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tv   Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 12, 2012 8:00pm-1:00am EDT

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insuring that they have a lower risk. host: gary gensler joining us for a discussion this week. is the website. john cobb on eric holder to resign for the handling of probes into a federal gun investigation. that hearing its next on c-span. hillary clinton expressed concerns that russia is sending helicopters to syria to help the president stay in power. later, a discussion on national security and the federal budget.
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>> this weekend, it marked the bicentennial of the war of 1812 mmchenry. mcinerne also this weekend, more for my series on key political figures. it is sunday at 7:30 p.m. american history television this weekend on c-span3. >> next, eric holder testifies about his handling of the fast and furious investigation and his decision to report u.s. attorneys to investigate national security leaks. he said he has no intention of stepping down after several
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republican lawmakers called for his resignation. patrick leahy is chairman of the senate the judiciary committee. this is two hours and 55 minutes.
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>> is everybody here taxable let's set grassley get in. i think everybody will give as a little room here. i welcome our attorney general eric holder back. the mission has always been to protect and safeguard all americans. it was to keep our communities safe from crime and to save the rights and liberties that make
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us american. when he took over more than three years ago, he inherited a department that have lost its way and focus. his help to restore great strides in this apartment. i see it on a walk through the halls of the department of justice. -- when i walk through the halls of the department of justice. the is holding terrorist accountable. he has been remarkable. results can be seen in the growing number of sentences handed down by the court. we have to shore that our national security tools is a way that is consistent with our laws and values. i remain concerned that
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congress requested this in the target to killing of u.s. citizens overseas. as of the council be provided. i do appreciate this. as they recognize they say let's provisions, we're working to ensure the privacy interest of all americans. the time of economic crises and shrinking law enforcement budgets, many expect a violent crime to explode but they have
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declined, one bright light throughout our country. the commitment to the department along with the president's to provide assistance has been critical to the successes. the department is trying to keep crime rate low. good advice will help women by domestic and sexual assault. it is crucial to helping those in the senate crafting women and reauthorization. the department would help but be trafficking. they are read authorizing the second chance act.
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they are working on enforcement increasedseen convictions of the last few years. we appreciate how they are storing and transporting this. i know the restoration of the civil rights division has been a tall order. it has been a crown jewel in the past of both parties.
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i pause in effort to ensure that americans do not have their constitutional right to vote taken away. such barriers recall a dark time in our history and one we do not want to return to. americans were attacked by dogs surrounded by attempting to register to vote. we remember a time when there were discriminatory devices, grandfather clauses. we cannot backslide in the weekend due to protect everybody's right to vote. there may be a temptation this political year in to score points. protect americans and safeguard their rights. i thank the man and woman in the department of justice. i thank the attorney general and the yield to senator grassley. >> thank you. i trust you'll be able to
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provide us with accurate and candid responses. three whistle-blowers testified about the use of a practice called gun walking, operation fast and furious. guns and up at the scene of brian terry. here we are one year later and the terry family is still waiting for justice. the fbi does not have the shooter in custody. since last year, a lot has happened. the united states attorney for arizona resigned after leaking information to the press. refuse to testify. then he resigned.
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lanny breuer admitted he knew about gun walking. he stayed silent for eight months. senior people at justice were familiar with the details of the case. the house committee obtained affidavits in fast and furious. we cannot discuss them in open session because they are under court seal. there is a public dispute as to what the contents show that senior doj knew or didn't know. anyone reviewing them would have to have known that guns were being allowed to be transferred in traffic across the border. the attorney general said he recently reviewed them and
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doesn't believe they show evidence of a gun walking. the atf director told us something very different. he read affidavits for the first time on a plane last year after this controversy had arisen. he said that he was alarmed after he read the affidavits. "i was surprised at the number of guns being purchased and not being interdicted because of the number of guns that could land in mexico." he drafted an e-mail warning "you better back off the statement to senator grassley because i didn't believe we can say it in light of the information our agents were swearing to before a court judge to get a wiretap."
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we have been seeking that e-mail since last summer to corroborate the testimony. the justice department has not produced the e-mail. that should lead them to withdraw their initial letter instead of december, 2011. we still did not have a decent explanation as to why it took so long to and acknowledge the truth. i asked the attorney general to seek the court's -- i received no reply to my request. i have had a chance to review some of the details. mr. nelson was right and the attorney general was wrong. anyone reading this affidavit should have been alarmed.
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we learned that the department gathered 140,000 pages of documents for their own internal review. they have produced a mere 7000 or so pages of documents. that is a spit in the ocean. this is why the house committee is forced to move forward with contempt proceedings. i think the american people deserve a better explanation than they have received so far. there has been a number of damaging classified national
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security leaks to the media. every leak is damaging. the most damaging ones risked the lives of men and women that are working abroad. the attorney general says one thing and -- it was reported last year that the department had dropped the prosecution of a former department of justice person who admitted he had leaked information to the "new york times." the anthrax attacks. leaks were made to the press involving dr. stephen hatfield. there was a settlement of near $6 million. i'm concerned about the decision to appoint two political appointees to investigate the recent matter. the attorney general decision traced the national security matter like a regular criminal investigation.
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the national security division at the department has been recused from involvement leaked investigations, a signal they could be involved as a source of the leak. the past failures of the just part to prosecute their own classified leaks and the tepid response to past questions about leaks. the only to get to the bomber is to appoint an independent special prosecutor. given the past failures that we have seen, i want to hear from the attorney general why he
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assigned this matter to two u.s. attorneys as a regular investigation. thank you. >> ok, mr. attorney general. one is most familiar with the anthrax -- senator grassley speaks about that, one of the deadly anthrax letters. i am aware of the investigation of the last administration and what happened. a whole lot ask you to defend the actions of the last administration that senator grassley has criticized. >> thank you. i appreciate the chance to appear before you today to
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highlight some of the accomplishments that have distinguished the department's work. i am proud of all that has been achieved by all who participate. they are dedicated at every level and have allowed me to fulfill the commitments that have made. we will work tirelessly to protect people and to ensure that every decision will be guarded exclusively by the law, to move aggressively in combating violent crime, to seek justice for victims. the department has made extraordinary and historic progress in each of these areas. this is more clear in our
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national security efforts. the department has secured convictions against scores of dangerous terrorists in our article 3 courts. we have uncovered various plots and we gathered surveillance capabilities in a manner that it is consistent with the rules law but with the most sacred values. we secured our seventh conviction in a suicide bomb attacks.
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we obtained a guilty verdict in the case of a former service member who planned a bomb attack against american soldiers in a restaurant in texas. a texas man was sentenced for attempted to join al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. i would like to discuss the steps the department has taken with regards to classified information. these allegations are of great concern to me and i know the concern all of you.
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i assigned two attorneys. these u.s. attorneys are fully authorized to consult with members of the intelligence community and to follow all appropriate leads and to prosecute criminal violations to the fullest extent of the law. they will do an independent and a thorough job. unauthorized disclosures could jeopardize the security of our
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nation. they will not be tolerated. the department will continue to take any such disclosures seriously. i will provide information as appropriate. the department has taken decisive action to combat a wide range of financial and health- care fraud crimes. this work is paying dividends across the country. the consumer protection branch secured more than $900 million in criminal and civil fines and penalties against more than 30 individuals. we cheat the largest federal- state settlement in history totaling $25 billion with five of the top five mortgage servicers. we have obtained sentences of up to 60 years in a wide range of fraud cases. investigating misconduct by institutions that contributed to the financial crisis. we have made tremendous gains efforts to fight health care fraud. over the last fiscal year, we have recovered nearly $4.1 billion in cases involving fraud and health-care programs.
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we have returned on average $7 to medicare trust funds on average. our resolve has never been stronger. through innovative programs, we have developed a comprehensive approaches for addressing fraud. we have a strain of partnerships and we're working more effectively than ever before ever to confront violence. we have coordinated strikes and seize billions of dollars in assets.
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shockingressing the rates of violence that affect indian and alaskan women. we are using every tool to protect our law enforcement community. as the brother of a retired police officer, i am proud the department has taken robust action. i have met frequently with law enforcement leaders to ensure the department understands their concerns. this has led to the enhancement of a host of important programs from the valor initiative, to the bulletproof vest partnership program, which has helped more than 13,000 jurisdictions purchased equipment. we have advanced important legislation from the import hate crime bill.
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to our ongoing efforts to ensure the reauthorization of the violence against women act and our strong support for the renewal of its central authority. the department is taking essentials steps to uphold civil-rights protections. we have filed more civil-rights cases than ever before including record numbers of human trafficking cases. in our work places and in our military bases and are voting booths and our schools and places of worship, the rights
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of all americans are protected. we are grateful for your continued support. we're eager to move forward together and i would be glad to answer any questions that you might have. >> thank you very much. later this year in the surveillance provision of the act are set to expire. this is of concern to many of us. we of the chair the senate intelligence committee and the stools give the intelligence committee the ability to acquire important intelligence information about non-u.s. targets overseas. the statutes forbid targeting u.s. citizens. i applaud the administration's efforts to police itself but i think we can do more.
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i watch it very carefully. an independent audit -- the activities of our government. would you agree that the independent audits can be an important part of assuring compliance, especially if the audits are made public? >> we think we authorization is very important. our hope would be that we could do the reauthorization in a way that this happens before the expiration of these acts. with regard to the use of inspectors general, i do think they can play a role in helping sure that these authorities are being used in inappropriate way.
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>> one thing we've done in the past is to have provisions on various aspects of it, which worries the administration as well as congress to review it again. and from what i've heard, the sunset provision has been a good carrot stick to making sure there is good compliance.
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>> i think that is right. we hope we get a long period of time. we do think an extension of about five years would be appropriate. >> in 2006, we wanted to reaffirm our commitment to achieving full democratic participation by reauthorized the voting rights act and legislation. i was proud to stand with president bush when he signed that. but having done that, having had this strong bipartisan support, we now have restrictive voting laws across the country. recent acts in florida and states across the country pose a threat to our attempts to have a national, fair, and open
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elections. last year voter id legislation advanced in 44 states. some states did not consider voter id legislation last year. we have had the most honest elections in the country. according to one study, more than 5 billion voters to cast ballots -- it affects 21 million citizens who don't have access to a government-issued i.d. the majority are young people, african-americans, and elderly. my own parents would not have had a government-issued i.d. make sure that americans are not denied what is probably the greatest right we have as
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citizens, the right to vote. >> the right to vote is the lifeblood of our democracy. it is what makes this nation exceptional. the work that i've been doing -- i am not advocating for a party. i am advocating for a principle -- the right to vote. do we want to be the first generation to restrict the ability of american citizens to vote?
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we have a bad history in that regard. we have the most important civil-rights legislation that has been passed. we see an ability by people that have been excluded from our democracy, the opportunity to do just that and we are a better country for it. we will be strong in our defense of the voting rights act. we will examine on a case by case basis the statues that our past and those that contravene in 1965 voting rights act. >> some of us are old enough to remember those dark days. one member who nearly died during those dark days. i did not think anyone of us
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want to go back to that time. in april, the senate passed legislation to reauthorize the violence against women act, 68- 31. the bill is based on years of work. we had judges, law enforcement officers, those at the department of justice, survivors of domestic and sexual assaults over the country. we had 1000 state, local, and national organizations supporting it. when it went to the house, they took a different approach. they've left many victims more vulnerable to these devastating crimes. a victim is a victim is a victim. work with me to urge to rewrite its approach and a sure we can reach all victims, not just some victims of these horrific
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crimes. >> we support the senate version. every time -- it is a logical extension. all victims can come within its protections. it makes for the society we say we want to have. and the expansions was to include are the most vulnerable, women who are immigrants, alaska and native immigrants -- these are the people who need to have the protections extended to them. we support the senate version of that bill. >> i want to follow-up on fisa. i agree with you.
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whether any changes to enhance intelligence gathering capabilities or to protect rights of u.s. citizens? isn't it true that the current faa authorizes the inspector general to conduct oversight of the program? >> it is true there is that component. itre's an annual report -- might be every six months that the inspector general does report.
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as we look at the bill and the potential will authorization that we are essentially in a good place. we want to work with this committee to look any concerns that might be raised in terms of new tools. our hope would be that this work would begin as soon as possible and conclude well before the expiration of the act in december. >> on fast and furious, i had a chance to review some of the details of wiretap. i happen to disagree with your claim that they didn't have details of the tactics of fast and furious. the acting director described reading those affidavits in march of last year. he said he was alarmed that the information contradicted the public denials to congress. he sent an e-mail warning others -- "back off."
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the department did not withdraw the letter to me until december, 2011. in july, 2011, we ask for that e-mail from the acting director. we need to see it to corporate his testimony. the department is withholding that e-mail along with all the other documents. on what legal ground are you withholding the e-mail? the president cannot claim executive privilege. >> we have reached out to chairman issa to try to work our way through these issues. we've had sporadic contacts and we're prepared -- i am prepared to make compromises with regard to the documents that could be made available. there is a basis for the withholding of the documents if they deal with -- >> not on executive privilege. >> the tradition has been by members of the justice
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department to withhold. in spite of that, i am offering to sit down with the speaker, the chairman, with you to try to work our way through this in an attempt to avoid and come up with creative ways in which we can make this material available. i have to have a willing partner. i have extended my hand and i'm waiting to hear back. >> when did you -- when the affidavits were reviewed, the acting director claimed he was alarmed about the number of guns being purchased. when did you decide to read the affidavits for yourself and why did you decide to do that? >> i read the affidavits in the summary memos after the last house hearing -- not the one last week, but the one before it.
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i had not known what was contained in them. i had my staff pull them together and i spent time reading those affidavits and the summaries. >> how is it you can look at the details when others saw major problems? >> i cannot talk about the contents. i will align myself with what ranking member cummings said and reaching the same conclusions. you reach conclusions on the basis of hindsight and i tried to put myself in the place of the people who are looking at that material at the time it was given to them.
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i think congressman cummings is correct. >> debate over the wiretap applications has become a matter of "he said, she said" because they are sealed and not available. i asked to share the affidavit with congress and i have not received any substantive reply. we release the affidavits so people can read them and decide for themselves what they mean? if there is any problem with something sensitive, could a judge make an independent decision and remove any
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sensitive information before release? if you have any concerns, would that address your concerns? >> that would be an extraordinary act. it is not happen very frequently. there have been a number of cases where -- i will put that on the table as something to consider. if we share that information, we do not want to live and impact on ongoing investigations. as willing to consider that a possibility to try to avoid
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what i think is an impending constitutional crisis. >> have the wiretap applications been produced? if so, why shouldn't congress get to see what the and that it gun smugglers get to see? >> i do not know where we are in terms of what has been provided to the defense. >> it has been reported the national security division has been recused for a least one investigation stemming from the national security leaks. is this correct? how is there not a conflict of interest on the justice department? >> well, i think that this committee and the american people can have great faith in the two people that i have asked to leave the investigation. rod rosenstein and ronald machen are both familiar with these kinds of cases. ronald machen is doing a lot of work right now with the d.c.
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government. president obama asked rod rosenstein to stay on as attorney general for a maryland. they have shown an ability to be thorough and to have the guts to ask the tough questions, and to follow the leads, wherever they are. i have great faith in their abilities. >> in the anthrax leak, you relied upon prosecutors to dismiss the cases. what did you assign political appointees as opposed to career prosecutors in this investigation? >> the people who left to leave these investigations have to be sufficiently high in the
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department to be able to command high people and the launch of people are united states attorney's. this has been done on many occasions when pat fitzgerald has been asked to do this. we have moved away from the independent counsel model which proved to be not particularly successful. we'll see the use of u.s. attorneys. >> thank you. >> we discussed the plans to close four of the seven field offices. the chiefs in six of the offices wrote to you and asked that this decision be reversed. "it will be difficult to continue in the states and territories served by the field offices." i wrote you to reconsider this decision. they reported $97 million in
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fines in the last five years. those in these offices will result in no presence in the southern half of the country. $6 million of the $8 million
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will result from the expected reduction of half of the attorneys and staff now working in these offices, which would seem to show a lessening in our priority. what is your response in six of the seven offices? will you agree to reexamine its decision? >> the antitrust division has been a priority for this justice department. we can see that that's true. we're looking for ways in which we can be efficient and effective and that is why we decided to implement this plan. we have seen that these cases become more complex and complicated. they can best be handled by the reduced number of offices with larger teams. the people who are members of these offices are going to be offered jobs within the justice department. people can move to other places. so, i think there is a budgetary reason for this and
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there will be no loss in our desire to be as aggressive as we have been with regard to the enforcement of the antitrust laws. >> almost all the money saved would be any reduction in staff believes that those people will be given opportunities to relocate. it doesn't look as though we're looking at any appreciable reduction in cost and fewer offices. i am asking you to reconsider this decision so we can be clear about the efficacy of doing this. >> there are rents that we don't have to pay. there are ways we can use people worry currently have vacancies, so it has eight budgetary impact that is
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positive for us. >> we have been working on the -- to allow nursing home residents access to drugs to manage crippling pain. there are still a few outstanding differences that we continue to work through. i am very much aware and appreciate the gravity of the problem we are seeking to address and appreciate your personal attention over the past year. the longer this remains unresolved, the more nursing home residents will continue to suffer. >> i thought we worked pretty effectively in dealing with some of the concerns that you raised earlier. we want to get a handle around any issue that remain.
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i know that you'll be leaving the senate and out hope we'll have an opportunity to conclude an be in a good place before that happens. >> thank you. well, let me ask you about your future plans. do commend you for your outstanding service. can you tell us, we want to continue to serve as attorney general in a second term? >> i think you have to ask president obama the question. i have enjoyed my time as attorney-general. it's been a tough job.
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some raise concerns about whether i was tough enough for this job. i have done a job that is consistent with my values. i stuck by my guns. i have lost some. i am proud of the work i've done. i'm proud of the people in the department of justice. this is been the highlight of my career, to work with you all and to serve this president. >> thank you. minibus were troubled when the conviction was overturned of a former goldman sachs programmer who stole code from the company. is this truly a major setback for prosecutors ability to go after the theft of trade secrets under the economic espionage act? does it give a free pass to anybody who was to steal computer codes?
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do believe this requires a statutory fixed? >> there is no question that was a setback. we need to assess that case and get back to this committee to see if there is a fix that we might put in place to deal with that issue. i have to respect the decision of the court. there is a potential free negative impact. i think you're right to raise that concern -- there is a potential for a negative impact. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. >> thank you. senator kyl.
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i'm going by the list given to me by rank-and-file order. senator kyl will be next and senator feinstein. >> thank you. i like to ask you questions in four areas. what exactly are you investigating? the potential to get evidence from reporters? why two prosecutors? let me go back. we have all read about four specific areas of leaks. i wonder if there are others. the killing of bin laden.
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the drone assassinations and the computer worm activity. you said you would commit to follow the evidence where it leads. i presume that means leaving no stone unturned. this that include journalist to reveal their sources? do you think your own guidelines in dealing with members of the media are adequate? where the circumstances that warrant testimony from the media -- what are the circumstances that warrant testimony from the media?
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could you describe the circumstances that would cause recusals? the refusal of the department of justice's entire national security division. there is a reference to the cfr's. the leaks came from participates in situation room meetings. that boils down to a small and specific group of people, all from work directly with the president. we have seen photographs of the day that binaden was killed. we recognize people in that photograph. the evidence points to one are more of those people. would it be a conflict of interest -- i presume the president and jay carney and
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david axelrod are not part of your investigative team. how could they say this case does not present a conflict of interest? how could they know that? why two prosecutors? do the two of them have to agree on everything? >> you packed a lot into that question? the refusal is not of the entire division. it is that portion of the division that might have had exposure to the subject matter of the investigation. this is something that happens as a matter of routine. it doesn't mean they have done
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something wrong. they might have had -- these career people not in that category can be a part of the ongoing investigation. with regard to the question of the press, we have in place regulations that have to be followed within the departments and i think those are adequate. we have to exhaust all the alternative means before we seek testimony from members of the press and that has to be signed off and i think that is a corporate. we have tried more leaky cases during the course of this administration than any other administration. i was getting hammered by the left only two weeks ago, and now i'm getting hammered by the right. it makes for an interesting dynamic. the mechanisms we have in place are good ones.
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we have shown no hesitancy to employ them. >> can you expand and be more precise on what you are investigating? >> i do not want to go into that which we are investigating. some of the programs are extremely sensitive. to its knowledge an investigation of a particular item would necessarily -- could necessarily be seen as an existence of that program or that effort. i did nothing to it is an appropriate thing to do. i pledge to make sure i keep the intelligence committee as well as the judiciary committee abreast of what it is that we're doing.
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>> about the conflict of interest matter -- participates in the situation room meetings. pretty small group of people. does not present a conflict of interest? >> i read that article by mr. sanger. he talked about information coming from sources other than the white house. let me be clear. our investigation will follow leads wherever they take us. mr. machen, mr. rosenstein have
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the ability and the moxie -- >> does not present an inherent conflict of interest? the national security adviser, for example. conflicthat present a of interest because they might have had a conflict of interest? >> we want to look at the evidence as it develops. look at the alternative. that would necessarily mean having to find somebody and have it to staff them up and to find office space. the need is to operate with some degree of speed and as what i picked these two really good u.s. attorneys to handle this issue. >> my time is up. i presume jay carney and david axelrod are not involved. what are the rules with respect
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to a division of responsibility or the looking at the same thing? could you tell us whether >> the two? >> you have appointed to the individuals to do the investigation. i am curious as to what the rules are. i did was looking at the same things? could you specifically tell us whether they will also ride or the president are jay carney have a valid basis for reaching the conclusion that the case this not present a conflict of interest? can they really say this at this point? on the basis of what i know at this early stage in this investigation, there is not a basis for a conflict determination. we are monitoring it on an
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ongoing basis. we have set up in place of the justice department and fbi the mechanisms of the we can be advised on the possibility of a conflict. at some point, if the people have been given responsibility, the we are in a conflict situation, we will act appropriately. >> anything on the last point? just curious. >> about what? >> about two prosecutors rather than 1. >> this means that i would necessarily have to talk about things that frankly i do not think should have ever been leaked or confirmed in this setting. but i will be certainly more fulsome in my interactions with the intelligence committee and the judiciary committee in a different form.
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>> thank you. i appreciate you giving me a heads up before you pointed to both of these prosecutors. i think they are tough and honest. one is from the bush administration and the other from the obama administration. both are the epitome of professional prosecutors. they are a good choice. not the sum was a direct interest in this. -- now to someone with a direct interest in this. >> thank you very much. welcome, general. good to see you. i am aware that around noon since the senate resolution will be introduced to set up a special counsel, and i want to say at this time i would oppose the legislation. the attorney general called me
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on friday and indicated he was assigning to the united states attorney's to investigate these leaks, so i looked up the credentials of these to the united states attorneys, and i would like for the purposes of the record just review some of the credentials. one of them is the united states attorney for maryland. he is a republican, but he served in republican and democratic administrations. he served in that ashcroft justice department as principled that pd assistant for the tax division from 2001-2005 period from 95-97 he worked as an associate independent counsel. he supervised the investigation that found no basis for criminal prosecution who had obtained fbi background reports.
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in 2005 he was nominated by president bush and unanimously voted in. to serve as u.s. attorney. the president said rod rosenstein is widely praised by jury -- by judges and lawyers alike for his fairness. roger maystream has served as united states attorney for the districts of february 2010 and was favorably reported by this committee by voice vote and confirmed by unanimous consent. he served as an assistant united states attorney from 1997-2001. he was a partner before becoming a u.s. attorney.
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he is a graduate of stanford university and harvard law school. the reason why i oppose special counsel is special counsel takes a long time. if you look at the special counsel in the scooter libby case, it took four years to complete. we have heard they are already conducting interviews to find out who leaked the bomb plot. now the united states attorneys have announced to leave the leaked cases. i really think this is the appropriate way to go. i am going to support it. i am hopeful members of the intelligence committee in this committee will support these leaks being investigated in this way. i say to have a fight over how
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we do this now will set back any investigation. these are too scrupulous men. .- two scrupulous men mar they are both independent, and i have no reason to believe why they cannot work with the fbi and assemble a very strong prosecution team where warranted. i am very pleased to support that. on the subject as to why fbi agents were recused, and you pointed this out, mr. attorney general, this was an abundance of caution, so that no one who had anything to do with the investigation, a surgically of the bomb as it left yemen, will -- particularly of the bomb as it left yemen, will be involved
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in the investigation, and is that a correct analysis? >> i do not believe anyone from the fbi has been reduced. i will also say in an abundance of caution, both the director and i have already been interviewed in connection with the knowledge that we have a of those matters. at least of that matter. >> all right. i mentioned to the ranking member as he left, on the subjects of i.g. reports, i very much agree with what he said, and the committee has extensive language in the report and the bill that we are now about to put together on this subject. there are an abundance of requirements on your department to produce various reports. it is twice yearly. let me just read a couple of
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things. section 700 to require semi- annual assessments by the attorney general and dni provided to congress and the intelligence report. in addition, the attorney general and certain elements of the intelligence community are authorized to review the implementation of section 102 -- 702 and must provide copies of any such review to the attorney general, dni and congressional committees of the jurisdiction. it goes on with more. i can tell you this, in the last meeting we had a binder this fall of the reviews. we have also just recently had the attorney inspector general before us, and i can tell you i found them very forward- leaning, and really felt they are capable of exercising a
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strong investigations and making conclusions, regardless of where the conclusions may fall. i think that is good. let me talk to you about something -- senator grassley and i had something called the senate caucus for international drug control. it has been very interesting, because in the course of so doing, we have had the opportunity to look at mexico, caribbean islands, guatemala, the caribbean islands. a number of different places with respect to drugs. the senate passed a bill that senator grassley and i did called the targeting transnational drug-trafficking
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act of 2011, and the bill lowers the threshold from current law, which says drug traffickers must know illegal drugs will be traffic into the united states, so instead require reasonable cause to believe illegal drugs will be traffic into the united states. under current law,, our ability to prosecute source nations traffickers from south america is limited since there is often no direct evidence of knowledge that drugs were intended for the united states. our legislation changes this, and i hope the house passes it and sends it to the president for his signature. could you please tell us how this bill could enhance your ability to extradite drug king pins to the united states? >> i am not totally familiar with the bill, but i like the portion you have just described, because you point out
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a problem we have in getting out the drug kingpins. there's a certain knowledge we have to be able to prove to get them back into the country. fifth we have the greatest capacity to incapacitate these people. i think your emphasis on nations other than mexico is really important, and something we have not necessarily done as good a job as we could have. i have been in the caribbean and talk to my counterparts. the mexican government becomes more successful. the cartels are looking for other ways to get drugs into the united states, and i think the focus on the other places and the mechanism can both be extremely useful. i look forward to working with you in regards to that bill. >> it has passed the senate.
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we need to get it passed the house. >> i agree. senator gramm is next. >> think you for coming. -- thank you. is the national security adviser part of the white house in your view? >> every time i see him, that is where he is. >> as you read the review of the book about the program and the kill list and the other things we're talking about? he says, and throughout this he has enjoyed great access to senior white house officials, most notably the national security adviser, tom donovan. tondo mullin is the hero of the book. -- mr. donovan is the hero of the book.
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according to this review, and from my reading of excerpts of the book, someone at the highest level of government has been talking about programs that i think are incredibly sensitive. on a scale of 1-10, how serious do you think these leaks are? >> i think they are extremely serious. >> 10? 9? 8, 7? i am not sure what 10 would be, but i would put them up there. >> i cannot imagine -- if there is something worse, i would hate to see it. my point is i think our concern on this side of the i/o is there are clearly people around -- this side of the aisle is there are clearly stories of people leaking highly-classified information. you have one program called fast and furious that has been an embarrassment to the of fenestration and has been like
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-- to the administration and it has been like pulling teeth to get information about that. when you have programs on the national security front that seemed to show the president as a strong leader, you can read about it in the paper. my concern, i think, is a lot of us believe if there was ever a need for outside special counsel, it is now. what do you say? >> the people appointed to look into the matter is our first- rate prosecutors who will do a great job. as we look at the history of what u.s. attorneys who have been appointed in these kinds of cases -- >> do you believe it was a good thing to have a special counsel in the valerie plame case? >> sure. >> the chief of staff ended up being prosecuted.
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i cannot think of someone closer than that person. the you think it was a good thing to have a special counsel in the jack abroff case? >> we can get -- >> do you think it was a good idea in this case? >> the plame case involved a person that was the united states attorney, same thing i have done here. that was the person who got the designation. these people are appointed as u.s. attorneys, because it is possible some of these acts occurred. if we have proof that things happened outside the district, i can appoint them under section 515 as special counsels. >> you are fighting the very concept that senator obama wrote a letter to the bush administration. vice president biden was on tv morning, noon, and night urging the bush and ministration to
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appoint a special counsel in the valerie plame case. the cia torture tape case. senator obama wrote a letter to the white house urging the attorney general gonzales to appoint a special counsel in the jack abramoff case. as of extraordinary circumstances. as a result, high-ranking republicans ended up being compromised or going to jail. my point is the political intrigues are around this is of no greater than it is here. we are talking about people surrounding the president and the national-security apparatus at the highest level, and you are resisting doing what senator obama and senator biden suggested was in the public interest. why is that?
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>> i look at controversies in make a decision based on what i think is necessary for a successful investigation. >> you know i'd like you. we have a good relationship, but you are being subpoenaed. you may be held in contempt by the house. 39 democrats have asked for more information. are you suggesting giving your problems in the house and the political intrigues around the case and giving past behavior of senator obama in senator obama, -- and vice president biden, you would be doing the country a great service to appoint someone to we could all bite into. i am sure these people are fine folks, but i am very disturbed about the inability to get information regarding programs that are embarrassing and the tendency of is administration to tell the whole world about
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things that are good. i just think you would be doing the country a great service if you followed the advice and counsel of senator biden and obama. >> i think what is most constructive is to follow the vice of the past that has worked. >> those investigations work? >> certainly the -- >> somebody knew other these two people. >> but senator, you are missing the fact of this is a very big deal. all i am asking for is for you to find a lawyer in this country that all of us can say that is the right person to do this job, rather than you picking people and telling us about how great these people are.
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i do not know these people. there are lots of lawyers in this country that will follow the evidence wherever it leads. i am asking you for your legacy of the good of the country, reappoint someone that all of us have confidence in. i am asking no more of you and senator biden asked and investigations that are no worse than this. >> i do know these people. they are good lawyers, tough prosecutors. >> the answer is you are not going to change your mind? >> here in terms of the special counsel was a sitting u.s. attorney where nothing was done done with regards to these people. >> what you are missing is the biggest double standard in recent times that the very people that are in charge of the white house, but i believe have compromised national
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security unlike any time in recent memory, when they were in this body with investigations no worse were advocating to the bush administration appoint someone to come appoint a special prosecutor that we could all have confidence in and suggest the bush administration was trying to conceal by not doing what they were urging. the shoe is on the other foot, and you are not willing to embrace the idea you would be better off for the country if you would pick someone we could all bite into from the get go, rather than picking to people you think are great that i did not know anything about. at the end of the day i cannot believe this is even a debate give it the national security implications of these leaks. >> i let him go way over his time so i could kick his speech
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in, but i would note with the time of that request for special counsel, that was when the attorney consol was testified that he really considered himself a part of the president's staff, and not an independent attorney general. >> and to go if i may respond, mr. chairman, there is no doubt in my mind that if the shoe were on the other foot, you and everyone else would be screaming to appoint a special prosecutor that all of us could buy into. given the record of the way you have -- >> [unintelligible] >> this cries out for corrective action.
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>> i have seen the talking points that the republican candidates have, if you have probably use them better than anybody else. >> if i could just correct the record. the abramoff case was handled. the plame case was settled by a u.s. attorney. >> specially appointed with powers and protections outside the systems we're all concerned about. you have a chance to leave the country in a new direction, and the fact that you are not going to do this disturbs all of us on on our side of the ideal. -- of the aisle. >> let's see what the u.s. attorney will do.
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i have been one to criticize both republican and democratic administrations. if they are not going forward with adequate prosecution. let's see how they do. if they are not doing their job, i will be among the first to say so. senator durbin. >> let me say, we agree on so many things. i do take exception about this administration compromising national security more than any administration. i think that was over the line. i would like to remind those that are following us that we have listened to speech after speech from the minority leader and other members of this panel about how impossible it is to prosecute would-be terrorists in article 3 courts and should be referred to military tribunals. i believe the track record at this moment under this administration is that over 400 would-be terrorists have been stopped and article 3 courts, and six in military tribunals. that our country is sick today
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-- safe today because of the administration when appropriate to send cases to article 3 courts and to suggest that this particular of ministration somehow compromise national security is not borne by the evidence. i would ask the attorney general to respond. >> in terms of the article 3 system, it has proven to be effective in this administration and prior administration. we have proven the ability to get intelligence out of people. we have had successful prosecution. we have been able to conduct these cases safely without putting anyone at minsk -- at risk in the immediate area. we need to have faith in what we called the greatest judicial system in the world. those who lost faith and the ability went head-long into the facts. >> if i could return to this specific instance here, i recall very well when patrick
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fitzgerald was chosen, a sitting u.s. attorneys from the northern district of illinois, who conducted a lengthy investigation of the valerie plame situation. it started with the premise that someone had outed valerie plame who was serving in the u.s. and trying to keep us safe. that was a promise. talk about a breach of national security. a decision was made to stay within the department of justice a deterrent to patrick fitzgerald in the northern district to conduct this investigation. i thought he did an excellent and were the job for a man of his character. i am sorry that he is retired. when i hear the suggestion that you cannot find two sitting u.s. attorneys who can do as good of
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a job on this critically important issue, i am troubled by it. is u.s. attorneys have all been approved by this panel. i would like to ask you, do you believe it is necessary that we delegated outside special counsel, outside the department of justice, to serve the cause of justice in this important investigation? >> no, i do not. i believe we have the capacity and the people to really look at these kinds of cases we have handled. we have handled cases within the department. i have been criticized for being aggressive as we have been. i have great faith and the abilities of these two gentlemen. >> thank you. i want to respond to some of the things that have been said.
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we have a present in my home state of illinois. it is owned by the state of illinois. it has been vacant for 10 years. our state has tried to negotiate an agreement with the bureau prisons, which faces its own overcrowding challenges to come up with appropriate purchase price, and they agreed on one that has been approved through the state government. one of the contentious issues related to whether or not guantanamo detainees would be transferred to the thompson prison. you sent a letter that suggested -- did not suggest, as stated consistent state law, we will not transfer detainees or otherwise house them at thompson. that letter was sent several years ago. i want to ask this question as to whether or not there is a vacation and that statement. -- equivocation in that
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statement. i would like to ask you, and i am sorry to say this, under oath as you are as testimony before this committee, i would like to ask you as attorney general, but will you pledge under no circumstances will be obama administration seek to transfer detainees from guantanamo to thompson regardless of what the law permits? >> take of that is an accurate statement of our position. we want to acquire the thompson facility. it would be a welcome addition to the bureau of prisons and increase the capacity we need for those kinds of prisoners, and we will not move people from guantanamo, regardless of the state of the law for thompson. that is my pledge. >> for the record, this matter has been debated for over a year. at has been approved on the senate side. it has been held up by one republican congressman. i hope your testimony under oath will satisfy whatever questions remind -- remain in his mind. but me ask you about another
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issue. i traveled recently to soviet republics. i would ask ari u.s. ambassador, what is the first thing i should raise on behalf of the united states when meeting with the president of this country. he would say without fail, elections. make it clear that it there want to be a clear democracy they have to have clear and fair elections, given the opposition and opportunity, making people that are eligible to vote able to vote. i have held hearings in two states as part of the subcommittee in florida and ohio. over recent the laws that limit the opportunities of the residents of those states to vote in the november election. i have called the election officials and ask them point- blank, what was the evidence of voter fraud that led state legislatures to put of the
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requirements of the law to restrict opportunity to vote? without fail, they said there was no evidence that led to the state decision. this group, alec american legislative campaign counsel has been campaigning to change state laws. this comes into a voting rights question, which you are well aware of. i might add that some of the evidence that is coming out now makes it clear, for example, in the state of florida, they launched a controversial project that made this franchise voters. they are purging them of non- citizens. only eligible american citizens should be able to vote, but florida's process is the leading people from the registration list has been so careless, it has been wracked with errors.
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the state created a list of those unable to vote. of the two house -- 2780 names on the list, many were majorities. the overwhelming were registered independents, democrats, and republicans. more to the point, all the people of the state's list of non-citizens are actually american citizens. i raise this point because as we preach to the world the requirements of democracy when it comes to elections, the question is whether we're practicing them in the states of florida, ohio, and so many other places. in light of the department of justice conclusion, what steps is your department taking were prepared to take a florida's governor and the secretary of state continue to ignore the department of justice ordered to stop urging the registration list? >> we sent two letters to the state of florida. most recent was of last night.
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i have given authorization to the civil-rights division to go into court and sue the state of florida to stop these purchase, which are inconsistent with the national registration boater at. -- voter registration act. clearly in violation, which requires there be a quiet period, 90 days between any action you might want to take in the holding of an election or primary. my expectation is that will be filed within the next 24-48 hours. we have done all we can and try to reason with people in florida through the provision of these letters. we're not prepared to go to court. --now prepared to go to court. >> i hope that is not necessary, but what is at stake is critical. if we are going to preach to the world the requirements of democracy in our practice them at home, we will flunk our own human rights scorecard in the part of state. i think we have to stand up for those that have political power and tried to restrict the rights of the american citizen -- american citizens the right to vote.
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thank you, attorney general. >> would you agree with me that given the gravity of the national security leaks that it is important the investigation be non-partisan and independent? >> non-partisan and independent? sure. we can do that with the people i have appointed. -- >> sure, and we can do that with the people i have appointed. >> the report to you, correct? >> they report to me as they have in the past. >> the acting attorney general delegated all investigative authority of the attorney general through the special counsel. it operated independent of the control of any officer at the department of justice, correct? >> he was a good deputy attorney general. correct. the regulations in place make very clear that someone
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appointed pursuant to those regulations is supposed to act within the chain and followed justice department rules. it is in contrast to the independent counsel act that was led to expire towards the end of the clinton of frustration. -- administration? >> to go you hired him first in 1997, correct? -- >> you hired him as an assistant deputy counsel in 1997, correct? >> yes, i am not sure of the date, but i did hire him. >> did he serve as an volunteer? >> i am confident he has the ability, capacity to investigate this case and an on-partisan independent, the road, and aggressive way. >> the question that raises by your answer is whether you have the independence and ability to conduct the investigation, if in fact all of this comes back through you, and given your track record.
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i just want to go over -- >> my track record is consistent >> i will give you a second to respond. >> -- my record i think it will stand on. i have shown the capacity to investigate people within the administration. we have brought -- let's focus on those. >> let's not filibuster the time. but the talk about your record. you misled congress in february 2011 and claimed there had never been a gun walking program and had to retract that in november 2011. you missed lead rep issa in may, 2011. saying you did not learn about the fast and furious program until later. then you had to a bit to senator grassley you learned about the tactics in january of 2011. you claimed in a press conference of september 2011 you had no knowledge of the last entry is done walking program, while it was clear your inner circle employees received
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briefings and memos, including many others, you claim that fast and furious wiretap did not detail walking tactics. i have read them. they do please read tea -- raise plenty of red flags about the tactic. you have defied oversight responsibilities to the house of representatives in the senate. you resisted producing documents. you produced 76 documents out of thousands. and you failed to respond to my letter of august 2011 were i asked to about gun walking tactics that occurred in my state. 16 months after fast and furious was uncovered, and after
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ryan terry lost his life in service to his country at the hands of a drug cartel member who shot him using a weapon that was allowed to walk under this program, there has been zero accountability to the department of justice. you will not appoint a special prosecutor in the face of a potential conflict of interest. you will not tell the truth about what you know and when you knew it fast and furious. he will not cooperate with a legitimate investigation. you will not answer my questions about gun walking in texas. you will not take responsibility for the failures of your inner circle and will not hold anyone accountable. i am afraid we come to an impasse, the leaking of classified information represents a major threat to national security, and your office faces a clear conflict of interest, yet you will not appoint a special counsel. he will not take the threat seriously. -- you will not take the threat seriously. meanwhile, you still resist coming clean about what you knew and when you do it with regard to operation fast and furious.
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you will not cooperate with the legitimate investigation, and you will not hold anyone accountable. your department blocks fixed from implementing the thames to -- attempts to combat voter fraud, and you have violated the public trust in my view, and by failing to refused the duties of your office. it is more with sorrow than anger that i would say you leave me no alternative but to join those who call upon you to resign your office. americans deserve -- deserve an attorney general that will be honest with them. the deserve someone who will uphold the basic standards of accountability. you have proven time and time again, sadly, you are unwilling to do so. the american people deserve better and deserve an attorney general that is accountable and independent and puts justice before politics. it is my severe hope president obama will replace you with someone that is up to the challenge.
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>> you certainly have the right to respond to that. the attorney general from texas has accused you of perjury, a criminal offense. i remember his strong support for one of your predecessors, attorney general gonzales. i have a different view of that. i felt you are a more appropriate person to be attorney general, so feel free to respond. >> with all due respect, there is so much factually wrong with the premises you started your statement with. it is almost breathtaking in the inaccuracy, but i will simply leave it at that. we want to talk about fast and furious. this is now the ninth time i have answered questions before a congressional committee about fast and furious.
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i am the attorney general but put an end to the misguided tactics. the attorney general was briefed on these tactics and did nothing to stop them. nothing. 300 guns at least walked in that instance. i am the attorney general called on an inspector general to look into the matter and investigate. i am also the one that made personnel changes that was involved in overseeing the changes of prophecies and procedures to make sure that this does not happen ever again, so i do not have any intention of resigning. i heard the white house press officer said yesterday that the president has absolute confidence in me. i do not have any reason to believe that is not the case. in terms of what it is that we have turned over to congress in
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this regard, let's put something on the record. we have collected data from -- this is part of fast and furious. we collected data from 240 custodians. we process millions of electronic records. turned over 7600 pages over the course of 46 separate productions. we have made available people from the department at the highest levels to be interviewed, and i have also indicated earlier in my testimony to the extent that all of that is not enough to satisfy the concerns that have been raised in the house committee. i am willing to sit down and talk about the provision of more materials. i have sent letters in that regard. i have not had responses, which leads me to believe that the desire here is not for accommodation, but for a political point making. that is the kind of thing that that you and your side i guess
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have the ability to do. it is the thing that turns people off about washington. we are still involved in these poltitical gameship. >> mr. attorney general, the problem we have is you will not allow congress to do its job when it comes to our site and you fort a legitimate investigation like fast and furious. you send a letter in february 2011 to this committee in response to senator grassley's increasing nothing like that existed. -- claiming that nothing like fast and furious existed. it took until november 2011 to apologize for misleading congress. finally, you refuse to produce any documents that post-date the false letter of february 2011 to either the house or senate. i am happy to have a conversation about what the facts show at another time and place, but i stand on the record.
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>> with regards to the letter, let's talk about that. i made available all the material that went into the creation of the letter, which is unheard of. that is something the justice department always tries to protect. we made that available. as i said in will say it again, to the extent there are issues that remain unresolved, materials that people want to get, i am willing to subject myself to the process to listen to those requests and make available to things yet today we have not decided would be appropriate. i want to avoid a constitutional crisis. i will not compromise the integrity of on going prosecutions or put at risk witnesses or people we are working with. aside from those concerns, i am willing to work with congress
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in this regard. >> i think -- >> to go out of fairness to the other we should go forth. -- >> out of the fairness to the others, we should go forth. i do appreciate that you stop it. -- that you stopped it. >> welcome, attorney general. i wanted to make one point, and then ask a couple of questions. the point i would like to make is that it is my belief as a former united states attorney of someone who has been involved with the department of justice, that it should be our baseline expectation that every attorney general, and every united states attorney should be willing and able to follow evidence in the criminal prosecution were ever leaves,
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and in that regard the -- wherever it leads, and in that regard the department of justice is a somewhat different entity than the other elements of the administration in which political control of the department of agriculture might be more appropriate, but that within the department of justice, we behaved differently. i worry that where this discussion is going is setting the bar to low with a presumption that then will become the standard that the united states attorneys are not capable of investigating the executive branch of government, which i think is factually wrong and runs against the history of the apartment, and the department has put a lot of effort into building a safeguard of checks and balances to make sure those pressures stay out of the department.
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i cannot remember that for a -- i can remember that of fir aor g time there was actually a role based on the letter from senator hatch that only very few members were allowed to contact anyone in the department of justice, and it was a very small number on either side. dark and high points and low points. a high point was when the acting attorney general went to the oval office to stand up for the department of justice, independent review of the program was being conducted illegally.
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if the white house did not back down, he and a considerable number of senior members of that department were all going to resign. faced with the pressure from the department of justice, the white house blinked and the reconstituted the program. but is all a matter of public record. this was led into the white house. the attorney general refused to conduct an investigation was attached the white house, even though there is the executive privilege between the white house and the u.s. department of justice. that might have been the first time that i am aware of the the department of justice has backed down on pursuing evidence relevant to an investigation because it touched on the white house. that was an unhappy and not representative of the department
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of justice. i stand with you in arguing that not only should the department of justice be able to do these kinds of investigations, but if they are not, we have a problem on our hands. the attorney general and the u.s. attorney generals have the ability to do that. if we do not think they can, we should not confirm them. that is a point i wanted to make. let's change to another topic for a minute. two points on this. one is that we are looking at trying to do something serious in terms of legislation to help protect our nation from the cyber attacks that are increasingly prevalent and increasingly sophisticated and dangerous. the core target for foreign and terrorist elements are our infrastructure. our electric grid and the servers and electric transactions for our financial
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sector, the communications network and so forth. they are privately owned. they provide a critical infrastructure. on june 6, we had a letter that was written to both the majority of leader reid and mcconnell that describes the cyber threat as eminent, and that it represents one of the most serious challenges to the national security since the onset of the nuclear age 60 years ago. the letter continues the protection of our critical intra structure is essential in order to effectively protect our national and economic security from the growing cyber threats. it continues for their -- further in bold italics. we believe that this is to be addressed in any cyber security legislation. it concludes again in bold italicized text that any
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legislation passed by congress should allow the private and public sectors to harvest the capabilities of the nsa to protect our critical infrastructure from malicious actors. will carry the burden of knowing that 9/11 might have been diverted with the intelligence that happened. we do not want to be in the same position when cyber 911 hits. it is not a question of whether it happens, but when. it is signed by the director of security for president bush. also by the director of central intelligence agency. also the deputy secretary of defense. what is your position on whether or not the legislation that we are working on should address our should not address the problem of america's infrastructure? >> i think it must absolutely be
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addressed. there is a bill that has been working through the senate. there are four senators behind it. i am not sure which four, but it looks up the problem comprehensively. this looks at the threat that we monitor and the use of state actors, as well as groups to try to get our nation's infrastructure. i do not want to alarm the american people, but i think the passage you read from the less actively states the concerns we have within the administration. >> mayor asked that this be part of the full record? >> this is a problem that we must address. our nation is otherwise at risk. to ignore this problem and think it will go away runs headlong into all of the intelligence that we have gathered and the facts we have been able to collect. the problem is getting worse
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instead of getting better. there are more countries that are becoming more adept at the use of these tools. there are groups are becoming more adept at the use of these tools. the harm that they want to do to the u.s. and to our and to structure and through these means is extremely real. >> mr. chairman, everybody else has gotten several minutes over their time. i will not, but i will do it in a question for the record. i want you to know that i am not satisfied with the answer i got from the department, with respect to the margolis memo that halls office of legal counsel to a lower standard in terms of duty of candor and a regular trial lawyer, a regular guy with three fouls under his arm is held to. i think that is absolutely wrong. i will pursue the question again.
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i think answer that was prepared for the department in response to my question sidesteps the issue in a way that does not address it. i am determined to get this adjust. thank you. >> i will look at that response. >> thank you very much. senator schumer. >> thank you. i do believe we have voter fraud in america. i do believe states and cities, counties, have a duty to maintain voting rolls of integrity and courage -- encouraging the roles as a way to say you are going through this to make sure people, the people, are not on it. people who are not citizens are not on it. and if you do not have voter i.d., i have observed that someone can walk in to a voting citizen or're not a
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not alive or in another state and a say they are john jones and vote for that person. that is a danger to the integrity of the ballot and civil-rights required for people to be able to go. people should only but once. i am disturbed on the approach -- people should only vote once. attorney general, in the fitzgerald appointment, he was the u.s. attorney, but a letter from the acting attorney general told him that it will investigate this. i direct that you exercise that authority and special independent counsel without the supervision or control of any
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officer of the department. in other words, every u.s. attorneys service at the present pleasure. they are under your supervision. if they are going to investigate cases the reach certain levels of, any person in the position is protection of independence. i think you can abuse the independent counsel statute. i do not think it should be used every time on some -- when some matter comes up. let me point out a few things about this case. first of all, these leaks could very well be criminal. they were leaks dealing with the fact we had informants inside terrorist organizations. there were a lot of things that i think go beyond any reasonable standard. far more serious in my view than the valerie case. she was not out in the field at
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risk. look at this. "the new york times" article. quotes, "mr. daley, chief of staff, former chief of staff. the ambassador to pakistan. deniis blair, the informant director. on more than one occasion, and makes reference to mr. obama's aids say -- these were all talking to the new york times. someone provided them with information that should not have been provided. these are some of the closest people you have in the government that are closest to the president of the united
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states. it is a dangerous thing. i would also note that in the article, still senior officials at the department of justice and pentagon acknowledge they worry about public perception. that is a troubling statement to begin with. you should do the right thing. the point i would make is that they are talking to people. senior officials of the department of justice. so, can you see how in a manner of this seriousness that it might be, that people could fill an independent counsel should be appointed? >> well, the extraordinary power jim gave to fitzgerald is extraordinary. i'm not aware of any other u.s.
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attorney was put in this position, and i do not know what his rationale was for that. as i have indicated previously, i think we have an ability with these two people i have been to follow the evidence wherever it leads us. >> they serve at the pleasure of the president and under your supervision. the president of's top aides and some of your senior officials at the department of people that were talking to the new york times need to be interviewed in an aggressive and independent way. not as the family employee in -- from lane -- friendly employees. that is why people feel an independent counsel is important in this matter. investigate separate parts of
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the matters that may come up. >> i do not want to go into the details, but they have separate matters that they will be looking at. >> well, my time is about up. i will not linger, but i take this as a very serious matter. this is the question of the how important they are. these are closed hearings dealing with these matters. it has been a pattern. i do not believe we have seen a greater series of leaks. we need an aggressive investigation. it is required. from now on, members of this administration and the previous administration, should fully
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understand they will be held accountable if they violate their oaths to protect legitimate secrets of the u.s. >> senator, i do not disagree with you, except maybe in regards about who should do this. with regard to the serious based on the article, could it be the you provided the leaks? it said senior department justice officials. could it be your deputy? >> check in tell you i have been interviewed already and i can tell you that was not a pro forma take it easy interview. this was a serious interview done by a fbi agent. the same thing happened to the director of the fbi as well because we were people that had knowledge of these matters. we wanted you to -- we wanted to make sure it began with us.
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maybe 100 or so they already conducted. >> thank you. >> i will now recognize myself. first, i want to say this. it is not the focus of my questions. i agree with senator feinstein that appointing these u.s. attorneys to investigate leaks is a proper way to investigate our concerns. the initial leak in mr. novak's column talked about senior administration officials. what was begun then was a doj investigation. it was not until several months later when it became clear the white house was stonewalling and not giving information asked for that an independent counsel was called for. the analogy to the investigation
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does not hold. we do not know who leaked. we do not know if it were a senior officials. to have justice investigate is the right way to go. if we find some high administration officials are not giving proper information or whatever to your investigators, that kind of lack of cooperation might merit a special counsel. we are not at that point yet. the analogy to plaguing the senior administration officials -- the actual source said it was senior administration officials. still a special counsel was not appointed. you are handling it correctly. i hope he will not feel politically pressured into doing something that would go beyond that. let me move on to three other quick issues if we can try to
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get through them. the first involves the locker bomber whole gang -- holding them accountable is the utmost importance. particularly in the new york when we had so many people die in that, including students from syracuse university. i knew somebody who lost someone and that. it was reported a few weeks ago director muller wasn't libya to further investigate the bombing. as you know, the only person held accountable has passed away but it is very likely he did not act alone. these people lost loved ones. to know that other people are living freely is unfair. i hope the doj will renew the investigation. i would like to know if they should do that.
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if you believe other individuals can be brought to justice. >> this is something we still see as an open investigation. director muller did go to libya. i met with the prime minister from libya here in the united states. we wanted a full accounting with regard to pam am 103. this is a matter that he was involved in. i think there is still a basis to believe more investigation is warranted in we are pressing the libyan government in that regard. >> justice would keep an investigation open if the evidence turned. >> glad to hear it. >> it is open in the u.s. attorney's office in d.c.. >> we do not need a special counsel or anything else. sex offenders. the u.s. marshal service provide assistance to state and local
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law enforcement and apprehending sex offenders to do not comply. one of the primary vehicles the marshal service has is the national sex offender targeting center that is comprised of subject matter experts versed in a variety of aspects regarding sex offender investigation and management. as the targeting center has become more successful, they have received a growing number of requests from state and local police to investigate other sex crimes. here is the problem. in many instances the targeting center is ask for it help in cases that is outside their current authorities that is limited to investigating sex offenders to fail to register. they often want help to identify and apprehend suspected sex offenders in cases where it was not an issue to register and is currently not clear whether federal help can be made available. let me point out three cases in
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my state. there is a case of a serial rapist of children who failed to show up for a parole hearing and likely could have been apprehended more quickly had the targeting center been involved in assisting local police. he went on to do further horrible crimes. in long island, is believed to murdered 12 people associated with the sex trade and dump bodies along ocean parkway. the targeting center could provide more comprehensive assistance that the police department needs and wants. in the york city, a sex offender who committed sexual assault on over 12 victims before he was caught by police would have been captured earlier at the targeting center's resource been available. local officials would have
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requested assistance if it were available to them and the center would have been able to help with the haverhill assessment, linkage analysis, and risk assessments to determine where future crimes would occur. i find wrong assistance is not available and i wanted to change. i intended to introduce legislation allowing them to provide an investigation and analytic -- analytical support to track down sex offenders. would you support such legislation? >> i want to thank you for raising this issue. i appreciate the support you have given the department's efforts in this regard. i have always been able to count on the. congress has given us a lot of tools to help in this regard. i have not seen the bill you are referring to but i would be glad to examine it and work with you
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on this real problem. it is an issue we as a society have focused on far too late and far too little. >> the basic idea is something you are sympathetic to letting them share. the basic idea you would be supportive of. >> that is correct. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you attorney general holder. in our meeting you have used the term constitutional crisis several times. >> constitutional conflict may be a little better. >> one way or the other your use of that term reflects a concern i share. to make sure government is operating within the confines of what the constitution allows. i like many of my constituents
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have concerns with regard to how this president and his administration have viewed certain constitutional restrictions. so many concerns early on with the president's expanded use of czars, individuals accountable only to the white house while performing functions that one could argue could and should end in the past have been performed by senate confirmed the cabinet level personnel. in the area of religious liberty to have an unprecedented and fairly radical position taken by the administration that was rejected unanimously 9-0 by the supreme court. also on the category of religious liberty you have a contraception and a board a fashion mandate that fail to take into account a conscientious objections of religious institutions.
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it reflected a callous disregard for religious liberty. did you have the president taking military action in libya without a declaration of war, without any kind of congressional authorization. many found that problematic. his signature achievement contains a mandate many people consider constitutionally problematic. that is before the supreme court right now. one issue i find extraordinarily troubling that has not gotten as much attention, which is the president goes the use of the research appointment power. every president has made research appointments to my knowledge. this president did something different. he did something no other president has done. on january 4, this year, he made research appointments at a time they did not consider itself to be in research -- and the recess.
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they had been adjourned for a period of time less than 72 hours. this is a concern to me. the concern is, hounded by the fact that in the 23 page single space memorandum authored by your office of legal counsel, your department seems to be adopting a rationale that would in effect say that the president may decide when the president deems it the senate to be in recess determine -- regardless of what the senate's own rules say. are you concerned that in the future appointments historically requiring the advice and consent of the senate may be made simply unilaterally by presidents of either party? without the advice and consent of the senate? >> i do not think so. you look at that opinion. i think the rationale -- the
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analysis they did is constitutionally sound. these pro-forma sessions that were put in place where somebody would double the senate for a couple of minutes or whatever it was were seen by the opinion as not keeping the senate in session. >> even though we enacted substantive legislation on december 23, 2011 before these recess appointments were made. that was a pro forma session. >> the look at january 3 to january 23 and made the determination there was a 20 day gap. there was the ability for the president to make recess appointments. >> they were made on january 4 only 24 hours or so after the senate had been in recess. was this an act of clairvoyance that predicted how long the president thought the senate would be and what he considered to be a recess? >> i may have my date's wrong.
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i think the time period in which -- it did exist for a recess to be said to have occurred and the president could have acted constitutionally. >> the president commented not too long ago that he believed it would be an hour unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by the majority of an elected congress if the supreme court invalidates the affordable care act's mandate or the law as a whole. in that same statement he also be moaned the concept that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed a law. does this reflect a change in this administration's position and other -- that other
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administrations have not taken? what i was given a homework assignment by a federal judge. i had to write a paper. >> did you get a grip on that? >> i did not get a great but i did answer the question. -- i did not get a grade but i did answer the question. to understand the monetary versus madison is still good law. i explained in that letter that this administration still believes it is good law. >> he commented that presidents should refrain from commenting on pending cases during the process of judicial deliberation adding that even if it will not affect the justices, they can contribute to an atmosphere of public cynicism that i know this
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president laments. the you agree with that statement? >> the supreme court and the justices are strong and people. they do not -- they do not have to live in a high house environment. even while this matter is being considered by the court, the fact we have robust conversation among star ourselves. even those of us an official positions i think is fine. there -- you can only so-so fire with comments. i frequently myself will comment about something and say this is a matter before the courts and i should not go any further. some degree of -- having some idea of where you draw the line. you cannot say we should not discuss anything before the supreme court or courts generally. that was a little far. >> absolutely. i would agree. i am not suggesting that the
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president say nothing. i think there is a difference between saying nothing and suggesting it would be appropriate because the law was passed by a democratically elected congress and a court cannot validate that even if it transgress is constitutional boundaries. my time has expired and i think you for joining us. >> strom thurmond, the years he was chairman of this would always say to the judge's up for confirmation and, avoid arrogance and it showed temperament when it should. when i saw what i thought i have rarely ever seen such judicial arrogance as a judge saying, you
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shall respond to this with a three page single spaced letter. i am i am not surprised he did not say what color ink. it was something out of monty python. you wonder, good lord, what promethean height does this person live on? aside from the issue, it just came across as what a childish thing. that is just my view. i always have concerns about a resource appointments. easy way out of this, republicans would agree to hold an up or down vote. he is one of these people.
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renominated them with an up or down vote. if they would agree to an up or down vote, i would be happy to pick up the phone and urge the president to renominate them. >> if you're talking about filibuster reform, perhaps it is something we should discuss in regard to judicial nominees. " this particular one of concern, i must say parenthetically, i appreciate and admire the senator's concern. he has expressed it. he has stated very clearly. he has expressed his concern of nominations coming up has not hinder the work of the judiciary committee. i think he has been very responsible. he has been responsible in his
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opposition. i would remind everybody again we avoided this if we could have as we had in my experience with every president i have been with his have up or down votes. the senator has been waiting here very patiently. if there is another member that has not been heard comes back, they can go. >> thank you very much. thank you attorney general for being here. thank you fourth narrowly answering the questions about the security leaks. if you notice there is some disagreement about who should be investigating them. i do appreciate the fact you are investigating them and we look forward to hearing those results. thank you for moving forward on
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that. i also do not want to lose focus on important issues you raised in your earlier testimony. we will go a little bit from the international front to the domestic front with some of the work that you do in the justice department. one of the things i know has been positive for this country is the work we are doing with drug courts. we have one in our country with -- county where i was a prosecutor. there are check in and things are monitored, you can save money from potential drug violence. the save money because he did not have the incarceration costs. people can kick the habit of drugs. right now we have 2500 drug courts around the country. the house has approved in 2013. the senate has approved only $35 million. with the bill gets to the floor
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which should get a match between the house and the senate and use the house number. can you talk about why this is cost-effective or why it is important to continue? >> i think the points you make are all good ones. it is a process that people go through. it is not a straight process. people have setbacks along the way. once they graduate the recidivism rate reflects what you see in other parts of the country. people are much less likely to reach offend, to use drugs or commit other crimes to support a habit. it is something that is a great public safety measure. it is something that helps save us money. i say the support of drug courts and other measures that have been proven.
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we have the proof now. it is not something we think will work. we can show the work. these are the kinds of things we need to support. >> i think the numbers 1.2 million people in the criminal justice system, the doj identified in 2008 could be served by drug courts. i mentioned in your testimony, we have been very involved in that. one of the things the bipartisan senate bill contains is the tribal court -- allowance for tribal court prosecution in the narrow set of circumstances for non natives who are in relationships with people on the reservation. can you talk about why you think that is important to keep in the bill? >> i do. i think the bill the senate has passed as a whole is the best way in which it can be read
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authorized. i think that particular provision is an important one given the rates of violence we see that women, girls are subjected to on tribal lands. the ability to have those cases tried in tribal courts i think will go a long way to serving as a deterrent and preventing rea fending and changing the culture of what we have seen on tribal lands. it was something for me that was extremely shocking. when i heard what a female baby born on tribal lands can expect to have to deal with through the course of her life. one reason why we focus so much attention on this issue. the bill on as a whole is a good one. i think that particular provision is an important. >> i know the dot has been
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working on the issue -- the doj has been working on the issue with the date ---3 we had last year. nine were killed by firearms while responding to domestic disturbances including officer snyder and lake city, minnesota. he put his life on the line for a victim. he was shot in the head. your testimony points out a number of programs you initiated to lower violence. have you seen this linked with domestic violence or anything you like to add? >> one of the things that is disturbing is that although we have seen these historic drops in crime rates, we have seen a number of law-enforcement officers that have been killed in the line of duty. we have seen in the last year and increase where we have a
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number of officer shot as opposed to those who died in traffic. very frequently you see this when a law enforcement officers are going into a residence to serve a warrant, deal with domestic violence complaint, it tries to share techniques these officers can use. we try to come up with bulletproof vests, stab proof of s to protect them. we had somebody last year -- we have one coming up at the justice department where i will be bringing in people from state and local counterparts to talk about this problem. >> thank you. the committee just reauthorize the bulletproof vest partnership program. the last thing i wanted to ask about was the espionage issue. normally we think of espionage as being directed against the military or government. paris seems to be increasing attempts by actors to target technology and trade secrets of
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our businesses. that is the key to our economic future. we have to protect those to protect jobs in america. we have cases where people are selling secrets to china. we have trade secrets, has been not as can be helpful. are you working to try to address this? what's it is a 21st century problem, when we are working with our counterparts in the private sector. i went to china to raise these concerns with my counterparts there. gave a speech in hong kong where we brought together prosecutors from all around the world could deal with this issue. we are dealing with an issue that is in its most basic sense is theft. as public safety implications.
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public safety can be affected in that regard. can have a negative impact on our citizenry. it is also a jobs question. as we talk about the need to create jobs, these kinds of activities, this theft takes from the ability to produce the kinds of things our entrepreneurs have invented in this country. it has an economic consequence as well. >> i will put on the record questions about reintroducing that bill this week. as well as the synthetic drug bill that is making some progress now. it got through the senate as part of the medical device pharmaceutical approval bill. hopefully we can get it through the conference committee with the house. i know we have talked about that before.
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i will ask those questions on the record. >> the synthetic drug bill the point out, that is a real concern. what we have seen in the last few weeks with people, those are issues we need to deal with as quickly as we can. i applaud the effort that has been made and i hope there could be a coming together and passing the legislation. >> thank you. we each have had different bills we have combined it. until you get out there and talk to people who think they were ordering something that was not that bad or was the actual drug and it was worse, you get a sense of what a dangerous thing, especially in small amounts across our state. >> thank you. >> i am now chairman. i will recognize myself.
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thank you, mr. chairman. before i began i want to just take a moment to thank you. for the nondiscrimination act which will protect students from discrimination and bullying. in the same way students are currently protected against discrimination on basis of race, gender, country of national origin, and disability. last time you were here i asked what the administration did not publicly support the bill and you said you would look into it. you did. thank you. national police week was last month. i visited with officers who came to washington from minnesota with eighth -- thin blue line
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vehicle, a squad car that has been transformed into a traveling memorial. it was a touching reminder of the sacrifice our law enforcement officers like officer snyder, that they make every day placing and i know yo concern about officer safety as you respond. i'd like to hear from you a little bit about the valor initiative which you started in 2010. the safety act, which was reported out of this committee by a voice vote just a few weeks ago would make that prap perp. could you please talk a little bit about why you started the
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valor prap initiative, what it does, and whether you think it's been successful so far, and i'd also like to hear your views as to whether the valor initiative is duplicative of existing fed will ral programs. >> well, -- federal programs. >> well, we saw in this increase of officer death patterns that were started to emerge. the senator was talking about ♪ where officers responding to domestic violence complaints, officers going after fugitives were frequently the targets of -- the targets that resulted in fatalities. and we tried to glean from the incidents that we saw if there were any patterns, and then tried to come up with ways in which we could equip officers with defensive capabilities so that they would be familiar with situations as they
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encountered them and maximized their chances for survival. we listened to people in the field. this wasn't a top-down effort. it was something that was generated from the bottom up. and i think we've been very successful. i think people who have gone through the valor program have said that it is extremely useful to them and has, we think, helped save lives of the i don't think it duplicates anything that we are presently doing and is worthy of our continued support. we'd like to have more officers exposed to valor. we try to train the trainer, so we can extend to a greater number of officers the awareness i think valor creates. >> thank you. mr. attorney general, as you know, in january the supreme court ruled unanimously that when police use a g.p.s. device to track suspects -- a suspect's car for several
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weeks, that they consider that a search covered by the fourth amendment. while the court did not explicitly say so, experts think that this will mean that law enforcement will need a warrant to track suspects in this way. indeed, in the letter i received last week, the department indicated that it recommends using a warrant to do this tracking. without objection, i'd like to add that letter to the record. but in a brief file before the ninth circuit in april, the department argued a that "installation and use of a slap-on tracking device is such a limited intrusion that should be justified based on reasonable suspicion. mr. attorney general, is this the position of the department of justice after the jones case that does not need a warrant to use a g.p.s. device to track a person for weeks or even months
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at a time? >> i am not sure about that ninth circuit case, but i think the reading in jones pretty clearly indicates that we're dealing with a search under the fourth amendment and that there is probably going to be the need for warrants in connection with the use of those kinds of devices under the facts of jones. i know that one of the things we have argued is that with regard to devices that were used prior to jones, that there is a constitutional basis for those cases not to have issues, not to have problems, or the cases need not be thrown out. so i don't know if that's one of those cases or not. but going forward, from jones going forward, i think we are likely to be dealing with a situation where warrants will be needed. >> thank you. i appreciate that. mr. attorney general, last month i sent a letter to the department highlighting my
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concerns that comcast's decision to exempt its own content from its data cap for broadband service is anti-competitive and will significantly harm the future of online video options for customers -- for consumers. i'm worried that verizon's wireless agreements with major cable companies will will make it even harder for consumers to cut the cable cord and shift to watching more video online. this is particularly true if companies stop offering affordable stand-alone broadband service as verizon just announced. and if companies like comcast impose discriminatory data caps, is the department taking a close look at these issues in the context of verizon's agreements with the largest
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cable companies? >> senator, what i will have to do is get someone else to answer that quest i have been recused in the verizon matter. but i can say looking at the comcast matter that what we have tried to do as a result of the interaction we had with the parties is to set in place a monitoring mechanism that i hope is working, something that to the extent you have concerns about, we certainly want to hear those, so we are making sure that we're doing all that we thought the agreement would do. but with regard to the verizon matter it serve, we have heard your question and i'll make sure we get an answer to you from somebody who is involved in the case. >> well, thank you. i understand if you're recused, you're recused. but i just wants you to know that this is an important issue to me, as you know. cable bills in this country are out of control. consumers wants to be able to cut the cord and watch television shows and movies online, rather than paying over $100 a month to their cable
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company to get channels that they never watch and that they don't want to watch and don't need. >> mr. chairman, i would be one of those consumers. >> yes. and we don't need to name those channels. with that, i finish my questions and i pass the gavel. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sure you will regret that i am the last person to be asking you questions today. i'm sure it's been a great experience and you wish it would go on forever. but i think i am the last.
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first of all, i want to say on a serious note that i join a number of my colleagues, senators feinstein and schumer in agreing with you that the appropriate way -- agreeing with you that the appropriate way, probably the most timely and prompt way to investigate these very, very important issues is through the attorney general and it represents the quickest and most comprehensive way to begin an investigation that could we lead to other means. but i think it is perfectly appropriate and i respect views on the other side that there are other ways to do this job. but i disagree strongly with the suggestion that that fact is a reason for you even to consider resignation or any of the other reasons that have
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been suggested here, and i would respectfully also suggest that if we were here six months from now, the tone and tenor and even the substance of this inquiry would be somewhat different, a fact that is no doubt not unfamiliar to you. but what i regret most is that there is an implicit attack on the department of justice and on the united states attorney, having served as one, in fact, having conducted an investigation into a leak that occurred some decades ago. i just want to say for the record that i have strong confidence in the department of justice as an institution and in your service. i wasn't here when you were confirmed, but if i were here again for your confirmation i would vote for you. for what that's worth, being at this end of the table on
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seniority, probably not worth a whole lot, but -- >> no, that means a great deal, senator. you and i have known each other for a good number of years. i've known you before you became a senator. you were a great prosecutor. and to have you say that means something to me. it means a lot. >> thank you. i want to ask -- and i'm sure that he was joined by others, i know it is, and i hope that you will take some heart from the confidence in your service. i want to go to the subject of synthetic drugs. do you see that problem as a spreading phenomenon? is it troubling to you as the head of the department of justice? >> yeah, i see that as a very significant problem and one that is expanding. the use of these synthetic
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drugs, bath salts, by not only young people, but older people as we, is something that i think we need to get on top of before it spreads, like other drugs have and where we are trying to catch up. i think we have an opportunity here, if we act smartly and in a fast fashion to get a hod of this problem before it spreads -- a hold of this problem before it spread even more, but i think we really have to act. >> on another item, which is also part of the f.d.a. reauthorization bill dealing with drug shortages, again, senator klobuchar and i have worked on this issue, shortages of drugs that are really the workhorse medicines of many emergency rooms. proper follow -- propofol and others, the president issued an order that required the f.d.a. to refer to the department of
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justice any instances of price gouging, price fixing, similarly, i will le activity that support a gray market that raises the price of these drugs and thereby denies access to them. and i wonder if you could either comment now or perhaps submit later in writing information about whether the f.d.a. has in fact referred to you cases of drug shortages. >> well, let's see. i would say that maybe the best thing to do would be to respond in writing. but i share the concerns that you have evidenced through your question and the action that the president took. we have to try to maximize the availability of these, as you call them -- and i think correctly so -- workhorse drugs, to guard the safety, the well-being, the health of the
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american people. and to the extent that the justice department can play a role in that, i want to make sure that we are doing that. so i will take your question and we will answer that. >> great, thank you. another area that is somewhat related having to do with investigations of unfortunate activities that take advantage of the public trust, the veterans service organization is an issue that i have written to you about, which seems to me to raise questions about the potential exploiting of the best motives. we want to support veterans service organizations. it's the subject of a letter that i have written to you again of the you may want to come back to me and writing about it, but it seems to me that the questions are emblem attic about questions that been asked about similar kinds of charitable and perhaps well-motivated organization
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that is are less effective than they should be and raise questions about the integrity of those organizations. >> you know, i think that we must make sure that when peep choose to make a done nation to a charity that they are -- donation to a charity that they are making it to a rep pewable charity that, the money is going for the purpose for which it is sought. we work closely with the fed will ral trade commission, with the i.r.s. when necessary to initiate civil or criminal actions in that regard. we also have to have, i think, an education a-component to this effort, to make people aware of some of the deceptive practices that are used, some of the ways in which really unscrupulous people will wrap themselves around peep like veterans and other groups that we want to support and do so for elicit purposes. >> i was very glad to hear earlier your testimony about
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the administration's support for it and i hope it will will extend to the provisions that i advocated adding that relate to cyber stalking and cyber harassment, which are a new area. i've heard you talk about it very per swaysively and i hope that the administration will help persuade the house to retain those measures in whatever emerges from the house, which i hope will be soon. >> the thing i like most about the senate bill, and that is one of the provisions, and it's consistent with the history, every time it has been reauthorized it has been expanded to deal with the problems as we confront them. the notion of putting into place a concern with and an enforcement capability to deal with cyber issues is totally consistent with what we're dealing with now in 2012 that probably didn't exist in the
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1990's, maybe even the early part of this decade, to the extent that we now have to. so i think that provision and the other provisions that the senate has added make this a good bill for 2012, and my hope would be that the house will find a way to support that bill. >> thank you. and finally, on a matter that is closer to home, perhaps not on your immediate radar, thetate touch investigation which involves -- tatum investigation, which involves, as you know, an inquiry into the performance of local policing functions in east haven and the allegations that there have been discriminatory and unfair practices. there have been criminal charges. i know there's an ongoing investigation last time we discussed it in this forum, and we have discussed it privately. you noted that it is an ongoing investigation. i don't know if you can give us some update at this point, but
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i would appreciate any that you can. >> i'm not sure i can because of the nature of what we are doing. we've devoted a significant amount of attention to it, and i'm not sure i can share much more. let me take back what you have -- your question and let me see if there is a way in which i can share any more information. i'm not sure if there is, but if there is an ability to do that, i'll get back to you in writing. >> i know you have devoted a significant amount of time attention and resources to this investigation and thank you for the department's excellent performance there and in so many other areas. and i think with that, i'm going to adjourn the hearing and hod the record open for one week. thank you very much, mr. attorney general. >> thank you, senator. [captioning performed by
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national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> secretary of state hillary
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clinton that the attack helicopters we are sends together syria could escalate the conflict. she made the rashes during a meeting with shimon peres today. that's next. after that, a discussion on national security and the federal budget. the head of j.p. morgan chase, jamie dimon, will testify tomorrow about the company's recent trading losses. he'll be at the senate banking committee, 10:00 a.m. c-span. he will also testify neck week before a house panel. that will be live on c-span3 next tuesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. defense secretary leon panetta and martin dempsey will lay out some of the pentagon's spending priorities tomorrow morning. watch live coverage from the senate subcommittee on defense appropriations. that's at 10:30 eastern on c-span3.
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next secretary of state hillary clinton meets with the israeli president shimon peres. the two leaders discuss israeli-palestinian negotiations, iran's nuclear program, and syria. mr. peres is receiving the presidential medal of freedom this week. this is 50 minutes. >> please take your seats. good afternoon, everybody. thank you very much for joining us. it's a great pleasure to have you here on the occasion of this event to honor 10 years of support for the brookings substitution.
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we're especially appreciative that so many of you who have been involved in the work of the center over these 10 years are here to join us today. i especially want to welcome senator inouye, senator feinstein, justice breyer, chairman janikowski and the ambassador of israel, qatar and united arab emirates for honoring us with their presence. when i asked him how he would like to be honored, he first, of course, refused. and then i said that no was not an option, he said that we should do it in the brookings center tradition of an exchange of ideas about the middle east. and who would he like us to invite to conduct that exchange, i asked him, and he answered in a flash, shimon and
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hillary. it's a great testimony to their testament that they both agreed to join us today, and it's a great testament to their high reputation and fame that i can say the words shimon and hillary and everyone will immediately know to whom i am referring, the president of israel, of course, and the sect of state of the united states. thank you both very much for doing us the honor of joining us today for this conversation. i'm not going to spend time -- our precious time on introductions, since you know them both so well. but instead, i thought we should go straight to the conversation. i'm not sure what the protocol is. i suspect the president outranks the secretary, but -- [laughter] since shimon is such a chiff will alrust jarks he's known
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for that among his other characteristics, that i'm sure he would agree that it should be ladies first. [laughter] so madam secretary. i wanted to start by asking you about syria, just to go to the heart of the matter. you've done an incredible job dealing with the world's problems, but i suspect the one that, at least for the time being, is the most vexing one for you is syria. so tell us, please, what's your approach? what's the u.s. strategy for trying to deal with this tremendous brutality that we seem to be witnessing going on there from day to day? >> well, martin, first let me thank you and brookings and particularly the saban center, and especially hyman sherrill
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for allowing us to be here. i'm especially honored and delighted to be with a longtime friend and someone whom i don't think i'm alone in saying i admire so greatly. and i appreciate the chance to talk about some of the issues that we are addressing together. certainly what happens to syria matters greatly to the united states, but it matters drastically to israel, and how we work through the p difficulties that are posed by this unrelenting brutal crackdown carried out by the assad regime and their military loyalists will have far-reaching consequences for the region and beyond. let me just make three quick points. first, we continue to support
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koffi annan's efforts, because he represents a joint special envoy, and he is speaking for two organization that is have seen their common interests in trying to bring an end to the violence and help to precipitate and then shepherd through a political transition. and the six-point plan that former secretary general annan laid out is a good plan. of course, it's not being implemented, and of course the contempt and rejection of the first principle of that plan, namely the cessation of violence by the assad regime,
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has certainly been a grave assault not only on the lives of the syrian people, but on the international effort intended to bring an end to this ongoing conflict. koffi annan is trying to put together a group of countries that would include russia, that we agree should be included, to work on a road map for political transition. russia has increasingly said that it was not defending assad, but it worried about what cape after assad and that it would work on political transition. but there are always a lot of caveats that they then interpose. so i met with koffi annan on friday. we talked through what his
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strategy would be. and he is working very hard to try to implement it. the red line for us was the inclusion of iran. we thought that would be a grave error, since we know that iran is not only supporting the assad regime, but actively mentoring, leading, encouraging not merely the regular army, but the militias that are springing up, engaging in sectarian conflict. so we have a timeline in mind to see whether or not this effort of koffi's can be successful. the outer limit of that is mid july, when the security council has to decide whether or not to extend the mission, and certainly if there is no discernable movement by then,
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it will be very difficult to extend a mission that is increasingly dangerous for the observers on the ground. secondly, i think that the challenge faced by so many from the near neighbors in the area to those further out is what one can realistically do to try to bring an end to the violence would out seeing an increase in the activities of certain elements of the opposition that could lead to even greater violence and the likelihood of a civil war that we're all trying to avoid. so you hear from time to time that the turks are meeting with certain elements, the gunneries, the saudis, others
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are trying to figure out how to support people who are under the assault of the syrian regime. and it's quite challenging to actually deliver on that. now, there are lots of weapons on the black market. there's money that's available. there seems to be an increasing capacity in the opposition both to defend themselves and to take the fight to the syrian military in an irregular way. but there's no doubt that the onslaught continues, the use of heavy artillery and the like. we have confronted the russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to syria. they have, from time to time, said that we shouldn't worry. everything they're shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. that is patent loe untrue.
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and we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from russia to syria, which will will escalate the conflict quite dramatically. there seems to be a massing of forces around that could very well be a red line for the turks in terms of their strategic and national interests. so we are watching this very carefully. finally, i would say that part of the reason why this is complicated in the face of a clear rejection of what the assad regime is doing is because there is such a fear among many elements of the syrian society and in the region about what would come next. you have not had a wholesale pick departure, support, or even into exile of a lot of major players in the syrian
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society. we are approached on a regular basis by representatives of different groups within syria who are terrified of what comes next. i don't know how else to say at. so how we manage a political transition, assuming we could manage a political transition, how we provide restaurants and some level of protection -- how we provide reassurance t christians, jews, kurds, sunni business leaders and the like, how we prevent a massive inflow of refugees across the board damian and turkish borders, how we protect levitan from getting
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caught up in the sectarian divide -- how we protect 11 on, if these questions -- how we protect lebanon. if these questions and answers, i would certainly share them with you. as things stand, this is our constant, painful analysis as to how we can push the assad regime out. there is no doubt it needs to go, but create a transition that gives at least some possible reassurance to those who fear what comes next. so i think with that, i will stop. >> mr. president, syria is your northern neighbor. the israeli army is 40 kilometers from damascus prie- dieu deputy chief of staff is in the papers in the last two days warning about the dangers of serious chemical weapons get into the wrong hands. how do you see this, and what do you think can be done about it?
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>> i want to thank you very much. i feel at home with them on matters of peace and matters of social justice. i want also to say a word or two about hillary. not only my personal admiration but by the uniqueness of our role. i never recall if anybody in history, men or women, who travels thousands of miles from place to place, day and night, not because traveling is such a great pleasure, but because she has an unprecedented responsibility. all the previous secretaries of state were dealing with international relations, which is one thing.
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hillary is dealing with global responsibility, which is a totally different thing. when you have international relations, it is enough that you go to a capital and that is it, no more. she has to face people all around the world with unbelievable differences. occasionally people are leading the government and sometimes the government is leading the people. we live in a world where governments become weak because their main instruments are taken away from them. the control of the economy and control of security. since economy became global, it affects every country. the global economy without a global government. it is global, it is wild. there is no government that controls it. hillary is trying to fill the
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gap by creating alliances, by trying to have common basis, by remaining passionate. it is an entirely new experience. i believe in the middle east we have to think about [unintelligible] the future is permanent. none of us has a choice. in between, we have a transitional situation, which is not the same for all countries but different for every country. [unintelligible] a doctor came into the hospital and set it give me the average temperature of the sick people. there is no average temperature.
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you have to have every situation to deal with separately. now, syria. there are unprecedented things. first of all, the validity of the syrian people. people are facing fire every day. a dictator that kills children. for me, the most shocking part is a small coffin with the dead child and it. i cannot stand it. people are reluctant to say for assad to go, we don't have an
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alternative. even if there is no alternative -- this is the first time i really want to express my admiration for an air of attempt -- era of attempt to fight for their own freedom -- for an arab attempt to fight for their own freedom. i admire them and i wish them success. as hillary has mentioned already, it is a joint venture between the united nations and the arab league. now you know the situation, what is your proposal?
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you don't want anybody else to intervene. the united nations will support you. syria is a very complex case. it is either a dictator that will cause them to be together or a federation that will make them agree. they are ready, let them take responsibility. let's not support them in any way we can. we would like to help, not by arms, but by support. i think right now this should be the decision. the leaders of the world, and what can the russians do? [unintelligible] no single country can do it without being accused. the arab league could and should do it, and if you ask for
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my advice, this should be the policy. thank you. >> just following on from that, i wonder if we can shift to the palestinian issue for a moment. here we say that the status quo between israel and the palestinians is unsustainable. but out there where you live, it looks from day to day like the government of israel and the palestinian authority, all of them seem to be satisfied with the status quo, at least
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for the time being. is the status quo sustainable? >> i think there are two of those, a movement. in israel before and affairs are extension of the domestic situation. what i can say about the rest of the world, the domestic situation -- we cannot separate ourselves from the global world. it is moving. between us and the palestinians, for example, there are two points. one is the economic development. in order to make peace, you have to build a nation, and the palestinians started to build a nation american help, with israeli support. secondly, the palestinians have never had a force of their own.
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[unintelligible] now for the first time, there is a force of 15,000 youngsters that are trained by you that were loyal to him. i think that for a long time -- we signed an agreement here. it was presided by bill clinton.
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19 years have passed since then. i wish it would be faster. but you cannot make a baby become a boy in a short while, and the boy become a grown man. it takes time, but it is growing. i think now it is the time to make peace with the palestinians. the israeli government -- the palestinians understand that not everything happening in the arab spring is necessarily bringing them time. one of the important things about the arab spring is the arab youngsters understand that their situation is not a result of the conflict between us and
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the palestinians. they know that reform begins at home. what is happening in syria as nothing to do with israel. what happened in tunisia has nothing to do with libya. the think we should lead thearabs reform their lives -- we should let the arabs reform their lives and stop using the arab-israeli -- the israeli- palestinian conflict as an excuse. they brought an end to dictatorship. i don't recommend anybody try to grow up to become a dictator in the middle east. it is over. people go in to the elections. if he does not have a solution for the growing problems of the future, the elections don't mean much. if they don't have a solution for the security of egypt, the elections don't mean much. i would say to the people in egypt, 60% of the population are
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young people. the future is theirs. they are sick and tired. they don't want to remain poor. they want except corruption. they want freedom. many of them open their eyes. many of the demonstrators were young ladies who are sick and tired of being discriminated. by the way, if you discriminate women, you discriminate your people, because you allow only half of the people to
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participate in building a nation. the women don't have a chance to be educated, the children are not educated. 40% of the egyptians are illiterate. for that, you don't need money. you have to reform at home. believe me, i wish and i pray that the young people will succeed, not because of us, because of them. they will have a better. >> do you want to pick up on the women's issue in the arab spring and your view of how things are going for the women in this process? >> i think it is too soon to tell. i think shimon is right, we have a transition that we are going through to get to whatever future there will be,
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and it is not going to happen quickly. it is going to have, i would expect, some bumps in the road and difficulties along the way. but i believe that one of the important indicators as to how the whole process of democraticzation, political reform, economic reform is going is the way that the newly formed governments and their allies in the various countries treat women. to that end, there is mixed news.
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there is some positive news, in that there are certain guarantees being put forth about women's rights and opportunities, but there are some worrying actions that certainly don't match those guarantees. i think that raises the larger issue, because shimon is right that democracy has to deliver. a lot of what was behind the revolutions of the middle east and north africa with economic aspirations that were not being met, outrage at corruption, the difficulty of doing business, the doors that would slam in one's face, the absence of jobs, even if you were an educated young person. so there has to be a level of economic returns for people's leap of faith and investment in a democratic future. that is going to be extremely hard.
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every one of the countries that is making these changes has a lot of work to do to open up their economy to go after corruption and the like. at the same time, the political reforms that are occurring and the commitment to democracy, albeit unformed and quite not yet clear in the minds of leaders or citizens, is raising a lot of issues, because for us, democracy is not one election, one time. we are not sure exactly how others see this democratic enterprise that they have signed on to, because democracy is about building institutions. it is about extending rights to everyone, protecting rights of minorities, ensuring that people are equal under the law, require
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independent judiciary, free press, and all the rest. so it is not just what happens to women, although we will keep a very close watch on what is happening to women. it is what is happening to the democratic experiment. what we are trying to do is encourage the countries that are pursuing this to keep reaching out, learning from the experiences of others. most recently, the post-soviet nations, but also latin america. we come with a long, 236-year experiment and people in the region may or may not think we are a relevant example, but we have encouraged a lot of outreach to countries that threw off military
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dictatorships, totalitarian regimes, and to find common cause with their experience. i think we also have to have a certain level of both humility and patience. we have to call out at any turned developer is that we think in danger the democratic enterprise. the consolidation of power, authoritarian tendencies and the like. but we also have to recognize that we did not have a straight line. there were a lot of changes that we had to do as we moved toward a more perfect union. we did not include everybody in the first run. we excluded women, among others. we had to fight a civil war to extend citizenship to former
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slaves. we have to be honest enough to recognize that time has set up, and to some extent, the work that has to be done in building these new democracies is much harder today than it was even after the berlin wall fell. recognize that time has set up, and to some extent, the work that has to be done in building these new democracies is much harder today than it was even after the berlin wall fell. every single move is not scrutinized, spread around the world for social media. even if the people involved are coming at it with the best of intentions, but fate, they are going to face a lot of -- good faith.
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they are going to face a lot of setbacks and challenges to their decision making and other problems that will make what they are attempting to do very difficult. women are the canaries in the mine, as many have said before, in these societies. how they are treated, whether they are included, will tell us a lot about what we can expect from the democratic movements that are ongoing, but i think we have to do all weekend to support the right tendencies and decisions in order to get the right outcome. >> thank you. mr. president, can we get to iran? >> i am more optimistic than hillary about women. president obama asked me who is against democracy in the middle east. i told him the husbands. they don't want to share with the women equal rights. so why my optimism -- why am i optimistic? today the children are on the side of the fathers, not on the side of the mothers.
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that is my hope, they understand that if they want to reform their country, and many of them went to universities. they will not give up. they will not give up. democracy is a little complicated because they have to convert from being a muslim to a democrat. that is not the case. islam is a spiritual position, not a economic doctrine. for that i am a little more optimistic than you are. i think one should watch the combination of women and youngsters.
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they might find themselves all of a sudden -- minor bit of optimism. >> thank you. all right. in 1981, you recall you were opposed to the use of preventive force against iraq the's nuclear program. i wonder when you look back on that, what were you thinking about at the time? >> in history there are dangers. where are we really against iran? is it just because of a nuclear bomb? not only.
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when revolts the world against iran is the 21st century, the iranian leaders, not the iranian people are the only ones who want to renew imperialism. to become accepted. that is the reason many arabs are against the irani and hegemon a. they do not say it should be
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arabic because they are not arabs. they want to say must come, because they are muslims. -- they want to set muslim because they are muslims. we cannot support it. the world cannot support it. i have spoken with putnin to say, we cannot support a nuclear iran. the whole middle east will become the victim. the world economy will become the victim. it is a world without regard to anyone else. this is the first problem -- we
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cannot allow it to happen. all of us. the second thing, it is against the formula. the goals justify the means. you can kill, you can lie, you can collect arms. we cannot let them do it. it is a human problem. the globe is already so complicated. it does not govern without the government. this is alternative. i am afraid that some countries might take advantage if the iranians and syria, lebanon on. they do not stop. ago further.
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there is a chance of gaining anything. we cannot agree with it. that is why the nuclear weapons became so dangerous. they serve a purpose. nobody can guarantee they will restrain. it is governed by a single man who nominated himself as the deputy of muhammed. reason stops, prediction stops. i am not aware of anyone that threatens iran the -- nothing -- iran could flourish without it. they are a large country. who is against iran? we are against a policy that
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endangers our age. you can say to the united states, why did you do this? the character of our history, there is no trace of imperialism. yesterday i had been at the kip -- headquarters of your army. i said you are the only army who does not fight to conquer or occupy, but to fight for freedom and peace not only for america but for the rest of the world. historically speaking, the americans are fighting for values, no matter if you do this or that. you cannot be caring of the
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rest of the world and indifferent to iran. they are taking the american process of democracy and making the wrong use of it. i believe the president represents the deepest assumptions and concepts of american history. i think there is something serious, profound and arrogant because -- the president said, i want to try this with non- military means. this should be the only option, the iranians said nothing. said, ok. the americans are sitting there are options on the table. please do not forget it. they are aware of the time element as well.
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i do not take it personal when it is a personal ambition, clearly remorseful. nobody threatens iran did. it threatens -- what did they do to them? i do not suggest this is the only thing that makes it more sensitive. it does not reduce the grade and a major danger that we are facing. >> madam secretary, maybe you can tell us how it is going with the negotiations after the initial sense of optimism with both tracks of the iaa and negotiations taking place in baghdad. not much progress is being made. is that an accurate deception? >> i think the point of the negotiations is to do exactly what he said.
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we have to be consistent in pursuing the since the beginning of the obama administration, to have a credible pressure trap that united the entire world. that was not the case when president obama took office. it now is. it is quite remarkable that not only the international community in general but the p5 plus one and china and russia have remained as committed and forceful in the diplomatic negotiations with iran over the nuclear program. there will be, as you know, meetings in moscow starting next week or the weekend it.
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there is a unified position being presented by the p5 plus 1 that gives iran if they are interested in taking a diplomatic way out a very clear path that would be verifiable and linked to action for action. that has been the approach that we have advocated and has been agreed upon. i cannot sit here today and tell you what the iranians will or
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will not do. but i am quite certain that they are under tremendous pressure from the russians and the chinese to come to moscow, prepared to respond. with that response is adequate or not, we will have to judge. for the last 10 days, they have been pushing to get a so-called experts' meeting, pushing to try to postpone a moscow. it was not a single blank. he is either there or on his way there. the russians have made it very clear that they expect the iranians to advance the discussion in moscow, not to just come, listen, and leave. clearly the threats that shimon outlined are very real. to use terror as a tool to do so, it extends to our hemisphere and all the way to east asia. so the threat is real.
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we are dealing with a regime that has hegemonic ambitions. those who live in the near neighborhood are well aware of that. trying to manage it and avoid the iranian's ability to score points and create more islands of influence is one of the great challenges we are coping with. i just want to end with a story that i brought back from georgia last week. it is being turned into a many las vegas on the black sea. lots of casinos. big hotels.
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all kinds of public art. i was talking to one of the municipal officials. i said what kind of tourist season are you expecting. he said, we will have a huge tourist influx. i said where did they come from? he said, we have a lot of turks, russians, iranians, and israelis. i said, how does that work? he said, i will tell you. if you go to the disco's late at night, the two kinds of people left are the iranians and the israelis. shortly after hearing that story i walked into a public building, which is one of his
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creative advancements where it is one-stop shopping. you can get a marriage license, a work license, a passport. it is quite remarkable. i was being shown this modern technical project technological wonder. i walked into the visa section. three men came running up to me and said, we love you. we are from iran. i was like, we're trying to get along with you. the people like you. who knows? i think the larger. and shimon's very eloquent and as usual compelling description is that there continues to be
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this disconnect between the people of iran the, which is a much more diverse society than most of us understand or know how to deal with, and this leadership that has become more and more rigid, more of a military dictatorship if you will. so there is a lot happening inside iran. keeping this pressure on. keeping the sanctions on. keeping the world united against a nuclear threat and what it represents to the regime remains our highest priority. we are pushing forward on that. we will see what comes out of moscow. >> unfortunately, the time has come when we have to conclude. the have been both very generous
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with your ideas and analysis and time. before i call on the concluding ceremony, shimon asked if he could say a few words. >> also while i had the privilege to be among the the openers of the center, i think the profiles the late king hussein's admired profoundly. we feel -- i think that was an unusual idea. to bring the two impossible people at that time to speak to get there. maybe it was the opening of the peace process. he continues me a little bit and i will tell you why. what is wealth and what is poverty. for example, i am suspicious he
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is not a poor person. he did not become pour in his skill. i believe that the person who is rich is a real rich person. -- this wealth is his own imagination or his own charm. it can charmed everybody all over the world. the careful. neither him -- there are really caring for the united states. caring for peace between us and the palestinians.
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caring for friendship between america and israel. without any publicity, when it comes to charity and giving. he is very modest and very restrained. that is what makes him a real person, and a very confused one. i think if he remains pour, it is fitting because he got money. who needs him. if he has money and he is rich and is feeling good that he has money, he can be of help.
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this institute with their outstanding people already -- they really are thinking the the thinkable and thinking the unthinkable. it is easier for us as a politician to think of the thinkable. you are afraid of the unthinkable as well. your listening very carefully. i really want to thank them. i want to thank the two of view. it is an outstanding good job in trying to bring the peace and trying to help those that needed your help.
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thank you very much. [applause] >> attorney general eric holde'e relationship between politicians and the british press. tomorrow they take questions. there is coverage it 5:00 a.m. eastern. then david cameron will appear before a commission can he is charged let perjury. it is this day at 5:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2.
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>> next, a conversation on national security and the federal budget. we will hear from carl levin and the retired chairman of the to the staff. this is how the national press club. >> good morning. welcome to the national press club. it is my pleasure to host this morning. i hope it will be a robust conversation with a and national security in an area of difficult austerity. there's the question that the department of defense and public security as well as the intelligence community are facing tough decisions as they seek to balance the needs with
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but a reality. today's panel of government officials are on how they can balance this well insuring national security. if he would please identify yourself. joining us today representing his private sector perspective is the ceo of task.
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general james scott wright. welcome. with some thoughts on a government point of view is senator carl levin. let's start with you, david. >> good morning. do we dare? the problem with the question is that it suggests we have no choice. one of the greatest threats to national security is our national debt. as a country we have got to get our fiscal house in order. doing so will require smart sacrifices by everyone including those in government.
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what we are not hearing enough about is how we meet our goals. we all have to change our behavior. we must embrace the change. we must enact at the national level, not at a parochial level. restoring funds to unnecessary programs will hurt national security and not giving proper funding to the programs that are essential. we must listen to them. the government has not managed downturns well. if this has led to a hollowing out of our forces. in the past we're fortunate to navigate these downturn in times
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of relative global stability. today we're navigating a downturn in a time of global volatility. we cannot afford to the national security wrong. we are agreeing on a shared goal. the goal is not to protect jobs in my district. or maximize revenue growth. i would like to suggest three. that must be part of unnecessary conversation of how to accomplish our shared goal with in an austere budget environment and to try to get away from a discussion that is becoming nothing more than irresponsible grandstanding. the government must stop racing to the lowest cost regardless of risk or mission importance. member the story of the three
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little pigs. each little bit chooses to build a house of the different materials with different consequences. we tell the story to our kids to make a point that it is important to do things right the first time and be aware of the consequences of taking shortcuts. today's race that makes sense on the surface. why pay more than the seemingly have to? in many instances, it is like building our national security house out of straw. by defining value as the lowest up-front cost without adequate regard for other factors we've risk of building on the wrong foundation comment bearing an unnecessary risk and incurring a much higher cost through budget overruns in the worst cases of failure. i am not suggesting that the government should not speak to
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get the best price. it accounts for all the cost of a time as low as the objectives of the mission. think what you do as an individual. it is one thing to buy a drug to treat a colder headache. when it comes to open-heart surgery on your heart you act differently. we need to understand what is at stake before we buy or cut. that leads me to my second point. there is a growing tendency to think of only using the private sector to provide staff augmentation or government resources and are insufficient. this is a mistake. the private sector is more than the supply of timber of labor for two reasons. first: these systems reside
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across the government and the private sector. we're all in it together. second, innovation and the application of new technology comes from the private sector. treating the private sector is nothing more than a low-cost provider of staff augmentation that shut out american experience and innovation. the government should articulate what it needs to accomplish what it is prepared to pay for and let the private sector figure out to deliver. do you buy a car based on the cost of the steering wheel and the engine and the wages of the assembly line workers? of course not. you buy a car that performs to your criteria at a price you consider affordable and fair. the government acquisition process should move away from the current profession, the cost
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of component inputs, and shift the focus to desired output such as performance and affordability. by doing so, taking this approach will andallow us to get much more from less. it is increasingly recognized circles allow good engineering. you gethe architect to bu before you buy house. you get what he need, when you need it at a budget you can afford. we have built too few many houses without architects. considered the development of an airplane as report in the
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washington report. engineering is associated with the construction of a new program. in today's age of fiscal austerity, it can help us with the construction, making the right trade-off to scale back on existing programs but without sacrificing committee readiness and sustainability. as a country, we face major challenges. challenges for which solutions to come in conflict with each other and test our willingness assistance and a democracy. pulling it together on not
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ignoring our national security responsibilities requires knowledge and courage. it is it time to embrace the changes we know we need to make a put aside our self-serving parochial interests. we must rethink how we engage the private sector in order to unleash the innovation and brainpower that have defined our country for more than 23 years. >> good morning. i think the first test of knowledge this has been a nation at war for going on 11 years. there is no precedent for that. as you look at the activities that are going on around the world, there are still huge
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populations where people cannot afford their housing for their food, are well educated and really do not have much to lose but to go by what they need to survive. that is not going away. the likelihood that as a nation or a blow that conflict is on the wane is not realistic. what is our role? how do we expect to be a participant as the go forward? the first question that comes from us is what is it that we want to be? what are we? is there a different? if you are and afghanistan, you get in an armored vehicle. you go. you come back.
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it is an occupation force. is that what we want? it is the question that we ought to answer in a debate. there's more than one discussion that should be held. this second issue is where is the leveraged? where is the leverage for competitive advantage? i will use dates analogy of your car. when i care what, the first thing i wanted to know was how much horsepower, what transmission, how fast could it go, and what color was it? a small company doesn't work on cars in arizona. they're not a car company. they build a few in a crowd source building. today when you buy a car it is
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well my phone connected to it that doesn't know i am their it know i am there? the car and the platform still has a significant role. the fact that we bring centers , that we putnto its commo them into where we go, there recognized anand functional. those are the things that are important to us. we're starting to move away from platform-centric to the leverage gained fivby i.t. systems. i will never forget standing down in georgia by secretary gates. we were ready to deploy. they had new systems.
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they had ipads and droids. the secretary said what do you think of all this? he said he would sooner be put up his rifle -- leave without his rifle and leave without those things. the capabilities are changing. the competitive advantage on the battlefield is now founts of platforms anymore. it means that the competitive advantage today is driven by devices. it is about a 30 day cycle to try to stay up with that fight. spending 20 years and develop
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for a platform and building it and find out what fight is going to be in and modify it, it seems somewhat irrelevant to the battle that we are on. is staying in one place for a long time what we want? these are the things we lipper as a move toward the future. the last point i really feel is under appreciated, this military that we have built is an all volunteer force. this is the first time we have gone through a fiscal downturn with an all volunteer force. their service is substantially different. they expect to have equipment that works. expect to do training that is relevant to what they think is going to happen next.
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the question becomes what are the dangers of hollowing be forced out? what of the changes of not preparing for the downturn that is about 11%. historically after a conflict would come down in the neighborhood of 25%. are we halfway there? what next for retaking now? those are important questions that we have to understand. what is it you want to be? where is the competitive advantage as you go to the future, and how do you retain of course you have and the quality have as you go into a fiscal downturn? >> good morning, everybody.
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i don't want to be the only one up here who does not come up with the current analogy. coming from michigan, i cannot quite figure out what that analogy is. maybe i will ask a question that will trigger the right answer here. the questions that have been asked so far are the right questions. how do we change our management and make it more effective? how bizarre acquisition system need to change? we have done a number of reforms but in terms of what we need to do, general car rights questions are clearly the right ones. but the answer to these questions is not the current budget process that we are in the middle of. whatever the right answers are to those questions, and they clearly are the right questions, sequestration, which is what is looming before us is not the
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answer to these questions. i think probably my colleagues would agree with that but they will speak for themselves on that issue. these cuts we are facing our automatic cut. in the defense budget there are 3000 accounts which would be automatically cut. the president has a little flexibility, but that is about it. what we are facing now that is looming before us, what will happen in january in addition to the other parts of the train wreck will beat sequestration, automatic reductions, perhaps 10%. this is a kind of mindless budgeting which i think needs to be avoided if we are going to have a chance to answer general car rides questions, and i hope we do. we have begun to struggle with these questions for a long time.
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one of the questions with the general left us with, the previous wars, reductions afterwards were 15% or so. the problem is we are in the middle of a conflict, however you want to describe it, that is not going to end when our troops come out of afghanistan. most of our combat troops come out of afghanistan in 2014. what kind of capabilities do we need for the new threat and the new challenges? it is not as though suddenly there will be a new peace agreement signed in 2014 that will end the terrorism that we face around the world. i worry very much about sequestration. i want to talk about how we can avoid it. most of my colleagues in both parties seek sequestration it as a-kind of threat to a sensible
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budgeting process, a threat not just to security priorities but to a lot of other priorities within our nation, including education, health care, transportation, environment, and many other critically important challenges. -- challenges we must meet and we must face. there has already been a 15% reduction from 2010-2012, a 15% reduction, and that is unacceptable as well as the mindless cuts in the defense budget. i would get out of the mess that we face. we have a lot of hard choices and the only choice that really is an acceptable one, the
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correct one, one that is politically feasible is to have a balanced solution that includes additional spending cuts, but prioritized, prudent, no area would be exempt. general cartwright has spoken on one area in the defense budget that is ripe for cuts and that is the nuclear stockpile. we cannot exclude entitlements from the solution. i want to focus for my remaining few minutes on the question of additional revenue. that is the real challenge. that is where republicans who say they want to avoid sequestration and say they want to avoid cuts in defense, and i believe that most of them do, perhaps not the tea party types who are temporarily dominating the republican party. i am not sure they care about sequestration as much as most
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republicans and i think all democrats. so there is an agreement we have to avoid these across the board salami type cuts in all our programs. we start with the facts. historically, revenue has been about 20% of our gross domestic product. today, it is closer to 15%. yet we have republican leadership drawing an absolute line in the sand against additional revenue. every president that has achieved significant deficit reduction has made revenue part of the equation. president reagan, president bush, president clinton -- the first president bush, president clinton, all have somewhere between 40% and 50% of deficit reduction represented by
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traditional revenue. we got plenty of opportunities for additional revenue. the code is full of loopholes, full of giving in to offshore tax havens that we were able to close down and restore much needed revenue. one example is facebook, very familiar to both of us. a tax deduction following the sale of that stock for $16 billion. corporations paid $16 billion, even though it showed itself as being profitable on the books, when it comes to falling its income tax, because of this loophole, they get a tax refund of the taxes they have actually paid. so they are profitable to the outside world. that is why people are buying their shares for $40 a share,
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maybe now 30 or whatever. but when it comes to their books, hundreds of millions given to their executives were worth about 20 cents a share. it is a loophole. we can close it. a huge amount of money in just one loophole. this is not probably the place to go into more detail unless you are dying to know, but not only do we choose to restore that upper bracket of tax rates at about 39%, and what it was before the bush tax cuts, which will go more than halfway in the deficit reduction that we need, but we also should close the loopholes. i believe eventually the republicans are going to have to choose, are they going to continue to defend tax breaks, tax loopholes, that mainly benefit our upper income folks.
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the only group in this country whose net worth has gone up has been the wealthiest 10%. the rest of this country, median income has gone down in terms of net worth. so there is a necessity that we have additional revenue. there is overwhelming precedent, with every president who has tried deficit reduction that there be a significant component of additional revenue. so i think we are going to find a way out and avoid sequestration, in my judgment, because the overwhelming number of congressmen and women, senators and members of the house, want to avoid sequestration. the big problem beside weather is when. i consider that to be frankly
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the greatest problem we face, because i am confident that we will avoid sequestration whether it comes in a lame duck or after p.a.t. come -- it could come too late to avoid a severe weakening of the economy which result from the prospect of sequestration. business folks have got to plan. families have got to plan. you cannot plan if you don't know whether or not there will be contracts coming in january or not. that uncertainty which is created by the threat, the prospect, the specter of sequestration, i believe is a real threat to this economy. so not only must we avoid sequestration, in my judgment, we will, but we must do it in time to avoid a severe weakening of this economy. that is the greater challenge that we face. see if we cannot possibly reach the kind of compromise which we
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know will be there at the end, to do it in time to avoid this kind of mindless and very dangerous weakening of the economy. thank you. >> thank you, senator. we will open it up to questions and answers from the press first. please identify yourself and your organization with your question. we like to get started. >> i want to ask, mitt romney on the campaign trail talked about cuts that are already on the table. i wanted to know if you think is realistic [unintelligible] it that will change in the near- term or start going up in that romney won house. >> center, would you like to start? >> your asking me not a
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hypothetical but something that is difficult for me to hypothesize about. if he wants to add money to defense spending, he will have to do two things that he refuses to do. have a press conference and identify where he would get the funds. that is number one. what cuts would he make if he wants to talk about cuts? would additional cuts would he make in the so-called discretionary domestic programs. he ought to finally address the loophole question. did he take an oath? is he still bound by the pledge that even though his offshore tax havens are soaking up tens of billions of dollars a year, money that belongs in the treasury, and that money -- is he going to continue to spend it
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to defend a bunch of other tax loopholes cut critics such as stock options? the carried interest loophole that allows hedge fund managers to treat as capital gains income which everybody else has to treat as ordinary income. he needs to address the questions of revenue, loopholes, and he also -- if he doesn't offer revenue, where is he going to cut? he should not be allowed to get away with some answer like he will go with efficiency and cutting waste. >> taking it in a slightly different direction, the reality is, one thing we have been perfect that is a nation is we have never guessed when and where we will be in the next conflict. the question that worries you hear is, is that conflict coming
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before we can get through some adjustment to the economy and start to rebuild ourselves? then i think the statement and comments of the senator are appropriate, and if we are going to enter into another conflict here in the near future, will we, and how will we in fact sustain ourselves in that conflict? how will we find the revenues in order to actually conduct that conflict? we made another choice. it may not be a political decision. may be forced upon us, which is often times the case. >> [unintelligible] any don't really have detailed answer on that. most of the space program is not
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even in our budget so i don't have a comment. >> of the air force is moving operational in response of space under their rapid acquisition programs. it is not just the movement in where they are managing -- my personal opinion on that is is the right thing to do. began to integrate space into the rest of the activities that you are responsible for. don't hold that separate. make it unique so that only the people in space or who work in space know how to use it. space on the military side is but another venue in which we conduct operations and that ought to be integrated with all our operations so we know how to use it and what is going to contribute. and is that contribution worth
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the expense? today, space is extremely expensive. counterparts like airborne surveillance systems and other things like that have value. what is the right balance? if you separate these things, you know how to find the balance. >> the cuts in the satellite program will nonetheless have a negative effect on the defense department's so i am concerned about the reduction in the satellite program and agency that controls many of those satellite. >> your perspective on our nation's future in space? >> i think the discussion makes the point, which as general car right talks about the need for a competitive advantage in the future, we have to look at all the different aspects and understand how it changes the set of mission capabilities we
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need and what the mission looks like. whether it is air or land are undersea, it is an integrated approach we have to be thinking about, which is why it is important to apply the judgments at the national level, notwithstanding the fact that we budget at the program level. i think the senator's point about sequestration and cutting out programs equally is absolutely the wrong approach. it ignores mission and what general car right touches on is the integration of space with air and other capabilities. that is the future, which is why we have to apply our thinking and a tradeoff that the level of the mission and necessary mission capability for tomorrow's wars. >> next question. >> what signals to the public be watching for in the next couple of months if sequestration can
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be avoided? what should we be looking for? >> thank you for asking a question. the big issue is whether or not an uncompromising position is going to be maintained. i hope you will get answers from candidates as to whether or not they are going to stay with the haley barbour type pledge or whether you will see more and more, as you have already done, suggesting they will not be bound by that pledge. the first zero is to the constitution and the security of the country, not to haley barbour. you will see people on the republican side to sign those pledges gradually recognizing
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that there is no real deficit reduction and cannot push back defense another critically important priorities of this country from sequestration without additional revenue. cannot do it. has been proven over and over again. that is the one tip of would look for. maybe the presidential candidate on the republican side will answer the question about the barbour pledge. remember, he was asked that question in the debate, all the candidates were asked whether or not, if they could trade $1 in initial revenues for $10 in spending cuts, would they accept that trade? raise your hand, the moderator asked all the candidates. i think none of them raised their hand. that is an extreme position. no president who is serious about deficit reduction, including ronald reagan -- that
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is what i look for, that specific question. >> what realistically is your thought of what the defense cuts would look like? >> i could see at the most -- i will answer this question but i have to tell you do not agree with what my colleagues here said, first that you have to acquire things in a very different way. you have to decide what is the strategy you are going -- what is the president going to face? when i give you a number, is with that in mind. my best guess would be about $10 billion more, which would be about $100 billion over 10
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years. for total planning purposes when we look at how to come up plans to avoid sequestration, $100 billion over 10 years is the no. i look at. i think defense has to contribute. we have to be very careful about the draconian approach on the fence or other important programs like education, health care, and so forth. >> i am from south korea. [unintelligible] the u.s. needs to adjust spending in korea. [unintelligible] >> we have to reduce some of the
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plans for housing. we cannot afford to be spending a figure like $10,000 a month for family housing that was planned in order to have families come over and be with our troops in korea. we cannot afford that. i would say that in terms of the number of troops, the first thing we ought to do is turn over responsibility for wartime control operations to the koreans. it is long overdue. we keep saying we are going to do it and we do not do it. the question is who would be in operational control. should have been decided that the koreans would be an operational control years ago but the request of the korean government has been delayed a number of times. there could be some progress in terms of north korea to allow us
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to reduce our -- #our troops in korea. as far as the kind of missile systems the koreans have, i don't have any strong feelings on that provided they pay for it. i would hope that we do it in a way that would not be viewed as a kind of offensive position or threatening position towards china or towards north korea. if they want to do it in a nonthreatening way, i don't have a problem with that. >> just to pile on there on the forces and the money spent in south korea, what is important here up front is to do what, and what is it today that the south koreans need from america that is permanently based there and
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available all the time. it is not what it was 20 years ago. having a rich dialogue about that, but it is time to make an adjustment on the posture. the second issue of the missile is not a technical issue. it is not a programmatic issue, in reality it is one of understanding the environment in which she would introduce that, and the stability change it would cause. it may impact enhance stability, but understanding how all of the neighborhoods view that change, and that they understand it is the key issue here. generally, it just takes time to make sure that the logic and reasoning is well understood by your neighbors before you deal with something like that. >> [unintelligible] a lot of contractors may be watching this and thinking it is unrealistic.
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what are the chances that congress will just keep borrowing money and keep defense spending where it should be? >> there is a chance that could happen during a lame-duck session. we could once again kicked the can down the road and modify the law that is now in place that forces some of us to be more deficit conscious. there is a chance that would happen. i don't think it is the right way to go, but to say that congress -- no chance that congress would kick the can down the road would be kind of inconsistent with a lot of evidence.
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not only do we kick the can down the road, i think we have special gym shoes. >> to make a point your question, the focus of sequestration in january 13, but that is a quarter of the way into the next government fiscal year. so your point about impact on industry, i think there's a growing recognition that the impact on industry is going to begin in all likelihood in october, at the beginning of the fiscal year. if there is uncertainty that continues with regard to sequestration or not, and if not, then what instead, in all likelihood one is going to see the government start to be very careful about how they are spending money because they don't know what kind of budget that will be under creek with sequestration hitting the year, that change behavior is likely to happen at the beginning of a fiscal year in october. i think industry is facing a
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very difficult situation here, beginning in what is our calendar for quarter as this all plays out. focusing just on jan. ignores the point that behavior will start to change in october. >> next question. >> [unintelligible] >> there is some evidence is already spurring action, at least in the senate. our colleagues are exploring possibilities to reach agreement in advance and since some kind of signal in advance, in some way that we are able to act in a way that is rational, in a way that involves compromise on the part of everybody. we have to get over the idea that some in congress recently,
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particularly that compromise is a dirty word. there is some evidence, a lot of the conversations taking place in the senate, i think the majority of us are involved in the conversation in one way or another. >> a question for you, mr. chairman. you are confident that sequestration will not happen but you think it will be more challenging. given what was said about the fiscal year starting in october, pink slips have to go out in september. is it fair to conclude that we have to do something this summer on it or else face the kind of economic fallout you talked about? >> i think that is what most
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members of the senate recognize as the reality, that we should be finding a way to act and send some kind of signal we are able to work together compromise, even if it is not the whole thing, that we are able to do something prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. >> i agree with what you said about the problem specifically beginning october 1. >> i think warnings to employees have already gone out to some major employers. that will drive us hopefully to finding a path, in a different context it is called a confidence building measure, the congress is at least able to take some steps down the path of avoiding a train wreck.
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there are a lot of possibilities. one might be to take it did find a way to pay for the extenders being extended. things like r&d tax credits and other things that most people want to see happen. and it could hopefully involve some parts of the tax cuts. everybody agrees we cannot raise taxes on middle income folks. the disagreement is whether we should continue to lower tax bracket for upper-income folks. maybe we can find a way to at least agree that the median income group that has been so hard hit should not face the prospect of a tax increase in january. at least on that part, leaving the question of whether the upper bracket tax rate will be restored at a higher rate later
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on. >> what is the long-term risk of waiting on sequestration and how quickly could we recover? if you could elaborate on what 3000 accounts would automatically be cut, or have reductions in spending? >> the second answer is whatever the cut is, it would have to be applied to every account. the different word is every line in our budget. that is not as clear as the word account. it would have to be an equal amounts. there is flexibility on the pay
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of our troops. the president can avoid that but any as to make up for it some other way by adding a slight increase to the percentage on every other salary. in terms of the effect of continuing this uncertainty about this fiscal cliff, i think it will have an ongoing weakening effect on the economy. i would guess that weakening process would begin sometime this fall. >> [unintelligible] >> i hope there is plenty going on. we have a provision in the defense bill that requires the defense department to feel the impact specifically of sequestration. not just every department, every department -- not just the defense department, every
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department should be informing the public on the effect of sequestration it would have. i am all in favor of requiring the defense department to do that. maybe an amendment on the pending legislation to try to do that. so, it ought to apply to every department an impact on education and health care and other important programs as well. >> the impact on private industry? >> of sequestration? there has been so much written by many of you about the paralysis that we see on the industry side. i don't know how many hundreds of billions are trillion dollars of cash on corporate balance sheets, and the reality is that corporations are not going to invest in capital until they get some sense as to the environment they are investing in two.
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this continued turmoil and uncertainty continues the paralysis. if we are really looking for private sector investment to have a major role in bringing our economy back, we need to create an environment where business can at least understand the environment in which it is expected to do business, and therefore be willing to invest. all of what senator lebanon's talking about is just another color of continued confusion and uncertainty that has had business standing on the sidelines waiting to see what is going to happen. to expect them to act before they see that certainty is just foolish. it will not happen. >> my sense is that there is a bit of a conundrum here. we want to plan for the future. it is responsible to plan for
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the future. you also do not want to give away anything. oftentimes the worry is that as to announce a plan, if i were asked to do x, y, or see, this is what i would do, and all the sudden it happens and the discussion is sometimes felt to be lacking as to whether there should of happen or not. somehow not just the department of defense, the departments have to find a way to dick -- to conduct some serious planning about for a cut and do so in an environment where they are safe and they can explore all the options without having somebody take the decision away from them. >> you mentioned are indian maybe the adjustment with the bush tax cut plan -- new mentionedr and d. what would be the accompanying think you are looking for on
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saving money? >> the reason i mention it, the republic in the business community needs is some clear indication that we are going to avoid the fiscal cliffs. they need stability and confidence. that is what is lacking now in what they are seeing. my suggestion is that there may be some actions which could be taken now which would give people some confidence that we are able to work together on a bipartisan basis and some things that we can agree upon. the middle income tax cuts continuing, not being lost. i don't know of anybody that doesn't agree with that. there may be a few. why not get done the things where we can reach a bipartisan
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agreement? 9% of the congress would not like to see a research and development tax credits lost. there are other things which i hope there would be agreement on. we have a provision that goes to try to reduce the impact of these offshore tax havens. that provision is in the farm bill actually -- excuse me, that transportation bill is now in conference. if that stayed in there, that is something we hope will stay in there because it is my provision. i hope it will stay in there because it is the right thing to do. i should have put that person. i don't want to limit the list -- i should have put that in first. >> what you are talking about -- >> et ask me what i have a
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program to avoid sequestration myself? i would. am i talking to colleagues about it? i am. you mean a total solution? if people could agree, if there were significant bipartisan agreement on a plan to avoid sequestration, even if you could not implement it right away, if it were announced, here is a plan, this is what we are going to do, i think that would be a real confidence-building measure. >> thank you, next question. >> when the defense policy bill reaches the floor, that will be the first time many indy -- many in the senate debate it. can you talk about why it didn't fit its bill will be marked and public and did you ever consider
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marking up the defense bill in open session? >> there are many cases where we have classified information that we talk about in the defense budget. it is too complex to clear the room every time i want to go in and out of a session. it is an impractical solution. the boats are all made public and the outcome is made public. the debate on the floor is obviously public. there are too many instances where we actually talk about things that are classified for it to be a practical way to do things. >> next question in the back. >> the agree with the comments that general car right made about the and necessary cuts and spending for the nuclear arsenal? >> i do.
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[unintelligible] is that something that is going to be a measure of confidence? >> putting in a plea for compromise on sequestration, the answer is open to discussion and argument. this is one area where some of us have particularly felt we are on an unsustainable approach relative to certain changes in the open now --in okinawa. before we make decisions on major spending, there is a lot of spending involved here, that we have a long-term strategy in
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place as to where we want to go and what we want to do. that is not the case with the situation in okinawa and guam. we do not have that report which we are waking -- waiting for. we believe very strongly we should get what the picture for crime is in that area. our feeling is we should not be committing large sums of money to improvements in guam or other pieces of that puzzle. >> general cartwright, to what extent do you feel that our capabilities will offset the need for spending in other areas? also, i was wondering if you think [unintelligible] against iran could actually enhance the u.s. posture?
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>> on the first, the emergence of cyber capabilities, but the bids of an offensive, part of what we are trying -- what i had at least advocated for was that like missile defense, like the conventional capabilities that this nation had in the kinetic sense of airplanes, ships, etc., that the balance in the utility of those activities and how they are put together an integrated against the problems we actually have, not the ones we aspire or wish to have, are critical. to ignore the emergence of the capabilities of missile defense, to ignore the emergence of capabilities and defense is associated with its cyber, and
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to continue to do everything else the same way we did it in the past does not make a lot of sense. what you are trying to understand is where does it fit? in defense parlance, it is called fires. all the things you have in your quiver to be able to use, where is the utility? i can only speak for myself. having defensive systems on alert rather than offensive systems gives senior decision makers time to make decisions, rather than to react and recover from an attack. that is point number one. point number two, the things that we have against the threats that we have in the future, the capabilities we have need to be more diverse in the transition from nuclear, which is at the very high-end of warfare, to general conventional forces. in other words, if the best we can do is have an airplane that
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can go drop obama and the next thing the president has for choice is to launch a nuclear weapon, that is not enough choices. we have to have more choices. that is why these areas are important. for the standpoint of offense, i have said this publicly many times, we need to have more offensive capabilities. we don't have to discuss exactly what they are but the elements we have to have for them to be useful is that we are actually building them. number two, that we are, in fact, testing and understanding them, and number three, we are practicing with them. that is what builds credibility, which is the essence of deterrence. if you can do those things, you don't have to disclose the secret sauce. people have to understand that you are willing and capable to use these things as alternatives. >> would you like to finish our conversation with your thoughts
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on cyber? >> this growing concern is taking up a lot of time in terms of committees that were involved in this issue. i think your question is -- the answer is it could, but it does not justify a leak. if the administration decide they wanted declassify it, that is a policy decision, which i hope people would understand and support. obviously that decision was made in one of the instances to the press. in the case of iran, this was
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not a policy speech. people who either leak that classified information or confirm it need to be a properly dealt with. -- appropriately dealt with pierre >> i would like to thank our guests for joining us at the national press club. thank you. [applause] host: caller: [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> texas republican senator john cornyn called on attorney general eric holder to resign
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because of his handling of the investigation into the leaks of classified national security information. that hearing is next on c-span. secretary of state hillary clinton expressed concerns that russia is sending attack helicopters to syria to help president assad government stay in power. her remarks or later. >> on to mars "washington journal," we'll talk about financial regulations and the j.p. morgan recent trading loss of the least $2 billion. our guest is dennis kelleher of the nonprofit group better markets. we are also joined by grover norquist, president of americans for tax reform, to talk about the bush era tax cuts scheduled to expire on january 1. the treasury under secretary for domestic finance will answer questions about her department's
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role in implementing the dodd- frank financial regulation bill. washington journal is live every day on c-span at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> it has been 40 years since the watergate scandal began and this weekend, c-span radio will air recorded conversations between president richard nixon and members of his staff concerning the break-in. >> we have a cancer close to the presidency that is growing. it is growing daily and compounding. i will explain some of the details of why it is basically because a black male. blackmail. of black mal
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>> hear more this weekend. we are straining at c-span next, attorney general eric holder testifies about his handling of the fast and furious investigation. and his decision to appoint u.s. attorneys to investigate national security leaks. the attorney general said he has no intention of stepping down after several republican lawmakers call for his resignation. patrick leahy of vermont is the chairman of the committee. this hearing is 2 hours 45 minutes.
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>> we will let senator grassley get in. i think everybody is going to give us a little room.
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i welcome our attorney general, eric holder to the senate judiciary committee. the mission of the department of justice has always been to protect and safeguard all americans, to keep americans safe from terrorism and other national security threats, keep our communities safe from crime. when attorney general holder took over more than three years ago, he inherited a department -- his leadership has helped restore the confidence and made great strides in each area. the reaction of those who work here, many from both republican
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and democratic administrations. success in holding terrorist accountable and helping disrupt the threats to national security have been remarkable. a growing number of convictions and lengthy sentences handed out by our federal courts. at the same time, we have to ensure that our national security tools are used in a way that is consistent with our constitution and laws and our values. i remain concerned that congress has not yet received all the information requested in the targeting killing of u.s. citizens overseas. i do appreciate the memorandum provided by the white house. moreover as congress considers real authorizing [unintelligible]
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work to ensure the constitutional rights and privacy interests of all americans are protected. while remaining focused on safeguarding national security, the department has had success in keeping our communities safe from crime. at time of economic crisis, shrinking state and local law enforcement, many expected a violent crime to explode. crime rates across the country continue to decline. a bright light in our country. to continue federal assistance to state and local law enforcement has been critical. to keep crime rates low. to help women victimized by sexual assaults was crucial for us to craft a bipartisan violence against women act that detects all victims.
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it would help victims of trafficking. reauthorized the traveling victims and a second chance act. we have worked in fraud prevention and enforcement. i appreciate the civil-rights division has been restored and transformed. protecting the rights of our men and women in uniform against abuse and wrongful foreclosures.
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i know the restoration of the civil rights division has been a tall order. it has been a crown jewel in the past of both parties. i pause in effort to ensure that americans do not have their constitutional right to vote taken away. such barriers recall a dark time in our history and one we do not want to return to. americans were attacked by dogs surrounded by attempting to register to vote. we remember a time when there were discriminatory devices, grandfather clauses.
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we cannot backslide in the weekend due to protect everybody's right to vote. there may be a temptation this political year in to score points. protect americans and safeguard their rights. i thank the man and woman in the department of justice. i thank the attorney general and the yield to senator grassley. >> thank you. torust you'll be able provide us with accurate and candid responses. three whistle-blowers testified about the use of a practice called gun walking, operation fast and furious. guns and up at the scene of brian terry. here we are one year later and
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the terry family is still waiting for justice. the fbi does not have the shooter in custody. since last year, a lot has happened. the united states attorney for arizona resigned after leaking information to the press. refuse to testify. then he resigned. lanny breuer admitted he knew about gun walking. he stayed silent for eight months. senior people at justice were familiar with the details of the case. the house committee obtained
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affidavits in fast and furious. we cannot discuss them in open session because they are under court seal. there is a public dispute as to what the contents show that senior doj knew or didn't know. anyone reviewing them would have to have known that guns were being allowed to be transferred in traffic across the border. the attorney general said he recently reviewed them and doesn't believe they show evidence of a gun walking. the atf director told us something very different. he read affidavits for the first time on a plane last year after this controversy had arisen. he said that he was alarmed


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