Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 12, 2014 1:00am-3:01am EDT

1:00 am
unfortunately, the bell is calling me again to go vote so we will conclude the hearing at this point, but we will have follow-up questions for both you and for the d.o.e., and then we will share the committee record with all those that are interested. thank you very much for being here today. >> thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> on the next "washington journal," on the ongoing investigation into the missing malaysia airlines flight.
1:01 am
the president's 2015 pentagon budget could affect military readiness. congressman robb wittman joins us. as a part of our spotlight on magazines series, an article on how the nsa almost killed the internet from wired magazine. update on allegations that the cia hacked senate computers. we will take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. the senaterman of intelligence committee accused the cia of them properly searching the computer network set up for lawmakers. we get some background next on c-span. we will hear from senator dianne feinstein on the senate floor
1:02 am
about the allegations. later, whistleblowers who were taking questions from senators. >> the chairman of dianne feinstein spoke on the senate floor this morning leveling pretty strong allegations regarding a senate report on the cia did tension and interrogation. christina peterson is a congressional correspondent joining us by phone. what are the allegations that dianne feinstein alleged against the cia? some of the allegations aremade against the cia that they searched senate computers and networks that contained cia documents in a secure location. these were provided by the cia and some of them more of tainted
1:03 am
through a search function that the cia had provided to intelligence committee staffers working on a report. the most divisive thing that senator feinstein said this morning was not the cia had then come back without notifying senate staffers had searched their computers and network. anator feinstein had asked question shortly after she had learned about why they had gone ahead and search their computers and documents without notifying them and she has not heard back as to why. >> the sub headline as she alleges it may have violated the separation of powers. what action is she seeking from the justice department? guest: she has asked for an apology from the cia. have been, there calls to have the matter investigated by the justice
1:04 am
department looking into whether the cia acted wrongly and into whether senate staffers acted improperly. there have been some allegations that they may have committed crimes by obtaining these documents. she vigorously defended senate staffers in her speech saying they acted well within the bounds of the law and they were looking through documents provided to them by the cia. one thing worth noting here is it's a little tricky but senate aaffers were reviewing mountain of documents pertaining to the cia secret detention programs and in the course of looking through those documents, i believe there are 6.2 million, they came across an internal cia review of the matter conduct did under then director leon panetta. the question of how they obtained those documents is really a part of the dispute. she said it was through the
1:05 am
search function because they had no way to navigate the 6 million pages of documents. >> coincidentally, the head of the cia, director john brennan, was speaking at an event c-span covered. what was his initial reaction to the allegations? he said the cia had not hacked into the computers in there could not be something further from the truth. senator feinstein stood behind her comments so there is a bit of a discrepancy. >> senate republican leaders, how did they react to the allegations? guest: it was unusual to hear her criticize the cia because she is a longtime defender of the intelligence community. democrats quickly embraced her position and said they supported her. many said they were troubled by the potential constitutional issues and the need to maintain the separation of powers.
1:06 am
the republican side has been a more broad range. some of them did not initially embrace her position and saxby chambliss, top republican on the and senatorid he feinstein have disagreements over the facts but other republicans such as senator john mccain, said they would not second-guess her and that some type of independent committee may be needed to help investigate the issue. >> kristina peterson follows the congress for the wall street journal. thanks for the update. now, allegations from senate intelligence committee chair dianne feinstein that the cia secretly searched a senate computer network that was set up for the committee to investigate the treatment of suspected terrorists during the bush administration. senator feinstein is joined briefly by senate judiciary
1:07 am
chairman patrick leahy of vermont. recognized. mrs. feinstein: good morning. over the past week there have been numerous press articles written about the intelligence committee's oversight review of the detention and interrogation program of the c.i.a. specifically, press attention has focused on the c.i.a.'s intrusion and search of the senate select committee's computers as well as the committee's acquisition of a certain internal c.i.a. document known as the panetta review. i rise today to set the record straight and to provide a full accounting of the facts and history. let me say up front that i come to the senate floor reluctantly. since january 15, 2014, when i was informed of the c.i.a. search of this committee's network, i've been trying to resolve this dispute in a
1:08 am
discrete and respectful way. i've not commented in response to media requests for additional information on this matter. however, the increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating now cannot be allowed to stand unanswered. the origin of this study, the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program began operations in 2002, though it was not until september, 2006, that members of the intelligence committee other than the chairman and the vice chairman, were briefed. in fact, we were briefed by then-c.i.a. director hayden only hours before president bush disclosed the program to the public. a little more than a year later, on december 6, 2007, a "new york times" article revealed the troubling fact that
1:09 am
the c.i.a. had destroyed videotapes of some of the c.i.a.'s first interrogations using so-called enhanced techniques. we learned that this destruction was over the objections of president bush's white house counsel and the director of national intelligence. after we read -- excuse me, read about the tapes of destruction in the newspapers, director hayden briefed the senate intelligence committee. he assured us that this was not destruction of evidence as detailed records of the interrogations existed on paper. in the form of c.i.a. operational cables describing the detention conditions and the day-to-day c.i.a. interrogations. the c.i.a. director stated that these cables were -- quote -- "a
1:10 am
more than adequate representation" -- end quote of what would have been on the destroyed tapes. director hayden offered at that time during senator jay rockefeller's chairmanship of the committee, to allow members or staff review these sensitive c.i.a. operational cables. that the videotapes -- given that the videotapes had been destroyed. chairman rockefeller sent two of his committee staffers out to the c.i.a. on nights and weekends to review thousands of these cables, which took many months. by the time the two staffers completed their review into the c.i.a.'s early interrogations in early 2009, i had become chairman of the committee, and president obama had been sworn into office. the resulting staff report was
1:11 am
chilling. the interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the c.i.a. detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the c.i.a. had described them to us. as a result of the staff's initial report, i proposed and then vice chairman bond agreed and the committee overwhelmingly approved that the committee conduct an expansive and full review of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. on march 5, 2009, the committee voted 14-1 to initiate a comprehensive review of the c.i.a. detention and interrogation program. immediately we sent a request for documents to all relevant executive branch agencies, chiefly among them the c.i.a. the committee's preference was
1:12 am
for the c.i.a. to turn over all responsive documents to the committee's office, as had been done in previous committee investigations. director panetta proposed an alternative arrangement to provide, literally, millions of pages of operational cables, internal emails, memos, and other documents pursuant to a committee's document requests at a secure location in northern virginia. we agreed, but insisted on several conditions and protections to ensure the integrity of this congressional investigation. per an exchange of letters in 2009, then-vice chairman bond, then-director panetta, and i agreed in an exchange of letters that the c.i.a. was to provide a -- quote -- "stand-alone
1:13 am
computer system" -- end quote with a -- quote -- "network drive segregated from c.i.a. networks" -- end quote. for the committee that would only be accessed by information technology personnel at the c.i.a. who would -- quote -- "not be permitted to share information from the system with other c.i.a. personnel except as otherwise authorized by the committee" -- end quote. it was this computer network that notwithstanding our agreement with director panetta was searched by the c.i.a. this past january, and once before which i will later describe. in addition to demanding that the documents produced for the committee be reviewed at a c.i.a. facility, the c.i.a. also insisted on conducting a
1:14 am
multilayered review of every responsive document before providing the document to the committee. this was to ensure the c.i.a. did not mistakenly provide documents unrelated to the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. or provide documents that the president could potentially claim to be covered by executive privilege. while we viewed this as unnecessary and raised concerns that it would delay our investigation, the c.i.a. hired a team of outside contractors who otherwise would not have had access to these sensitive documents, to read multiple times each of the 6.2 million pages of documents produced before providing them to fully cleared committee staff conducting the committee's oversight work. this proved to be a slow and
1:15 am
very expensive process. the c.i.a. started making documents available electronically to the committee staff at the c.i.a. leased facility in mid 2009. the number of pages ran quickly to the thousands, tens of thousands, the hundreds of thousands, and then into the millions. the documents that were provided came without any index, without any organizational structure. it was a true document dump that our committee staff had to go through and make sense of. in order to piece together the story of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program, the committee staff did two things that will be important as i go on. first, they asked the c.i.a. to provide an electronic search tool so they could locate
1:16 am
specific relevant documents for their search, among the c.i.a.-produced documents, just like you would use a search tool on the internet to locate information. second, when the staff found a document that was particularly important or that might be referenced in our final report, they would often print it or make a copy of the file on their computer so they could easily find it again. their thousands of such documents in the committee's secure spaces at the c.i.a. facility. now, prior removal of documents by c.i.a. in early 2010, the c.i.a. was continuing to provide documents, and the committee
1:17 am
staff was gaining familiarity with the information it had already received. in may of 2010, the committee staff noticed that the documents had been provided for the committee -- that had been provided for the committee's review were no longer accessible. staff approached the c.i.a. personnel at the offsite location who initially denied the documents had been removed. c.i.a. personnel then blamed information technology personnel who were almost all contractors for removing the documents themselves without direction or authority. and then the c.i.a. stated that the removal of the documents was ordered by the white house. when the committee approached the white house, the white house denied giving the c.i.a. any such order.57ñ
1:18 am
after a series of meetings, i learned that on two occasions, c.i.a. personnel electronically removed committee access to c.i.a. documents after providing them to the committee. this included roughly 870 documents or pages of documents that were removed in february 2010. and secondly, roughly another 50 that were removed in mid-may 2010. this was done without the knowledge or approval of committee members or staff and in violation of our written agreements. further, this type of behavior would not have been possible had the c.i.a. allowed the committee to conduct the review of documents here in the senate. in short, this was the exact sort of c.i.a. interference in
1:19 am
our investigation that we sought to avoid at the outset. i went up to the white house to raise the issue with the then-white house counsel. in may 2010, he recognized the severity of the situation and the grave implications of executive branch personnel interfering with an official congressional investigation. the matter was resolved with a renewed commitment from the white house counsel and the c.i.a. that there would be no further unauthorized access to the committee's network or removal of access to c.i.a. documents already provided to the committee. on may 17, 2010, the c.i.a.'s then-director of congressional affairs apologized on behalf of the c.i.a. for removing the
1:20 am
documents. and that, as far as i was concerned, put the incident aside. this event was separate from the documents provided that were part of the internal panetta review which occurred later and which i will describe next. at some point in 2010, committee staff searching the documents that had been made available found draft versions of what is now called the internal panetta review. we believe these documents were written by c.i.a. personnel to summarize and analyze the materials that had been provided to the committee for its review. the panetta review documents were no more highly classified than other information we had received for our investigation. in fact, the documents appeared
1:21 am
based on the same information already provided to the committee. what was unique and interesting about the internal documents was not their classification level, but rather their analysis and acknowledgement of significant c.i.a. wrongdoing. to be clear, the committee staff did not hack into c.i.a. computers to obtain these documents, as has been suggested in the press. the documents were identified using the search tool provided by the c.i.a. to search the documents provided to the committee. we have no way to determine who made the internal panetta review documents available to the committee. further, we don't know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the c.i.a.,
1:22 am
unintentionally by the c.i.a. or intentionally by a whistle-blower. in fact we know that over the years on multiple occasions the staff have asked the c.i.a. about documents made available for our investigation. at times the c.i.a. has simply been unaware that these specific documents were provided to the committee. and while this is alarming, it is also important to note that more than 6.2 million pages of documents have been provided. this is simply a massive amount of records. as i described earlier, as part of its standard process for reviewing records, the committee staff printed copies of the internal panetta review and made electronic copies of the committee's computers at the facility. the staff did not rely on these
1:23 am
internal panetta review documents when drafting the final 6,300-page committee study. but it was significant that the internal panetta review had documented at least some of the very same troubling matters already uncovered by the committee staff, which is not surprising in that they were looking at the same information. there is a claim in the press and elsewhere that the markings on these documents should have caused the staff to stop reading them and turn them over to the c.i.a.. i reject that claim completely. as with many other documents provided to the committee at the c.i.a. facility, some of the internal panetta review documents -- some -- contain markings indicating that they
1:24 am
were -- quote -- "deliberative" and/or -- quote -- "privileged". this was not especially noteworthy to staff. in fact, c.i.a. has provided thousands of internal documents to include c.i.a. legal guidance and talking points prepared for the c.i.a. director, some of which were marked as being deliberative or privileged. moreover, the c.i.a. has officially provided such documents to the committee here in the senate. in fact, the c.i.a.'s official june 27, 2013, response to the committee study which director brennan delivered to me personally is labeled -- quote -- "deliberative process privileged document." end quote. we have discussed this with the senate legal counsel who has
1:25 am
confirmed that congress does not recognize these claims of privilege when it comes to documents provided to congress for our oversight duties. these were documents provided by the executive branch pursuant to an authorized congressional oversight investigation. so we believe we had every right to review and keep the documents. there are also claims in the press that the panetta internal review documents, having been created in 2009 and 2010 were outside the date range of the committee's document request or the terms of the committee study. this too is inaccurate. the committee's document requests were not limited in time. in fact, as i have previously announced, the committee study
1:26 am
includes significant information on the may 2011 osama bin laden operation, which obviously postdated the detention and interrogation program. at some time after the committee staff identified and reviewed the internal panetta review documents, access to the vast majority of them was removed by the c.i.a.. we believe this happened in 2010, but we have no way of knowing the specifics. nor do we know why the documents were removed. the staff was focused on reviewing the tens of thousands of new documents that continue to arrive on a regular basis. our work continued until december 2012, when the intelligence committee approved a 6,300-page committee study of the c.i.a.'s detention and
1:27 am
interrogation program and sent the executive report to the executive branch for comment. the c.i.a. provided its response to the study on june 27, 2013. as c.i.a. director brennan has stated, the c.i.a. officially agrees with some of our study but has been reported the c.i.a. disagrees and disputes important parts of it, and this is important. some of these important parts that the c.i.a. now disputes in our committee study are clearly acknowledged in the c.i.a.'s own internal panetta review. to say the least, this is puzzling. how can the c.i.a.'s official response to our study stand factually in conflict with its
1:28 am
own internal review? now after noting the tkeus parity between the -- the disparity between the official c.i.a. response to the committee study and the internal panetta review, the committee staff securely transported a printed portion of the draft internal panetta review from the committee's secure room at the c.i.a.-leased facility to the secure committee spaces in the hart senate office building. and let me be clear about this, i mentioned earlier the exchange of letters that senator bond and i had with director panetta in 2009 over the handling of information for this review. the letters set out a process whereby the committee would provide specific c.i.a. documents to c.i.a. reviewers
1:29 am
before bringing them back to our secure offices here on capitol hill. the c.i.a. review was designed specifically to make sure that committee documents available to all staff and members did not include certain kinds of information. most importantly, the true names of nonsupervisory c.i.a. personnel and the names of specific countries in which the c.i.a. operated detention sites. we had agreed up front that our report didn't need to include this information, and so we agreed to redact it from materials leaving the c.i.a.'s facility. keeping with the spirit of the agreement, the portion of the internal panetta review at the hart building in our safe has been redacted. it does not contain names of
1:30 am
nonsupervisory c.i.a. personnel or information identifying detention site locations. in other words, our staff did just what the c.i.a. personnel would have done had they reviewed the document. there are several reasons why the draft summary of the panetta review was brought to our secure spaces at the hart building. let me list them. one, the significance of the internal review given disparities between it and the june 2013 c.i.a. response to the committee study, the internal panetta review summary now at the secure committee office in hart is an especially significant document as it corroborates critical information in the committee's
1:31 am
6,300-page study that the c.i.a.'s official response either objects to, denies, minimizes or ignores. unlike the official response, these panetta review documents were in agreement with the committee's findings. that's what makes themo significant and important to protect. when the internal panetta review documents disappeared from the committee's computer system, this suggested once again that the c.i.a. had removed documents already provided to the committee in violation of c.i.a. agreements and white house assurances that the c.i.a. would cease such activities. as i have detailed, the c.i.a. has previously withheld and
1:32 am
destroyed information about its detention and interrogation program, including its decision in 2005 to destroy interrogation videotapes over the objections of the bush white house and the director of national intelligence. based on the above, there was a need to preserve and protect the internal panetta review in the committee's own secure spaces. now, the relocation of the internal panetta review was lawful and handled in a manner consistent with its classification. no law prevents the relocation of a document in the committee's possession from a c.i.a. facility to secure committee offices on capitol hill. as i mentioned before, the document was handled and transported in a manner
1:33 am
consistent with its classification, redacted appropriately and it remains secured with restricted access in committee spaces. now, the january 15, 2014 meeting with director john brennan. in late 2013, i requested in writing that the c.i.a. provide a final and complete version of the internal panetta review to the committee, as opposed to the partial document the committee currently possesses. in december, during an open committee hearing, senator mark udall echoed this request. in early january, 2014, the c.i.a. informed the committee it would not provide the internal panetta review to the committee, citing the deliberative nature of the
1:34 am
document. shortly thereafter, on january 15, 2014, c.i.a. director brennan requested an emergency meeting to inform me and vice chairman chambliss that without prior notification or approval, c.i.a. personnel had conducted a search -- that was john brennan's word -- of the committee computers at the offcite facility. -- offsite facility. this search was not only of documents provided by the committee by the c.i.a. but also a search of the stand-alone and walled-off committee network drive containing the committee's own internal work product and communications. according to brennan, the computer search was conducted in response to indications that some members of the committee
1:35 am
staff might already have had access to the internal panetta review. the c.i.a. did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the internal review or how we obtained it. instead, the c.i.a. just went and searched the committee's computers. the c.i.a. has still not asked the committee any questions about how the committee acquired the panetta review. in place of asking any questions, the c.i.a.'s unauthorized search of the committee computers was followed by an allegation which we now have seen repeated anonymously in the press, that the committee staff had somehow obtained the document through unauthorized or criminal means, perhaps to include hacking into the c.i.a.'s computer network.
1:36 am
as i have described, this is not true. the document was made available to the staff at the offsite facility and it was located using a c.i.a.-provided search tool, running a query of the information provided to the committee pursuant to its investigation. director brennan stated that the c.i.a.'s search had determined that the committee staff had copies of the internal panetta review on the committee staff's shared drive and had accessed them numerous times. he indicated at the meeting that he was going to order further forensic investigation of the committee network to learn more about activities of the committee's oversight staff. two days after the meeting, on january 17, i wrote a letter to director brennan objecting to
1:37 am
any further c.i.a. investigation due to the separation of powers constitutional issues that the search raised. i followed this with a second letter on january 23 to the director asking 12 specific questions about the c.i.a.'s actions, questions that the c.i.a. has refused to answer. some of the questions in my letter related to the full scope of the c.i.a.'s search of our computer network. other questions related to who had authorized and conducted the search, and what legal basis the c.i.a. claimed gave it authority to conduct the search. again, the c.i.a. has not provided answers to any of my questions. my letter also laid out my concern about the legal and constitutional implications of
1:38 am
the c.i.a.'s actions. based on what director brennan has informed us, i have grave concerns that the c.i.a.'s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the united states constitution, including the speech and debate clause. it may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function. i have asked for an apology, and a recognition that this c.i.a. search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. i have received neither. besides the constitutional implications, the c.i.a. search may also have violated the fourth amendment, the computer fraud and abuse act, as well as
1:39 am
executive order 123 3 which 3reub9s the c.i.a. from conducting domestic surveillance. days after meeting with director brennan, the c.i.a. inspector general, david buckley, learned of the c.i.a. search and began an investigation into c.i.a.'s activities. i have been informed that mr. buckley has referred the matter to the department of justice, given the possibility of a criminal violation by c.i.a. personnel. let me note, because the c.i.a. has refused to answer the questions in my january 23 letter and the c.i.a. inspector general is ongoing, i have limited information about exactly what the c.i.a. did in conducting its search. weeks later, i was also told that after the inspector general
1:40 am
reviewed the c.i.a.'s activities to the department of justice --, excuse me, referred the c.i.a.'s activities to the department of justice, the acting counsel general of the c.i.a. filed a crimes report with the department of justice concerning the committee staff's actions. i have not been provided the specifics of these allegations or been told whether the department has initiated a criminal investigation based on the allegations of the c.i.a.'s acting general counsel. as i mentioned before, our staff involved in this matter have the appropriate clearances, handled the sensitive material according to established procedures and practice to protect classified information, and were provided access to the panetta review by
1:41 am
the c.i.a. itself. as a result, there is no legitimate reason to allege to the justice department that senate staff may have committed a crime. i view the acting counsel general's referral as a potential effort to intimidate this staff, and i am not taking it lightly. i should note that for most, if not all of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program, the now acting general counsel was a lawyer in the c.i.a.'s counterterrorism center. the unit within which the c.i.a. managed and carried out this program. from mid 2004 until the official termination of the detention and interrogation program in january, 2009, he was the unit's chief lawyer. he is mentioned by name more
1:42 am
than 1,600 times in our study. and now this individual is sending a crimes report to the department of justice on the actions of congressional staff, the same congressional staff who were searched and drafted a report -- researched and drafted a report which details how c.i.a. officers including the acting general counsel himself provided inaccurate information to the department of justice about the program. mr. president, let me say this -- all senators rely on their staff to be their eyes and ears and to carry out our duties. the staff members of the intelligence committee are dedicated professionals who are motivated to do what is best for our nation. the staff members sho have been working on this study and this report have devoted years of their lives to it, wading through the horrible details of the c.i.a. program that never,
1:43 am
never, never should have existed. they have worked long hours and produced a report unprecedented in its comprehensive attention to detail in the history of the senate. they are now being threatened with legal jeopardy just as the final revisions to the report are being made so that parts of it can be declassified and released to the american people. mr. president, i felt that i needed to come to the floor today to correct the public record and to give the american people the facts about what the dedicated committee staff have been working so hard for the last several years as part of the committee's investigation. i also want to reiterate to my colleagues my desire to have all updates to the committee report completed this month and approved for declassification.
1:44 am
we're not going to stop. i intend to move to have the findings conclusions and the executive summary of the report sent to the president for declassification and release to the american people. the white house has indicated publicly and to me personally that it supports declassification and release. if the senate can reclassify this report, we will be able to ensure that an un-american, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted. but, mr. president, the recent actions that i have just laid out make this a defining moment for the oversight of our intelligence committee. how congress and how this will be resolved will show whether the intelligence committee can be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation's
1:45 am
intelligence activities, or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee. i believe it is critical that the committee and the senate reaffirm our oversight role and our independence under the constitution of the united states. mr. president, i thank you very much for your patience and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, while the distinguished senator from california is on the floor i would tell her through the chair, i've had the privilege of serving in this body now my 40th -- 40th year. i've heard thousands of speeches on this floor. i cannot think of any speech by any member of either party as important as the one the senator from california just gave. what she is saying is if we're going to protect the separation of powers and the concept of
1:46 am
congressional oversight, then she has taken the right steps to do that. i think back, mr. president, the very first vote i cast in this body was for the church committee, which went into the excesses of the c.i.a. and others of our agencies, everything from assassinations to spying on those who were protesting the war in vietnam. there was a famous george tames picture where then chairman of the armed services committee, john stennis was berating senator frank church for proposing this committee saying that he, senator stennis, could find out what he wanted to find out but didn't really want to know everything. i was -- i stand behind george stennis when he took that picture in my first caucus. there was pressure on our junior
1:47 am
members, i was the most junior member of the senate at the time, not to vote for the church committee. senator mike mansfield told me as senator fritz mondale did others, that the senate is bigger than any one senator. we come and go. the senate lasts. if we do not assistant -- stand up for the protection of the separation of powers and our ability to do oversight, especially when conduct has happened that is in all likelihood criminal conduct on the part of a government agency, then what do we stand for? we are supposed to be the conscience of the nation. the senator from california, senator feinstein, has spoken to our conscience, to every one of us, 100 senators, men and women, both parties. she has spoken to our conscience now let's stand up for this country. let's stand up as united states senators should and as the sena
1:48 am
>> now we get reaction from cia director john brennan on sack toons that the cia the senate computer system. they spoke about national security issues at an event hosted by the council on foreign relations. this is 55 minutes. >> good morning. i'm andrea mitchell from nbc news and it's my honor to introduce director of the cia john brennan who after a career at the cia went to the white house as the president's top terror adviser and was confirmed to be the director of central intelligence. he will have opening remarks about his first year as director
1:49 am
of the cia and then we will have the conversation and open it up someu in the audience and of our members sending in questions. thank you all very much. director brennan. >> this was an engagement with a ice aof lack ice -- black few weeks ago leading to a fracture in my hip. it's a pleasure to be here at the council of foreign relations to see so many familiar faces. i would like to thank richard hoss for inviting me just weekend also thanking andrea mitchell for lending her considerable knowledge and insight to our discussion this morning. just over a year ago, i had the privilege of placing my hand on the first printed copy of the
1:50 am
constitution a draft edited and annotated personally by george washington himself, one of the most treasured items in the national archives. vice president biden swore me in as director of the central intelligence agency. i chose to take my oath on that precious piece of history is a clear affirmation of what it means to all of us at the agency. we have no higher duty than to uphold and defend the rule of law as we strive everyday to protect our fellow citizens. xo many things involving the are the various decisions saying that there were nefarious on ans that i took my oath copy that did not include the bill of rights. we honor not only the constitution but also the bill of rights and all subsequent amendments to our constitution. i just happen to be guilty of
1:51 am
being an ardent admirer of george washington and the historical foundations of this great country. my first career at cia began in 1980. when i turned to the agency absorbing the well acquainted with its people and mission. benefit of the experiencing firsthand the enormous challenges confronting our policymakers as they deal with the marriott of challenges our nation faces an the 21st century. as a result of the tremendous opportunities i was given over more than 30 years working on national security issues, i could see the agency from outside as well as in headquarters in langley, virginia. i could see how the agency's work informs policymaking come in shapes our intelligence and security relationships with countries around the world and, working with other departments and agencies in the u.s. government helps to keep our country safe from harm. plans to retire at the conclusion of president
1:52 am
obama's first term in office, i was humbled by the opportunity to lead the agency i was a part of for a quarter-century and hopefully play a role in ensuring the cia's future is even more accomplished than its storied past. thank you for being here with me this morning and i would like to offer a few brief comments before i address the many questions that i know are on your mind. first of all, being cia director means i have a front row seat to frontnamic and dangerous stage. director iear as cia unfortunately remain convinced that the u.s. government and the american people all be dealing with terrorism in one form or another for many years to come. as to many individuals and groups remain inclined to use violence for political, ideological, or purported religious regions -- reasons.
1:53 am
mission,bal intelligence collection and capabilities as well as our extensive liaison relationships with security services worldwide will keep the cia on the frontlines of counterterrorism efforts for years to come. at the same time, i fully expect the cia's role to evolve as the capabilities and political will of our overseas partners continues to grow in the coming years. enhancinghe capacity, the knowledge, empowering the operations of our partners will be key to mitigating terrorist threats to world collectively faces in the decade ahead. similarly, the intelligence mission on a cyber front will evolve as well as adversaries, criminal networks, terrorist tivistsations and hack find ways to do harm. the new and relatively uncharted frontier.
1:54 am
much of what makes cyber so challenging is that technology is changing so rapidly and society along with it. in many, the world is transforming before our eyes as more and more human activity migrates to the cyber, digital domain in more of our daily lives depend on it for social interactions, financial transactions, commerce, trade, communication, education, entertainment, and the list goes on and on. the fact remains that many technological and scientific advances have proved through history to be double-edged swords. can pave of dynamite the way for networks, tunnels, and bridges can bring destruction and death in the wrong hands. the irony of alfred nobel's are testamentes to this. websites and smart phones that
1:55 am
enable syrian star organize themselves against assad's regime and show the world the brutality of that regime also help al qaeda and other terrorist groups communicate as well as to carry out terrorist attacks. stark events have brought relief the national, indeed the international debate, about the appropriate role of government and, specifically, intelligence and law enforcement agencies in this new cyber frontier rarely full of wonder and opportunity but also fraught with great risk. my return tosince the cia, technological advances and their profound implications of both the agency i lead in the world we study have been very much undermined. if i have the opportunity to start my career all over again, i would start out as a data scientist or engineer in the andctory of science technology. intelligence is undergoing a
1:56 am
profound transformation and the women and men of our science and technology directorate are tapping into some of the most fascinating issues head on. for example, we are looking at how we can protect the identities and missions of our common destiny -- clandestine officers. they increasingly have digital footprints emerge. we're looking at how we leveragetely information to detect threats to national security and the american people while staying to the principles upon which we were founded. as someone who bears at least a partial responsibility to keeping americans safe, these are the challenges and the questions that truly hurt my head. as challenging as counterterrorism and operating in the cyber domain are, these are but two of the issues that we have to follow.
1:57 am
the political turmoil and upheaval with the so-called arab spring has changed the political and social landscapes of tunisia, libya, yemen. the tremendous loss of life, humanitarian disaster, destruction of some of the most beautiful ancient cedar -- cities in syria is nothing short of a modern-day catastrophe. north korea, venezuela, south sudan, central african republic among others reflect internal tensions, stress, sectarian conflict in global ambitions. chinese strategic pursuits in the near and far abroad demand constant attention and vigilance of our national
1:58 am
security efforts. they provide an example of why it is so important to preserve his down top of the world events in their totality rather than on just a few key issues. over the past several months, the cia and its partners have closely followed events in ukraine keeping policymakers informed of developments on the ground, scenarios for escalating tensions and options available to ukrainian and other world leaders. i know many of you would like the cia to predict the future such as, will crimea succeed and will russian forces move into ukraine? with virtually all events around the globe, future events am including in the ukraine, are various variables as well as leadership decisions. while we do not have a crystal ball, it is our responsibility to identify those considerations
1:59 am
and point to the key drivers that will ultimately determine future events. let me conclude by offering a few final words about the cia as a learning organization. we were born in 1947 as the cold war was just getting underway. fortune to the great play a role in helping to keep its country great and people safe. while we are exceptionally proud of the work that we do, we have not been a perfect organization, far from it. we have made mistakes, more than a few, and we have tried mightily to learn from them and take correct actions whenever and wherever appropriate. it is no secret that many of the things the agency has seen over that it alone have responsivity to do. of nearly a, rdi,
2:00 am
decade ago as a case in point. there have been many things written and many things said including, understand this the program.t some are fact and some are fiction. these have addressed the cia's views related to the select report on the program. i want to take this opportunity to say two things. irst, my cia colleagues and believe in the necessity of effective, strong, bipartisan congressional oversight. as long as i am director of cia, i will do whatever i can to be responsible to the elective representatives. hold our feet to the fire. and make sure the taxpayer dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently. most important, they work to ensure that the cia and other organizations are carrying out
2:01 am
the responsibilities and activities faithfully and in accordance with the law. i don't always agree with them. we frequently have what i would call spirited discussions. i believe we are filling our the cia hasties enough current challenges on its plate. put is why the cia wants to theition behind it facilities have long been closed. obama ended the program five time the cia which had ceased its activities. there have been numerous external and internal reviews. now the senate select committee has conducted an extensive review of the program.
2:02 am
which considerable resources have been expended. cia has tried to work as collaboratively as possible on the report. i have talked extensively to chairman feinstein about this report and the way forward. the cia agrees with findings in the report. we have acknowledged and learned from the program's shortcomings to prevent such mistakes from happening again. we owe it to the men and women who executed this program to make sure any historical record of it is a balanced and accurate one. we have worked closely with the committee to resolve outstanding issues and look forward to working with the committee. even as we have learned from the past, we must be able to put the past behind us to devote ourselves to the challenges ahead of us.
2:03 am
i was sworn in as a g.s.-9 officer never believing that one day i would have the honor and privilege of leading the courageous, dedicated and exceptional talented men and women of c.i.a. i go to the main lobby once a month to administer the oath of office to our newest employees. many speak several languages. some have had successful careers in the private sector and want to give something back to their country. for all of them, this moment is a culmination of years of hard work and see the enthusiasm in their eyes. as i watched them raise their right hands, i feel a sense of obligation to these officers. they have chosen a profession
2:04 am
that is filled with great rewards but also have challenges and sometimes grave danger and it's my job to prepare them for it. from day one, i want them to understand they are joining more than an organization but a tradition of service and sacrifice unlike any in government. i always administer the oath of office in front of our memorial wall. there are 107 stars on that wall. each one representing an agency hero who made the sacrifice on behalf of our nation and i emphasize that we all have the responsibility to remember the officers and sacrifices represented by their stars and carry on their work in a way that would make them proud. it underscores the defining trait of c.i.a. and our commitment that we serve. the women and men have devoted themselves to protecting our nation and advancing american interests around the globe. their contributions often go unrecognized but no doubt, they are essential to the strength and security of our republic. thank you and i look forward to taking your questions.
2:05 am
>> thank you all very much. [applause] >> thank you, director. we are going to have a conversation here and obviously bring the audience in. first of all, the topic of the morning, which you have addressed here, you said you want to get the past practices behind you, but senator feinstein went to the floor and said she did it reluctantly and dealing with you privately trying to resolve this since january and only went public today because of the referrals from the inspector general and because a lawyer in c.i.a. had referred a crimes report separately accusing the senate of going in improperly into c.i.a. computers. her claim in a scathing speech was that the c.i.a. has hacked into the senate intelligence
2:06 am
committee staff computers to thwart an investigation by the committee into those past practices. she also alleges that the panetta-era report was very similar to the conclusions of those past practices. but you, who were involved in that era in the program itself and the c.i.a. currently was trying to thwart the full review of the harshness of the interrogation and practices, can you respond? >> we are not trying to thwart this report's progression release. as i said in my remarks. we want this behind us. we know the committee has invested a lot of time, money and effort into this report. and they are determined to put it forward. we have engaged with them extensively over the last year. we had officers sit down with them and go over the report and point out where we believe there
2:07 am
are factual errors or errors in judgment or assessments. we are not trying to prevent its release. as far as the allegations of c.i.a. hacking into senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. we wouldn't do that. that is just beyond the scope of reason. >> she says there are potentially illegal and unconstitutional breaches by the c.i.a. >> there are appropriate authorities right now inside c.i.a. as well as c.i.a. -- >> justice department. >> as what the staff members did and i defer to them to determine whether there was any violation of law or principle and i referred the matter, myself to the c.i.a. inspector general to make sure he was able to look honestly and objectively what the c.i.a. did there. when the facts come out, i think a lot of people claiming that there has been this spying, monitoring and hacking will be
2:08 am
proved wrong. >> you said at your confirmation hearing you wanted to restore the trust of the c.i.a. and overseers in the senate. this is pretty major goal. if it is proved that the c.i.a. did do this, would you feel that you would have to step down? >> i am confident that the authorities will review this appropriately. and i will deal with the facts as uncovered in the appropriate manner. i would just encourage some members of the senate to take their time to make sure that they don't overstate what they claim and what they probably believe to be the truth. these are some complicated matters. we have worked with the committee over the course of many years. this review done by the committee was done at a facility
2:09 am
where c.i.a. had the responsibility to make sure they had the computer wherewithal to carry out their responsibilities. if there were any inappropriate actions either by the c.i.a. or the staff, i will be the first one to say we will get to the bottom of this. if i did something wrong, i will go to the president, i will explain what i did and what the findings were. and he can ask me to stay or to go. >> malaysia air and the investigation, a lot of people have been shocked that two years after passports were stolen and reported stolen that people using stolen passports whether or not there was a terror linching could still board airlines. what flaw is still in this system post-9/11 that permits stolen passports to be used so commonly around the world? >> when you think of people who get on airlines around the world it is hundreds of thousands.
2:10 am
since 9/11 there have been strides to share as much information as possible not only threats but individuals who are trying to carry out attacks, to include stolen passports. the authorities are looking what went wrong, why they were not aware of it and all of us have to make sure we are doing everything possible. it's close to 13 years since 9/11. the tragedies of 9/11 are still in the minds of many people and this is not the time to relax because we know there are terrorist groups that are still determined to carry out attacks especially against air raft craft. >> is there any chatter? >> i think there is a lot of speculation right now. some claim responsibility that have not been confirmed or corroborated at all. we are looking at it closely with the c.i.a. and f.b.i. and others and our malaysian
2:11 am
counterparts are doing everything to put the pieces together. but this is a mystery that is very disturbing and until we can find out, we will have to do a forensic analysis. >> at this point you are not ruling out it could be a terrorist organization? >> not at all. >> what is the state of al qaeda in malaysia. in the 1990's, they were very active. and there were plots as well. is al qaeda still active as a cell in malaysia? >> al qaeda, which had its -- first in the afghan-pakistan area, earlier in sudan, has spread over the years. it is found throughout africa and southeast asia. there are a number of areas in southeast asia where al qaeda has tried to develop contacts and cells and put in place the
2:12 am
infrastructure, whether for fundraising activities or support and facilitation. there is no place in the globe where al qaeda said they weren't going to seek some type of presence. southeast asia is where al qaeda has had a historical presence. chatter,back over the you have not found anything to indicate there was a warning of an incident? >> not related to malaysian air. >> i want to ask you about ukraine and the charge that there was a intelligence failure. there has been an indication that the cia got this one right. and others did not. was there a disagreement about the analysis were smart >> under
2:13 am
the leadership, they have done a good job to assure that the different elements have been able to work together. -- i'm proud that the work that the agency did on ukraine. our job is to identify the likely scenarios. times, world leaders will make incisions based on what is happening on the ground. what the international reaction as. that is very true right now when you look at putin and ukrainian leaders. seeing what their actions beget. many of these leaders have not made a decision about what they're going to do. is identifyes to do what are the variables and the catalyst of the foreign leaders as they tried to plot out their next chess moves.
2:14 am
works when you look at vladimir putin, do you think he will stop at ukraine question mark -- about some sort of sectarian type of violence. he has a predicate for possible moves. we also see with the buildup of forces in crimea -- what we have tried to do is identify what the reasons might be and how he might make those moves. the factors he will take into account. the costs he is willing to incur if he tries to cross the border.
2:15 am
>> including -- according to some reporting, there has been a very small group of former kgb colleagues from the 70's and 80's, who are his key advisers. that track with what you are seeing? will rely onputin those individuals who have gained his trust. there are people from that. period that i trust. it is not surprising he would be looking to those individuals. has know our audience questions. if you would identify yourself and your affiliations. keep the questions as short as
2:16 am
possible so everybody can have enough time. >> thanks. i'm from the atlantic council. i would like to turn you to syria. what is your sense of how long assad will remain in power? do you feel he is stronger than he was a year or two ago? how strong are his forces? power sustain himself in in a small part of syria? and can you talk about the consequences of allowing al qaeda to remain in force in syria and proliferate. >> i believe assad feels more confident as a result of the developments of the battlefield. initially, the forces were struck pretty hard by the insurgency and oppositionists. readyria is a real army he -- army.
2:17 am
they have been trained and equipped and outfitted by russians for decades. this is a large conventional military force with tremendous firepower. the opposition deserves credit for staying in the game and bloodying the military machine. as we look along the western part of the country, the basque bone -- backbone, he has tried to protect those urban centers. the fighting within the opposition has not helped the forces. getting to the second part of the question, the fact that al qaeda, not just the al qaeda element but also the islamic state -- al qaeda in iraq that has migrated over -- they are quite proficient fighters. they engage in suicide bombings.
2:18 am
they have engaged in a lot of tax -- attacks. in those respects, he has been able to stand back and watch their fighting. the tragedy put upon the people by assad regime -- the barrel bombs, the chemical weapons, the slaughter -- 150,000 deaths so far. i remember being in the aleppo. i see now the pictures. disaster,tarian people displaced, it is a tragedy. that has become a magnet for extremists and terrorist to have migrated to syria. to use it not just as a place to carry out their version of mileage a haas -- violent jihad, but to also use it as a springboard. which is the focus of a lot of
2:19 am
my engagements with foreign counterparts. >> yes? >> good morning. u.s. news & world report. i would like to follow-up on some of the talk about the intelligence gaps. edward snowden said he has accused the nsa of distracting from pinpointed credible threats. from where you said, do you think there has been intelligence gaps from the nsa or cia in terms of how they could conduct spying and monitoring better? >> anybody who violates their oath in terms of protecting sensitive classified information really has done a great disservice, not just to the country, but also has put the american people at harm. others are looking
2:20 am
at what we need to do to mitigate whatever types of gaps we might need to face -- we might now face with regard to disclosures. we are try to stay ahead of the challenges. we're working closely with our intelligence partners. distractions do take away from our focus on substantive, functional issues that deserve our full attention. >> this lady in the white jacket. excuse me. thank you. >> i am with the nuclear threat initiative. less than two weeks from now, there will be a nuclear security summit in the netherlands. 40 plus heads of government will gather in this accelerated effort to prevent nuclear terrorism. i wanted to get your assessment of what you think about that effort as one of these variables for dimensioning -- diminishing
2:21 am
risk. ukraine is a bigger disaster in terms of having weapons because of the commitment they had to get rid of that. considering those dynamics, how do you think about that? participated in the nuclear summits. i found them invaluable in terms variousifying initiatives that can help to minimize the potential calamitous effects of the liberation. -- proliferation. theink what happened after end of the soviet union diminished what have been a more dangerous situation right now. standpoint, we try to keep things up teed up to policy makers in terms of what are the initiatives that
2:22 am
presidents and prime ministers can agree on? those materials that are still available? the precautions and actions that should be taken to make sure there will be appropriate security measures taken when any type of secure -- nuclear material is transported or nuclear reactors are brought online? there has been a strong relationship between the intelligence community and policy makers. this is global. but we do before the nuclear summit his work with our counterparts overseas to identify what we believe the priority issues are. >> we have the ukraine related question from a viewer in berlin. do you think it might be possible to prevent repetition --the russian crimea takeover of crimea in eastern ukraine? >> russia already had an
2:23 am
extensive military presence in crimea that allow them to have a certain number of military naval personnel as well as equipment and vessels there. as part of the black sea fleet. the actions it has taken over the past several weeks have far exceeded and violated the terms of that understanding. does russia have the capability to move into eastern europe crane chris mark absolutely -- into eastern europe crane -- to move into eastern ukraine? > absolutely. whether they need to move into ukraine proper to protect their interests. the events of the coming week or they willether or not
2:24 am
try to secede, that is to be seen. we are at a very delicate time. that is why president obama and secretary kerry are engaging on a constant basis with the world leaders to try to detonate -- de-escalate tensions. are sure russians interests addressed, but the future of the ukrainian people are decided by the ukrainians. >> the ukrainian government has been remarkably restrained despite provocation in crimea and elsewhere. do you think that if that referendum goes forward, moved into larger ukraine, that the ukrainian government -- their could resist taking action? >> they have been remarkably and
2:25 am
thankfully restrained. what we need to avoid our provocations on neither side that could lead to confrontation, bloodshed or whatever. we are hoping, heads prevail in moscow, and key of. -- kiev. provocation is something we need to make sure we avoid. >> we had a question over here. could you bring the microphone up? thank you. >> i am from george mason university. one of the implications of the arab spring is the de-evolution of what we called al qaeda to local interest. that is not necessarily a good thing. there are wars and sectarianism. the way we frame the issue is
2:26 am
quite complex. my question is, we tend to use a shorthand with respect to al qaeda. calling every group with a similar agenda al qaeda. does that undercut our own interests? what exactly is al qaeda? groups thatolent are not al qaeda? >> you're absolutely right. there is al qaeda court, bin laden. those that are around the core of al qaeda in south asia. there are those crews in the arabian peninsula that are clearly affiliated. there are other elements in syria taking orders from al qaeda core. a lot of other groups throughout the region that may have an ideological affinity, but have not sworn -- do not follow the
2:27 am
directional guidance. it is a loose confederation of groups. it has metastasized. which makes it all the more challenging. a lot of these groups have local agendas and are being exploited by the core for more global jihadist purposes. terrorismtremism and has some political publications. to violence that is attended -- that of these groups will be the key to success here. everything around the world on the counterterrorism front.
2:28 am
>> right here. >> jim moody with oppenheimer. ideas.d war was a war of it was basically a war of ideas. i would maintain, and correct me if i'm wrong, that islam is often the associated with --lence actually, heaven violence. actually, having lived in many islamic countries, i know it is a great crime under islam to kill people. is there a way to bring that to the table? >> you said the cold war is a war of ideas. ward -- birth to actions.
2:29 am
too often actions give birth to repressive policies. authoritative actions. it was suppression and repression of individuals. same thing with al qaeda. they have a very corrupt interpretation of the koran. i meet with leaders in the middle east. these are individuals who are karen asked callers. they're the ones that are most annoyed at how al qaeda has hijacked the religion. and distorted the teachings of mohammed for violent purposes. ideology has, that gained resonance and following in many parts of the world. repression political , economic disenfranchisement. lack of education and ignorance. there are a number of phenomena that are fueling the fires.
2:30 am
it is unsettling. new governments are having to come to grips with. the role of these governments in the political system. what is their role? will they pursue legitimate participation in the system? they have ultimate designs of not having a pluralistic society but having one concept for a society. these are challenges we will be facing over the next decade. -- too oftenparate people put into one basket everybody. >> right here. i am the ceo of a system engineering companies -- company.
2:31 am
a lot of the work we do protects our nation and the rights of individuals. show onelike the facts thing and the peer -- pr show some e-mails. is there some -- and the pr shows something else. is there something you can do about that? >> i made a deliberate decision my first year that i was going to not come out and not give speeches. i have now decided to come out. i went to the university of oklahoma. i find it in narrative is one-sided publicly. that mischaracterizes what we do. often, partisan politics tends to drive commentary. are made for partisan purposes. i think national security is too important to allow it to be used by partisan politicians.
2:32 am
i find it the media will seize that soundbite. i could speak for an hour, and if i miss speak or there is one tidbit taken out of context, they will make sure they pointed out. it is an uphill battle to read audiences like that's -- this who recognize it is an important issue. this country has gone through so much. we need to keep it strong and safe. cia plays an important role there. i'm going to go out more and more. i'm not going to start trashing other people. we have to proceed on this as responsible adults and professionals. that is what i am determined to do. off onn't want to lay it any editors or producers. i take responsibility for anything we put in my name.
2:33 am
[laughter] let me ask you about the security clearances. one of the things that came out is the investigation. it is a justice department investigation into the firm that has been doing the majority of clearances for contractors. that in many cases, they were not doing the of property -- appropriate follow-up. they were failing to do the second calls back. they did snowden's clearance, although it is not clear to place in his case. >> error so many parts that need to make sure they are doing the best work they can do. purityin of national so -- security is only as strong as the weakest link.
2:34 am
by t professionals -- the it professionals who need to make sure the technical obstacles are in place to keep somebody from downloading stuff. is the collective responsibility. if you think about the people who have some sort of security clearance, that is a tremendous challenge that has technical aspects to it as well as personal security requirements. this is a big government. it is very unfortunate that somebody would decide to do what they did. i find that reprehensible. the people that are putting their lives on their line -- on the line every day in dangerous places are really just so disheartened that somebody would take such reckless actions. yes, privacy and civil liberties, individual freedoms need to be respected.
2:35 am
we are trying to get this right in the intelligence community. it is challenging. some of the laws have not kept up. changes in the private sector, looking with the private sector is doing with our data in terms of making it available to other companies. resident obama has made it clear we have an obligation to the country safe and also have an obligation to uphold the laws. >> and you do that without the mass collection of metadata? >> there are a lot of challenges in the digital domain. you asked by people what you ask five -- people what made to data me says data means.a you will get many different answers. if there is a terrorist who is
2:36 am
determined to do harm with a conventional or biological weapon, how will you be able to it operate at the speed of light? -- i saw the/11 smoldering ashes in manhattan last week. >> thank you very much. >> bill cutler, former foreign service. i wanted to ask you about a country you knew well -- and a well. -- country you know well. saudi arabia. we have seen all kinds of media report about strains in our relationship. syria, relating to iran, even egypt. the president is going back to saudi arabia. ever tohis first visit
2:37 am
an arab country. before he made his famous cairo speech read -- speech. are these passing clouds are something we are facing with our relationship? >> the u.s. and saudi arabia have a strategic partnership that goes way back. together at the end of world -- the net to gather at the end of world war ii. there is no doubt we have had differences over the years. a lot has been made about anonymous comments that come out during i have spent over five and visited saudi arabia dozens of times. that partnership goes well
2:38 am
beyond my impulse -- the economic and trade and security. andident obama is going out underscores how important not relationship is. he stayed in close contact with president of the law. -- abdulah. what we have committed to do is ensure we have a robust dialogue about those issues ranging from iran to egypt. relationshipthat is on strong and solid ground. >> i am of the raven group. we talked about the need for greater transparency in national security matters. with the exception of the
2:39 am
disclosures from mr. snowden, has there been much transparency? the crack down on leaks? the failure to get out the so-called torture report? does that negate there has been no change in transparency? >> there has been tremendous progress made. when you look at all the things that are put out -- the amount of resources indicated to the -- and dedicated to the request. the hearings over the years, you have an intelligence business that really does require many times to have secrecy. people are putting their lives at risk worldwide. you have to make sure you are balancing the transparency. the president is committed to making sure we optimize it.
2:40 am
i am as well. submits thistee report for classification review -- we work with them, we owe is up to them -- to decide whether they want to put it out public or not. >> they missed a lot of important things. it is their prerogative. i'm not going to stay in the way. i will protect sources in terms of the tremendous investment we have made in the collection systems. caesar that which is caesar's. i gave a number of speeches on counterterrorism at the white house. exactlyo underscore what are the criteria we use in the government in order to take those actions.
2:41 am
this is a delicate business. some people who feel as if they can just recklessly put things out, they don't understand the vocations of how it can put sensitive programs and lives at risk. >> jim with cnn. i wonder if i can ask about the land where we see disputes going on, between japan and china. particularly as it relates to ukraine. difficultn a position. how closely are they watching our reaction to how they handle the situation in ukraine? is it your assessment they can be peeled off of that traditional alliance with russia? this is new information. the transponder was turned off on the malaysian airlines flight to need to fly after it was turned off.
2:42 am
if that information gives you any more indication or suspicion it was an act of terrorism? big poweras does one watch for developments in the other? we all look at that. in terms of how they act. in the south china sea area, bumped upa has against the subroutines and equities in the region, we are watching closely. we have engaged with our partners out there as well with the chinese. what we don't want to do is have an unfortunate incident that could lead to an escalating cycle of tension. we don't want to do that. are the chinese watching what is happening? they probably are. on the issue of the trust fund
2:43 am
are, -- of the transponder, there are curious anomalies. did it turn around? are the individuals with the stolen passports involve? why did the transponder disappear from the radar. anyerror -- is there our unknowns, which leads to speculation as to the causes. at this point, we have to be patient and wait. let the authorities continue to investigate. >> the authorities said to follow-up -- there could be a psychological component. perhaps not organized terror. but some pilot decision. is that another theory? >> you cannot discount any. . -- you cannot discount any theory. how can one's actions be masked
2:44 am
technologically? might it have been something in the aircraft? or just some type of catastrophic event that unfortunately led to the crash? i don't know. i don't think people should rule out any lines of inquiry at this point. >> i want to thank john brennan for coming. -- does not speak publicly that often. this is a rare opportunity. we appreciate that. especially on a difficult they. for takingou -- and a the questions. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] congressmanalk with
2:45 am
loretta sanchez. she serves on the homeland security committee. and then a conversation on how the pentagon budget could affect military readiness. congressman rob wittman will join us. and later as part of our spotlight on magazines, steven levy. he wrote an article on how the interstate almost killed the internet. youill take your calls and can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal, live each morning at 7:00. on c-span. health and human services secretary kathleen is on capitol hill tomorrow, testifying about the 2015 budget request.
2:46 am
she is also expected to take questions about delays implementing the health care law. the starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three. and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. gentlemen. >> mr. speaker, on this historic day, the house of representatives opens its proceedings to televised coverage. i wish to congratulate you for making this possible and the committee who has worked so hard on the leadership of congress missed -- congressman charles. television will change this institution, just as it is changed the executive branch. but the goodwill outweigh the bad. musk member of this body how many americans are listening to the debates
2:47 am
which are made? when the house becomes comfortable with the changes brought by television, the news media will be allowed to bring their own cameras. in the meantime, there is no censorship. every word is available for broadcast coverage. journalists will be able to use and edit as they see fit. the solution for the lack of confidence in government is more open government at all levels. >> more highlights from 35 years of house coverage on our page.ok age -- brought to you by your television service provider as a public service. >> i think what happens to hoover as the depression deepens -- people didn't know was the great depression on day one -- they thought it was probably a typical cyclical event.
2:48 am
but when the pattern did not hold, he found himself facing increasing pressure from the left for greater and greater expenditures. he started to hold the line against that. he became very much a fiscal conservative, velti budget -- balance the budget republican. attackedme why he was for not doing anything. he was quite activist, including policies that were not very effective. on the other hand, he was struggling against a total status turn. >> george nash on the missing link in herbert hoover cost memoirs. -- herbert hoover's memoirs. and being west will take your calls, e-mails, and tweets.
2:49 am
live from noon to three eastern. month on the book club, join the discussion on camille joseph's new biography. whistleblowers from the nuclear waste treatment site participated in a discussion with senators. some of the workers were fired after reporting about safety concerns. later, testimony from energy department officials. mccaskill chairs the subcommittee.
2:50 am
subcommittee chairman senator claire mccaskill is holding a roundtable discussion. this is live coverage on c-span3. >> -- welcoming all of you to this discussion. i'm really pleased that you are able to be here today. i know you've come a long way. i appreciate that. this discussion represents the intersection of the subcommittee's ongoing oversight of whistle-blower protections, and the department of energy's contract management. both areas that i have done, and this subcommittee, has done a significant amount of work around both of those issues. after the conclusion of this discussion, we'll proceed to the third subcommittee hearing on these topics that we have actually had in this subcommittee. the focus of today's discussion is the safety culture at hanford, and the allegations of whistle-blower retaliation that resulted when safety and technical concerns were brought to the attention of the department of energy and contractor management. hanford has been in the news again lately because yet another
2:51 am
contractor employee at the waste treatment plant, who raised safety concerns, was fired. these actions contribute to a strong perception, both within hanford, and outside of it, that the contractors and the department of energy are failing to put an adequate emphasis on creating a strong safety culture in hanford. today, i wanted to give fellow members of congress and the public an opportunity to hear from some of those individuals familiar with this situation at hanford. donna bushy. >> yes, ma'am. >> is the former environmental and nuclear safety manager at the waste treatment plant. she has over 20 years of experience in nuclear safety, she was fired by urs in february of this year. dr. walter tamacidis is the former research and technology manager and assistant chief process engineer for the waste treatment plant. he has over 40 years of experience in the chemical and nuclear industries. he was fired by urs in december of 2013. and tom carpenter is the executive director of the
2:52 am
advocacy group hanford challenge. mr. carpenter has decades of experience in policy oversight of the nuclear field and whistle-blower advocacy. he helped establish and is a member of the hanford concerns council. let me turn it over to senator johnson, if you would like to say a few words, and then we would love to ask each of you to give a brief statement and then we'll have some questions. >> okay, thank you. well certainly, madam chair i certainly appreciate your efforts, trying to get to the bottom of what this government needs to do, what the u.s. has to do in terms of cleaning up these nuclear sites. i'm relatively new to the issue. and so i really don't come to this issue with any biases or any assumptions. i think my assumption would be that nobody at the table here companies, not the current government employees, caused the problem. that was done decades ago and it is a huge problem. it's an incredibly complex problem. i'm not an engineer. i'm not a nuclear engineer. my guess is because of the
2:53 am
complexity, because of the difficult nature of this problem, there's going to be certainly differences of opinion in terms of how to approach it. i really, you know, i would like to think, whether it's the government employees, whether it's the contractors that are basically agreeing to take on this task and try to grapple with this very difficult situation, my guess is everybody's trying to solve this problem but it's incredibly enormous, complex and difficult issue. so i certainly want to get all the information. i appreciate you coming here today. and with that just want to hear what you have to say. >> why don't we begin with you, miss bushy and take a few minutes to say whatever you'd like to say in terms of where you find yourself and what you think is relevant knowing that our concern is whistleblower protections and contract management. those are basically the two cornerstones that this hearing that we're going to have in another hour or so are really about. so why don't you each take a few
2:54 am
minutes and then i've got some questions and i'm sure senator johnson may have some questions. >> i'll keep my remarks pretty brief so that we can actually, i think, afford you the opportunity with questions so that we might be able to help your investigation. so i think everyone knows me. my name is donna busche he was the former manager of environmental and nuclear safety at the waste treatment plants. my responsibilities included making sure that the dangerous waste permit that is actually one of the governing documents for the environmental cleanup mission, that we provided and complied with the terms and conditions of that dangerous waste permits, and the more controversial side was the nuclear safety side. where, i would summarize my job as making sure that we adequately implement the department of energy's requirements to integrate safety into the design. so, most people resonate with fukushima, right? i'm not advocating that we're going to have a fukushima. we're not going to have an earthquake and a tsunami. but the parallels from the department of energy's regulations are very similar to the nuclear regulatory
2:55 am
commission. so we analyze hazards and then we must make sure that there's controls adequate to handle the hazards 6 the highly radioactive and toxic waste in the waste tanks. my journey i believe started at the waste treatment plant in 2009 and i was on good rapport with the company, urs, bechtel, the department of energy, until a fortuitous meeting with the doctor where we identified some key issues, at that time a highly controversial technical issue of mixing and i think that was the subtd of one of your previous hearings. in that meeting it was not received well. it being the 56 comments and questions that dr. tamacitis raised. when i reviewed that list i identified, these are my words, holy moley, there's quite a few of these that have not been adequately analyzed to understands hazards and what needs to go into the design. from that point forward i was requested to attend a public meeting from the defense nuclear
2:56 am
facility safety board, where i provided testimony in three panels that were quite controversial, where i took positions technically that made them differing opinions, as you put it. senator johnson. but, in the nuclear business we must have unwavering commitment to making sure that we comply with the regulations, and execute the public trust that has been endeared to us. so i took a conservative stance. the defense nuclear facility safety board supported that stance and so did many other in the technical community. after that i was requested to be deposed. i was subpoenaed for a closed testimony for the nuclear safety board and miraculously after that i now have performance issues. and i would characterize, if you disagree with urs or bechtel in making sure that we build the waste treatment plant, not design it safely, build the waste treatment plant, that you're labeled with performance
2:57 am
issues, attitude issues, don't get along with colleagues. so, i stayed until i was terminated from my employment on february 18th. >> i'm going to interrupt if you don't mind and give my colleague ron wyden who i know has been interested and acted on this issue and give him a few moments to make comments. we've just donna busche just finished explaining her situation. and then the other two witnesses, we're going to give an informal presentation and we're just going to have informal questioning between -- >> chairman mccaskill, thank you first of all for doing this. this is extraordinarily important. because if we're going to have the kind of safety agenda that we need in this country, we've got to get the truth out. that's the bottom line and i'm particularly pleased that you have three individuals that i've had a chance to talk to in the case of mr. carpenter for
2:58 am
practically two decades now, and dr. tamacitis and mrs. busche as well. getting the real story at the department of energy's hanford site is tujly important for our part of the world. as some of you know, hanford essentially adjoins the columbia river. which is our life blood. for our quality of life, and recreation, and business, and a whole host of needs. and the reality is, hanford is is a lasting and dangerous legacy of the federal government's nuclear weapons production activitieactivities,g millions of gallons of high level radioactive waste. and for decades secrecy was a way of life at hanford. first because it was necessary to protect nuclear weapons secrets, but later, it became a way of hiding the true
2:59 am
environmental impacts of decades of plutonium production. and what you're going to hear from these three today, and hopefully a number of times in the days ahead, because working with my colleagues, i'm glad to see senator johnson here, as well, we really need to gig in and get the truth out of the problems at the site. we're talking about contamination of groundwater, the safety problems at the waste treatment plant, and the reality is, and i say this to our chair and our colleague senator johnson, the only way these serious matters have become public knowledge is because courageous, committed employees like these two individuals, have come forward to tell us and to tell the american people. and i'll close up senator mccaskill with just two last points. first independent reviews
3:00 am
essentially corroborate their point of view. both the defense nuclear facility safety board and the department's own safety inspector inspectors found that hanford maintained a culture that at best thwarted the ability of employees to come forward, and at worst has threatened their careers, and livelihoods. the fact that with respect to dr. tamosaitis and miss busche that they were fired after this issue has gotten so much attention by the independent observers, by you, as our chair, senator mccaskill, and myself when i was chair of the energy committee, in my view, underscores the fact that nothing has really changed at hanford. and that's what we've got to turn around and i will just say to the chair and my staff wrote these really long address, i think i can maybe spare you the fulfill buster and just thank you very

106 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on