Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 30, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EST

10:00 am
georgia 21 years ago. i moved down here in 1993, and there was a snowstorm when i moved down here. there was absolutely no problems in atlanta. at the time, we had a democratic governor and the economy was booming. ever since the republicans took over, the economy and georgia has been stagnant and we have had major problems. host: the mayor of atlanta is a democrat. -- caller: i live in woodstock and route 285 runs round the entire city. and even on a normal day without any -- problems at 3:00 it's rush hour and those roads, i used to have a limousine service, and i used to drive down to atlanta-heartsfield.
10:01 am
forget it. at 3:00 it's like total gridlock. now i live down in brunswick georgia, which is near st. simon's island, and yesterday all of the schools were closed, the bridges -- we were told to stay off the bridges, and today's brunswick news, they had pictures of sanders going over the bridges on checkle island. host: steve, i hate to cut you off but we are all out of time. thanks for watching on "washington journal." we'll be back tomorrow at 7:00 eastern time. we want to bring you to the british prime minister david cameron, talking about syria iran and britain's relationship with the united states. we're joining this in progress here on c-span. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> is it more than that?
10:02 am
>> it is a lot more than that because what this national security does, it brings the ministers, foreign -- it's normally the secretary of state. we don't really allow, if we can avoid it, junior ministers in their place. i think it's very important in my cabinet to oversee one of the most important meetings of the whole week. but it brings together foreign secretary chancellor, prime minister -- with the heads of the intelligence agencies with the chief of the defense staff. if necessary, the head of the metropolitan police dealing with counterterrorism and you have the experts in the room as well as the politicians. the format of the meetings is often a presentation rather than just a massive paperwork and the presentation would be given by mr. kim or a leading foreign officer official to set out in front of the committee
10:03 am
the choices we have to make. and sometimes it's very operational. we might have a -- on afghanistan, for instance, we want a proper look at the drawdown plans that the ministry has and is that the operational -- right operational thing for britain. sometimes it can be very strategic. we might have a discussion about our relations with the emerging powers, and it will be about how we best go about, who should we be seeking relations with and how do we improve them? sometimes it can be a meeting where it really helps to have a collective discussion. for instance, we have brought together money from defense foreign affairs and i think it's good that we sit around the table. how are we going to spend it? which conflict areas and
10:04 am
unstable states should our investments be going into? we'll have a discussion about the budget because obviously it's determined according to eight principles but i think it's important to discuss this collectively so we can see the link between what we're doing in terms of, you know, fragile states that we're trying to help fix with a decision that we're making. what i'm trying to say sometimes very operational sometimes very strategic but sometimes genuinely making operational decisions that have an impact across. >> that's very useful. in terms of perhaps the longer term or more strategic meetings that you could have, one thing we noticed is that the meetings dry up in july and they start again sometime in october. what about having one or two meetings extra in that period to look more widely at things, if you like, and at the same time the committees -- whether in fact the n.s.c. has
10:05 am
sufficient outside expertise to come in and give advice and knowledge to help you out? >> how many staff? >> two. >> oh, no, the n.s.c. is serviced by the national security secretary which is 200 people. you really feel that the n.s.c., it's not a committee that brings it together. it has a proper team together behind it that will operationalize decisions and make them happen. we have, i think on occasion brought outsiders in but we also occasionally had seminars and n.s. -- that n.s.c. members would attend in order to hear frouds experts. we had a particularly good session on pakistan and afghanistan when some experts came. we have a special n.s.c. in august last year on syria.
10:06 am
the -- my g-8 agenda in terms of transparency and all of that we had a whole series of experts to address those issues. in terms of meeting over the summer, we have had meetings over the summer. i think if the criticism is that urgent operational meetings to discuss syria afghanistan, libya, tends to crowd out more themeattic discussions, i would plead guilty. i think it's inevitable when governments have to prioritize and choose. i think we spent more time on the operational emergencies than rather other things. >> thank you very much. >> with the types of -- although we're doing reasonably well -- [inaudible] >> i support the innovation of
10:07 am
the national security council. i think everything allows sharing of stoonl knowledge within governments -- institutional knowledge within governments is a good thing. if there is a strategic decision, let's say relating to defense or foreign affairs, which is usually practiced, the foreign secretary or defense secretary would make the final decision. now we have the n.s.c. you're chairing that meeting. can you think of of anything where there was a defense decision where you have taken the ultimate decision rather than the secretary of state? >> i'm not sure mrs. thatcher or tony blair would say they just left defense and foreign policy decisions to their secretary of state. i think the history -- i think history is more -- it often ends as a bilateral thing when a prime minister and a foreign secretary or prime minister and
10:08 am
a defense secretary. the good thing is that it's a more collective way of making decisions. of course, there are decisions made by ministers. you talk about the decisions -- for instance how we went about our engagement in libya and the decisions we made about syria they were genuinely discussed around the table with those ministers, with the expert advice and another point, i think a better institutional izational advice. they sit around the table and he gives his opinions on those things. if you're asking, are there times when the n.s.c. comes to a different decision what the defense secretary or prime minister walked into the room, yes, i think they have. that's what collective decisionmaking is all about. >> we'd like to ask a series of
10:09 am
questions on how the system actually works in practice. and you mentioned syria. in a sense of repeat of the question that was asked, how did the national security strategy affect the way you made decisions and the decisions you took on syria? >> well, obviously when we drew up the strategy and the sdsr in 2010, we didn't have perfect foresight about what was going to happen in the events of the arab spring in syria. i'd like to think that the decisions we've made in all these have been relatively consistent with the strategy set out in the national security strategy. but i don't -- you know
10:10 am
strategy always has to be adaptable and has to be changeable according to circumstances. i think it was mike tyson who said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. you have to make sure you can adapt what you have. the strategy is about britain engaging in the world in order to protect its interests and protect british values like democracy and freedom of speech and human rights. i say what we did in libya and the approach we've taken in syria is consistent with that. >> what will you say your strategic goal was in syria? >> i think two-fold. first of all, we've taken a general view as a national security council that while there are risks in the instability that the arab spring has thrown up we've taken a general view that the advance of what i would call the building blocks of democracy, more open societies, more participating systems is a
10:11 am
good thing in the long term for security. there will always be bumps on the road but that's a good thing so basically we need to be encouraging those sorts of developments. >> what about the use of force in august? >> the use of force that was being asked for was linked to the issue of chemical weapons. i think the debate in a way we had in parliament ended up being a debate, quite a lot of it what happened in iraq and what some people feared might happen in syria wasn't really a debate so much about the use of chemical weapons and our response to that. i think there was a tough global response, syria decided to give up its chemical weapons and progress on that is not too bad. when it comes to approaching syria, our arguments have been britain continues with its very strong position on humanitarian aid which is set out in the
10:12 am
national security strategy. we continued our support for developments positive under the arab spring which i think are consistent with the values in here. but we are also taking a very, very strong and careful look how we protect ourselves from the risks of terrorism and extremism which i think is a growing threat in syria. i have think we need to spend a huge amount of time working how to best mitigate that. >> but coming back to the issue of chemical weapons for a moment presumably you had a strategic goal in mind. what was it? was it to make assad give up the chemical weapons or was it regime change or -- >> the strategic goal was not -- the strategic goal that i discussed with president obama before the vote in the house of commons was that having set a red line on chemical weapons use, we couldn't allow assad to cross it with impunity.
10:13 am
and the sort of military action that was envisioned was purely and simply about chemical weapons. we judged -- i judged that it was important, not only in the context of syria but also the argument i made in the house of commons was that the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons has been important to britain and countries like britain for decades and so it was worthwhile taking a strong stance on this issue, not just because of syria, but the message it would send to other dictators around the world if we did not take that stand. i said happily without military action being taken, the desired effect has been achieved which is they do look as they're making real progress on giving up chemical weapons. that's what it was about. it was not about regime change. it was not about broadening the -- >> we are all concerned about the implications of people in
10:14 am
syria -- certainly with this country honing skills in combat acquiring new techniques and so on. was that discussed with the national security council? >> yes in great detail. all through our discussion about syria. syria has been a real difficult challenge for policymakers all over the western world. nobody wants to get involved in conflicts. but on the other hand, everyone can see right from the start this was a conflict which was going to drive extremism and instability and cause huge problems in the region. that's been a massive challenge. all we've discussed about syria we discussed about the dangers of british people traveling to syria, extremism, terrorists returning home. i think it's extremely
10:15 am
worrisome at that moment. in the house of commons we are debating how we should take away people's citizenship. so we have a government response which is securing our borders, discouraging people from traveling to syria, working with allies to deal with the terrorist threat, stopping people coming back etc., etc. i mean it's a very big focus for us right now. >> and the decision with the national security council? >> that was something we have looked at in the national i ask unanimous consent. i don't recall if the decision was taken for that particular measure. she has been empowered by the national security council to look at these issues. >> that's very helpful. this isn't just about foreign policy. domestic elements to that. but there are obviously other issues where people might say, hang on defending country against terrorism we put 600
10:16 am
million a year into counterterrorism. another two billion pounds on intelligence account. yet, we have people at the moment having problems with floods and particularly on flood defense i think we were at 560 million, rising next year. does the national security council get involved in deciding how to allocate resources between the different risks on the national risk list and if so how do you reach a conclusion? >> it's a very good question. what we have is a national risk assessment as well as a national risk register which is a document we used to try and assess these risks. we discuss that and agree and try to make sure we're dealing with risks in an appropriate way. it's very difficult to try and measure up the amount you spend on one subject with what you spend on another. i can't pretend there is an exact science in it, but i
10:17 am
would say because all these risks and risk registers are brought together in the national security secretary, at least we have one part of government trying to measure all this up and the committee then looks at it. >> so do you look at those resource choices? >> we, we do look at resource choices. specifically in terms of intelligence. but it is quite a good example of the national security council in action. the budget comes in front of the n.s.c. and we have to -- it's a good moment where the politicians can act as inquiz tores to the experts how we got it right between counterterrorism and espionage and wider broader intelligence spending. do you measure up flood on the one hand to the chance of terrorism on the other? well, they are all in the national risk register. there is a science where you have the exact amount of money in the right place. >> 600 million --
10:18 am
>> you're bringing it together. you're looking at your potential weaknesses and you are uhle' try to make sure you are correctly identifying the gaps. >> has the national security council discussed flooding? >> we have a subcommittee -- national risk register, national risk assessment and we have a subcommittee that looks at resilience and threats and hazards, but flooding has more generally been dealt with through cobra. i think it's a mistake to think that the n.s.c. is entirely strategic and cobra is entirely operational. i do use cobra to address issues where you need a -- it slightly wider than the national security council and flooding is a good example of that. >> and part of that process, do you have a long-term plan with
10:19 am
the impact of climate change on the u.k.? have you considered which parts of the infrastructure is threatened by rising sea levels? >> we, we had discussions in the national security council about climate change. we need to have another one before the meeting. we also have a piece of work that's been done on critical infrastructure and the potential threat to critical infrastructure, including from floods and from rising sea levels and that has been considered. i want to make sure i'm not misleading the committee in any way. the critical infrastructure is something that's coordinated by the n.s.s. and then get some -- put to ministers. >> mr. prime minister, talking about the reorganization of the ministry of defense. this committee's report last year mentioned the fact that the future army 2020 for example, we joining the
10:20 am
structure of the reserves has not been something that's come before the national security council. do you think we were right to be concerned about that? >> i never want to criticize it. my nephew has done a fantastic job. i think it's actually true to say that the national security council did discuss the army structure before the announcement was made. so i don't want to give the impression this was a process entirely outside -- >> i think the secretary of state -- >> right. ok. [inaudible] i think you have a fair point. it was done by the n.s.c. a piece of it was sorted out later, was the overall structure of the army. and i think i'm right saying the reserve work was commissioned by the n.s.c. and the result of that and the
10:21 am
future structure of reserves versus regulars, that was discussed by the n.s.c. before announcement. have i got that right? >> that is good to know. >> i think if you're saying, look, you should have done the thing in the go, sometimes these things a few iterations. >> probably impossible. >> thank you. prime minister, still on security but changing the emphasis somewhat, risk of public perception. mention has been made of flooding. if you ask lots of people they would say flooding. when we had incidents -- i'm wondering to what extent your strategy, which you outlined all the economic benefits, which we all would agree with, who is responsible for engaging the public so their perception
10:22 am
of risk is not just a knee jerk reaction to the latest problem? and that when somebody challenges what the government is doing you're actually able to extend. we are talking about syria. you said even debate in the house focused on iraq. so how do you deal with that? who in government is responsible for getting that kind of message about public perceptions of britain? >> i hope by having a national security council people can see that these risks in the whole -- in the end it falls to the prime minister trying to explain how we look at risks and the steps we take and what we're trying to do to keep our country safe. i think our scientists can probably help by forming the debate about risks and probabilities. i think also your committee is helping because you're looking at our strategy and you're
10:23 am
saying, well have you had enough consideration of this and have you looked at those risks? i think in the end have a strategy, explain what it is. the prime minister has to front it up. the scientists can help by explaining some of the probabilities and risks and that's probably the best you can do. coming back to this flooding versus terrorism, i think people want to know we're doing everything possible to protect dwellings from flooding and we have a forward investment program and all the rest of it. i think people understand there are severe weather events that can affect your country. you do everything you can to mitigate but in the end you can't mitigate against every single thing. whereas these appalling terrorist events, which can be so indiscriminant and are such huge risks, they want to know you're doing everything possible to prevent them from happening in the first place. >> do you think that the recent problems that we have all seen about the snowden revelation,
10:24 am
the way in which they have been publicized largely by some people actually undermining public confidence in our security agencies? and if so who's responsible for defending the agencies explaining and getting some perspective to some of the difficult discussions? >> i think first of all in response to snowden, i think what we have to do is make sure we're confident that the governance procedures for the intelligence services are row bust the intelligence -- robust, the intelligence commissioners. i keep asking myself, do we have a good system in place? and i think we have. we're trying to improve it. in terms of, has it dented public confidence in the work of the security agencies?
10:25 am
i haven't seen the opinion polling, but my sense is that the public reaction it's a r as opposed to some of the media reaction look, we have intelligence because it's a dangerous world and there are bad people that want to do terrible things to us and we should support these intelligence services and the work they do. i think the public reaction, what i felt in terms of what people's reaction has been, has been pretty robust. who's responsible for defending the security cells and explaining what they do? i think i have a responsibility. i feel like i'm the minister for the intelligence service and i have the responsibility to stand up for them, thank them publicly because they can't be thanked publicly as other emergency services are and try to explain what they do. i've done some of that. i think they are often the best spokesmen -- spokespeople for themselves. i think their appearance recently was excellent. i think the speech that the
10:26 am
head of the security cell was very good summary of the threats we face. i don't want them to make a speech every week. i think actually they could help set the agenda and explain what they do perhaps better than anyone. >> final question. don't you think there is potential danger, the lack of public support for a government might feel is essential to do in certain circumstances might be undermined of what would be needed and the better explanation and shouldn't that be part of your planning when you're actually talking about your strategy, the strategy should not be -- it should be about explaining it? >> i think it's a very fair point. i think if you're saying, should the prime minister, the foreign secretary responsible for two of the agencies, should
10:27 am
the three of us do more to explain, defend and give people a sense of why their work is so important? yes. i agree with that. i think we should do more. if you're worried about damage -- yes, i'm worried about what snouden did with respect to security. i would ask the newspaper to think before they act because we are in danger of making ourselves less safe as a result. as i say -- but i think the public reaction, as i judge it, has not been one of sort of shock horror. it's been much more intelligence agencies carry out intelligence work could. >> thank you. in hindsight, prime minister is there anything that the n.s.c. has missed? >> i think there are some
10:28 am
specific subjects of quite a technical nature that organizations like yours and others have drawn to our attention. i am not a scientist. so e.m.p.'s and space weather, i think that's actually useful to give the officials to say, have we got this covered, have we got that covered? i think we need to go faster with this work about really examining plans, whether it's the budget, whether it's the conflict pool, can we do more to make this organization really drive policy rather than just strategy? i think we should probably do more on that. in terms of missing things, there are lots of things that the pundits and the politicians and the experts have not foreseen in the development of global affairs but that's why, yes, have a strategy but recognize you need to adapt it
10:29 am
to changing circumstances. >> one thing that we commented early on that we missed in the original national security strategy, we're about to go on to the next one, was the question the americans announcing their -- it has enormous strategic consequences. that wasn't touched on at all in the security strategy. >> i think i'm right in saying, when was the speech, the great obama speech? was it 2010 or 2011? i say we are doing our own thing. if you look at the amount of foreign office activity in southeast asia the asian countries, what we're doing in china and india, william is changing that department and focusing on the high growth emerging powers and all the rest of it. obviously we haven't mentioned our gulf strategy which is a
10:30 am
breakthrough too, to recognize there is a whole set of countries which we have a strong history strong relations where we should try to build on those relationships. so i think we're doing our own thing. i think if i had a wish of replaying it all, i think the thing the sdsr did in terms of moving us away of the battle tanks in western europe and towards flexible, deemployable future technologies, cyber, drones and the rest of it, i which we had done more and faster. and i suppose i'd apply that to the foreign policy side as well. i think this prosperity trade -- trade diplomacy agenda which now is being driven very hard across government, i would have liked to have done more even sooner because i think it's going to be part of our future national success. if we can, you know, massively increase exports to china.
10:31 am
that will be a big part of britain's future success story. you remember from being foreign secretary, getting the tanker to move, you would say, i wish i pushed it harder and faster. >> thank you. we'll go on for the next national security strategy. >> thank you very much, chair. when peter was in the role, he told us he would take two years to prepare a new strategy. since then there's been a 25% -- the work on the next strategy hasn't started. was he wrong? can you tell us when it will start? >> the work is beginning on both national security strategy and particularly on sdsr because the next sdsr we need to start planning now.
10:32 am
look you can argue forever about how long these things take, but i'm so keen on implementing what we said we were going to do that i put more weight on that. as i say, my fear is that if you move faster on writing new strategies you -- all the people that are trying to deliver what we need in libya or in syria, they'll come off that and they'll start writing strategies again. >> will it be fundamentally different or -- am i right in assuming it won't be finished until the next government is in place? >> both? >> the n.s.c.? >> you're right. they'll get a span a period of the next election. we should be starting now. i don't think -- and if you go back over the national security strategy, it needs to refresh. i don't think it will be a complete overhaul. i think i hinted to margaret if i'm responsible for its eventually outcome, i think it -- eventual outcome, i think it
10:33 am
will have that trade prosperity agenda perhaps more strongly. i wouldn't expect a huge change. and the national security security or the sdsr. the strategy we took in the sdsr having a gap in capacity, the exciting thing as we come into the next one, the gap will be coming to an end. we'll have fantastic new carrier in the high seas very soon. >> with planes. >> with planes and people in it. >> can we look between the three of us on this panel some of the specific future things? in particular, we talked about the america. what about the european union? which we will not know in the next strategy whether the u.k. will be part of the european union on or not. so will that be spelled out, the implications being in or out and specifically, how it
10:34 am
will change if the u.k. ceases to be a member of the european union? >> my strategy linked in with the national security strategy that we secure a referendum and i want to recommend that we should remain part of a reformed european union and i plan on the basis of success rather than the basis of anything else. but we don't -- european issues, we haven't dealt within the national security council. we dealt with them elsewhere in government. i accept it has important implications to the u.k. i think we should plan on the basis of what we want to achieve. >> yes. it's a democratic vote. if people are going to vote the other way, despite your recommendation, it has strategic implications. i mean, we have a vote this year on scottish independence and the government produced a series of papers setting out their case where the u.k. is better together. will you not do the same thing for the european union? >> well, we have done with the review looked at the various
10:35 am
areas. i think once the negotiation is complete, there will then be a period before a referendum where the two sides in that debate can set out their arguments. i -- as you know, we are in a coalition government. the coalition partners have slightly different views about europe. my judge is if we use the n.s.c. to debate and discuss europe issues, we would have a second reading debate. what i want is the actions necessary to deliver it. i think it's better to keep europe out of it. >> well, another specific issue and i'll be quick about this one. we heard in the past that our food security and essentially we are about three days away from a food crisis. most of our food is in transit. we found that out with the truck driver strike. do you believe you have addressed enough about how some disruption of communications could lead to a food crisis and
10:36 am
have you responded? is that something that's central to the security strategy? because clearly food shortages could move the country to a crisis in the span of a short period of time? >> what we have done is handling the threats to food supplies, one did a review of emergency planning. it concluded there was relatively good resilience in the u.k. food supply chain. and carried out the assessment in 2010. it's part of the national critical infrastructure plan that we have. you're definitely right. a country that imports food, that has a lot of just in time delivery and all the rest of it dislocation whether volcanic ash from iceland or truck driver strike or what have you does impact those things relatively quickly. i'm satisfied that we have examined the issues, but that's not to say you know, you don't get effects when infrastructure
10:37 am
is threatened. >> prime minister, in the annual report on n.s.s. and the sdsr published last december there was a paragraph which started with the sentence -- it has been a government priority to introduce the program to preserve the ability of the security intelligence and law enforcement agencies to have the access they require in communications. it goes on and he with changes to the existing legislative stream work may be required to maintain these vital capabilities. and i understand that the interceptions commissioner is reviewing our legislation. and will no doubt report to you. edward snowden's leaked material, is there anything you could share with us today to comment about the position of
10:38 am
the united kingdom in the light of what was said in this report? >> well, first of all, i'd agree with the report that over time we are going to have to modernize the legislative framework and practice when it comes to dealing with communications data. it's obviously a politically quite contentious topic. i'm not sure that we'll make progress on it in the coming months in terms of legislation. there may be things short of legislation that we can do. but i do think that politicians , police chiefs, the intelligence services, we got a role in explaining what this is all about. because i think, while i wouldn't go back to what i said earlier, i don't think snowden had an enormous public impact. it raises questions about who has access to my data and why. but i'm absolutely convinced
10:39 am
that proper rules for communications data is essential. i didn't think we got it across to people yet the basics of this. most of the serious crimes, child abductions, who called who and when and where was the telephone at the time, not the content of the call, but communications data is absolutely vital. and i think we need the police chiefs, the investigators and others and the politicians explaining what this is about. i love watching, as i probably should stop telling people, crime dralmas on the television. there's highly a crime drama that a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device. and that's not about the content. it's about -- and the problem we have to explain to people is as you move from a world of people having fixed telephones and mobile phones to skype and phones on the internet and all of that, if we don't modernize the practice and modernize the law, over time we will have the
10:40 am
communications data to solve these horrible crimes on a shrinking proportion of the total use of devices. and that is a real problem for keeping people safe. now, i don't know if that was the clearest explanation i could give but we need to make this explanation really, really clear and get it out to people and build, perhaps the start of the next parliament, a cross-party case a sensible legislation to deal with this issue. i think it is possible but i think it's going to take a lot of work by politicians across parties to try and take that civil liberties concern seriously but get them in proportion so we can then make some progress. >> thank you, prime minister. i think we'd all agree with that. and i think it follows on very well from what -- perhaps this is something the n.s.c. can look at, how to get what you said over to the general public the difference between data and content. >> well, the best attempt i've seen so far, i think one or two police chiefs wrote some
10:41 am
articles in the newspapers and i thought when they explained just how much this involved in child abduction cases, in solving murders and solving serious crimes, you know, i absolutely see and my work with security services and how vital it is to prevent terrorist afax, i -- you know, i feel passionate about this. i feel the first responsibility of my job is to help keep people safe. and the fact it's used so much in crime is a very straightforward thing that people can get a hold of. >> thank you. i want to ask you about something else. prime minister, we all understand the desirblete of foreign investment -- desisheability of foreign investment and so on. but has the n.s.c. looked closely enough at the issue of foreign ownership of parts of our critical infrastructure? i'm thinking of energy nuclear power and waste, water and so
10:42 am
on. and are you confident that there isn't reason to be concerned about whether or not there should be some clear red lines drawn about foreign ownership? >> well, we do have a proper system in place for examining whether inward investments and things like infrastructure are in our national interests. but actually sir kim and i were discussing earlier there will be a proper n.s.c. consideration of this because we have slightly different procedures for some slightly different parts of our infrastructure. and i think it would be good to have a collective discussion when it comes to telecoms and electricity networks and gas networks and what have you that we have all the rules we need in place. so we will do that. i would -- and when we had a specific issue,, we properly responded to the i.s.c. report. i would not underplay that the
10:43 am
fact that britain saying to the world that we welcome it with investment and we welcome investment into, you know, key parts of infrastructure. the fact that the chinese will be invested, i think is a good thing. it means we can free up more of our own capital to spend on roads and railways and other things. and it also makes an enormous -- it's a very good message for britain going around the world. we are not embarrassed but delighted that indian capital is rebuilding the british car industry. we're delighted that the chinese are going to own part of water, investing in heathrow. i think it's one of our calling cards that we are an open economy that encourages people to invest. so, yes, by all means, let's check if there were security issues we could act properly and appropriately and we will
10:44 am
do, but don't lose the position as a great open economy. i was very struck by one of the large chinese investors britain is better than all. i thought that was a good endorsement. >> thank you. >> prime minister, i think when you're saying you wish you could spend more time and effort on asia some had a history of trade in this country. [inaudible] i just want to get your view. mr. gates made a comment the other day, former defense secretary of america, to ensure global reach in support of our long-term security interests
10:45 am
and our part with a crucial relationship with the united states navy, we must guarantee that we have high-end capability with the necessary number and mix of ships? you started on the 31st of january, 2013, your words, your strong view was that the defense budget will require year-on-year growth beyond 2015. as a leading member of nato, no less than 2% of our g.d.p. for our defense budget, i hope you're able to confirm that this is still very very much your view and intention and will be emphasized at the nato conference this september. >> i don't move away from the importance of our defense budget and what that should mean for the future at all. where i take issue slightly with former secretary gates is i think actually if you look at
10:46 am
the equipment program for our navy it is absolutely a full spectrum equipment program. you have the two carriers under construction. you have the type 45 destroyers coming into action. you got the future frig ott program that is there. -- frigette program that is there. you have the submarines. you have the triedent submarines and the pledge -- the triedant submarines and the pledge to renew them and the -- in terms of the navy it has a very bright future and it is a full spectrum capability from, you know, the nuclear deterrent at one end to, you know, smaller vessels right at the other end. so i don't accept that we are, you know, shrinking the navy or it's not a full spectrum capability. it absolutely is. as what you say about asia, i
10:47 am
completely agree. we've seen a big increase in our experts to china, for instance, but we're still only 1% of chinese exports. we can you know, quite easily get to 2% which will be great for us without being a huge change. >> prime minister, there are some who would suggest having more -- to meet the very ambitions you have been talking about today will be more than useful. >> i have this debate with the navy all the time. because clearly what's been happening is that we are having fewer, more expensive ships, type 45's, you know, are pretty close to a billion pounds each. they are phenomenally expensive. they are the most modern, most effective one of our type 45s that's doing more at the
10:48 am
moment. i think it's getting quite a lot of attention. there is obviously a discussion we should have, is there a role for other sorts of vessels we should be using as well and what's the tradeoffs between these multipurpose ships that can do everything from drug interdiction in the caribbean right through carrieress courts or complex warfare, is it right to do that or should you try to have more ships that are carrying out more different tasks? and i think it's a debate that will continue. up until now the answer is let's have the multirole ships that can do everything. >> let me switch a subject and that's the role of the n.s.c. and that's energy and energy policy. there are two aspects of it. you have the shorter term
10:49 am
policy and the longer term policy. am i right in saying that the only real security strategy is the department of energy and climate change document which obviously leaves out foreign policy, planning and range of other issues and frankly looking 50 or 100 years ahead as to what we should be considering, is that something that almost at the top of the agenda in the years to come on long term? i'll come back to short term in a moment. >> clearly energy security is vital. we were talking earlier about how do you define security? clearly energy security, the ability to power your economy to power your homes and businesses and that's the key aspect of security and it is something taken seriously by the national security council. we have discussed it and taken papers on it. i would argue that we have a
10:50 am
good strategy there. we are renewing that point and we will follow next. we set out a very clear strategy so everyone knows what the rules and the costs are for investing in renewables. and we're moving ahead, not just with new gas plants as appropriate but also with onshore shale gas which i think could be a major industry for britain in the future. so i think we got a long-term plan. and we got to make sure that every piece of that is put in place. >> and i think our position does put us -- being reliant on so much. >> i think if you look at our energy penetration of imports compared with other countries, because of the north sea we had a relatively good record. we got the interconnect tift with france. a potential interconnector with
10:51 am
norway. if we make the most of shale gas, then as north sea gas runs down we'll have a new national resource. so when i look at our position in europe and look at, you know, how we linet we are on imports, i'm -- i think we're relatively secure position. we must keep up. that's why the relationship with gasa and others in terms of imported gas, the relationship with norway is fantastically important. making sure we get a decent contribution for renewables. >> could i bring up the other thing that is a really serious problem? we believe our country is facing potentially a very serious crisis of supply and competitiveness at this very moment in time we speak. and are you prepared to set aside the targets in the 2008 climate change act in order to get through this period?
10:52 am
if you're unable to act unilaterally will you seek consensus with the major countries on behalf of the commitments? prime minister what i ask with that is, do you accept now in retrospect these targets, those set by the former government but were endorsed by you, were a huge mistake that threatens the severely damaged and indeed our already damaging europe competitive and growth prospect in years to come? >> prime minister, this view that he expressed may not be shared by -- >> of course. do questions in there. one is the climate change act framework can that work for us in the long term? my answer is yes, it can. we set these budgets. we have to make sure they're
10:53 am
achievable and deliverable. i supported the chimet change act and i think we can make it work. the second part i think about the european targets which i think we are capable of meeting, i think you go back over the history and argue whether it was right to have as many specific targets, you might come to a different answer. europe is reviewing -- the e.u. is reviewing this at the moment about whether the specific targets are correct. but look the question i ask and i got the energy industries the national grid and everybody else around the table, i checked that our situation was robust, is are we content with the rules we have in place and everything we have in place that we are energy secure in terms of our short, medium and long-term future or are there any changes we need
10:54 am
to make about decommissioning coal plants, bringing on gas more quickly or anything else and the answer i got was that the rules and regulations and capacity mechanisms are in place so we have the energy security that we need. so the question you put is very important. but i don't think either the climate change act or our own situation is one that we ought to be concerned with but one that i think we need to make major change. >> [inaudible] this is just not my view. it's head of the international energy agency based in paris and in london here today, we were discussing only the subject of deep, deep critical concern about europe's competitiveness. >> the european union --
10:55 am
they'll debate at the march council. they'll think very carefully about international competitiveness and prices. the united states has 10,000 shale gas wells. in europe we got about 100. and so i think we do need to think about the competitiveness picture. i completely agree with that. i don't think throwing out the window the concern about carbon emission reduction. what is the market in europe, that would be a very good thing. make sure we make use of shale gas. we are committed to cheap green energy and keep driving down the price of these new technologies. if we do all those things we can be green and competitive. >> we are almost out of time. i just want to take you back for a moment. to something you said about the maritime -- about the navy. i am reminded about what was
10:56 am
said recently, unless we change our current course, not enough people. and the navy -- [inaudible] and i applaud what you said about the navy. >> well, i think -- to be fair what was said, if spending reductions went further, there would be a danger of what was called hollowing out. if we were in danger of that happening with what we have. the point i would make is that in the sdsr we made decisions with the chiefs of the defense staff around the table that we're about the future capabilities of the u.k. and a very strong argument was made, which i completely agree with, that we need to have a navy that is full spectrum, that's got everything from those
10:57 am
submarines, the type 45's, to the future frigates and everything else. and that was a real priority. we've taken this gap in capability, which we'll refresh with the new carriers, and that's incredibly important. i don't see -- obviously want to do everything we can on value for money, on efficiency. i think if we do that i don't see any reason why we won't be able to properly run and crew these excellent -- these excellent assets. and also i think it's encouraging people to join the navy. the opportunities when you got this absolutely world first-class equipment that's running out of our ship-yards at the moment, it is terrific to encourage people to join up. >> can i applaud what you just said about the gap being replaced by new carriers? [laughter] >> you have about two minutes. >> [inaudible]
10:58 am
in a public meeting, if the secretaries get their way and break scotland up from the kingdom, what are the national security implications of that? i think you stated publicly some of those implications but i wonder if you could elaborate a little bit more. >> in a nutshell, we are more secure together as well as more prosperous and all the rest of it. scotland makes an enormous contribution to the u.k.'s defense. i will be making a speech soon which is it's very important everyone in the rest of the united kingdom emphasizes how much we benefit of scotland staying in the united kingdom and that's something i feel passionate about. >> we're grateful, prime minister. and i think we got through most of the things we wanted to get through. i think you would have gathered
10:59 am
that we are very anxious about the national security strategy, age stimulus that the next one will be better. one point we have made repeatedly is how much we would like to see it drawn outside experts and other views. without any disrespect to the people we have. and a couple of times it's been suggested that the government might consult this committee and we very much hope that it will and we will do our best to be cooperative and helpful. >> thank you. in the end, the government has got to own this document. so it's got to reflect our collective view. but the more input and also identifying gaps and weaknesses that your committee does frankly the better. >> very kind of you. thank you very much indeed. order, order. the meeting is now adjourned.
11:00 am
>> well, the house is out. they finished their work yesterday. but the senate is in today. and they are expected to finish up work on a bill that would delay increases in federal flood insurance premiums. votes at 4:00 this afternoon. final vote at 1:50 eastern. they're in now. you can follow the debate on c-span2. here on c-span, coverage this afternoon of president obama who will be in nashville, tennessee, the second of two speeches he's delivering today. this is the follow-up to the state of the union address of the other night. the president talking about education. that will be live this afternoon at 5:20 eastern. also today, we're covering some of the comments from house republican members who are on their retreat in cambridge, maryland, on the eastern shore. developing strategy for 2014. leaders held a briefing this morning. here's a look.
11:01 am
>> republicans have a great opportunity ahead of us this year and this retreat for our republican members is just the beginning. and in order to maximize our year, it's important that we show the american people that we're not just the opposition party, we're actually the alternative party. we've passed dozens of bills this year that would help the economy, would help improve education, improve energy production in america, mostly sitting over in the united states senate. but i think republicans have to
11:02 am
do more to talk about the better solutions that we think we have that will help the american people grow their wages, have opportunities at a better job and clearly have a better shot at the american dream. listen, we know that the president's policies are not working. that's why we need to show the american people that the policies that we're in favor of really will improve their lives. one of the president's priorities is trade promotion authority. i've made clear over the last several months that the president needs to engage in this issue. this morning the senate majority leader said he was not in favor of trade promotion authority. trade promotion authority allows the administration to negotiate with our colleagues and allies around the world to expand trade. expanded trade means more opportunities for americans more exports. so the question is, is the president going to stand up and
11:03 am
lead on this issue? we cannot pass this bill without his help. if this is one of his enpriorities, would you think he would have the senate majority leader working with him to pass trade promotion authority in order to expand opportunities for our fellow citizens. >> this is -- welcome to cambridge and thank you for making the trip. this is our opportunity as republicans to come together here at the beginning of the year and talk about 2014. we heard the president say that this should be a year of action and that is our goal also. we join the president in this effort to make this a year of action. and over the next couple of days, the republicans are going to be looking at a variety of issues that face the american people. largely focused on those public policy decisions that will help get people back to work. get our economy growing. whether it is policy related to health care and making sure
11:04 am
that it is affordable and that it is not costing jobs, whether it's energy, whether it's immigration and the need to fix what is a broken immigration system and honor what has been a history of legal immigration in this country. also at the retreat this year we've brought in some innovative outside of the box d speakers. to provide a little creativity to our members, as we think about solving public policy decisions. they've really been inspiring and well received. and our goal is to be thinking of those ways that we can really impact people's lives, make their lives better through the initiatives that we move forward this year. >> good morning. thanks for joining us. the other night we heard from the president in his state of the union address.
11:05 am
i think clearly he indicated that he wants to try and help folks who are struggling right now. i think many polls have suggested and i think all of us know that america's not working for a lot of this country right now. the health care is not working, too many americans are out of work the opportunity to advance for upward mobility is just not a reality for too many people. and we believe and i think the discussion at this retreat is going to be not just about opposing the policies that this president has been about over the last several years, and an america that's not working for people, but it is to craft an alternative for the people of this country so that we can see an america that works for everybody. the president did say the other night, he said, look, in america it's always been if you work hard and you're responsible, you get ahead. well we agree.
11:06 am
we republicans have been talking about that for years and years. and so we want the president to work with us to try and solve that. to make sure that that promise of working hard and getting ahead, so that the next generation has it better than we do, is a reality for all americans. this leadership team has put forward and sent the president a letter and what this basesically says is, mr. president, in response to your suggestion the other night the house has already acted on several things that you mentioned in your speech. the president talked about the need for skills training. well, the house has passed a skills act. and it's sitting over in the senate and the majority leader there refuses to take it up. and the president says in his speech that he wants to call a commission to review all the federal programs having to do with worker training and skills. well, the g.a.o. has done that already.
11:07 am
that's where we pulled our skills act from. so we said to the president in this letter, please sit down and work with us. if you've got other suggestions in this -- towards this bill, making it better, we're all ears. we want to help people. we also mentioned in here the issue he raised on regulating national gas. we've always been the party that said we want to maximize natural gas production in this country, to help diversify our energy sources, to help us compete in america and put people back to work. we want to do that. the president mentioned, you know dual-income families, working momsing difficulty having a job and raising family. we've already worked the -- passed the working family flexibility act. martha robey. that was hearse bill. why isn't the president -- that was her bill. why doesn't the president ask the senate to pick up that bill? we are ready to sit down if he's got suggestions on thats withal. the president also talked about federal research and the need for us to prioritize research
11:08 am
and basic science. well, we republicans have already said we believe in that too. we want to solve the problem and unlock the mystery to curing disease. not only can we save lives, but we can help save cost as well. we just recently passed the gabriella miller kids first research afplgt why doesn't the president join us in that? if he's got more answers or more problems or more suggestions to that bill, we're all ears. so, with that i'm hopeful to have a really productive year. i know along with our speaker leadership team, thank you. >> good morning. cl hope you're all staying warm. the president's state of the union said he had a phone and a pen. i think the first phone call actually has to be to harry reid, to talk about trade. he might want to have to get his own party in line. the pen can be used as the leader just said. as he talked about places we could grow together.
11:09 am
there's four bills that have already passed the house and that phone call with harry reid, he say, move those forward and i'll use the pen to sign those. this conference is unique. it's a time for us to come together to debate issues, to find -- define policy of where we want to find solutions but the speakers we've had are innovators. they're not looking at the concept of a short time frame. they're looking at what the world holds. will the next century be the american century? what are the challenges that we'll face from education to innovation to research to the fundamental of income economics of growing an economy? if you watch inside these conferences, a lot of debate, both sides, challenge and i think that's the direction at the end of this time that you'll see a clear direction of a policy that moves the country in the direction for the next century being the american century. >> we understand a whole lot of
11:10 am
americans are hurting right now. thanks to the president's policies. higher taxes, more spending, more regulation. and we're unwilling to accept the status quo. that's why we are anxious this week to talk about our priorities that can get the economy moving, get people back to work, get more money in people's pockets. i look forward to having a discussion about tax reform. our proposal to lower the rates, simplify the code make it fairer, flatter simpler, close the loopholes and along with that comes millions of jobs. i think we'll talk about energy policy and our proposals opening the keystone pipeline, which is going to help put us on a path to energy independence and create 100,000 american jobs. and talk about our health care proposals. we need to do away with things like this 30-hour work
11:11 am
requirement that puts 2.3 million people at risk of having their hours cut. [inaudible] >> mr. speaker, why do you think this might be a different moment for immigration? >> if you go back to the day after the 2012 election, i said it's time for the congress and the president to deal with this very important issue. this problem's been around for the last 15 years. it's been turned into a political football. i think it's unfair. so i think it's time to deal with it. but how we deal with it is going to be critically important. it's one thing to pass a law. it's another thing to have the confidence of the american people behind that law as you're passing it. that's why doing immigration
11:12 am
reform in a commonsense, step-by-step manner helps our members understand the bite-size pieces and helps our constituents build more confidence that what we're doing makes sense. >> the path to citizenship is not included? >> we're going to talk to our members today about the principles that the leadership team has put together. i'm not going to get out any further. we're going to have the conversation today and i'm sure you'll hear all about it. >> [inaudible] >> i'm sure we'll hear about it today from our members. >> border security, what would that look like? >> you can't begin the process of immigration reform without securing our borders. and the ability to enforce our laws. everyone in our conference understands that's the first step in terms of meaningful reform of this problem.
11:13 am
>> [inaudible] >> i don't know. we're going to have that conversation today. we're going to outline the principles and have the discussion. we'll make some decisions after that. >> but if you can't -- [inaudible] -- how do you show you have an alternative? >> we're going to outline the principles and i'm sure you'll have a chance to look at those as well. >> on the debt ceiling, do you envision any scenario where a debt ceiling increase passed the house with at least -- without at least some provision dealing with spending or debt or some other reform dealing with jobs -- >> we're going to have the conversation about the debt limit. we know what the obstacles are that we face. but, listen, we believe that defaulting on our debt is the wrong thing. we don't want to do that. and so we're going to have a conversation this afternoon
11:14 am
about the way forward on this issue. >> do you expect to have an alternative health care bill on the floor this year? >> you know, we had an alternative when they passed obamacare. consisting of eight or nine points, which we thought would make the health care insurance system much more cost competitive than what we have today. it was rejected. that bill is still out there. but we've got other bills that have been introduced over the last year by various members of our conference. so we're going to have a conversation today about the way forward on obamacare. we still believe that obamacare is not good for the american people. it's not good for our constituents. it's raising cost, it's pushing people out of the health insurance business. they're losing their doctors, they're losing their access to quality care. and there has to be, in our view, a better way forward. so we'll have the conversation
11:15 am
about what that alternative looks like and decisions about how we will deal with it. thank you all very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> we hope to bring you more coverage from the republican retreat in cambridge, maryland, later on as they spend two days developing their 2014 strategy. some news from the democratic side of the house this morning. that veteran california democrat henry waxman will end a 40-year run in the house by retiring at the end of the 113th congress. not running for re-election this year. he tells "politico," quote i think it's time to let somebody else come in and take on some of these fights. henry waxman retiring at the
11:16 am
end of this year. the senate is in session today. the house out as of yesterday. the senate is taking up the flood insurance bill. thanks bill that would delay the increases in flood insurance premiums. final vote expected at 1:50 eastern and then likely also will finish work on the farm bill by the end of the week. the senate's on c-span2. president obama on the road following the state of the union two speeches today. at this hour niece milwaukee. later today in nashville, tennessee, talking about education. he'll be at mcgavock high school. we'll have live coverage at 5:20 eastern. >> this is where the clintons lived when they were professors at fayetteville. after hillary's first year of teaching here, bill was driving her down this road to go to the airport and they saw the house and it was for sale and hillary pointed at the house and said, that's a cute house. and bill took her to the airport and picked her up from the airport about a month later and said, i bought your dream house, you have to marry me and
11:17 am
live with me in it. and that was in fact the fourth time he had proposed. >> there were nine people at the wedding. it was a very small, intimate ceremony. their wedding announcement made notable mention of the fact that hillary was retaining her own name. bill wasn't bothered by this however when they told virginia she gasped and when they told hillary's mother, she cried. fayetteville was the place where they really settled in. they really thought they had arrived. they'd gotten married, they had bought a house, they had successful jobs as law professors. they finished law school. so they'd kind of reached a plateau where they'd achieved a lot of things that they'd set goals for in life. >> watch our program on first lady hillary clinton at or see it saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. live monday, our series continues with first lady laura bush. the olympic games in sochi get under way next week and the heritage foundation yesterday held a discussion looking at u.s.-russia relations.
11:18 am
senator ted cruz of texas one of those speaking at the event, accusing the obama administration of allowing russia to expand its influence in the world. this is an hour and a half. >> all right, if everyone will take their seats. we already have one panelist doing interviews, but you've already talked to him so you can talk to him when he gets here. ok. to anyone who just came in on the streaming video, welcome to the heritage foundation. i'm dr. steve bucci. i'm the director of the allison center for foreign and national security policy. we have part two of our russia event today. we retreated a little earlier to a great trio of speakers who laid down a foundation as to what's going on in russia and what it may mean.
11:19 am
now we have four more speaks that are are going to go a little bit shorter than the others and then get a little more time for q&a, i hope. i'm going to give very short introductions and then let them use up the time for their actual remarks. first we're going to have the vice president of the american foreign policy council in washington, d.c. he has been an advisor to both the intelligence community and to the department of defense and he's written numerous books but i'm just going mention two of them because they sort of apply to this particular subject. his earliest book was dismantling tyranny transitioning beyond totalitarian regimes. his most recent book picked up the subject and it's called "implosion: the end of russia and what it means for merks." so very timely to have him here. we also have vladimir who is
11:20 am
the senior policy advisor at the institute of modern russia. he has served as the washington bureau chief of television and is a member of the coordinating council of the russian opposition. in between them is donald jensen and i surprised him because i didn't tell i was going to start. you're down there at the end. donald is a resident fellow at the center for transatlantic relations. but he is a long, long time member of radio free europe, radio liberty. he is a frequent commentator on radio and television in the u.s. russia, canada, europe and the middle east. so he's got quite a deep view of this area for a long, long time. and then you met earlier my colleague here at heritage, dr.
11:21 am
cohen, who is our russia-eurasia specialist, senior fellow. he's been here since 1992. got his education both at tus university but also many years in israel and he is our major commentator on all things russia, the former soviet union , both their politics, economics, energy and he is our lead man for dealing with the issues that have been coming up , most closely related to sochi. with that i'm going to stop, we're going to speak for approximately 10 minutes, i'll give you maybe a couple minutes over if you have a little too much. then i'll start waving my arms and we'll go from this end down and end with dr. cohen and then go into q&a. >> thank you very much. it's always a pleasure. to be at heritage. always a pleasure to come back and talk. this is perhaps not the
11:22 am
cheeriest subject to talk about . in part because i tend to have a very pessimistic view of the sochi olympics and sort of all of the security dynamics that are relating to it for a number of reasons, which i'll mention. first of all, i think it's necessary to posit that the security situation in sochi voubding the olympics is tenuouses at best. the chair of the house intelligence committee recently commented that the security environment in sochi is the most fraud, the most difficult and the most volatile that he's seen in his memory. there's a reason for. that i think he's absolutery right. but it has to do with a number of systemic dynamics that have been going on in russia for a long time but are really only now coming to the fore. we know the olympics are in the crosshairs of russia's most organized and most capable
11:23 am
islamist group. this is an organization known as the caucus emirate. it is an al qaeda affiliate. it is an organization which has also articulated a vision that is far greater than simply the liberation of chechnya and those areas. it has articulated the liberation of those areas of the russian federation as a prelude to the establishment of a central asian caliphate. so, in a very real sense, they have coupled themselves to the larger al qaeda ideology of sort of the expansion of islamist and islam in various parts of the world. in particular, the emir has talked and there are rumors that he has exited the political stage courtesy of the russian special forces, but i think reports of his death are going to turn out to be greatly exaggerated, as mark twain would say.
11:24 am
when he was alive and kicking, if he's not anymore, he talked a great deal about the sochi olympics are satanic games because they are dancing on the bones of his ancestors or competing on the bones of his ancestors and called for attacks targeting the olympics. but at the core, this isn't so much an ideological play as it is a pragmatic and opportunistic one. we saw at the start of this already several weeks ago a, with the attacks that took place near simultaneous attacks that took place on a bus and in the train station, main train station. in part because the city is an important transport hub that will be ferreying people to the olympics. and it was a place that was, up until that time outside of the security zone that the russian government had established. so it was vulnerable. it was low-hanging fruit. but beyond that, you see reports coming out of sochi as
11:25 am
conveyed by western news agencies about desperate hunts on the part of security services for black widows, who are the spouses of islamic militants who have been killed in terrorist attacks, that are now in play. there's at least one that is believed to be in sochi. i suspect the number is far higher. but it shows you that the security environment is very volatile it's one that frankly should be keeping russian policymakers up at night. there has been an overwhelming governmental response to this. putin has established a security corridor spanning 1,500 miles. so there are mobility restrictions on everybody coming to sochi. but some people more than others. including islamic communityings in the region -- communities in the region. there are transportation choke points. there is a massive saturation of security forces into the
11:26 am
region. 40,000 troops have been officially deployed. there are more that are related not to the russian military, they're related to the security services that have been altogether riced to travel to the region as well -- authorized to travel to the region as well. but the fundamental problem, and i think this is necessary to understand, in the context of a response to what they see as a potential security threat in sochi, but the russian government really hasn't done much to address the underlying issues that have created the security threat in the first place. and what we're talking about here is, first of all, there has been a colossal dereliction of duty. fiscal and political duty on the part of the russian government in building the sochi olympics. putin, when he lobbied successfully 6 1/2 years ago to have sochi be the site of the olympics, he beat out a site in south korea, he beat out a site in austria and he did so because he promised he was going to spend an exorbitant amount on the olympics but the exorbitant amount that he cited to the olympic committee was
11:27 am
$12 billion. the price tag -- right. the price tag for the olympics now is way higher. it is, depending on your estimates, anywhere from $50 billion on up. i've seen estimates as high as $55 billion. at least 1/3 that have money, according to reports from credible russian observers, has been lost to corruption. the result is that the basic, basic things that needed to be done to get sochi ready and to get sochi secure for the olympics simply haven't been done. for example, comparatively modest investments in infrastructure, rail infrastructure, air infrastructure, that would have allowed transport hubs to accommodate a greater volume of passengers simply weren't done. the reason the terrorist group targeted the place they did was because it is a major transit corridor to get to sochi and it's one that retains its importance because there haven't been ainslary roads
11:28 am
built, ainslary means of transport built. thought exercise for of awl of you if you're interested is to go on the internet and google flying distance and driving distance from vulgaagrad to sochi. as the car drives it's 615 miles. because the terrain is very difficult, because there are mountains, because you have to sort of loop around. it is a testament to the fact that there wasn't a lot of thought given beyond the prestige and the glory of sochi itself. there wasn't a lot of thought given to the practicality that would involve hosting an international event like this. and there certainly weren't any investments. so what is the strategic significance of this? i think that there's a couple of really important takeaways. the first is, for my money, that the dominant russian martive that russia has fought and, contrary to the west,
11:29 am
russia has fought and won its own war on terror, frankly that's pretty premature. and tactically, the kremlin has some basis for saying so. if you look at the state department's annual reports on international terrorism, they're called the country reports on terrorism you'll find that in terms of terrorist attacks in russia, 2009 was the high water mark. there were close to 800 incidents in the russian federation. most of them in the north caucuses, in that year alone. last year -- i'm sorry, in 2012, which is the last year for which they have completed statistics, the number was less than 200. so russia is winning its war on terror. but what these statistics don't account for is that strategically it's not. strategically the radical islam inge threat in russia is still -- islamic threat in russia is still resilient. it's actually expanding.
11:30 am
and it's changing. it's me taft sizing in terms of its tactics and volatility. you see this through for example, the use of female suicide bombers which is a comparatively new phenomenon. you see this with the use of different targeting techniques, different explosives. and most of all, this is reinforced by negative demographic trends in russia as a whole. the back drop to this is while russia's population is declining, the russians in -- the muslims in russia are faring pretty well. they make up 16% of the overall population but over the decade one in five russians is going to be muslim and beyond that you get closer and closer to a parity. as a result what you have is you have an underclass which is, as you heard the previous panel talk about, discriminated against by the russian government, there is not a real cohesive strategy on the part of the russian government to integrate, to empower, to provide economic opportunities to, but it's also a community that, as it's being deprived of
11:31 am
opportunity, it's expanding and it's also radicalizing. so this is the fundamental problem that the russian government has and unfortunately the trend line of the last several years has been that they've -- [inaudible] when the kremlin looks at the numbers of terrorist attacks and the decline from nearly 8 nun 2009 to less than -- 800 in 2009 to less than 200 a year and a half ago, it can says that winning. but this hard-power strategy is i think only a tactical success. it's a strategic failure because it's failed to take into account the dynamics that are taking place within the russian muslim population. that gets us to sort what have we can expect to see. i think all of us share the view that we fervently hope that nothing untoward happens at the olympics, that the olympics are safe and secure, that there are no violations of rights, that there are no terrorist attacks and no criminality. but if you are looking at it through the "prism" of a
11:32 am
strategic analyst, you have to understand that the reason that house intelligence committee chairman is so concerned is because he understands that the islamic threat in russia is resilient, he understands that it's dynamic and and he understands that it's opportunistic which means if you're the caucuses emirate, you want if you have the ability to do so, to make a play at the olympics. for two reasons. first of all, because the ability to carry off a terrorist attack in the midst of this massive security this massive injection of kremlin infrastructure and kremlin restrictions on mobility is the blow to the perceived invulnerability of the kremlin. it's a prestige killer. and on the other hand, because when the kremlin devotes so much attention to sochi, it leaves itself vulnerable elsewhere. which means it's very possible that a terrorist attack in russia we think, will be directed at sochi. but it may not be directed at so muchy.
11:33 am
it may be directed elsewhere. people -- at sochi. it may directed elsewhere. there have been attacks all over, including moscow. this is a target-rich environment, particularly for islamists who more and more are migrating from the north caucuses into the russian hardline. i'll leave it there but i think there are real reasons for concern about the security environment and they're because of larger systemic issues. thank you. >> thank you. donald. >> thank you. i'm used to him being on the other side, handing me little messages. [laughter] thank you for the invitation. it's always a pleasure to speak here at heritage and thank you to mr. bucci ilan, good to see all of you again. i was asked to talk about corruption in sochi which is a very interesting question to say the least. we have a discussion around coffee yesterday in my office
11:34 am
about what's the most corrupt institution in the world. the ukrainian government, the russian government the international olympic committee, organized soccer federation, we're willing to entertain a debate online at any time. i'd like to say when i think of these olympic games, going back to when i was a child, there's a stereotype, a simple aim g -- image. the seriousness and effectiveness, elegance quiet dignity, kind of an arrival of california's winter destination. sochi will stand for something quite different. security concerns, human rights ryeslations and i vine anybody to look at what's going on in the north caucuses for that. and third, massive massive corruption, perhaps at the extent to even dwarf the international soccer federation. it's important before i begin
11:35 am
to remember to change context between 2007, when the kremlin bribed the international olympic committee to get the games, and today. then putin wanted to buy himself into the club of world leaders. he was much more interested in engaging with the west, engaging with international institutions in a more constructive way. today of course he's trying to construct in his own mind at least an alternative civilization. and reject western values as being deck dent, that has the so-calledure asian dream or project. --ure aaron --ure asian dream or project. in the last few months at least, overlaying an ideological set of values which somehow betrays the east -- portrays the east trying to make a run and elsewhere as more something but not western in the least which has become decadent. hence the focus on the lgbt issues at the games.
11:36 am
i want to say a few words about corruption at -- corruption at the games. first is the nature of the olympic progress in sochi. it is huge and includes, for those of you who are familiar with arguments about building football stadiums or baseball stadiums in the u.s. a lot of ancillary infrastructure issues. there is a palace -- i almost said palace, a residence for putin, there are stadiums that will rarely be used after this. there's also a fantasy of this. the mayor of sochi said there are no gay people in sochi. which may be the cause but most likely they are elsewhere or driven out or still there. second there's of course the fact that behind the nature of this project is of course a lot of what those of us who are students of soviet history see a lot of, which is a very weak a infrastructure background.
11:37 am
i have a quote here from an australian journalist yesterday who talked about the dodgy construction, poor accommodations questionable employment conditions. the toilet flushes in muddy water, there is no hot water, the shower flowers -- floors are covered with dirt and mud. and so forth and so forth. and some of you may have seen the two toilets next to each other last week going viral. perhaps all this would be cleaned up in the next week and a half. but these things are vulnerable to a lot of forces. and finally of course, the whole project is highly corrupt. i recommend $50 billion $55 billion, whatever it is i highly recommend the project that our colleagues put together a few years ago there's corruption website up in this week, and it's huge.
11:38 am
we're talking about bribes, costover runs, work delays, poor construction and so forth and so forth. on a scale that would -- that dwarfs really what we see in the west. but three things are noteworthy about this corruption, i think. first is that there's been very little debate about this in russia until very recently. the duma and whoever provides a lot of the money and it's not clear in many cases, there's been very little public discussion about it. second would be that the interaction between government private business and law enforcement authority is completely blurred. if you try to look at where the money comes from, it's either the budget or the v.e.b. bank or the v.e.b. bank guaranteeing loans and so forth. it's a blend of power and money that we see in many other things about putin's russia. and third i would say, and this is something that's not covered
11:39 am
very often at all, the corruption and money and issues related this goes down very much to the local level. so the problem is not just at the top. the top is too much of everything going down to the project, to the very local levels. which has implications for guaranteeing the effectiveness of the regime itself. we can talk more about this. excuse me. if recent weeks putin has sort of acknowledged that there might be a little problem with some cost overruns. the chamber talked about mistakes were made and it cost too much. as if it was building a new redskins stadium. which is not the case. putin himself talked a little bit about it in the last couple weeks. why? because the issue of corruption in russia has a great deal of residence, even with the growing number of dismaid citizens. this comes in the context of a
11:40 am
more broad anticorruption campaign where putin is trying to show that he's doing something about it. putting hises lieutenants in charge of the anticorruption campaign cracking down on a few people that makes the campaign look serious, and of course over the past 14 months or so, trying to get some of his oligarch friends to bring some of their overseas assets home. i suspect the reason has less to do with cleaning up the government than making them less vulnerable to western law enforcement authorities. i'm at about eight minutes now. i think it's very important, something we haven't talked about very much, what happens after sochi. sochi in many ways is a temporary stop on a number of processes going on in the system which i think will bear further retention. number one, would be there have been a number of carefully designated signs that putin is liberalizing the system.
11:41 am
which he isn't particularly very much at all. but also the sochi events may have even postponed a more overt and serious russian dealing with the ukrainian situation because the russians don't want to look on the eve of the games that things are happening that they're trying to orchestrate in a significant way. but after the sochi games, of course, there remain these problems. the systemic corruption, the fact that what will the attitude of the west be toward putin after the games? there is a g-8 meeting in june, i believe, which will be at sochi. there will be an invitation to president obama extended to meet and that's already been talked about by some russian officials. so this is a chance for the united states to be up front once the games are out of the way, much more assertive and it's a chance for putin to see -- to be tested about whether his commitment to an
11:42 am
anticorruption campaign has really any meat there at all and i suspect it doesn't. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. thank you to the heritage foundation for hosting this very timely event. as we're now just a week away from the official opening of the 22nd winter olympics games in sochi. as has been mentioned both in the morning panel and by my colleagues here now, it has been the most or it will be the most important -- the most expensive winter olympic games in the history and it costs more than the combined price tag of all winter olympics games since the inception in 1924. and i think the estimates provided by my fellow panelists today are somewhat conservative because in the report that you don't mention, of course it's by russian opposition, which will be presented for the first time in the english language this week in washington, d.c., on thursday, it was estimated
11:43 am
that up to $30 billion was stolen during the construction of olympic projects. only stolen. that's not the price. that's only the corruption part of it. also this week our own institute, institute of modern russia, is launching its own sochi anticorruption project which is called sochi 2014. which provides information, detailed information on 26 specific different olympic objects in and around sochi based on exclusive information done for us by investigative journalists based inside sochi. and all the corruption and abuse that that entailed. and of course it goes beyond just financial abuse. there's numerous cases of the mistreatment of construction workers, mistreatment of local residents, severe environmental and architectural abuse and similar unfortunate incidences. but i think it's really important, as the world focuses its attention on russia, as we approach the sochi games, to look beyond sochi and to look
11:44 am
at the overall land escape, the overall situation in the host country. and that situation and that landscape of course includes elections that fail to meet the most basic democratic standards where opposition parties and candidates are routinely barred from the ballot, where despite the promises made after the 2011-2012 mass protests opposition parties continue to face tremendous pressure from the kremlin of the just two weeks ago a party has received its third denial of registration from the ministry of justice, which is equivalent to a denial of ballot access. and in the next couple of weeks, russia's real registered opposition party, the republican party of russia, will face a kremlin instigated takeover attempt. of course there's a landscape that includes kremlin control and kremlin censorship over every single national television channel, a situation that includes tremendous pressure and harassment of
11:45 am
governmental organizations. russian n.g.o.'s are faced to accept a slanderous label of foreign agents or faced -- face forced disillusion. the voting monitoring legislation which is of course the biggest problem -- the biggest troublemaker for the regime, which was forcibly shut down by the russian justice ministry last summer for refusing to accept itself as a foreign agent which of course it is not. and it is a landscape that includes today dozens of political prisoners, of people who sit in jails and under house arrest and in pretrial detention centers for the only, quote, crime of having crossed the path of the kremlin regime. despite the high profile pardons at the end of the last year and of course the release of russia's best known political prisoner for more than a decade last week of another prisoner, and despite the partial amnesty for some
11:46 am
political prisoners including green peace in december there remain dozens of people who are in russian prisons on politically motivated grounds. a man said two days after his own release, you should not see me as a symbol that there are no political prisoners left in russia. i am asking to you see me as a symbol of thests of civil society may lead to the release, even of those people whose release was not expected by anyone. we must continue to do all we can to ensure there are no more political prisoners in russia or any other country, end of quote. at the end of the last week, the institute of modern russia has launched a new project. it includes a full list published on our website, 40 people who are dessnatesed as political prisoners in russia today. this is not our designation. this is a designation made by russia's most respected human rights organization founded a
11:47 am
quarter century ago. a quarter century ago this week in fact. the aim of this project is to bring attention, including global attention, to the plight of those people and to raise awareness and to kind of try to go to this emotional tone that if you take hostages and then you release some of them, then your problems are solved and the situation has improved. unfortunately despite the limited amnesty and the pardons, which of course are extremely positive developments, the basic situation remains unchanged. this list of 40 people is based on very stringent, very detailed criteria that have been worked out by memorial. and it's certainly not an expansive list. as the leaders themselves say, there are probably more than 40 political prisoners in russia. in fact, this list does not
11:48 am
include, for example a man who is in prison now or rather in pretrial defention for having taken part in a december 31 rally in support of freedom, because all the legal procedures have not been completed yet, he's not on the list. and neither on the list is an environmental activist, a prominent critic of the abuses and corruption of sochi olympics who was give an three-year jail term for writing a political article on a corruption government official. his appeal is coming in the next few days and i think it's really important that people in and civil society activists focus their atext on this case. but -- their attention thon case. but this list of -- attention on this case. but this list includes cases that are beyond doubt. it includes one of the
11:49 am
prisoners who was sentenced to forced psychiatric treatment in the first case of punitive psychiatry since the days of the soviet regime. it includes a russian left-wing opposition activist who in a true throwback was kidnapped on the sovereign territory of ukraine, force inly brought back to russia and fortured for two days -- tortured for two days until he signed a confession. and of course this list includes about 1/3 of the political prisoners on the list are the prisoners, people whose only quote crime including taking part in a peaceful protest against putin's inauguration after a rigged and falsified presidential election in the spring of 2012. as the soviet style show trial cases have neared an end, they've demanded five to six-year prison terms for those prisoners and the verlander is
11:50 am
coming out in the next 10 days. the charge they face is riots. despite the fact that the kremlin's own human rights council, the russian presidential human rights council, has concluded that no riots took place. while an independent -- public independent investigation commission, which included prominent respected academics experts in russia, including a prominent economist, this commission after going through hours of video evidence, hundreds of photographs, hours of eyewitness testimonies, concluded that what happened in the square was a deliberate provocation by the authorities, by law enforcement in order to create a pretext for a subsequent crackdown on the opposition on civil society which is what we saw with a slate of oppressive laws passed after the square incident that we heard about this morning.
11:51 am
so, keep in mind the situation with political prisoners. i think would you only be fair to agree with the sentiment of human rights watch which described the situation with human rights in russia today as the worst since the soviet era a, end of quote. i think it is difficult to disagree with that assessment. but i think we would also be amess if we did not talk about -- amiss if we didn't talk about a different aspect of what's happening in russia today and that's tangible change in society and in public attitudes that we've seen in the last couple of years. we've seen in the last two years, since december of 2011, tens of thousands of people come out on the streets of moscow, st. petersburg and other large russian cities in what were the largest street demonstrations in russia since august 1991. protesting against election fraud, the corruption, the injustice, the deception the repression of the putin regime. and the backbone of this new emerging protest movement has been russia's growing upper middle classes, the more active
11:52 am
and young and professional part of society. even according to the official results of the 2012 so-called presidential elections, putin lost majority support and fell below the 50% line in moscow, in other towns an cities across russia. these are the official results put out by the kremlin. other results showed that only 22% of russians want puten to remain as president beyond the end of -- putin to remain president beyond the end of his term. of course justice this -- just this fall in september we saw a round of regional elections in russia where the opposition candidate received nearly 30% of the vote even according to the official results at moscow. where opposition candidates won
11:53 am
in many local and municipal successes. the election put a rest to the long-time myth that the russian opposition is a marginal group with no public support and that apparently there's no alternative to mr. putin. russian society is changing. attitudes are changing and it is of course only up to russian citizens and to them alone to affect democratic changes in their country. but i think if the democracies of the west, of europe and north america, want to show that these values of democracy and human rights and civil society and the rule of law of which they talk are more than just words on paper and they actually mean something, i think they should not remain silent. they should tell the crooks and the abusers, those who violate their rights and steal the money of russian citizens, that they are not welcome in the nations of the democratic west. and do this by passing and fully implementing measures.
11:54 am
and they should also do this by refusing to lend putin's regime, the international legitimacy and the international respect that it so desperately craves and in my view does not deserve. it's clear that for putin the sochi olympics is conscious it's not about sports, it's about a show of respect from the free world for him. as a leader of an equal standing. it's encouraging that he will not get that show of respect, at least not to the exent that he wanted. after we heard prime minister cameron, president obama and many other world leaders indicating that there they will not go either to the opening or closing ceremonies of putin's olympics in sochi. and it's heartening to see the success of the silly campaign which was initiated last fall with the help of members of the european parliament and with strong support from the russian opposition and russian civil society in favor of political nonparticipation by the leaders of the free world of western democracies in putin's olympic
11:55 am
show in sochi. and i think that is exactly the right message to be sending both to the kremlin and a message of solidarity to those dozens of political prisoners in russian federation and to all russian citizens who want a democratic change and a democratic future for their country. thank you very much. once again thank you for holding this panel. i'll be happy to take part in the discussion afterwards. >> thank you steve. thank you for the panelists and for all of you to brave the weather, russian weather, and come here for this exciting conference. let's do a quick mental exercise. let's take russia as a company or a brand and evaluate it on its performance on the eve of sochi. the security of operations is
11:56 am
questionable. i sincerely hope that no attacks will happen, no attacks will be successful, i pray that no human life will be lost or hurt. but just the cost of security for this operation is exorbitant. and this is not a one-off this is an ongoing security threat for not just sochi but for any other large-scale event or operation in russia. secondly corruption. we already heard that the costs of the olympics were reported at $12 billion with the infrastructure that needed to be developed to accompany it is between $50 billion and $60 billion and there are some analyses and reports from the
11:57 am
political opposition and others that $30 billion may be lost to corruption. now, what you take in a situation like that as a countermeasure to embezzlement or fraud is compliance. well, let's see what the compliance reports are. there were high-level reports recently that they looked into allegations of fraud and embezzlement and no actionable findings were found by those who checked. well, to me this is just a failure of compliance. so if you take this altogether and look at russia as a brick, which it is an emerging market granted an emerging
11:58 am
market with nuclear weapons, if you look at russia as an energy in natural resources play, and extrapolate lessons learned from sochi, you recognize the cost of doing business in russia and this is also an opportunity for the russian leadership, an opportunity to improve, an opportunity to open up an opportunity to boost the clients, an opportunity to engage the oppositions, the opposition, because by the way the opposition that my friend vladimir his party and many others in russia represent, this is enlightened, democratic and sane opposition. these are not the extreme left and extreme nationalists and racists that you see engaged in violence and screaming racist
11:59 am
slogans in the streets of moscow. so, unfortunately you do not discern beyond the laudable release of political prisoners, the unmentionable group and others you do not discern any effort to broaden the social consensus, the political consensus. you have an ongoing and tough confrontation between christian orget docks slavic russians and muslim russians that my colleague touched upon. this is a serious systemic problem, it didn't start yesterday, it started over 200 years ago when russia gradually brought north caucuses under
12:00 pm
its military and administrative control and the problems persisted ever since and resulted in ethnically cleansed parts of north caucuses. the czechists were the chechen and others were loaded into cattle cars and sent to north kazakhstan and central asia. under stalin, the tatars were equally ethnically cleansed by the stalin regime. these things have an interesting tendency to not disappear and not go away. what we have today is terrifying and despicable as it may be, terrorism against a civilian population, has its roots in russian history. i have a paper on the


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on