions short and hope that you might do the same with your responses to facilitate your departure. and we join with you in support of the hearing, and how we can be legislatively helpful to you, chairman. i yield back. >> thank you mr. rangel. today we're joined by one witness, commissioner of u.s. customs and border protection, mr. gil kerlikowske. and as i said, we're going to limit questions to three minutes. he's going to shorten his opening statement, and mr. kerlikowske, you are recognized.
>> [ inaudible ]. >> check your microphone. >> am i on? okay. chairman reichert, ranking member rangel, members of the subcommittee, it's an honor to be here with all of you. and it's an honor to talk about cbp's role in enforcing what is an incredibly immense and complex area of u.s. trade. we enforce 500 laws and regulations on behalf of 47 federal agencies. after the irs, we collect more money from the federal treasury than any other organization. and we understand and recognize the importance of our enforcement efforts and enforcement has been my entire background before coming to cbp. illegal and fraudulent trade practices threatened our economic competitiveness, the livelihood of american workers, and consumer safety. i certainly want to thank the members of congress, and particularly this committee, for the trade facilitation and trade
enforcement act. cbp has been around since 2003 and has never been authorized. and now having the authorization and our regulations and rules all located in one place along with our increased enforcement authority is a huge milestone for us. the numerous parts of the act are complex. we're very engaged in fulfilling every measure of the act and the number of reports that congress has required. and during the entire time that this process went on, i think the collaboration and the cooperation of the subject matter experts that cbp has in trade have been very important. we have prioritized the policy, legal decisions, changing resources within our organization to meet this law, and that's been very important to us also. the chairman mentioned a number of the changes.
the fact that you have approved a group of individuals that report to or work with the commissioner regularly that represent the trade stakeholders, and that's all been important. i certainly acknowledge, despitor best efforts, that we're delinquent in some areas of the deadlines on the act. but we're working diligently to put all of that into place. going from not having authorization in 2003 to having this is a great step forward. so thank you. >> thank you. and we'll go to questions quickly. just a couple from me. the customs bill provides cbp with new tools to better enforce ipr, enhances operations for collaboration with rights holders in the united states and expands cbp's seizure forfeiture authority to cover unlawful
circ circumvention authorities and stops counterfeiting at the source. can you tell us what cbp has been doing to implement these measures and how they're assisting you in your efforts to protect intellectual property rights? >> i think the most important thing on the intellectual property rights is the fact that we co-chair or have the deputies position in the intellectual property rights enforcement center that is run by immigration and customs enforcement. well over 20 federal agencies sit in that one location and work very hard to target what may, in fact, be a counterfeit or intellectual property rights violation. i think the highlight that i saw over the christmastime was, in fact, a very dangerous product, hoverboards. certainly dangerous if you try to get on at my age and balance on one, but what i would really
see is the fact that the underwriters laboratory's seal, they were countered seals. we've seen over 50 fires with these. work with consumer product safety, we worked very hard to make sure that kids didn't get those gifts, that perhaps they were expecting. that's just one example. i know there are a number of other examples where i'd emphasize to you all that collaboration and a close working partnership with other federal agencies is absolutely critical to us doing our job. >> could you also updatoe us on the status of sea circ circcircu circumnavigation devices called for in the bill? >> i know that's under review. we're working hard with members to produce, not just that information, but also the
information that is certainly necessary for some of the other reports. and i'd be happy to make sure that we provide an update to your staff on that. >> okay. and lastly, you did mention that you recognize that you're a little behind some of the reporting requirements. do you have any sort of plan to make sure that -- because it's one of the ways this committee stays in touch with what's happening within your organizati organization. we're interested in your work in particular. and seeing these reporting requirements established in the customs bill implemented, how have you progressed and proceeded forward with the policy that addresses that? >> so your office of trade put together a spreadsheet that actually shows all of the requirements that we have to meet, whether it is in reporting or rules that need to be promulgated. regulations. training and information that
needs to be -- that needs to be communicated to congress. when we not only put together that spreadsheet about where we were on each one of these requirements, we also took a look at what are the most important, according to staff members and others and triage those. i would tell you that we're well on the way. a number of things have already been implemented, and people have been shifted to deal with these responsibilities. but i would tell you that we're well on the way before the end of this calendar year to be able to have the majority of these reports, regulations, requirements in place. and we will be more than happy to keep your staffs aware of this. our progress. >> so knowing you personally, i know today we have your commitment that we will have those reports. thank you. mr. neil, you're recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. commissioner, each day 125 americans are dying from drug-related overdoses, and it's
acute in parts of massachusetts, particularly in the old cities. many of these victims are succumbing to powerful synthetic drugs like fent nol which are more powerful than heroin. the toll these drugs are taking is alarming and unprecedented, and i joined pat teaberry to offer a bipartisan effort to hopefully stem this growing epidemic. stopping these drugs from coming through the borders as you know is a priority. the synthetics trafficking and overdose preventions act is designed to prevent dangerous synthetic drugs from being shipped through your borders. it would require shipments through our postal system to provide electronic advance data such as who and where it is coming from, who it is going to, where it's going and what's in it before they cross our borders. having this information in advance will enable cbp to better target potential illegal packages and keep these dangerous drugs from ending up in the hands of drug traffickers
who do great harm to our communities. congress wants to give you the tools to stop these drugs from crossing our borders. would you agree this bill would be perhaps very helpful and there are more tools you might suggest to us at this moment that can provide better help to get the job done and help fight now what's become a national issue? >> congressman, i really appreciate the effort that members of congress, and i participated in three field hearings on heroin and phentenol issues around the country, from arizona to massachusetts. so i know that this is a significant issue. as you know from some of our reporting, our seizures of phentenol have increased but that still unknown issue of that which is shipped from overseas and comes in through the air cargo. having a manifest in advance to be able to target, rather than just the random selection that
goes on now and with the explosion and increase in air cargo, that information would be helpful. i'd be happy to continue to work with you and the members of the -- members of the committee and the subcommittee to make sure if there are additional tools needed. the difficulties with fent nol in trying to detect it and the dangers to personnel. it's a tremendous threat not only to the populous but also law enforcement personnel. thank you very much for the work you're doing on that. >> a colleague recently said before fentanyl is treated that if a dog or human were to sniff it in its rawest form it could kill them? >> that's correct. that's why we don't treat canines. and in the hospital set, the
fentanyl patches are absorbed through the skin as powerful pain killers. raw fentanyl that comes into contact through nasal passages or skin absorption can be dangerous to personnel inspect andy other part is the department of state working closely with the countries where we know that this is illegally manufactured and then shipped. and we had some success on synthetic drugs, working with the government of china a few years ago when i had a different job in the administration. but fentanyl, your recognition of the significant danger that you just mentioned is an important one for us to consider. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. smith, you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, commissioner, for being here. thank you for the service of the men and women of customs and border protection. obviously, the tasks in front of
your agency are important from keeping us safe from terrorists to leveling the playing field commercially for u.s. industry to compete on a level playing field. so we thank you for your service. you mention in your testimony that cbp enforces u.s. trade agreement commitments. so i would ask that with china currently negotiating the regional comprehensive economic partnership with 16 countries in the pacific region, what would you say is at stake from ap enforcement perspective, should the u.s. fail to act on trade agreements moving forward? >> so one of the most important things that we recognize and do is, frankly, on the trade enforcement issues, we're the pointy edge of the spear. when it comes to the discussion n negotiation and work with members of congress on trade agreements, we take the advice, although we have embedded
someone with the ustr and ambassador perlman's office. we try to judge all the information that comes to us as these discussions and negotiation occur. we try to make sure our point of view, which is how is this going to be enforced, and what are we going to be able to do to enforce it, is absolutely critical. we recognize that we not only have that border security responsibility, but we also recognize the economic security responsibility that we have. and when the chairman and i were in seattle and you would see that port, you knew how important it was to facilitate, particularly exports of produce from washington state to make sure that it got out. so we will work closely with congress. we'll work closely with the ustr who is the lead on this, along with the department of commerce to make sure that the enforcement priorities are recognized and that we have the
tools and the capacity to be able to do our job. >> thank you. but do you see lost opportunity if we fail to take action on trade agreements moving forward? >> it's kind of -- it's a bit out of my portfolio and a bit out of my lane. we tell the people, again, with ambassador ferralman and the ustr, we tell them what's important to be able to do the enforcement. we also let them know that we have to be able to be in a position to expedite cargo coming into the country safely and expedite our exports safely. but when it comes to that area for me that is more of the political decision, i'm kind of out of the politics and i'm in the enforcement business. >> all right. thank you commissioner. i yield back. >> mr. blumenauer, you're
recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. commissioner. >> thank you. >> i want to follow up a little bit. you alluded to the fact that enforcement is complicated. it involves numerous agencies. you have a piece of the pie, not all of it. i would note that this committee has been aggressive in trying to advance a trade enforcement trust fund so that there would be resources, at least in the house side. there's $15 million to try and enhance that effort. i assume a portion the other
. the primary enforcement authority, but with a number of people that we have at our ports of entry and the amount of information that we collect on cargo and our national targeting center makes a huge difference. so, one, we could not have had better cooperation and collaboration, whether it's on educating us about steel, and the dumping of steel or the alleged dumping of steel. and also on timber also. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate that. i see my time expired. very quickly. but this is an area that i hope that we again might explore. we've got several agencies that are struggling with making sure that a provision in existing trade agreement is honored. and i'm hopeful that we can continue to work with our witness and others to see if we can sort that out to make it work better. >> thank you, mr. blumenauer. dr. vistaboustany.
>> enforcement is clearly important, which is why i work very hard over a number of years to give you the protect act which provided a full array of tools so you could be much more effective and aggressive going after abuses. one of my priorities was ex 605. you're aware of it. and this was to undo a great injustice that came about because of inaction at customs and border protection. with respect to crawfish producers and other small producers across our country, honey, mushrooms, garlic. we've seen them entitled to anti-dumping as a result of dumped crawfurb from china, well over $100 million in abuses in duties owed. unfortunately, slow enforcement from cbp, unjustifiable delays from insurance companies that post these bonds. these collections are still under way and going painfully slow. we had a breakthrough with $6
million collected from one insurance company. and instead of turning over that money to these crawfish producers who are going out of business, cbp chose, instead, to deduct 90% of that to pay itself interest. section 605 was designed by myself and senator thune to stop that and to assure that these poor producers who are going out of business are paid what they are owed under american law. and, yet, i understand now, cbp is simply ignoring this section 605 as written and putting its own wishful analysis in place to continue to hold on to this interest. frankly, that's unacceptable. and i'm not going to let up until this abuse is corrected. >> a kocouple of things i'd mention on that. it wasn't until -- in fact, the craw fish producers and the others came to washington, d.c., asked to meet with me and we sat down that i had the recognizing
and the information, the fact that when we collect those interest duties, that the interest went back under the law, under the existing law then that the interest went back to cbp. i said when i was a police chief, if you were the victim of a crime and the perpetrator had to pay a fine, the fine shouldn't go for the police department. the fine should go back to the victim. that's been changed. and a lot of progress has been made. i was proud and pleased to see the $6 million. i would tell you there's another substantial amount of money that is in the works also to go back. the one thing where i think there is certainly some disagreement, and i understand that it's in litigation right now is how far back the understanding is that interest payments would be, in fact, returned to a victim. it's also a bit of a technological problem because we have to figure out in those fines and information collected what was interest versus what was the penalty.
and not all of our systems are that accurate and that flexible to go back x number of years. if you think about our interest now and working very hard and we've even gone to a collection agency to look at a collection agency that could do a better job of going after the money we've been unsuccessfully attempting to get. so i think we're pretty close, but i understand your frustration and i recognize it. >> we want as prompt action as possible. this has to be resolved because, if america is going to lead in trade, we have to have enforcement of our laws. and they have to be enforced with the intent that congress lays out. thank you. >> mr. kind? >> commissioner kerlikowske, first of all, i want to commend
you. i worked hard to get involved in the exploitation act. since its enactment in february, the anxiety has brought four enforcement actions already on china on that front. and for 85 years, there was a prohibition against it. because of a loophole, it was seldom enforced. now you're taking that tool and running with it. how pervasive do you think this problem is? how many more future actions -- before you answer that, can i also get your opinion, because it's my sense that in those bilateral, multy lateral trade agreements we have with other nations, those nations tend to act like better actors when it comes to playing by the rules. not trying to cheat. living up to the standards and values that were include in those agreements as opposed to nations we don't have any trade agreement with. is that an accurate description
of what you see out there? >> i think what i've seen is the leadership that the united states, and i lead the delegation to the world customs organization, 180 members. and what we've tried to communicate to customs organizations all over the world is that they need to have this reck nognition and understandinf facilitating lawful trade but also the importance of doing enforcement. in too many countries that i've seen, the issue is always around how much money can customs collect, versus what is their investment posture. because it costs -- it takes people to do the enforcement, and it costs money. so i would tell you that i think we've made some progress in that particular area. it's hard for me to judge exactly the forced labor and child labor issues and prison labor because one of the things that we did was to reach out and gather as many of the
nongovernmental organizations who exist within those countries. they are frankly the eyes and ears on the ground. and we needed to make it easier, and we needed to welcome the information that they would give us about what is a potential violation. and as you know, there's only a reasonable suspicion standard. it wasn't a probable cause standard. we can take action on a less critical amount of information, and i've made it clear to everyone in our organization that we do need to take the action once we reach that threshhold of reasonable suspicion. >> what about nations we have a trade agreement with versus the vast majority we don't as far as compliance and playing by the rules? >> you know, i don't have an opinion. i have a list of the number of free trade agreements we have, but i have never really given it the analysis about whether or not they are greater at playing by the rules.
i'm sure there's some real experts that can inform you. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. paulson. >> thank you, mr. chairman and commissioner, thanks for being here. a key compoenent is the completion of aid and the international trade data system. these systems are going to help provide customs border patrol and other federal agencies to improve the realtime information on imports and manual processes get streamlined, auto mated and 200 different paper forms are end up being eliminated. a.c.e. has been in development for a long period of time, but i want to commend cbp for the great strayeds you've made in the last couple of years towards implementation. there are some minnesota businesses that i've had contact with that continue to express some concerns about the implementation process because large companies, of course, are able to be in a position where they can absorb large losses that may result in a shipment
that gets held up at the border. but the smaller companies that operate on a relatively thin margin, they don't have that same luxury. can i just have your commitment or can you chat about how you'll continue to work with the trade community and partner with government agencies as that roll-out goes forward to make sure it's smooth? >> sure. part of the fact that in our authorization, that you have affirmed that there will be a standing committee that will report with or to the commissioner that represents trade stakeholders. freight forwarders, importers, manufacturers, et cetera. we've had that in place for a number of years, but frankly, a change in administration could have done away with that. the fact that is in the law now, i think is one very helpful. so four times a year for two days each, we get direct feedback from the people that are doing the work. and we've had great part participation in that. i would commit to you two things. one is that we are very intent,
and after all of the platforms that have been launched, that ace will be a running, viable, commercial entity for both the private sector and also for government by the end of this calendar year. and we appreciate the support from congress for all of the work. and if you go back, even when we were working through some of the more difficult platforms, we ended up having daily phone calls with well over 100 participants, including the small business people to make sure they were getting their questions answered and to make sure we were doing our job of telling them, where are we with the implementation. so thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. pascrell? >> thank you, mr. chairman. american companies that invest in designing and market iing vad
products are losing sales and seeing their brands tarnished by manufactured products that violate united states law. i'm pleased the customs bill we passed earlier this year included several provisions to strengthen intellectual property rights enforcement at the border. including raising the enforcement priority for counterfeit products. so we don't want open borders to people, and we don't want open borders to products, yet that's exactly what's going on here in terms of products. given this enforcement prioritization for counterfeit products, can you outline the screening process for packages marked as gifts, and can you share any new steps the cbp is taking to enhance enforcement in the area?
>> i can. i think there are several things. i can't give you specific information on the gift issue. you're mostly talking about the air cargo environment and the mail environment. i'll be the very first to admit to you that given the explosion of e-commerce and air cargo, this is one that we're working on very closely. having manifest information in advance is certainly going to be an issue that's critically importa important. having enough people at the locations, at fedex and u.p.s. and our international -- our five international mail facilities is also important. and the fact that u.p.s. and fedex have been incredibly good partners in putting forward enforcement funds and essentially boots on the ground to assist us. the international -- the intellectual property rights center for the targeting is very important, and about two weeks ago, we cut the ribbon on the
new national targeting center for cbp which has been mentioned. we're making progress. >> thank you. i'm very concerned about the staffing shortfall at cbp. that's very dangerous. we have four borders. you'd think listening to the congress we only have one border, the rio grande. that's it. we have ports in new jersey that are facing increased wait times for incoming shipments. the staffing. how would this impact staffing shortages that you have. and are these -- are there things you can do to address the shortfall. >> so we're very disappointed that, one, we haven't been able to hire, with the money congress gave us, a number of years ago, after working closely with members to show that when you put people on board at cbp, they actually help to make money for this country by speeding things
through. we are a law enforcement organization. we are not about to reduce our stringent hiring standards. and i haven't spoken to a local police chief or sheriff or federal law enforcement official that has not expressed a difficulty hiring. but we're working very closely, and i think the bright spot is one with the military because we're now accepting, and i just was down in ft. bliss to recruit people. we're now looking for people to leave one uniform and come into another uniform coming out of the military. and also reducing the amount of processing time because there are a lot of jobs available for qualified people. and we've gone from over 400 days of processing time -- way too long -- down to about 160 days. so we are making progress, and we're going to do our very best to use the appropriated funds that congress has given us to hire up to the number that are authorized. >> mr. chairman, in conclusion,
i would really, since we worked very close on public safety issues, i would really ask you to take a look at the number of personnel that they have and the more responsibilities that have been given to them, now that we've discovered that we have three other borders. we need to take a very extended look at this. and i would trust your judgment as to the conclusion. thank you. >> mr. pascrell and i chair the law enforcement caucus together. and as the commissioner said, sheriffs and police chiefs across the country are having the same problem that his agency is having, and that's finding, first of all, people that want to come into law enforcement positions. secondly, not only finding people who have that desire but who have the qualifications. and i commend the commissioner for making a statement that there is no way that he is going to lower his standards.
and i think that should hold true for law enforcement agencies across the country. so appreciate your concern and, yes, i'll look forward to working with you on this through the caucus. mr. meehan -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, commissioner, for your long service to law enforcement. and i thank you for your efforts in working so quickly to help draft an interim guidance with respect to the enforcement protect act. we're already seeing some cases that are being prosecuted or investigated, and i think that's very, very helpful. but as you know, we're getting a lot of activity on the part of those who find ways to circumvent the process. when i was a united states attorney, we worked, and i'm glad to hear you talk about collaboration with other partners. one of the most effective things that we had to use the federal laws to enforce violations were
things which invited the participation of interested parties. and actually the investigative resources. we were then allowed and able to work with. when i looked at your efforts with respect to the drafting of the interim final rule, you narrowly defined it, parties to the investigation, more narrowly than i would expect it would be. can you look at that and determine whether we ought not have a larger classification of those who can participate in, as a, quote, parties to the investigation? i think we're going to have an awful lot of resources that could be available to help us get around this. >> congressman, i appreciate your recognition, particularly of keytam cases and i work regularly with the u.s. attorneys, particularly the u.s. attorney s that are border u.s. attorneys. in the keytam cases are not as a
u.s. attorney, they're not always ones -- the one that's going to get any headlines. and number two, they can be very labor intensive. we've done a couple of things. we have some real subject matter experts in these cases. and we want to be able to hand to an ausa, an assistant u.s. attorney on a silver platter, a case that is already put together and to make it easy for them. the other thing is to call whether it's the district attorney in new york or the former u.s. attorney in los angeles when they've made those kinds of trade cases. i've called them up to congratulate them and to tell them how much we appreciate their work. i'll be happy to go back and take a look at the recognition that you have because -- >> my time is limited, so i want to ask one more question with respect to specific importers. part of the problem we see, particularly in the steel industry is the possibility for
them to go through third parties to dump into another country and to get that steel into the united states. and one of the problems with steel, but it can be any number of products, is the requirement that we go back more specifically and identify the country of origin. and it works against the ability to have more of a deterrent effect. can you see if there's any ability to drop the requirement for allegations to identify a specific importer to be able to police this kind of circumvention? >> sure. i'd be happy to look at that. i'll also tell you we made significant improvements with our laboratory sciences division to be able to test steel, regardless of whether it comes from mexico or canada or another country to be able to determine the country of origin and, in fact, whether, as "the wall street journal" just recently reported on some allegations and concerns about aluminum and
steel in mexico. our scientists are better at determining that country of origin now. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. dogget? >> thank you, commissioner? customs is aware. 71 containers spilled with amazon forest timber estimated to cover football fields, almost 4 million pounds arrived from quitos, peru, in the port of texas. based on actionable information, customs properly used its legal authority to exclude that shipment for 30 days, did it not? >> yes, we did. and that specific actionable information came from the peruvian environmental authority. after that, as you know, a coffin was carried through quitos with his name on it, and he was eventually fired by the
peruvians. during the year, other than what the peruvians did, what has customs done? have there been any shipments of logs from peru that have entered the u.s. since that time? >> congressman, i'm not familiar with any additional shipments of timber from peru. i was very involved that weekend, as many of our personnel were, on making sure we had the right authorities and the right people. because if we don't allow that commodity then to come into the country, and that commodity so longer makes a profit, that sends a powerful message back. >> it's your belief that since that shipment arrived at houston, that there have been no other shipments in the united states of peruvian timber? >> i can't answer that, but -- >> that is a question that i -- i didn't want to surprise you with any questions today. that was one of the questions i sent you last week that your
staff said that you could answer today. >> i'm sorry. you know, i think i probably received about 120 different questions from different members. i'm happy to take a look. >> can you tell me one of the other questions i asked was during the eight years that the peru trade promotion agreement has been in effect, do you know how much peruvian timber has been imported into the u.s.? >> i don't. >> do you know the answers to any of the questions that your staff said you'd be prepared to answer today? >> i do know, and i think i've been -- i have done my very best to help make an understanding that with 60,000 people and 800 people -- >> my only -- i appreciate your testimony but since i have 30 seconds. my question is can you answer any of the questions i posed to you last week that your staff said you'd be ready to answer today. there are five of them. >> i think i did -- >> you have not answered any of them yet.
do you know when you can answer them, when you can provide an answer to those questions? >> i think i can provide an answer at the conclusion of the hearing -- >> i would liked to have had it before so we can discuss it. but you are aware of the percentage of that shipment in houston that was in legal timber? >> i'm aware of that shipment having worked it all over the whole weekend with the ambassador, the department of commerce, the department of agriculture. so it wasn't like anybody was asleep at the switch on that. and we need -- >> i think there is a question about indifference, but you know the specific percentage of that shipment of 4 million, almost 4 million pounds of timber. you know the specific percentage that was illegal timber, don't you? >> i don't know. i don't. >> your office knows that information? >> and i'd be happy to communicate right after. >> yes, sir, but i had an opportunity to ask you about it today and that's why i sent you the questions in advance that you have not answered, but thank you. >> okay.
>> thank you, mr. doggett. mr. marchand? >> thank you, mr. chairman. commissioner, i represent one of the largest airports could you share with us please the problems, the major challenges that you're presented with in enforcing the trade pact 2015 as it relates to dfw airport and specifically the larger pors in the united states. >> i need just a little bit of clarification on the trade or the travel issues because we get a lot of air cargo that comes in and so the inspections of air cargo whether dfw or miami we
have our agricultural inspectors many of whom will graduate from a class today down in georgia so we do a lot of inspections of those things whether it's fresh produce or others or people coming in that, in fact, have plant material that could harm our industry and get 112 million international passengers a year and the challenge is that an airport besides dfw at lax. and make sure they're protecting the environment.
you know, the infrastructure improvements that were made to our ports of entry as a result of the american rerecovery act were immense. many of those projects were already planned in the works. keeping up with an infrastructure order to enforce the efforts to enforce the law effectively. >> we have a number of plans to increase and our ports of interest and jet blue, the work going on at houston and others, they were included where you have input. >> we worked closely with the inner agency and nsa and others and closely with members of congress that have particular interest in trying to improve
their facilities. i couldn't agree with you more when it comes to an efficient well planned infrastructure for international air travel makes a huge difference in us being able to enforce. >> so that no matter who she might be about a plan for infrastructure we could include your plan of that overall plan and do you have that? >> we do have that. we do have that plan. we do work it through the agency. >> your commissions when if you can recommend anything to this
committee can help you. and already pass. it would be helpful. >> thank you for being here today. >> it's no secret there's a major trade agreement that will come before congress and outside of the scope of this hearing i have major concerns about several provisions of that agreement including intellectual property protections and that said i'm not confident that agreement will move forward. there's a school of thought that we should wait to consummate any trade agreements whatsoever until we fully enforce all existing trade agreements and i feel very strongly as do so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that we have to be very vigilant of enforcing trade
agreements. this is why we supported a new trade enforcement trust fund. new legal options to those whose rights have been violated or intellectual property stolen and your agency, customs and border protection we have given you new tools to go after those that would evade antidumping and counter vailing duty provisions so my question is this, though i know you have already reassured us that you will be vigilant what impact do you think it would have on say indiana manufactures. indiana ag producers that want to sell to 95% of the world's consumers that are outside of the united states if we waited until we fully enforced every trade agreement. >> i think my answer on full enforcement is one that i'm often asked in other settings and that is on border security. also exactly what is border
security and what are the numbers? we make a lot of seizures. we seize a lot of products. and we work hard to be open and transparent with the agriculture and stake holders and i think you all have heard them repeat through from the trade. full enforcement is probably one of those in the eye of the beholder and i think the fact that we send a strong message to the rest of the world that we're going to work hard to seize the laws that congress has passed. >> so in short, do you believe that we can make significant improve ms stay vigilant and enforce our trade laws while opening up foreign markets and food, fiber ets. >> i think that we know very well these -- >> yes. thank you. >> i yield back.
>> mr. chairman, i neglected to ask you for unanimous consent in the record of the hearing. my letter with the questions that i referenced. >> thank you mr. chairman. i recently called the stop act. reference to you. >> referenced to you earlier. to try to keep he elicit drugs from entering our country from foreign posts. this last weekend in cleveland ohio several folks died from overdoses of these drugs. and electronic security screening to packages and coming in from the u. s. postal system. it currently applies to the same package and it's introduced in a senate on a bipartisan basis as
well and last week in the senate the operations stated and would allow it to be more effective and targeting potentially elicit shipments. do you believe that having access to advanced shipment. and elicit shipments. >> just the information that's been helpful in recognizing people that shouldn't get on an airplane because of advanced passenger information in the same way with cargo that comes into this country that has manifested for instance on a ship 72 hours in advance and even preloading, having that information so that we can do everything that we can based upon risk is important and yes a agree. >> thank you. certainly i appreciate your efforts on drafting the interim
final ruling. i was trade chairman when that process began and we're very clear that cvp was to operate under deadlines. and final determination and if in your interim role sir it seems to imply that these rules are aspirational so in our opinion there's no flexibility under the statute. could you clarify to the committee. what plans you want to follow in terms of time lines set in statute by congress. >> we do want to obey and follow all the time lines that have been set and i wasn't aware of the kind of distinction that you were talking about that the proposal and more aspirational and i'm happy to spend a little time looking into that and finding out about that but we were given a lot of time lines with a lot of work and meet
those and do our best to prioritize and triage those as the most important to the subcommittee and the committee as a whole. >> i appreciate that. thank you for your leadership, sir. >> thank you. we are through questioning rather quickly but i want to give the members that are still present here one last opportunity if anyone has a burning question left i'd like to recognize that member. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. just continuing then, commissioner, this action that you took in september of last year concerning this 4 million pounds of timber, had that ever been done before or since? >> we have seized lumber. we have seized limber in the past and held it.
of course it can be expensive and difficult when you're making those seizures. >> yes, sir. >> so when you do make those seizures who is responsible for storing the timber? >> we ask that the private sector that the party that was involved in this, that they bare the costs of that rather than the american taxpayer. >> they are requested to provide a bond or insurance on the timber. >> we request that they make the payment whether it's through a bond until a final termination is made but we want that. we work very hard to try to get that money in add sans on a seizure storage. >> with the information that has come out that's still a very significant portion is illegally harvested. for holding.
and it's a great deal of information and testimony woe have a lot of boots on the ground and places where usda and consumer product or others don't. and last september. and we need to make sure that we do it in conjunction with the information that they provide us. you're right. >> and you don't -- you say you do not know how much timber has come into the united states in the last 8 years. >> congressman i just don't have that right in my mind. it actually may be in the book. >> all right. >> so i may be able to get it afterwards as well as to find out how much of that has been expected. >> i'm happy to tell you that. >> is the 4 million pounds of timber, is it still sitting in
houston today? >> it was excluded from entry into the country. >> does it sit in the ship? what happens to it. >> the profit that could be made coming into the united states could not go back -- >> is it being held in houston? >> i don't believe it is. >> you think it's not anywhere within the boundaries of the united states including -- >> i don't believe it is. >> are you able to identify to us the importers of that timber. >> i believe we have protests filed by several different organizations. and this is litigation. >> and the other member have to be recognized. >> i want to thank commissioner.
>> and also committing to providing us with follow up information and reports that we have requested. please be advised that members will have two weeks to submit written questions to be answered later in writing. those questions in answers are part of the hearing record and i urge interested parties to submit statements to inform committees consideration of the issues discussed today. with that the subcommittee stands adjourned.
nsh. and several agencies are preparing for a government shutdown. not surprisingly but as we talk how likely is it that the government will shutdown after friday. well, they're committed to make sure that it doesn't happen. the biggest disagreement right now is to flint for the water crisis there. and also for also the louisiana disaster aid for the terrible flooding that happened there and that senator mitch mcconnell said earlier today he indicated that there could be a deal to revert one by friday at midnight. and taking it out of the continuing resolution. >> senate testimony cats and
blocking the efforts to move forward. is it mainly centered around the issues you just mentioned. >> that's right. there was a vote to advance legislation today but that lost by 16 votes. that was a 60 vote flesh hold. the question is still over aid to flint and louisiana and a few other states decimated by floods. >> this whole issue of the aid to flint gets a little complicated because the senate did pass aid to flint in their version of the water bill which the house is now taking up so why is the issue coming back up here in the continued resolution. >> the issue is house republicans that haven't agreed to the language that passed with 95 votes so senator of the gop whip today acknowledged interviews with reporters that the house republicans have made this a little bit complicated by not agreeing to language in the
water bill and so now they're trying to be able to figure out if they should move forward and if they can put it on to that spending pill, that ten week spending bill that will fund the government through december 9th. >> what about funding to fight the zika virus. how was that handled? >> so that was a major contention throughout the year. senate democrats filibustered legislation because of a provision in there that they said would block funding to planned parenthood and affiliate to puerto rico. that language has been largely resolved. it's been -- you haven't really heard too much about that issue at all. it's in the language now. it's $1.1 billion and both have been able to claim the victory. >> it's really this language on
flint and on the louisiana flooding. >> we have been focussing on the senate. what about house leadership. what have we heard from speaker ryan or other republican leaders. >> so the house is really in wait and see mode to try to figure out what the senate is going to give them. in such little time there's very little that they can do to change the out come of this. >> you know, going back to that tweet from national journal which points out federal agencies at least being prepared for a possible shutdown. and the shutdown lasted 16 days but there wasn't an election just around the corner which members have to go out a campaign for. does that put pressure on members to get done by friday. >> they want to two out on the campaign trail and spend the next number of weeks to go home and talk to their constituents and they want another long recess. >> rogers covering a changing
story on the cr and the following report on twitter and also at national journal.com. thanks for the update. >> thanks for having me. >> cspan's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you coming up wednesday morning. oklahoma republican congressman and eliminating government waste and campaign 2016 and then tennessee democratic congressman talks about the upcoming funding deadline. increasing legislation on police violence and his call for justice department investigation into the trump foundation and our spotlight on magazine segment features things and the magazine's editor will talk about his article in which he accuses the democratic party of using certain tactics to incite anxiety over discrimination and exclusion in order to solidify
support from minority groups. be sure to watch cspan's washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. >> federal reserve chair janet yellen is on capitol hill wednesday and she'll testify before the house financial services committee on monetary policy and regulation of the financial sector. live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on cspan 3. >> our cspan campaign 2016 bus is traveling throughout new york this week asking voters what question would you ask the candidates at the debate? >> i'm brian murray, my question is how do you feel about the transpacific partnership and if elected would you do anything to change it and make it more favorable for americans as a whole? >> i've heard a lot of people say we're getting screwed over piano the transpacific partnership in general and even
though i'm in favor of it i want to know how you feel. >> hi. i'm a professor of communications at st. john fisher college. my question if i had a chance to ask it would be to ask plflt trump why it took him so long in the face of all the evidence to the con rare to finally agree that president obama really was a citizen of the united states and when all the evidence came out as late as 2008 or as early as 2008, why he still persisted in proposing that idea? >> hello. my name is cody and i'm a junior political science and history double major in albany new york and if i could ask any question to the candidates it would be what are your thoughts on common core and what direction do you see america's education system going if you're elected in the next four years? >> voices from the road on
>> good morning. i ask the committee to consider a list of 40 pending military nominations including in this list there's a nomination of general johnny highton for reappointment to general and to be commander of united states tra steejic command all of these have been before the committee for that length of tile. it's 40 military nominations to the senate. >> so moved. >> chair second. >> all in favor say aye. >> aye. >> motion carries. >> the senate armed services committee meets this morning to receive testimony on u. s. national security challenges and on going military operations. and thank you for your service
and thank you to the men and women and their families for service and sacrifice during these challenging times. this committee conducted regular hearings on u.s. national security strategy and on going military operations and we have devoted special attention to the chaos engulfing the middle east and the u. s. military campaign against isil. it would be up to the pu tour to render a jult on this administration stewardship of u.s. interests in the broader middle east but in the opinion of this one senator it's been an unmitigated disaster. president obama sought to pivot away from one of the most strategically vital regions of the world out of a misplaced hope that quote, the tide of war was receding and that we should focus on, quote, nation building at home. that would draw u.s. power created a vaccum filled by the
worst actors in the region. suni terrorist groups and the iranian regime and proxy and now putin's russia. just consider, over the past 8 years, this administration has overseen the collapse of region mall order in the middle east into a state of chaos where every country is either a battlefield for regional conflict, a party to that conflict or both. and makes al qaeda appear modest by comparison but both terrorist networks expanded theirs from west africa to south asia and everything in between. and this is shackling iran tps ian power and ambition. both is billions of dollars in sanctions relief has transformed into advanced military capability and support for terror i feel and then there is
putin's russia which has reclaimed a position to influence a middle east that's not enjoyed in four decades. the best that can be said about this devastating legacy is over the past year in part thanks to our witnesses today president obama has at least begun to unleash americans fighting men and women against isil. they're fighting with skill and courage despite enormous risks as reports of isil's use of mustard agent against u.s. and iraqi troops around us. as a result we're fwraj yulely eroding territorial control and key personnel from the battlefield. reactive and micromanaged by the white house. we have 500 troops in iraq. one more step down the road of
gradual escalation. but thanks to the talent and dedication of our men and women in uniform we're making progress. isil will be expelled from its strong holds. the day of liberation will come later than it should have but it will come. this will be a tact car length success but it is unlikely to lead to strategic gains because the administration has failed to address and at times has exacerbated the underlying conflict. the struggles for power and identity now raging across the middleeast. isil is merely a symptom of this deeper problem and may be taken eventually but that will only likely reignite the battle for the future of iraq. a battle in which we have an important stake. the biggest problems still lie ahead. combatting the influence of iran and it's militias and addressing the kurds and their place in
iraq and the disenfranchisement of the iraqis that gave rise to isil in the first place. libya, we had success but what remains is a divided nation littered by militias funding with arms and governance and political unity. conditions that will remain and western terrorism. and we also began targeting isil and afghanistan and a resurge in taliban continue to destabilize and terrorize the country while national army causalities reremain unsustainably high. and yet it was in this environment that president obama chose to with draw another 1,400 troops. nowhere however is america's strategic drift clearer than
syria. after over 400,000 dead and half the population driven from their homes after the worst refugee crisis of the century that now threatens the project of european unity, the administration still has no plausible vision of an end state for syria. instead, while russian and syrian regime aircraft bombed hospitals and marks and 8 ware houses and other civilian targets president obama sent his secretary of state to tilt yet again at the wind mill of cooperating with vladimir putin. even committing to sheer intelligence for coordinated military operations. this agreement would be deeply problematic it would mean the u. s military would own and there
by undermining their own strategic objective of a political transition they're not holding up their end of the deal as nearly everyone predicted. assad declared an end to the ceasefire. bombs are falling again on civilians in aleppo and an air strike reportedly carried out by russia killed 12 members of a un humanitarian convoy. nonetheless, administration officials are desperately trying to salvage this agreement, likely because they realized that without this diplomatic fig leave the abject failure of their syria policy would be evidence and because they know as does everyone else that there's no plan b this should be another lesson that a recipe of failure our adverse tears will
not do what we ask of them out of the goodness of their hearts or out of the suffering of others. until the united states is willing to change the conditions on the ground in syria, the war, the terror, the refugees and the instability will continue such will be the inheritance of our president. american influence has been squandered. america's adversaries neither respect or fear us. america's friends are increasingly hedging their bets and america's policy options have been significantly narrowed. and what's worse, america's military will confront these daunting challenges with constrained budgets, aging equipment, depleted readiness and a growing set of operational requirements driven by other escalating challenges, europe
and asia. we are asking our military to wage a generational fight against islamic terrorism to defeat great power of rogue state competitors in full spectrum combat. i would be the first to admit that congress is failing to match resources to rekwierls but the failure of the president is worse. it is the duty of the commander and chief to be the strongest advocate for the needs of our military but president ball balm has been more interested in using the defense budget as a hostage to extract political concessions for greater nondefense spending. secretary carter, i hope you will use the opportunity to offer some clear answers to
these troubling questions, senator reid. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. we'd like to join you in giving the security challenges that face the united states and you're always deeply appreciated and very timely. particularly this moment. while significant work remains to at the feet isil the united states in coalition military operations have resulted in iraq and syria. most notably isil has been driven out of a significant amount of the territory and a number of keyboarder crossings in syria and key towns in iraq. the cumulative effect has been to cutoff key lines of communication for isil restikting their ability to bring in fighters and move equipment and personnel across the battlefield. it appears that isil is under more pressure now than at any other time in the campaign.
unfortunately in syria it appears the cessation of hostilities is not going to hold and we look forward to the progress and the aspects of this campaign and whether there is a possibility or renewed in the knew tour. we're also focused on our military operations and diplomats and other policy makers to address the continuing political challenges in iraq and syria. even after the coalition retakes mosul the work of our diplomats and military spell jens communi -- intelligence community will be over. >> they are provided the critical resources necessary to perform this work. with with regard to afghanistan i support the position to
maintain 8400 troops and important message to the afghans and taliban and others in the region that the united states remains committed to ensuring this stable afghanistan. we look forward to your assessment and what more we can do to support the development of the afghan national defense and security forces. despite a challenging security and political environment they continue to be a reliable partner and u. s. and allies in eastern europe russia continues it's behavior and persist
political gridlock lout the region and ships and aircraft deploy the region and they continue to provide support and training in eastern ukraine in violation of the ceasefire greels. they have undertaken robust efforts. i look forward to hearing your thoughts on the progress of and plans for such efforts. north carolina remains one of the most dangerous and difficult national security challenges that this country faces. earlier this month, north korea conducted it's fifth nuclear test demonstrating that the north korean regime has little interest in resuming party talks. while we made efforts to put strong and effective sanctions in place to curb nuclear development china's unwillingness to enforce those sanctions has undermined u.s. and international efforts to bring north korea in line. finally our long-term military
strategy depends on five years in the future. after congress passed the 2015 bipartisan budget act and however there is no budget for fiscal year 2018 and beyond. without another bipartisan agreement that provides relief from sequestration they'll have to have a budget that adheres to the budget gaps and could be undermining strategy and modernized platform and equipment and we must not let that happen. thanks. >> this is the last time for this year we appreciate your appearances for the armed services committee and we look forward for the testimony and both of your for our service to our nation. secretary carter. >> thank you very much.
chairman, ranking member reid, all the members of this committee, thank you for having us here and chairman and senator reid thanks for taking the time to talk to me before this hearing. much appreciated as always and for hosting him by my side where he is always time and very pleased and our country is very fortune. to have him similarly i want to thank you for hosting the service chiefs last week. i appreciated your comments to them about the inefficiencies and dangers of budget instability and gridlock as well as the risk of sequestration's looming return. i look forward to addressing those topics more today with you. i also appreciate your support for our men and women serving around the world. military and civilian alike.
you always provide it. they are the finest fighting force the world has ever known. no one else in the world. is stronger or more capable and more innovative and more experienced and has better friends and allies than they. that's a fact. that's a fact americans ought to be proud of dod is addressing each of the five challenges described to in our budget testimony this spring and that the chairman and senator reid touched on mainly russia, china, north korea, iran and terrorism and on the last in the wake of this week's attacks in new york, new jersey, and minnesota we remain as determined as ever to continue countering terrorists around the world that seek to do harm to our country and our personnel more on that. as we testified this spring we have been planning for our
activities with the 2017 budget that we have submitted and that we developed. that budget adhered to last fall's bipartisan budget deal and overall size. and break through investments and pioneering technological frontiering and reforming the enterprise and building a force for the future. requiring not only stable resources but also time. nothing more important than readiness to me or to the service chiefs. that budget has yet to be funded by congress. i want to discuss with that you today but because this is partly on going military operation let me begin with an operational
update on our campaign to deliver isil a lasting defeat. it's focused on three objectives. the first is to destroy the isil cancers parent tumor in iraq and syria. it's the sooner we destroy the fact and idea of islamic state. the safer all the world will be and that's absolutely necessary. it's not sufficient. and our third objective is to help protect the homeland. this is our responsibility for
the partners in the fbi and justice department and homeland security and the intelligence security and state and local law enforcement but dod strongly supports them and since last fall we have taken in steps to accelerate this campaign all enabling capable forces. that's the only way to eastbound sure isil's lasting defeat. while we have more work to do the results of our effort are showing. in iraq we have been enabling the security forces after retaking ramadi and establishing a staging base. the isf went on to take, retake heat, fallujah and the development of mosul and the collapse of isil's control over
it. and the final assault will commence as with previous operations. in syria our coalition also enabled considerable as a results by our local partners. they retook a key link between them and then clearing a key transit point for isil's external operations and plotters and providing key intelligence insights. and on the air and ground intelligence and as we do so we're managing regional intentions and keeping everyone focused on our common enemy. meanwhile we're systematically
eliminating having taken out 7 minutes including chief of external operations. he was one of more than 20 isil external operators and plotters removed from the battlefield. we're also continuing to go after attempts to develop chemical weapons as we continue to ensure that u.s. coalition and iraqi troops are protected from that threat. and just last week in one of the single largest air strikes of our campaign we destroyed a pharmaceutical facility near mosul that isil tried to use as a chemical weapons plan. we also tried to get the economic structure. oil wells, tanker trucks, cash storage and more and we continue to take the fight to isil across every domain including cyber. with all this we're putting isil on the path to a lasting defeat in iraq and syria.
particularly as we embark on a decisive phase of our campaign. to collapse control of mosul. with respect to the syrian civil war i want to seek an arrangement if implimenting and get russia pushing it last for a political transition which is the only way to end the syrian civil war. and it's been deeply problematic. let me turn to our second objective. in libya, thanks to u.s. air strikes undertaken at the quest of the government of national accord, isil's territory is now reduced to a single square
kilometers and i'm confident isil will be ejected from there. meanwhile in afghanistan we work with with our afghan parer ins to conduct a large operation against isil over the last two months dealing severe blows and defwrading it space and recruiting and there will be more coming. dod continues to provide strong support to our homeland security and intelligence partner. this is the number one mission of our northern command and we're supporting our partners in three critical ways. first we're ensuring the protection of our personnel and the dod facilities where they work and reside. second, we're disrupting isil external operations and third we're also disrupting the flow of foreign fighters both two and from iraq and syria.
it will not only stem the flow of foreign fiegers but messaging recruitment and spread of its ideology. going forward, the collapse of control are confident that our coalition will achieve will put isil on a irreversible path to lasting defeat. but after that, to take a point that ranking member reid there will still be more. >> political challenges remain. for that reason the stabilization efforts cannot be allowed to lag behind our military progress. that's critical. making sure that isil once defeated stays defeated. a lasting defeat requires strategic patience. and we must be ready for anything and including any
attempts to remain relevant even if only in the darkest corners of the internet. >> let me now address issues tod faces an institution and how you can help. we have three grave concerns related to processes in congressful one, budget gridlock and instability. two, micromanagement and regulation. and we heard all three are sere warehouse concerned but here today how close to the fiscal year and i want to focus on the first.
and often in ways taxpayers can't even see. it baffles our friends and it's strategically unsound and it's unfairly disspiriting to our troops and families and work force and it's efficient for our defense industry partners too. we're now 8 days away from the end of the physical year but instead of stability we're going into fiscal year 2016 with another continuing resolution. this for the 8th fiscal year in a row. that's a deplorable affair. and can do to our institution. and it's where the dollars are.
for example, the cr that goes past december would undermine our plan and quadruple reassurance initiative and at the time when we need to be standing with our native alabama lice and standing up to deter russian aggression. i know you'll return here in november to pass defense appropriations and national defense act and i look forward to working with you then. >> however i cannot support any approach. and not the stability that comes with it. not if it shortchanges the need of our fighters. not if it needs funding lower priorities instead of higher priorities. not if it undermines the ability to pass budget deals that could lead to the imposition of sequestrations 100 billion dollars in looming automatic
cuts to us and not if it acts extra structure that we can't afford to keep ready in the long-term which will only lead to a hollow force. i'm confident and hopeful that we can come together again. today america is fortunate to have the world's greatest military. i know it. you know it and critically are potential adverse tears know it too. only if your help know that the finest fighting force that the world has ever known remains that way for years to come. >> members of the committee, join secretary carter this morning. before offering a brief assessment i'd like to associate myself with the comments made with the service chiefs that
testified before this committee today. and today we have a competitive advantage over any adversary. hah point should not be lost on our allies it should not be lost on our enemies and should not be lost on the men and women of the force and we remain confronted with traditional state activities tors and violent extremism they invest in capabilities that reduce that competitive advantage. also through competition that
has a military dimension that falls short of conflict. examples include russian actions in ukraine. north korea's rattling and activities in the south china sea and activities throughout the middle east. in different ways each of these nations leverage economic coercion and cyber capabilities and unconventional warfare and seeking to avoid a u. s. military response. >> meanwhile they remain a threat to our partners and our allies. as evidence by this past weekend's attacks they seek to radicalize others. in doing so they're seeking to fundamentally change our way of life. the joint forces engage in responding to each strategic challenge. we're focused on adversaries and prepared to respond should they fail.
we also remain to that before they emerge. and i'm encouraged by iraq and syria. we also graded the islamic state capability in libya and west africa and afghanistan. coalition operations supporting ground forces in the chairman mentioned this ranking member reid mentioned this, secretary did, disrupted isil's ability to monitor external attacks and reduce control and limited freedom of movement and many leaders and reduce the resources that are available. most importantly the coalition has begun to discredit isil's narrative and it's aura of invini invincability. we also recognize the need to invest in the future.
we don't have the luxury of choosing between challenges we face today or the challenges we will face tomorrow. to meet tomorrow's requirements we must take action today. an we must develop and enhance the capabilities and space and cyber. and we must also preserve the edge in our conventional capabilities. in the end we must maintain a balanced inventory of capables and capacities to meet the full range of challenges that we will confront. in closing i am concerned about readiness today and i'm more concerned about a competitive advantage in the future. and we will be at this advantage in the future and the committee shares my belief that we should never send our soldiers into a fair fight. thank you chairman. >> thank you very much general. thank you for your come mens
about the testimony of the service chiefs. we appreciated it too. we have shocked or at least surprised or had a conversation with the president of the united states. that's the in my years of service and membership of this committee. and general dunford, in your professional military period, is russian an akiquagmire to syria? >> it's not to my understanding that would not appear to be the case over the last 48 hours, chairman. >> this is not the first time we've had one of these agreements. it's beginning to fit the definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over
again. suppose this fails again, general dunford, what do we do then? what do we do then? we just saw, as you know, evidence of a chemical weapon and we knew that a chemical weapon's factory was functioning. what's plan b. is there a plan b here, or do we just keep going back to the five star hotels in geneva and have meetings with our count -- and come out with various declarations. what do we do if this one fails? >> chairman, we have a wide range of mill options. >> give us one. >> chairman, if i could finish, we have a wide range of military options that we would provide to the president should our policy change. >> is the present policy working? >> against isil, present policy is working. >> syria, with 400,000 people
killed, 6 million refugees, is our strategy in syria working, succeeding? >> with regard to political transition. >> with regards to the whole situation in syria, is our policy working? >> chairman, i would address the policy our focus from a military perspecti perspective -- >> i'm asking is military strategy succeed s? >> as far as you're concerned, we ignore the 400,000 dead and the 6 million refugees that's caused by assad, do you believe that assad will leave power? >> i can't really judge that right now. >> so you can't judge that. >> i can't judge the long-term
projects. >> in your professional military opinion is it a good idea to set up operations with the russians? >> we don't have any intention of having our intelligence share intelligence with the russians. >> that's part of secretary kerry's proposal that we set up operations with russians. >> the u.s. military role will not include intelligent sharing with the russians. >> do you support such an idea that they should share intelligence -- military intelligence information with russia and syria. >> what the president has directed us to do is establish a joint implementation -- >> i was asked for your professional military opinion, not what the president has told you to do. i'm asking in your con fir ration hearings if you would give your professional hearing,
i expect you to hold to that. is it your professional military opinion that it would be a good idea to have an intelligent sharing operation with russia in syria? >> i do not believe idea it would be a good idea to share intelligence with the russians. >> thank you, general. on the issue of sequestration could i just mention, i hope it got the attention of all of my colleagues that everyone of the service chiefs said that presently sequestration puts our men and women who are serving in military and greater risk at the same time the president of the united states is demanding -- is putting the risk to american servicemen and women as the same level as funding for the ea. and so it is just remarkable to a lot of us that we don't take care of the compelling argument of caring -- reducing the risk of men and women who are serving
the military demanding that there be nondefense increases expending at the same time. all i can say is i thank you secretary carter and general dunford. the latest information concerning a chemical shell, obviously, shows that they're doing a lot of things, including a chemical weapons factory which adds a new dimension to the threat to the lives of the men and women who are serving in the military. i still look forward to hearing from secretary carter and general dunford what is the strategy, if the present strategy continues to utterly fail, and frankly i haven't heard that. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary and general dunford, one of the fact that
appears to be influencing, is how do you govern after you militarily succeed, iraqi security forces succeed with iraqi and military assistance. and that triggers the defense like the state defense, iad and others, but the resources they have, it would be -- is it necessary, in your view, that these agencies be robustly funded in addition, because without them you could have a military victory and, essentially, just wait around because they'll come back because you haven't put the politics and capacity. >> it is necessary. i had the defense ministers of the key coalition contributors here to handle a sort of while ago. we went through as we always do the campaign, their role, including the moves to envelope,
which we've now taken. their biggest concern with campaign, at this point, in iraq is exactly the one you knew, namely, is the political and the economic lagging so far behind the military that there's going to be an issue once moezle -- once isil is ejected from muzzle. if i may take a political part in the stabilization reconstruction part. on the political part, this is a question that recurs actually everywhere we go. everywhere we enable forces to defeat isil, the people who live there say that's what's going to happen afterwards, that's something we dealt with falluja, all complicated all different. they're going to be different, too. my understanding and that's just not mine with the chairman's and
the commanders there and also the president -- who are contributing forces, and the isf from the south, for the envel e envelopment and control. our understanding with them which they both adhering to is that neither of the forces that will participate in taking them, should be a hold in government force, they should be local police -- it's mixed ethnicity center and governor of the province is the one they're working with and we're working with. that's a daily exercise through general towns end and for us to keep everybody aligned and focus
on the job at end, which is defeating isil. with respect to stabilization reconstruction, we don't know what the collapse of isil's control of remote will look like. we've had a different experience in different cities. and obviously no one wants to seek the street to street fighting, but you don't know. there could be a larger number of refugees and we're preparing for that, not usaid, you mentioned u.s. government funding, that's essentially. i should say, by the way, that's one of the things i ask our coalition partners. if you don't want to make a military contribution or it's problematic for some historic or political reason for you to make a contribution, a check is good.
essentially you can conduct operation that the real long term effort is political economic relief, refugees support, et cetera, those are funds outside of the policy defense. comprehensive approach to all of requires relief not just for public defense spending but other federal agency, right? >> it is. northern command is critical to defense another united states but without a robust of homeland security, without adequate -- then you can be performing peak efficiency, but the job would not get done; is that right? >> that is true. we count on their support, we support them as well. it's the whole of government
element, defeat of isil. >> do you concur from your perspective. >> i do, sir. >> thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. let me start off by saying we have rules in this committee, we're to get the written statement, 48 hours in advance. we didn't get both of yours until 8:30 this morning. now, we did a lot better with the chiefs last week, in fact general was in 72 hours in advance. i just think it's a good idea to pass on to others before they come in that we really do need to have that to conduct a hearing that's meaningful. when general was here to describe what's needed, he talked about sufficient stable predictable funding in your statement, secretary carter, you let the word "sufficient" out and i'm concerned about this, back during the clinton administration when they were
actually trying to cut 400 out of the budget, we in this committee and sitting in this dice here were able to put 100 back then. general milly said last week, and i think he said it best, he said "the only thing that more expensive than deterrence is actually fighting a war. the only thing more expensive than fighting a war is losing a war" i guess the question is for short answer, is are defense funding levels kept pace with the reality of our environment out there? >> senator, i don't believe they have and that's why we've arctic rated an increased increase requirement and we'll continue to reinforce those areas that we identified for 17 for 18.
we'll turn it over. >> i appreciate it that. do you agree? >> i want to say i agree with general dunford and what the chief said as well, insufficiency belong with instabilities, i'm sorry we left that word out. the point they were making that i would strongly echo is the effects of eight straight years of ending a fiscal year. that is -- has had a serious effect. we've tried to manage through it. we've done our best. that's just not -- >> we've been in support of nuclear triad and had stated the nuclear mission is deadlock of security. today we're spending about 3 to 4% of our budget, however, the long-term plan shows we're going to move up within the decade or some time in the decade to 6 to 7%. the question i would ask is, you know, general dunford actually
modernizing their nuclear weapon, we know what's happening in north korea, you think we should accelerate this that we can reach this 6 to 7% much earlier like now. >> as you know, many of the programs is not just a function of accelerating it's how much time it takes for development. i'm confident that having looked at this very closely, the path we're on and timing of introduction of new programs is about right. it balancing both the budget but more importantly operations for those systems to be introduced. >> i think what you're saying, even if you had more now you could not spend it wisely, you would need it. the course that we're on is adequate, in your opinion. >> senator, that's exactly my assumption. >> all right. that's fine. i was in ukraine after their particle men tri elections, i've never seen -- they were at that time, how proud they were for
the first time in 996 years not having one communist in parliament, and yet, as soon as that happened, people started killing the ukraines and the -- and i would ask you this, secretary carter, is deterrence of russia in europe a policy priority. >> it absolutely is, that's why we quadrupled the insurance initiative. >> i would answer the question, why are we not providing the system. >> that is still on the table. it's been on the table for quite some time. >> more than -- >> i just met with my ukrainian counterpart a couple of weeks ago, great guy, by the way, who has been doing this for a long time and is we've got to work
with. we have training -- have training now. we've moved from their national guard. >> i don't want to be rude, mr. secretary, my time is just about expired. i want to know -- let me ask you, general, durnford, if we were to change the policy, what type of weapon would be right now? you're both fully aware in our defense authorization bill we address this issue, we support lethal defense weapons? >> critical capability ukrainians have identified, include support. >> do you agree with that? >> that's the capability, yeah, i agree with that. >> thank you. i want to join for your very forthright answer it is to our
questions here. general dunford, is there any question in your mind, any doubt that russian planes were responsible for attacking the united states -- the u.n. convoy that was trying to deliver aid to aleppo? >> sir, my -- i don't have the facts. what we know are two russian aircraft were in that area at that time, my judgment would be that they did. there were also some other aircraft in the area that belonged to the regime at or about the same time, so i can't conclusive say that it was the russians, but it was either the russians or the regime. >> well, it sounds to me like you're saying that their responsibility was demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. >> senator, there's no doubt in my mind that the russians were responsible. i don't know whose aircraft actually dropped the bomb. i would associate myself with the comment you made earlier, yes it was the russians that's
responsible. >> which is a war crime. i'm not asking for your legal judgment knowing that you would probably disclaim your expertise as a lawyer, but you would agree with me as a layman, as a military person that that act constituted a war crime. >> it was an unacceptable atrocity, senator. >> would you agree with secretary kerry in intending that what ought to be done, is a grounding of all aircraft in certain areas of syria, including that one. >> i would not agree that coalition aircraft ought to be grounded. i do agree that syrian regime aircraft and russian aircraft should be grounded. >> would you agree with, apparently, the growing strain of thought administration that the syrian kurd should be? >> we're in deliberation about
that. we have provided them support. they are our more -- most effective partner on the ground. it's very difficult, as you know, managing a remgts between our support for the syrian democratic forces and our turkish allies we're working very closely to come up with the right approach to make sure that we can conduct defective and decisive operations and still allay the turkish concerns about the kurd's long term political prospects. >> if those concerns could be allayed and even if they can't be allayed, would you agree that arming the syrian kurds presents an opportunity for us as a military option to be more effective in that area. >> sir, i would agree with that. if we would reinforce the, that would increase the success.
>> in terms of the russian responsibility for what you have absolutely correctly termed "an atrocity war crime in that era" what can kwlieunited states do? what are some of the military options that the chairman asked you about? >> i would prefer to talk to you about military options that might be being discussed as future options the president may have. i think right now managing the russian problem is largely a political diplomatic problem and that's what secretary kerry and the president are dealing with. >> let me turn mr. secretary, you mentioned that there were three areas, the fiscal, the over regulation or micromanaging and much needed reforms, as you characterized them. could you give us your priorities as to what those reforms would be?
>> i have spell -- i have a number of concerns, which i spelled out in great length in letter to the committee and i really look forward to working with you to resolve that. there are a number of them. they're serious concerns that i have for provisions in the bill and i'd like to work all of these, i think, where we have common intentions, work them to a place where i can support an mdaa that the president would sign. that's what i would like to get with you all by the time you return november. >> i'm just about out of time, this topic is immensely important because it involves effective use of resource. we talk a lot about what the levels of resource should be, managing them effectively is very important. as to the syrian conflict to both of you, i don't need to
emphasize how desperately serious, the humanitarian catastrophe is in syrian, the chairman has rightly referred to the numbers killed and displaced is as secretary rightly termed it, probably the biggest humanitarian catastrophe since world war ii and the united states bears the responsibility to use its military forces to stop the bloodshed and the needless and senseless killing of innocent civilians there. so thank you very much for your testimony today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i would share that thought, the situation in syria is a colossle disaster. do not believe it had to happen. i believe a wide statesman could have forseen some of the difficulties we're facing today
and we should have been more cautious and careful in our declarations of how we expect syria to develop over the years. it hadn't developed like president obama projected and disaster has been the situation. with regard to this sequestration issue. mr. secretary, i've tried to contain spending on all our accounts. i've come to believe that we have to have more defense spending and we've exceeded sequestration, i guess, for the last two years. but i guess my question to you is senator mccain has proposed an increase in defense spending, all the items that he proposed are things the defense department have said they need. is it your position -- and is it the president's position that we will not spend that additional money for the defense department, unless, at least, an
equal amount of money is spent on the commerce department, the epa and other government agencies. >> well, speak for myself. what i can't support and won't support is anything that moves towards instability and that means towards sequestration and that means a way from bipartisan ship. we submitted a budget that was consonant with the bipartisan budget agreement. eight months -- >> i understand. >> few months into the bipartisan budget agreement. and -- and i don't control this. i simply -- >> i understand that. so what he's saying in leading the democrats and they're saying not only do we have to bust the budget for the defense department. we have to bust an equal amount for nondefense spending, that's the problem we have today. that's why we don't have a bipartisan agreement. we go on to the next subject. >> there is -- if i may say so,
there is a bipartisan budget agreement. that's what we submitted our budget in accordance with eight months ago. another -- >> avoid government shutdown and the leadership of the president and determination compromises have been reached. i wish we could have supported the defense without going further. mr. secretary, secretary rums field, secretary gates and you have criticized our allies in europe about their unwillingness to even meet their minimum commitments to defense. i suppose you still believe they should meet those minimum standards, do you not. >> yeah, absolutely do. >> and you said that before, but this -- european reassurance initiative, are european official told me, why did not the united states demand that europe increase their defense spending at the same amount
we're increasing our defense spending for europe in the european reassurance initiative. >> well, all i can tell you is, yes, i am in the long tradition, it goes back before -- >> why didn't you not tell the europeans? >> i did. >> we don't have a commitment from them to match that amount of money, do we is this. >> well, it's complicated. because each of them has made a contribution to european reassurance. but in terms of aggregate spending, they have a commitment, which not many of them have met, senator, but a few have. >> 28 countries are at the minimum. >> 2% of their gdp. important major countries in europe aren't even doing that. and that's unacceptable. it means that you're -- too many european militaries have made it themselves incapable of independence. >> i'll just say this --
>> military activity. >> for the last 8 to 12 years they've continued on this and we've said it and nothing has happened. it's time for something to happen from europe. let me ask you, really, about the syrian situation. it's such a disaster. we've got hundreds of thousands of dead, 6 million refugees and i don't see an end in sight on general dunford just said assad is not leaving any time soon. five years ago president said assad has to go and is going. he did not go. and this is all a result of that. so now we're making some progress, i understand, against isis. what kind of agreement, what kind of end do you see, mr. secretary, for this disastrous conflict. what do you foresee and what's our goal. >> we're making progress in the campaign in iraq and syria.
>> no i'm asking what is the goal of the united states of america for syria? >> the goal of united states policy in syria is to end the syrian war, it's been that for a long time. and that means an end to the violence there, and also a political transition from assad to a government that includes moderate opposition and that can run the country. our approach has been political -- >> the problem is, let me ask you this, it seems to me that the problem is that with our support isis is being damaged, but they're not utterly destroyed. it's some sort of peace agreement is reached, some sort of cease fire and the united states and others reduced their presence there, can you assure
us that i isis, the toughest meanest group in syria won't be able to destabilize any government that might be put together. -- our campaign is no not on the table, that is about the russian activity, syrian activity in -- our counter campaign, we are conducting a campaign and we are conducting the right we're making progress in it and -- >> and i don't think secretary kerry is trying to do. again, as we sit here today, it's very problematic about what he's trying to do is exactly what you're calling attention to, namely, to end the humanitarian disaster occasioned by the civil war in syria and to promote a political transition.
>> let me wrap up. my time is almost up. >> and they're not exercising. >> i believe we could have done a better job with safe zones. i'm worried about the area in iraq. i talked to you previously, personally about it. we need an active american policy, a leadership in the world, but we cannot establish all these governments and run them in assure how they'll come out in the end. we can't occupy these countries for decades to try to assure that. that's just not realistic. a wide statesman would have seen the danger in syria. a wide statesman would have seen the danger in libya. a wise statements should have been what could have happened and except for 30 million egyptians going to the public square and driving out the muslim brotherhood, we could have a disaster there. we've got to be more realistic
in our foreign policy. we've got to know what we can do to effect positively the world and what we cannot do. and we're not able to ensure democratic governments throughout this region of the world and we're now facing coloss colossal, humanitarian disaster and it's been bubbling for a number of years and it's no easy solution to get out of it. i wish it were, but it was not. >> an observation about the budget, a year and a half ago we had a bipartisan agreement on the budget number. and then allocations were made to the appropriations committee and they went through their process and i thought, finally, some stability. we can have appropriations, but i'm reminded of an old saying, he's so dumb he could screw up a two-car funeral.
we had the numbers. we had the allocations. we had the agreement and yet here we are to continue in resolution. i think we ought to be -- to be clear about what it is what got us here. there is a dispute on the numbers, that's the kind of things that can be negotiated. if there's $18 billion that's been added and there's like the fbi, for example, that's a legitimate area that reasonable people in an afternoon should be able to figure out. what's really holding things up, as i understand it, are writers that have nothing to do with the budget but policy preferences, a perfect example is the national defense authorization act, which, my understanding is, is now being held up by the safe -- sage grous, that's what's stopping the finalization of the natural defense authorization act. an important issue to a lot of people. i know it's important in the west, but it should not be the
thing that holds up the defense act in support of our men and women all over the world. i think we ought to be clear about what the problem is here, that trying to load on a lot of political baggage to both the appropriations bills and the national defense bill is what has gotten us to this place. the numbers have been agreed on for a year and a half. if we want to increase them, let's discuss that and work out an agreement. that should be easy. but to be holding up this similar to the oh kind of those issues what, my understanding is it's holding up the appropriations process, we're doing continuing resolution, even though we've had a number agreed on for two years -- for year and a half. it's just, you know, this institution, as senator lindsey graham pointed out last week is
one of the greatest threats. he went through litany, more ships out of the ocean than any enemy has done, by our inability to work out what ordinary people on the street would think people ought to be able to figure out in a relatively short period of time. if you can find a question in there, you're welcome to it. >> i would like to say one thing, which is just to repeat that it is on the basis of -- that bipartisan budget agreement and the stability it promised that we submitted our budget. >> right. >> now -- and we figured that was the best the country could do on a bipartisan basis. that's the only way we've had stability in the past. i'm asked about this proposal and that proposal which will depart from that. and my answer is, in all seriousness with responsibility for trying to shep pard this institution, is i have to look
at what i think can be delivered on a stable basis. that was what the bipartisan agreement is and that is the -- that has been the foundation and remains the foundation for a budget submission. we did a very good job, in my judgment, and this is the senior leadership of the department to manage responsibly within that budget. we've done that. that's the budget we submitted months ago. >> mr. secretary -- >> and now the fiscal year ends. so we've played it very straight. >> and my point is, we had a budget agreement and we had a number and we still can't get it done. let me ask an entirely question, we're probably going to deal with a veto of the bill that will allow people to sue saudi arabia, the so-called justice against sponsors of terrorism act. are both of you, do you have concerns about what the effect on our troops, our liability
around the world would be if that bill becomes law? >> let me, if i may say something, first of all, i completely associate myself with the intention of this, which is to honor the families in the 9/11 parished, that is the origin of this and that's -- and that is a worthy one. it is a law enforcement matter and i have to say that we're not the ones who are dealing with it, nor are we -- am i, at least, an expert on it. but you did raise one thing that i'm awir of, which is a complication, that would be a complication, from our point of view, namely that we're another country to behave resip procattily from the united states. that is, i'm told, something
that we in the department of defense should be concerned about and you're referring to that and that's my understanding as well. let me ask the chairman if he wants to add anything. >> the potential the secretary has raised, one that's been brought to my attention, that's my concern as well. >> i think it will be helpful if you can give us more detail on that issue because we're going to be having to make a decision probably next week and i for one want to be sure i understand the full implications of that decision, not only on the victim's families, but also on other united states interests around the world. soy would appreciate it if that could be made available in the next few days. thank you. >> you know, just to briefly weigh in on this funding issue, what's been most disappointing to me is someone who supported
the bipartisan budget agreement, is that the defense appropriations bill passed within that cap set by the bipartisan budget agreement unanimously out of the appropriations committee, so both parties agreed with the funding on defense. then it came to the senate floor and it's been blocked multiple times because it's being held hostage to other issues. so just to be clear, what you're asking for it's there and it's just disappointing to people like me and others here because the priority of defending this nation and having the funding for our troops and what you need to do should be our priority no matter what. so, you know, as i hear this dance, it's obvious, we passed an appropriations bill that was kplee completely bipartisan, so why is it being blocked? i wish we would get it done for you and our men and women in uniform. i wanted to shift gears here and
ask about iran. and general dunford, does iran continue to be one of the lead sponsors of terrorism around the world. >> they are, senator, i described a major export milan influence. >> and are they continuing to test ballistic missiles that is quite troubling to both and our allies and i think in violation of un resolutions? >> they are. >> that's right, senator. >> so one of the things that i want to ask about, recently we learned that the 1.7 billion in cash relief has actually gone that the administration has provided iran, has actually gone directly to the revolutionary guard core. i don't know if you're aware of that and, in fact, the iranian parliament, or their equivalent of their legislative body,
passed a law that essentially said if there was a settlement, a legal settlement from a foreign country, which is how this $1.7 billion has been character rised. would that trouble you that would give them the funding in military. >> i wasn't aware of it. it doesn't surprise me they would have a high pryty for funding inside iran. it's certainly troubling the more effective they'll be in spreading the line of influence. >> one of the things as i look at this, this is our, you know, this relief that we're giving them, they're testing ballastic missiles. the money they're getting isn't going to the iranian people. it's going to their revolutionary guard core that we know promotes terrorism and under minds stability around the world. and yet as i see this situation,
i don't see -- i don't see us taking any steps that we should in terms of being aggressive in coming back, especially, on the ballistic program and their terrorism issue. so what should we be doing, general. >> there's two things that draw your attention to, first is our posture in the central command which is both tour of iran. and also should a response be required. in the fy '17 budget and i expect you'll see similar request in the fy '18 budget. much of what we're focused on is the desire to keep us moving into that area and operating freely within that area. in many of the programs from a cyber perspective, ballistic capability, strike capability, are all designed to deal with the threat of iran in the region. >> so let me just ask you, there's still testing ballastic
missiles, you would agree that's a grave threat in something that needs to be addressed in terms of our security. this is post agreement that they're doing this, agreed. >> that's why we've identified for them as one of the four state challenge that is we've benchmarked. >> one of the things i wanted to ask your thoughts on, general. is that we've learned about this $400 million in cash that iran got that would be included in the 1.7 billion that i reference for release of the american hostages. and did you think that was a good idea, were you consulted about that? >> senator, that would not be something in my lane, so i was not consulted. >> do you think it's a good idea that we should exchange cash to a country like iran, that you've already confirmed is one of the largest state sponsors of terrorism in exchange of hostages? because as i look at the situation, they've taken at least three more american hostages.
>> i just don't know the details of the agreement that was made with iran and what the nature of that money was. on principal, i would prefer we not provide additional resources to iran. >> so on principle, you would rather them not have more money. doesn't it worry you, as we think about exchanging cash with a country like iran, obviously, it was funneled through the european countries, that, in fact, we're going to encourage more bad behavior from iran and we've seen some of it? isn't that something we should be concerned about? >> before whatever arrangement was made and after, i'm under no illusion what iran is intending to do nor are we -- we are mindful of the capabilities that are developing, as well. >> well, i hope -- you know, i've introduced sanctions legislation on -- to address their ballistic missile program. i think this ran some payment issue is just deeply troubling and it's just causing further
bad behavior from iran. i hope that this administration will step up and finally address iran's bad behavior. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you gentlemen for being with us today and joining in the discussion. i would like to start with just a few quick yes or no questions, very brief, please, gentlemen. for secretary carter, did you know that muhammad, the master mind of 9/11 attack and 1993 world trade center attacks, utilitized the philippines for safe haven for their planning and training, yes or no? >> senator, i hate -- i'll try to answer your questions yes or no, depends on whether they lend themselves to that. in this case, no, i was not aware. >> yes, he did use it as a safe
haven during that planning and training? >> general, did you know that operation enduring freedom covered the philippines in order to train and assist those local forces against the philippines against terrorist organizations? >> yes, i did. >> thank you, general. are you both aware that isis released a video this year, encouraging fighters that can't get into syria to head to the philippines? >> i am, yes. >> i am, as well, and i was in ma lnila last week, senator? >> thank you. just like we're witnessing in the middlest east. we've heard much of the discussion, general, i appreciate you spent time in africa as well, dealing with islamic extremist groups, they're also in southeast asia and we are not spending much time talking about that, groups
are now bonding together beneath the flag of isis. yet, we really -- like i said, don't seem to be focusing on this. the philippine forces lost 44 of their special police in a single battle to these terrorist groups last year. 15 soldiers were killed in a single battle just last month. it's clear that this is a very real threat. and president obama admitted that we have under estimated the rise of isis in the middle east and what i fear right now is that we are completely underestimating the rise of isis and southeast asia. so, before the president went to asia last month, i did send a letter to him and encouraged him to visit about how we can counter terrorism and counter isis in that region. i did urge him to bring up this issue with the president. and shortly after that, isis claimed another attack killing
14 civilians. secretary carter, are you concerned with what we see as a rise of isis in southeast asia? >> i am. and i'll say something and ask the chairman also if he would chime in. when i talked act the me tas tis of cancer, southeast asia is clearly a place they apyre to spreading. i talked to our counterparts there who were concerned about it. we worked with them just next week. i'll be convening them in honolulu on a number of issues, but one of them is going to be counter terror. p. i will say indonesia, singapore, you mentioned the philippines and those places. i've spoken to the defense ministers in each of those four countries. they have concerns, particularly
about the possibility that isis could establish a foot hole there. in some places it's troubled in some way and there are places in all of those countries and it could grab hold there. it is very much on our agenda, chairman, please. >> i agree with your assessment in concerns last week, i met with 29 chiefs of defense in the pacific, hosted by the chief of defense of the philippine armed forces. we discussed broadly the threat of extremism in asia and what we need to do to deal with it. to your point there are a thousand firefighters alone. there are hundreds that came from the philippines. other countries, as well, dealing with that issue. i think although it's not very visible. there's a significant amount of activity going on to build capacity of our partners. we're trying to work with them and develop framework in which they could share information. we have an initiative which will
help them understand movement into the sea. we see for example, indonesia associated with the movement of people and so forth, you know, as far as this violent extremist problem. it is a different fight. i call it riermequirement for regional approach. but, we are absolutely putting pressure on isil in southeast asia. we're working very closely with our partners. frankly the limit of the support we surprise is often what they're willing to accept political politically. we'll bring to the question, we are providing some support now to the fill means intelligence support and other support to deal with the extreme problem they have in the south. >> thank you, gentleman. i really want us to ensure that we're not taking our eyes off of that region. we seem to focus very heavily,
as we should, the middle east and africa. we do have other foot holes for is isis. we have five new bases going into the military. i think it's important we capitalize on the opportunity. >> on behalf of the chairman, let me recommend -- >> thank you secretary carter for being here and for your service to the country. at one point before this committee, you indicated that russia poses the greatest threat to the united states. do you still feel that way, if so, can you identify where you think those threats are most concernin concerning? >> i can. i was raised that issue, i was asked before the committee what do i think the most significant challenge of the united states was.
we talked about allstate championship. but when i look at the nuclear capability. when i look at the cyber capability. when i look at their patterns of operations, it's a pattern of operations that we haven't seen in over 20 years. when i look at mr. putin's activities in ukraine, crimea, in georgia, that causes me to say that a combination of their behavior, as well as their military capability, again, in some high end areas would cause me to believe that they post the most significant challenge, the most significant dret i appreciate secretary carter, you're raising the initiative as one of the programs that's threating if we can't agreement and sharon that concern, especially the -- the po senl
resh i'm an eastern -- one of the things that secretary kerry said yesterday is that we should consider grounding all military aircraft in key areas of syria in response to what appears to be a blatant russian bombing that was scheduled to zbo into syria. and they have denied, of course, but i think as we've seen in the past we can't really believe what they say. so i would ask you, secretary carter, do you agree that that is avenue that we could take and what would be the following up position, if they continued to fly aircraft? >> i can't speak for secretary kerry. he is trying to get on the -- for the syrian and russian air force exactly that.
a cessation of hostilities which means a grounding of our aircraft and not continuing to use them, completely colums si way. >> syrian. in the civil sere yar war, there can't be no question of grounding u.s. aircraft that are conducting strikes against isil. we do that. we do that with exceptional precision and care and concern for civilian casualties that no other country can match, and that's true and hold coalition and all the strikes we can conduct. they're not in the same category at all. we need to contain with our campaign. >> and i don't know what the proposal is, but i would not -- first of all, there's no reason to ground the aircraft. we're not barrel bombing
civilians. we're not causing collateral damage. we've had momentum as we've all discussed here earlier today against isil. i think what the secretary is saying, we need to keep the pressure on him. the number one priority that they have to conduct their ability to -- in the cost of taking pressure of isil right now, exposes us to risk that i think is not acceptable. >> in the absence of some other action that we take along with our allies in that area. do you see anything changing the dynamic of the civil war in syria. i mean -- i believe it's going to take some other outside -- some other intervention in order to change direction of this war. and right now, there's nothing happening that would do that.
>> either one of you. the direction in which secretary kerry is trying to put the russians to move is i understand fully the direction they always should have been in syria. that means put not pouring gasoline on it. and not em bolding assad to be -- >> let alone conducting an air campaign, which is -- doesn't adhere to the standards that our does. >> but i'm sorry to interrupt, mr. secretary. i guess i appreciate what you're saying and that should have been russia's position all along. >> that's what secretary kerry is trying to get them to. >> we have had no success after five years of civil war. is i'm asking what other options do we have that might change the
trajectory of what's happening in syria. >> well, i, you know, i'm not going to try to get in the middle of these negotiations. but i think that secretary is trying to find -- a way to achief those objectives. they're the right object tiffs and i have -- but as we sit here today, the russians do not -- and the syrians seem to be moving in that direction, as he said yesterday. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. secretary, i share your regret about the department starting fiscal year with another continuing resolution. i regret the democrats have busted the -- >> i can't take speak to the internal allegations. >> let me just say, we know that
the only way to get budget stability is with everybody coming together. and i see proposals from this side and that side and this committee and that committee and they're all different. we submitted a budget in terms -- just months after a two-year bipartisan budget agreement was agreedful that's what we did. and that is, in my judgment, the only way we can get through stability. so i'm -- i am continuing to support the position of the bipartisan budget agreement. and anything that comes out of the congress that is supported, an appropriation at last for fy 17 -- i hope we get such a thing in the november. the reality is they have to be supported by both parties, both houses and signed by the president. i'm the secretary of defense i can't make all of that happen.
but i know that's what has to happen in order for us to get an appropriation, eight years in a row straight. >> i understand. my time is limited here. do you believe if a bill is passed out of the house of representatives it has a larger dekreens f defense spending that the president should sign that legislation. >> i can't speak for the -- >> mr. secretary, you're the secretary of the united states, you're not the director of the down -- you're not the secretary of housing and development. >> that's -- therefore i can't speak for the needs of those departments. i do know that some of the national security-related departments which are outside -- >> you've stated that testimony. you're here and in other. >> -- need their funding as well. it's not a matter indifference to me. it's not a matter of
indifference whether an appropriation that can be supported by everyone up here so that it passes and passed by the president is done or not. that's what i have to before i'm for getting a budget and for budget stability. i just observe, i'm not a participant, i'm an observer that the only way that happens is not with this proposal and that proposal. it's with a bipartisan budget agreement. that's tf line we tried to adhere to. we're playing it as straight as we can. >> you were the deputy secretary of defense or secretary panetta; is that correct. >> he states "in fact as my efforts to fight the sequester began, a few congressional em drats urge me to exercise tf dangers of cuts. to my amazement, the rest of the cabinet, including members those responsible largely stayed out of the debate. that left me argue for all of
us, which i tried to do even when i found myself alone. had they -- increase of domestic spending in addition to defend spending. >> first of all, i should >> i should say few had the experience with bipartisan budget management than secretary panetta. i don't remember the passage of his memoirs, it sounds like his voice. i've not found myself in the same circumstance, accept i am in the same circumstance he was facing the prospect of sequester. he didn't like it, i didn't like it. i don't think any secretary likes it. >> it's what we've been warning about, it's what our chiefs did, last week and i'm hoping when everyone comes back in november, congress reconvenes, we get an appropriation, that everybody can stand behind.
and that moves the country forward. >> are we in great power competition to china? >> we are. >> are we in great power competition with china? >> we are, absolutely right. one final question, are you engaged in any planning deliberations, internal consultations of any kind to transfer control of the detention facility at guantanamo bay to the department of justice? >> no, i'm not. >> i'm going to take a deep breath. i'm always proud to serve on this committee, because it's an oasis of bipartisanship in the senate. and i hope we keep our eye firmly on our ability to lead in the bipartisan way to get the funding for the military that we really need. including being honest about
budgeting, not putting base budget items in oko, so we can pretend that we're not spending money, because oko is off the budget books. i think the chairman has done a remarkable job to keep us in an honest place as it relates to budgeting, i respect him for his effort in that regard. and i know i speak for many on our side of the aisle, i know we're going to try to work as hard as we can in a bipartisan way, to get the budget done, and make sure we're not trying to come back in six months to fund the war effort because we've played budget games at the 11th hour. my question today, we have 1.3 in the budget for local opposition forces and for the iraqi security forces, i'd like some kind of brief update if i
could, on the screening process. how are we determining who -- i mean, one of our challenges has always been in syria. who do we help and are they really the good guys. and obviously we had one massive failed attempt to try to put together a force on the ground and now i know we've gone back and i was in jordan and visited with the leaders over there working with smaller groups, and making sure they're doing the right thing. if you could briefly talk about how we are doing the screening process for those resources, i'd appreciate it. >> i'll start, and thank you, and basically, it is as you say, namely, we have the same vetting process going on, and i'll ask the chairman to describe that. the training program that was a disappointment when it started,
is now -- we have changed completely our approach to it, it is as you describe, namely not trying to create de norv vow forces that will go in and oppose isil, but identifying forces that are and then enabling them, that has been successful, but we're going to continue to do that, it does involve vetting to our standards which is required of us, the program has changed. it needed to change, it did change. i should thank the committee in the spirit for their budgetary support in a timely way to our requests. if i had asked the chairman also. >> the mechanics, first individuals we are working with -- we do biometrics, we do a detailed interview process, we
watch closely to behaviors, our leaders over the last several years have been very very good at literally separating as we go through the process of growing. forces in iraq, tribal forces in iraq. so the vetting process, i think is fairly sophisticated, it's built on 15 years of lessons learned right now. some intangibles that include tribal leadership, behavior, those kinds of things. >> i also wanted to -- both of you, i appreciate your continued commitment in the area of sexual assault i know we have put a lot on the military. there are hundreds of changes we have made over the last few years, to the uniform code of military justice, i did want to hone in on one area, as we looked at all of the reports in the last year, lots of good news
incidents down, reporting up. you issued a report in april that highlighted standardizing the definition of retaliation because it is tough. in the eye of the person who's being retaliated upon, and getting a standard definition i think is really important. we put in this year's ndaa a retaliation to find out -- what kind of progress are you making to come up with the standard retaliation in this context. >> let me begin by thanking you and all the members of this committee for bearing down on this problem. i'm really proud of the way our forces conduct themselves. but there are people who don't connect themselves. and we can't have, it's
objectionable anywhere in society, but in the profession of arms it's particularly objectionable. i very much appreciate your efforts, you're right, retaliation is something that we have gun to realize is a dimension of this problem that was under attended. we had done good work at the law enforcement part, attending to victims and at prevention. retaliation, the reason why definition a.m.ly it's complicated, but we'll get there, is that there are a number of different ways retaliation takes place, some of them quite subtle but serious, one is, you know, a superior who holds it against somebody that they reported a sexual -- >> which is completely unfair. a little more indirect is people who are getting taunted. >> social -- >> via social media and so forth. we need to define these in such a way that they're legally
appropriate which you would understand, but also covered the full gamut of things that a common sense retaliation would approve. it is complicated and we'll get there. >> how soon do you think you'll get there? >> i believe that the update is due by the end of the year, of this year, i did the report that i submitted to you, earlier this year we should be able to get that done, and we'll communicate that to the committee and get your views. >> thank you, both. >> i'd just like to point out if it were not for the work of the women on this committee in a bipartisan basis, we would not have achieved the results we have, and i'm deeply appreciative for the bipartisan effort that's gone on and continues to go on in this
committee to address an issue that you know is still with us. maybe to a lesser degree, but is still with us. senator, tell us. >> good morning, gentlemen. >> i want to go back to the comments that senator ayotte made about, i was someone else who supported the bipartisan budget agreement, very disappointed that on three different occasions, the defense appropriations bill has been filibustered, not talking about any other discussions about appropriations. you're familiar with our defense appropriations bill, right? the one that's been filibustered on three different occasions. do you each of you think passing that bill would be helpful? >> well, i'm going to go back to where i started, which is, there's no particular bill. i'm aware of three or four
different versions. >> are you familiar with the measure we've tried to get on in the chamber on three different occasions? >> i'm aware of several different measures, both in the senate and the house. >> this is a specific thing we're trying to get on, and the chamber of the senate. are you familiar with the bill that passed out of appropriations -- the defense appropriations bill that we tried to get on in the chamber? >> i'm aware of the one that came before, yes. >> are you -- >> is someone on your staff familiar with an appropriations bill that we're trying to get on in the senate chamber. >> i'm sure they are. >> what would they generally say about the passage of that bill with respect to you being able to complete your commission. >> i think what they'd say is that if the senate and the house pass an appropriations bill, that comports -- that the president can sign we will get an appropriations bill.
>> general dunford are you familiar with -- >> senator, i'm not familiar with the details. >> do you know with your service chiefs or anyone else that they think would be helpful to pass that bill? >> have you received any feedback? this is a specific measure. this isn't a concept, it's something that's gone through the appropriations process, something we want to pass, that gives you certainty that's within the constraints of the bipartisan budget agreement. >> we do not ask the uniformed military for their opinion on issues that are political in nature. >> fair enough. >> let me go to something else. >> it seems odd to me that we can't get a straight answer on something. at least on the political side, i understand that. from the second on something this specific to helping provide the certainty that we want to provide the department. i want to go a completely different direction. general dunford, maybe i'll ask
you, back in january, we had iranians fire missiles within about 1500 yards of the harry s. truman, later in the same month, we had patrol boats captured. do you think the commander who surrendered met -- that dicta dictates -- are there other factors that are important now. >> the fact that it's going through the etmj answers your question. >> another subject, this has to do with isil. you said we need to keep the pressure on isil. >> do you feel like we've adequately addressed, keeping pressure on isil, when you talk about libya, egypt and other
areas, where they seem to be and senator ernested talked about the philippines. >> we have a military strategy to deal with isil differently. we have on going, and we don't have an opportunity often to talk about it, but we have ongoing operations in west africa. we have ongoing operations in libya. we have ongoing operations in east africa, of course, in iraq, we've spoken much about that today. we have ongoing operations in afghanistan. we're working and i just spent this weekend with a large group of my counterparts to look at counter isil, i'll have almost 50 chiefs of defense here in october to discuss this. this is, in fact, what you're
suggesting, a trans regional problem that will require a global response. one of the key drivers of our success will be a broader intelligence and information framework within which we can harness all of these information. am i satisfied or complacent with where we are? no. do i believe we have a strategic framework in which to deal with isil? yes. >> thank you. >> thank you for your public service. would either one of you like to characterize the resurgence of the taliban in afghanistan. >> it is the fighting season in afghanistan, the afghan security forces have done well this season, the taliban has been
strong. the afghan security forces are much stronger this year than they were last year, they continue to gather strength, general nicholson is doing a great job of helping them with that, we made some decisions, the president made some decisions which gave general nicholson a wider scope, to advise assistance. the afghan security forces, the president made a decision to adjust upward our presence there next year. we're continuing to go forward with the aviation and other enablers for the afghan security forces, the process, which has been under way for some years to build the afghan security forces to a point where they can maintain the security of their country and afghanistan, doesn't become a place from which terrorism -- that is our program. that's what we've been trying to accomplish. i should turn it, we -- that o
progre progress. >> there's no doubt that the afghan national security forces have had some challenges over the past 18 months when they've been in the lead and we've trained an assist mission. our assessment is that they continue to control about 70% of the country. they're taking far more casualties than they're comfortable with. and they have capability gaps, aviation enterprise. and of course broadly at the minister, defense minister interior level. that's our focus now. to further develop those capabilities. as well as the sack tickal set backs. i would call what's going on right now, between the afghan national defense security forces and the taliban as roughly a stalemate, the taliban had not been successful in achieving the
goals that were outlined in their campaign plan, which they typically make public in the spring of this year. on balance, the afghan forces are holding. continue to grow their capability. they will be able toe provide security in afghanistan. as secretary carter said, as importantly, we'll be able to maintain an effective counter terrorism presence in conjunction with our afghan partners. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thanks to both of you for all you do to keep us safe and our country free. your service and sacrifice are deeply appreciated. >> late last week there was a video that surfaced, a video that appeared to show the free syrian army threatening and
insulting american service members. forcing them to leave the town where they had been providing assistance to the fsa. analysts who studied the video believe the incident occurred because the u.s. is also supporting kurdish forces in syria. secretary carter, have you seen this video, and can you confirm reports that it appears to have taken place? >> i've not seen the video. i've read reports about it, let me ask chairman dunford who has followed that closely. >> it took place in northern syria, i'm familiar with it, i didn't watch the video, i have spoken to our commanders about it. what i can assure you is, that the group was taken some action against our forces, at least verbally, was a small minority, the forces we're supporting.
that incident was policed up by our other partners. we view that to be an isolated incident. and not reflective of the relationship that our forces have with the opposition forces. i think the relationship is very effective. >> what's the level of tension that you're seeing between some of the sunni arab rebel groups that we're assisting on the one hand and on the other hand the kurdish groups that we're also supporting in syria, is that -- is there tension there, and could that tension and the resentment it engenders possibly threaten the security of our personnel. >> it's incredible tension in that region. i would offer to you, it's a testimony of professionalism of our forces that are there, because they have been managing this tension for months and
months. and the fact that we've been able to continue to support the syrian democratic forces. continue to support the vetted syrian opposition forces, we politically managed the relationship between turkey and the syrian democratic forces and the united states is all -- it is all part of a pretty complicated situation on the ground over there, that we are managing on a day to day basis. i'm not dismissive of the challenges, but frankly, to date, we have been able to mitigate them. >> yesterday as i'm sure you're both aware, there was some discussion of our broader support of saudi arabia's intervention in yemen. this is a headline from november 2014, they will continue their fight until al qaeda is defeated in their strong holds. secretary carter, you stated on april 8th, 2015 regarding new
gains being made by al qaeda, in the arab peninsula, aqap is a group we're concerned with, as the united states, because in addition to having other regional ambitions and ambitions within yemen. we all know that aqap has the ambition to strike western targets. your quote was made roughly one month after the u.s. supported intervention against the rebels who four months before had been pushing back against aqap. now, i understand the complexity of the conflict in yemen, i appreciate the fact there are no easy answers when it comes to that conflict in yemen. mr. secretary, do you do -- do aqap and other sunni extremist
groups still pose the greater threat to u.s. security? >> i absolutely stand by what i said. we continue to watch very closely aqap and take action where we need to to protect ourselves, no question about it. >> does our support of the fight against the huthis who are aqap's enemy. does that threaten potentially inadvertent inadvertently take the focus off of isis? >> we've not taken our focus off of aqap, no. >> you look like you wanted to add something. >>. >> i fully agree with the secretary, we are singularly focused on aqap and we have the resources dedicated to aqap that we think are appropriate. >> mr. secretary, are the
huthi's backed by the iranians? >> yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> would you like me to proceed? >> thank you. >> mr. secretary. general i want to get your input on something i asked each of the service chiefs last week. in the ny 15, we passed a requirement from the jacob sexton act for every service member to receive a robust mental health assessment every year, can you give me an update on where the department is with implementation of the sexton act? mr. secretary-general? >> i'll need to get back to you specifically on that assessment, i would like to say something more generally about mental
health and sobriety if i may. >> that's fine. >> i appreciate your interest in it. if it happens, it is suicide prevention month this month. we do have suicide in our services, and we do believe that suicide is preventable. that's what the doctors tell us, this is something that is preventable. and, therefore, it belongs in the family of things that we do to take care of our troops and ensure their welfare. we're spending more. and i can get you the numbers on that, we have over the last few years increased several fold. are spending on mental health treatment, specifically aimed at suicide. and trying to remove the stigma,
associated with seeking mental health care. and also emphasizing the need for other service members to watch out for one another. one of the things we know is, there's usually somebody who spotted the behavior that looks -- that can lead to suicide, self-isolation, depression, odd things on social media. we're trying to tell everybody to watch out for their fellow service members. >> chairman? >> i know -- >> we can certainly get that. that's largely a service chief responsibility. not something i pay attention to on a day to day basis, i've been very involved in the mental health issues over the last several years. >> this was signed into law december 2014. it's about 2 years now, do you
expect do see this fully implemented in the next year? >> i do. the percentage of the force that has it right now. >> i understand that. i know it takes time to ramp up. do you think 2017 is the year that this can get fully implemented? >> i think that's a realistic time line. >> mr. secretary. >> i absolutely concur, we'll meet that time line. >> to both of you. i wanted to talk a little bit about broader counter terrorism strategy. if four months we're going to have a new commander in chief, and preventing the next attack on our homeland and addressing the persistent conflict and instability in the middle east is going to be one of the pressing complex challenges. how would you advise this concern about our counter terrorism strategy, how would you inform that next commander
in chief how to move forward at this time. there's a number of areas, looking forward, how would you talk to them about our counter terrorism strategy as we head into a new administration. >> i'll start and turn it over to the chairman. we need to continue to press on all fronts. we can't let up. whether it's in the counter isil campaign, in syria and iraq, elsewhere and here at home, aqap was mentioned a moment ago, that's a serious one. >> and so our capabilities, our military capabilities our law enforcement capabilities all of this which we've honed now in the years since 2001, this is not going to go away. this phenomenon to defeat isil.
there will be terrorism in our country's future. >> if i could ask you a question -- i apologize, i'm running out of time here. and you may have answered this earlier. had it come in and go out, but raqa. when do you, and not obviously a single date how is this moving forward. i know a significant amount of the flow has been cut off. where do we stand in raqqah. >> i do see progress, we're working in that part of syria with the syrian democratic forces. they're the group with which we worked in -- as you indicated, successful
successfully, others associated with them, will be the force that envelopes and collapses isil's control. at the same time, i emphasize and the chairman already stressed this, we're working with the turks also, our good ally, very strongly. also in northwest, in the northwestern part -- portion there. and obviously they have difficulties with one another. but in each case we support them -- >> on behalf of everyone in indiana, the families and others too. when we go to raqqah, we lost some young men and women there who were killed by isil. we want to have them come home. we don't want to leave anyone behind. my young man, peter cassik,
kayla mueller, so manier os. not to leave any names out. all the parents and all the folks back home, we want them all to come home. we sure appreciate your assistance in making that happen. >> thank you for bringing that issue up, they should come home. >> senator graham? >> thank you both for your service to the country. >> do you support the arms sale to saudi arabia? that's being proposed? >> i do, yes. >> are you concerned we could be creating an environment where something like this could be used against our troops down the road? >> that is a law enforcement matter, but we are watching it closely for the very reason. >> do you support the
president's veto -- >> i'm concerned about exactly what you're talking about. >> fair enough. >> i'll talk, i'll write you a letter more in detail, i understand your concerns. do you support arming the syrian kurds? >> i do support working, continuing to work with them, yes. >> do they know -- >> i didn't say work with them, providing them -- >> we have provided them some equipment already. and they are part of the syrian democratic forces. we haven't taken any specific decisions about that, and -- but they are -- >> the answer is yes, you support arming the kurds more? >> i support whatever is required to help them move in the direction of raqqah. >> which would be providing them more arms? >> what about you? >> senator, it's important i say a couple things about this. they're the most effective force we have right now.
we have sufficient forces to be able to secure and seize raqqah. >> do they support removal of assad? >> today that is not their stated political objective. >> wait a minute, slow down. we have two objectives, to destroy isil, and to remove assad. is that correct? both of you? >> we have a military objective to destroy isil. i do not have a military objective to -- >> the president has an objective of -- >> he has a political objective -- >> do you agree with me assad is winning right now? >> i think assad is clearly in a much stronger place than he was a year ago. >> you've always been very honest to this committee. >> do you agree that obama will leave office and assad will still be in power january 17? >> i don't see a path right now where assad wouldn't be in office. >> let's talk about how you change the political equation. do you agree with me that the
only way assad's ever going to leave, if there's some military pressure on him, that makes the threat militarily more real to him? >> i think that's a fair statement. >> if the main fighting force is not signed up to take assad out, where does that force come from? >> senator, i can't identify that force, i want to distinguish between what you're suggesting with assad and raqqah. my number one priority is to stop the planning and conducting of external operations. >> totally get it. >> moving forward against raqqah. >> let's look at it this way. isil's germany and assad's japan. will this force which is mainly kurd. can they liberate raqqah and hold it? >> no. >> we currently have 14,000 arabs that have been identified and when --
>> is that the holding force? >> that may consist of part of the holding force. >> do we have a plan to hold raqqah. >> i want everyone to know where we're at in syria. we're making gains against isil. the main force we're using are kurds that can't hold raqqah. the kurdish force which is the main center of gravity at this point is not interested in putting military pressure on assad. other than that we're in a good spot. you didn't create this problem, years ago, most of you recommended we recommended the free syrian army where it mattered. i want to make sure the country knows what's going on in syria, is going to be inherited by the next president, if there's not a change in strategy, you create a ground component that can hold raqqah.
russia, did they bomb this convoy? >>. >> we -- that hasn't been concluded, but my judgment would be that they did. >> they're certainly responsible. >> do you agree with me, and we've been friends for years, i'm sorry it's so contentious. >> what should we do about russia, who was given notice about this convoy, if they bombed a convoy delivering humanitarian aid. what should we do about that? >>. >> if -- >> put it a little more harshly. and the chairman said this earlier, the russians are responsible for this strike. whether they conducted it or not. they have taken responsibility for the conduct of the syrians by associating themselves with the syrian regime. what they're supposed to do, and what secretary kerry has been
pursuing diplomatically is to get a true cessation of hostilities and get assad to move aside in a political transition. >> they're not doing their part? >> that is what secretary kerry is trying to achieve. is that difficult, does it look, in the last few days like that's the direction it's headed? no, and he said as much, but that's what he's trying to accomplish. >> do you think the russians are being helpful? my time is up. have they been more -- do you think the russians bombed this convoy? most likely? >> last question, is there a plan b in terms of if diplomacy fails. >> regarding assad. >> we have done and will continue to do a wide range of planning. should the president change the policy objectives, we'll be prepared to support those.
>> senator fisher. >> thank you gentlemen for your service. >> secretary carter, you stated that the united states will not ignore attempts to interfere with our democratic processes, which i believe is in reference to the recent cyber attacks on political parties, candidates and election systems. by that do you mean that costs will be imposed on those responsible for these attacks? >>. >> it's sadly, the reference is a broad one, i made it in europe. and was speaking to that audience. very broadly to include the issue you stated, but which is a concern they all have, we have nato. the broader category is called hybrid warfare.
it's a concern i was discussing with allies when i was over there part of the way nato is going to have to adapt to the world. yes, we're going to have to defend ourselves. >> cost would be imposed for cyber attacks? >> that's like any other attack. >> do you think that with regards to cyber, this should be done in a way that penalties are visible to other potential attackers in the future? >>. >> i think that we need to defend ourselves and then take action against perpetrators when we identify them and that in -- is an appropriate way, i mean that because the perpetrators are of cyber attacks range from, and cyber intrusions range from nation states to cut outs, to
hackers to criminal gangs, it's quite a varietyp p and it's why our highest priority in cyber, including in our cyber command is defense of our own networks. >> it has been widely reported that russian hackers are responsible for the penetration that we've seen at the democratic national committee. when we look at the leaks, irguess the questions continue to persist regarding the strength of that connection between the hackers and russian officials. and it is generally accepted that the affiliation exists. if this is true. that there is this connection out there, what is clear is that it's a -- to me, another public instance.
this time, using cyber, where russia continues their aggression toward this country and toward our interests. and when we have an adversary who so brazenly strikes at the heart of our democratic process. i think that indicates how low they believe the cost of that behavior's going to be. in other words, i think we've possibly lost the deterrence factor when it comes to cyber attacks. would you agree with that? >> we can't lose. deterrents affect ever, and with respect to russia, it is -- one of the reasons -- one of the emphasis, stresses we made in our budget, and by the way, this is one of the reasons why we would appreciate having our
budget passes as is. is because it prioritizes something we haven't had to do as you're stressing, for a quarter of a century, which is -- it used to be, we haven't had as a major component of our defense strategy countering the possibility of russian aggressi aggression, now we do. that's why we're making investments, and it ranges from cyber to the european reassurance initiative, which is one of the things that we hope doesn't get affected in. >> i apologize for interrupting you, the chairman's strict on time. >> dealing with cyber, do you have plans that you have given to this administration or plans available to provide the administration with flexibility and dealing with cyber?
specifically, how do we address such attacks, whether they're from the nation state, organized crime, or whether they are from individuals? are there plans out there on how these attacks are going to be addressed whether through deterrents or actual actions and are those plans updated as we continue to see the expansion of cyber attacks on this country. >> that's a very good question, and we're just discussing here. there's many aspects to the answer to this, there are cyber command, and we're generally, for the russians, let me ask the chairman to add something. >> for exactly the reason you're raising, we're in the process of rewriting at the secretary's direction, a more broad framework for dealing with russia. it's also the reason why our national military strategy now
will be a classified document, what we're trying to do is provide a strategic framework to deal with the full range of behavior we may see from a state like russia, china, north korea and iran. in some cases, a cyber attack, may not be get a cyber response. there's really two things the strategic framework we're working on, and we're working on a full range of tools so that we have the ability to protect our own network, and to take the fight to the enemy in cyberspace as required. i would tell you that the issue you're outlining, is being addressed in a strategic framework as well as physical tools we're developing. it's not just focused on cyber it's focused on providing the secretary and president a full range of options with which to respond in the event of an
attack. >> thank you for that. i think the deterrent aspect of cyber response is very important, that we keep that, and also that public responses make an impression as well. thank you, sir. >> senator, sullivan. >> last week, as you know, we had the service chiefs testifying, i began my comments commending you and the president for the selection of such men and women of high caliber, high integrity, leading our military, including the current chairman. and one of the reasons they typically give this committee and the american people honest testimony, an example of that was last week. i asked what the risk level was our nation faced in being able to conduct a full spectrum of operations, including one conventional conflict.
and each service chief said this would entail high military risk for their service. each service chief, which i found remarkable and distressing. do you know if that's ever happened before, where all four service chiefs have stated that we currently exist at a state of high military risk for our forces, a lot of death for our military if they have to go into this kind of spectrum of ops. is this unprecedented? >> i don't know if it's unprecedented. over the last several years, i think all the chiefs before me assumed that responsibility had been articulated, the risk of readiness challenges that date back as far as 2005. >> you agree i assume the assessment of each service chief, we face high military
risk? >> i don't agree that we have. >> the one thing i think -- i would like to say, and then answer your question is, we today can defend the homeland. we today can meet our alliance responsibilities, and we have a competitive advantage over any of those 4 plus ones i spoke about. i associate myself with the chiefs, when we talk about the time and the casualties that we take as a result of readiness shortfalls we have today. >> you think high military risk is acceptable? >> i did not say that for one minute. >> so -- >> what i want to do is communicate to those who are listening, both in the force and our potential adversaries to make it clear that our judgment is the u.s. military can dominate any enemy in a conflict. >> mr. secretary, the four service chiefs talked about high military risk. again, i thought that was
remarkable i don't know if that's ever happened before this committee before, but it begs the question we've been talking about in this hearing today. how can we not -- how can the president not support increased military spending. >> first time since 2002, the american people support more military spending. if the service chiefs are each saying, we face high military risk, how can we not be supportive of additional military spending. >> i don't -- i don't understand that at all. >> first of all, let me thank you, and associate myself with your commendation. we're blessed as a country. to have such people serving us. and they told it to you straight and i too associate myself with what they said.
the risk -- they each did that for you. there are -- it's different in each of the services, one has been budget instability. which is why i am and will continue to hugh to the idea that we need budget stability. and that means everybody coming together. >> mr. secretary. >> let me finish. eight times in a row. that's going to have an effect. >> you have the minority leader, filibuster the defense appropriations bills, six times in the last year and a half. we're trying to make that happen. and we're all trying to make that happen. >> let me go on. there's another thing that's of substantive importance, other than the budget instability the
last few years, that is the services, and i think you mentioned general milli, he is trying to move to full spectrum, exactly the words you used, from an army that we dedicated almost wholly in terms of forced structure to the coin fight that is we had to conduct in iraq and syria. the army's been resourcing them heavily. now he's trying to get his forces trained for full spectrum combat. i think as he said to you, that's a matter of budget stability it's also going to -- it's a matter of time. and he's working on it. that's his highest priority, and i agree with him. he's trying to get all his brigade combat teams to go through the nellis. if we go to the marine corps,
and i know the general spoke to you about that, their highest readiness priority is in their aviation, and there are a lot of different dimensions to that one, one is the recap of their aviation. coming down the line. with the navy, it's mostly a matter of ship maintenance. and admiral richardson is working on that. in the air force, the air force continues to have readiness challenges which are associated partly with budget instability. but mostly with the high tempo of the air force, we're working the united states air force really hard in that air campaign over iraq and syria. it means that air wings are constantly rotated in and out. when they come back, they have to go back in for readiness training.
so in the budget we submitted for fi-17. we said this, readiness and resourcing are the readiness plans of each of the services was our highest priority. there's no question about it there's risk there, we need stability and priority in order to work through it. we need stability from you, we'll give it priority, and i totally support the chiefs and what they told you last week. >> mr. secretary, the impression that was given by the service chiefs was, it comes down to readiness training, spare parts, all the things that go when you have budget cut backs, we've seen the movie before. although as you pointed out, each individual's service has
some specific needs, it all comes back to funding for operational readiness and training which is always the first to go, and that's obviously, when we have u.s. pilots flying less hours per month than chinese or russian pilots, there's something fundamentally wrong, and i know you agree with that. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for being here today. thank you for your testimony on the critical national security threats facing our country. the last seven years we've had an administration that has in many ways neutered itself and ignored one transgression after another from our enemies. our adversaries are continuing to increase their bridge rans. iran has received no meaningful repercussions for seizing american sailors and endeavoring
to humiliate them. and has since increased their aggressive tactics and harassment of u.s. navy vessels operating in the golf. russia has been ramping up the pressure on our military previously flying within 30 feet of a war ship. instead of treating these assess ka la tory acts. secretary kerry rewarded russia by agreeing to share intelligence in syria. these examples don't even touch on a rainy and north korean efforts to develop their ibcm efforts. sadly this week's terror attacks in new york, minnesota, new jersey, demonstrated that radical islamic terrorism continues to threaten our safety. by any reasonable estimate, we can conclude that our national security interests are at serious risk.
i want to thank both of you for your service during a pivotal and dangerous time in our nation's history. for your leadership of our men and women in uniform. i want to ask you starting with iran. what is and what should be the response to escalating the bee lidger answer and threats. >> thank you very much. >> you hit them all. the five parts of our military strategy that are reflected in what we're trying to get in our budget, namely counter isil. iran. north korea, russia, and china. all of those present very different but serious challenges that have a serious military
dimension. with respect to iran, notwithstanding the nuclear deal that was good in the sense that it removed if implemented faithfully, removed nuclear weapons from our concerns about iran. it did nothing to alleviate other concerns we have. their malign for terrorism. and this is why to give you one answer to your question. i'll ask the chairman to pitch in. why we have a ready presence and the gulf gets back to our ready discussion. it's not just about isil. we have a big op tempo to defeat isil. it takes a lot to do that. readiness consumed doing that we are standing strong in the gulf, that means defending our friends and allies defending our interests, and countering
iranian malign influence, it is an enduring commitment of ours. >> i think from a military perspective, there's three things we need to do. we need to make sure that the inventory of the joint force can deal with iranian challenges that range from ballistic missile offense to the influence you spoke of earlier. we need to make sure that we're going to sail, fly and operate wherever international law allows us to. number three, as the secretary said, we need to have a robust presence in the region that makes it clear that we have the capability to deter and respond to iranian aggression, those would be the three elements we need to have from a military perspecti perspective. to give the president whatever options he may need to have. >> in your judgment, was flying $1.7 billion in unmarked cash to give to the iranian government
incentivizing positive behavior from iran? >> i'm not trying to be evasive, i don't know the details of that arrangement, and it was a political decision that was made to provide that money, i don't think it's appropriate that i comment on that. >> let me ask it this way. i spoke yesterday to pastor abadini, one of the american hostages held in iran. he described how his captors told him, they were going to wait until the plane load of cash landed. if it didn't land he wasn't flying out. when $400 million touched down in cash, they allude him to fly out under any ordinary use of language, that would seem to be a payment of ransom, does it concern you if the united states is in the business of paying ransom. the incentive we face for future terrorists and future terrorist
governments to attempt to kidnap and hold for ransom americans. >> let me jump in here for the chairman. >> we weren't involved in this this was the settlement of a legal case and the -- the longstanding i don't know all the details of it and the chairman and i were not involved in that, it was a decision that was taken by the law enforcement and the diplomatic -- >> i appreciate that, but i would like an answer from general dunford to the military question, whether in his professional military judgment it concerns him the precedent of paying ransom to americanfor am terrorists. >> our policy is that we don't pay ransom for hostages, that's held us in good stead in the past.
i don't know the arrangements that were made in this particular case. i can't make a judgment as to whether or not that's what we did. all i've done is read the open source reporting on that. >> thank you. >> give general sullivan a chance to ask one more question. >> indeed. >> i wanted to turn to the issue of the south china sea, and the international ruling of the hague put china on the defensive. we've been supportive of your efforts and i want to give the administration credit for sending two carrier battle groups to the region together recently. i think a number of us remain concerned about the likelihood of reclamation. and the ongoing, it's definitely ongoing from all the reports
mill tarization, mischief reef which was also declared as not being within china's territorial realm. what's the strategy to deter future chinese reclamation activities in the south china sea what's the plan to respond to on going mill tarization of the land they've already claimed. >> thanks, senator, i'll start and the chairman can join. i'm actually glad you raised the issue, we haven't talked much about the asia pacific. you know a great deal about it, i appreciate that chairman mccain always leads a delegation out there. it shows the persistence of the american presence of the region, and the centrality of our continued presence there. now, what we have stood for there now for many, many years and continued to stand for and
the reason why so many countries associate themselves with us, and increasingly so, we stand for principal. one of those is the rule of law. the decision did come down, and our position -- we didn't take a position, that disputes themselves, we do supports the decision of the court, china's rejection of that is having the effect what's the reaction to all of this. the countries wanting to do more with us, and we like building the security network there, we're not trying to do that against china, if china chooses to exclude itself in this way, this is the development that occurs, we're working more with each and every country there. we find them increasingly coming
to us and we're continuing to operate there, and last i guess i should say, in terms of investments in addition to putting a lot of our forced structure there, that we're familiar with i'm thankful that your state hosts some of that. we're making a number of qualitative investments and that's one of the things that's reflected in our budget, and one reason why we hope that in addition to funding our budget, we -- nobody shuffles around in our budget stuff that we new stuff that is oriented toward the high end for old forest structure, we've seen a tendency toward that. we're reacting in a number of ways toward our own activities and investments. the most important thing that's going on is in the region its f itself. >> i think a response to the challenge you identified is
going to include diplomatic action. right now, the diplomatic peace is not the most important. we need to recognize the military in the south china sea, and our plans need to be adjusted accordingly. we need to continue to fly, sail and operate where national law allows. we need to make sure that our posture in the pacific assures our allies and deters any potential aggression by china and makes it clear that we have the wherewithal within the alliance and u.s. capabilities to do what must be done if we provide the president with clear options, we will have done our job, primarily, right now, i think the president is -- has some diplomatic issues where also contribute to moderating china's behavior. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. let me say that i hold both of these witnesses in high regard, i appreciate their distinguished career of service, i do have a a statement by secretary carter followed by a question. mr. secretary, in his farewell speech to the u.n. general assembly, president obama stated there is no ultimate military victory to be won in syria. as a member of this committee for many years, i find this assertion to be astounding. our chairman and i have made repeated admonitions over the years, that decisive action nieds to be taken against president assad. >> the president delivered his now infamous red line statement in which he said, we have been very clear to the assad regime, that a red line for us as we start seeing a bunch of chemical weapons moving around or
utilize. that would change my calculation, my equation. a year later, disregarding the council of your predecessor the president cancelled air strikes against assad, who had unleashed sarin gas on his own people outside of damascus, and continued his gruesome use of barrel bombs on civilians this dramatic demonstration of weakness left a vacuum that was seized by president putin, we are now faced with an enduring quagmire. president obama's stunning remark that there is no victory, belies the obama foreign policy that has ignored and belittled the advice of our foreign leaders. the president issued a memo yesterday ordering you and general dunford to consider climate change during our process. we dealt with multiple terrorist attacks on our shores.
last night we heard that isil may have launched a chemical attack on our troops. it boggles the mind that the president would issue such an order during this critical time in our history 400 civilian deaths in syria, i wonder what the carbon footprint of these barrel bombs would have been that we could have prevented had we acted decisively. i have the highest regard for you as an individual as i've already stated. and i thank you for your service. i wish you had been given the appropriate authority by the president to turn this administration's misguided policy around. i was hear when this hearing began at 9:30. you've all been very patient with your answers, and i know you've discussed this already mr. secretary. at this point, toward the end of this hearing, is there anything else you'd like to add in
response to what i've said. it seems the president is more resolved now than ever to forgive his 2012 promises. what's your recommendation as to the future of the assad regime? what about the president's -- what about your statement during confirmation as the president has said, assad has lost his legitimacy and cannot be part of the long term future of syria, is that statement still operative? >> i think it is i'll just give a general answer to you -- to your general question. it was discussed earlier, and even though we are going to be i'm confident military successful against isil. in so far as the syrian civil war is concerned, the violence can't end there until there's a political transition from assad
to a government that is decent and that can govern the syrian people and put that tragically broken country back together. that doesn't look in sight now, it is what we talked earlier about, secretary kerry's trying to make arrangements to promote. it is -- that's necessary for the resolution of what is as you say, very tragic situation. let me see if the chairman wants to add anything. >> let me just ask this if you don't mind. >> it would help if the bombing ended, and i spoke to a democratic colleague of mine today. i've been calling for a no fly zone to stop the barrel bombing, i asked this colleague of mine on the other side of the aisle, if he would support that. he said yes, i want to call it something else, rather than a no
fly zone, but that this particular senator, it is a fact that this particular senator has changed his position, and would like us to take action to present -- to prevent the barrel bombing. what is your position about that, and won the it help if we took decisive action and end ed this carnage? >> it -- i don't know the specific proposal. that you're discussing with your colleague. i'd make one comment and see if the chairman wants to add -- >> i think he was talking about a no fly zone. described in more palletable terms. >> the one proposal i think focused on right now is the one secretary kerry's trying to promote namely a no fly zone for the russians and the syrians who are attacking the syrian people. if they're talking about a no