tv Former Ambassador Calls Presidents Denial of Russian Interference... CSPAN June 29, 2017 4:06pm-6:46pm EDT
portland, oregon, saturday at noon eastern on c-span's book tv. coming up later tonight on c-span, former acting attorney general sally yates recalls her brief tenure with the trump administration and how she learned of the first executive order calling for a travel ban. we'll bring you the full conversation from the aspen ideas festival, tonight starting at 8:00 eastern on c-span. yesterday on capitol hill, the senate intelligence committee heard from career diplomats and experts from the u.s. and europe as they testified at the senate intelligence committee on russian influence in elections. this is about two and a half hours.
>> i call the hearing to order. today the committee convenes its seventh open hearing of 2017 to examine russia's interference in the 2016 u.s. elections. in the 12th open hearing this year, to date our open hearings have largely focused on the domestic impact of russia's activities. today's witnesses, however, will highlight for the committee and for the american people russia's interference in the european
elections. we hope to gain additional understanding of russian efforts to undermine democratic institutions, worldwide as the committee continues its inquiry. the intelligence committee assessed in january that moscow will apply lessons learned from its campaign aimed at the united states presidential election to further influence efforts worldwide. it further assessed that russia has sought to influence elections across europe. director of national intelligence coats echoed those words as recently as may when he testified before the senate that russia's seeking to influence elections in europe, including france, germany, and the united kingdom. the intelligence community assesses that the russian messaging strategy blends covert intelligence operations such as cyber activity, with overt effort by russian government agencies, state-funded media,
third-party intermediaries and paid social media users or trolls. russia is employing a whole of government approach to undermining democratic institutions globally. facing down russia's malicious activity is no longer just a bipartisan issue. to successfully protect our institutions and the integrity of our electoral systems, we must work as a global community to share our experience. collective awareness of moscow's intentions spanning borders and continents will help us to enhance our security measures and thwart these disinformation campaigns. just as germany is learning from the recent events in france, in montenegro, we will lean on our allies to inform our approach of the 2018 elections. we must advance more quickly than our adversaries and only together will we do so. i'd like to welcome our
distinguished witnesses today, ambassador nick burns, the roy and barbara goodman family professor of the practice of diplomacy and international relags at harvard kennedy's school of government. nick, that's a mighty long title there that you've got. we're delighted to have you. janis sarts, director of nato strategic communications center of excellence. hopefully i'm getting these names right. i'm trying my best. ambassador vesko garcevic, professor of the practice of diplomacy in international relations at boston university frederick pardee school of global studies. and constanze stelzenmueller, the senior fellow in the brookings institute center on
united states and europe. thank you all four for being here to help us better understand russia's activities and the underlying intentions that russia might have. with that, i will turn to the vice chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman and let me commend you on your brilliant introduction of our witnesses and, welcome witnesses. today's hearing continues the committee's efforts to address the issues surrounding russia's active interference in our democratic process and in the 2016 elections here in america. as well as russia's similar in some cases ongoing efforts to undermine democratic institutions amongst many of our closest allies. at this point, i believe we have a pretty good understanding of the russian playbook. russia's goal is to sew chaos and confusion, to fuel internal disagreements and to undermine democracies whenever possible. really to basically cast doubt
on the democratic process wherever it exists. there's nothing unusual about russia scheming to influence the american elections. we all know their efforts date back to the cold war. but russia's blatant interference in the united states 2016 presidential elections was unprecedented in both scale and scope. and we've seen it replicated across europe. in fact, russia's active measures are only growing bolder and more brazen in the digital age. russia has interfered or attempted to interfere in elections in france, the netherlands, the baltics to the balkans. including support for far right and far left parties, opposed to historically successful european institutions in post world war ii western alliances. for example, russia has provided support and financial assistance
to the far-right party of marine le pen in france in a very blatant and obvious way. russia's launched cyber attacks against political parties and government institutions in several western countries. they've also released stolen information in an effort to steer elections in a particular direction. and as we saw in the french elections with their release of information about then candidate macron. germany's parliament has been cyber attacked, with members' e-mailed hacked and stolen. most observers express this stolen information to be utilized before this fall's national elections in germany. as in the united states, russia aggressively uses trolls and bots to spread fake news and disinformation with the goal of weakening european institutions and driving a wedge between the united states and europe. these active measures have been supported by state-controlled
russian media, including rt and sputnik. so far, these russian efforts have not been as successful in europe as perhaps they were here in the united states. for instance, in france, the macron campaign and the french government were prepared to push back on cyber leaks as they released that information in the 48-hour black-out period. and we've seen companies such as facebook actually take down a series of fake accounts to help blunt those efforts. in the netherlands earlier this spring officials actual hand-counted paper ballots to ensure there would be no electronic interference in the vote count. across europe, government and media push back against fake news stories and have established such institutions such as the eu strategic communications division, and the nato strategic communications center of excellence, to educate the public in identifying and
correcting russian propaganda. frankly, we have learned a thing or two from our allies in europe about proactively protecting ourselves against these threats posed by russia. months ago, i would have assumed this hearing would have been a good opportunity for united states to actually import some lessons learned to our european friends. unfortunately, to date, we've not yet as a government in whole taken to heart many of those lessons. unfortunately, as we've heard in testimony before our committee, our president and his administration have frankly demonstrated little interest in determining how the russians did what they did, or how we might better protect ourselves going forward. instead, we've seen the president repeatedly deny that russia was responsible for u.s. election interference. even in the face of unanimous
agreement among our nation's intelligence agencies. he's consistently questioned the integrity of our intelligence professionals and he's been all over the map in discussing the united states's commitment to the transatlantic alliances such as nato. as several of my colleagues on the committee have previously noted, in 2016, the russians targeted democrats. who is to say which party will be in the crosshairs next time? the one thing we know is that vladimir putin is not a democrat, nor a republican. his interests are to advance russia's interests and undermine the united states. in 2016, i believe that russia got its money's worth in sewing doubt, distrust and dissengz in the heart of the american political process and my fear
is, with that rate of return, that russia will continue to return to those tactics. i don't believe anyone believes that russia will stop, and i believe it's a state that has state-wide elections in 2017, we have to be alert now. that's why last week, when we had dhs before this committee, we asked them to share, even if they have to share confidentially, the names of the 21 states that were attacked by the russians in 2016. i've written and spoken with secretary kelly on this matter. as the oversight committee, i believe we are entitled to that information, and we need to work through a process so that state election officials have the security clearances to at least be read in, and my fear is, as we heard last week, when the top election official from indiana and the top election official from wisconsin both of those states could not acknowledge whether they were part of those 21 states. and what was also remarkable
was, we heard from the state of illinois, which has testified openly, that they were attacked on a regular basis, yet they have not been informed until last week, that those attacks originated from russia. that's why the testimony we hear today is so important to learn lessons from what's happening in europe and around the world and how on a going-forward basis, western alliances -- or western allies can stop this very critical 21st century threat. thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to the testimony of our witnesses. >> i thank the vice chairman. at this time, i'd make members aware that we will recognize members by seniority for five minutes and i'd also like to make a note to members that when we return from next week's fourth of july recess, we will immediately consider the nomination of david glouy under secretary of intelligence and
analysis at the department of homeland security. if members have additional questions for mr. glouy, they need to be in quickly so they can be acted on. we intend to move that nomination as quickly as we can when we get back. again, i thank our witnesses for being here today. i will recognize left to right. and we'll start with you, ambassador burns. >> thank you very much for this opportunity to testify. i appreciate very much the bipartisan commitment that your committee has shown to investigate russia's interference in the european elections and in our own elections. there is no doubt about russia's systematic campaign to undermine our 2016 presidential election, the montenegrin, dutch, french, and german elections this year, and russia's seeking to diminish the confidence that the citizens of all these countries have in their democracies. in this sense, russia's actions
pose an existential threat to the democratic nations of the west, and it requires a swift and serious response by europeans as well as americans. you asked for our recommendations, mr. chairman, so i'll have just three. first, the united states and europe need to work much more closely together to identify russia's cyber and disinformation attacks as they are being launched and then we need to work together actually to do something about it, to respond in tandem to discredit russia's actions. you saw the campaign of emmanuel macron do that very effectively. you've not seen that in other countries. woo on both sides of the atlantic should also make it clear to the russian government that we have our own capabilities that can be injurious to moscow and that we will use them if moscow doesn't cease and desist. with this in mind, and with the benefit of hindsight, president obama in my own view, should have been more transparent and
specific with the american people during the campaign about the nature of the russian threat. he should have reacted earlier and much more vigorously. now, to be fair to him, this was an extraordinarily difficult choice. it was a new and unexpected threat. president obama would have likely been accused in the heat of a campaign for intervening in the contest between secretary clinton and donald trump. and he did make the right call in the end by imposing sanctions on moscow. but we in america and europe have to learn from this experience. and try to avoid that in the future. second, the u.s. and europe should adopt stronger sanctions against russia for its actions to weaken or elections. we learned an important lesson in the iran nuclear negotiations in the obama and george w. bush administrations. the sanctions were much more effective when the united states and the eu aligned them together, specifically the financial sanctions. i hope the house of representatives will back and
not dilute in this sense the very strong senate sanctions bill against moscow that you passed by a 97-2 margin two weeks ago. in my view, it would be a great mistake for president trump to veto such a bill. and with our long national, two-century debate about the separation of powers in mind, i do think that congress, it's time for the congress and not the president, to lead the american response to russia's cyber attack on the united states. the president has shown that he's unwilling to act against russia. and that is why the congressional view provision, in your senate bill, makes sense so that the administration cannot ease or lift the sanctions on russia until putin's attacks on our democratic elections have ceased and until he's met the provisions of the two minsk agreements on ukraine and crimea. third, congress and the president must make resistance to russian interference in the european elections as well as
ours, an urgent national priority. i served in the government for a long time. i served both parties as a foreign service officer. and i find it dismaying and objectionable that president trump continues to deny the undeniable fact that russia launched a major cyber attack against the united states, regardless of what party he launched it against. he's done the same thing in europe, very systematically. and yet in response to that, president trump has refused to launch an investigation of his own. he's not made this an issue in our relationship with the russians. he's taken no steps, at least that i'm aware of, with the congress, and state and local governments to strengthen our voting systems. from future russian hacking of our midterm elections in 2018 and of the next presidential election in 2020. there's no indication he's asked his senior cabinet officials to develop a plan to protect the united states and deter the russians.
and his failure to act, and i'm a former u.s. ambassador to nato, i was president george w. bush's ambassador, we have a political responsibility in nato to protect each other, not just from armed conventional attacks, but from cyber attacks as well. that's a clear failure. i've worked for both parties. it's inconceivable to me that any of president trump's predecessors would deny the gravity of such an open attack on our democratic system. i don't believe any previous american president would argue that your own hearings in the senate are a waste of time. or in the words of president trump, a witch-hunt. they're not. you're doing your duty that the people elected you to do. it is his duty, president trump's, to be skeptical of russia. it's his duty to investigate and defend our country against a cyber offensive because russia's our most dangerous adversary in the world today. and if he continues to refuse to act, it's a dereliction of the
basic duty to defend the country. and russia's going to do this again. you heard director comey at this committee say that he felt russia would be back, maybe against the republican or democratic party. our elections will be at risk when that happens. and the sanctity of our elections will be compromised in the minds of our citizens. let me just close by saying that russia's really testing the leadership and resolve of the west. americans and europeans are far stronger in our democratic traditions and our values than the russians, and with this in mind, we need to be more effective in countering them. and we can do that by building bipartisan unity in the congress. i want to commend you, mr. chairman, and mr. vice chairman, you've set a bipartisan tone which is deeply appreciated. we can do that by encouraging the president to act, by being very closely aligned with the europeans to take common action. i think if we can achieve those
three things, we can defeat president putin and the russian intelligence services. thank you. >> thank you, ambassador. and thank you for your service for a long time to this country. ambassador garcevic? >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. vice chairman, distinguished members of the committee. thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak on russia's interference in montenegro's home affairs. on october 16, 2016, montenegro held its parliamentary elections. the voters disguised in police uniforms were preparing to storm the parliament and provoke a turmoil by shooting its citizens waiting for the election results. in the final stage, they intended to assassinate the prime minister. acting on a tip from an
informant, police were able to arrest most of the plot suspects. in the indictment filed recently, 14 people were charged, including two opposition politicians and two russian agents, vladimir popov and edward shir oko, members of the russian military service who are identified as the ring leaders of the operation. how we know that, for example, shir oko was posted at the assistant military attache at the russian military embassy in warsaw and he was declared persona non-grata for espionage. the whereabouts are unknown. where russian authorities can never reply or provided information about the suspect. the plot is the culmination of more than 18 months, long synchronized actions against montenegro, which includes an aggressive media campaign, coupled with open supports to pro-russian political parties in
montenegro. while russia has been consistent in making threatening gestures over montenegro's nato bid, they have never specified what their intentions are. but for example, when montenegro joined nato recently, at the beginning of june, moscow commented that in response to montenegro's anti-russian hysteria and hostile policy, russia reserves the right to take reciprocal measures. there are more than 100 moscow-backed organizations and media outlets at this moment in the region. in an anti-montenegro media campaign, the nato invitation is described as a move to challenge moscow. the montenegrin government is labelled as treacherous and corrupted -- stronger than ever
is the only thing standing in their way. -- is utilized to promote the values of orthodox christianity and present them as a fundamentally different -- that fundamentally contradicts the western world. the russian government fully backs democratic front and an anti-nato political coalition dominated by serbian nationalist party, known for their pro-russian affiliation. the prime minister goal of the front and its supporters in russia was to get the montenegrin opposition united around its political platform and prevent the formation of a new pro-nato government in montenegro. moscow has made no progress in montenegro, and it has seemingly lost a possibility of having a strategic and significant outlet. but moscow will continue
exploiting loopholes that exist in most of the balkan states. democratic incapacity, corruption, ethnic tensions, counters economic and military needs, and growing fears of marginalization on those countries, on their part. the rule of law, independent institutions and efficient law enforcement agencies are the precondition for stability and effective protection from russia's influence. the best way to restrain russia interference is a proactive approach from the u.s. and the eu side and an energetic support for democratic reforms in the balkan states. the door of nato and the eu must remain open for states wishing to join those organizations. and further american retreat may have lasting impact for balkan
and european security. thank you, mr. chairman and i'm looking forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. and mr. sarts? >> thank you, mr. chairman, vice chairman. from the time our center has been established, two and a half years ago, we've been closely watching russian information operations across europe. we've produced 18 different studies on the methodology, ways how russia tries to affect the outcomes of our democratic processes and our choices. in the election process, typically there are three venues they try to pursue. first, to support the candidate of their choice. to do that, they use the money and they give the support of all the media, traditional media networks that they are
controlling to the sunday, to the proportion as nowhere near of a normal democratic process. which lies, which fakes. secondly, they try to do -- get the sensitive information on the other candidates to undermine their credibilities. typically, they try to achieve it through hacking into the systems, but that is not the only way. they use very large segments of disinformation, fake news is one of the instruments of choice. they're disseminating that through the same information networks they operate within. but they also use fake news sites as networks, they use trolls, both human as well as robotic to amplify the message. all of that was seen in the recent french election. let me just go through quickly
what was the french response and what i think we should take note of. first, it was media cooperation. media were teaming together, and very different sort of media teaming together to work to verify what is a factual reality. they were supported by the online activist groups like cross-check and also big internet companies like facebook and google joined the effort to make sure that the facts, also in the digital space, take the pre-imminence over the falsehoods. secondly, they were assuming and knowing they were going to be hacked. there were many hack attacks. all of us who have been in the cyber security business know you can design only as strong a response as possible. there is always a human factor. so what the french idea has
been, they tracked the hackers. they fed them the irrelevant information in large amounts, making the dumped information irrelevant as well. and thirdly, that was how both media, public, and the authorities treated the hack. first, the authorities, based on the french law, said it is illegal to use these hacks for further circulation. secondly, most of the media refrained for going that -- for going for these hacks, understanding the way they are trying to be manipulated into the election process. based on that, i'll share some recommendations. first, societal awareness. that is a critical thing to be achieved. the nation that is aware it's under attack is far more resilient than the one that is oblivious of that.
secondly, as demonstrated by the french case, working with the media is essential. both for the role, but also for their understanding how they might be manipulated in the process. thirdly, we still treated the information environment as a game of golf. it is not anymore. it's rugby. in rugby, you need to have a very good situational awareness. we have to build tools to know what are the eco-chambers, what are the information bubbles, who is trying to penetrate them, what are the robotic networks trying to push, what are the third parties or the outside governments, what kind of data they're looking in to your social, societal systems. that's one of the key elements that we have to possess to be able to respond effectively to that game of rugby. next, cyber defense, it is a must.
every single element of the election process has to be able to do a good cyber defense. both with two elements. the technical piece and the human piece. these have to be there. lastly, we cannot succeed if we don't work together with the technology companies. that's the area where most of the activity takes place and where it is most successful. and i think we can make them one of the good partners in making sure that the facts and truths are much more pre-imminent in that environment than any falsehood. lastly, mr. chairman and mr. vice chairman, the reason russian activities succeed is because we have not paid attention. they're using their old tricks and borrowed know-how from our technologies and our marketing know-how. therefore, i see no reason why they should keep winning.
to me, it's about focusing on the problem, bringing different actors across a society together, and then collectively, i do believe we have all the potential to win this. thank you. >> thank you, mr. sarts. dr. stelzenmueller? >> thank you. and good morning, it's an honor for me to be invited here today to testify before you on the critical issue before this panel. russian interference on the european elections, and specifically on the federal election september 24 in my country, germany. russian interference in european political space is strategic and is aimed at destabilizing the european project. germany is the fulcrum with which to achieve this goal. weaken germany and you diminish the eu and the european project and conversely because germany has orchestrated the sanctions
against russia, it has become the main obstacle for russia in pursuing itself interests in europe and indeed in ukraine. russian interference in germany as we know has occurred for a long time, but it is not limited to elections, nor will it stop thereafter. as for the election itself, there is a general consensus in my country that there will be meddling, the only question is when and in what form that will take. technical manipulation of the elections, however, is unlikely. we use paper ballots and we have hardened the computer infrastructure that we use to aggregate the data. the real target of russian interference in germany is voters' heads. they're trying to hack our political consciousness. for this, they use a broad spectrum of tools from propaganda to disinformation, to hacking and denial of service attacks, two more classical means such as individual or institutional agents of influence. attribution and intelligent of course remain elusive.
this is one of the most difficult problems, not least because not even the russian authorities ordering interference are monolithic. and execution is often o outsourced or delegated including to what president putin has called patriotic hackers. the impact of kremlin interference is also hit and miss. often miss. in many ways, it's meddling in european elections over the past year has produced the exact opposite of what was intended. it has produced stable, democratic and non-populist governments that are pro-european union and pro. nato and pro-american. the populists have lost out almost everywhere. and in the germany an race, what looked to be neck and neck at the beginning of the year, is now looking quite different. chancellor merkel is holding a steady 14-point lead, but that does not mean and i urge you to consider this that russia cannot
still do significant damage. as for counter-measures, germany has sernl taken a while to take note of the threat, but it has been making up -- racing to make up for lost time over the past two years, by hardening its defenses and creating more resilience. that's not to say there's still not much more to be done, particularly on the civil society front and german politicians certainly need to do better at articulating their narratives against kremlin disinformation. and of course it helps that germany is not the first country to face this threat. in fact, we come at the end of a long string of elections and we can learn from our friends and allies, particularly from the french case, just explained by janis sarts. that said, we have no reason whatever as germans or europeans, to be complacent. in fact, the successes of russian interference, such as they are, are a measure of our failures and we need to examine those. now, what form could russian interference in the september 24 elections take? obviously if there were a major
terrorist attack, if there were a return of the refugee crisis, that could be exploited with propaganda. it's conceivable there would be further hacks or a leak of the 2015 hack substance, 16 gigabytes were taken away, we haven't seen them yet. but it's just as likely that a visible russian attempt to use such events would backfire as it has before. so they need to tread carefully there and interference could just as well take the form of ongoing careful probing and testing of our vulnerabilities combined with a continuous slow drip of toxic disinformation. as is happening now all the time. so germany will have to remain vigilant but also flexible and relaxed. we must overdramatize the scope of the threat, that would be to walk into the main psychological threat of this propaganda which is to think the threat is bigger than it actually is. we are a strong and vibrant democracy and we can fight this
in the market place too. however, it is beyond any doubt that germany and all of europe are experiencing a phase of historical volatility and risk. in such a time, friends and allies matter more than ever. here our relationship with america is key. we understand that europe needs to do more for its own defense and take on more of the burden of transatlantic security relationship off the united states. and we have as many here know and as nick knows, we have already taken many steps towards this goal. but the alliance as such our political, economic, military, and intelligence partnership is crucial for the preservation of the european project. and an american that feels ambiguous about the value of this alliance could be perceived by the kremlin as the ultimate encouragement. i therefore respectfully have only one recommendation for you, or rather, it is a request. stand by us. thank you very much and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, doctor.
and thank you to all of our witnesses. reminder that we recognize members by seniority for up to five minutes. the chair recognizes himself. two questions to all of you. they are yes or no. do you have any doubt that russian interference is driven by putin himself? start with you, ambassador burns. >> no doubt about it. >> ambassador? >> the same answer, no doubt. >> no doubt. >> none. >> any doubt that russian interference is, or has happened in the u.s. and european elections? >> it has happened systematically. >> it happened, it happens, and is going to happen. >> it has happened. >> little difficult to vary on this, but, yes.
>> ambassador garcevic, what would have happened in montenegro had russia succeeded in the parliamentary elections? >> you can imagine i would say first what could have happened is that democratic front would withdraw sanctions which were imp posed by my country. because my country was among few in the region to impose sanctions immediately after they were imposed by the eu. in order to show, to demonstrate a full alliance with the eu security policy, that could be the first immediate step to be taken. the second, in terms of far-reaching goals, they would turn direction of the country from western-leaning to eastern-leaning. which means that i can imagine that in years from now
montenegro would become a satellite of russia in the balkans. >> mr. sarts, was there any evidence of russian involvement in the uk most recent elections? >> of course rt and sputnik made their efforts to have an effect on the election. but i would not say -- i would not say that there has been a significant pattern of russian involvement in the uk election that we have seen. i would also argue that it is always -- we have apparent that russia requires time to construct elaborate operations to attack the election systems. so where there is little preparatory time for enhancing
the network, activating the networks, and planning with the networks, they are not really efficient. >> i took from your testimony that media outlets are directed in many cases by russian government as to how they cover elections, what they say or don't say about candidates. so just the fact that maybe rt and sputnik had a narrative that was different in britain than maybe the mainstream press, that would be a sign of russia trying to influence the outcome, would it not? >> i have no direct evidence to say that the particular narratives as we see in these outlets during the election period in uk would have been directly directed from kremlin.
although there is a regular monthly meeting between all the key editors of media in russia, with the kremlin officials where reportedly they coordinate the messaging. >> so it's not a news outlet as we would define in the united states, independent? >> yes. >> if i understood your testimony again, i think there was a suggestion that america's social media platforms knew that they were part of a coordinated attack, especially as it related to france. did i hear you correctly? >> the media platforms have -- to s -- the data to say where the information originates and i know they have been also assisting the french media to make sure that within these
platforms, the information that these consortiums find as factually correct, have the preeminence. >> media rooutlets have the ability to understand whether a bot has been used to make it look like there's tremendous public support for an issue, versus real public support, is that an accurate statement? >> well, yes, it is, actually. it is more than just the media themselves. there's increased number of research and also we are about to publish a regular report on robotic networks and social media, that these robotic systems are pushing the specific narratives what, we've seen, the same robotic networks working on dutch elections, pushing the rt sputnik russian narrative, or for that matter, also in a
french election, pushing the le pen narrative, or pushing all the fake stories about emmanuel macron. >> last question, what should the u.s. response be, and should that response to election integrity and intrusion by the russians be coordinated with our european partners? >> i think it should. i think there are three things we can do, mr. dhachairman, fir our intelligence agencies have to be linked up to understand the threat as it's happening. second, if laws are being broken in both europe and the united states our judicial authorities ought to be working together to prosecute people and put them behind bars. and third, this will probably happen through secretary tillerson and others and our ambassadors overseas, in the response. you saw this brilliant response by the macron campaign to push back. we can be latched up with the europeans in our response to an
attack whether it's in europe or the united states. we're in the same nato alliance, all the countries represented here today are. it's a political alliance as well as a military alliance. we ought to be working is on th with your sanctions bill. it is a tough bill. i know it has caused some controversies in countries in europe, but frankly american countries, european countries shouldn't have advantages to sell into the russian market that american companies do not have, and i think your bill makes that point. >> thank you, ambassador. vice chairman. >> let me thank all the witnesses for the testimony and thank you again for your unanimous agreement on the nature of the russian threat and the attacks that were created here in the united states. i want to go back in our march public hearing, one of our witnesses, clint watts, testified that then candidate trump, quote, used russian active measures at times against
his opponents, end of quote. he cited then candidate trump's coordination or use in calling out wikileaks. we saw candidate trump continue to use terms like the election is being rigged, same type of terms that were used by the kremlin in their propaganda efforts. do you agree with what mr. watts drew his conclusion, that at least inadvertently candidate trump was actually advancing the goals of the russian propaganda efforts? i'd like to hear any of your comments of that, starting with you and mr. burns. >> senator, just two quick points. first i don't have any independent knowledge about the trump campaign working with -- >> i'm not asking that. i'm just asking whether his comments about elections being rigged, calling on wikileaks, it
appeared and mr. watts drew the on collusion that at least inadvertently then candidate trump was then aligned with some of russia's propaganda efforts trying to sew the same kind of chaos and questioning of our democratic process. >> i thought it was just as important to say i don't have information. but when candidate trump did encourage the russian government to find more of secretary clinton's e-mails, i thought that was an irresponsible statement. >> anybody else want to comment? you're taking a safe diplomatic effort, all of you. i appreciate that. i imagine i would get the same response because i again share very much ambassador burns your comments earlier that the lack of interest shown by the president of even acknowledging this threat or taking this
threat, urging his administration to take this threat seriously and lay out a coordinated whole of government approach to what will be a threat in 2017, 2018, i would argue that putin and his cronies had a pretty darn good rate of return on the number of rubels invested in their activities to take on our election system. i commend you for your good work and the 18 reports you have done on the robot trolling and how russian are using technology tools to exponentially increase the power of their fake news. you have cited reports that at least 8% of twitter accounts are actually bot accounts and thereby do not represent an actual person.
facebook i was out recently with facebook and they pointed out the fact that in the french elections they took down about 30,000 fake accounts right before the election. i commend them because after the american election facebook acted like they had no responsibility for policing fake news. i think they have moved into a more responsible position. but i'd love to hear from all of you what role you feel the -- these platform companies that control so much information, google, facebook, twitter, et a al, have in this new world. >> senator, very briefly, i met a lot of these people that work in this space and i was em policed by the number of people, take youtube that they dedicate to try to filter out hate speech, and that's commendable. if that's the case, there ought to be an ongoing dialogue between the u.s. government, our national security agencies and these companies to try to filter
out russian propaganda, instead of a direct assault on our country. i was impressed by his testimony. i thought it was quite convincing that there has to be an integration of the technology companies and the government on this issue. >> icon c concur. >> first, i also just came back yesterday from silicon valley where we talked with a lot of these companies on these issues. first, there is a growing market, black market for robotics in social media. some of it is rather innocent, but much of that is of some kind of criminal activity. and that is going to be a growing concern for people in a digital environment to understand that they're really interacting with a human being instead of large numbers of row bets supported by artificial intelligence. to counter that, the companies
that have these platforms are one of the key players. i was heartened by the discussion back there they are taking it seriously. probably slightly too late. but there aren't -- most of these big companies are investing in thinking about how they can be an active supporter of a democratic process, not a disrupter. and secondly, there is growing number of the technology research on this subject that we can rely on and as ambassador burns said and i've said in my initial statement, that is a must that we work together. if we don't, we will not succeed in the digital environment. >> have we seen any cooperation in germany? my time is expired. >> yes, sir. german politicians and policymakers have made trips to silicon valley to talk to the big media companies and tech companies like google, facebook
and twitter. i have been told the initial conversations were less than, shall we say, less than cooperative. there seemed to be no inclination to self-police and there also was no inclination to help. that has significantly changed, i gather. now, the german justice minister has just put out a draft of a law, and we use these long words to annoy our allies. but basically it is a draft law to help in enforcing hate speech rules in germany, which are quite strong, obviously with roots in our history. i as a trained constitutional lawyer have mixed feelings about this. i would quite like the political marketplace to regulate itself. but if significant actors and very powerful actors that have control over alga rhythms that can really shape the marketplace without citizens even notice
that, if they refuse to self-police, i believe such laws become necessary. i think this has to be an ongoing conversation between business, citizens and the state to see where responsibility for regulation properly lies. >> senator. >> thank you. ambassador burns, you know, we're pretty used to dealing with hyperbole on this committee and i want to talk about your statement that the russia is the most dangerous adversary we have. with all due respect if you said on this committee, i'm not sure you reached that conclusion, i think there is a lot of us with what we hear about what's going on in north korea and some of our other adversaries that russia certainly is a dangerous adversary, but when you have someone running a country like kim jong-un and with what we know about what he's probably going to do if his administration is threatened, i got to tell you that you might
be slightly off mark when you say that russia is the most dangerous adversary that we face. but don't take that as a criticism that i think that russia is not a dangerous adversary. i would just caution that it falls in a group of countries and there is others that are more dangerous. you were -- you were critical or are critical of president trump and what he's thinking right now. and you would agree with me that the russians have taken no active measures in an election while donald trump has been president. is that a fair statement? >> senator, thank you. may i just say in response to your first comment, if you would allow this? >> please. >> i agree with everything you said about north korea, but russia could do more damage to us and certainly in trying to
draw a new dividing line in europe. so it is a respectful disagreement. >> i appreciate that. let me ask you this. do you think it is more likely that that would come, assuming that north korea has nuclear weapons that they could deliver, is it more likely that it would come from russia or north korea? >> i think the threat from russia is multifaceted. it is not just from nuclear weapons. it is also about dividing europe. so i think they are both a big problem for the united states. i just made a statement. >> back to my last question, you would agree with me that the russians have taken no active measures in an american election while donald trump has been president. is that a fair statement? >> i actually don't know. i don't know what happened -- >> have we had any elections since he's been president? >> yes, congressional elections. >> and you think the russians have taken active measures in those elections? >> i don't know. >> we do know they have taken
active measures in the last presidential elections. >> i think the intelligence communities are confirmed on that. >> we're all in agreement on that. who was president of the united states when that occurred? >> that was president obama, as you know. >> and you know he was aware that this was going on? >> yeah. >> indeed, he's admitted that he talked to mr. putin about that; is that correct? >> so you heard my testimony about president obama. i have great respect for president obama. >> i hear that. >> this was a difficult decision. i think president obama should have acted more resolutely. but he did take action and what disturbs me about president trump is that he's not investigating, has taken no action. >> got that. but i'm talking about somebody that could have done something about this while it was going on. you're aware that president obama talked to mr. putin about that, are you not, in the summer of 2016? >> that's what the news reports
say. i also know he briefed the members of the congress early on. there were public statements made by jay johnson on october 7th. so they did take action. it is not as if the obama administration was just silent on this issue. >> and indeed when mr. -- or when president obama told mr. putin that we knew that they were taking active measures, that was classified information, was it not? >> well, you know, i think if you are the president of the united states and you're trying to deliver a stiff diplomatic mission, you're well within your rights to tell putin what you think he may be doing. in fact, that's the object of the conversation. >> that's actually the purpose of classified information, that it's no good if you collect it and don't use it. fair statement? >> well, not always. sometimes you don't want that information ever to see the light of day. >> what else should president obama have done? >> you know, and this is monday morning quarterbacking by me. >> understand that. >> and i appreciate the fact he
did take action on the sanctions. if you go back and look at it, the american people in my judgment deserve to know what was happening, clearly, after ringing the village bell. and we should have had a more immediate response that was painful to the russians. whether that was immediate sanctions or some type of offensive action that we could have taken by covert means against them. and, so, i think there are a variety of options. i wasn't there, so i don't want to micro manage this, but i do think he could have done more. but my testimony clearly shows that president trump has taken no action whatsoever. and i think that's irresponsible. >> got that. but the description you gave, you would agree with me that the obama administration did not take significant -- the significant action that was needed, including informing the american people, which would have gone a listening ways to countering what the russians did. fair statement? >> well, i think the obama administration should have taken greater action.
but the more pertinent question today is what our current president is not doing. >> to you it is the more pertinent. to me what's more pertinent is what should have been done by the president and chief at that time. >> senator feinstein. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. many have said this is actually the crime of the century. if you think about it, it is. if you think about the fact that it's conducted by intelligence agencies, we know russian intelligence to be relentless and ruthless. and it all happened, and it contributed toward the defeat of an american presidential candidate, who happened to be the first woman running for that office. well, that's not true. but in a very serious and electable way it is.
they targeted 21 states. they went into 21 states. i've been sitting here listening to your colleagues. i have great respect for you. my own view is that if, in fact, this is the crime of the century, if, in fact, it's going to lead to other crimes being committed in the future that we together have a responsibility to hit back. the question comes, are sanctions really the effective way to do it? or do we do it in the cyber world? but i don't think that we can sit here and see the amount of destruction that has been done, the defeat of a candidate, the intrusion into 21 state systems, the continuation even now with
spear phishing, what's happening in europe and, you know, the iron bear is on a march. how do you stop that? and we have had certain abilities discussed of how to develop a hit-back. and it's hard for me to believe that sanctions make them angry but sanctions don't really do anything. there is a downside to a cyber war. on the other hand, the united states of america cannot see the critical infrastructure of an american democratic election destroyed by russia. i'd be very interested if anyone
would be prepared to talk about what europe and america could do together to plan, to prepare and to hit back. >> senator, i'd just say briefly, our sanctions have to be aligned. they will be much stronger if we actually work together with the europeans to align what they do in sanctions with us, number one. number two, it is my impression we could do much more in the way of intelligence, but also an active work together to respond verbally to the propaganda. but number three, i think you're right and i so testified that we have to think of other means, and we have capacity that if we wanted to use it, we could. and that has to be aligned with europe. >> bear in mind, these aren't french people. these are at least two of the three intelligence services of russia. that's a big deal.
the president of russia committed his intelligence services to hit our election system. do we just go, well, maybe we shut off this sanction or that sanction? maybe we think it is going to just go away. they have shown no signs of going away. i have been on this committee for a long time. i have never seen a time that with full confidence every single one of america's intelligence agencies have come together and say they have full confidence that this was orchestrated by putin and he used his intelligence services to do it. >> well, if i may, i think first thing that we have to do is cover our backs, and that is building the resilience. that is the things that we all four talked about.
>> could you define resilience? >> ability of the democratic process to withstand the attacks to influence the -- it is malicious intent from outside. and being able to, irrespective of these -- >> with what acts, sir? we do stand in -- there is no question about that. >> i can go through the things that i recommended. society being aware, cyber defense being on a high level, having been able to operationalize the information battlefield and many of these. secondly, i wanted to say, in fact, if you look at russian documents, they believe we are attacking them. and i think they really believe
that. so which is i think a paradpara. what we have to really look for is that we're not attacked by russians. we're attacked by kremlin. and what we can do is actually help also people within russia to recognize what is the actual realities. i think that is the most powerful weapon, the truth. the truth that kremlin is hiding away from their own citizens, and that i think the weapon that we have, which is the most mighty. >> my time, thank you. >> senator rubio. >> excuse me. may i add a few words? i personal ly lived in a countr which was under sanctions. and i have personal experience of being a citizen of a country and lead ago normal life in a country under sanctions. for sanctions to start working
and to start bearing fruits, you need time. it took like nine years for yugoslavia, which was smaller, really smaller than russia, to see sanctions working. i can imagine that in the case of russia, we have to endure perseverance as needed and sanctions will start bearing fruit at certain point. so i don't think that we should stop or rethink this strategy. on top of it, someone mentioned, i think, ambassador mentioned importance of nato because nato is not only military. it is -- since it was formed in 1949, u.s. have seen nato as like a pillar of bond and the
countries who are members of nato are there because of set of values that they share. which means that we have to keep ourselves together and stay in nato, which includes a number of measures, not only deterrents which is taking place right now in europe, but also because it is not only that europe is under attack, it's that its values are under attack. values are under attack. values of democracy. values of parliament democracy is under attack. russia is backing those groups in europe, leftist or rightist. those who challenge the very core values of liberal democracy because those who challenge from within of those democratic systems and would like to see those systems and values
eroding. so empowered with hard core measures, we have to put this on soft power because this is what russia uses against democratic systems. i think democratic systems in soft power are much better off than russia and may offer more than russia can offer to countries. >> madam senator, i would like to add one small remark to what's already been said. and that is, if i may say, as an ally and a citizen of your ally for over 60 years, do no harm. do not question the alliance. do not question the alliance that is greatly in your strategic interest with europe, but that is also in our interest. it is of great importance for us. and an american government, a white house that questions the validity of that alliance, that questions the validity of the article five mutual defense
commitment does more to undermine our security and our safety than many things that the kremlin does. we are all vibrant western democracies. we should not only address those, but we i think as western democracies can address them together, we can look at them together. and i would add only one thing. sanctions do work. perhaps even more as a political statement of cohesion and will and as such they have had a tremendous impact on russia. they have left a deep impression on the kremlin. they have also done some economic damage. but they have above all been an expression of europe's and america's will to stand together against the threat towards ukraine and its neighbors and its threat against the european projects and american interests there. so they do work. thank you. >> senator rubio. >> thank you. thank you all for being here. my hope is that this committee's work will produce a document
that doesn't simply detail what happened but how they did it so we can take steps -- preventative steps to prevent this in the future. it worked, and i think a lot of people are focussed on a particular electoral outcome. i think the broader design was to sew division in a country that already had great political division. i don't think anybody can doubt that that's the case. just the sheer amount of time and energy that's been spent by this committee, this congress, the press and everybody else on this issue of russia alone must be deeply gratfying to the people who authorized this measures and the way it has exacerbated our ability to get work done has been deeply imp t impactful. i hope as we do our work, we will learn what are the best ways to confront it within the confines of the following. we have a first amendment. so i understand that places like france are able to block out when the safe came out about
macrone. i'm not ataking the media. i saying one of the most powerful was the mainstream media is that when these e-mails were being leaked, there was a lot of focus on the gossipy aspects of it and not so much the origins of what it was about and because we have the first amendment in this country. and, so, the people who did this understood that certain information would get widespread coverage. i'm not advocating censorship. i'm telling you that is what they will use against us. we have that different from what they have in europe and the like. i want to know what has worked. has anyone successfully confronted this threat and proven to us things you can do to alleviate the sting of these efforts? i point to an article in "the new york times" by several authors on may 9th of 2017. it talks about step's taken by macrone's campaign, complete with phony documents to confuse the attackers.
i'm curious, ambassador, about the efforts in montenegro, a small country that is far closer in ties to russia. they were unable to dissuade the people there from electing a pro-nato government. what works? has anyone begun to figure this out? because we need to do it. >> well, first, what works is people don't like to be manipulated. and when they know somebody is out there for them to change their minds and get under the skin, they become more caution. that's the first thing. and we've seen in a number of countries where public becomes aware. it's much harder, like instantly, to get the faceffect is russians are trying to
achieve. secondly, it is i think very important in these especially misinformation, the macrone case is you know it is going to happen. you do a contingency plan. and i would say your contingency is not that they're not going to break in. there is always a way through human fault you can get into the systems. you actually do a trap. you do a trap that has clearly worked and that takes also the knowledge, preparation and acceptance that it is happening. and thirdly in the fake news cycles we've seen, it is always that the fake news comes in first, create emotion and gets viral. if you are able to get into that cycle first, you are sort of limiting the effect, if not, you know, taking it away and such.
and we have seen cases in lit wayne that where the case stories about german stories rapeing a teenage girl were trying to circulate where the media made sure the first thing somebody seen there is fake news that this and this. both government and the media worked their part and that never got attraction. so there are quite a number of good successful tactical and strategic examples that one can look at. >> if i may add two things. what was russia's goal? what is russia's goal in the region? it goes beyond montenegro. russia's goal is to prevent further expansion of nato and the eu. it is about other countries that are waivering or that are not fully on either side. you know, if montenegro can be considered now as a lost case for russia, others are not lost case yet and russia is trying
to, by making example in montenegro, is trying to send a signal to others what we are willing to do or what we can do if you are eveven dare to go th way. it comes to how media campaign was carried out in montenegro. also speaks that russia has diversified approach and it adopted its approach towards montenegro and other regions. montenegro, first of all, we are not used to watching russian tv or reading russian newspapers in russian. so they, therefore, decided to open, to establish a number of
offsets of russian media in the region that do broadcast news in all local language. and then to use local networks to republish those news. first publish news. then people will trust local news or local media if not a russian media. after some time, they have today become the most popular among local population. and finally because of cultural and historical and religious closeness between two nations they really effectively used church and faith. my societies in principal traditional society and people trust priest and trust church. since we are orthodox
population, so they used church to propagate orthodox style of life or eastern orthodox style of life and to present to the people to citizens of my country that it is about identity and it is about cultural roots and it is about dignity and that eastern christianity is fundamentally than western world. and if we join, we join nato or the eu, at the end of the day we're going to use our identity and it is about dignity. so it speaks how effectively russia uses different channels, different mechanisms in order to reach out to people and to send message, which will be -- how to say, in order to earn the hearts of people they would like to have on their side. >> senator. >> thank you. and thank the four of you. this has been a very valuable panel. here in our inquiry, i have focussed on what i call the
follow the money issues. and concerns about moscow's funding of prorussia political parties and groups in europe of course is not new. two years ago the committee directed the national intelligence office to submit an intelligence assessment on this issue. what is different now is we are looking at this attack on european democracies to help us understand what has happened to our democracy. so director, i want to start with you because you have studies moscow's financing of pro russian political figures. let me kind of see if we can go through a few questions here. have you been able to determine if vladimir putin employs particular strategies to develop relationships and curry favor with political figures in europe
and if so what would those strategies be? >> first, there are two strategies to incite different political actors across europe into cooperating with russia. first is financial incentives. it can work both through the opening business opportunities vis-a-vis kremlin controlled companies or it can work also through a number of funds controlled by kremlin that send in further the money to different russian controlled ngos and then, therefore, further on, disseminating the financial means to incite people into cooperating. the other venue is nonfinancial,
which is giving the russian information power as the backdrop to who's ever message they're trying to promote and whose political find of view they are trying to use for whatever their strategy. >> does president putin make the decision himself to support political figures in europe based again on what you know? >> well, we as a center look expolicely at the open source. so i would not be able to make that conclusion. >> does russian assistance involve helping political parties, individual political figures, associates of individual political figures or all of these different
approaches? >> they do. >> they use all of the above. and is there any information available on what mechanisms putin prefers to provide financial assistance to political figures in europe? >> in an open space, there have been a number of reports from the european intelligence agencies sketching out without great detail some of these practices. but, of course, there is much more which is not within the open public place that is known of these activities. >> all right. and one last one for you, director. your statements refer to russian cyber attacks, including the 2015 russian hack of the german. last week the u.k. parliament came under a sustained determined attack on all
parliament user accounts. although, the source of the attack has not been identified. the reason i ask is my understanding with respect to these issues is every attack is going to be different. every attack is going to be different because once you have engaged in one particular strategy you have got people preparing for that and they move on to the next. what is your advice to us based on your analysis in europe for how we deal with this extraordinarily important issue? >> well, first i think you give too much credit to the kremlin operations. in fact, what our research says, there is varioations and exper
mentations. the generic advice is that we have to think slightly differently about what the cyber attack is. we typically think of it as a venue to get into the infrastructure and get the data. but i would argue that we have to think of two parameters. of course technical is very important, but at the end of the day, the purpose of the attack to get into the minds. and we have to actually when they are employing our own strategies focus both on technical as well as a cognitive aspect of the defense. >> my time is up. i'm glad you think the russians are less clever than cyber attackers elsewhere. i have reservations about them. i want to make one last point. ambassador burns, i am a fan of yours. and i just heard one word that concerned me with respect to the relationship of the government
and the technology companies. i think and probably didn't really mean it, you talked about integrating the companies and the government. i think what you were meaning was better communication between the government and the companies, and i just wanted to make that point. thank you. >> if you would like to respond. >> quickly. thank you. i meant that there should be communication, not there be formal sbe gags effointegration >> it is good to see you. thank you for joining this panel this morning. the approach that was used in montenegro, in france, in germany has been bolder. it exposes the falsehoods that are out there and it is a far more various. you were somewhat critical of
president obama. it wasn't really until after that sanctions were imposed and that the january 6th, 2017 report on the extensiveness and the scope of russian interference in our elections was released by the intelligence community. so there seems to me to be a big difference in the approach that's taken by our allies and the acoach that was taken by president obama and as you pointed out rightly president trump's administration does not seem to have any strategy to deal with this going forward at
this point. but then i hear about the efforts taken in france, for example, where there was a coordinated effort among government, the media, the campaigns and even technology companies. and there is one headline that says french news rooms unite to fight election misinformation. i just can't even imagine a headline in the united states saying this. so while we could learn from our allies much more successful efforts to counter russian active measures, is that even possible in our country, given the very different role of the media here?
and i'm asking ambassador burns that question. >> thank you, senator. you know, i think we're learning the less sens as we go along. and i think director comey was right when the committee asked him about this that he think it is next target in our country could be either party. so i applaud the bipartisan efforts. the europeans have learned lessons. and what seems to have worked well on the macrone campaign is speed and decisive action and transparency so that actually all the french people were made aware of the threat. and they have a right to that information. that was the basis of my criticism. i just want to say this. i have tremendous respect for president obama. this is monday morning quarterback by somebody who is not in the government but you are asked to testify, and i think this is one of the lessons that we have to learn from the europeans, how they have done. and what's missing, it seems is
formal integration of efforts of governments. that's the step that the trump administration could decide to take, which would be very helpful, both in analysis and also in action. >> i completely agree with you that visibility and transparency are absolutely critical, and that is an important lesson from what happened last fall. ambassad ambassador, i want to ask you about montenegro because the state of maine has a special relationship with montenegro. and i can see by your smile that you are aware of that, where part of the state partnership program and our national guard has members stationed in montenegro to assist. i'd like to think we were helpful in getting you ready for your nato attentiwhich i really
supported. russia was not able, despite a tremendous effort, to dissuade the people there from electing a pro-nato government last october. so my question to you is this. why were the russian influence efforts unsuccessful in montenegro? which is a small country that is far closer, historical and religious ties to russia and where the russian state media and propaganda are prevalent even as their efforts appeared to be much more successful. that's probably an overstatement, but to have some success in sewing the seeds of doubt and discord in the 2016 election in our country.
>> that's very difficult to answer. in a couple of minutes, sometimes, yeah, we are small country. russia is big. i would say that russia looked down on us as just peanuts on the bargains that they could put in order easily. but it turned out not to be the case. sometimes we had simply luck when one of computers of one of our people in the mission to nato was hacked by russia. simply, we were lucky because another mission, i don't want to mention names, which had been under attack by the same virus, computer virus, helped us register the attack of that virus even before it started
works. and then we turned to nato and then with the help of nato people we checked all computers, not only in the mission to nato, but also in the ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of defense and the government's office and to know that we were not effected. sometimes, as i said, we had luck. but in more broader terms, i would say that russia didn't penetrate economically the door. many explain how montenegro is packed with russians living there and with russian money pouring in for years. but actually russian investments in montenegro were mostly investments in real estate. we are not dependant on energy. russians didn't invest in
banking sector. there were no -- there are no investments in any branches in montenegro. so they couldn't simply sway us easily. even when we imposed sanctions on them, they didn't know how to react economically on us. so they turned to some political measures in order to show that they are angry because of it. and then i would say government thought we were small. what we tried to do, particularly when it comes to cyber attacks. we are not capable to hit back definitely. but we try to build a partnership with our nato partners, and we seek help of them. then at the end of the day, when it comes to cyber attacks, it is about the human factor. and then we try to build up vig lance and, you know, government issues warning signs to its
agencies to be careful how to deal with sensitive information. >> thank you. >> so -- >> thanks very much. >> senator. >> ambassador burns you have talked a lot about the sanctions bill we passed here in the senate. if speaker ryan and the house of representatives doesn't take up that russian sanctions bill, what kind of message do you think that that would send to vladimir putin? >> i think a message of weakness because the senate, by a huge margin, has teed this up. it is the right thing to do to have a painful type of leverage against the russians. and if it's diluted in the house and the white house encourages the house to do that, then i think the russians are going to receive a mixed message here, not a stiff message, which they need to receive. >> do you think it will make it more or less likely to interfere in the 2018 and 2020 elections? >> you know, i read the tran
sipt script of your hearing with director comey. he said he thinks it is going to continue until we have better offenses, until we have gone on the offense. i think president trump should consider exactly what president obama did, go to putin directly as president obama did. it was after our election as senator collins points out and say there are going to be consequences cht that's actually probably the most effective thing that the trump administration should do. >> should we take these kinds of cyber attacks and election manipulation as seriously as we would take a military action or an economic threat to our country? >> well, as you know, they're different. obviously, a military action is immediately consequential. you have to respond within hours. i actually think this is -- what they have tried to do systemically between the dutch, the germans and the americans is discredit democracy in the eyes of our citizens.
i use the word existential. i think it was the right word to use. so i think we need to meet this squarely and all of us have suggested a multitude of ways that we can do that. >> i don't disagree. i think one of the challenges as you mentioned is that the current president has been unwilling to respond or even acknowledge the validity of the russian hostile actions in the election. i'm curious what that means for what we as members of the senate can or should do to advance a conversation with our european allies about sanctions. and i would certainly like your opinion on that, but i would open it to the other members on the panel as well. >> that conversation has to be held normally in this situation as you know the state department and white house would be talking to the germans and austrians about the consequences of the senate bill. i don't know if this happened this time. but we're in this phase we've talked about the separation of
powers for 200 years where it is my own view that congress needs to play the leading role because i perceive congress to be tougher against russia. >> i guess war is a vacuum. do any of you want to add to that? >> of course. it is well known that german politicians, senior german politicians have protested the sanctions bill. and this is, of course, because german companies, not just german companies, other europeans as well are invested, too. i'm not a big fan of this project, frankly. but i'm far more concerned about unilateral american sanctions that aren't discussed with the europeans, that are just put out there and we have to deal with them. the fact of the matter is that we had actually for years been asking america to allow the export of american lng to the american market and that it had been congress that was resisting this. so i think the lesson of this
experience is for us as allies to discuss what is in the interest of the alliance and where we can work together. and i think that would, again, be of significant importance as a deterrent towards russia. >> while i have you, doctor, when president trump questioned the value, the relevance of nato, whether we should keep it as a structure, who do you think benefitted most from that? >> i have already said that. i think it helps the kremlin and it is not great. i also don't think it is in america's self-interest to question that alliance because you have significant interest in europe and in europe's per riff ree and the alliance helps you pursue those self-interests. >> i cannot agree more. before my time runs out, you talked a little about how we should try to take the truth directly to the russian people because of the filter that they receive so much of their information through. how can we cut out vladimir
putin and speak directly to the russian people? >> well, i think it is very clear and evident. that is the same new environment, which is a digital one. and if one takes note of the recent in russia against the corruption, it was very strikingly how young the crowd was. and it was also very clear that these people don't anymore get their world view from the tv. it's all about all social networks. and, yeah, that's the way you can get the truth back to them. and i'm sure kremlin will try to put up a new elements to block us, but i think that is an environment where we can get back to them. >> i want to thank you all for your testimony today. >> senator blunt. >> thank you, chairman. let's try a yes-no question first just in the interest of time. you know, the russian economy is
failing, not nearly the country it could or should be. does putin benefit in russia from getting credit for interfering with elections in our countries? ambassador? >> i think he does. i think it builds him up, yeah. >> yes, politically he does. >> it is one significant part for his domestic policy to benefit from it. >> sorry. i can't do a yes or no. i'd say it is both and the long term he loses. in the short term he looses. the short term it validates the narrative that we're all as bad as russia. the reality is that a lot of kremlin interference has backfired and backfired visibly and we've been learning from that. and it has thougaught us to rev
and defend our democracies. that's the good thing. but we are are up against a significant enemy with a lot of energy and patience. >> i was going to ask what we should do about these channels of miscommunication like in our country sputnik and rt. starting with you, what, if anything, have you done to try to respond or immediately counter dikt information coming in? you're much closer to this than we are, but it's no harder to keep out here than it is there. >> well, can i just say, i arrived here in november of 2014 to start working. and i was stunned by the amount of rt commercials -- i'm sorry, posters, advertisements around washington.
there were these big expensive monies, the back lighted ones on the bus stops and the one plastered all over construction site fences. amazing. i had never seen anything quite like that. so clearly there was a big investment here directed at normal washington. >> is there no investment like that in germany. >> not in the same way. >> would you allow it if they wanted to do that? >> you know, i tend to think if they wanted to buy advertisement it is a free country and these are companies. they are companies. i've not a big fan of nanny state endeavors to protect us from things we can see through. i believe americans can see through this as well. where it becomes more insidious is where they're buying people or buying institutions. and, so, i have faith -- >> your view is that's more insidious than so-called fake news? >> fake news is insidious if our consumers or citizens are not
media literal. >> in other countries, what do they do about rt and other russian outlets? >> well, in the information space, it's actually quite simple. if somebody doesn't have the credibility they message as much as they want, there is no effect from that. i think there is an interesting trial where they opened the offices in the scandinavian countries and then within a year's time they had to close it. nobody listened to them. >> what about in montenegro? >> sput nick has no office in montenegro. i think that i barely can remember that any of those russian based media have offices in montenegro itself. but they have offices in neighboring serbia. and from there they penetrate montenegro because they know government may work license at
any moment. so it is not the case in serbia because we speak more or less same language. they can do that easily. and then from there, their news will be rebroadcasted or reprinted and published in montenegro. >> what, if anything, should we do about these known medians that they use of miscommunication? >> senator, i think two things. one is always attach an adjective, a couple before when we talk about them. the russian government propaganda station, rt. so expose them for who they are because they are russian government. second, be very careful if you ever go on it because they'll distort what you say. don't give them the platform you want there. >> let me get one more question into you. i actually agree with your current position on congressionally binding sanctions. i assume you were much more inclined to have a flexible position when you were at the state department? >> that's absolutely true. i am a creature of the executive
branch. i always thought it was better to preserve the president's authority to act. but in this particular case because the president is not acting, i think the congress has to take that responsibility. >> senator kaine? >> thank you, mr. chairman. starting with a couple of comments. one, i want to associate myself with senator rubio's question, which i think is the real key question of this hearing, what can we do to defend ourselves? i'd like to ask each of you to submit a written, very short, half a page bing, bing, bing, here are the five things that we can do to defend ourselves. i think that would be very helpful. secondly, what we are seeing here, it seems to me, is the invention and expansion and implementation of a new kind of warfare. and it is a kind of warfare that is particularly effective against democracies. the chief of the general staff of the russia calls it weapon
nicing information and said in 2013 that he believes this is -- we are engaged now in information conflict. putin's defense budget is budgf ours but he is playing a weak hand very well. and has found a cheap way and when i say at tpeculiarly effec against democracies is because this is where public opinion matters. in many other countries, public opinion doesn't have that great a role in how policy is formed so a couple of shorts questions and i think, ambassador burns, you just answered this. any doubt that rt is an arm of the russian government. no doubt. everybody agrees. secondly, i have heard in a previous hearing in a different committee that the russians were looking around, sniffing around buying commercial tv outlets in europe. have any of you heard of that? is that -- >> yes. there have been, in baltic states, the cases where they've
tried, but governments have tried to block these possibilities. >> well, that certain seems to me is one of the things that we have to watch. another, i think this is a yes or no question, was what was done here in 2016 absolutely consistent with what the russians have been doing in europe for some years? essentially the same modus operandi? go ahead. >> well, it was, but there were a number of new elements and some more risk taking than we used to see. >> so they're getting more sophisticated. is that accurate? >> i think, mr. sarts, you have said something several times that's consistent with my understanding. some members of this committee were in eastern europe over a year ago in the spring of 2016.
we were in ukraine and poland. when we asked them how they -- and the first thing they wanted to tell us is, watch out for the russians in your elections and we didn't understand how prescient that was at the time. but in any case, then we said, how do you defend yourself? and the answer was, i think exactly what you said. they said, the best defense is if the people know what's happening and they can say, oh, it's just the russians. and that, you've characterized as societal awareness and that's what i think is one of the most important roles of this committee is to educate the american people that whatever we do, whatever defenses we come up with, this is going to keep happening, and the best defense is for them to be, i think you used the word, digitally literate or -- i can't recall the term. but we need to understand that they're going to keep doing this and we need to learn to shrug it off. ambassador burns, do you have any thoughts on that? >> very much agree and i think that's the lesson to learn from what happened to the obama administration. they were caught unawares.
it was new. they didn't appreciate the extent of it. and it was a lack of speed and a lack of transparency that is the problem. >> i do think it should be noted because there's been some discussion here. they did release, on october 9, a comprehensive memo that this was going on that really listed all the elements that were later listed in the january, and in the heat of the campaign, nobody paid much attention to it. and i understand. i think the dilemma they had was, do we go public in a big way and be accused of putting our thumb on the scale of the election and those kind of things. but i agree. i think a more aggressive response would have been appropriate in 2020 hindsight. one thing that hasn't been mentioned too much is the use of compramand. is that not part of the russian strategy, use of salacious material against candidates they don't like? that has happened in other countries, has it not?
>> well, it's one of the open questions about the 2015 german federal legislature, whether they were looking for it and found it, they have not posted anything yet. but you know, that's kind of the james bond version. they may just have also done this for the simple purpose of this espionage. the point is that often you don't find out because you're not supposed to. >> exactly. yes, sir? >> just it has been very heavily used typically by ussr. i think the relative importance has decreased because they've learned actually having one is not always essential. you might make it up. >> i see. you don't even have to have the data. you can just make something up. king kicks dogs every morning and then i'm denying it for the next three months. or much worse. well, i want to thank you again for your testimony. this has been very informative and i hope you will give us some
written responses about defenses because that's an important role of this know prepare ourselves for what everyone has suggested is not a one-off in 2016. it will continue to happen and it will continue to happen on both sides of our political divide in this country. putin is not a republican. he is an opportunist, and the next time this attack could come in the opposite direction, but it's still a corruption of our democracy. thank you all very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator langford. >> thank you, senator. i've learned several things today, including senator king kicks dogs every morning and i was completely unaware of that. let me ask this panel a quick question. it goes back to one of the heart of the questions senator king was bringing up before. what price should russia pay for this type of interference? it's one thing to see we're informing our people. we're trying to do it rapidly. i've heard that from several of you to say the speed of the
information and the response is exceptionally important. finding cooperation between legitimate media sites, that they will actually help identify, here's false, here's true, try to get that out. but what price should they pay? let me bring up why. when the russians were cheating and doping their athletes, in a very short period of time, russia paid a very big price for that by their athletes not going to the 2016 olympics. and saying, i know you trained but you doped your athletes and you were caught for that. it's just within the last 24 hours that their doping authorities even allowed to start testing their athletes again. they've been on suspension that long. they paid a price for that. we would hope that they would be a deterrent. what price should they pay for this type of aggression? >> >> this is a very difficult question, politically, legally, militarily, and the main reason why it's so difficult is attribution. and even when intelligence services know how to attribute,
they may not want to make that public. and that is a -- that is the largest conundrum that we are dealing with here. so we may, i think, be looking at asymmetrical retalgiation, a it were. political, economic. and i think the biggest price that russia can and should pay is failure. failure to undermine us, failure to undermine our democracies, failure to undermine our alliances. that is something we can do, and i think it is even more important because it's a consistently, it's a remaining vulnerability that is even more important than the question of retaliation. of course we -- and american and german and european officials have been doing this all the time, is to make it very clear to the russians that we know what they're doing, that we want them to stop, and that we have ways of reacting. but the actual legality and viability of symmetrical reactions is a huge legal and military problem, as i'm sure you know. >> yes, and one of the things
you mentioned before, dr. stelzenmuller, is that the export of lng. that's something that was debated extensively here in congress and a large part of the conversation was not -- the conversation became, this is about american energy companies somehow being more profitable while the europeans were saying this is about geopolitical power. if you don't sell us lng, then the russians can turn the valve on and off and they control a large part of europe. for geopolitical influence, we need to do that. became debated long-term here and then was finally determined, yes, we're going to sell lng and now europe has another outlet and russia has competition and it's a benefit to our alliance and long-term connection. other ideas that anyone would share as far as the price that russia should pay? >> if i may, actually, one of the things that they expect us to talk soft about these things. part of their plan, there will not be direct, strong response.
i thought when emmanuel macron met putin and the way he did it in versailles was not a pleasant experience for putin. so being direct instead of, well, they thought that would be this polite talk. secondly, the machinery they are using against us is extremely important for kremlin to control their own population. so, if we are able to dismantle it, then we -- i mean, we actually, as i've said, we bring in more truce into the internal russian discourse. >> other ideas and thoughts? >> i would just say, senator, it's a really tough question for both president trump as it was for president obama. can we find a pressure point that is as important to putin as the integrity of our elections are to us? and i think constanze is right. that's probably going to be asymmetric. >> okay. >> maybe to add a sentence that
it was mentioned that russia's goal is to drive a wedge between eu and the u.s. i think that one of the things must be done is that the u.n., actually, this bond must exist and the unity between eu and the u.s. must remain. you know, on top of what was said. a submymmetric response. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i was very impressed at seeing our nato allies, what all you have done in trying to towahwar what russia has done. sweden has launched a nationwide school program to teach students to identify russian propaganda. in lithuania, 100 citizen cyber sleuths link up digitally. they call the daily skirmishes
elves versus trolls. france and britain have successfully pressured facebook to dismantle tens of thousands of fake accounts and has doubled to 6,000 number of monitors empowered to remove defamatory and hate-filled posts. all of this is -- i mean, it's amazing. i think that you all have been dealing with this, and it says here, in latvia has undertaken to defer russian muddling since it broke free. i think it goes back to what you just had said. they have been controlling their people by misinforming them, by basically not giving them the facts, giving them what they want them to know. when you all broke, when latvia broke in 1991, you were able at that time to set your people free by the truth. have you been able to -- have any insurgency into russia getting the truth in there, using their own weapons against
them, their own networks against them? >> well, none of the governments that i know of have made a decision to do that. our civic society groups -- there are groups that try to do that and bring in the different tools that might be there. some of them, and i would argue in front of this committee, humor as awkward it might be, is one of the best tools i would suggest to penetrate the control system. we, in fact, recently produced a report on the humor as a tool of communication. in five hours since, we had a response from maria, and it went on for whole months, including president of chechnya doing a
video as a response to our research of humor. i think that tells you a story. so there are many ways you can get in. >> okay. let me ask this question, then. there's been reports -- it's open source that putin was directly involved giving direction in the united states elections, the last presidential election. our intelligence basically said he was directly involved. he gave the order to do what was done. do you have that same verification in your countries and in nato allies that putin was directly involved and have you identified him as being directly involved so that people would know where it's coming from? >> if i had that information, i probably wouldn't be sitting here, but there is a general assumption in germany that the president's office is directly and copiously involved in giving orders to russian interference. the actual execution is delegated very broadly to a variety of actors. >> when it comes to montenegro,
i can only repeat or quote what our state's prosecutors mentioned just like a few weeks ago. he said that behind these events in montenegro are nationalist structures from russia and that certain russian authorities were involved in a certain level, but at this moment, he can not make that conclusion that putin himself was, you know, giving order to what was going on there. >> if i can follow up with one. the rhetoric coming from our white house under this administration, has it caused our nato allies to start moving towards contributing 2% to the defense spending or is it because of their concern of russia's aggression? we'll let all of you answer. i want ambassador burns to get on this. >> yes. the chancellor has said repeatedly that we will achieve
the 2% by 2024, which is the date towards which it was promised and we're increasing our defense budget by 8% this year. we're also doing a lot of other things, which are working towards -- >> what was the cause? >> i think the proximate cause was russian hostility. >> more so than the white house rhetoric? >> i'd say that the policies and rhetoric of this administration have contributing to reinforcing a sense of urgency. >> got you. ambassador burns. >> senator, i think 20 of 29 nato allies have increased defense spending since the russian invasion of crimea in '14. that was the primary cause but president trump's been right to raise this issue at all of our presidents have, and i think he has had an impact on the internal debate. canada is one country. they spend barely 1% of their gdp in defense, so i think he's gone about it sometimes in a way that's not effective. >> unconventional. >> unconventional. but he's right to raise it. >> thank you very much. yes, sir. >> just to add that last year
only, other members of nato increased defense spending by around $2 billion u.s. >> senator cotton. >> thank you. this hearing has been informative on the specific question on russian active measures in the united states and in europe. of course that's just one small part of russia's efforts over the decades to undermine western democracies, try to divide our alliance. i think we sploexplored most of those points today, so i want to respond more broadly to what i think are two myths that have been propagated here, mostly by my democratic colleagues but by some of these witnesses and those myths are that somehow president trump is weaker on russia than was president obama, and second, that somehow nato and deterrents is undermined by the unites rather than by europe. so first, let's review what's happened in the first five
months of this administration. president trump has bombed the military base in syria. he has shot down syrian planes. they have shot down iranian drones thereby showing that russia is unable to protect its two main clients in the middle east. we're on the verge of deploying more troops to afghanistan where russia has been meddling with ever greater intensity in recent years, and we have finally proposed a budget that increases our military spending, albeit not enough. it accelerates ballistic missile defense, and our domestic agencies are doing everything they can to promote more oil and gas production in the united states. by contrast, president obama famously pushed the reset button a few weeks into his tenure, six months after russia invaded georgia. he mocked mitt romney for calling russia our number one geopolitical foe.
he asked medicived to wait to discuss missile defenses because he would have more flexibility despite bipartisan support in the congress, president obama refused to send lethal weapons to ukraine. he stood idly by as russia returned into the middle east for the first time in 40 years and syria and he stood idly by as we've heard today in the 2016 election. so, i would dispute the premise that somehow president obama was any tougher or stronger in the defense of u.s. interests as against russia. second, the myth that somehow nato and deterrents is at risk because of the united states. not europe. talk is cheap. deterrence is about the military balance of power. it's not about magic words. national leaders can all article v sacred or sacrosanct or any other pretty word they want but europe's collective failure to meet the 2% goal of defense
spending has under invested in our common defense by something along the magnitude of $120 billion a year. vladimir putin can see the reality of what national leaders in europe think about our common defense, no matter what words they use. moreover, it's well known that russia's in flagrant violation of the intermediate range nuclear forces treaty, also in violation of the open skies treat ye treaty that european leader continue to resist the trump administration's effort to bring russia back into compliance. dr. stelzenmuller, the german foreign minister has protested the russian sanctions bill that passed this senate because germany does business with russian companies in the construction of the pipeline, which by the way, they shouldn't be building in the first place if they are that worried about russia and want to deter russia in europe. while we're on the topic of the german foreign minister, he said
a few months ago that the 2% goal is unlikely to be attained and politicians shouldn't make promises they can't keep. sadly, i'm afraid he's right. germany increased its budget last year by 8%. this year, its defense budget is proposed to be increased by only 4% yet a poll suggests that a majority of germans oppose such an increase. more alarmingly, a pugh poll from last month asked europeans if russia got into a serious military conflict with one of its neighboring countries that is our nato ally, do you think our country should or should not use military force to defend that country. here were the responses. the dutch said, 72% yes, 23% no. that is great for the dutch. they are good allieds. americans, 62 to 31, very proud of our country. canada, 58% to 31%. france, 53 to 43, spain, 46% to
46%, not great. brits, 45% to 43%. germans, 40% to 53% would defend a nato ally. so, my time is almost expired. i'll just ask one question, given that so many of my remarks have focused on germany and dr. stelzenmuller, you're obviously the subject matter expert on that country. what is the matter with germany? >> thank you, senator, for your questions and for your remarks. i've already said that i'm not a fan of the nord stream 2 project and i think a member of my german expert friends agree with me. there is a substantial debate within german politics about the use of this project, politically. on the german defense budget, i think, again, i can only reiterate what chancellor merkel has said, who looks likely to win this election again, that germany is on course to fulfill
this promise by the time it is supposed to fulfill it. anybody who has ever looked at defense budgets and attempted to increase them knows how many path dependencies complications there are in actually expanding forces. we would have to double our defense budget to do this. but i can assure you from my personal experience, many conversations last week in berlin, we are racing to do this. two weeks ago, i was on a stage together with the german chairman of the chief -- the equivalent of the chairman of the joint chiefs at the bidding of the defense ministry to explain to germany's armaments bureaucracies why they have to work faster, more flex bloibly more creatively to accomplish the promises that we have made to nato and i assure you that this was a very serious discussion. now, it will also not have escaped you because we've been talking about this all day that
we're in an election and that gabrielle is a member of the opposite party, although he's in a coalition with the chancellor and therefore he has to say these things. he has also said other things. for the first time he went to moscow, he told the foreign minister that he did not believe in the post-western world lavrov had spoken of at the munich security conference, that this was wrong, that we very much stand by the idea of a western -- of the west and western alliances, and that this is a question of shared values and not of geopolitical location. so, as for the pew poll, i'm as unhappy about that as you are. maybe that is also rooted in our cultural memory of the cold war. i'm old enough to remember the cold war where we knew that if the article v came to pass, there would be three weeks of conventional warfare, then it would move to nuclear and then my country would be a heap of ashes.
i think that that is a memory that informs that kind of judgment. but i know that german politicians of all parties have made it clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to russia, to moscow, and to the kremlin and mr. putin himself, that any violation of article v will have us all standing there as one, as allies, to defend an attack on nato territory. >> senator harris. >> ambassador burns, can you tell me what you believe has been the impact of our reputation with our allies and europe in particular as a result of this administration's failure to acknowledge that russia hacked and attempted to manipulate the election of the president of the united states, and if you believe there has been an impact in terms of our standing with our allies in europe, do you believe that is going to have an impact on our ability to protect ourselves and
guard against what should be a predictable attack in our 2018 elections by russia. >> thank you, senator. i think the basic problem is that the europeans are accustomed to looking for the united states to lead on any big issue. this is a big issue. and the hearing is central to it because all of us are under attack from a systematic russian campaign but they don't see the united states leading. and if you combine, and this is partly in response to senator cotton's very good question as well, president trump has not been strong on the sanctions against ukraine. he's not been an advocate for the territorial independence of ukraine. he's not spoken out on interference and he's been very ambivalent, even hostile, to nato, and seems to look at germany as a strategic economic competitor, not as an ally. if you put all that together, i think it's the first time since 1945 that europeans might likely see angela merkel right now as leader of the west, not president trump. i don't say that lightly.
and i think it's a sad statement to make, but i think it's a true statement. and so we need to recover our leadership role and you do that by actions, and on this subject, it's by aligning yourself with the europeans on the sanctions issuement that issue. that's why i support what the senate has done on a bipartisan basis and it's by trying to raise our defenses as janis has talked about here in a very effective way. >> can any of the other panelists offer that? mr. chairman and vice chairman, i appreciate you having this hearing and an open hearing on this issue. i think the american people should have a better sense of how our reputation and standing in the global community has been impacted by our failure to acknowledge that russia attempted to manipulate an election for the president of the united states. do any of the other panelists want to add to the ambassador' points? >> i will add. just to remind you that article v has been invoked only once in the history of nato in the situation when the u.s. was under attack after september 11,
and that all allies from europe stood up and stand behind u.s. at that time, and we've been in the afghanistan for years now together alongside, fighting the same cause. >> i'll just add one number to that. more than 800 europeans have died alongside american troops fighting in afghanistan for a joint cause. >> thank you. mr. sarts, you mentioned a couple of points about the french elections, and i was curious about -- and senator collins, i think, raised this point also. you talked about media as a partner and their cooperation with the french government and that they actually were very active in verifying the factual accuracy of misinformation, and you also discussed the importance of assuming that a country will be hacked and then trapping hackers. and arguably, then, at some point, being able to prosecute
them and find -- and get some consequence and accountability. how would you propose that that would be applied in the united states? you know that, for example, i won't name the stations, but there are two cable networks that, if you watch them at the same time on the same subject, you will hear two completely different versions of what's happening. and so we have to acknowledge that we have a culture around the media in this country as it relates to politics, at least, that may not be as coordinated as some of the media in europe. how would you propose, again, looking at the 2018 election as a goal for protecting ourselves, how would we work with the media to inoculate or prevent harm or to be resilient once we know we've been hacked. >> well, truths, in fact, matter. facts matter. we don't build bridges on false
facts. we want to then get them straight. it is very hard to have a functional democracy without facts as a basis for it. we tend to go into different directions because of opinions, and that's okay. that's what the democratic process is. but at the end of the day, all we have to agree is that if we don't value the factual basis of our reality, democracy would not work. >> and so i only have a couple of seconds. how did the french media expose misstatement of fact to be without factual basis? how did they expose the fake news, if you will? >> well, their whole set of ways how you verify what the information is in front of them, the journalists should be very good at it. and actually, the whole -- the biggest point is actually value
and understand the role as it is called, fourth power. it is both also the power and the responsibility. and understand that within the responsibility of that for media in a democratic society to have it functional is to value the factual basis. that's, i think, the understanding upon which the french media were able to come together to actually work together. i wouldn't classify there was a corporation between media and the government. >> no, right. >> media cooperated in between themselves irrespective of different political viewpoints, valuing that the democratic system is based on facts. >> i agree with that and i would say it's important to value a free and independent press in order to allow them to do their job. thank you. i have nothing else. >> senator mccain. >> ambassador, do you believe that the united states has a strategy as to respond to these
cyber warfare that we're in today? >> i think yes. >> could you tell me that strategy? >> that's very difficult question. i would say that i can see that strategy through nato and what i also -- >> through nato? >> yeah, because when it comes to cyber attacks, you remember that as a result of the first cyber attack on a large scale which happened years ago when russia attacked estonia, center of excellence was established in estonia, which was supposed to be -- >> that didn't have anything to do with an american strategy. i was there at the opening of it. >> yeah, but i think that the strategy, in all case, i can just return to old case, you
know, thanks to when we found out that it would be difficult, at least as far as i know, it would be difficult to clarify the case, we turn to -- and ask for help from the u.s. and the uk agencies. i would -- i would like to believe that, you know, strategy exists. i can only -- i cannot comment on it because i'm not in the loop. i didn't read it. i didn't talk to people who can explain, but what i can see that is happening every day there is that through your embassies and through your deputy heliplomati, a network that exists in nato, the working level, countries like montenegro, if it need receives assistance. >> well, that's a great answer. thank you. should we expect similar aggressive behavior as we saw
the attempt to overthrow government of montenegro at other nato aspirants such as bosnia, kosovo. >> what i mentioned in my introductory, i'm sure this is just one case, and i'm sure that the russia will continue doing something similar in our neighborhood. >> that's pretty exciting. they recruited people, they were willing to kill people, they were willing to send people in uniform to kill the prime minister. i mean, that's -- it reads out of a novel. >> therefore, i think that u.s. and european partners must remain active in the region. any further -- any threat from the region that's -- for the democracies. >> they came awfully close to succeeding.
if we hadn't had an informant from the inside, they might have succeeded. >> what i answered previously, that in some cases, we simply had luck. i can not say that we were capable to fight back, simply it happened as a result of certain circumstances. one that you mention and had that helped us a lot. >> like an informant on the inside. >> yeah, this was an informant who came to -- who was aware of the proportion of bloodshed that would happen if this action succeeded, and he turned and showed up in police to report. >> mr. sarts, should we be concerned about that level of violence that the gru is willing to engage in order to overthrow a freely elected government? >> it is concerning, and we should be concerned. >> why do you think we haven't heard more about it?
>> i'm quite surprised about that as well, because i think that is a very, very telling story that we have to reflect upon. i have one hope, and that is the fact that it all failed. russians, like everybody else, do their lessons learn. so i hope the lesson that they learned, it's not really that effective. and in these cases, they tend to lose what they like to have that is a plausible deniability. >> what has been the public reaction in montenegro about this failed coup? >> i would say reaction was mixed, even including me at the beginning. i was, at that time, in the u.s., not working anymore for government and the first reaction was like a mix of feelings, whether this was staged or not, whether it is
true or not. but how time goes on, and we are more and more aware of the proportion of the action and what was behind this action, and how the action was organized, and the then also, as a result of two suspects decided to cooperate with the police, and they disclosed in their verdicts how action was planned, who financed it, who were the people for contact in serbia, those two agents that i mentioned at the beginning, so -- >> go ahead. >> russian agents. then this actually helped us make this picture completed, putting pieces, one by one, so then now we have clear picture what was happening. >> what's the reaction in the baltics, mr. sarts? >> oh, in the baltics, i think
currently all the governments are looking at -- with a great concern at the big scale russian military exercise that is planned for september. we -- >> are you talking about the reaction to what was clearly a very complex, detailed plot to violently overthrow a freely elected government. >> well, there were all kinds -- political statements condemning that. there was a discussion within the countries, both within the governments closed circles as well as openly of what has been the parameters of it. and i would tell that governments have taken a very great care to look into elements of what made it and what was the
plan to make adjustments for their own planning in a case of particular crisis. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, panel, for an excellent discussion, and ambassador burns, thank you for your distinguished service to the country in so many ways and your wise counsel and thank you for promoting us to the best hope of fixing this problem, but i think we're the second best, frankly. i share your concern that the president really has to take the lead here for obvious reasons, commander in chief, chief d diplomat, the most recognizable public figure. there was a missed opportunity at the nato conference. i forget what was said. what wasn't said was the common threat we face today, most significant one, not the only one, and is this deliberate action by the russians. and my stance is that the most immediate frame changer would be
if the president, standing next to the chancellor and to the president of france and to the british prime minister, took that position, and i just -- i assume you might have an opinion on that. >> well, i do. i was ambassador to nato as you know, senator, and every american president has been the leader of that alliance, has affirmed that bedrock commitment and we know it was in the president's speech and it came out so it had a devastating impact on american leadership and what we haven't talked about today is that in addition to the intelligence and judicial and political measures to take to defend against the interference in our elections, you and chairman mccain lead another committee, we have to keep funding the rebuilding of the u.s. military in europe, i hope permanently stationed, the nato baa to battalions because we're back into containment on multiple levels and this hearing exposes one of those levels. >> in that spirit, though, not only the reaffirmation of
article v but also a positive statement about the common thread of cyber against the united states, we've missed one opportunity, but if the president could stand with the leadership of nato and the prime minister of canada and many other interested parties and make that declaration, that would do as much to stop this process as anything. is that fair? >> well, it would, because the immediate threat now is this threat. it's the cyber attacks on the electoral processes. it's a much bigger threat than a conventional threat. he has the opportunity. he'll be at a summit hosted by chancellor merkel. there are opportunities for the president to get back into this leadership role and to build some bridges with the european leaders. my sense is that secretary tillerson and tsecretary mattis want us to go in that directionment they've been talking publicly about trying to play a bigger leadership role, a more concerted one. >> thank you.
mr. sarts, we have had discussions about the vulnerabilities of our electoral system, our information, social media, all these things. we know, as several people have suggested, that they're coming back. from your perspective, are the russians working on, you know, already working on, in our case, the '16 campaign and the '18 campaign in the united states, are they going to deploy more sophisticated cyber operations against our registration and electoral systems? there's been some reports in great britain within the context of the brexit vote that there was an attack on registration systems. and i guess the biggest question of all is, are they already there and we don't know it? because of the ability to use some tools that have fallen into the hands, if you could. >> one thing that we've registered, russians do
experimentation. sometimes you see an odd pattern that is inconsequential in a given circumstance, and you kind of dismiss it. because it has no effect. but when you look forward or retrospectively, when you have seen these cases, you see that has been the test case for a particular tool. so, they're doing it right now. it's not necessarily that they test it in the theater they're going to deploy it. it might be a very different place. so, yes, there will be elaborate, more elaborate tools both from technical but also from a cognitive perspective, i would expect there will be more. but i think the choices whether to and how to do that would be made pretty close within the contextual circumstances of a moment. >> now, your center for strategic communication, are you actually dealing with this issue
of -- in the germany, for example, the upcoming election, trying to help them in the united states, trying to give advice? is nato taking the position with, we hope, u.s. leadership of proactively dealing with this, or are you caught up in this kind of paralysis that we see in the united states? >> well, nato is facing now this from a very different -- well, not very, but a slightly different angle where the nato is putting troops in the three baltics and poland. they are bombarded with disinformation, with fake news, robotic networks are trying to attack. so nato is taking different trends of response, capability built up, practical steps, et cetera, et cetera and we as a center, we are not part of a military structure. we are run by the countries that made our centers, so we respond to them. and if they ask, and they do, to
give our advice, knowledge, or methodology, how they can counter specific cases, including election, we are there to support them. >> thank you very much. my time expired. thank you all very much. >> thank you, senator reed. thank you to all members for their participation today, and more importantly, thank you to each and every one of you. your expertise is invaluable to us. your testimony today is crucial as i shared with all of you before this panel. our ability, not only to work through the current investigation that we're in, but to create a road map for the appropriate committees of jurisdiction, both at home to figure out how we change elections to build defensive mechanisms or to make it less vulnerable and to work globally with our partners to make sure that any changes, any best
practices might at least be shared and offered to be implemented. just a couple of comments that i've got. i was challenged from the beginning with the names today. i are remain as challenged trying to figure out exactly what we do to stop russian interference, but as we complete this process, i think we'll have a clearer and clearer picture. you've been asked today to submit some -- to some things. i would also ask you to think about the challenges that we've got and that you have in your respective areas of expertise, and provide any additional input to us that you feel is pertinent to the decisions we'll make. ambassador burns, you know, i go back to something that you said and it's what jim comey said. next time it could be the other party. as a matter of fact, when this whole effort started, it wasn't targeted at one party or the other. i know you know that because you
know the -- the root of when this started and it was a mere fishing expedition that probably encompassed hundreds if not thousands of individuals and nonprofits and organizations. it turned into a data-rich environment for russia to be involved in an election. no question they would have been involved but maybe not in the same direct way. they just happened to have accumulated the data. so, right at the heart of it is this cyber security issue that the world continues to deal with and try figure out what the silver bullet is, and the answer is there's not a silver bullet. the second thing is, i'm glad you admit that you are a product of the state department. and you know, i can't envision the day that there would be a secretary of any state department that would be in favor of sanctions from the u.s.
to a foreign entity, because it's inherent that that makes their job tougher. but even though i don't think secretary tillerson is out there calling for russian sanctions, i wouldn't expect any secretary to do it. but there has to be -- there has to be leadership. and i think that's what the world's crying for right now is for leadership. and i hope that we do what we have historically done and we fill that vacuum. not because we're better at it. it's because i think, as i travel the world, the world's waiting for us to do it. because we provide liability umbrella for a lot of countries, because our elections have certainty, and most other elections don't have the length
of time certainty that we do. so, there are things that are unique to the united states, and we have to realize how that aids our partners around the world at leveraging that certainty of u.s. election. so, here's where i end up. i believe voters in asheville, north carolina, and houston, texas, deserve the same thing, and that's to vote with no interference, just as voters in berlin and paris deserve elections that have confidence that their votes and the integrity of their election systems are intact. as the committee continues its investigation, it's increasingly clear that russian activities fell into what i would refer to as a seam. it was domestic activity by a foreign power so the intelligence community wasn't quite sure how to approach it. it involved what i might informally call pseudo-government, organizations and the political parties so that it confused our
government's approach somewhat. lastly, the intelligence community diligently avoids political issues. so, that added to the additional complexity of this problem. here's where we are today. this committee's got a charge from the leadership, and that's to thoroughly review russia's meddling in the 2016 election. and the committee is committed to finish that investigation no matter how long it takes, no matter what the results are. i'm not sure that russia's involvement in our election will change much from our initial assessment, which was the ica that was produced by the obama administration. but what this committee can do and should do is to make sure that every american and every person globally that cares about the integrity of elections reviews what we find, embraces
what's needed to assure that elections are fair, and there's no interference in the future. and that we collectively commit to make sure we carry that out. so, the committee's work is vitally important to how this difficult time in our history ends. but i'm confident that we can come out of this with a report that not only spells it out for those of us that are members of congress but spells it out for the american people and our partners abroad in a way that can be understood and can be received with confidence. your contribution today has been incredibly helpful to our ability to put that report together. with that, this hearing's adjourned.
this holiday weekend on american history tv on cspan 3, saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, on the civil war, historians discuss new york city during the war from divided political loyalties to its southern economic ties and the 1863 draft riots. >> it seems clear that these draft riots really were a kind of organic perfect storm of resentment that had been building, you know, maybe for half a century. i mean, if you -- john, you were saying that this was not so much an irish riot or, you know, an
ethic riot but a working man's rebellion, the largest in our history. >> sunday at 8:00 p.m. on the presidency, phillip levy discusses locations associated with george washington's life, including river front land on virginia's northern neck, long thought to be his virginia birthplace. >> george corbyn washington had sold the property off. he was distancing himself. there were stories about the land but the washingtons themselves, this lineage were living more distantly, living further away. so it's sort of a retreat. there wasn't a lot on the land to recall where the buildings were. >> monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on reel america, the 1977 documentary "men of bronze" about the soldiers of the all-black regiment known as the harlem hell fighters. >> changing all of our american equipment, our canteens, our rifles, our army belts, and our
helmets. we were issued french helmets, french rifles, french ammunition, french canteens, and instead of water in the canteen, we had french wine. >> and tuesday at 8:00 p.m., pulitzer prize winning historian david mccullough talks about how the founders, particularly john adams, valid education, viewed slavery, and persevered in the face of hardship and how these idea ideals shaped american society. >> he grew up on a farm where they had no money. his mother was illiterate, his father, we know, could sign his name, maybe could read because there was a bible in the house and that was the only book. and they worked hard every day from childhood on. and -- but because he got a scholarship to this little sollege in cambridge called he said, discovered books and read forever, he became the john
adams who helped change the world. >> for our complete american history tv schedule, go to cspan.org. doctors and legal experts visited capitol hill last week to express their concerns about prescription drug injury advertisements. they testified before the house judiciary subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice. this hearing is about an hour and 15 minutes. subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice will come to order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare recess so the committee at any time. we welcome everyone to today's hearing on the examining ethical responsibilities regarding attorney advertising and i now recognize myself for an opening statement. today's hea w