tv Sen. Intel Clapper Brennan Mueller CSPAN March 17, 2013 3:35pm-5:30pm EDT
sure everybody pays their fair share. we are for tax preparedness and for tax reform. but here's a cautionary tale very when you're trying to propose the increase of overall taxation, we have already increased the top marginal tax rates. almost 45%. bese businesses now will competing against corporations that are currently paying 35%. and there is a growing consensus that that is not competitive. there is a move to do corporate tax reform to lower that to 25%. so the engines of innovation are really the small businesses, the entrepreneurs were coming up with all these ideas. they will be competing at a 45% tax rate on their income versus larger corporations ain't 25%. corporations paying 25% your
that is incredibly dangerous. we need to do something to tie the top -- through rate to the top corporations -- the top passed through rate to the top corporations. corporateking about deals versus legitimate business seductions. >> the vote has been called. i would like to make one more comment. >> if we handle the tax reform under reconciliation, it is a very limited look that we can take. we will do ising lose leverage for handling the bigger deal. and the bigger deal can include all kinds of things. i hope we don't limit ourselves by forcing something through to handle a small part of albums
when there are some big problems out there that need to be taking care of -- part of problems when there are some big problems out there that need to be taken care. >> they want a fair and balanced approach to dealing with the challenges our country has. they want us to do with the revenue side so that all americans participate in meeting the great challenges we have in terms of our economy and our debt and deficit. in the creation of jobs that are so important. senator sessions? you have to know what budget does with regard to directing the closing of loopholes and deductions that occur. the plan in the budget is to spend that money. it actually spends it twice. .ut it spends the money if you but that's damon from the
professor on the screen, last in this very hearing room, they said this. for business tax reform, the leading corporate tax rate should be in the mid-20s, made for by getting rid of the hand of government that is distorting business behavior and let is this the business. that was the lead democratic witness here. i asked him to repeat it. so you are sam at the money that you get from closing deductions and making the tax code simpler, which i prefer, should be used to reduce the rates and he said yes. and senator baucus believes that. members of your committee have need toed about the simplify and reduce the rate. but if you spend the money, you get some closing loopholes. how do you reduce rates?
this is the kind of logic we need to get into our minds as we deal with the difficult choices facing america. i think you put us on the right path in saying that we need to be careful before we start down the half of tax reform that should be an overall tax reform that we are out of in the end. i am confident we will continue this debate. but the vote has been called and i would just ask your committee members if we vote and go back to the two votes, we will be able to offer an amendment on each side or we could just come back at 2:00 after your lunch. i prefer that we come back after lunch. >> ok. we will begin voting on the eight amendments that have been offered at 2:00. , there will be a minute
to debate on each side. we will continue to offer amendments after that. please make sure you are here at 2:00 so we can get started on that. >> the senate budget committee the final vote was 12-10 along party lines. it now goes to the senate floor for consideration. later that day, senate republicans briefed reporters and answered questions following a meeting with president obama. the president visited congress last week to talk about areas for concert -- for compromise. this is about 15 minutes.
we enjoyedternoon. having the resident up with a candid exchange. we spend most of the time on q and a. a considerable portion of the time was on our deficit and debt. i thought it would be a good idea for some of our freshmen members to give you their perspective of the meeting. then we will be happy to take any questions you may have. >> thank you. i was pleased the president joined the republicans for lunch today.
we had a good first step here. it is just a first step. any time you have a conversation like this, it is needed. if we are going to see any kind of progress, we will need this rigid consistent and committed and real leadership i was sent to washington to cut spending. that happens when you follow a legislative process. i am new year. i know we need to follow regular order. that has not been happening. i do not support back room deals. i do not support kickbacks. i believe in a legislative process. that is the background i come from. i appreciate senator mcconnell's leadership he has shown when he is committed to supporting regular order.
i appreciate that he has made efforts to ensure that all republican senators have a voice in any discussion and throughout this process. i look forward to working with my colleagues. i look forward to continuing to work with the president as we move forward to reduce the deficit, as we move forward to balance a budget. that is my priority. i can tell you that is the priority for the people of nebraska, as well. thank you. >> we enjoyed a good meeting. it was the first time the president has come to do some diplomacy. during his first term, he invited us to play basketball on the white house lawn. we won and we were never invited back. [laughter]
no, it was a good experience. this was a good meeting. we raised several issues appeared i think the president for the role he is planning on immigration. behind-the-scenes role that is constructive and helpful. and i raise another issue we have in arizona with the regulatory process. here in the senate and house, we have not gone through regular order for four years. as a consequence, the parameters we set for the federal agencies when you do appropriation bills or attached report language to put some guard rails on what they regulate and what they do not, has been missing. that is showing in many ways in arizona. we have a generating station in northern arizona that has been put forward that is -- an order that is pretty expensive.
it would have a layoff of 900 people. it would wreak havoc on the budget, as well. really, around the state, economic devastation in many ways. this is an area where we need to work with the president on and agencies to make sure there is a cost-benefit analysis that is done with these regulations. the president had earlier talked about such an analysis. i thought it was encouraging and i applaud the president for coming up here. >> i think and hope today was a productive conversation. we need far more dialogue in washington and we need far more willingness four republicans and democrats to work hand in hand to address the fiscal and economic challenges facing this country occurred i welcome the president coming to capitol hill to meet with us.
i had the opportunity to ask the president a question. i asked him if he agreed that the number one priority of every elected official, republican and democrat, should be restoring economic growth so the many people who are struggling and hurting out of work across the country could go back to work. he said he did agree that growth should be our top priority. i asked specifically, are there areas where we can work together priority. i asked specifically, are there areas where we can work together in a bipartisan way to restore economic growth. i specified fundamental tax reform that does not raise revenues but reduces the burdens of our tax code on small businesses and individuals. and regulatory reforms that likewise reduce the ongoing burdens on small businesses, job creation, and those struggling to achieve the economic train. i was encouraged by his answer to both questions.
on tax reform in particular, the president ported -- pointed to corporate tax reform. he said he believed there was a lot of agreement between republicans and democrats on corporate tax reform, on broadening the base and lowering the rates so we can be internationally competitive and remaining revenue neutral. all of that was encouraging. those were principles that have wide agreement. if we lower our rates, our country has the highest of any developed country in the world. over a trillion dollars -- over $1 trillion of capital is overseas. we need to bring that back so we can get back to work appeared i was encouraged but his expression of willingness to get that done. on the second issue, on reducing the burden of regulations, job creation, economic growth, he likewise expressed a willingness to work together with republicans to focus on a cost- benefit analysis, to target existing regulations that impose
substantially greater costs than they benefit, and he suggested the creation of a task force in the senate to take a look at regulatory burdens and to come up with a proposal for specific regulatory burdens that could be alleviated to improve economic growth and job creation. i very much welcome that suggestion. i look forward to doing everything i can to work productively, for us to roll up our sleeves and get the economy working again, get the millions of people who are struggling to find jobs back to work again. and i am hopeful this conversation today was a positive step in that direction. >> any questions? >> a lot of this conversation has been focused on entitlement reform. i am wondering if you heard anything in there that the president said about a willingness to bring down the cost of entitlements.
>> the president has says paul has said publicly and reiterated privately he understands that until -- let me put it the way i like to put it. until you make the eligibility for entitlements, you can never solve the problem. until you solve the entitlement concerned, in a way that saves medicare and saves social security and medicaid, because the trusties he appointed are all in trouble, you also cannot save health care, you cannot save the country until you fix this problem. i think the president understands that. his political base is pretty wedded to trying to get additional revenue as a condition of solving the problem. there in lies a troubled scenario for us.
we look back at the fiscal cliff. the law expired. the view i think every republican in the house and senate is, he got his revenue. that is a sticking point. he understands that and we do. that does not mean we should not be discussing this. it will bring about another discussion about what we should do about debt. >> tax reform. [indiscernible] what does this do? >> the senator pointed out on a corporate side, it sounds like we are in agreement. he thought it would be revenue neutral. >> [indiscernible] >> my impression was he thought the corporate rate needed to come down and it would be revenue neutral.
a more sticky point would be if he tried to use the personal rates, the non corporate rates, as a way to generate additional revenue. i thought what he had to say on the corporate side is pretty good. i do not see how you could do corporate tax reform only. we have too many escorts all across america. it is numerically the greatest number of american businesses do not pay taxes and corporations. you do not want to have an adverse affect on american small business. i am skeptical you can do corporate all by itself and not to comprehensive. any of you want to elaborate? >> i would agree. i think it is necessary we have a comprehensive tax reform. i was encouraged to hear the president speak about lowering the corporate tax rate.
everyone knows we are the highest in the world. if we are going to be competitive and grow jobs in this country, we need to see that lower. he mentioned it needed to be revenue neutral. if you are going to look at lowering the corporate tax rate, you are talking about comprehensive tax reform there. i hope that is the direction we could go. >> does that indicate he would stand up on his own party? >> he likes to speak for himself. let me give you my take. we need two things from him. he needs to be directly involved, not leading from behind, but directly involved. and his job is to deliver to the members of his party. i have a pretty good sense of where most of my members are. i believe the speaker does, as well. but the president needs to deliver his side.
if you are looking for an example of how this can work, the best example in recent times was ronald reagan and tip o'neill raising the age for social security. president reagan delivered the republicans and to all neal delivered the democrats and it saved social security for a generation. a divided government is a perfect time to do hard things. you could argue it could be the only time you can do hard things. i will give you four examples. the second was tip o'neill. bill clinton and the republican congress doing welfare reform, and actually balancing the budget in the late 1990's. all of that was done at a time of divided government. we will have a unified republican government, but there are uniquely difficult things that one could argue could only be done in a time of divided government.
and that is what we have. you cannot do it without presidential leadership. we are all hopeful he will be prepared to provide that kind of leadership. the other thing one of our members pointed out, entitlement adjustments are so difficult to explain to the public, only one person in the government really has a big enough pulpit to explain that. as one of our members said, americans feel correctly that they have paid into social security and medicare and it is their money they paid into it. not many americans know, in the case of medicare, that they paid in about one-third of what they will get back. only the president can explain that to the nation. he has got an indispensable role. he hopes -- we hope he will decide to step up. >> did you get a sense he got that and was willing to step up? >> i felt it was a very good meeting. he was very candid.
he understands you cannot fix the country without adjusting entitlements. it is the demographics of our country. we will see where we go from here. it was a great meeting. thank you a lot. monday, carl levin will talk about u.s. defense policy at the council for foreign relations. representedn has michigan in the senate since 1978 and he has announced he will not run for reelection next year. our live coverage of his appearance at the council begins at 12:30 p.m. eastern on c-span two. >> the public is not paying as much attention as i am and you are and those of us who are part of this political community. what i call the political community is, but about 10
million people. it's the people that watch c-span. they watch "meet the press." , msnbc, cnn.x news they really care about politics a lot. we had 120 million voters and many people just get in front of a lot of what goes on in politics in washington and journalism as background noise. that comesra noise pretty much from the mainstream media, people forming an opinion of romney and obama and so on. -- fox news doesn't reach most of those people. fox has great ratings. it has a loyal audience. but look at the shows you "the bill o'reilly show" is the most popular one. it gets 2 million to 3 billion
and that is not the mainstream media. it is not electric. >> more with political commentator fred barnes tonight at 8 p.m. on c-span's "q&a." >> the winners have been selected in this use c-span's student documentary competition on the theme "your message to the president." the grand prize winner was josh stokes. a group from farragut middle school in knoxville won first prize for their documentary on public transportation. watch the winning videos each day next week on c-span. and see all the documentary videos at c-span.org. >> next come intelligence
officials, including national and on stricter james clapper, cia director john brennan, and fbi director robert mueller testified about global threats to the united states. they also talked about got a medic spending cuts known as sequestration and cybersecurity could run the senate intelligence committee, this is just under two hours. >> the committee will come to order. we meet today in open session as we have done since 1994, actually, to hear an unclassified briefing from our intelligence leaders on the threats that face our nation. hence the title "the world threat hearing." we will he immediately the session with a close one. i will ask that members refrained from asking questions here that have qualified casa financers. this is a really unique opportunity to inform the american public to the extent we
can about the threats we face as a nation and worldwide. ourme begin by welcoming witnesses and thanking them for being here. they are the director of national intelligence jim clapper, who will provide the opening statement on behalf of the intelligence community. the director of the cia, new to the job, john brennan. actually, it's his fifth full day. the director of the a b i bob bobler -- of the fbi muelle mueller, now 12 full years in his position. defensector of the intelligence agency, michael flynn. the director of the national counter-terrorism center, matt olsen.
and ambassador phil goldberg. thank you for your statement, which i have read. it has been submitted and we very much appreciated. it is clear of the threats to the united states are many. they are diffused and complex. we face a continuing threat at home from terrorist attacks. most notably from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, but also from homegrown extremists, including the attempted times square bomber. it is notable that the statement for the record includes assessment that, due to recent losses, the core of al qaeda and pakistan is probably on able to carry out large,
complex attacks in the west, although its desire to do so has not changed. this appears to be a stronger statement than in the past about the effect of counter- terrorism operations against al qaeda. since last year, our staff has been keeping a tally of terrorism-related arrests in the united states. with the arrests, on march 5, for conspiring to provide support for terrorists, there have now been 105 terrorism- related arrests in the united states in the past four years. we have listed these. that is the number appeared 105
arrests in the last four years. court federal criminal system, the arrests would most likely lead to a conviction or a guilty plea. if those arrests have not resulted in conviction or guilty plea, it is only because the case is still ongoing. another indicator of the success of our criminal justice system, in prosecuting terrorists, is that in 2011, the department of justice released a list of terrorism trials conducted since 2001. and reported a total of 438 convictions from september 11, 2001, to december 31, 2010. 438hose nine years, convictions in federal courts. we have also been briefed recently on the detention and
arrest of osama bin laden's son-in-law and al qaeda spokesman. i like to commend the agency's work to bring him into the united states and prosecute him in a federal criminal court, where he faces a life sentence. as a terrorist threat has succeeded, a threat of espionage has grown. we have seen a large scale denial of service attacks against united states banks and recent public reports, including by the computer security, about massive cyber penetrations and a loss of property from united states businesses. i am very concerned also about the instability that seems to be festering across northern africa, from mali to egypt and beyond. breeding and hiring a new generation of extremists. some are on an able and
unwilling to take action against these terrorist groups. the rest of the world would need to focus energy and attention to preventing a safe haven and launching pad for future attacks. in syria, there is a massive and still growing humanitarian disaster under way, with no end in sight, as the regime and the opposition appeared nearly at a stalemate. there is a possibility the president would become sufficiently desperate to use its chemical weapons stockpile. i note the statement includes exactly that warning. i know the president has expressed the use of chemical weapons would be a deadline for the united states. i would predict the united states senate would demand a strong and swift response should the use of such weapons
occurred. syria is not the only state to be making headlines. north korea has claimed a third nuclear weapons test, displayed a mobile ballistic missile, and demonstrated the capability of the missile. the regime is now disavowing the 1953 armistice with the south. there is perhaps nowhere else on earth where the capacity to wreak enormous damage is matched by the possibility of north korea using their nuclear weapons. both the syrians and the north korean example demonstrate the need to prevent iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. revolutionary guards are growing older and more capable. these and many other threats challenges faced the intelligence community and play a very critical role in
providing warning to the united states policymakers and to providing insight to shape their policy decisions. unfortunately topic they are being asked to do this work under the self-inflicted damage of sequestration. i know you have been planning for sequestration and would like to speak to its effect. i have an amendment currently the senate floor which would provide a community with as much flexibility as possible to limit the cuts made by sequestration. in the same way as the rest of the department of defense, to make sure intelligence efforts can proceed as much as possible. we may now turn to the chairman for his opening remarks.
>> thank you. i join in welcoming all of our witnesses today. particularly john brennan, as his first testimony as director of the cia. congratulations. to bob, i had a conversation with him when his last term was ending, and implored him to think about staying. i will expect to have that conversation again with you. i may not be successful this time, but you have provided great leadership at a great agency and all of america is safer because of the kind of leadership you have provided. we do not want to miss any opportunity to say thanks. i particularly appreciate all of you being here today to talk
about the threats that face our nation. they come in all forms. terrorism, espionage, cyber, and counterintelligence. from all forms of the globe. today, the american people have a chance to hear firsthand from those on the front lines what these threats mean to the security of our nation. let me start out by noting that today's hearing follows a lively discussion over the past month about the potential for the domestic use of drones. this debate brought new attention to the difficulty congress faces in getting information from the executive branch. the intelligence community is obligated under the national security act to keep the congressional intelligence committees fully informed of its intelligence activities, including covert action. we cannot do the oversight american people expect from us if every branch of information becomes a protected bible. as a group, our witnesses
represent the entire intelligence community. each of you has made a commitment to this committee to provide information when it is requested. we understand there may be exceptions to this rule. we are now operating in an environment with the exception has become the rule. we have heard it said over the past year that core al qaeda has been decimated and is on the run. it's pakistan-based leadership is crumbling under the pressure of u.s. and allied counter- terrorism efforts. new threats posed by al qaeda affiliates and similar organizations are emerging and possibly expanding in places like yemen, north africa, and mali. in the past six months, terrorist attacks have claimed innocent american lives. these attacks show radical and extreme ideologies are not going away anytime soon.
instead, these terrorist organizations are regrouping and gathering strength. when we entered afghanistan in october, 2001, our goal was to put the al qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the taliban regime out of business. now, as we prepare to leave taliban and similar groups in afghanistan and pakistan seem to have mostly survived years of counter insurgency and counter- terrorism. this raises the question of whether these groups will be able to create a sanctuary like we saw before 9/11. as we face new threats, we are badly overdue for a long-term policy that allows us to fully and effectively interrogate terrorist detainees. last week, osama bin laden's
son-in-law faced justice. i firmly believe this administration's refusal to place new detainees at guantanamo bay is hurting our ability to collect intelligence. it seems as though we now either just killed terrorists or give them a round of warnings. dead terrorists do not talk. and the ones we do capture, after 50 minutes or 90 minutes, we are not likely to get the intelligence we need. three years ago, we had the same conversation following the failed christmas day bombing. i am disappointed this scenario seems to be repeating itself. whether he is ultimately tried in federal court is not the primary question. it is whether we maximize our opportunity to gathered good
intelligence up front. waiting for a potential plea deal before getting access again, as we saw with the christmas day bomber, is, i believe, simply the wrong approach. the concern we have returned to the dangerous pre-9/11 mind-set where international terrorists are treated as ordinary criminals, this is a mistake we should not repeat. the administration paz's handling also seems to directly contradict the national defense authorization act, which specifically called for individuals like him to be held in military custody. i understand this undermined the spirit of the military custody requirement. what i believe is an abuse of the waiver provision, the military created broad accepted categories under which they could continue to avoid placing terrorists in military custody. i would ask if someone like abu
ghaith is not held, who will be? it merits our close attention. as does the conflict in syria. it is important to ensure the intelligence community can give us a clear reading into these hot spots and what may arrive over the horizon. cyber espionage and intrusions are growing every day. if we are going to prevent the syphoning off of hackers and nation states alike, congress must work with the private sector in a cooperative way. we must pass voluntary information sharing legislation that completely protect companies from the threat of lawsuits. the government must put its own cyber house in water and we must make sure our criminal
penalties are sufficient to punish and deter a cyber intruders. today is your opportunity to give the country a real glimpse of what it means to be on the front lines of the intelligence community. spending cuts combined with the verse threats is a threat. i am confident the men and who worked so hard every day in defense of the nation will rise to this challenge and not only get the job done, but, under your leadership, they will do it well. i thank you and i look forward to a discussion with our witnesses. >> thank you for those comments.
we will now proceed. director, you have the floor. you will make the comments on behalf of everyone. then we will be able to answer questions. the round will be five minutes because we have a classified hearing. we will go according to seniority, alternating sites. please proceed. >> distinguished members of the committee, we are here to present the 2013 world wide assessment. i want to speak very briefly about the alpha and omega of tenure in the intelligence committee. bob mueller is a very distinguished director of the fbi and a tremendous colleague for me in this job and the previous ones i have held. i could not be more delighted and more proud to have john brennan confirmed and installed as the director of central intelligence agency. it is my view john will go down as one of the distinguished
directors of the cia. these remarks and our two statements for the record, one unclassified and a much more detailed classified one reflect the collective judgment of the men and women in the intelligence community. it is our privilege, those of areere and those of us who not, to serve in these positions. i will discuss our solemn duty to try to protect them. reservationss about conducting open hearings on a worldwide threat, especially on the question and answer session. it is important to keep the american public informed about the threats our nation faces. as you know, we are ready to answer any and all of your questions.
an open hearing on intelligence matters is something of a contradiction in terms. our statements for the record and your opening statements can be viewed in advance, but our answers to your questions cannot carry out their attempts to avoid revealing classified information sometimes leads to misinterpretation or accusations we are being improperct for reasons. when we asked to discuss certain matters in closed sessions, it is not to evade, but rather to protect our intelligence sources and methods, and, to be sensitive to the often delicate relations we and partners.lies they listen to and watch these hearings carefully, as i have learned the hard way. the topic for most on our minds this year is sequestration. you have not seen much public discourse on the impact of these indiscriminate cuts on
intelligence. we have not been on the talk shows and you do not read much about it on the printed media. let me now be blunt. for you and for the american people sequestration forces the intelligence community to reduce all intelligence activities and functions without regard to impact on our missions. in my judgment, sequestration jeopardize our nation's safety and security and this jeopardy will increase over time. the national intelligence program, which i manage, is spread across six departments and two independent agencies. much is included in the budget. for that portion, the congress directed that the national intelligence program use an even more onerous set of rules
to carry out these cuts proposed on the defense department. this restrictive program project in activity compounds the damage because it restricts our ability to manage where to take reductions in a balanced and rational way. accordingly, the size of the budget cuts, over $4 billion, about 7%, will directly compel us to do less with less. some examples, and i will have to be circumspect here in an open session. we are prepared to speak more specifically in a classified section. we will increase the risk of strategic surprise. this includes possibly furloughing thousands of fbi
employees funded in the national intelligence program. our cyber efforts will be impacted. this is an area where we need to keep ahead of rapid technology advances to maintain and increase access to adversaries, as well as provide warning of a cyber attack against the u.s. dairy critical analysis and tools will be cut back. we will reduce global coverage and may risk missing the early signs of a threat. our response to customers will suffer, as well we will let go over 5000 contractors and the number may grow, and they are an integral part of the intelligence committee. this is on top of the thousands we have let go in the previously years. we will reduce coverage. virtually all of the 39 major systems acquisition across the intelligence committee will be wounded. we will be forced to take them in seven months. these condensed time lines magnify the impact these cuts will have.
in response, our approach starts with the premise that the mission comes first. our two highest priorities are to protect our most valuable resource so we can focus on the threats we face, and support overseas operations. a civilian work force works 24/7 around the world and is crucial to performing the mission. it is our professionals who will provide the resilience and ingenuity to help compensate for the other cuts. i am resolutely committed to minimizing the number and of furloughs required the severe impact of
morale. secretaryfollow the of defense's sterling example. let me emphasize here that we are not arguing against taking our share of the budget reductions. what i am saying is that we must manage this budget crisis and continue our missions. i plan to submit a reprogramming act to help us cut rationally. i am asking for your support and the other intelligence oversight committees were expedited. i want to thank you for your leadership and your care for the mission of the intelligence community and introducing a bill that would give us that flexibility. i have seen this movie before. 20 years ago, i served as the director of the defense
intelligence agency. we were enjoying to reap the peace dividend. we reduced the intelligence committee by 23% during the late 1990's, we close cia agencies, caught analysts, and neglected basic infrastructure as power, space, and cooling, and we let our facilities decay. most devastatingly, we distorted the workforce badly. all of that was reversed in the wake of 9/11. thanks to the support of congress over the last decade, we read the rich to rebuild the intelligence committee. now, if we are not careful, we risk another damaging, downward spiral. i will do all i can to prevent history from repeating the cycle. to be clear, the scope and magnitude of the cuts underway will be long-lasting.
on like more directly observable sequestration in tax, like shorter hours at public parks and along the security lines at airports, the degradation to intelligence will be insidious. it will be gradual and almost invisible, until we have an intelligence failure. let me turn now to a briefly laid review of global threats and challenges, although madam chairman, you and the vice chair have done a good job of that already. my almost 50 years in intelligence, i have not confronted a more diverse array of threats and challenges of run the world, which you both described. to me, this makes sequestration even more incongruous. threats are growing more interconnected and viral.
they could quickly set off disruptions that affect national interests. our definition of war now includes a softer version. we can add a cyber and financial to the list of weapons being used against us. such attacks can be deniable. our statement this year leads to cyber. it is hard to overemphasize its significance. increasingly, state actors are gaining and using cyber expertise. they apply cyber techniques and capabilities to achieve strategic objectives by gathering sensitive information from public and private sector and flow of information. these capabilities put all sections of our country at risk from government and private networks to critical
infrastructures. some terrorist organizations are interested in developing offensive cyber capabilities. cyber criminals are using a growing black market. this year, we include national resources affecting national resources because shifts have national security implications. many countries that are extremely important to u.s. interests are living with extreme water and food stress that could destabilize governments. this includes afghanistan, pakistan, south asia, egypt, yemen, and many other states across africa and in our own hemisphere. many countries that are extremely important to u.s. interests that sit in while top
areas are living with extreme water and food stressed that can destabilize governments. this includes afghanistan and pakistan, south asia, yemen, the arab world in many other nations states. water challenges include problems with quality and quantity and flooding. some countries will almost certainly exert leverage over there never is -- over their neighbors to preserve their own water interests. water infrastructure could be considered a viable target for terrorists. in the united states, germany, japan, less than 15% of household expenditures are for food. terrorists militant, and crime groups are used to undermine government authority. introduction of a livestock are plant disease could be a greater threat to the united states in global food system in a direct attack on the food system intended to kill human spirit there will be security concerns with respect to help the pandemic, energy and climate change, environmental stressors are not just humanitarian issues. illegitimately threatened regional stability. the threat from core al qaeda and the potential for a massive
coordinated attack on the united states is diminished but the global g. hottest movement is more diversified, the centralized and persistent -- the global jihadist movement is more diversified, centralized and persistent. the turmoil in the arab world has bought a spike in threats to u.s. interests. the rise in new government and egypt, tunisia, yemen and libya, provide openings for opportunistic individuals and groups. these and other regions of the world, extremists can take advantage of the minister counter-terrorism capabilities, most especially a high proportion of unemployed young males. weapons of mass destruction development is another major threat to u.s.
interests. north korea has the michaud capabilities that threatened hasunited states -- demonstrated capabilities that threaten the united states. we believe north korea has taken steps towards fielding a system although remains untested. they used a launch vehicle to put a satellite into ordered -- into orbit/ these developments have been accompanied with a crest of public rhetoric was the united states. iran continues to develop technical expertise in areas including nuclear reactors and ballistic missiles from which it can draw nuclear weapons. these advancements strengthen our assessment that tehran has a scientific and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons. this makes the issue its
political will to do so. such a decision will reside with the supreme leader and we do not know if he will decide to build nuclear weapons. the united states and our allies are tracking syria's stockpiles, particularly its chemical and biological warfare components. its advanced chemical weapons program has the potential to inflict mass casualty is. it adds are concerned that the increasingly beleaguered regime might be preparing to use chemical weapons against the syrian people. non governmental groups or individuals in syria can also gain access to such materials. countries are experiencing levels of violence and political back slidings. extremist parties will probably solidify their employ this year. after almost two years of conflict in syria, the erosion of the capability is accelerating. we see this in the regime's territorial losses and logistic shortages. they're aggressive violence and security conditions have led to increase civilian casualties. this violent off the company's major political upheaval being protected by the leaks trying to retain control. this violence and economic
dislocation has led to more 2 million syria is being displaced, internally and the externally. in iran, leaders are exploiting to spread influence abroad and undermine the united states and our allies. iran continues to be a destabilizing force in the region, providing weapons and training for syrian forces and standing by the syrian opposition. iran's of office to secure regional dominance achieve limited results in the fall of
the assad would be major strategic loss for tehran. sectarian issues are rising. there was a rise in vehicle suicide bombings by eye, and -- by al qaeda iraq. iraq is producing and exporting oil at its highest levels in the two decades. they remain resilient and capable of challenging u.s. and international goals. the coalition drawdown will have an impact on afghanistan's economy which is likely to decline after 2014. in pakistan, the government has made no effort to [indiscernible] this past year, the pakistani armed forces continued operations in tribal areas which have been safe havens for al qaeda and the taliban. pakistan saw fewere domestic attacks from the militant group. violence, corruption and this cretinism in africa will threaten u.s. interests this year -- and extremism in africa will threaten u.s. interests this year. we still see a result conflict between sudan and south sudan, extremist attacks in nigeria, a persistent conflict in central
africa. china is supplementing its more invest military capabilities but altering maritime law enforcement to support its claims in the south and east tennessee's. it continues its informations dealing campaigns. russia will continue to resist putting more international pressure on syria or iran and display its sensitivity to missile defense. latin america and caribbean contend with weak institutions and trafficking which pose a threat to the united states. roughly 20 million human beings are bing traffic around the world -- are being trafficked are around the world. every country is a source or destination for human
trafficking. in some, given the men complexity of our global responsibilities -- given the complexity of our global responsibilities, [indiscernible] thank you for your attention. >> thank you very much, director and for the written comments as well. director mueller, in a quick question, i mentioned the 100 terrorist related arrests in united states since january of 2009. and the number of convictions since 2011 at over 400. has the fbi been impeded in its ability to conduct investigations or collect intelligence from terrorist suspects because of the need to read miranda rights or present -- prevent a suspect to a court? >> it is hard to responsdspecifically. there may be an occasion where
think is the under estimating of the ability of the criminal justice system to produce intelligence. if there is a terrorist attack, i understand it will be on us. i'm concerned about maximizing the access to intelligence. one of the thing that is underestimated the ability of the criminal justice system to do just that. there are very few cases where we have not ultimately obtained the cooperation of the individual. going through the criminal
justice system. we have had a number of cases where we have a convicted person and because of our plea- bargain in our system, we got the cooperation we need which is led to are testifying in cases our testifying in cases. if you look at three cases prominent in terms of providing intelligence, you start with david hedley of the chicago opened the door to us in terms of the mumbai attacks. then the plot to bomb the new york city subway and another individual. in every case, we look at the best option. in some cases the military tribunal option is not the best option. the ability of the criminal
justice system to produce intelligence is often overlooked. >> thank you very much. orher for director clapper mr. brennan, in light of recent warnings by north korea, including the renunciation of the cease-fire with south korea after six decades, does the ic assess they could take provocative action that could lead to a renewal of active hostilities with the south? >> absolutely. having followed korea ever since i served there in the mid-1980s's as director of intelligence, i'm concerned
about the accidents the new young leader -- the actions of the new young leader. the rhetoric is an indicator of their attitude in perhaps intent. i'm very concerned about what they might do. they are -- if they chose, they could initiate provocative action against the south. >> i agree with director clapper. it is a dynamic time now with the new leader. it underscores the importance of making sure our analytic a collection capabilities are as strong as possible. we are talking about the elements that have strategic importance and potential consequence for u.s. interests, not just in north east asia but globally. this is one of the areas that we need to pay close attention to. >> thank you. mr. vice chairman. >> director clapper, let me address your comments relative
to sequestration. we are spending too much money in washington. i do not think there is disagreement about that. the reduction in $1.20 trillion in spending is not a bad idea but your reference to the way we are doing it is exactly right. it is a foolish way to reduce spending to tell every aspect of the federal government you do not have a choice. you are mandated to reduce spending across the board, whatever the dollar amount is, in your agency are office. let me give you the assurance and everybody here that the chairman, myself and -- we are committed to ensuring the intelligence committee --
community does not suffer a lack of resources. what in the constitution is aware about is that it is the role of congress to provide for the national security of americans. we intend to honor our obligations. you and those that work under you are very professional and you are doing your job. the arctic is doing exactly what we ask you to do. we want you to know we are committing to do everything within our power to ensure the resources are there to allow you to continue to do what you are asked to do every single day. >> i very much appreciate that. i think on behalf of the intelligence community, now more than ever, we are dependent on -- particularly our oversight committees -- to be our stewards and advocate. i am not suggesting we will not take our fair share of the cuts. all we're asking for is a latitude on how to take them to minimize the damage. >> i know you mean it exactly that way.
we will have their back on this. it will not be easy but we will work hard. >> a point of personal privilege -- i have to go to the continuing resolution. may i respond to your comments in terms of the state of play? resolutionontinuing on the floor. this does not deal with the sequester. that has been negotiated by the higher powers. my job along with senator shelby's is to move the continuing resolution. we are working steadily to do that. but the money is for local and in terms of flexibility you just ask for, we will not have that in our bill. we were told that is a poisoned pill.
i would like that as we go through the rest of the day, we could talk to see if we can have an amendment that would accomplish that. we were told by the house and others that this was a poison pill. i would like to do everything i can to get you the money and the administrator framework. i can say nothing but positive things about senator shelby. but we need help. if we could do that, we would. we do want to work with you. we so admire you. >> if i may just again in the complexity of ppa's, we're asking to be treated
identically. we have been singled out for small, exacting ppa's which restricts the latitude to move money away -- to move money around to litigate the damage. >> the only thing this amendment would do that's being introduced today is the view that authority -- is to give you that authority. i will like you to give it to senators reid, boehner, mcconnell and the house democratic leadership as well. i always hoped a higher power would be on my side. we will have a new pope and i would like you to have new
flexibility but it will take a higher power and this is what you need to show. >> to give very much. shall we continue? -- thank you very much. shall we continue? >> obviously we are still in the stage of remorse relative to the death of four brave americans in benghazi. the american people have demanded answers. i realize we are in an open hearing. what i would like to ask is to
tell the american people, what are our lessons learned here as we move forward? otherw we have a lot of vulnerable spots around the world. what can you tell us about the progress towards bringing these murderers to justice? >> first of all senator, one lesson in this is a greater emphasis on forest protection for our diplomatic facilities. -- force protection for our diplomatic facilities. i think a short fall for us having a better appreciation of the tactical facility. do other lesson is do not talking points are classified talking points. >> with regard to the
investigation, since this occurred, we have had teams on the ground in tripoli and elsewhere around the world conducting the investigation. with regard to the cooperation of the libyan authorities, there is a willingness exhibited by their actions to cooperate. however, it is difficult particularly in benghazi. we have received cooperation from the libyan authorities to continue to coordinate with them. i will say the investigation had not been stymied. i believe we will prove to be fruitful. >> thank you very much. the next four. senator rockefeller. >> thank you, madam chair.
i cannot help, director clapper and john brennan, bring up the subject saxby did in his opening comments. talk was just given about a good relationship between the intelligence community and congress. what happened over the last couple weeks was -- is a threat. betweenthreat to trust us and you, us towards you, you towards us. wet basically happened was were given certain things which we requested primarily because you are up for confirmation had we not been given those things which we requested, the confirmation would not have had
participate, this goes all the way back to 2001, then minders, as i sat with my marine intelligence expert, there was a minder sent in. i was not aware that person would be there. that was an insult to me. and i kicked the person out. we have to find a way for us to trust each other. i do not think we may be mutually but in any event, we have not figured it out. things after the confirmation, went directly back to the way they were from 2001 to 2007. we had a classified briefing,
all of our staff was kicked out. with one exception, two exceptions. i was outraged. we were eager to do it -- the first bill passed after 9/11 allowed the fbi and cia to talk to each other. maybe we need another bill to talk to us openly, more than a half. it is a real problem. john brennan, i do not think this is your instinct but during your 4 hour grilling, you were superb.
we cannot be told things that could be in our purvey to look at which in fact have nothing look at that is a threat to anybody, that we cannot have that. for that our staff cannot be in attendance. you would happen if we had here and all those behind you have to stay out of the room? that is a comparable situation. anm not a lawyer, i am not intelligence analyst or specialist.
i need advice, i need staff. i have a superb one. as we all do. is there a way in your mind that we can somehow come to an understanding which makes this program or problem work of the way it should so that we are comfortable with each other but you do not protect yourself beyond where you have to so we can trust each other and really concentrate. >> let me start and then i know john has views on this. i've done confirmation three times and as more than a body should stand. what i say may not be entirely satisfactory to you. i think all of us think trust is fundamental to the relationship between the intelligence committee and our oversight committees. haveversight committees the responsibility, unlike others, because so much of what we do is classified and secret.
we recognize the doubly important responsibility you have on behalf of the american public since not everything we do can be revealed. as a general rule, that which is under our control and activities that we manage and oversee i think our record has been pretty good, pretty consistent in sharing that with you. we depend so heavily on you for your support. when there are documents that elsewhere in the executive
branch or when we are attempting to abide by a longstanding practice which has been practiced by both republican and democratic administrations of executive privilege, i think that is where we begin to have problems. for that which is fully under our control, i think i can pledge to you that we will endeavor to burn your trust. john. >> like most hostages, i was excluded from ransom negotiations during my confirmation process but one of the things i have committed to myself is to familiarize myself instantly with the rules and procedures that govern the interaction with this committee and other oversight committees for programs and activities that fall under my purview. i what to speak with the chairman and vice-chairman about this. i do not know what those have
been heretofore. what i really want to do is have as much dialogue as possible with you so that trust can be built up so we are able to address these issues earlier. on some of the matters related to like the benghazi talking points, we need to address it as soon as possible. we have a clear understanding of what your interests and requirements are and then we need to do what we can to give you what you need to fill your statutory responsibilities of oversight. we need to do what we can sue you can fulfill your responsibilities of oversight. >> either others are i will continue this. >> thank you, senator rockefeller. the olc opinions in particular, particularly with our obligation which is robust oversight, you cannot know
whether something is carried out by the executive branch within the law unless you see those opinions which phrase the law. i think that is the problem. it is very difficult to look at them. not to look at them and to make judgments without understanding. i believe you with that. senator coats. >> madame chair, thank you. director clapper, of all the topics you chose to talk about, you put cyber at the top. i think i understand why. we are undergoing a major transformation intertwined with digital technology and the internet that has profound implications for the u.s. economic and national security. i was disappointed we were not able to put a legislative package together in the last
congress that failed in the waning days of congress. the president followed up with an executive order. mr. brennan, you are part of putting that order together. it is limited in terms of what it can do. i'm hoping we can work together to fashion a proper legislative proposal that will enhance our ability to better understand and deal with this ever-growing critical threat to our economy and to our national security. in that regard, the executive order from the president indicated a strong willingness to share information from the government with private industry, but the hangup is that the reverse information from private industry shared with the government hit some roadblocks. you need some incentives to provide private industry to
feel secure in terms of their sharing proprietary information and impact on its competitiveness with others and so forth. providing such things as liability coverage and so ensuring that the standards that are set are compatible with industry issues.s are critical i think i am making a statement in that regard. hopefully we can address that and keep that at the level of priority where you put it. i know the majority leader has said we need to set up. unfortunately, we are caught up in debate and issues related to the fiscal issues. this is a serious subject we
need to get on. sooner rather than later. i want to briefly ask you if have anything to say about cyber, that is fine, but this one question -- with the ratcheting sanctions against iran in terms of its pursuit of nuclear weapons it ability development -- capability development, a, have you seen any glimpse of possible change in the decision-making and will of the leadership that will decide whether or not they will comply in any sense at all with requests made by the global community, and b, are there concerns relative to the cooperation between north korea and iran relative to holistic missile technology and other aspects that might give iran --
modify the timetable for the ability to get this capability? yourr the first part of your>>f question at the second part for the relationship between north korea and iran, that might be better addressed in closed session. clearly the sanctions have had profound impact on iran's economy. isany measure, whether it inflation are unemployment availability, commodities, etc. that situation is getting worse. at the same time, these publicly, overtly change in iranian leadership, the supreme
leader's approach, we can go into perhaps more detail our discussion in it closed -- in a close setting for some indications that might be of interest to you. i will let it go at that. >> fair enough. >> i would add to your point related to cyber, the seriousness and the diversity of this threat the country faces in the cyber domain are increasing on a daily basis. i think this is one of the security challenges we face. the threat will continue and grow. we need to reduce the vulnerabilities and take steps. i hope congress will move forward with legislation and issues that you raised on sharing liability art key once. -- are key ones.
youhat john just said, really highlighted what i call organizing principles. they have to be covered. there are standards that would apply both to the government and the private sector. the other thing i want to mention is to consider civil liberties and privacy. wouldssume both of you acknowledge that time is of the evidence -- essense here. >> yes, sir. >> the sooner we get this done, the better. >> thank you, madame chair. director, congratulations. i appreciate the chance to about a number of issues. i will ask some additional
questions about drones. for today, my congratulations. director clapper, i want to ask you what i asked about year ago, and that was a matter of surveillance and what the rules are that intelligence agency would have to follow in order to electronically track the movements and location of an american inside the united states. i asked you about this a year ago. you said that your lawyers were studying this and i hope that we can get some answers to these questions. first, if an intelligence agency
wants to track an american inside the united states, how much evidence do they need? >> first, in the case of nsa and cia, there are strictures against tracking american
citizens in the united states for foreign intelligence purposes. i think i may ask director mueller to speak to this. what you are referring to falls
into the lawn for cement criminal area. >> i do want to hear from director mueller, but i'm trying to get some general principles out with respect to intelligence. you have cited from areas that are relevant, what i'm trying to do is get an unclassified answer to a question about what the law authorizes. >> the law is embedded in the foreign intelligence act. it was extended for five years. it places strict shifters on -- strictures on that intelligence
community tracking of americans. that is overseen strictly by the court and the executive branch, both by my office and the attorney general's. there are strict rules. >> as you know, there are some fundamental questions about the balance chain security and liberty -- between security and liberty. can make a direct
answer to the question about when the intel community needs to get a war and -- warrant. second, the second stances -- the circumstances when no evidence is needed at all. the law does not justify whether a warrant is required. >> i would ask director mueller to help me with that question.
suggest and criminal cases. that being said, put some things in an area where we are seeing where things are going to go. the standard for a warrant is still up in the air. for a particular monitoring, that would have to be more fact-based. >> director mueller, you have identified the
exact reason why i'm trying to get an answer from director clapper. there is no question we will watch what the courts will do in the days ahead. the question is, what will be the rights of americans while that is still being flushed out? it does not specify whether a warrant is required. i want you to know that i will be asking this question of you just like we did with respect
to the legal documents for targeted killing, which we finally got after seven requests until we get an answer. i think americans are entitled to a direct answer. thank you, madame chair. >> would you like director mueller to respond? >> i think he did. he gave a very thoughtful answer, which is the courts are still wrestling with the various interpretations of it. that is a correct answer by director mueller, but we still have a question remaining -- what are the rights of americans as of today while the courts are wrestling with this? and that is a matter we have not gotten an answer to. i will follow it up in the second round. >> would you like to respond? >> with the law not having been totally identified, we think
the most -- we take the most conservative approach. >> fair enough. >> thank you. next is senator rubio. >> thank you, madame chair. i want to talk about egypt. i want to have a clear understanding about the security apparatus and the military. it has been seen as a professional organization for a long time upholding its international obligations. what is the status of that now? especially with the recent political changes and the reelection of president morsi? and the coming of power of the muslim brotherhood? of that changed the nature
the organization? >> i think the military as an institution in egypt has attempted to sustain its status and stature as a professional military organization and not be drawn into the internal local upheavals going on. significanthe most security risk that they face? we recently have seen jet planes and tanks and so forth, but it strikes me that the real security concern should be toward upholding the peace treaty with neighbors and providing law enforcement in the streets. can anyone comment on what the real security risks are?
especially that egypt is not at risk of being invaded by any foreign army anytime soon. does the weapons acquiring reflect the real security needs? >> that is their policy decision. particularly with security. they recognize they have a challenge over there. their intent is to -- they wish to support the peace treaty. the fundamental challenge that faces egypt has to do with the economy. it is kind of a spiral. when it impacts on the economy has been a decline in tourism. that is related to the security situation. they recognize that.
they have internal challenges. >> the real security challenge is internal. strict a has gotten pretty dangerous -- street crime has gotten pretty dangerous, especially in cairo. the other question is broader. that is a general direction they are heading in government lies. there was an election that questions reforms of the constitution in egypt. where is egypt heading? where is the muslim brotherhood or president morsi? byhe heavily influenced them? is there democratic transition? is their push for an islamist type stay? or is there still a flux? >> i think that latter, the
third condition is still in flux. the leadership of egypt is influenced by pragmatic aspects and challenges like the state of the economy and the security in the streets. however, at the same time, the ideology is influenced by the muslim brotherhood. that is evident in some of the constitutional provisions, particularly with the rights of women. >> the u.s. policies, u.s. aid policy toward egypt would weigh heavily on the pragmatic side of the equation for the leaders. and in their ability to receive financing they need to stabilize their economy and gear they need to provide security so people feel safe in egypt again. >> yes, sir, but not at any price. they are very sensitive about their sovereignty to the extent
at which we are anyone else -- that is an issue for the egyptian policy apparatus to decide. >> ok. thank you. >> thank you, senator rubio. senator udall. >> thank you, madame chair. the documents are very readable. thank you for the work your team has done. let me turn to the 6000 page report this committee conducted a on the cia detention program. brennan'sirector hearing. i was very concerned about the interrogation program by the
cia. director brennan's shock at that reports contents -- i understand you had a similar reaction to the report? were you also taken aback by the contents? >> yes. i was taken aback by its length and breath and all that. i also think that i would counsel hearing from the agency and its response -- i would ask john to comment on that. >> i want to get to that director's comment as well. let me turn to director mueller in an interview with vanity fair in 2008. you were asked about terrorist attacks and whether they were instructed thanks to
intelligence up taint through the use of the cia -- gathered through the use of cia. have you seen any information since april 2009 to change your views on the topic? >> i was trying to express -- i was not aware of the practices of the facts. >> thank you. yount to follow up with later. i will turn to director brennan. congratulations on your appointment. i appreciate your involvement with the hostage negotiations. i look for to working with you in your new role. in her confirmation hearing, we discussed the committee study and the importance of putting reforms in place to prevent past mistakes from happening again.
theso pushed for committee's report. last week before you were on the job for the first day, newspaper story was published senior intelligence official who claimed that the cia is ejecting a majority of the 6000 page report, which has footnotes direct resource to cia documents. there was numerous inaccurate statements about the committees report, including a has has 20 recommendations, which it does not.
it appears that the unnamed intelligence official was unfamiliar with the committee's report, i'm concerned that despite the chairman going out of her way to make sure that only certain individuals have access to the report, the cia personnel are leaking what may not be the official response to the report. areeems unnamed officials putting you in an awkward position before you even have a chance to weigh in as a new cia director. runquestions and i will through them -- do you believe this is the cia's views despite official seem unfamiliar with the report? second, do you anticipate looking into the leak? finally, provide comments -- can you give the committee a sense of when we can expect the cia's comments? >> thank you.
first of all, i will not speculate on who might have been responsible for the information that appeared in the newspaper. i know that people are looking into that right now to see whether or not there was any disclosure of information. thee is a real interest in part of the cia to be responsive to this committee and that report. i have had a number of discussions. conductedts will be and done within a month's time. hopefully before then. there have been a number of conversations with members of this committee on that. it is my firm resolve to look at what the cia has pulled together in response to that report. >> thank you.
i look forward to your firm resolve as soon as possible to this important report from which we need to learn the lessons of we do not repeat the mistakes that were made. thank you and congratulations. >> thank you. senator collins. >> thank you, madame chair. director, in your opening statements, you painted a bleak and dark picture of a very dangerous world. i share your concern about the impact of sequestration on the intelligence community. senator udall and i have introduced what i believe to be the only bipartisan flexibility bill that would give agencies that ability to set priorities,
submit their plans to the appropriations committee the way you do with reprogramming request now in an enhanced reprogramming authority. i talked to senator mikulski about it. she has a similar vision in mind. i know the chairman also has some amendment dealing with the i.c. i want to encourage you to make the consequences of sequestration known to the senate leaders and the house leaders because that is where the decision is being made. it is critical that they hear from you and from all members this panel about what the consequences would be,
particularly in light of the dyer threat situation that we face. -- dire threat situation that we face. i want to turn to iran. during a senate armed services committee, the current diplomatic and economic efforts to stop iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon capability are not working. do you agree with that assessment? >> not completely. i think i indicated earlier that that it is having a huge impact on iran. they'll will have an influence on the decision. we can see indications of that. where i do agree is that the sanctions and thus far have not induced to change on the iranian government policy.
>> i think the fact that they have not produced a change suggests that they are not working. let me follow up with mr. goldberg with the second question. the president has exempted nine countries from fully complying with the sanctions on iran because they have demonstrated a significant reduction in the purchase of iranian products. these nine countries include some of iran's biggest trading partners, including china, india, turkey. turkey was granted an exemption even after it conceded that it had helped iran conduct energy exports the acquisition of billions of dollars of gold. what is your assessment of what would happen to iran's fiscal
and economic situation if these nine countries were not exempt from the u.s. sanctioned policy? >> what i can tell you is that the overall iranian oil that is being exported is down considerably. there were workarounds within the exceptions made for those who reduced over time. that is a constant evaluation and consideration. but the actual amount of oil being exported is down. it is probably -- i probably reserve on the exact quantity for close session. >> i suggest that there needs to be much more transparency in order for us to make a judgment
on whether or not doing such sweeping exemptions is wise policy. quicklynan, i want to touch on cyber security since you and i have worked extremely closely on that issue last year when senator lieberman and i repeatedly tried to get our apprehensive bill through -- comprehensive bill through. i had real reservations about the president issuing an executive order. i think it sends the wrong signal that you can take care of this through an executive order. do you believe the executive order is a substitute for legislation and that only legislation can take further
action such as conferring the branch of immunity on companies that comply with standards? >> i am no longer part of the policy community. based on the nature, scope and diversity of the cyber threat out there, we need to do more a country to address the vulnerabilities that we have and take a step that we need to in order to protect our infrastructure, our networks from these types of attacks. i do believe there are enhancements in legislation that can be made and that need to be made in order to help us, the country, detect our systems, how networks and infrastructure from those kinds of attacks. >> thank you. >> this committee spent an awful lot of time examining the process that resulted in the unclassified benghazi talking
points. you touched on that a little bit this morning. i have one simple question around that. in your professional view of that process, was it in any way unduly politicized? >> absolutely not. >> thank you for a very simple answer. you don't get those very often. i really appreciated. i want to move onto serious for a few minutes. just to set the table, i wanted to ask how you would describe the current state of the opposition in serious -- in syria? rex it is increasingly gaining territory. at the same time, the regime is experiencing shortages in manpower and logistics. that said, the opposition is
still fragmented. ofre are literally hundreds these opposition battalions with varying strengths. and there are times he made by the opposition to bring some overarching command and control to that. the bad news in all of this, i believe, with respect to the opposition, is the increasing prevalence of the al qaeda iraq offshoot that has gained strength, both numerically and otherwise. they have been pretty astute about this. they are where they can providing more services in what