Skip to main content

tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  October 8, 2011 10:00am-2:00pm EDT

10:00 am
is in support of a solution with palestine. this is about 35 minutes. >> michael oren is a soldier, a scholar, and a diplomat. he has excelled in all three of those callings. his book, "six days of war," is required reading for anyone who wants to seriously understand the modern middle east. it is not only the best book written on the six-day war, is to remain that.
10:01 am
that is from "the washington post." it is for anybody watching this and in this room. it is power, faith and fantasy. is about the continuity of the american engagement with the middle east. it has been my privilege to know ambassador oren. he is here to share some of his thoughts on the relationship between the united states and israel, america's most of valuable ally. join me in welcoming ambassador michael oren. [applause] >> thank you, cliff, for plugging my books that i cannot plug anymore. thank you and all of you here.
10:02 am
thank you for coming out. i get asked to talk about the risk of united states and israel during the oslo period. i think this is my opportunity to get out of being an ambassador and go back to being an historian. thank you for that opportunity. we are going to go back to 1949. the peace process did not begin in 1993. the peace process did not begin in 1967. the peace process began at the end of israel's war of independence. from the start, there were three guiding principles to the peace process. the first principle was territory for peace.
10:03 am
the assumption was that israel had to give something concrete to the arabs to get a piece of paper that said they were going to make peace with them. in 1960, they were expected to give up part of the negative. the second principle was that israelis and arabs were incapable of making peace on their own and there had to be international mediation. the third principle was that no power on earth had the leverage, the grappa costs, and the legitimacy to conduct that -- gravitas, and the legitimacy to conduct that mediation other than america. there was a long succession of mediators. their names are forgotten to history. all of them thought to apply the
10:04 am
territory to peace principle, but without success. israelis were opposed to paying for peace with land that was granted to them by the united nations or acquired in a war where the arabs tried to overturn a u.n. resolution. arab leaders were, under any circumstances, work on willing to make peace with the jewish state. these circumstances change in june, 1967, in which the six-day war occurred. as a result of that war, israel quadruple the amount of territory under its control. while this territory had been acquired in a defensive war, it provided israel with the legal tender to trade for peace. israel's only reservation was that they would not have to
10:05 am
return to the 1967 line, especially the nine mile line of waste opposite the west bank. and that the peace would be a real peace and not a non- belligerency. the arabs were willing to step into direct mediation to restore their loss land in return for giving israel something less than peace. resolution 242 of the u.n. provided for the return of territories provided -- acquired by israel in the war. the resolution says know where explicitly that the arabs have to make peace with a place called the state of israel. throughout this time, the united
10:06 am
states remains the chief mediator. there was much talk about international conferences, particularly in the aftermath of the 1973 yom kippur war. israel and the united states understood that neither europe nor the soviets could be effective mediators. that assumption was born out by henry kissinger's agreements and the sinai agreement in the 1970's. it was president carter's decision to try to read engage the soviets -- re-engaged the soviets that lead on was a got to -- anwar sadat to engage in the peace accord.
10:07 am
there was also a fourth principal in the peace process. during that time, the palestinians were not even mentioned in 242. they emerged as an independent and compelling force in middle east politics and diplomacy. so did this notion of creating a palestinian state in the west bank and gaza. that notion began to gain increasing support, even among the israeli public, who thought about the palestinian state posing a mortal threat to israel, particularly during the time of the first intifada. while american mediators continue to shuttle between jerusalem and arab capitals, increasingly the united states acknowledged the importance of a palestinian issue and began to initiate contact with the
10:08 am
palestine liberation organization. it was the failure of the 1991 madrid peace conference to produce any significant breakthroughs that gave an added fill to the palestinization to the peace process. the oslo accords were negotiated in norway, not washington. the israelis and the palestinians about the accords would not have sufficient weight our legitimacy unless they were signed on the white house lawn. prime minister its got rid been and the king of jordan thought that president clinton -- itzak rabin thought that president
10:09 am
clinton should be the mediator. there were several interim agreements and international summits and an immense amount of time invested. the president took off 13 days or the summit at camp david. that summit proved to be revealing. prime minister ehud barak agreed to a vast majority of the west bank and half of jerusalem -- he volunteered to divide his
10:10 am
country's capital with people who had been at war with them for decades. in spite of all of that, arafat walked away from the deal. he refused to forfeit the demands for the return of millions of the descendants of refugees to israel. a demand which would have turned israel from a de facto jewish facto palestinian state. president bush was criticized for not pursuing peace. the negotiations were impossible when 1000 israelis were blowing -- being blown up by suicide bombers. we were thinking about how to defend ourselves and defend our country. bush set out the road map for peace.
10:11 am
leading to the two state solution. president bush dispatched his secretary of state to the region. she visited the region 26 times over the course of two years to negotiate peace treaty between the israelis and the palestinians. in 2005, israel up rooted 9000 of its citizens to advance peace. instead of peace, it got hamas and 10,000 rockets. in 2008, there was another state proposal to the palestinian leader. this went even further to meeting the palestinian demands. it was given to the palestinian president six months between -- before the palestinian leader
10:12 am
left office. prime minister netanyahu, in his first public address, made the two state solution the official policy of the likud party. he removed hundreds of robots and checkpoints -- road blocks and checkpoints. he froze new buildings in the territory, something clinton called it unprecedented. he has repeatedly offered to meet with palestinian leaders without any preconditions anywhere. to resolve the issues,
10:13 am
territory, security, borders -- everything on the table, leading to a two state solution leading to mutual recognition. just over one year ago last a timber, a -- last september, abbas has refused to join us at the negotiating table. throughout this time, this oslo time, there was another process that was unfolding on a parallel planes. that process was the deepening and expanding relationship between the united states and israel. the strategic alliance that did not exist before 1967. after that war, american
10:14 am
policymakers spoke up and said there is a power in the middle east with which the united states should be aligned. israel proved to be a crucial asset for the united states during the cold war and for the fight against islamic extremism. people are most interested in what is happening in the u.s. on the peace process. i got into this job and found out everything i learned over 30 years is nothing compared to what i have learned as ambassador. it includes cooperation in the fields of technology sharing, missile development, other weapons, mutual training, commercial ties between the united states and israel. israel is america's 20th largest country in the world. america does more business with
10:15 am
israel than it does with russia or argentina. one out of every six pills you take in this country is made in the state of israel. israel also employs tens of thousands of americans in this country. america is outsourcing jobs to china and india. israel is outsourcing jobs to the united states. there have been tactical differences related to the peace process. particularly on the issue of jerusalem and the settlements. the fact remains that the bilateral relationship continues to flourish. there are strategic goals in the process. two stays for two people. any differences we may have had to achieve those goals -- we are
10:16 am
closer than we have been in the last two and a half years. during the oslo time, 1993 to be present -- saw the signing of a military assistance package along with support for the iron dome missile system. under the obama system, major efforts have been made to reverse the erosion of the quality of israel's military edge. the united states has undertaken to enable israel to defend itself by itself against any middle east an adversary or any combination of middle eastern adversaries. it is an historic undertaking and there has been efforts to shore up the imbalances that have found their way into the middle -- military and. -- military edge.
10:17 am
remember the flotilla incident? republican and democratic demonstrations, congress and the leaderships of both parties and the overwhelming majority of the american people -- all of them have all held israel's right to defend itself and define itself by itself. we define ourselves as the nation's state -- nation states of the homeland of the jewish people. the principles that have long accompanied the peace process will probably continue to guide it. territory for peace will remain the core principle. that cuts two ways. we appreciate the fact that the united states and the congress are taking a strong position.
10:18 am
there are commitments to the united states of america. the oslo accords state that there are no alternatives to direct negotiations. israelis and palestinians will continue to require mediation. we would welcome that mediation. in spite of increasing involvement by the quartet, the european union, the u.n., the russians, and the united states, there is no substitute for american mediation. only america will continue to have the credibility with all parties to this conflict. the two state solution will remain the paramount goal and the centerpiece of the peacemaking effort. we would like a comprehensive peace between israel and all of its arab nature -- arab neighbors. while there may continue to be
10:19 am
some tactical differences between the u.s. and israel on how to achieve that goal, the relationship will remain ironclad. for israel, there is no substitute for the united states of america. the united states is israel's ultimate allied. it has been and will remain so. five or 10 years from now in an area that is highly flammable and where you do not know was going to happen, there is one state in this region that is stable, which is able to defend itself by itself, willing to defend itself by itself, which has a robust economy, which has a democracy that has never known a second of non-democrat to rule, and a country that is categorically pro-american. it has never switched sides and it will never switched sides. .srael is america's altman ally
10:20 am
we continue -- america's altmire -- ultimate ally. we will follow this process to a fruitful and. end. thank you. i am told you have questions. you have questions and i will have a couple -- cup of tea. >> thank you, ambassador oren. after listening to this conference for the last couple of hours and us being aware of the challenges that israel faces in attempting a peace deal with a hammas government,
10:21 am
how can anybody that supports israel be comfortable with an agreement with hamas that would put them in east jerusalem? >> it is not going to happen. hamas cannot be a party to the negotiations. that is not and is really a precondition. it is an american precondition and a quartet precondition. hamas has not fulfilled the conditions established by the quartet for joining the negotiations. which are, disemboweling terror and accepting the agreements of -- disavowing terror and accepting the agreements of the p.a. the palestinians are going to have to make a decision on whether they are going to enter a serious peace process and to reach peace, or are they going
10:22 am
to make a pact with terror? you cannot have it both ways. >> i wonder if you can put your historian's had on and tell us how you assess the -- hat on and tell us how you assess the oslo process? arafat was brought back into the center of the issue. it created an impossibility of an indigenous leaders of growing up in the west bank that represented the interests of the people living there. my reason for raising this is that we have had a lot of discussion about what has been going on in the palestinian authority and some of the efforts of the prime minister
10:23 am
building up a structure that could do some good for the people living there. i was just wondering how you saw that dynamic in terms of the oslo agreement and the bringing back of arafat into the region. >> i lived through the oslo time. i was aware even then of the inherent flaws in the process. there were not restrictions on incitement. palestinians were to stop teaching their kids to hate us and telling them that israel had no legitimacy. they are still naming swiss after terrorists who killed israeli civilians . -- naming squares after terrorists who killed israeli
10:24 am
civilians. the central problem with the oslo accords, and i was aware of it going back to the 1990's -- there was an exchange of letters. israel recognize the plo as the sole representative of be palestinian people. in return, arafat would recognize the state of israel. it is not enough. they have to recognize the jewish state. this is a well-known position of the netanyahu government. it began before that. why jewish state? jewish state means three things. it means refugees are not coming back to israel. if they are going to be resettled, they can resettle in palestine.
10:25 am
israel could have a palestinian majority, but it will not be the jewish state anymore. for us, is an existential issue. secondly, recognizing a jewish state means the peace process is a to stage --two state solution, not a two state solution. recognizing us as a jewish state means there is an end of clients and an end of conflict. thirdly, recognizing the jewish state means the jewish state is an indigenous and permanent state. we are not part of a decision to dump the survivors of the
10:26 am
holocaust into the laps of the palestinians. it is indigenous and permanent. all that was missing from oslo. we learned about it the hard way. we learned about it in 2000 when we gave the palestinians everything they wanted. they were unwilling to except the jewish state. the same reason they rejected the jewish state in 1947. they have been offered a states more frequently than any people in history and turned it down -- state more frequently than any people in history and turned it down. >> good afternoon, mr. ambassador. thank you for your excellent review of history. i am and he egyptian american.
10:27 am
i am interested in where we go from here and how to break the deadlock. i understand prime minister e hud made a generous offer. the same thing with our real sure around. -- ariel sharon. i would like to suggest that can the personality -- israeli government take the initiative and start with the same offer that was offered five, 10, or 15 years ago as an effort to move peace forward. >> i hear this often. it contradicts america's undertaking under the annapolis process. it stated that nothing was
10:28 am
agreed to until everything was agreed. that allowed the negotiators to think out loud and out of the box without committing themselves. they are saying, everything we thought out of the box, we are going to start from that point. it is the exact opposite of what annapolis intended to achieve. the middle east is a changed place. when oslo began in 1993, the iranian nuclear threat was still distant. i remember it being talked about in 1995. hamas was not a huge factor. hamas had not taken over half of the palestinian authority. more, please. [laughter] i choke on hamas. see what happens.
10:29 am
the arab spring. how can we make the same type of offer today when we do not know who was going to be in charge of the palestinian authority tomorrow, who is going to be our neighbor to marla? we require security. that is the major issue for us -- who is going to be our neighbor to malraux? -- tomorrow. when we do not know who is going to be our neighbors, we require security arrangements. when we ask for peace, we did not get peace. we got rockets.
10:30 am
we grew out of lebanon also. a peaceful gesture. we got rockets. our problem with the future palestinian state will be the future palestinian border with jordan. we found that international forces did not stop the proliferation transfer of weapons. hezbollah and now has four times the amount of rockets it had in 2006. the only proven force that has proven effective -- we need that. palestinians do not like it. we say to them, there is no contradiction between a sovereign state that has foreign forces on its territory. britain has a base in cyprus. why can the palestinian state
10:31 am
have a long-term phaseout is really present in the jordan valley? these are issues that have changed. we cannot play as if we are stuck in 1993. we are not stopped in 1993. we are in a very different place today and we have to account for it. having said all that, some of the major components of the offers -- a first of all, a two- state solution. painful territorial sacrifices. it is a peace negotiation which all the dishes will be on the table. netanyahu has said that what creativity and good will, we can solve the jerusalem question as well. all there on the table. we are not exactly starting from zero. we are not. many of the same people are
10:32 am
still doing the negotiations. they have known each other for 20 years now and we have advantages if we can get them back to the table. so far, we have not been successful. >> i want to ask you a question about iran. last year, there was a lot of attention to the issue of the iranian nuclear threats. are we missing the major threat here? are we not on the offense of putting iran cannot penalty box?
10:33 am
are we in a section at sleepwalked? what else can be done by your government and by the united states administration in moving the ball on the central threat to both to israel and the u.s.? >> we have not taken our eye off the ball for a nanosecond. we know that iran is the paramount threats. i think i can speak for people in the administration and say that they have not taken their eye off the ball. there is a lot of focus on what is going on in the arab world. our intelligence services will confirm that the iranians have overcome any technical difficulties. they are enriching uranium. they are now moving much more advanced equipment that can churn out enriched uranium at a greater -- four times the rate. they are moving to a higher
10:34 am
rate, which would put them in breakout range of reaching the weapons-grade. at the same time, they are developing a missile system that can not only hit every single in the middle east, it can hit some cities in western europe. within a decade, it will be able to hit here. all of this -- if iran reaches a state of breakout and there are institutions in this city that will tell you they're getting close to that point, it is a game changer for the middle east. the entire middle east will live under the effort of iranian nuclear power. anybody's ability to respond to terror will be circumscribed. the other middle eastern countries will try to achieve military and nuclear capabilities. i imagine this, people --
10:35 am
imagine that the people occurring now if all these countries had nuclear arsenals. for the last 2.5 years, we have been following washington's lead a on an imposing very crushing sanctions on the iranians. those sanctions have proven very effective. they have taken a serious bite out of the iranian economy, the currency. we have yet to see that they have dampened the leadership's appetite for nuclear weapons. we think it is extremely important that when we say all options on the table, that is our policy and america's policy, it is very important that people believe it. we have a very good example of what happened with gaddafi's libya. gaddafi had a nuclear program and he gave it up at the end of 2003 because but he believed it was a credible military threat. we know it works. it is very important that they believe that a credible military threat. because the alternative is truly
10:36 am
unthinkable. >> i have three more minutes. >> hello. thank you for your speech. i have a quick question regarding the statement yesterday about the israeli situation in the region. they are more isolated today in the region, pointing to his relations with turkey. will you take a stab to reconcile the relations with turkey? -- will you take this step to reconcile their relations with turkey? house bully approach -- there is some recourse coming from the region.
10:37 am
can you clarify what is going on in the region? >> ok. next, please. someone else had a question? >> mr. ambassador, after the signing of the oslo accord in 1993, president clinton said the u.s. would stand with israel. as the process developed, international support and pressure for the palestinian state along the 1967 borders close to that would strengthen. on the other hand, the palestinian authority may prove not to be interested in peace or eager to sign a deal. what do you think will happen if it turns out that there is no common ground between israel and the palestinians? the palestinians are not willing to except an israeli presence.
10:38 am
>> ok. that is a little bit of a hypothetical. last question? >> as the relationship with turkey is becoming much more shaky, and the region is being torn apart by this arab spring, but we are seeing the possibility of syria been a prime example. does this open the door for a new israeli orientation towards building alliances with minorities in the region, south saddam being a prime example. -- south sudan being a prime example? >> let's talk about isolation. what is happening in the middle east is not because of israel. israel did not precipitate the
10:39 am
revolt, the revolution in egypt, tunisia, nor in bahrain or in syria. all this is happening because of internal aerodynamics. in the case of iraq in 2009, internal irani and dynamics. it is not about costs. -- iranian dynamics. if some of this results in greater isolation, there is nothing we could do about it. going back to the question of turkey. we regard turkey as a crucial and a valued ally, a centuries long trench between the jewish people and the turkish people. it resulted in some friction with us. we did not ask for eds and are policy has not changed. it has nothing to do with us. we were not involved in the internal dynamics of turkish politics. it would appear right now that
10:40 am
focusing on the middle east, you may say that israel is isolated, but i take a global view and an historic view. i can remember a time when israel did not have peace treaties with egypt and jordan. their government tell us that they are committed to those treaties. i can remember a time when israel had terrible relations with china, india, the soviet bloc, and today we have flourishing relationships with china, india, and some of the soviet bloc countries. if you want to attend a really great to hanukkah party, come to the party at the indian embassy. [laughter] that, to me, spells anything but isolation. our support in the united states
10:41 am
is close to an all-time high. the only time it was higher was during the 1991 gulf war. quite high. we do not feel isolated. we would like to have a better relationship with turkey. we do appreciate the administration's effort to mediate between us and turkey. the message coming out of washington to take it down a few notches, we appreciate that message. we look forward to better relations with the turks. it is a difficult time for everybody in the middle east. i did not know if we are any more isolated than anybody else is. as for syria, we looked at what is happening in the of people -- upheival. not very well organized or very well funded or very clearly
10:42 am
lead. in that environment, in which radicals are very well organized and very well funded and clearly lead, radicals' scheme to highjack the revolution. we saw it happen in iran, gaza, we know what can happen. those are the risks. opportunities, we see it syria. we did not press for the double that we know -- devil we know. we would like to see him depart. do not let anybody tell you differently. we see a lot of advantages to it. nobody is going to -- nobody knows what is going to happen about syria. we would like a syria that is capable of making peace with us. that is our interest. there is no inherent enmity there. we have the basis for making peace with them. it would be a vast mutual gains for both countries if we could do that. i do not think we can do it
10:43 am
under the present regime. broadly speaking, israel has an interest in the emergence of a genuine peace loving democratic governments. in the middle east. we know that democratic governments are keeping peace. we hope it happens. what happens if the peace process does not result in a vital to-state -- a viable to- state solution? -- two-state solution? call me pollyanna, but -- a two- state solution is possible. i know from the palestinian colleagues that there are people
10:44 am
that share that vision. they had issues with their own leadership. one is committed to our destruction and the destruction of the jewish population worldwide. these are immense obstacles. everyone is focusing on the unilateral move of the palestinians in the un. everybody is focused -- it is a violation in their agreements with us, and with the united states of america. for the palestinians to achieve it unilaterally declared an stated, it would set back peacemaking efforts for generations. one of the reasons was stated quite openly on may 16. he said, i am doing this not to
10:45 am
make peace. i am doing this to legalize the conflict so i can better prosecute the legal war against israel and increase my chances of delegitimizing israel. that is this the beginning of the problem. this is a long-term problem. if we could get to prime minister netanyahu and abbas off to camp david and i could hammer out an agreement, and they come back and netanyahu says the people of israel, you are about to make excruciating sacrifices. you'll have to have territories that has been sacred to our people for two dozen years. -- 2000 years. amazing progress.
10:46 am
-- risk. you have a chance of getting a real peace. you have a chance of getting greater security, a greater legitimacy in the world. there are real benefits, trust me. they're both the benefits. he will go back to his people and says, you have to make some painful sacrifices. those refugees, they will have to be resettled here in palestine. he will have to accept israel as a legitimate and prominent jewish state. we have some benefits, too. you will get to a palestinian state. that is what you will get in return for all of your sacrifices. the palestinians will already said, -- will say, we already have a palestinian state. by going to the u.n., the palestinians have cut off the legs other diplomatic latitude. they have nothing to trade for peace. it will set them back
10:47 am
irrevocably. maybe four generations. -- for generations. i leave you with that very upbeat spots. fortunately, the discussions in the u.n. just over a week ago turned out better than many of us anticipated. together with the united states and some like-minded countries are putting up a pretty good successful opposition to it. we hope the palestinians will back down. the message coming out of congress has been very important for us. basically, i know everybody here. thank you. [applause]
10:48 am
>> later in the week, palestinian authority present called on europe to support his bid for full statehood. he criticized the current israeli government and settlements for the lack of progress toward achieving a two-state solution. this is a little over an hour.
10:49 am
>> after the address, we will be taking questions. it is an honor to welcome you to this chamber. it gives me immense pleasure -- a skillful politician, diplomat, and a statement. -- statesman. it is difficult to be a statesman without a state. it is symbolic effect almost immediately after making the historic move two weeks ago, you come to address this house. a house that is considered to be the tumble of democracy and human rights. -- a temple of democracy and human rights.
10:50 am
to be a listening ear, a watchful eye, and a helping hand. for the palestinian nation to fully embrace. in this context, we highly praised the achievements of the palestinian authority and your leadership and your efforts to bring reconciliation among palestinians on the basis of universally recognized values. it is also symbolic that you are struggle is happening against the background of the arab spring. the only way to establish peace and stability in the region is true democracy, respect for all human rights.
10:51 am
as you said, mr. president, last month, the time is now for palestinian spring, the time for independence. dear president, beyond the symbolic, there is the reality. this situation cannot last any longer. palestinians should have their own state and i am referring to the resolution, at a palestinian state side by side with israel. secure and recognized borders. and through negotiating and taking into account the aspirations of the two peoples. in this context, i would like to recall the debate on the cooperation between the
10:52 am
chancellor -- those which are member states of the council of europe to support the palestinian to join the united nations as a full member state. democracy -- by finding a solution to the main complex that remain in the region. it is no longer immediately associated with the board and conflict. we believe it can become associated with the ideas of democracy and human rights. we know that this is why you are here with us today. once again, welcome, mr. president, if you have the floor. [applause]
10:53 am
the parliament, assembly of the ladies and gentlemen, distinguished members of the assembly, peace be upon you. it honors and need to be with you. to date in this assembly. to address you and -- the representatives of the nation of europe.
10:54 am
in body and the values of the freedom, justice, and human dignity, i have come up to you from palestine, the land of kings. always coexisted. i have come to you bearing a message of peace and love from deep. it continues despite all the pain and suffering. gentlemen, two weeks the executive committee of the palestine liberation i brought the
10:55 am
request to accept the state of palestine as a full member of the international organization. i explained the reason that made me take such a step. two decades have gone by since the peace conference. 18 years have gone by since the signing in washington. according to which, we should have arrived beyond may 5, 1999, we should have reached an agreement over final piece that would establish an independent palestinian state that would live side-by-side with the state of israel. since that date, and our people
10:56 am
are waiting patiently. they are waiting for the implementation of the entitlement. however, without any results. how long can this go on? despite that, we have another opportunity but we tried to reach a solution through negotiations. -- we accepted the roadmap. we then accepted the invitation of the former u.s. president. those negotiations did achieve some progress due to the recognition of the former
10:57 am
israeli government headed by a -- the former israeli government. to refer to the 1967 borders and the principal of swapping territory would equal value and equal size. however, the change of the israeli government led to the halt, once again, of the negotiation process. when the u.s. president barack obama was elected, we once again demonstrated the cooperation with his administration. we agreed to all the proposals made before it -- it was launched in washington in september of 2010. on the premise of arriving at -- at a peace agreement, not exceeding one year. we entered those negotiations with an open heart.
10:58 am
and with honest intent. however, we came up against the evasiveness of the israeli government, over final status. they took advantage of the launching to incentivize their settlement activity in jerusalem and the occupied west bank. this government refused to resume negotiations from where they had reached with the former government. they insisted to returning to 0.0. when their representatives sat down at the table, but they refused to discuss any issues final issues.
10:59 am
and this is a sensitive issue to israel, we are all aware of this, we have an understanding with the israeli government and with the former israeli government and former u.s. administrations. and a great search party, at nato. mr. netanyahu turned down all about and insisted on a security concept that is unacceptable, based on expansion and colonization by annexing jerusalem. it means over 40% of the territories of the occupied west
11:00 am
bank, as well as insisting on maintaining military bases in the depths of the west bank territories. he wondered if these demands are accepted, where what the palestinian state to be? peace and supplement are two contradictory issues that are incompatible. the building of settlements in occupied territories and housing settlers there by the occupying forces is a flagrant violation of international law and international humanitarian law. it is a clear breach of the geneva convention. as well as a breach of the agreement signed between the palestine liberalization organization and israel. the fact that we affirm the necessity of halting the settlements is a necessary
11:01 am
precondition. which the peace process cannot move ahead. if it only depends on the palestinians respecting their commitments whereas israel turns its back to all its commitments. settlement activity has expanded to the point of constituting a major danger that would undermine the foundations of the revolution since the signing of the alter agreements, the number of settlers have gone up 30%. we have declarations to build thousands of new settlement unit. further is the government of israel incests on unattainable -- insist on new unattainable
11:02 am
preconditions that have no references in the from a reference for the peace process or the decisions of international legitimacy. we have recognized the state of israel, requiring us to recognize it as a jewish state is a precondition that cannot be acceptable because it threatens to transform the conflict into a destructive religious conflict and jeopardize this the future of more than 1 million palestinian citizens of the state of israel. and wipes out the right of the palestinian refugees and gives cover for greater expansion conflict that would jeopardize completely the opportunity for a two-state solution. and our commitment to international legitimacy have recognized the state of israel according to formulas that have been negotiated and these were
11:03 am
written in the text of an exchange of letters between the two leaders. in the year 1993. this issue for us was closed. any attempt to reopen it is an attempt to create a new pretext to place impediments and the path of the peace process. on the other hand, we have the right to raise the question -- why does israel refused to recognize the state of palestine if it is serious in accepting the two-state solution? we have confirmed our acceptance of international legitimacy. when the palacpalestinian legitimacy decided to adopt the peace program that is based on the two-state solution, the independent state of palestine with its capital as jerusalem on
11:04 am
the land occupied by israel in 1967, mainly over 22% of historical land of palestine would live side by side in peace and security with the state of israel. that step was a painful and difficult step but it aims to achieve the historical settlement that would allow to build peace between the two peoples. this program continues to constitute the foundation on which the arab peace initiative was based. that was the initiative adopted by the league of arab states and all member states of the islamic cooperation organization. we're speaking of 57 islamic and arab states. this expresses the readiness of all these states to establish normal relations with israel within the framework of a comprehensive and lasting peace
11:05 am
that would secure the withdrawal of israel from all occupied palestinian and arab territories to the borders of the fourth of june, 1967 and establishment of a state of palestine, an independent sovereign state with the capital as jerusalem and establishing a fair and agreed solution to the question of revenue g's in accordance with u.n. solution 194 and subprime -- and supply peace and security to all the nations of the region. we've called on the israelis to take this opportunity that provides them a security to live in peace with the peoples of the region in which lies the real security for them and their children as well as for us and our children. peace is what makes security. it is not military might or hegemony large geographic expansion that build the security. you cannot maintain peace by
11:06 am
force but only to understanding. mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, in east jerusalem, the palestinian population faces a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing that includes the destruction of their homes, the expulsion of the population and the withdrawal of their identification papers including persecution of their elected representatives with the aim of expelling them from their city and restrict access ability to the holy city with ongoing excavations that threaten the stability. the city is suffocated an isolated from its palestinian environment through settlements and walls. the forces of occupation continue their incursions into the areas of the palestinian national authority for raids and arrests. they have given free rein to the
11:07 am
armed militias. they are militias that enjoys special protection of the occupation army to carry out their attacks against the defense less palestinian population, targeting their homes, schools, mosques, fields, crops, and trees. the strict blockade continues against the gaza strip which is a form of collective punishment imposed on innocent population. in addition to the different attacks through air raids, artillery shelling, and assassinations, it completes the aims of the aggressive war against the gaza strip that started three years ago and brought about huge destruction in property. the occupation authorities house and their presence over 6000
11:08 am
palestinian prisoners including 21 representatives of the different parliamentary groups who have declared only a few days ago a hunger strike in protest against a difficult and humility -- and humiliating conditions they live under. we want to see them free among the members of their families just as the family galeed shalid would like to see him break and and balls of his family. mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, in spite of all the israeli occupation, the palestinian authority has worked for out last year to implement intensive programs that aims to spread and disseminate the culture of peace and justice and democracy and to upgrade the prepared as a palestinian institutions to meet the
11:09 am
entitlement of independence in accordance with their report prepared by the ad hoc liaison committee of the donor countries and based on the evaluations of the world bank and international monetary fund and the un mission. this program has achieved success in upgrading the performance of palestinian institutions to a higher level than necessary even for running a successful state successfully. the report affirms that palestine has made achievements in this area even more than many states have achieved that enjoy a full membership of the united nations while we stand deprived of this. based on these achievements and in light of the increased
11:10 am
suffering of our people he under occupation and the stalemate in the prospects of the negotiation, we found no other way but to address international community -- to call the international community to take a role to open new prospects. the peace process by recognizing the state of palestine along the borders of the fourth of june, 1967 and accept the fate of palestine as a full member of the united nations. we confirm that with this request, we do not aim to isolate israel de-legitimize israel. we want to gain legitimacy for our existence as a people that has the right for self- determination similar to any other people in the world. our aim is to de-legitimize occupation and settlement and
11:11 am
exercise polities and i underline that our step is not an alternative to negotiations. not at all, it is a positive factor to prepare practical ground work for a serious negotiation process that would be capable to bring forth positive fruits and here we stand to underline our readiness to return to the table of negotiations according to a clear frame of reference that is in compliance with international legitimacy. our positive position from the recent declaration made by the quartet that redefines or reaffirms the frame of reference of the peace process particularly as the the two- state principal along the borders of 1967 and reaffirmed
11:12 am
the commitment of both parties in accordance with the road map. israeli compliance for these positions will open the way before the resumption of the peace process. ladies and gentlemen, today we have 128 member states in the united nations that recognize the state of palestine along the borders of the fourth of june 1967. we are proud to say that among these are 17 member states of the council of europe. palestine has advanced diplomatic relations with another 24 states that are also members of the council of europe. a number of these countries have affirmed, especially those states who are members of the
11:13 am
european union, have affirmed that they are ready to recognize the state of palestine when the time is appropriate. we say to you, that is all and well. in all honesty, we tell you that this is the appropriate time. and we appreciate the dissidents say by the european sovereign state and a call for its implementation. we highly appreciate and with all pride the decision taken by your aug. assembly last tuesday to invite the six members of the council of europe that are members at the security council to support the application of the state of palestine to join the united nations members. europe has invested huge amounts of effort and money in supporting the building of the institutions of a palestinian
11:14 am
state. they have given to our people major forms of support that will always be remembered with gratitude by our people. the recognition of the state of palestine and support for its bid to membership at the united nations is a protection of those achievements that have been made so far in due to the european efforts and the european investment among other efforts. it is also to consolidate the position of europe and its leading role in driving the peace process forward. mr. president, today we live in the arab spring. we witnessed the courage of the arab peoples as they express their will to attain freedom and democracy and social justice. we, the palestinians, were always at the heart of the
11:15 am
movement of the arab peoples that aspire to freedom. we always upheld the traditions of democracy and respect for the freedom of opinion and expression. this was always a source of pride for us. it was a source of inspiration for our brothers from all arab countries. today we stand at the heart of the arab spring and we announce that the hour of the palestinian spring is here and if the essence of the arabs spring is the will of the peoples to gain their freedom, the essence of the palestinian spring is to get rid of the occupation and to attain freedom and independence and achieve peace and security and stability and all the regions. the beginnings of our spring was
11:16 am
shown to the whole world when hundreds of thousands went into the streets of the cities and villages of palestine and they expressed in one voice to their will to have palestine in the united nations. [applause] this movement has maintained its peaceful and civilized nature though there were many attempts at provocation from the israeli side. we affirm our determination to maintain the peaceful nature of our movement because we refuse violence and we refuse to terrorism in all its forms including state terrorism and a
11:17 am
terrorism of settlers. we will disappoint them. we will not let them drive this to extremism. we will not go that way. our people will continue their peaceful popular resistance against the occupation and settlement and the racist thatration wawalls demonstrate the power of an armless people facing bullets and tractors of destruction. the world has celebrated the arab spring and now this celebration has to stand the test of credibility. will this celebration stopped the borders of palestine or will be able to go beyond the double standard and open its arms to welcome the palestinian spring as well? will israel be allowed to continue to be a country abolish all laws and above all all
11:18 am
accountability? will it be allowed to continue to reject the resolutions of the u.n. security council and general assembly and the international criminal court and the violations of international law? our people await the response. some of this response is in your hands, ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the people of europe and our people call a new to take up your responsibility. mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, within this ongoing struggle for independence, we shall continue to make every effort possible to develop the building of our society and entrenched in our democratic institutions and organizing our domestic situation. as for the achievements made at this level, we will seek to safeguard them and build on them. we are particularly proud of the
11:19 am
fact that in recent years we have been able to eradicate illiteracy almost completely in palestine. our people who contributed to building numerous countries in the world, the people that hold up holy and venerate education and culture and creativity as we have agreed to major steps in expanding our educational infrastructure at all levels, reaching the point where we now about 49 universities and institutes catering to 5% of the population and we will continue to provide educational opportunities for our -- all our sons and daughters. thanks to the appreciate the support we have received from the arab-friendly countries and particularly the countries of
11:20 am
europe. we have achieved a number of infrastructure projects with particular attention to developing health services and upgrading rural and marginalized areas and we have worked and will continue to work to strengthen the judiciary and the rule of law and maintain the security of the citizens. we have also made great strides in the field of women participation in public life and decision making bodies whether they are executives or judicial people as well as in local government. institutions. along this line, we have defined the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. this was a long time ago. our aspiration to achieve
11:21 am
equality between men and women. we have also developed a system for monitoring accountability and administration and financial reform with the aim of establishing transparency, integrity, and good government to comply with the highest international standards in this area. in building our national authority and laying the foundations of our future state, we have chosen the parliamentary democratic system based on respect for pluralism and equality among citizens, men and women and we have offered up the rule of law for safeguarding freedoms and human rights in spite of all the difficulties and foreign interventions and limitations set upon us by the occupation. we have been determined to continue our adherence to the choice of democracy and to
11:22 am
safeguard the freedom of organization and association and political work. and to support the institutions of civil society and protect freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the press and association and all public and private freedoms. mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, our success in the signing of the national agreement in cairo on may 4 indicates a major step to ending the schism that ruptured our national unity and brought upon us and our cause major injury. the core of this agreement is to set up a provisional government composed of independence, national personalities that was -- that would prepare the groundwork for presidential elections and parliamentary elections and local government elections not beyond may, 2012.
11:23 am
this agreement is a positive achievement that would contribute to the peace process. it is as well as a necessity to safeguard palestinian democracy. mr. president, what brings us together, we, the palestinians, and europe goes beyond geographic neighborhood relations along the mediterranean. it is more than mere commercial exchange and human interaction relations and the product of the interaction between civilizations that goes back thousands of years. what brings us together more is over and above all that i mentioned before. it is the joint of values that are achieved by our peoples, the
11:24 am
values of freedom, brother, equality, and justice among all human beings. these values were borne by the peoples of europe for centuries. these are the same values for which the people of the arab world and the palestinian people are aspiring to achieve. we look with all admiration to what was achieved in europe at the level of the basis of pluralistic democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights. we look upon you and hope to benefit from your experience in order to develop our native democracy that we require. we look to historic cities that were under dispute among the states of europe in the past but today, it is the seat of a unified european institution. it is the main support. p for peace.
11:25 am
i cannot but express my pride at the partnership agreement that was signed yesterday with you by my brother, according to which the palestine parliament of the people of a homeland and the diaspora was given this status a partner for democracy back your parliamentary assembly. we are particularly proud to come as palestine following a morocco among the first arab countries that enjoy the positit on consolidating the status. this will have a relations of friendship and cooperation between our people and
11:26 am
encouraging the process. i would like to express to you the gratitude of the palestinian people for the generous for support received from the countries of europe. we hope that this role will be strengthened and strengthened further the political role of europe in the peace process in the region. mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, resolution 181 of the united stationations announced tuesday, this has not seen the light of day. we have come to ask for the state to see the light of day.
11:27 am
this is our legitimate right, guaranteed by international law. this is not an alternative to the negotiations. negotiations are indispensable to arrive at solutions over borders and security and refugees and water and settlements in jerusalem and the release of all prisoners in addition to putting an end to the conflicts in accordance to the stipulations of the arab peace initiative so that israel may live in an environment of all arabs and all muslims. we want to live as other people's lives, in freedom and dignity. we do not aim to isolate and. one we want to protect both the palestinian and
11:28 am
israeli politicians have to choose between settlements and peace. we have chosen peace. you have supported the arab spring that calls for democracy and freedom. here comes the palestinian spring to also demand freedom and an end to occupation. we deserve your support. we deserve your support. sure you will not abandon us and you will not. as down we count on you. [applause]
11:29 am
>> thank you. thank you very much. , mr. abbas, for the most interesting and comprehensive address. members of the assembly have questions to put to you. i would like to remind my dear colleagues that questions must be limited to 30 seconds and they shall be asking questions and not making speeches. the first question is by mr. kruger on behalf of the ppp group. >> the european people's party giants the president to extend
11:30 am
to you a great welcome to this house of democracy. the european people's party strongly believes that we have the principal solution to the palestinian issue. air can be no permanent peace in the middle east. at the same time, we believe that such a solution would gravely be facilitated if in the whole of palestine there is full respect of the rule of law and human rights. what further steps are you planning to work toward that end including the permanent abolition of the death penalty? >> thank you very much. mr. president, you have the floor. >> the most important thing we
11:31 am
need are to go back to the negotiation table with international legitimacy based on the outcome. this is the basis of negotiations between us and israel. as to the rest of your question, with regard to the abolition of the death penalty, we have put this issue on the top priority of the legislative council. i would like to tell you that five years ago, but since i assumed power, we did not ratify a single sentence of the death penalty. thank you very much. >> the next question is by madame ert. i like to ask our guests to remain silent according to the rules. this is on behalf of the social democrats. >> president, you are the
11:32 am
representative of a new partner for democracy and we hope that you will be followed by other countries around the mediterranean. president, can you confirm that the two-state solution that we all want will be in fact two democratic states where the citizens of one would be welcomed in the other territory and were men and women will have the quality in order to achieve a democracy and that will preserve all human rights? >> we told you that we have signed this at the convention and we applied all our institutions at the legislative
11:33 am
council and in our ministry's and the judiciary and local government. there is more argument about this. as for the establishment of two states, we underlined that two states that little lungs that each other in peace and stability, we agreed to the two- state solution. as we end the conflict, there of the 57 arab and islamic states that recognize israel and that is according to the arab peace initiative for peace. >> thank you very much, mr. president. the next question is on behalf of the alda group. >> mr. president, you are welcome to this house of democracy. i have two questions. you stated you are counting on us. what practical steps may we take to be able to assist you? my second question -- are you
11:34 am
optimistic with regard to the future of the palestinian people and the people of israel? thank you, sir. >> on the second question, we are always optimistic about the future of the palestinian people and the israeli people to live alongside each other not only along but with all the peoples of the arab and islamic region extending from mauritania all the way to indonesia. as for the first question, as i made clear in my speech, there are six states, members of this council that are also members of the u.n. security council. we would like you to ask them to agree to vote with us. this is a very important request because we would be able
11:35 am
to overcome any obstacles at the u.n. security council. this is one step along many others where we are not talking of aid and assistance. we already get this without any conditionality is. we receive this from all european countries and we thank you for that. at present, we need your political support and you have taken a decision or recommendation for these six states to recognize palestine. there are those states among the european states that said they would recognize a palestinian state at the appropriate time. i believe there is no more appropriate time than this moment. >> the next question is on behalf of european and democrats. >> mr. president, congratulations for being granted the partner for
11:36 am
democracy status by the parliamentary counsel of europe. what do you think of the future of relations with hamas? some hamas representatives have expressed reservations regarding the application of palestine for recognition in the united nations. >> mr. president, please. >> as to the future of our relationships with the council, these should be all that we should with -- these should evolve and we should be able to upgrade our democracy development in light of your rich experience. this is why i said in the context of the arab spring, many arab countries will also have
11:37 am
the opportunity to join you as well. as for hamas, it has not given an official opinion saying it supports the step that there are those among them who say they are gas to them those who say they are for it. we heard the speech made by that had of their political bureau, of the hamas political bureau, in a speech and they run and he said he supports the speech made by me at the united nations. he raised the issue of consultation. of course, consultation is an important issue. if you report this in principle and you do not oppose it, please support it. you and ask for conditions in the future. the next question is from mr. cox from the unified european left group. >> we welcome you to the international council as a partner with democracy.
11:38 am
i congratulate us and you on that. this sends a clear signal to the european governments member states of the security council to support your bid for full membership. what could this assembly as well as the european parliament do to convince the government and the parliament of israel that this is not a danger for the chance for israel to accept your bed for statehood and to change the situation? what could we do could convince our israeli friends to support you? >> mr. president, please. >> it is very important to keeping communication. we keep communications with israelis whether officially or another was to clarify that there is no contradiction between our going to the united nations security council and peace between negotiations.
11:39 am
they have to understand that they also have to be aware that their future in this hour of an islamic environment is a very important for them to have peace, to achieve peace. if you help in clarifying these issues to them, i believe they will listen to you. much, mr. next question is by mrs. salas from france. >> i would like to ask you some questions. some of the nations in the united nations imply that the future of a palestinian state would not include any jews in their territory. the exclusion runs counter to the principles of the council of europe. can you shed light on that? you have entered into talks with hamas. are you seeking to obtain recognition of israel from that movement and renunciation of violence and the release of the
11:40 am
hostage who has been held for six years? >> as to the soldier of salid, from the outset until this day, we have made efforts and continue to make efforts in addition to the efforts made by our egyptian brothers to release this soldier. we don't want any person to be incarcerated. we want shalid to go back to his family as we ask for the return of 6000 palestinian prisoners to their families as well. hamas is an palestinian opposition at present. when it becomes a partner to government, it will be required to abide by international legitimacy. we said we do not want settlers on our land.
11:41 am
we did not say anything else. we did not say anything about that. >> thank you very much, mr. president. the next question is from romania. -- [unintelligible] >> thank you. >> east jerusalem is occupied territories since the year 1967 similar to all the occupied territories and therefore it is the capital of the state of palestine. east jerusalem is the capital of the state of palestine and the western jerusalem is the capital of the state of israel and jerusalem as a whole would be a city based on all monotheistic
11:42 am
religions. this is not an agreement. it is an understanding, i would sectarisay. what remains for the arabs? and what remains for all religions of they can practice their worst of their. >> thank you very much. the next question is from italy. mr. president, i have listened very carefully to what you have said. i would like to come back gilad shalid. this young man has been imprisoned for five years and not even the red cross has an opportunity to see them or give ms. of them to his family. i think today a direct commitment on your part in favor of gial shalid would be greatly
11:43 am
appreciated. >> the soldier shalid we would not like to hold them or restrict the freedom of anyone. just as there are 6000 and they were 8010 thousand palestinians before it is really presence. from the first day shalid was taken prisoner, we strove with hamas to release them and return him to his family. it was an act of humanitarianism. it is not fair to incarcerate and a person. now there are efforts to have a package between hamas and israel led by egypt that shalid will be released in return for the release of a number of
11:44 am
palestinian prisoners. would support such an agreement. >> thank you very much. the next question is from romania. >> mr. president, i would like also to welcome you with in our assembly and congratulate you on the occasion that occurred two days ago. our special subcommittee on a middle east includes the contribution of both our palestinian and israeli colleagues. i like to talk about the future and the younger generation. what actions is palestine taking with the younger generation to promote peaceful coexistence of palestine and israel? >> thank you very much, mr. president. >> the young generation has
11:45 am
expressed its position on the 15th of march when it stood up in unison. i am speaking of a palestinian youth who stood up in the west bank and gaza demanding the end of internal schism and the end of occupation. all the time, there is always communication going on among palestinian, israeli, used to carry at demonstrations against the settlements and against the racist separation wall that israel is building on our land. we call on the generation of young people. these are people who work for peace. i told you, we build a culture of peace and that is thriving in our land. >> thank you very much, mr. president. the next question is from hungary. >> in the name of the freedom
11:46 am
loving people of hungary, we will never abandon you in your freedom fighting. freedom cannot be realized by annexing land. when israel was adopted as a un member, they said they are a peace-loving states and are willing to carry out the obligations of the un. you think that has happened? >> thank you very much, mr. president? >> israel is supposed to be a peace loving state. resolution 181 was decided and it announced the establishment of two states, the state of israel and the state of palestine. unfortunately over the past 63 years, the state of palestine should have been established along said the state of israel
11:47 am
but this was obstructed for many reasons. we are now extending our hands to the israelis to live with them in peace and security and the context of these two states. the answer is in their hands. do they really believe in peace? do they really want peace? the answer is in their hands. if they're really want peace, let the accept our outraged hand. whatever adjustments will take place, let us agree on the final set of issues that were discussed in depth and let the process be concluded. we recognize the state of israel. this is what israel has to understand for the first time. 57 hour of an islamic states agreed -- 57 our of the and islamic states agree to establish relations with israel. the importance of this
11:48 am
initiative was lost by the kingdom of saudi arabia. king abdallah adopted this following the adaptation by arab and israeli state. this is at historic opportunity they should not miss. >> thank you very much, mr. the next question is from norway. >> palestine is both geographically and politically divided. palestinian unification is very important and must happen but at the same time, the international society must, as norway did in 2006, welcome and support such unification and the government. could you please comment on the unification process? >> thank you. >> the coup d'etat that happened in gaza four years ago was
11:49 am
behind the division of palestine politically and geographically. however, i would like to draw your attention to the following. we agreed that there is geographic passes between the west bank and gaza and we call the safe passage -- a call for safe passage and it was agreed that it will unify geographically the two parts of the occupied territories. if the schism and, unity will be resumed. we hope we will be able to bill they say passes and there'll be a palestinian state that is unified geographically, politically, and on the human level. next question -- >> thank you very much. with the decision we took the day before yesterday, you have an important tool for the
11:50 am
freedom and independence of your country. all this presence in the council of europe, we have obligations and duties with regard to uphold human rights. those rights are held in our country. in article 12, there are 18 commitments that we have decided upon. will you study that and follow it closely so as to give us answers? >> can you hear, mr. president? >> i can put the question in english if you wish. >> that was a technical problem. nothing to do with the interpreters. can you hear the interpreters mr. president? ok, can you repeat the question? >> in english or break?
11:51 am
>> you better make it in english. >> mr. president, with our decision on the third of october, you have a useful tool in your struggle to acquire your state of freedom and independence. we also are committed to apply some commitments which have arisen from this. an article 12, there are 18 clauses which have to be applied by your presidency. can you tell us about this? >> thank you, mr. president? >> certainly -- we did not come
11:52 am
here to say we accept this and rejected that. we are ready to take on all the commitments here in this council and to except and into -- and implement on this occasion. we express our gratitude to you for accepting us as partners but you will find that we are amongst the countries of the world's most committed to human guides, pluralism, and democracy. >> mr. president, we know conclude the questions to mr. on behalf of the assembly, may i thank you, mr. president, most warmly for your communication and the answer is you have given to the questions. thank you so much. [applause]
11:53 am
we will have the next public setting at 3:00 this afternoon with the agenda that was approved monday. this meeting is adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [no audio]
11:54 am
[no audio] [no audio] [no audio] >> sunday on c-span, "
11:55 am
newsmakers, "with buck mckeown on possible moves to reduce debt. road to the white house, presidential candidate michelle bachmann will be in new hampshire for a town hall meeting. as part of her three-day campaign tour, live at 3:30 eastern on c-span. >> during deliberations, the only people allowed in the supreme court peace conference room are the nine justices. who gets the door? >> my first for second conference, i was paying very close attention to the discussion. i failed to hear the knock on the door. billy brennan on my left and the justice on the ride both after the door and made me feel like i was about two-feet high. i learned from that that one of the most important jobs of the jr. justices is to remember that your radarman. >> retired justice john paul
11:56 am
stevens on his new memoir," 5 chiefs " on q &a sunday night. >> republican presidential candidate ron paul announced wednesday he has raised $8 million in the last three months and his campaign has more than 100,000 donors. the announcement came during a luncheon speech at the national press club in washington, d.c. this is about one hour. [gavel] >> good afternoon and welcome to the national press club. i'm a broadcast and on-line video journalists with the associated press and i am the 104th president of the national press club. we're the world's leading professional organization for journalists, committed to our
11:57 am
profession's future through our programming events like this, working to foster a free press worldwide. for more information, visit our website at ww/.press.org. on behalf of our members worldwide, i would like to welcome our speaker today as well as those attending the event today. our head table includes guests of our speakers as well as working journalists who are club members. if you hear applause in our audience, we know that members of the general public are attending so it is not evidence of a lack of general -- journalistic object of it. i would like to went -- welcome our cspan video and audio
11:58 am
it is time to introduce our head table guests. i would ask each of you to please stand up briefly as her name is announced. we begin from your right. sam husseini is founder of votepac.org. diane part a is a reporter for reuters. >>jonathan salant is a reporter for bloomberg news and is a former president of the national press club. todd gilman jeff diced. let's skip over the podium. melissa charbonneau. without her we would have no speakers program this year. let's skip over our speaker for a moment.
11:59 am
danny selnick is the npc member who organized today's events. gary howard is the national press secretary for the presidential campaign. mike gonzales is vice president of communications for the heritage foundation. we have a new npc member, hamra henton. please give them a warm round of applause. [applause] our guest speaker today is a member of the u.s. house of representatives, representing the 11th congressional district of texas to announce his run to become gop nomination for president of united states. is known by many as the
12:00 pm
intellectual godfather of the tea party movement. he has called for reductions in government that go well beyond those advocated by other so- called conservatives. he wants to abolish most federal agencies including the irs and the federal reserve and return to a monetary -- return our monetary system to something akin to the gold standard. he has proposed a constitutional amendment that would abolish personal income of state and get the income and provide the government from engaging in business in competition with the private the government and the private sector. he was amongst one of the six republicans that voted against giving george w. bush the authority to use military force in iraq, declaring it unconstitutional. he has remained a consistent critic of military intervention in foreign lands. in 2010 he and barney frank campaigned for cuts in the defense budget to help to trim the deficit.
12:01 pm
he takes a dim view of foreign aid generally. he generally favors a u.s. withdrawal from the united nations. some have said that our speakers libertarian beliefs make him an erratic ally of other gop causes. he believes that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. he voted against the amendment to ban same-sex marriage, saying everyone is an individual and to be treated equally. he also backed a repeal in 2010 of the statutory ban of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, at odds with many other libertarians, he opposes abortion. this time around he decided to put all of his energy into the 2012 race, saying he would not seek a 12th term in congress. graduated from gettysburg college and the duke university school of medicine, moving to texas in 1968, beginning his
12:02 pm
obstetrics practiced eye and gynecology. and he voluntarily relinquished his house seat in 1984. returning to congress in 1997 to represent texas in the 14th district, he serves on the foreign affairs and house financial services committee on domestic monetary policy and technology. our speaker is also the author of several books, including the mitt -- revolution manifesto, challenge to liberty, the case for gold and republic, if you can keep it pure " we are grateful that he accepted his invitation to -- we are grateful -- ." we are grateful that he accepted our invitation to speak. these give a warm, national press club welcome to congressman ron paul. [applause]
12:03 pm
>> thank you very much for that nice introduction and reception. i am very pleased to be here and i look forward to visiting with you. before i get into my remarks, i wanted to make one announcement on the campaign. i am not good at remembering the details of campaigning because i get very much involved in economic and foreign policy and i do not talk a lot about the intricacies of the campaign. but we did just finished 1/4 for fund-raising. we do have a pretty sound numbers that we have on the amount of money that we collected. i have been told by staff that we have collected over $8 million. also, there are a number of donors to the campaign over
12:04 pm
100,000. we are pleased with it that and believe that it will give us the energy to keep the campaign moving right along. right now there is a lot of energy with our volunteers in the organization. we have a lot of energy associated with our young people on college campuses. so, that will continue. i wanted to spend some time today getting started on the discussion of economic policy. right now that is the big issue. the issue of jobs and why we are in a recession, what exactly is going on. four years ago, this subject came up. it was sort of laughed off. things have changed a whole lot. my concerns over the monetary system and the unemployment rate, the financial baubles that
12:05 pm
we were experiencing early on have come about where the average person in the street knows that there is something very seriously wrong. this is not like another recession. we have had 17 setbacks, recession-tight, some more severe than others, since we had the federal reserve system. this idea that the federal reserve is to be the major participant in economic planning, they are supposed to give us a stable prices and full employment. the evidence is out there that they have not done a very good job. they might give you statistics and say -- yes, prices are not going up that much and we would like him to go up faster, with only 2% inflation, but that is a fiction and i think that most people know it. when you go back to the old calculations, you will find that prices are going up at a rate of
12:06 pm
9%. for some people in the economy, it goes up even faster. if you are a very wealthy person, you do not really care about the price of gasoline and other things. if you are living on the margin or are a retired person, it is a serious matter. retirees are suffering a lot because for the last few go- arounds, they did not get a cost-of-living increase, claiming that there was no price inflation to worry about. my challenge over the years and and my motivation to get involved with politics had to do with policy in relationship to personal liberty. if someone was to ask me what my main goal was, it would be to restore individual liberties equally to reach peak -- each person in this country. you would have a special way of looking at civil liberties and
12:07 pm
what kinds of foreign policies we should have. certainly, we would be told what kind of an economic policy we should have. i believe in the free market. it is a humane system that can provide the maximum benefits to the maximum number of people. the whole problem, in a political sense, is that we are now witnessing the failure of an economic system that has been with us since the 1930's. basically, as a people, we in our universities have been taught planned economy economics. the federal reserve has become the big central economic planner. the results right now, the demonstrations on the streets around the world and in the united states, many people are upset. they know that something is wrong. they want something different. the big goal is to find how we got into this mess, exactly, and
12:08 pm
what we have to do to get out of it. the theory behind free market economics is that the federal reserve is the key instrument for the business cycle. their job is to monkey around and fixed interest rates. the price of money. most people in this country, most economists, conservative or liberal, are not pushing waste -- wage control and price controls. they are coming in medicine. one of the problems that we have already. but no one is really out there saying that wage controls and price control is something that is beneficial. when it comes to fixing the interest rates, nobody asks any questions. everyone assumes that the federal reserve knows best. that they know what the interest rate should be. yet, in free-market economics, we have come to understand that
12:09 pm
prices are the key. the price of the product tells the consumer what to do. if the price is too high, the consumer does not by. and then the businessman knows what to do. this is what a free-market economist in 1912 predicted. he predicted the fall of communism before it was actually, really, you know, at its best level. socialism was, you know, explain to never work. and it did not work. we have seen the failure of it. the question now is whether interventionism, which we have today, how long will it last? money is 1/2 of every single transaction. yet, we do not question the fact that a couple of individuals, secretly, get together and i wonder what the money supply should be this
12:10 pm
week. there is a crisis going on? that is double a money-supply. $15 trillion in bailouts? who gets them? the people too big to fail. people that are too little to worry about, they lose their houses. this is all done behind the scenes by people who are bigger than and spend more money than the congress does. for years and years, congress has argued for oversight. in the 1970's the chairman of the banking committee wanted to do it. henry gonzalez tried to get it done, and it was not done. we are making inroads because of the lawsuits that have been coming up. we are getting some information. the information is not good. the fed was involved in $15 million in transactions to serve foreign banks.
12:11 pm
when the american people hear this, no wonder they are on wall street raising cain. they know that the system is biased against the average person. it really questions the whole idea of the interventionist system. my opening remark was that the free market is the humanitarian system. it is the very best, yet those that argue for limited government, we are told we do not care. the result is that the system that we have today, whether it is the recession or the result of a financial bubble -- look at the housing program. everyone was supposed to have a house. not only did the fed make the money available, but the action programs had bad loans. it seemed to work. people were buying houses and it
12:12 pm
was fantastic. the price would go up, they would borrow more. they continued to do that and then the bubble burst. off free-market economics, -- what happens? yelling and screaming that there will not -- that there will be a depression. bailout of banks. of they did not get the depression. they got the bailout. what did the fed by? $1 trillion in securities. derivative-type securities. why not sell them? they are worthless. instead of liquidating the debt, which is necessary in a bubble, we need to transfer independently over to the people. what happened to this wonderful
12:13 pm
idea of giving the people in- house. they lost their job and could not pay their mortgages. the basic fault in this, politicians cannot act with hands-on. they have to do something. money andhe 1930's, credit, the pyramid over death, the correction had to come. at this time there was not this obsession with bailing out people. the depression was consigned to a short period of time. in 1921 it brought -- lasted for one year. we have studied it in the history books. the 1930's is when they came into vogue, doing something,
12:14 pm
starting with hoover and going onto roosevelt. it did not finish until 1947. this idea that the war ended the depression this bill floating around. have a war, get rid of a depression. yes, it could spread of unemployment, but where are they employed? getting killed. millions of troops came home. taxes went down 30% and we went back to working again. we are doing the same thing the japanese have been doing for a couple of decades. propping up bad debt. allowing these mistakes to be corrected is the hardest thing we have to deal with. these ideas have floated around for a long time. we should see people as
12:15 pm
individuals, not groups. it was mentioned in the introduction about who can and cannot serve in the military. i see that as those problems we have had in the past. too often we have seen people that were mistreated because they belonged to support -- certain groups. that was evil. we still see people trying to gain advantage. a person that understands personal liberty knows that as an individual, it has nothing to do with the group that you along to. a system of thought that is very tolerant. in many ways, it is the way that we look at the first amendment. we are very tolerant of our first amendment in many ways. the first amendment is there to protect you from controversial
12:16 pm
things. we do not question the fact that you can study very vicious philosophy. how many were killed by communists in the 21st century? people get annoyed when i talk about the 21st century. legalizing people to make freedom of choices, as long as it does not hurt other people, is not an endorsement. you can read something and have a first amendment right, that does not mean that we endorse those things. if we can allow individuals to pick their lives, how have we gotten to this point where we are obsessed with regulating personal habits and depending on the government that we depend -- that we complain about too much that the government will take care of us. we have accepted this notion that government can protect us
12:17 pm
from ourselves. which is very dangerous. so, we need to of course, look at other policies in the federal reserve. if you happen to be opposed to a massive expansion of the government, you have not before a gold standard limitation. that is how you finance it. that is how it has been done for thousands of years. today it is not just printing money. these wars would never have started if we hadn't taxed the american people. the founders did their best but never in the hands of the executive branch, the king, or the president.
12:18 pm
we are on the verge of going to war against iran and pakistan. we have 700 drone missiles stage around the world. we assume that we can drop those and sometimes they have families and get very annoyed by that. acknowledging the fact that a significant advancement prompting the 9/11 attack was the military bases in the holy land and cellular arabia.
12:19 pm
>> we are loading up the arabian peninsula with cruise missiles. do you think that they will go on noticed? hat are around the world in one month, they have encouraged the entire time, prior to 9/11. this is very dangerous. it will get worse. the president needs more authority to pursue this more than it is undeclared against anyone in the world. what the president needs is more authority? people cheer. what is going on with this country. to make us safe and rich, we have to sacrifice our liberties?
12:20 pm
the episode of that is happening. we are left free and we are broke. these wars have cost us $4 trillion. a major contributing factor to our national debt. just like the soviet system did. there is no more chance that what people think could be a victory will occur in afghanistan. all that we have is drain. drain on our resources. yesterday in new hampshire, many veterans came back from and where i am very pleased to all off -- also announced that a few add up and you will find
12:21 pm
that they do not know. one man came in, talking about his buddies that he lost in afghanistan. now his concern -- so many of his friends are committing suicide because of the long-term consequences. what about the 40,000 with severe injuries? hundreds of thousands, pleading for help. we want to start more wars? what did he say when he left the department of the fast -- department of defense? that anyone who wants to start another war under these conditions, but it is going to
12:22 pm
happen. that is what the demonstrations are about on the street. one of these days people are going to connect excessive spending in our wars overseas and our economic we are in a crisis right now that will be a do-or-die situation. we are at a point where we have, essentially, we have we are in 150 countries. we have a -- 900 nations around the world. people are trying to war war
12:23 pm
they have that through the monetary system that we have. there is also a loss of civil liberties. whether or not it is the war on drugs, the war on terror -- what privacy do we have? today they talk about the institutional was asian. there is $1 trillion for the students. but we will do is deliver the telephone numbers to the government's so that they can find these kids that have been abused and ask -- where are you going to pay those bills? we have announced program of assassinating americans. we are in perpetual war. we have essentially lost our republic.
12:24 pm
this has to be reversed rather quickly. without strict adherence to the rule lovelock, let me tell you, things go downhill. i believe that that is the case. the cause for which america stood at one time, because of the sound money and free markets. trying to get people to grow their courage back again. now they are in a dilemma and they have to follow up on the consequences. we have lost our understanding. because we can out solve the problems are due nation- building, this has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years.
12:25 pm
we have to do it with the same economic, monetary, and foreign policy. it is a figment of the imagination to think the you can tinker on the edge. we have a greater responsibility is it to tell us what to do with our personal lives, the government? or is it for sound money and protecting property rights? we are seeing it does appear before our eyes. -- we are seeing it disappear
12:26 pm
right before our eyes. young people know the meaning and are sick and tired of what they are the changes you have have has come about over the last several years. i will continue to do the campaigning. i feel optimistic about where the campaign is going. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank-you, congressman. we have a number of questions coming to us from over the internet. what i would like to do first is try to translate what you were talking about in your speech to what you do as president.
12:27 pm
it is one thing to campaign for the office. another to occupy, as president obama has recalled. the american people seem most willing to knock call puts the what are the several steps you could take that would parallel some of these by bailing out these agencies. even though these are bills where congress tries to bailout special interests and curtail what the fed can do, in the best and most rapid manner possible, this would be a very strong
12:28 pm
message. a cut in spending. $1 trillion. we are $1.50 trillion in deficit, all this talk in the future we needed cuts this time so that i could oppose what we were going to do. the guaranteed not to abuse the individual civil liberties. this is where i think a philosophy that we are talking about brings people to gather. not by both sides of sacrificing believes. i have worked quite well with coalitions of liberal democrats.
12:29 pm
we still exist, -- , trying to get out of these wars. liberal democrats are more in tune what i am talking about has a much better chance of solving a problem. >> a couple of follow-up questions. we like to keep our reputation, here at the national press club. why can you not outline the spending cuts today? if you are bringing them home, we already have 14 million unemployed people. we have plenty of great consumers, and we want more, and
12:30 pm
i think that there were like 5 million people or 6 million people that came home from the military. they did not stimulate the economy. the military economy was cut by 60%. that is probably why everyone went back to work again market, you do not have to be concerned about it. i want to design a program where you can see every line item. this is an introduction, but not a criticism. when we talk about the defense budget -- i do not want to cut defense. i want to cut the military. eisenhower tried to teach us something about the military industrial complex, building weapons we do not use and
12:31 pm
fighting wars we have no business to be in. i describe a little about it foreign-policy. we have less expense because of that. our coast guard is in the persian gulf. where do you think our national guard is what we want to use it to -- or natural disasters? you can cut hundreds of billions of dollars out of the military budget. you can cut programs that have no constitutional authority. where does the authority come to have a department of energy or a department of commerce or a department to pass out subsidies to farmers. will they not exist if we have free markets and sound money? we have to understand how the markets work. we have to have confidence in how the markets work and of freedom works. because can be there and hopefully the specifics will be there. you can look dead every line item we are going to cut.
12:32 pm
you could slash the budget by 70% if you said anything that is not authorized by the constitution can no longer be paid for. it is this total lack of respect for the constitution whether it is going to war or reinstitutionalizing prohibition -- we have gone beyond the constitution of the country. >> when would you have specific ideas about where to cut? >> a couple of weeks. i am more specific than others. i want to get rid of the department of education, the department of energy, the department of agriculture, and cut the military budget in half. that is a good start and that is pretty specific. [applause] >> you talk quite a big -- you
12:33 pm
can -- quite a bit. protests occurring on wall street. what do you see as your areas of agreement with those people? as president, what would you do to ameliorate their concerns? they seem to be concerned with big business and the banks. >> i cannot speak for the people out there. i do not know who they are and what they are demonstrating against. i can argue the case for their right to express their outright frustration with what is going on. some are liberals and some are conservatives and some are libertarians and some are strict constitutionalists. if you read what i have written on economic policies, i talked a lot about this. eventually, we will go bankrupt. we will undermine our productivity.
12:34 pm
we have no new jobs in the last 10 years, but an increase in our population. eventually, the pie would shrink and there would be an aggressive attitude to get a piece of the pie that is no longer a there. this is what we are seeing. you would have a mixture up there. as far as the federal government involved in civil disobedience, it is up to the states to deal with it. civil disobedience, if everyone knows what they are doing, is a legitimate effort. it has been done in this country for many grievances. people in the going to jail for this. to speak for a special group and say, i like what they are doing or not doing -- what i want to do is try to sort it out and tell people why they are struggling and that this is a predictable it bent. the solution is getting a healthy -- predictable event.
12:35 pm
the solution is getting a healthy economy. >> you have retained a solid block of the republican vote in the polls. what do you need to do to push to the top tier? >> i plan to do what i have been doing for the past 35 years, which is to talk about it -- about the philosophy of government. we are not competing with people can wave a wand and get money from the big donors. the litmus test is the primaries. we have to prove ourselves in the early primaries and that is where we are incur risk. >> are you focusing your -- that is where we are encouraged.
12:36 pm
>> one interesting dynamic of this campaign that seems unique is the shift in leadership in the polls in the process in the sense that one person seems to lead one month and they fall to the middle part of the pack after that. the other parts is the yearning for someone to jump into the campaign. the headlines for the past 24 hours have focused on chris christie. how do you see this yearning of voters to see someone else jump in? >> it represents the failure of the system. what is offered is the status quo. candidates i am up against represent a status quo militarism. it does that answer the question. it does not ask the right
12:37 pm
questions about what liberty is all about. what about the federal reserve and changing our policy is? -- foreign policies? they keep looking for others. i have an uphill battle. everybody in this room knows who won been the straw vote in florida. -- who won the straw thevote in florida. does anyone know who won the straw vote in california? it was yours truly. it was a non-event. i have an uphill battle. the documentation of me coming in tied for first place in the
12:38 pm
aimes straw vote to the exclusion of me being tied for first place became the issue. i do not lie awake worrying about this. it is part of the way the system works. if there is somebody out there offering something different that the american people like, we have to compensate for our ability to get the message out. where i feel good, i go to the university campus and get 59 to get people out. they get the message -- 1500 people out. . they get the message and they are giving me a lot of encouragement. >> you have problems with the way the news media is treating your campaign? >> i accept it because that is
12:39 pm
the way it has been. all politicians have a problem. it wants to see an explanation, look at john stewart -- jon stewart. he demonstrated dramatically what is going on. yes, it makes a difference. if we can raise the money and we can communicate, i would say, for the most part, i get a fair shake. i am not the right person to ask why these things happen. i have no idea. i think people should be asked why some things are news and other things are not? it is a fact of life. >> a questionnaire -- a questioner says you have raised money and why have did not
12:40 pm
translated -- has not translated into a better boost in the polls? >> it is a different world. we cannot talk about it. the fundraising is easier and the organization is much more organized and professional. our polls do not discourage us in new hampshire and iowa. that will be the litmus test. we have to do well in the polls. you have to overcome the obstacles of getting the message out and raising the money and getting the organization in. as far as progress is concerned, i am pretty satisfied with the way we have made progress. >> you brought up the issue of fund raising in your speech. the question is, what kind of boost do you think governor perry will get? will he be regarded as the
12:41 pm
front-runner? >> if you get $8 million, half as much, and you get it from small individual donors who are engaged in the campaigning for you, that is different from getting money that might have come from special interests. i do not get that type of money. i have been on financial- services or all of these years. baker is due not donate me any money. i wonder why -- bankers do not donate me any money. i will take my smaller donations with the enthusiasm of the people who send me the money. >> you are reliant on raising money in the system. how do you feel about the way the system now works in the sense that fund raising is such an important part of it?
12:42 pm
you have the supreme court given ing a certain amount of power that they were not given in the past. does that bother you as a candidate does not -- who does not work in a system that the other does -- the others do? >> the president says he will raise $1 billion. i look at it on the positive side. there have been wealthy individuals who self-financed. they may win, but they may not get reelected. sometimes money is not the only issue. the funds are obviously important. i do not think this is an invitation to say we have to limit this. i believe in freedom of people to spend their money. a lot of people say is the money
12:43 pm
that is driving it. no, it is the power of the government to control our lives and pass out favors. if you have individuals who might resist the temptation to they donate their money to me and the lobbyists do not come to see me. money is important, but i do not think it is the final answer. hours, we have to prove ourselves. >> we have a student from the university of temple asked a question. -- tampa asked a question. why is it that you received more money from military people and others? is that true? >> yes. so far, i have gotten more than
12:44 pm
twice as much money from active military duty than all the other republican candidates put together. that should be a message. also, more than obama thought, and he is the commander in chief. the military people are sick and tired of the war. they want to come home. that is the message i am getting. every single day those numbers are growing of the fruitlessness of this war. if we look at this as a moral issue and a constitutional issue, we would not have lost one soldier over there. it is in less -- endless and it is on and on. before we went into iraq, i am on international relations. i made them vote on a declaration of war. i will not vote for this. if you want to go to war, all
12:45 pm
take for it. they said, we want to give the president the authority and make up his own mind. that is an example of the loss of the republic. that is why before father's explicitly said the president cannot go to war this -- the forefathers explicitly said, the president cannot go to war this way. korea was not declared. we only care about national sovereignty. we go to war under the u.n. banner and nato. the president does not tell us. he starts a war in libya and he does not mention it to us. what is so discouraging is the lackadaisical attitude about the people. that is what i am hoping to change. i think we are changing that. a majority of the mentor -- of the american people say enough
12:46 pm
is enough. it is time to come home. >> you suggested the killing of the suspected terrorist in the yemen could be an impeachable offense. you suggested the u.s. military involvement in libya is also along those lines. if that is the case and the american people should have the courage of their convictions that they may not have, why not draw up the articles of impeachment? >> i would have to do it for every president i have ever seen. they have not follow the constitution. that is a practical matter. there is not going to be an endorsement. nothing is going to happen. you ask me a that was an impeachable offense. it is. ignoring the thick amendment and assassinating an american citizen -- fifth amendment and
12:47 pm
assassinating an american citizen because he is a threat? can you imagine assassinating an american citizen because he is a threat? this is the way it works. it is incrementalism. fear mongering. this would never happen in america. it is slipping and sliding. we should not do this. we better pay attention to it. >> i am not sure you would have answered the question. why not go ahead and address it? >> i do not think it accomplishes anything because the sentiment is not there. i do not think that would be achievable. i think it is more important that we educate the people to understand how sensitive is. if there is a consensus, then that will come along. i probably have a coalition of people who would agree with that.
12:48 pm
a lot of people are having second thoughts about the assassination. this was an announced policy in february of 2010. dennis blair use the word "assassination." a lot of people say, where did ron paul come up with that word? from dennis blair. you are a potential terrorist going to the airport because they can violate all of your civil liberties. they can put you on these lists. how'd you get your name off of a list if you are a threat -- how do you get your name off of a list if you are a threat? we are not safer for it. we are broke and we are in greater danger. there is somebody i have read and studied. his main job was to trail osama
12:49 pm
bin laden. he is the expert on suicide terrorist ts. he says the number one reason anybody would do it is for occupation. nvade a country. they shoot back and they are all terrorists and we have to expand our war. they shoot back at us because we are occupied their land. why can we have a foreign policy of good will? the people how you want to be treated. just think of anything we have ever done in any country of the world.
12:50 pm
what if in the next 10 years we get a lot more poor and china gets richer? are we going to attack them? this is what is going on today. there is a transition away from protecting personal liberties. i want to protect these liberties. i do not want prior restraint on the media. but i do not want prior restraint on you as an individual. why can we apply the principle of prior restraint, this censorship of the media? we respect that. we should do that for all individuals. we say, he is a threat and he is a terrorist. we do not have to tell you why he is on the terrorist list. we try -- the israelis tried the nazi criminals.
12:51 pm
they were taken to court and executed. quite a few examples are like that. mcvey is another one. everybody knew he did it. the reason we do this is because we want to protect the rule of law for ourselves. we protect first amendment rights to protect the rights to say controversial things, not to talk about the weather. it is a crucial matter. >> when you talk about terrorism as an effect of occupied lands, how did that it
12:52 pm
-- how did that fit into 9/11? >> explains reason for getting us -- madeleine albright acknowledged that by 1000 died, but that was the price you had to pay -- 500,000 died, but that is the price you had to pay. and that a good example -- another good example of this is that when the occupation stopped, the terrorist attacks stop. lebanon is a good example. we went into lebanon in the early 1980's. we were seen as occupiers.
12:53 pm
231 of our marines were killed by suicide terrorist. we left soon after that. he french left and bthe israelis left. when ronald reagan wrote his memoirs, he said he would never turn and run, but he did. he did not realize the irrationality of the politics of that region. he had been more neutral -- he said if he had been more neutral, those marines would have still been alive. >> we are almost out of time. before we get to the last question, a couple of housekeeping matters we would like to take care of. on october 13, ray lahood with the u.s. department of transportation. on october 19, natalie cole will talk about the national labor
12:54 pm
foundation. on october 31, one of your opponents, herman cain, will join us. he will be followed november 3 by tom brokaw and november 9 by william shatner. we would like to present you with the traditional coffee mug. thank you for being here today. [applause] here is our last question. your son is a u.s. senator. how is his world on the hill different or perhaps better than yours? >> it reminds me of a little story. the first day, we were sworn in together and we were on the same television program. i was asked, how you feel that your son is in the senate and you are in the house?
12:55 pm
i said, i told him if he does a good job as a senator, he might be able to get a seat in the house of representatives. [laughter] >> how about a round of applause for our guest speaker today? thank you, senator. thank you for coming here today. i would like to thank our national press club staff for helping to organize today's event. you can find more information about the national press club on our web site. i will reach 40 gobble lance a. thank you. we are adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
12:56 pm
12:57 pm
12:58 pm
>> to mile , our "road to the white house" continues with michele bachmann in new hampshire. we will have that at 3:30 p.m. eastern on c-span and c- span.org. and jon huntsman will be at the world affairs summit in new hampshire. that will be on c-span, seized
12:59 pm
and radio and c-span.org. >> watch more video of the candidates and track the latest campaign contributions with the c-span web site for campaign 2012. it helps you navigate the political landscape with candidate by the fis, the latest candidateate does 0- -- biographies, the latest polling. >> the government commission on wartime contract in afghanistan released its final report in late august. $60 billion had been wasted from loss and abuse. this
1:00 pm
1:01 pm
1:02 pm
1:03 pm
>> always solemn obligation is to hold government accountable to taxpayers. taxpayers have the right to know what they get from their government. we will work tirelessly with citizen watchdog groups to bring general and -- to bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. today more than ever our opening statement that we do at the beginning rings true with the panel of witnesses we have here. led from the metal by a former metal -- a former member of this -- middle by a former member of
1:04 pm
this committee and would be sitting here if he were not taken away by other pursuits. welcome. you can say you are welcome. >> you're welcome. >> the other witness released a report about ways and the group -- abuse that occurred in afghanistan and iraq. by special reports were issued and two interim reports -- five special reports were issued and two interim reports. an estimate $1.25 trillion has been spent on operations in iraq and afghanistan. the report estimates that since
1:05 pm
2002, early in the bush administration, the defense department has spent $206 billion of their contract obligations in support of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. at least $31 billion and as much as $60 billion has been lost to contract waste and fraud in in iraq anderations afghanistan. it is essential for congress to assess these costs and the reason taxpayer money has been squandered to waste and fraud. the waste and fraud associated with these expenditures is mind- numbing. expenditures from operations and the continued surge in afghanistan that includes civilian and federal work
1:06 pm
forces, costs associated with contractors are likely to increase. the state department will increase its manpower from 8000 to 17,000. the great majority of those will be contractors for security, medical maintenance, and other functions. the state department is building a private army of private security contractors in iraq. some have estimated that as many as 5500 new contractors will be necessary to protect and operate the u.s. embassy and facilities and functions throughout iraq. in afghanistan, the number of civilian employees drawn from departments such as state, treasury, justice, an agriculture has tripled since 2009. that is the number of civilian employees that has tripled since 2009. rising from 300 to over 1000 as of june 2011.
1:07 pm
supporting and protecting this growth will require continued use of private contractors over the -- in the current plan. we are forced to treat contractors as the default action. this is because federal agencies cannot complete mission critical functions, nor can they manage and overseas large contractor force of unprecedented size that has outnumbered troops in the field. when president obama took office, he pledged to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in these areas. so has every president. we are growing more and more reliant on contractors. new and increasing problems have come at a time when president obama has failed to fill key
1:08 pm
leadership positions where effective oversight is on broken. he has failed to combat the waste and fraud. the record of waste and fraud will continue unless afghanistan takes concrete actions to protect precious contractor hours -- i apologize. unless the administration takes precautions. the united states has not achieved peace and will not get a peace dividend unless we are able to stem waste created within our government and by our partners in iraq and afghanistan. today, we will examine these difficult challenges and explore the recommendations offered by the commission on wartime contacting. before we do, i want to make one thing clear. operations in afghanistan and iraq have levied a heavy human
1:09 pm
toll. 7520 americans and coalition soldiers have been lost. our brave men and women serving on the front line continue to do an outstanding job biking our enemies and securing freedom for those -- from those who would terrorize us and other nations. nothing in this hearing nor the recommendations from the wartime contacting commission is intended to question their efforts with their commitment. congress must recognize we are not there in harm's way. those who doppler -- are there in harm's way i do we best they can. it is up to this committee to evaluate these systems and the recommendations of this commission to recognize this is not a problem that began on this president also watch. we have an obligation to do
1:10 pm
everything we can to assist the administration by systems and support to reduce waste and fraud, to reduce any efficiency and to provide our best advice for this commission and for our own efforts to the administration that has countless thousands of men and women in harm's way. i will recognize the distinguished ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you. mike will not be here this morning. he will put his full state in the record, which we will join you in. he worked with our committee closely in the past. we appreciate his career in public service and his expertise. chairman, is great to have you back. you served on the committee for many years. thank you for the commissioners
1:11 pm
for being with us today. over the past decade, the united states has grown increasingly reliant on contractors to provide support services to the military. the state department and the usaid -- contractors outnumber service members and they perform an essential task, such as transporting supplies and securing bases and personnel. since 2001, we have spent more than $200 billion on these contracts. after an extensive bipartisan investigation, the commission on wartime contract estimated that as much as $60 billion may have been lost to waste and fraud due to a lack of effective competition, oversight, and enforcement of contingency contract thing. although the scope of this
1:12 pm
problem is daunting, is not new to this committee. under chairman henry waxman's leadership, the committee examined problems in the contract for logistical support. the contract with black water usa for security sources and the state department's billion dollar contract to build a united states embassy in baghdad. private security providers were involved in a massive racket to send u.s. taxpayer dollars into the hands of warlords in the taliban.
1:13 pm
our committee's oversight effort has resulted in significant changes. in iraq, the state department has dramatically increased its management of private security contractors and the use has plummeted. in afghanistan, general petraeus responded to the attorney general also investigation by issuing new contract and guidelines. in spite of these were the investigations, more must be done to prevent workers from occurring in the first place. the commission has given us a road map and a good one. , for reform that includes two recommendations for congress and the executive branch. these reforms require increasing competition, oversight, and enforcement. we cannot put in place the personnel to oversee contractors
1:14 pm
in war zones. we need to rethink the mission rather than blindly pressing forward with poorly designed contracts. to the commissioners, let me thank you for three years of dedication and hard work. you pursued your mandate in a vigorous, fair, and a partisan matter in the best tradition of the truman committee. you accomplished your mission by providing us with an historical account of the mistakes we made at a guidebook for the reforms necessary to prevent them in the future. now it is up to us, the congress, to implement your recommendations. there was a bill implementing one of the commission's recommendations. i urge my colleagues to support that legislation. i hope the chairman will work with me on the outside to focus
1:15 pm
more of our community resources on this issue. i agree with the chairman. this is a bipartisan effort and we must address this in a bipartisan way just as the commissioner said and set a wonderful example for us. i am looking forward to hearing your testimony. with that, i yield back. >> the gentleman will recognize the chairman on the subcommittee on national chair -- national security for his opening statement. >> thank you for putting such expertise in producing such a quality document. i hope we look toward it and we implement it and we make positive changes. thank you. the american people are faced with the prospect that the american people have wasted $60 billion on a contract since 2002. from your report in chapter 3,
1:16 pm
the commission estimates that waste and fraud during contingency operations in iraq and afghanistan averaged about $12 million for the past 10 years. according to the commission, this is due to ill conceived projects, criminal behavior, and good old-fashioned corruption. this is an unpredictable. some may disagree with our engagement in afghanistan. continued waste and fraud will undercut future operation. i can let those who have spent a lot of time highlighting this. this administration intends to
1:17 pm
dramatically increase the use of contractors before addressing the lack of oversight. i would like to read from the executive summary on page 2. the number of defense department, department of state, and the u.s. agency for international development in iraq and afghanistan is buried. it extended -- exceeded 250,000. most contractor employees are third country nationals and local nationals. a minority of those employed. something we obviously need to look at. in iraq, the state department footprint will increase to nearly 17,000 after the department of defense with draws in december of 2011. many of these will be private contractors. the secretary of state will
1:18 pm
hire 15,000 biosecurity contractors. his private army will fill the gap left by our troops. the president will remove the troops but increase the level of private security contractors. the president is doing little to strengthen the oversight. he is struggling to resolve budget issues and prepare requirements for awarding a large number of contracts along with mobilizing government civilians needed to manage these contracts. thousands of contractors operating without proper oversight is an unacceptable scenario. it will lead to the same kind of waste, fraud, and the abuse that is at issue today. president obama and the senate should build critical vacancies within the federal government. the state department is leader less. usaid-ig is leader less.
1:19 pm
i look forward to hearing from the panel. i appreciate it worth the members have done here. i look forward to a candid discussion today. >> we not recognize the subcommittee ranking member, the gentleman from massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank all of the commissioners for their great work. your previous public service but nobody was surprised with the expertise you brought. we cannot express our gratitude loud enough and clear enough. i hope the american people recognize the sacrifice that you put into this. it is greatly appreciated. i was pleased to have my republican counterpart co-
1:20 pm
authored legislation that became the commission on wartime contract. i take special pride in the success you had and the fact that you did a good job. if it had not been for senators webb and the pasco, it would not have become -- senator mccaskill, it would not have become legislation. people knew it would not be partisan. the idea was not to attack any administration. whenever we get into a contingency operation, it would be to take advantage of the situation without any purposeful bad acts that lend themselves to abuse and mismanagement.
1:21 pm
you recommended reforms. the result of your work is so boring. billions of dollars wasted by agencies that have little capacity to manage the contract or hold them compound -- contractors or hold them accountable. these findings are consistent with the committee also own oversight of private security contractors in iraq and afghanistan. i led a six month investigation about a trucking contract in afghanistan. our investigation found that the trucking contract has spawned a protection racket where contractors were extorted for passage to obtain safe passage. -- contractors were extorted to obtain safe passage. the two weeks ago, the subcommittee had a thought appearing with defense
1:22 pm
department witnesses to best -- to address those issues. i asked if the payments for safe passage were necessary in afghanistan. i was told that they were. i asked if such payments were legal under united states law. that absolutely not legal. the department of defense designed a critical compact that was necessary for contractors to make it legal protection payments that were used against the forces to attack our troops. unheard of in other cases. much of the afghan economy centers around the united states and its military
1:23 pm
presence. a large portion of these funds and up supporting the dubai real-estate market rather than afghanistan. the business of afghanistan is war. how can we hope to extricate ourselves from that war when it is used to justify our presence? the size of our military footprint auster's further instability. every additional supply -- the size of our military footprint fosters further instability. we cannot get a handle on waste fraud and abuse in afghanistan. not only doesn't squander tax their resources, it can squander the -- does its squander taxpayer resources, is squanders the military.
1:24 pm
we have shown the critical importance of real time oversight. we need to preserve the unique capabilities with a flexible cadres of oversight specialists of oversize specialists. it is a challenging task, but it will serve as a blueprint for our efforts go with our. i want to thank you for your service in your testimony here today. thank you, mr. chairman, for keeping this a non-partisan, bipartisan effort and making sure this institution of congress does its job with respect to any administration. >> all members will have seven days to submit opening
1:25 pm
statements for the record. commissioners here who will not be giving an opening statements, your opening statements or other prepared remarks or extraneous materials will be placed in the marcrecord. without objection, that is so ordered. we now recognize the panel. the previously mentioned republican co-chair of the commission on wartime contract it. he is sorely missed. commissionaire hinkey was with
1:26 pm
the department of veterans affairs from 2005-2009. we have been acting manager for the government accountability office. and we have a professor of law at the university of baltimore law school. and we have the comptroller from the department of defense from 2001-2004. pursuant to the committee rules, i ask you all to rise and take a sworn oath. please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the
1:27 pm
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. all commissioners have answered in the affirmative. we will allow sufficient time. look at the light. it will be different this time. i understand only one commissioner will be speaking. within any amount of reasonable time you have to deliver your entire prepared statement and such remarks you have. with that, you are recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. members of the committee, good morning and thank you for inviting us here today. i am a member of the commission on wartime contract in iraq and afghanistan. theiously, i served as deputy comptroller of d.o.d..
1:28 pm
the soil cementing peace -- i am is in getting this statement on behalf of my fellow commissioners. i request a couple written statement be a part of the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> we appreciate the opportunity to be part of this committee. there is a need for vigorous oversight and fundamental reforms. the commissioners would emphasize that we have operated not only as a bipartisan body, but as a non-partisan body. our reports have no dissenting views. we are unanimous in our findings and our recommendations. we unanimously concluded that the need for change what it through laws, policies, practices, or organizational
1:29 pm
culture is urgent for five reasons. first, reforms can still save money in iraq and afghanistan, avoid unintended consequences, and improve our foreign-policy outcomes there. second, dollars wasted and the dollar is still at risk are significant. the commission estimates that at least $31 billion and possibly $60 billion spent on contracts and grants in iraq and afghanistan has been lost to waste and fraud. we have learned that many billions more possibly exceeding the billions already lost may turn into waste if the host government cannot or will not sustain u.s. funding programs. third, although the u.s.
1:30 pm
policy has for many years considered contractors to be part of the total force, which went into afghanistan and iraq unprepared to manage thousands of contractors used there. we went into war unprepared. some improvements have been made. after a decade, the government remains unable to ensure that taxpayers, fighters, and diplomats are getting good dog you. the dollars spent. new contingencies -- getting good value for the dollars spent. new contingencies will occur. agencies have confirmed they cannot perform large operations without contractor support. they are candid in that regard. finally, reform is urgent. failure to enact powerful reforms will guarantee that news cycles of waste and fraud will accompany the response to the
1:31 pm
next contingency. our work in iraq and afghanistan found problems similar or identical to those in peacetime contracting, including poor planning, limited or no competition, weak management performance, and in sufficient recovery of over-billing and unsupported costs. the wartime environment brings tremendous additional complications. the dollar volume swelled dramatically. the urgency of dynamic operations and hostile threats directly impacts contracting decisions, execution, and oversight. despite the challenges, we are clear that contacting and contractors have provided vital and for the most part highly effective support for operations. however this is the bottom line.
1:32 pm
we rely on contractors to heavily, managed to come -- manage them to lose the come and pay too much for what we did. the outcomes demonstrate that federal agencies dependent upon contractors is not thought to be important enough to warrant a thorough planning and superb execution the wartime demands. the commission has concluded the problems need to be attacked on several levels. the first is holding contractors accountable. federal regulations provide ways to protect the government against bad contractors and impose accountability. we found these mechanisms are often not vigorously applied and enforced. the research has shown some
1:33 pm
contractors have been billing the government for years using inadequate accounting systems that do not pass muster. recommendations for suspension go on implemented with little documentation for the decision. past performance data on health a contractor performs is often on recorded and less likely to be used for the next contract award. staffing shortages have led to an audit agency backlog of nearly $600 billion in on audited -- not auditive work the land possible payments. the government has been remiss in promoting one of the most effective of all disciplines, competition. we recommend better application of existing tools to insure accountability. our report contains recommendations to bolster competition, improve the recording and use of past
1:34 pm
performance data, expanding u.s. civil jurisdiction as part of contract awards, and requiring approval of significant contacting overseas. the second role is holding the government more accountable. that is for the decision to use contractors and the results. taking a harder look at what projects and programs to undertake with contractors must include thinking more carefully about whether to use contractors in foreign policy situations. our report recommends careful consideration of the risks created by contract and and phasing out the use of private security contractors for some functions. another part of the government program is resources. both military structures and the federal work force were downsized in the 1990's.
1:35 pm
this ensures that if a prolonged contingency should develop, the military. release -- increase its reliance on contractors while its ability to manage and oversee them had been significantly reduced. even when the government has good policies in place, effective practices are often different. they range from planning to providing adequate oversight of performance and coordinating activities. those are lacking. we have recommended steps that would improve the government handling of contingency contacting. they include developing groups of professionals, elevating the position and the importance of senior a position officers and the importance of acquisition.
1:36 pm
there would be a contract in directorate with the pentagon staff. a broad range of contracting activities is still treated as a minor subset of logistics. considering this mandate, i will call special attention to two recommendations. the first is to establish a dual position for an official who would serve in the office of management and budget and simultaneously on the national security council. such a position would promote better visibility, coordination, budget guidance, and strategic direction. they would link foreign-policy goals with budget resources. the second is to create a permanent organization for use during contingencies.
1:37 pm
the special ids -- ig's will go away. they need to be reinvented and redeploying the next contingency emerges. there are drawbacks in creating organizations that are limited in functional authority, location, and time. a permanent contingency with a small and expandable staff trained in unique circumstances of a contingency operation can provide cross-agency oversight from day one and -- of the contingency. these and more recommendations appear in our final report on transforming wartime contract in. in compliance with the authorizing statute, or commission has closed its doors. the problems we have diagnosed remain very much alive. correct action requires limited
1:38 pm
financial investments. those are essential if on the government and contractors' side of the equation to reform contract in. your sustained attention during and after the reform process will be the central to reform -- to make sure reforms are institutionalized and cultures are changed. wartime contract in reform is an essential and not a luxury. whatever form it takes, there will be in next contingency. the responses to the will all but certainly require contractor support. the government would be foolish to ignore the lessons of the past decade and refuse to prepare for better use of
1:39 pm
contracting resources. when the wars in afghanistan and iraq faded to the past, it will be easy to put off taking action. your committee is in a superposition to prevent that. this concludes our formal statement. we appreciate the opportunity to be here and would be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you. i will recognize myself for the first round of questions. in placenot have ig's
1:40 pm
on a consistent basis, are we seeing how much waste would be reduced? are we asking for yet another ig where if that position remains unfilled, we would be in as much trouble? i would like your thoughts on the. >> i am a supporter of the ig community. >> it was not an accident that i called on you. >> this was a unanimous recommendation. >> i understand the recommendation for another ig. when you have a vacancy and a series of acting, what does that do to the organization? >> you can see a perfect example
1:41 pm
of that with the afghan reconstruction. it took a long time to set the organization of. it took bloggers to -- it took longer to stop it. it took a long time to find a leader. the leader left the organization. it is without a leader. it is not as affected of an organization as it needs to be. we're trying to avoid that from happening in the future. >> that begs the same question. if there is no contingency, -- i am supportive of the basic recommendation. if we do not think we have a contingency, is it likely the position will stay open? instead of being shovel ready, they will be scrambling to regrow a hollowed out position at the moment the fit hits the
1:42 pm
shan. >> you can define a contingency in different ways. >> we always have contingencies. when we have this position, it will always have things to do. commissioner, is it true from history of the truman commission was put together because they wanted to have a friendly person looking after fdr's spending in the war and they hope he would be kinder and gentler? because he was in the war early on and traveled extensively along with the other members of the wartime committee, if you had over -- you had vigorous oversight.
1:43 pm
does some committee of congress need to be charged from the beginning of the war with ongoing oversight of the conduct and expenditures similar to truman? >> the answer is yes. this committee is a great example. you do not just look at dot. you look at state, usaid. what happens when you start looking at waste, fraud, and abuse is that you get really angry. treasonous action is taking place. the people who commit fraud are committing treason. i would imagine senator truman at the time ogot pissed off. >> one of the problems your commission report has seen is that we are about to go to a large standing army of contractors similar to block water.
1:44 pm
-- blackwater. how should we intervene in a policy decision that will cause a large enough contractors to be under the state department who are doing an inherently governmental task of being effectively quasi--military supporters of the state department agenda in iraq? >> a couple of weeks ago, published in a letter defining it. they included security in a combat zone. we think that is the right answer. the challenge with doing anything different for the state department is that it takes
1:45 pm
years to grow diplomatic security agents or specialists. it would be difficult or impossible for the state department to grow 5500 or 7000. right now they are in the situation we described. they have no choice. they got there by default. they do not have the organic capacity to be expeditionary and in a combat zone for long. the state is facing a dynamic situation in iraq. they have no choice but to contract for the security that they need. >> it is my understanding and it is worth exploring whether the state considers it is limited by the omb circular. my understanding is it does not
1:46 pm
think so. it thinks it is only applying to others. that is a major issue. one possible way around the dilemma is to have better oversight. if you are stuck with contractors, at least have people who oversee them. if you cannot get people from within the state department on get them from other federal agencies. i do not know that there is a law that prevents that. there are ways of dealing with it if the government wanted to. the problem all along has been implementation and will. >> thank you. i recognize the ranking member for his questions. we are better than this. we as a country are better than what we're doing right now. it sounds like if there was a will, we would find a way. there has got to be a will.
1:47 pm
i cannot hear you, but i want this on the record. you can respond. >> i could not agree more. i served in the executive branch twice at senior levels. that is the case. when there is no will, there are millions of reasons why you cannot do anything. when you want to do something, it is amazing how quickly it can get done. i fully agree with what you are saying. it comes down to the will of the executive branch to implement what the committee and congress are concerned about. >> the final report estimated up to $60 billion may have been lost to contract in waste, fraud in iraq and afghanistan. up to 30 cents of every dollar may have gone down the drain. i was watching you. when you were talking about trees and a few moments ago, i could see it really upset you.
1:48 pm
it upsets all of us -- when you are talking about treason, i could tell it really upset you. it upsets all of us. when we see money going down the tubes like this, it has got to be aggravating. it does something else. it causes citizens to lose confidence in government. that is something we have been tackling with in trying to address. what is the most important thing we can do to tackle this waste, fraud, and abuse in contingency contract? it sounds like this is so big that we need to take it chunk by chunk. i am trying to figure out the
1:49 pm
first one to take. much.re trying to do too as a result, we're not thinking the projects out well. we're not overseeing them well. we're not even evaluating if we really need to do as much as we are doing. if you are only giving me one choice, that is my choice. >> the university baltimore is within five minutes of my house. do not talk about university baltimore. you will keep me here all day. [laughter] >> welcome. >> it is a fine neighborhood. my particular interest was in chapter 3 about lack of competition and a serious waste and so forth. i would say the number one thing i personally think we could do better and are not doing well enough is to compete these
1:50 pm
contracts. it would be so easy to set a level of competition and say the defense department must meet it for its contingency contracts. you see these shows that say they're only two or three companies that can do certain things and provide certain types of security. have you found that to be true? how does that affect competition? >> the answer is no. in afghanistan, we have the contractor that handles north afghanistan and one for the south. when new work comes in, it automatically without competition goes to one or the other. we do not compete it at all even though there are obviously to the contractors in place who could do the work. >> i would imagine if people see
1:51 pm
that early on, they probably -- we keep hearing that when companies cannot see the future, they do not hire and whatever. if they know the game is rigged before they get into the game, they will definitely not be hiring people because they figure they will not get the job. >> i completely agree with what the professors said about the importance of competition among contractors. the missing piece we have not talked about a lot today is the importance of having an alternative to contractors. the reason there is no option but to use contractors is that there is not sufficient organic capacity within government to do the core missions of logistics, reconstruction, security. as we promote more vigorous oversight and competition among
1:52 pm
contractors, we have got to read grow organic capacity in government so we have alternative to contractors. >> you make a bid point. one thing we discovered was that we did not have in the coast guard the acquisitions people. when they put together a contract, they put a contract together that was controlled by the contractors. they decided wind performance was done, when bonuses were done, everything. now we had to go backwards. we were buying boats that did not float. we have to go backward -- we had to go backwards and get his car to grow in house what they needed. you make a good point. i have to be at another hearing
1:53 pm
with fed chairman bernanke. thank you all for what you are doing. we will do everything in our power to bring life to what you have done. we appreciate it. thank you. >> i will now recognize myself for five minutes. i cannot thank you enough for the great work you have done. i want to explore creating a permanent office of inspector general for contingency operations. it seems to me to be a negative consequence of what is happening at stake, department of defense, and usaid in that they are failing. united states is engaged in 56 ventures abroad for other than normal peacetime purposes since 1962. this is not brand new. for the past 12 years, the united states has simultaneously
1:54 pm
been engaged in two or more overseas. you are recommending we create another ig. yet they are failing. three of the five in place have not been recommended by the president or confirmed by the senate. we have three openings out of the five, and yet you want to have a six. >> i was the first inspector general at the department of homeland security and before that was at the state department. i agreed with the premise of your question. it troubles me that we have vacancies in the inspector general community that we have. i am troubled by the longstanding vacancy at the state department. there is an impending retirement you are referencing at usaid. i urge the administration to fill those quickly and for the
1:55 pm
senate to confirm whoever is elected by the administration. it is important our recommendation of to be implemented. let me explain the distinction. even if there were confirmed inspector general in those agencies, it is still important to have a special inspector general for the following reasons. each statutory inspector general is limited to that particular agency. the special inspector general would have authority over the range of them. there would be the opportunity to ensure that the whole range of issues is fully vested -- vetted. >> what in the world is wrong at the department of defense? this is from page 162. this has to do with the defense contract audit agency.
1:56 pm
it says that the current unaudited backlog stands at $558 billion having risen sharply in only nine months. at current staffing levels, dcaa has reported the backlog will go unchecked and will exceed $1 trillion by 2016. please try to tackle that one. >> when i was undersecretary of defense comptroller, dcaa was under me. they simply do not have enough people. when i was there, there were about 4000. i think they have another thousand. it is nothing compared to the level of contracting going on. these are very professional folks. most of them now have cpa's.
1:57 pm
many of them come from the outside into government. we just do not have enough of them. this goes to the point earlier. we all believe this strongly. even in this time of cutting budgets and deficits, and there has to be some spending to save money. it is a matter of being penny wise and pound foolish. if we do not give these people and, we will hurt the government and industry. there might be money that could be recovered for the government. and industry is not getting paid when they should be. if the audit is not completed, they have a problem, too. >> it is a proven fact that if you have these audits, you will discover a bill that was submitted that was fraudulently submitted or mistakes and they were paid more than they should be.
1:58 pm
the outrage is all these companies have to keep the records on file for up to seven years. guess who pays for that? the government pays for their keeping the records. this $500 billion we're talking about -- million is going to accelerate if you do not reverse it. >> i would highlight also that the gao just released a report in september documented there are at least 50,000 contracts awarded between 2003 and 2010 that must still be reviewed and closed out. the numbers are staggering. i would call upon the white house to prioritize these ig's, get them nominated, and get the senate to do their job. we have three of the five
1:59 pm
unfulfilled. that is not excusable. >> i now recognize mr. townds for 5 minutes. >> is very good to see my former colleague. i want to thank the members of the commission for the of standing work you are doing -- for the outstanding work that you are doing. people would say even though the recommendations of the ig's and the problems of getting funded would not happen. when i look and read that -- about the extent of fraud and abuse, there is a stunning example. the inspector general found the u.s. government paid $900 for a control switch that

152 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on