tv Washington Journal CSPAN August 16, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT
s in your phone calls on "washington journal." we will be live at the event we just told you about. how politics may affect the role of u.s. as a superpower. at 5:30 p.m., we will be alive with thein about 45 minutes we l discuss the housing market with paul bishop from the national association of realtors. john american federation of government employees will take questions about how the debt ceiling deal and the so-called super committee may affect federal workers. and former f.b.i. investigator david williams will discuss the fbi's role in combating terrorism. "washington journal" is next. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] host: president obama is on day two of his bus tour of five
midwestern cities, adding to iowa today and eleanor wednesday. the bus tour, which many republicans criticize as campaigning, comes as a gallup poll shows the president below 40% approval rating for the first time. look for our coverage on c- span.org. new to gingrich will be in washington today at the heritage foundation talking about reducing the nation's deficit. live coverage on c-span2 at 9:00 a.m.. good morning on this tuesday, august 16. we will begin on your thoughts on raising taxes -- an issue brought up by the president of late and warren buffett as well and something the super committee will be looking at this fall. are you willing to pay more in taxes? that is the question for all of you this morning. we will get to your phone calls your comments, and your thoughts in a minute. let's begin with "the washington times." their headline -- he says -- again calling for tax
increases and accusing republicans who oppose his plan failing to put the country first. that is how they put it this morning. also the issue is in "the new york times." looking closer at taxes on the ridge with a story about warren buffett's piece in "the new york times," you probably saw it, and op-ed piece. he said he paid just under 7 million --
all the six republican members of the committee, though, have taken a no new tax pledge. kevin brady, member of the raid the ways and means committee flatly reject it -- rejected the idea. saying -- this is not a serious solution for deficit control or getting the dismal economy on its feet. that was kevin brady, republican member from texas. david ho is a democrat from this -- massachusetts. first phone call on this. what do you think?
caller: we need to legalize marijuana. host: christina, republican from pennsylvania. would you pay more in taxes? caller: no way. why would i want to pay more in taxes? we need to reduce taxes. right now it is funneling down us at the property tax level, which is all coming due. that is difficult enough to pay in our state. that is already a bad tax, and it is being passed down to was because of notes her -- no child left behind, done through mr. bush, goals 2003 mr. clinton -- 2000, done by mr. clinton. we should not even have the federal government involved in education. unesco, 60 million a year, they could rid of that and that would get rid of some cost of taxes.
no way, jose, we don't want any more taxes. host: would you mind telling us how much you pay in taxes a year? caller: no, what does it have to do with anything? host: curious about the tax bill. caller: the point is these taxes are unconstitutional, the taxes we are paying. if you listen to ron paul, you -- he will tell you what taxes are constitutional and people like rick santorum who gave us goals 2000 and no child left behind and now he is running around saying he will save us, he had a chance to save us when he was senator. i hope the people would not support him in any way, shape, or form. host: lee, an independent. i actually agree with the last caller. i don't want to pay any more taxes, either. the federal government needs a more serious belt tightening and live within its means. we also need to continue the discussion of what the federal
government's role should be in our everyday life. i think there is plenty of revenue, and if we can decrease rates and widen the base there will be way more money for the government to spend. let's grow our way out of the problem. host: let us get your reaction to this. here is the new york -- "new york times" article --
what is your reaction to that? caller: my reaction is in terms of the liberals argument of fairness -- i do not think it is fair in any shape or form for anyone to pay 50% of any part of their income. second, on capital gains, that money -- the money that are in the capital gains had already been taxed, so when you pay the capital gains it is double taxation, and i believe if you really wanted to stimulate growth, you would have a capital gains holiday for your two, you would see expansion like crazy. host: you think companies would start investing and hiring more? caller: hiring more, investing, and if they can repatriate some of the foreign money at lower or reasonable rates, a lot money would come back. mary, at's go to democratic caller, also from pittsburgh. caller: i can't believe the republicans do not get it. george bush gave a tax break to the richest people. this is why they are paying more
taxes. we got? also, if gov. rick perry is going to be our next president, god help us, this is george w. bush all over again. praise the lord. host: we will talk about rick perry a lot and his bid for proposals. but first, let me go back to "the new york times" and talk about capital gains. the caller brought it up. let's hear from muhammed, a republican in the minnesota -- is that right? you are on the air, sir. one last call for muhammed. let's go to ohio, cornell, independent caller. you are on the air.
caller: -- host: i will put you on hold. you've got to turn down your television. lesley, democratic caller in gastonia, georgia. caller: i am calling because the question is, are you willing to pay more in taxes. where they are not -- speaking of the people who are earning 250 or less. the president wants to raise taxes on the people who are the high income earners. yes, i think the rich people, the people and million or more like warren buffett said, definitely should pay more taxes. and our taxes should remain lower. host: do you mind sharing how much you pay in taxes a year? caller: i do mind sharing -- like the other caller said, it does not have anything to do with this. i did not make a million
dollars, that's for sure. i am not part of the high earners or the higher wages. but anyway, i think the rich do pay their fair share. they need to just let the bush tax expire. and that would solve a lot of the problem. host: here is "usa today" with their thoughts. what they want to hear the president say when it comes to reducing the deficit. the editorial calls for letting the bush tax cuts expire for everyone. and a $3 trillion is just a down payment on a $10 trillion problem. letting the bush tax cuts expire -- marty, a republican. florida. caller: my issue overall is
that -- host: we are listening, marty. caller: it is so unfair across the entire levels, ok? in that, even though the top rate is 35%, when you get the headlines that say that over 1500 people that made up to $1 million of income aids -- paid zero, that is a problem. when you hear that microsoft, $45 billion company, pays a 7% effective rate, that is a problem. even with 35%, it is a huge problem. host: "the financial times" has his take about what warren buffett says. they referred to mr. buffett's op-ed piece in "the new york
times" today. and they say separately the chief executive of starbucks cents an e-mail to other business leaders urging them to stop giving politicians money until they solve the deficit problem. scott, democratic caller in florida. caller: spot, or land of, florida. i really do believe we -- scott, in orlando, florida. i really do believe the government should raise taxes to fix the financial hurdles we have coming. but we have to come together as a people -- not just a democrat, republican, or independent. because this is going to our children's children's children. as long as we wrestle with the right wrong, rich, mediocre, low income, it does not hurt us to
set aside extra money out of our income to ensure that we have a balanced government and a sustainable future. we need to stop talking cuts and dig deeper as a people and country because we as americans always come through. i own a record label in orlando, florida, and i am willing to pay 10% more in taxes to get our country where we have to be. and i am not where i want to be financially. but what i do for my country -- that is from scott campbell from bdo records from orlando, florida. host: all right, scott. we're asking everybody on the facebook page. you can put your comments there. a poll asking if you are willing to pay more taxes. so far 62 people are saying yes and 44 people are saying no. again, facebook.com/c-span, if you want to participate in the poll -- if you want to take part
in the poll. jeff, a republican from northport, florida. caller: i am not willing to pay more in taxes. i tell you why. from a structural standpoint, if you look at all of the numbers, all of our social spending programs -- medicare, medicaid -- they are not sustainable. what you are a democrat or a republican, you could raise taxes for everybody in this country tomorrow and it is not going to change the fact that the numbers don't balance. host: so you have to go after and tom and reform at the same time? caller: no question about it. from my perspective, i think both sides, republican and democrat -- and i am a republican -- are lying. the reality is that we are coming into a period where things are going to have to change.
there is no way around it. i don't have the answers but something has to change fundamentally. host: but you believe you have to do both? you have to raise taxes and cut spending for the entitlement programs? caller: it is not even just that. we have to grow. we are not growing. if we are going to grow -- the fact of the matter is that we keep hearing the false debate from democrats that we are against president obama because of race, or this and that. no, it is about growth. and the bottom line is that what this administration is about as redistribution. if we can't get them out of the way, if we can get the epa out of the way, if we can't get all of the regulations out of the way, we are not going to grow. we have to grow our way out of this. that is all i have to say. host: "the new york times" editorial-page as two editorials for you. a clear case for the gas tax. this is what they say.
former senators bill bradley of new jersey and john danforth -- below that, another editorial by "the new york times this morning, a race to repudiate the government. talking about the 2012 gop presidential candidates. as the republican field narrows, the anti-washington sentiment becomes even harsher.
it take a look at texas gov. rick perry. saying if he wins, it would certainly be the first major modern party nominee to ridicule his social security, medicare and medicaid as a ponzi scheme. that is "the new york times" editorial today on rick perry. lots in the papers about the gop presidential candidate. we will get to that as well. independent from window, california. caller: it is my job as an american to pay taxes. that is how we get things done here. the problem is that certain people don't want to give back to what was given to them through the years as a tax break. they are being greedy. that is not american at all. host: can you compare, if you
could, your tax bill when tax rates were lower before the tax cuts were put into place? caller: my tax rates are different because i just turned into a private contractor, and i have never done that before. this year i am behind my taxes. i owe the government and i will pay the government because that is my job. thank you. host: a republican from arkansas. what do you think? caller: if the bush tax cuts expire, people making $60,000 a year, their taxes will go up -- increased by 50%. people like rush limbaugh who make millions from his taxes will only go up 19%. so, when people say let of the bush tax cuts expire, they don't realize that the people making, say, $50,000 to $100,000,
there's go up 50%, whereas the people making the money, there's only goes up 20%. they need to think about that. and you all run these numbers and put them on the screen and show what people pay. host: where have you seen those numbers? caller: for one thing, i do my own taxes. i went back and looked at my taxes that i paid and got the rates of of the internet' and i did the numbers. lo and behold, i am going to pay -- my taxes will go up 51%. then i turned around and i figured people making over $250,000 and above, say 300,000, a million dollars, there's only goes up 15% to 20%. do the numbers. have somebody on your staff do the numbers. host: good suggestion. here is edie evans to tweets in this --
teresa, independent and las vegas. caller: we pay about one-third of our income in taxes. my concern is that our government is not accountable. we need to have some accountants say -- there is no transparency. there is no transparency exactly where the money goes. and accountability. i don't think that the people who spend the money have enough of a connection or accountability, if they miss suspended or abused it -- the waste, fraud, and abuse is out of control, compared and half of the country apparently is not even paying an income tax. so, i am definitely supportive of a fair, flat tax. i would like to be completely transparent so that we know what
everybody -- that everybody has the skin in the game and is not just trying to get something. i don't mind paying my fair share, but i want to know what it is being spent on. i worked real hard -- we worked real hard for it. we would like to know it is not being wasted. and the people who are spending it actually respect my money. none of those boxes are checked for me. and that is why i say, no. host: let me get your reaction to this piece today and "the washington post." she quotes repair -- -- rick perry.
what do you think? caller: i it think it is generally an unfair system when half of the country is not contributing. you know, for whatever amount -- that is why i believe in a fair, flat tax. i believe in sort of a flat income tax for everyone and a consumption tax to clean up of the books. there are way too many loopholes. it is way too complicated. and there is not equity in it now.
with those two systems -- i think everyone could feel better about what they are doing it, if everyone knew that it was fair. right now, it is not fair. and there is no accountability. that is my big thing. the waste, fraud, abuse, and the people writing the checks adults have a respect for my money, where they are going. there is no oversight. look at what happened with the financial industry. what is our money being spent on it? host: got your point. we will leave it there. a little bit more from the piece.
a few words we'd -- viewer tweets in. you can send us an e-mail, at the address there. here is one from dw and seattle. -- in seattle. karen is a republican from a dorm, north carolina. your thoughts. caller: everybody knows there is waste, fraud, and abuse in the system. everyone knows looking at the past stimulus budget, that the trillion of dollars that went
in, there was just so much of use that politicians used for their own personal campaign funds. everyone knows that the tax system is so unfair. and when you have almost 50% of americans not paying any income tax -- i and not saying that they are not paying some kind of tax -- but if you are not sitting down and writing a check to the government every year, there is a problem. and everyone knows, just looking at -- the stories that of the media wants the people to forget, the $2 million spent on the science of jell-o wrestling in alaska, a million dollars to watch shrimped run on a treadmill, all of this waste, fraud, and abuse in the education system, all the waste, fraud, and abuse and all of the nonprofits that go on in the system. general electric didn't pay any
income taxes. i mean, and they are sitting beside president obama and they did not pay a dime in income taxes. and nobody on the left is screaming about that. and if warren buffett wants to pay more in taxes, i am going to say, he has every right to do that. but i say to him and the kennedys and the rockefellers -- we should all look at their bank accounts because they did not make their money fairly. and you should just take that money out of their accounts and trust funds. host: front page of "the new york times." 2012 politics. a story on texas government -- texas gov.'s java record. -- texas gov. rick perry's jobs a record.
it is a lengthy piece in "the new york times" if you are interested in reading it. they go into his record and the texas job boom as well. and a piece in a column in "the wall street journal" about rick perry's message, saying, quoting him, saying -- he goes on to say -- pointing to numbers to say that
may be rick perry's message is too sharp for voters in the center. that is his column this morning. and also in the papers this morning, about the 2012 candidate race, here is obama's midwest floor has a campaign field, is the headline in "usa today." and there is a story on the front page of the drive to report, a story about $2.2 million for the secret service in new armored bus. the secret service revealed a talking point memo that the government purchased two armored buses were used by president barack obama and republican candidates in the 2012 campaign and beyond. that is politico with that story
that is a look at what the gop candidates and what president obama is going on that front. georgia. ron, independent caller. talking about the decision whether or not to raise taxes for deficit reduction. caller: absolutely not. i would not pay more taxes. we have a recipient class and in this nation that equates to almost 50% of the people paying absolutely no federal income tax. that is wrong. our tax code promotes the idea of class warfare. that is wrong. we should go to the fair tax. the fair tax would not only be fair for all taxpayers, but it would kickstart the nation that the economy and get us out of this rut. host: bill, republican from
birmingham, alabama. caller: i am not against paying taxes -- doing it quite a long time of my life. i would like i thought and then listen to the comments of the other callers as well. i think everybody on the hill -- senators, representatives, whatever -- i think they should take a salary cut on top of more taxes. host: all right. here is a tweet -- let's go next to renee, democratic caller in wilmington, delaware. caller: yes. my comment about people who are on disability. i am on disability, and i worked most of my life.
with that said, an average person on disability receives between $700 and $800 a month. buy food, pay rent, and pay for health care. that doesn't go very far. and also because of taxes -- the rich, their taxes should be increased. the middle-class and upper- middle-class are carrying this country and they have been carrying this country for a long time. it is ridiculous. i do taxes for a lot of my relatives who are in the income brackets between $70,000 to $100,000 a year, and the amount of taxes they are paying, it is just ridiculous. that is all i wanted to say. host: back to 2012 politics. the associated press has this story about ron paul. once a fringe candidate, paul shaping the 2012 election.
that is the associated press this morning with that story. and "the richmond times dispatch." virginia gov. bob mcdonnell takes the chair of the republican governors association. "the los angeles times" has of this story about rick perry. mega donors fare well. many have reaped benefits in the texas. francisco. t to san dave, independent caller. caller: i just wanted to add to the debate about how social security is not deductible. we get taxed in addition to income. when become the employer, about 15% -- for everybody who works. if you don't work, you don't pay
the tax. if you add a sales tax, 20% in non-deductible taxes. income aside, everybody who was working is probably paying around that. obama did cut social security tax, which is a big thing, i think. also, if you look at deductions -- things like charities, there are a lot of fraudulent charities. i know of a business who had -- sales expanded from charity, but it was from bge, a for-profit business, that i worked for. host: let us go back to the poll on our facebook page. we are asking all of you if you are willing to pay more in taxes. yes and no -- 119 saying yes, and those saying no, 80 people. more in favor of raising their taxes than last. if you want to post your comments or take part in the poll, go to facebook.com/c-span.
john, and republican in fort collins, colorado. good morning, john. caller: i think there should be no federal income tax at all and everyone should decide for themselves how much they are willing to pay. i would say a national sales tax -- an example of buying a car. if you are poor and you buy a $500 car, it would cost you $10. if you are rich and by $30,000 car, it would cost you $600. if you also look at that -- the number of poor people ride around and 30,000 cars -- i doubt if a rich person would want to buy a $500 car, but if that happens, they decide where they want to pay 60 times the amount of the other person. host: independent from jackson, tennessee. caller: well, good morning,
greta. i wanted to have a personal statement that i wanted to make. your hair is beautiful -- but that red was gorgeous. did you darken it up a little bit? [laughter] host: did you really call-in about that, pat? caller: i kept looking at you and i said there is something different. i love your hair, though, would the red. especially with that grain background. it was always so beautiful. host: all right, pat, i will leave it there and move on. sheila is a democrat from alaska. caller: i am getting ready to get everybody mad at me -- but first i think we need a sliding scale tax that caps off at about 35%, and nobody gets any returns, nobody gets any breaks.
and the story. just pay your taxes, don't cheat, just do it. it is the right thing to do. host: this is the story from " the pittsburg-post-gazette." it could take pennsylvania one step closer to televise and local court trials. the state supreme court approved for the first time having a camera in the court room. also, news out of iraq and "the boston globe." attacks killed 89 and wound 315. a story and a lot of the papers this morning about violence erupting. tom, a republican from long island, new york. talking about whether you want to pay more in taxes. caller: i am not really in favor of paying more taxes. i pay my share as a corporation that i am, and i am always willing to do my share. but at the same time there is just so much waste going on.
there are people out there on the government coffers and basically paying no taxes and getting cash payments from ownership of homes, houses. the other thing with new york, at nassau county, the highest tax county in the country. how much more taxes are we going to be paying? how much more are you going to believe us? why pay more when they are being foolish with my money already? that is my problem. i don't mind paying more. just list with what they are doing now. host: robert gibbs was on one of the morning shows. he said that republicans must decide whether they are going to swear allegiance to the tea party or work with democrats to create jobs. that is the next to a democratic jamar from dallas, texas. -- caller: i to say everybody pays taxes at work. the me give you an example.
people say nobody -- i only make $39,000, from department of defense, and i pay $5,000 worth of taxes and only reason why i get anything back, which is not that much, if i can do my home deduction. they make interest of all our money that we pay in. i don't have any kids to be dumped, but a lot of people say you don't pay taxes -- you do make -- pay taxes and the federal government makes money. i advise people who say no taxes -- ok, like i said, when floods have been, things happen, they want to shut the government down and don't want any taxes. so, don't pay anything and just wallow in your field or what ever happens, storms, whatever, just let it go. you have to have money to do things for people. and i have never seen a country that is always so against people. so that is my comment.
host: james is a republican from chattanooga, tennessee. caller: i have had businesses and work for people. when i have my own business, i had to pay my taxes every quarter, coming straight out of your banking account. what i see is that, if everybody had to pay their taxes instead of the company paying the taxes, they would see how much is actually going out and then they can make a decision whether they want their taxes raised. as long as you are paying through your payroll, you don't see that. host: monty 341 tweets in -- send a tweet, go to twitter.com, and c-span wj is
are handled. stocks regain losses after last week that a wild ride in the market. and here is "the new york times" with this story." recess destination with bipartisan support -- israel and the west bank. visits to both israel and the west bank and meetings with mr. peres and a 10 yahoo in jerusalem -- netanyahu in
jerusalem. that is "deliver times" with bought story. -- that is "the new york times" with that story. and google with the one -- $12.5 billion phone deal. pat? caller: you would ask if i would pay more taxes. yes, i want to live in a civilized society. i think everyone should pay their taxes according to their ability. when did we get to the point that we did not want to pay for anything. this is ridiculous. if george bush had not lowered taxes while we were in the war is, why would any president lower taxes when we know that we are calling to have higher expenses.
all of us baby boomers, they have the census and they know when we are going to turn 65 and need medicare, so why didn't they plan ahead? yes, we should pay more taxes. i make under $60,000. my tax rate is 20%. so why should the ones with all of the money not pay anything? host: mary is a republican in tampa, florida. caller: my take is, no, because i have a trust fund which my parents left me, plus i work, and i am paying like 60 or 70% in taxes. i think that is enough. thank you. host: a couple of things i want to point out. we will be covering at the national defense university, a conversation with the secretary of state hillary clinton and secretary of defense leon panetta at 10:30 a.m. at c-span and [unintelligible] , eastern saw -- c-span and c-
span.org." former majority leader of the republicans' bill frist is writing in "the wall street journal" about the famine in africa. he was on a trip with the wife of vice president joe biden. he writes, mrs. biden and i saw a new outbreak of measles -- if you are interested in that piece, bill frist writing in "of the wall street journal." we will take a break, and we will talk to john gage of the american federation of government employees and 45 minutes, but first, coming up
next, paul bishop, with the national association of realtors and we will talk about the housing industry. we will be right back. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] for politics and public affairs, and nonfiction books, and american history, it is the c- span networks. it is all available to you on television, radio, and online. and on social media sites. search, watch, and share all of
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histories. history book shelf features some of the best known history writers. we visit key figures, battles, and events during the one under the 50th anniversary of the civil war. visit college classrooms across the country. go behind the scenes at museums and historic sites on american artifacts. and "the presidency" looks at policies and legacies of past presidents. go to c-span.org/history and sign up to have it e-mail to you by pressing the c-span alert button. >> "washington journal" continues. host: paul bishop is the vice president of research at the national association of realtors here to talk about the housing industry. what is the state, mr. bishop, of the housing industry -- when you look at the existing home sales and the figures? what does it say to you? guest: probably the best way to characterize it right now is fragile. we have been looking for signs
of stability in terms of sales and right now there are a lot of headwinds and tail winds. i guess the best way to characterize the market is fragile, and we are hoping things will continue to improve even if they are not improving the way most homeowners would like to see. host: what do the existing home sales numbers say? why do people look at that indicator? guest: they are the majority of home sales that take place compared to a new home sales which of the relatively smaller fraction of all transactions. it really reflects the activity in the housing market. it reflects people buying and selling homes. it reflects the fact that people are moving from one place to the next to buy a home. it is a pretty strong indicator of all the level of activity going on in the housing market. host: what does that mean for this headline in of of what the washington post?" it says president obama has directed a small team of the advisers to create a proposal to give the government playing a major role in the mortgage market, extending a federal loan
subsidy for most home buyers, according to people familiar with the metal. -- matter. earlier this year the administration released three options for restructuring the secondary mortgage market. they varied in terms of the role of the private market. but this headline suggested the administration thinks there is ongoing need of some federal role in the secondary market. what it basically means is there is a way to guarantee there is a flow of mortgage is available in good and bad times, and the federal government has a role and is -- as a backstop, so as we go through the next financial turmoil, that homeowners still have the option of getting a mortgage and also guarding
against the fact that the private market may not be there in times of turmoil. host: what type of buyer are we talking about, and the average mortgage? guest: what this would target is, if you will, the typical buyer. now, the limit at which a government sponsored enterprises can't guarantee mortgages is as high as 729,000 in high-cost areas. -- the limit at which the government sponsored enterprises can guarantee mortgages. also the viability of the 30- year mortgage which most depend on. host: doesn't put back in place what the mortgage -- does it put back in place what the mortgage industry looked like before the crisis and preserve the status "? many of whom think what was the problem to begin with -- many 0.2. guest: i don't think anybody was the back to the way fannie and freddie were structured in the
past. you have private property -- private profit and public laws. one option we support it is to have the government in a role to make the secondary market move forward, provide guarantees, packaged securities so that they can be made available to financial markets on wall street, and at the same time making sure the flow of capital and the mortgage market is steady through good times and bad. there certainly is a role for the private market would can't depend only upon the private market for the source of mortgages for the typical home buyer. host: let me read more detail from "the washington post" on this.
what do you make of those options? guest: there are certainly a number of options in terms of how the proposal can come forward. there will certainly be debate on what the right form of the secondary market will be once the proposals are made known. but i think the bigger point is that the old fannie and freddie are probably not a viable option going forward. as i said, the private profit and the public loss as structured in the past. what really needs to happen going forward is the secondary market and the government's role and that needs to be a very straightforward roll -- actually really that it is not profit seeking, does not have shareholders, and the primary role making the secondary market role in an effective and efficient way. host: how does the downgrade of
fannie and freddie from s&p play into this? host: to the extent -- guest: to the extent it would raise the cost of lending. but we have not seen as much increases in interest rates because of the downgrades so, so far it it has not been an issue in terms of what the typical home buyer would see. host: we have seen the health of banks -- bankamerica losing a lot of the stock value. what is in the health of banks in lending out for mortgages? guest: one of the biggest concern we hear from home buyers is that underwriting standards have tightened considerably. it goes to the point that some banks are experiencing the goal piece in terms of their own financial health. but at the same time consumers and potential home buyers are concerned they may not get a mortgage, or if they are looking for emerge -- mortgage, the hurdles of underwriting standards are really much higher than they have been in the past. the fear is that in fact the
pendulum has swung too far so there are qualified home buyers out there who are not able to get a mortgage or simply dissuaded from getting a mortgage because they think they are not qualified. host: a couple of headlines about loaning -- from "the wall street journal" -- that is a piece in "the wall street journal." then this piece in "the financial times" -- we are dividing the phone lines up a little bit differently for this discussion. if you live in eastern central part of the country dial --
we want to hear what the real estate market is in your community. before we go to phone calls, can you, mr. bishop, break it down? they geographic impact, what does it look like? guest: if you of magic and math and the united states, the areas that as parents housing bubble and the greatest distress are really along the east and west coast. they had some of the highest priced homes to begin with, and they were more likely to have some concentration of subprime lending back in the days when that was available. but in the middle part of the country basically didn't see the rise in the home prices like the coast did, so they avoided a lot of the fallout we saw in other parts of the country. the thing overlying the market now more so than trouble in the mortgage market is just the economy and the fact that a lot of communities are suffering from the fact that high unemployment and jobs into the asian is not positive in those
communities. this is one of the things causing consumers to be less confident not just in a particular but their long-term prospects over all. host: we will hear from a spot in atlanta, georgia. caller: how are you doing, paul? i am a real-estate appraiser and licensed agent and the real issue is tied to employment numbers. when employment numbers start to drop you will see values stabilize. what the government could do is offer a streamlined refinance program with no appraisal, either -- it would enable people to actually take advantage of the low rates they are offering right now. right now nobody to go anywhere because you all more than the house is worth, and that is 75% of the market. that is something obama could do right now, which is allowed the fha or fannie mae or freddie mac do a streamline refinance program and that would free up capital and in some cases three up $300 to $400 a month in people's pockets.
and the management companies killing the qualified individuals. i used to do residential and commercial. i have been doing appraisal work for 17 years. for example, bank of america -- they ran through countrywide which have their own appraisal management company and everything they did through their own appraisal management company and that is why they are getting hammered. the same thing with chase and what wells fargo and it is driving people like me out of business. i will not do a residential appraisal anymore because i can't do it for $200 and a charge the consumer $500. they make money whether the deal goes through or not. basically the scam. my comments are to streamline refinance on the commensal loans of free up capital, and these appraisal management companies have got to be taken out of the process in general. host: i want to ask you questions about streamlining the refinancing process. what is it like right now that it needs to be streamlined? caller: basically if you own it
-- all $300,000 on a home that is worth 200,000 and you are locked in to 6% interest rate, you cannot take advantage of a 3.5% or a 4% rate. if you go out and make sure people are current on the loan and can pay the money, why would you not streamlined? they are paying $200 a month now at 6%, and you can just refinance -- just verify their income and their credit and verify that they have been paying their payments the past two years and put them at a 4% rate, which is common market rate, you could free up on that loan at least $400 a month. what you think the people will do question of it will spend it. pay down debt. talking initial $500,000 a year in people's pockets. that money could drive the economy -- talking an initial $5,000 a year in people's pockets. host: don't byers depend on getting an appraisal to make a determination whether they are
getting a fair price or whether or not a name -- need some money brought down -- if they have to fix something? guest: basically what they have done is they decided they wanted to manage the process. the fee would be a $400 or $500 depending on the market you would be in. so, what you have is the actual appraiser making $250 for an appraisal. still, it is less than what it would make directly. most of the experienced appraisers are leaving the business. you have these new people who really do not know what they are doing and of the fraud is very rampant. as the average -- the average appraisal has gotten worse. this is totally documented.
everybody that i know has experienced this. they are leaving the business or are going totally commercial. guest: those comments are very consistent with what we have heard time and time again by banc one of our recent surveys said 10% of realtors had at least one deal canceled because of the appraisal issues. another 22% had deals and delayed or renegotiated for a lower-priced. sellers are not happy, buyers are not happy, and appraisers are not happy with the system now. it seems like there are some hurdles in the system that are preventing us from getting there, and a number of experienced appraisers are leaving the business. host: this tweet coming in --
we will go to chris and wisconsin. you are on the air with paul bishop. caller: years before i heard it was in our paper that the banks wanted fannie mae and freddie mac out of the picture because they were competing with them, and then listen to congressional hearings after the crash, and the man who was at fannie mae and freddie mac at the time who was the replacement said they were not in any trouble before they started buying the junk crap from wall street. if we get rid of fannie and freddie, we will be getting rid of the 30-year mortgage. i do not have a mortgage because i am old. if my mortgage had come to meet a the 1970's, it you had
short-term mortgage in the 1970's, i would've had to pay 12% interest during that recession. what can people do? they have no jobs. i know a couple of people whose houses were foreclosed on, and they tried to renegotiate with their bank, and their banks refused. one of the most treacherous was wells fargo bank and there was no way they could afford the payments after the husband had lost his job. the wife was still working. if they would have negotiated a lower interest rate, they could have kept their home. guest: those comments reflect something we have heard time and time again, that the process of getting a loan modification or refinancing as an option is much more difficult now and is filled with hurdles that make the process more difficult.
these stories in this context really wears on consumer confidence so it is having a negative impact on the housing market. also in terms of those potential home buyers who are thinking about buying a home in the near future. host: i want to show our viewers what -- number one, qualified borrowers have access to mortgages. how would that work? guest: the underwriting standards are much tighter than what they were so qualified borrowers who are financially able to get a mortgage are often being left behind. we want to make sure that all the qualified buyers had that opportunity. host: you call in regulators in what way? guest: just to give you an example, the typical mortgage
freddie mac purchased had a credit score owes over 750. a maximum of 850. that is a very high credit score for a typical mortgage. not too many years ago, a typical mortgages were financed in the lower 700. qualification standards are tighter, such that with those with very high credit scores are able to take advantage. host: mortgage loan limits should be extended? guest: the current loan limits are set at a maximum of 724 -- 729,500. that is set to expire at the end of september. what we would like to see is those loan limits be extended
because in those high-cost areas that have seen more troubling housing markets is if those limits were reset at the end of september that would leave out a lot of those potential buyers. host: fourth -- long-term reauthorization of the national flood insurance program. guest: it is an important program because lenders require when they have a mortgage with a home buyer when there is flood insurance -- the problem with the national flood insurance program is it has lapsed five times since march 2009. what that means is it is one more layer of uncertainty for the home buyer. also, in those cases where the program temporarily expired, as many as 1300 homes per day are
either delayed or that transaction is canceled because they cannot move forward without insurance. host: this headline from the detroit free press -- it tells the story of one home buyer in the area. what is going on with this? guest: if you look back at the various efforts that have been put in place, none of them have been particularly successful at that point -- at this point. the administration has the knowledge that. it is clear that those programs has nve not been effective. host: the home affordable modification program in february 2009 was introduced, and
president obama promised it would help millions of home buyers with their mortgages. more borrowers were rejected or dropped out of the program. we will go on to anne in rhode island. go ahead. caller: i am glad to speak about this today because i have been a licensed real-estate sales person and broker since 1981. you know, working as a professional markets in the providence and now waterfront area in cranston, which is a professional market, and my concern at this time is that most people are not aware that fha mortgages are available for , you know, of course, qualified
buyers, but with special provisions. if your credit score is very solid, you can work with a 3.5% down payment. that can be 100% gift money for first time buyers. we use this in the recession of the early 1980's quite substantially for first-time buyers. then with a little bit lower credit, you can be available for a 10% down financing. an fha loan allows not only the gift money, but also closing costs credit. i think most people today are not aware that this is available. it is a fixed rate, otherwise
conventional, loan. i think this information has not been disseminated, either by the government or even on a local basis. i have talked to my lenders very seriously about this because i think too many people are unaware that that one tool right now in this very difficult mortgage financing situation -- a lot of people are just not aware of it. those loans can run up to just over $400,000. guest: yeah, the fha especially for first-time buyers has kept in the housing market moving forward at this point. many loans have been fha loans.
it is one of the only ways that some buyers are able to get into the market. that touches on another point. this is in regard to the new dodd-frank legislation and one of the proposals for qualified mortgages. one of the proposals from the regulators is there would be a 20% down payment. at a time when the housing market is fragile, we see a 20% down payment as something that would take a big bite out of the housing market. think about how long it would take a homeowner to save up 20% of the home to bite in their community would be 14 or 15 years. host: we will go next to lynn in north carolina. caller: my concern is getting the middle class and back to where they are buying and
purchasing. i think they have been underwater for a while. i do watch this program quite frequently. i am concerned as an accountant that schedule a should not be used for these types of mortgages. i think reductions should go straight to the 1040 in the area of the child-care credit bank and all interest echoes into homes for first and second -- host: are you talking about the mortgage interest reduction? caller: yes. i think that would help the middle class so much. host: for those that do not know, explain that a little bit more. caller: you can take a standard deduction or a schedule a deduction. you have to meet certain quotas of ratios to be able to get the
medical, but then you have your property tax, your state tax on your schedule a. some people are out of work now who own homes and are struggling. how can they have state taxes in some situation? your schedule a -- i heard only 90% of people use their schedule a on their taxes. i beg people to look into this situation so we can start taking it off our 1040, the interest that is on your home. guest: the importance for most middle-class homeowners, just a couple of numbers to put things in perspective. about 75 million homeowners right now, 59 million of them have a mortgage, and of them,
about 39 million take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction. it is a very substantial benefit to the middle-class in terms of helping them stay in a home. to the extent that we have any tax reform or proposals, it is pretty clear that we need to preserve the mortgage interest deduction as it is now or is basically an increase on the struggling middle class. host: eliminating the mortgage interest deduction -- let me put some numbers out there bank here is the "washington post." the home mortgage interest deduction will cost the federal government $100 billion during 2011. between 2008 and 2012, the write-offs for mortgage interest
are expected to total under a half a trillion dollars. critics say the right of are inherently unfair and skewed to benefit upper income earners disproportionately and highly concentrated geographically along the west coast and northern east states and midlantic. guest: in terms of the point about it being skewed toward higher income, as a general statement, homeowners tend to have higher incomes than those who are not homeowners. but, based on data from the irs, 65% of those that take the deduction to earn less than $100,000 a year. it is also not the case that it is only the mega rich taking advantage. the other aspect of that is the m.i.d. has been around since the
federal income tax has been around, so it would be unfair to change the rules in the middle of the game when it is such a substantial benefit to the middle-class home buyers that are struggling. host: you are on the air with paul bishop from the national association of realtors. caller: i have a question for your guest. i was wondering if he had seen a speech on youtube called the mortgage bankers speech given at the western regional mortgage bankers' conference in 2006. it was given by a man named peter schif. guest: i have not seen that. caller: i just want to make sure that everyone knows that this housing crisis it was not something that was unpredicted. this youtube video has received
over 100,000 views. this man predicted exactly what was going to happen in the housing market. there is no question about what the solutions are, and highly recommend that everybody take an hour and view this amazing speech that was presented and given by a peter schiff. guest: looking back over the past decade or so, there has been some question about whether or not we should have known the housing crisis was going to happen or whether or not anyone predicted it. the record is mixed. in terms of what a lot of people were saying about the housing market. there were a lot of respected people that suggested there might be problems and others suggesting there probably were
not problems, so the record is mixed. we did see that there was a crisis in many communities as far as the housing market is concerned, so now we have to move beyond that and see what factors we can put in place to move us forward it especially in terms of jobs and consumer confidence. host: tony tweets in -- guest: it could very well be the case that home buyers thinking about buying homes in the very near term really have gotten a sense that there is no urgency at this point. it is clear that mortgage rates are going to be at low levels going forward. there is a lot of inventory on the market. there is some risk that rates are going to be low for the foreseeable future for the next two years which could persuade
potential homebuyers to sit on the fence longer. caller: good morning. living is don, and i'm in the buffalo area but i am originally from massachusetts. we've owned -- my wife and i, we've owned back in massachusetts three houses at once. actually, two houses, then we sold one off. we also owned income property. when we were in massachusetts, the price of real estate was low when we bought it, and then it started jacking up high in two years' time. we saw it going up and the rents
skyrocketing, and we've liquidated and moved here to buffalo. and we bought a house in this area and we were progressively moving forward and decided to buy another house -- didn't know that the whole market across the country was going to fall out -- host: what is your question or point? caller: my point is, you know, it is a difficult process to even, you know, have the underwriters do their job, yo know, so you can get a loan. you know, the credit reporting agencies, you know -- the whole
process has been made so bad now that there is not anybody that are buying homes out here. guest: again, pointing to some of the factors keeping home buyers on the sidelines in terms of the difficulty of getting a home loan at this point. all of that is what we are seeing in many areas of the country. certain areas of the additional factor of a very slow and weak economy. host: ron in jacksonville, fla good morning. caller: good morning. i fell into the variabvle rate, and then i had to get out. consequently, my house was mortgaged for more than it was worth. we both lost their jobs. we paid one month in advance on
our mortgage, so we had some time. we realized we could not keep it when we started using credit cards and stuff to help keep it going. in the way, we give it up. it took them two years and four months to finally repossess the house. as far as the estimated -- i had some swimming pool damage. the swimming pool popped up out of the ground. i took pictures of the rest of the property and left this major malfunction. anyway, so we refinanced the last time i fixed the pool, but getting out of the variable rate, my mortgage turned out to be $227,000. >> the caller raises one point as far as the length of time
for foreclosure. that, in itself, is an impediment in the housing market, given that there is this pipeline of foreclosures but they are not yet able to come onto the market. ultimately, we need to get that pipeline cleaned out and cleared out as quickly as possible. host: what about the proposal to allow people to rent the foreclosed properties that are on the books of fannie and freddie? guest: i think that would be an option worth considering to see if those homes are occupied and maintained until a buyer can be found for them or until the housing market turns so the values can increase. host: what does that do of the values of the properties are around those houses? guest: one of the concerns that
we have been talking about is how you and evaluate distressed properties in a neighborhood where you are getting an appraisal on a house that might not be in distress. there are a lot of questions about how that process might work. so there is no real simple or straightforward answer to that, and it goes in a broader discussion of what the value of property is in those distressed areas. host: this tweet coming in -- guest: i guess, one of the things that we would like, the expansion of the loan limits which can be done relatively quickly. we have been in favor of some type of regulation of the appraisal management companies so the troubles we have seen in some of the distressed sellers
have seen it can hopefully mitigate it. host: another tweak from maverick -- can you explain what that is? guest: the electronic way that mortgage ownership is exchange, an electronic system that allows that transfer to take place without going down to the local courthouse and doing it the old- fashioned way. as far as i know, the process is still pretty much in place. there have been congressional committees looking at what that system in false and whether or not is something that should be under regulation. host: john is joining us from michigan. caller: good morning. my question is what is a person supposed to do, and this is my situation -- my kids mother passed away in 2009.
i was forced to get a home and provide a place for my children which is not a problem, but i did not have the money to go be around family where i needed to be because my job takes me over the road five to six days a week. i moved to where i could and have received some help, but i still need help pending now, the way the housing bubble has popped, i am being told that my house is worth 25 to thousand dollars less from the realtor i bought it from. i have to lose my savings that i worked hard for for a down payment for where i need to go, and now i feel forced that i have to live where i am at. guest: there are many instances where homeowners are basically stuck in place because they are having difficulty selling it. you see that in terms of the
data that is out there, people moving from one location to the next. the other side of that is in many cases when there are job opportunities or other reasons to move, many homeowners are not able to. caller: i have a question, sir. it is difficult to say because i think the government is sort of in conflict. they keep crying for jobs and people to work, yet in the new tax law, they have incentives for business to move out of the country. i am trying to find out how they need jobs here but for businesses to move out of the country. i would like an answer for that, sir. guest: i think that is a larger
discussion of the tax reform going forward. i think that is a larger discussion in itself. you raised some good points in terms of the desire to have jobs in this country so we can get the housing market and economy moving again. host: coming up next, we are going to talk to john gage, president of the american federation of government employees. after that, we are going to continue to look inside the fbi. the topic this morning is counter-terrorism. first, a news update from c-span radio. >> former white house press secretary robert gibbs speaking earlier on "today show" says republicans must decide whether they are going to "swear allegiance to the tea party," or work with democrats to create jobs bank he suggest that some republicans do not want to see this economy get better because that will likely improve their
election prospects. on the upcoming 2012 election, he went on to say that president obama is not focused on keeping his job. he is focused on creating jobs for the american people. he is a campaign adviser to president obama. germany's economic growth which had been strong despite debt problems in the eurozone has fallen 2.1% during the second quarter. the country's statistical agency plans lagging consumer spending and construction investment bank the news is raising concerns on wall street. dow futures are down 100. . those are some of the latest headlines. >> for politics and public affairs, nonfiction books, and american history, it is the c- span networks. it is all available to you. search, watch, and share all of
our programs any time with c- span's video library. cuyait is washington you way. the c-span networks, provided as a public-service. watch more video of the candidates, see what political reporters are saying, and track the latest campaign contributions with c-span to's web site for campaign 2012. twitter feeds and facebook updates from the campaigns, candidate biographies, and the latest polling data. all at c-span.org/campaign2012. >> "washington journal" continues. host: john gage is the president of the american federation of government employees.
we have a special line set aside for federal workers. we want to hear from you this morning. let me begin with what the so- called super committee might do if they come up with some sort of deal to cut spending. what might that mean for the federal work force? guest: first of all, where we are right now from the law that was passed, from 2012 to -- for 10 years, $930 billion will be cut from the federal budget starting with 2012, $25 billion, and then it escalates to reach that $900 billion market. on top of that, the commission will be cutting $1.20 trillion or it goes into sequestration which is a cut across the board. that is where we are.
host: you fear cuts to the federal work force or a pay freeze? guest: i fear all of them. agencies are already freezing hiring, but that is not a result of the debt law. that is a result of the budget that we are in right now. also, for instance, social security is closing offices around the country a half hour early. that is not a result of the debt crisis -- not a crisis, but the law that has been passed. i think we are going to see for federal employees a drastic cut in employment, including federal contractors. there are more federal contractors then there are federal employees. it depends on what you look at. simpson-bowles, the gang of six,
or the limited information out there. summer calling for a 10% reduction or 300,000 less federal employees. host: is there room for reductions in the federal work force? the office of personnel management put together -- these are the numbers from them, that the turnover has been minimal at federal agencies bank zero people laid off or fired at the fcc. nuclear regulatory commission, two. national labor relations board, one. nasa, 13. the numbers go on and on. this is from a "usa today" article. the federal government runs the place to work for those avoiding losing a job.
san francisco state university management professor at john sullivan says the low departure rates show a failure to release poor performance and those with obsolete skills. rather than indicating something positive, rates below 1% would indicate a serious management problem. guest: that is a lot to chew on. first of all, i do not think it is a bad thing because the federal government has a stable work force. it shows the quality of federal employees. when federal employees enter public service, they know they are not going to make the money in the private sector on a professional job. and they know -- well, it is not a private sector job. they are doing things for the public good. this thing about firing for poor performance is such a bugaboo.
it really deserves to be looked at in a serious way. if there is a poor performer, and certainly our union members -- nobody wants to work with someone who is not pulling their load, so fire them. there are plenty of ways in the federal government. there are procedures -- host: what is the process like? does it protect the federal worker? guest: there is some due process, but it is like any other business. so, that really -- under the national security personnel system where they give management the total right to fire and to pay for performance, the firings were just the same as they were before the nfps.
you cannot fire your way -- you cannot say you are going to fire more people and make the federal government more efficient bank that is complete a wrong-headed look. the federal work force is good. i think it is a credit that they perform as well as they do. to say that they are not firing enough people in the federal government, i do not understand really what the motive is to say is. and to say that there is a stable work environment, i think that is a good thing. i think they're probably ought to be workforces in the private sector that ought to have more stability. i think that is where the problem is. the job losses we are seeing in the country now -- it is a job crisis, not necessarily a deficit crisis. we lost 9 million jobs. that is the revenue issue.
that is why we are in the crisis that we are in. to say that we are going to whack the hell out of government programs, i think it is really shortsighted and will add to the job crisis. these cuts that we are talking about, these are going to be cutting budgets of counties and states and cities all over the country, and it is going to add to unemployment in a very big way. infrastructure, education, health, many programs that really supplement our states and counties and our cities. host: let's go to a federal worker in miami. caller: yes, hi. federal government doubled in the last 10 years? shouldn't we just cut some of those duplicity agencies? we need efficiency.
guest: here are the figures. in 2001, 649,000 civilian fte. 10 years later, there were 777,000. that is an increase of about 100,000. if you look at where it is, it is in dod, va, border patrol, in choices that the country made to increase employment in the federal sector. i do not think what our country has faced in the last 10 years that that is a runaway increase in the federal government and the number of employees. host: and independent from california, go ahead. caller: we are a military family and we have been for 66 years, air force and the army, and i have watched this many times.
i am a teacher at. i lost everything in california. i feel that from the president, congress, representatives, every federal employment person from unemployment to the welfare offices, cut your wage in half, pay more in benefits, and if you are an obese federal employee on two or three more medications and smoke, which should not have to pay for your health bills. i am not the only one who feels this way, to get the waste of federal employees -- and to what you people gloat, i am so disgusted. host: we will get a response. guest: there is a certain amount of cannibalism going on out there. "i lost my job. why should they not lose their job?" that is not really the goal. we should be increasing jobs out
there and increasing good-paying jobs out there. i cannot connect the dots between wiping out a federal job or government job in the states with giving someone else a job. so i can understand how people are upset and the pain that we have out there in the country, but to go after another person's job because you may have lost your job to me it does not make any sense. host: here is clinton smith with this tweet -- guest: that is not true. that is just not true. the research bears it out. the labor statistics group is the best in the country and in the world, and they show that if you are talking about some of the low-grade federal jobs, they might make a tick more than the
private sector, but there are fewer and fewer of those. if you go into the professional groups, they make less than the private sector. i still do not see that federal employees on average may make $70,000, and the private sector might be lower than that. is not lower than that. we ought to be trying to raise salaries across the board in the private sector. real wages have been frozen for 10 years. working people are really the ones who are paying for this deficit and the ones who have given sacrifice. we have to cede some of the wealthier people pulling their unload. host: we are talking about the federal workforce and budget
cuts. who do the american federation of government employees represent? guest: we have va employees, border patrol, the department of labor, epa, quite a few agencies in the federal government. we have been around for 75 years. the fastest-growing unions in the country. we are very proud of what we have been able to do for this country for efficiency and representing more workers. host: emily from columbus, ohio, good morning. caller: my sister worked for the government for 30 years. she goes into set up -- she goes to work on saturdays for free. my sister does the work for
for -- myb sister does the work for like 7 bosses. guest: the way they have been able to consolidate things or by pharmaceuticals in bulk is tremendously efficient, and the rest of the country should be doing it. the way they have the electronic files on patients is just head and shoulders above the rest of the industry. our people work very hard. every year, there are cuts spendi. to keep up the services that the public really demands si really going to be difficult. we did a survey of the public
and how they feel about government and federal workers. when you say "government," 70% have a negative view. how about the va nurse in your city? "i like them." you wonder if people -- what they really think governmetn is. they think it is some bureaucrat in washington. our members are out there in the states and in the cities all over the country, a normal, hardworking americans, and the public really has to connect the dots when it comes to who the federal workers are and with a r. host: art, what do you do? caller: i am a management analyst for the navy department. i am a little confused because recently there was a federal executive magazine article that
said the average federal employee makes $130,000 a year, and that does not surprise me. there are 15 grades and 10 steps within each grade, so there are a lot of opportunities for people to continually to earn more money. budget cuts in the federal government and out being people being required to use non- retractable pens instead of ball point pens or cut back on their travel plans. guest: the average of all federal workers, high grades, all the way up to cabinet members, down to the lowest clerk, the average is $70,000 a year salary. if you add in benefits, there is additional money there. how much that is is
questionable spending retirement, health insurance, and that is basically it. if you add in all benefit, it would be over $70,000. host: we will go next to mike, it republican from pensacola, fla. caller: i took a very early retirement and i have been working in the private sector since then. i can say that the private sector is far better run, generally speaking. my managers are adults where i work now. where it was before, they were just bureaucrats who seem to be clawing their way up as much as they could. there are too many layers of bureaucracy and management for a person working on an aircraft or waiting on people in the social security office, which i had a
good experience with an office worker the other day bank bought your union is not doing anything -- by your union is not doing anything to really support trimming and looking inward. back in the 1980's, the military looked inward and they became their best critics. they decentralize everything just about the that they could to put more responsibility out to the lowest levels. it took us from a force in the late 1970's to a force that could waltz through something like desert storm. i was a reservist at the time also. the reason they were able to do that is because they were able to look critically at themselves and say we are not working as we should and let's turn it around. when you talk about border patrol, you have people with the department of education which does almost nothing that gets
down to the classroom level in public schools in this country. guest: these layers of management -- first of all, we do not represent management. we have made the point that in some agencies, we need more workers -- more indians, less chiefs. congress change laws every year. it is not so much like a private sector because there is a constant change. social security is a good example. there are constant law changes that the whole agency has to react to. i have had some opportunity to look at the inner workings of some of the agency's. there are some very smart and dedicated people running these agencies. i guess you can always say there are too many of them are too
many managers, but when you look at the missions that some of them have, very large missions, i think you have to walk in someone's moccasins to really understand the pressures that some of these agencies have and the limited staffing. point.ciate the collar's host: welcome to the conversation. what do you do? caller: i am retired now, but i worked as a chemist in a laboratory. the problem with federal service is the very top make high salaries. whenever they give a raise, they just said in the paper federal workers got 4% raise. people at the top, they got 8.5%.
we got 2.3%. that happens every time. when i for started -- after a while, they decided they had enough chemists, so i was no longer in that category. instead of raising me up to another level, and they held me back three raises. one of my co-workers have recently got a divorce. he had to prove that he did not get that pay raise. this happens all the time. we had tqm in the lab. they would not accept any suggestion. they would take it as challenging their authority. it makes sense to me that if you
do the work, you are the one who is more likely able to improve that work. guest: i agree with that 100%. there really should be stronger and better ways for employees to have a voice at work and to help improve or change the procedures of the agency. i am 100% for that. managers of these agencies make under $200,000, and they may have 100,000 people working for them. in the private sector, that job would be worth millions of dollars. they are on a different riase schedule than the regular employees. so, i do not think anybody in the federal sector are stealing or getting wealthy from the
salaries of their being paid in the federal government no matter how high up you are. host: richard, welcome to the conversation. caller: good morning. i was noticing your comments earlier about the low attrition rate for federal employees in terms of budget cuts. my recent experience is contradict the kinds of things that you were saying. recent experience is having been tax auditors ofe the irs. for the last six months or so, have been dealing with a presumably very simple problem fairly indeptly. -- ineptly. there is no way for me to complain about the quality of these auditors to anyone. the auditor and her supervisor clearly should be dismissed and
have been incompetent to do anything from my personal experience. especially taking six months to do this with this kind of emergency leave and "oh, i was out sick" and "somebody died." it is as if they are not working at all. guest: there are avenues to make complaints if you are not dealt with properly in any federal agency, and i would encourage you to make those complaints. when a complaint comes in from the public or a congressional complaint, it is looked at very seriously. if you feel you have not been treated properly, no matter what agency, i really suggest that you complain, and there will be people there to take your complaint seriously. host: when you look at the 12 members of the super committee
representative chris van hollen from maryland, he is the only one with a large federal presence. have you talked to him? what do you think this means for your constituency? have you talked about the white house about this committee? guest: representative dan holland really understands the federal sector -- representative chris van hollen has been a wonderful advocate, but not just for federal employees. we are very happy in maryland to have a representative chris van hollen in such an influential place. yes, we have talked to him and they're very concerned about federal retirement. we think that is going to be on the chopping block. that is one thing that we are really advocating to make sure that people look fancy --
federal employees have already taken a pay freeze and they are going to have a huge job cuts. going after people's retirement is something i think is the wrong thing to do. host: are we talking about healthcare? guest: no, we are talking about pensions. if you were making $50,000 as a federal employee, your pension would be about $16,000. the plans that we have seen will increase the employee contribution to that pension and reduce the actual amount to $10,000. now, that is a very heavy hit. these pensions are not as glamorous as people think. so, i just hope it does not get caught up in politics and ideology, and people realize that you have to get good employees in the federal sector. reducing pay, cutting
retirement and health care is not the way to do it. host: how can the country continue to a fourth offering benefits like that? younger americans are not relying on social security. why should federal workers save in other ways? guest: pensions have served this country very well for many years. to say now we are not going to have pensions for workers, let them put it in their 401k -- i do not think that is progress for our country or for workers in general. lowering our standard of living for average working people is not the way to be a great country. when people say, well, i do not have a defined pension, so why should you?
i like to look at it the other way. i think defined pensions are just a bedrock of employment in this country, and we need more companies offering defined benefits than less. so, i look at it the other way, that i think the glass is half empty and we ought to fill the glass and make benefits, especially pensions and health care, better for working people, private and public. host: janet. caller: i worked for the government for 10 years, and i have to say that a lot of the reasons why people loved working for the government is because the management is not there when you need them, first of all, and they get so many vacation days a year and so much sick time. they can take off any time they
want to. they have sick time and vacation time, and it starts right when they're hired. guest: talk to a transportation security officer about how easy it is to get leave. their leave is very restricted. have to be on the job. leave is not generous. there are leave rules that are government-wide and enacted by congress. i think they work well. if there are abuses of leave, then people are punished for it. you know, a lot of work gets done by this federal government.
when you hear from the public that people are now working hard, you wonder how social security every month for millions and millions of americans and how these big jobs that the private sector really could not or would not do because there is no profit in it. so, i think people have to take a look at these agencies individually and see the incredible jobs that they do and maybe not look at things from a story they might hear second hand from somebody that might go on in the federal government then in host: joanne is a federal worker from chicago. what do you do? caller: i am a retired postal worker and a first-time caller. what i wanted to say is people think that at the post office -- we always talk about how ups
made more money than we did. carriers do a hard job. people do not realize. i was also injured on the job which caused me to be retired. i trained for clerk work but they did not keep me. the retired meat on but a struggle. when you are retired, on disability, you pay for most of your health care premiums and everything. it is not as easy as everyone thinks it is. i really enjoyed my 13 years, working for the government. it is still not like what people think. they think that when you work for the government, you get big parks. it is the private sector that makes all the money. >> one thing -- guest: one thing that is going on with of the post office right now, a law was
passed that they had to fully fund their retirees' health care completely into the future. no one does that. the post office, because of this law that was passed -- that is why there are problems financially in the post office. they would be very self- sufficient without this mandate that they have to fully fund health care into the future for their retirees. my union gives retiree benefits for health care, but to fully fund it into the future is just impossible. to fully fund -- this is hundreds of millions of dollars that they have to put in every year, which will the bruins the bottom line. that is the biggest problem calling on with the post office. they may be cutting workers,
saturday mail, reducing services because of the small that is dumb. host: to clarify, you do not represent postal workers? guest: we do not. host: how does that happen? guest: congress passed it. the post office has to put this money into a fund every year for these future retiree health costs. host: was it something that the workers wanted? guest: to fully fund it, most plans are pay-as-you-go. this was something like $500 million per year. there is not a company anywhere that handle that. host: did you see this headline? yesterday, from charlotte,
telling democrats they will boycott? caller: i did not see that headline. i wanted to thank the federal workers. every agency and i have dealt with that has federal workers has been wonderful. my daughter worked at the social security office. it was wonderful. they called you had a reasonable time. my brother was in the military. he ended up having to go through the hospital with nurses and doctors. everything was really great. i could go on and on about the parts that i go to, the workers there. they are doing an incredible job.
host: high point, n.c., we have your point. john gage, let me ask you, they have told the union brigid unions have told them that they will set out because the state is anti-union. are you behind that statement? guest of the afl has not taken a formal, unified -- guest: of the nfl has not taken a formal, unified -- guest: of the afl -- guest: the nfl has not taken a unified, formal position on this. host: what about your union? guest: we have not taken a position about that. we will definitely go to the convention. i cannot see as boycotting that. but we are not happy about it.
i think that the white house knows that. host: why do you say that? guest: these are some big unions that are really peeved toward democratic hopes in 2012. even president obama birthday party in chicago, there are union hotels all over the place. it was held at a non-union facility. it is a perception thing that irritates some unions. the president, democrats, when they need to win some elections, of the unions are simply called upon. host: if you will not boycott, how will you make your criticism know macbeth lumpur guest: we can make it known. the present of the organization has not -- president of the
organization has already made it known. other organizations have as well. when president obama and other administrations here the entire afl-cio, that represents host: susan, republican, dallas, go ahead. caller: morning. sorry. yes. what i was calling about, i had thought before i was listening to everyone else. the federal government, when it comes to federal employees, i would definitely support upset. -- i would definitely support that.
they get more pay than your average accountant or receptionists. it seems to us, in the private sector, everywhere else in the usa, the benefits that are hanging on, to us, from some of them a different perspective, coming to not quite the job of callers, as was said before, about not being there or having to care, because they know that the job will always be there. like i said, i know that the professional ones that you are talking about are not paid up to snuff. your every day people are.
host: i travel around the country. -- guest: i travel around the country. when i talk to people in meetings, it is incredible how dedicated they are. how much they care and how much they give. it is hard to combat those prejudices' about federal employees. one federal employee is out for lunch too long and it ricochets around the country. it is not about the hundreds of thousands who are working over, staying late. host: what is your own story? guest: i work for the private sector as a claims examiner and i became editor of the local union newspaper. host: how many use -- how many
years, now? guest: since 1979. host: federal worker, ohio, what do you do? caller: i work for the defense department. the problem, as i see it, can you hear me? host: we are listening. caller: you have to go back to the constitution of this country. most of the executive agencies are not constitutional. including the department of education, epa, and don and the hon. the way to solve this for anyone is to stop hiring federal employees in these unconstitutional agencies. in time, we will reduce the workforce. host: what do you do for the
defense department? the misslei am in end of it. host: contractor? caller: know, federal employee. host: ok. guest: this current 350 -- $350 billion coming out from sequestration, half of those sequestered funds will come out of the department of defense. host: what is worse, in your opinion? the deal that the super- committee came up with? or the idea of no deal with blanket cuts? the wrong focus. the focus should be creating jobs. this plan to go after debts is a job-killer.
contractors, infrastructure, education, up and down the line. i do not see how we get out of this state that we are in with this approach. host: when they come back in september, what is worse, in your opinion? guest: i do not know. federal workers are very concerned. $900 billion is a heavy hit. i do not know how it would be done. 10% per year. you cannot run a country with that type of approach. i really do value my liberty. when the country decides that they have a problem? they want to handle a problem for their citizens, whether it
is medicaid, public education, you name it. when they decide to do it, i do not see how that infringes on my liberty or constitutional rights at all. i respectfully disagree with that the caller, even though we represent him. to save is constitutional or not, if the country has a problem that they want to solve, i do not see how it infringes on any one liberty when the country has va hospitals, social security. i do not see it infringing on our basic constitutional liberties. host: you mentioned that the defense department. do you represent them? guest: yes. host: contractors will obviously have a stake in these negotiations as well. the fact that this could leave
-- lead to some strange bedfellows? you may be with someone that you normally does agree with? guest: we need jobs. -- normally disagree with? guest: we need jobs. i will not say to cut this job to give this guy a federal job. that is of american. there will be played between contractors and employees. usually, we fight pretty hard. note doing better and cheaper. -- doing better and cheaper. we must be a little bit more generous with our contractor friends, to take an american worker position as needing more jobs. host: this story about contract
the ones that do just a part of that job make up to $770,000. you might scratch your head. that they are doing less of a job and the federal manager. but she conceded difference. it is in pay. there is a revolving door. people from the federal sector, going into the private sector, it is something that is very unfortunate. not only do you lose talent, but there is something of a conflict of interest, i think. contractors under president bush have multiplied and grown very much. they have been inherently governmental functions. shady contract deals. we found it very hard. there was a moratorium on the
directive for contracting out. i think that there is a lot of savings that can be achieved in the way that the government contracts and oversees these contracts, these run away contracts, where you hire someone for this amount of money, but then it takes too long, cost overruns, and no one really polices that. host: before we go, quickly, 2012 politics. some people who have been supporters of president obama in the past have been disillusioned with what he is doing so far. would you have liked to have seen a primary challenge? guest: note. host: why not? guest: our union will vote in the afl, clearly supporting president obama in 2012.
we would hope for more positive reasons, but if you just look at the other side it puts him, as far as working people, as someone -- host: you do not sound enthusiastic. guest: no one expected the financial markets to fall apart. we would like the president to be more aggressive on jobs. the labor movement would. we think that he should have done that from the beginning. i think that the last few years shows that we were right. here we are, same job situation, and the other problems have not been cured. host: john gage, thank you very much for being here.
guest: thank you. host: we continue looking at the fbi department of counter- terrorism, next. first, c-span radio. >> builders broke home on fewer -- broke ground on fewer homes in july. the commerce apartment said that builders began work on a seasonally adjusted 6400 homes last month. cbs news reports that the pentagon is considering overhauling the retirement program for service members, eliminating the system under which anyone that serves 20 years is eligible for retirement under half their salaries. instead, they would get a forearm -- 401k file a plan before receiving payments. the change would save $250 billion. an update on the phone hacking story in the united kingdom, a
former reporter at the news of the world wrote that "phone tapping was widely discussed," and was done with "the full knowledge and support of senior journalists at the paper." it was obtained by "the guardian," newspaper, and is being published by british lawmakers today. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> for politics, public affairs, nonfiction books, american history, the c-span networks. available on television, radio, an online. search, what, share our programs anytime on the c-span video library. we are on the road with our local content vehicles, bringing resources to local communities, showing events around the country. washington, your way. c-span networks, created by cable and provided as a public
service. see what political reporters are saying. track the latest campaign contributions with c-span's website for 2012. easy to use, it helps you to navigate the political landscape. candidate biographies and the latest polling data, plus links to the early primary caucus states. all of that at c-span.org /campaign2012. >> "washington journal" continues. host: all week, we are taking a look at different aspects of the fbi. different units, different agencies within it. yesterday, we talked about tactical operations units. tomorrow we will look at how the agency prioritizes its resources. thursday, cyber attacks and fraud. friday, we will wrap up the series with crime labs and forensics. today is the role of the fbi in
counter-terrorism. david williams joins us. how does the fbi define terrorism? guest: it has been defined differently, by different people. people that want to take violent acts against groups of people with anti-u.s. interests, generally with the support of political causes. host: what is the role for the fbi in combating terrorism? guest: basically, it comes down to a series of legislative actions passed by the congress that give the united states government, the department of justice, the attorney general, certain jurisdictions that are passed on to the fbi. the fbi is already the lead in the counter-domestic terrorism organization. host: homegrown terrorism? guest: or international.
those with genesis overseas, as well as homegrown threats. it is defined as terrorism, it falls within the realm of the fbi. host: there are agents doing counter-terrorism overseas. is that not the role of the military ban apartment? -- military department? guest: there are a number of different tools available to the government. the central intelligence agency and the fbi worked in counterintelligence. that is the primary role of the central intelligence agency. the fbi's primary role is to look at the intelligence to protect american interests. host: this phrase, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, why are those categories separate? what is the difference?
guest: talking about the national security program that puts them together, counter- intelligence is generally looking at people trying to steal the secrets of the united states, whether they be classified or something that gives someone else an unfair trade advantage. that is the classic james bond stuff. counter-terrorism has to do with stopping organizations before they can do damage to the united states. prevention is the number one word. if there is an act of terrorism, the fbi will lead the charge. taking whatever action is needed. host: you were doing counter- terrorism for 30 years. was it called a counter- terrorism in the 1970's? guest: it was. i did start doing this back in the 1970's, when people were using bows and arrows, continuing right on through.
host: what was that like, though, 1970's, 80's, 90's, leading up to 9/11, what was the priority, the focus of the fbi? guest: when i was coming in, the big concern was domestic issues. the weather underground. offshoot organizations providing bombs on government reservations, injuring people. it was always an attempt to attack the government at that time. that always seemed to be the bastion of the status quo. after we started to get into the later half of the 1990's, we started to see more international activists. in the most prominent case that most people would remember, the 1993 bombing of the world trade center. host: after 9/11, did the definition of terrorists change?
we are showing the most wanted terrorists right now, for our viewers. that definition change? host: not so much. the fbi is very interested in the thrust. it is the interest in the organization or individual. if it is a criminal act and it falls within the fbi's jurisdiction, we do that as well. i would be happy to touch upon how many and where they are, and what they are doing thinking back to the early part of my career, we had will be called legal attaches. that whole organization, that movement, was built up quite a bit. we had 42 legal that served fbi
interests that were primarily based on controlling the leaks. they do not do investigations overseas. the interface with the host country and law enforcement organizations to share information and get it done. that has grown tremendously, going from 42 to having representatives in 75 cities are around the world. primarily, those are areas that are threats to the united states that are counter- terrorism. host: what about the for situation in pakistan and afghanistan, does the fbi have a presence there? guest: yes, we do. the fbi has been imbedded and
working with the department of defense closely. host: is there a role for counter-terrorism? guest: much of it is the collection of parts of the improvised explosives. those are all sent back to the united states for technical analysis in quantico, virginia. there is a large organization in quantico called a terrorist explosive devices analytical center. they look at each of these that, in. components, when you get them together, laughing signatures for bombers and groups, passing them on to our partners in the department of defense and intelligence. host: you talked about the number of agencies. looking at the employment numbers in the agency, total employees with women as a part
of the work force, a little over 15,000. national security agents, 5000. cyber-security agents, about 1000 agents. i am focusing national security versus criminal and how that has changed. guest: there are separate parts that all come under what the fbi refers to as the national security program. those numbers can go back and forth, depending on the task at the time. looking at the number of agents, id is more of the -- armistead open. yesterday in the program, it did
not indicate the number of agents involved from the other impacted groups. those people come under the budget at the laboratory, primarily based on what they do cause involved with appeared- terrorism -- is involved with counter-terrorism. host: $7.6 billion, $7.7 billion, counter-terrorism /counterintelligence. criminal enterprises and federal crimes, $2.6 billion. criminal-justice services, $491 million. explain those numbers a little bit. are those all the same thing? guest: within the fbi itself, the background of the national security program, the counterintelligence division,
the weapons of mass destruction director, and the terrorist cleaning center, all considered as a part of the national security program. those efforts are at cross- purposes, to some extent. host: how does the training differ? guest: all agents go through a program in quantico, va., that is 21 weeks. thereafter they undergo in service training that has to do with what they are doing at any given time. they also do virtual courses that they are required to do any given time. they are referred to lovingly as baby agents. they are assigned to a more senior agent where they have to do a certain number of steps for the experience. as you move on in the fbi,
typically get to the point where you will be a specialist in something. you would be going back to quantico, doing virtual training on all of those things. the department of state is an absolutely wonderful program for learning about the culture, the history, and the way that things are done in foreign countries. of course, the training from the united states for an military academy offers many different things the golan. the fbi is doing this leadership development institute, bringing leaders together to train them. host: i wanted to ask you, what do you think would surprise viewers listening to this conversation about the fbi role in counter-terrorism? guest: one thing that people do not realize is that since 9/11,
there has been a considerable increase in the budget of the fbi. on 9/11 we basically had 10,300 agents. look at that, look at what happened to the fbi in general, 24,000 employees at that time. but, the biggest changes have been in analysts. they are an intelligence-driven organization. to reach that, we increase the analytical component by hiring more analysts. analysts have gone up 300%. those people, among other things, are your language specialists and computer engineers. ,iven the organization's whenever they hire you, or
whoever, it comes for -- it comes with computer and so forth. the fbi is the same way. on 9/11, that was 0.75 of the salary. it is now 250%. the fbi has gone to great lengths to make every agent more robust in what they can do. host: does the agency have a hard time filling these roles? guest:, the hardest is exotic languages. they are very difficult. there are a lot of languages and dialects, particularly in the strife areas of africa. i found one in a coffee shop. host: and recruited him? guest: yes. [laughter] host: guest:, david, you have been waiting patiently. go ahead.
caller: can you hear me? host: yes. caller: i have two questions. you mentioned the weather underground earlier in your conversation. i am interested to know, we have subversive groups in the united states going into other countries. such as code tank. the weather underground is becoming active again by deed and dawn. countries like israel. the groups that are not sponsored, do you check those out in counter-terrorism? guest: for the answer to that is fairly simple. if they represent a threat -- remember, the fbi is an intelligence-led threat-driven organization. but those, in two parts.
the person with an intent, but no capability, produces a reduced threat. if they meet the definition of terrorism, the fbi would be very much interested. host: independent line. caller: good morning. you mentioned your tenure with the fbi, 1972, when they had terrorism within the united states government. did you did not mention the black liberation army. you did not ever mention [unintelligible] program of the fbi at the time that infiltrated the organization based on terrorism, destroying these organizations through the end of the acts of the united states government.
color abuse is one of the died lines of the fbi? -- what the guidelines of the fbi? guest: correct. caller: then why are there so many shootings of black persons in our communities that cannot be justified and no one from the federal government has been prosecuted? none of these police officers from the u.s. attorney's office? guest: prosecutions have been done. one is to protect the national security of the united states. the biggest dog in the ring is counter-intelligence. the next is to preserve civil liberties. when we look at the civil liberties, it is important to look at how we are doing that.
that is done very aggressively in every field office. host: democratic caller. detroit, michigan. you are next. caller: good morning. what i would like to ask, up in detroit, michigan, in our newspaper they have pictures of terrorists and that we should be on the lookout for. they came into our office. we all called the fbi and said that they have to watch the planes. also, they were caught at 4:00 in the morning. 3:00 or 4:00. they were let go. host: what is your --
caller: what they said is that we have to watch planes. is that just to subdue us, so that they would check into was anyways? guest: i do not know what that would be about. the fbi does not watch airplanes unless there is a target for criminal action. they are interested in people. i do not know what they said to you, but i can assure you that every single terrorism we in this country is covered. if, in fact, they stop some people at a power plant, the question is -- is there sufficient cause to take those people into custody? the fbi cannot arrest people just on their elk. there has to be probable cause. host: in the 1970's or 1980's, a tip on a possible terrorist, how long did it take for that
information to get checked out as opposed to today? guest: today there are, among other things, and hence partnerships going on between law enforcement organizations, including increased information capabilities. it is much easier to get information out of the government. there is something out there called the national data exchange that is hosted by the fbi in west virginia and it takes incident-based information, sending it out to law enforcement officers, reading this information to see what is interesting. host: real time? guest: very fast. host: like fingerprints? guest: that modus operandi can be picked up and traced to others. law enforcement officers doing this, there was a similar case in iowa, or new york city.
there was a point of contact leading forward to get a better handle on it. host: joe, good morning. caller: if i do not know if this problem is as large as it sometimes is characterized, but i have read about people being added to the terrorist watch list for reasons of confrontation. can you speak briefly about that? how easy is it for an employee outside law enforcement to get their name on a terrorist watch list? how do you get off of the terrorist watch list? guest: are you on that? [laughter] i was, at one time. people are placed on the list based on the need from the
center, determining whether or not they posed a threat to the united states. pat is how it is done. once your army has a watch list, at that point there are procedures that you can go through. not with the fbi, but the department of homeland security. perhaps they could talk to you about that. host: we have covered the watch list before. we have covered segments on that. you, yourself? did you go to the fbi? guest: i spoke to everyone that i could. indirectly, i had a role in starting it and all of a sudden i was on it because of a common name reference. david williams is about as common as you can get. it really is a pain in the neck.
i can commiserate with people who feel they are on it unjustly. i had to continually explain why was and what was going on. every year the screening and listing gets much more sophisticated. and it does get better. host: you said that this was an idea of yours pelops -- idea of yours? guest: i became a part of the terrorist threat matrix. host: did the fbi get information from that list? guest: the fbi can get information from that list. host: it is considered a counter-terrorism tool? guest: yes. it is run by the fbi, though other agencies are involved. the watch list is just a part of
that. trudy, it is the responsibility of dhs. host: stephen, connecticut. caller: that is a crazy story. host: do you know of any more? guest: no. [laughter] caller: the fbi has been pretty inclusive lately. sometimes i am concerned that the focus is too much on counter-terrorism. pulling the wool over the federal government, are we spending too much time on that? guest: are we spending too much time on terrorism? i think not. there is a continuing series of reviews done at the fbi to since it -- consider the veracity of threats against the united states. al qaeda is still interested in doing massive damage to the
united states. they proclaim that they are interested in procuring a weapon of mass destruction pop to attack the united states. i do not expect that that will change, since the demise of osama bin laden. that is a very real thing. offshoots of that, particularly in the arabian peninsula, copper is a prickly, a growing threat. to the other groups with no direct affiliation, inspired by that mentality, they are a real and continuing threat. the fbi has kept them as highest priority. host: new york, the morning. you are on the air. caller: mr. williams, how're you doing? guest: fine. host: -- caller: great. a long time ago, before the
anthrax letter was sent, a man came to me and he mentioned it passionately. and he asked, would you think of it as political to do so? i was very tired that day and i did not care to answer. after the next paragraph, he mentioned anthrax. he was so happy about that, with washington. i did not think about it then, but if there was a factor that they could get caught, what do you call it, $2.5 million? i realize that they would need to play it, otherwise. he had a white car. all of their docks were in a row.
he wrote the note, like the unabomber. he probably use the ruler. host: do you have a question? caller: we are one payment away from losing your house. i sent it to my wife. guest: the entire award that the fbi gives out, does that work? guest: the rewards program is very effective. it has been very effective in many cases. some of the international terrorists, we have not had great luck with. nobody called in to tell us that osama bin laden was in a particular place in pakistan, but at the lower level we do find them to be very successful.
host: a question from one of our regular watchers on twitter -- guest: they are used when it comes to counter-terrorism. human intelligence is extremely important. it is one of the pillars of the intelligence base of the fbi. i would say that they are vetted much more closely than when i came into the fbi. there were a series of steps that i will not go into specifically, but those agents as a source of information, easily they had to be gone through to determine the fidelity of the individual. host: what is the risk to the informant outside of the alleged terrorist cell in this country? guest: the risk is high. higher.
it does not just apply to counter-terrorism. i would say that the risk to an undercover agent or an informant in drug cartels is extraordinarily high. it is legal, to be discovered. host: what happens to these informants, once their work is done? guest: generally, we tried to recruit sources of information coming up. within sources of information, we have witnesses that we use. once they are used, there cover has been blown. generally, we like -- running sources of information over a period of time. host: john, democratic caller. caller: people like me are concerned about the tactics of the fbi in infiltrating anti-war
activists, anti-drilling organizations, though there is no evidence that these people are a threat. they are sometimes the opposite of terrorists. without probable cause they seem to be completely suppressed. to my knowledge, hardly any information on these people have turned up to this day? host: do you know where you have gotten this information? caller: i am positive that has to do with the patriot act. in my opinion, the patriot act is a confiscation of the american rights. opinion i have lost all faith in the fbi. many americans have.
host: i apologize, your call keeps breaking up. the fbi, counter-terrorism, and the patriot that guest: it does not change the fbi's jurisdiction. we do not go into anyone's home without a warrant. a search warrant will get you in, so will a court order, based on probable cause. in the national security are been a, you have to have foreign intelligence surveillance court, with probable cause, to move forward and gain entry. the fbi is not breaking into homes, willy-nilly, and it is not seizing anything willy- nilly. caller: in my opinion, let me say this, i live in washington, d.c., when he was in the thing,
1968 through 1972. the fbi infiltrated all of the peace movements, the school that i went to, i would not trust the fbi if they told me of water was wet. i will tell you why. if they were serious about protecting this country, they would cover the southern border. 30 million people are walking across and no one has detected anything? 30 million people walking across that border? who else is coming in? host: someone writes in -- guest: people distrust the government in times when things are tough. a major terrorist attack, people tend to lose confidence in all aspects of government.
since fbi's on the forefront, that is what happened. i would say to those people, talk to the fbi, we are out in the community at all times. you can talk to them and find out exactly what they are doing. certainly the director is on c- span and other networks, constantly, telling -- talking about what we are doing. water is wet. host: you think there needs to be more communication from the fbi? more of an effort to be more transparent? as much as they can be? guest: i think that it is a very transparent right now. there are some things we just cannot talk about, like the number of informants. certain things are protected. what the fbi is doing, as far as their mission, i think that we are very transparent on that.
there website will give you a lot of information. host: republican line, indiana. caller: my question is about four could. how did that guy get through? to shoot all of those people? how was he vetted? explain more about how you, you know, check backgrounds. i had a question about all of that. host: the fbi does background checks? guest:, we do, but not on the army. the army does his own stuff. was a psychologist with authorization to be where he was. the notion that he had
apparently suspicious behavior that presages the actions that he took, were a matter for the army. the fbi was alerted to him. he was deemed to not be a threat by the army. host: charles, democratic line. caller: how many ex employees are on retirement from the f-b i -- from the fbi? you have been retired since 2001. are you double dipping? them by paying you twice? what do you do? guest: i make nothing right now. i am retired, retired. greta is not giving me any money -- any money either. [laughter] i can understand your concern. i have not drawn a federal dollars since 2001. host: pensacola, florida.
caller: how much is there a problem around interagency lack of cooperation as far as intelligence? this has troubled me since 9/11. understood that there was a lot of that going on. i was wondering if you could address that. is that still a problem? does that happen much nowadays? guest: probably one of the best questions this morning. one of the tenants of our mission is to carry for information sharing with law- enforcement communities and counter-terrorism communities. the various tribunals that met after 9/11 exposed areas where that was not what was happening. part of that was that information technology did not allow that to happen.
in the days and years leading up to 9/11, there was less communication. it has increased substantially since 9/11. lots of cross pollination between the cia, fbi, and other intelligence organizations. we have inaugurated the national joint terrorism task force to bring together the key elements of the government. key to that was the creation of the national counter-terrorism center, bringing those elements together, where the real time sharing is going on and most employees look at themselves as members of one team, rather than individual entities. host: does the fbi have a presence there? guest: a huge presence. caller: it is run by? guest: the national intelligence
director. that was a good question. host: mark, democrat, florida. caller: here is another good question. ladies and gentlemen, i have worked with senior fbi agents in argentine as a young marine. 53, former policeman, doing maintenance on nuclear power plants, cannot be too bad of a guy. the bush and administration was asked for more, knowing that he would be turned down. taking over the security position for towers 1 and two, can you tell me who the other clients were?
guest: i could not. caller: i will tell you. the enron corp., is like those missing 18 minutes of tape. i am dubious. i think that the earlier message about the power of multi- national organizations, with respect to your perception of patriotism, i do not trust what happened on 9/11 physically or politically. host: any reaction to that? guest: i was in the marine corps and i would have to say that i do not share his cynicism with what is happening in the government. in terms of maintaining secrecy on anything, the idea of grand conspiracies' in washington, d.c., it does not exist. a computer -- conspiracy in this town is almost impossible.
host: this question -- guest: that runs on the iii. it is as accurate as the information fed into it. the fbi has been criticized of trying to arrest the wrong people. without being able to prove that these are really felons. a lot of that is the final disposition that is not being submitted by law enforcement agencies in a timely manner. the fbi only reports that information if they get into it. host: last phone call, california, independent guest: good morning. caller: i do not think that the american people understand the efforts and meticulous detail efforts and meticulous detail that