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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 22, 2014 10:27pm-12:31am EDT

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the "new york times" hailed her as the woman who beat the klan, and she must have been a fascinating and very strong woman. it is a sad story in mobile's long history, and it is a good question. why would we focus on something like this? but i think the answer really comes from something more elemental, and it is the fact that we learn the lessons of history. maya angelou said this. history's often wrenching, painful saga cannot be undone, it cannot be unlived, but if we can learn the lesson, then it may not be repeated, and i think that is a good story of what happened to michael donald. >> of the look of the people of
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places in the shovel of civil where is part of the tour we highlight the literary life and history of each a city we visit. to see more, go to our website and click on series. tourn's american history next friday focus on native americans. we start off with the battle of the little bighorn. mexican pue of a blo. and a spanish mission in florida devoted to him converting native americans to christianity. next week, special primetime programming on the c-span networks. monday, a debate over scottish
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independence and then on tuesday, issues spotlighted on irs targeting of conservative groups. wednesday, the principle of harvard connecticut method school on educating children from disadvantaged backgrounds. thursday, house budget committee on federal and private anti-poverty programs. night, native american history. monday at 830 p.m., discussion of full choice. 8:00, how theat poor can save capitalism and wednesday at 8 p.m., it interview about the biography of neil armstrong. thursday night, a tour. eastern, in-depth with former congressman ron paul. on american history tv on c-span 3 monday, the reconstruction era and civil rights. tuesday, the end of world war ii and the atomic bomb.
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wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. thursday, look at american attitudes of world war i. about thedocumentary 1969 apollo 11 moon landing. find the schedule one week in advance and let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. 202-626-3400, c123 or e-mail us at like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> next, remarks from the russian ambassador to the united nations and ukrainian deputy ambassador concerning russian convoys that entered ukraine. after that today's white house and pentagon briefings discussing u.s. reaction and ther news. russian ambassador to the united
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nations vitaly churkin spoke at u.n. headquarters in new york city. he said convoys taking humanitarian aid have began arriving at their destinations and said the aid was entirely humanitarian and contained no military assistance. this was about half an hour. >> friday in late august. not as crowded as some other times. it's good to see you any way. i want to begin with some good news. while i do that, i need to keep my fingers crossed. the good news is according to media reports, the first trucks
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from the russian humanitarian convoys have reached the city of luhansk, which has been besieged and shelled by the ukrainian military for the past few weeks, and, therefore, for that reason, a humanitarian catastrophe broke out as well as in some other cities in eastern ukraine. the population of which either s trying to flee, both the crossing into the territory of russia, and those who remain are regarding humanitarian assistance. so on the 7th of august, the foreign minister sent a letter to the president of the icrc announcing our attention to send a humanitarian convoy in eastern ukraine. on august 12, we received official information, a note from the foreign minister of ukraine confirming their readiness to receive that
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humanitarian assistance. after that, the humanitarian convoy started moving towards he territory of ukraine, and they arrived at the crossing point into the territory of the country on 14 august. on the 12th of august we informed they randomly could be choosing the trucks they wanted to inspect the journalists, and, of course, that additional inspection by journalists confirmed that there was on-humanitarian cargo on the structure. he content of the cargo is roughly 280 trucks who were originally in the convoy. 69 electric generators, 400 tons
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of grains and cereals, 340 tons of canned meat, sugar, 60 pounds of canned milk products, around 79 tons of bottled water, 54 ons of various medical supplies, and over 12,000 sleeping bags. on august 15, according to the understanding we reached with the ukrainian authorities, 59 ukrainian officials arrived at the crossing point. on the russian side the crossing point is controlled by our border officials and our customs officials, but on the ukrainian side, it is the self-defense forces who are controlling the crossing points at that particular crossing point.
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the arrangement was that ukrainian officials were arriving at on our side of the border. 59 of them came on august 15, and they could immediately start checking the cargo. and that work was actually proceeding, and in the course of all those days, numerous contacts and exchanges on various levels with the president of the international red cross, the internationals of the red cross and russia, and with ukrainian officials. we were trying to be as transparent as humanly possible in other places. on august 7 i informed the secretary-general of our intention to send that convoy, and the secretary-general welcomed it as a good gesture. we now have the intentions on august 8, the meeting of the security council. s you know, some chose to play
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politics, even though normally here in this building you hear people wanting assistance to be delivered. for some reason in this case they were trying to do everything in order to create obstacles for the delivery of the humanitarian aid. anyway, it became clear to our people on the ground yesterday and this morning that the ukrainians keep requesting a because there were people on the spot who were supposed to give a green light to the convoy, kept saying that they had no orders to allow for the humanitarian convoy on ukrainian territory. there was a pressing need for that assistance, and some of the goods which i described are perishable goods, particularly the food for children. a decision was taken, and we told the icrc and ukrainians on the 20th that we cannot wait
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much longer. so the convoy departed them and again, as i say, according to media reports, the first trucks already reached the city of luhansk. there are some icrc people on the ground, and the russian red cross is planning to participate. i do not know many details on he ground, but this is the nature of things. so we believe this is something that needs to be done, and we hope that it will provide help to those people who are urgently in need of that assistance, but that does not change the dramatic situation in eastern
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ukraine. he shelling and fighting continues. russia calls for immediate and unconditional cease-fire. unfortunately, the ukrainian side, the authorities, have not accepted that. so this drama unfortunately continues. thank you very much. this is my introduction. i'm sorry. >> i am filling in today. 'm certainly not that high up. thank you for holding this briefing. as we all know, there are the reports that the first trucks are going into luhansk. the ukrainians are considering this a direct invasion. what is your response? and where do we go from here? >> we are having contacts at diplomatic levels, and we are accepting the ideas of russian humanitarianism. they realize that from their perspective it may not look very
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good if there was russian humanitarian assistance, but no humanitarian assistance from ukraine. we promise them that. at times it seems like there is no clear chain of command in kiev, because some assurances are given at a very high level, and then others do not give orders, which i inquired of the border police to let the trucks to do. we have waited long enough. it was time to move. this is what we are doing. we agree some ukrainian officials are trying to stir the situation and create some political crisis, which is there, but not for the reason of he russian humanitarian convoy moving to the people in
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need. >> thank you. thanks for the briefing. want to ask you about the press statement yesterday. i heard there was a statement of proposed in the council about a cease-fire, and the cameras were taken away. if you could say what would happen at that. and as one example, you talked about the salt. i was watching cnn about the convoy, and a question why salt was there. he said there are salt mines in eastern ukraine. one example of the type of goods brought in. what do you make of that? >> you can mine salt if you're not shelled, not if you're hiding in your cellars. there are thousands of people on the ground who require this humanitarian assistance. our ministry of emergency situations is dealing with those things professionally. a press statement, yes, we had the feeling that things were roceeding normally yesterday because all the signals seemed to be there. we proposed a draft statement
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which would sort of support this joint endeavor by russia and ukraine, which also would call for a cease-fire for the duration of the distribution of the humanitarian assistance. but some people from the security council plotted in a typical way. the ukrainian delegation sent in amendments where they dropped reference to russia and included a reference to the european union and also dropped reference to a cease-fire, and the u.s. delegation sent its amendments where they also dropped reference to a cease-fire, but included a clause that said the
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so-called separatists, it is their fault," and "if there were no separatists, then no humanitarian assistance would be required." if there are no problems in places in the world, in those places where humanitarian assistance -- but this is not the case, and with all the political conflicts and crises and military conflicts in the world, there's a need to send humanitarian assistance, and this is what states need to be doing and what the united nations needs to be doing it and this is what russia is doing in this particular case. yes. >> you know that the convoys are entering a war zone, because they are fighting in these areas. should they come under any kind of bombardment for lack of commands from the chain of command, is not very clear. what would russia do -- >> i am not going to go hypothetical.
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we have made some official segments expressing our hope that there should be no efforts to create problems on the humanitarian convoy. according to media reports from the area where the convoys moving, the route is guarded pretty thoroughly by the local self-defense forces. we hope that the convoy will come to the places where it is supposed to be and that assistance of the icrc that the humanitarian supplies will be distributed. >> have you received reports on how that happened? did you get any reading? >> we had information, and we raised it in the security council twice since the adoption of the resolution 2166 on july 26 after the downing of the malaysian airliner.
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first, we came back to the issue in the security council when we learned -- we read a statement from ukrainians say they were breaching the cease-fire, which was established in the immediate ffinity of the crash site by this resolution. this brought a strange response on that from our colleagues because not only did they say that, the ukrainian authorities, but they implied that breaking the cease-fire was done in agreement with those countries whose experts were there present on the ground, to my surprise, and the australian delegation was there. my australian colleague would go out of his way to dissociate himself from the statement. instead, he chose to go on an anti-russian diatribe with some australian officials around that time, saying that the presence of russian troops in the
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vicinity on the russian territory and was interfering with the investigation. unfortunately, that was not an indication of their willingness to create an official proper conditions for that investigation, and the last time we raised it in the security council was this past monday, four days ago, where we simply recall that paragraph 18 of resolution 2166 providing for the secretary giving some information to the council about what is going on. they gave us some very sketchy information. our concern is that it needs to be a real international investigation. this is what is recorded in resolution 2166. we have some concerns about it. it is not clear to us, what is the role of -- this resolution is also pertaining to the need for very close corporation with -- and some elements of what are going on is not clear.
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among other things, what is happening with the recordings of the conversations with ukrainian air traffic controllers. you may recall when we had this ragedy in russia, when a plane of the president of poland crashed -- the entire conversation of the air traffic controllers. we have certain rrangements. we expect those arrangements. the investigation is led by this board in the netherlands which exists there, and the netherlands have taken the lead in this investigation, so we will see where it will all go. please. >> what is the plan with these trucks that are now at the center of this dispute between
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russia and ukraine? once they offload their delivery, what are they doing? are they returning back to russia? nato reports that -- >> we have been reporting those things all along the crisis without the proof of their allegations. >> could you answer the question, please -- >> i do not know what the exact arrangement is. we went into very detailed instruction with the icrc. russian professionals and icrc professionals -- and ukrainians. will not give you the details of the discussions. please. >> thank you, ambassador. to clarify some are you denying russian troops and artillery are now inside ukrainian territory and firing on -- >> they need to provide troops -- to provide proof, and once they provide proof, we can deny or confirm anything else. without providing any proof, i do not see any reason --
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>> from your own information, from your own military information for our russian military -- >> no, no, no. >> what you expect from the security council meeting this afternoon? >> we did not call the meeting. it was called by the ukrainian delegation. the humanitarian situation in ukraine has stopped working, and we know the division of labor, u.s. and u.k. are not far behind. >> the fact remains still, the report is skirmishes going on as soon as the convoy entered the area, and the pentagon is calling for russia to withdrawal its convoy. is it assuming the convoy does not have humanitarian goods? the situation is escalating because there is the assumption
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made by certain quarters that it is not humanitarian convoys, it might contain some artillery. >> as i said, there was ample possibility for doublechecking on the cargo. even the journalists were -- i can quote from a bbc journalist. there were crowds of journalists there, split into groups and were moved all around the convoy. and at random they could point a finger at a certain truck and say, why don't you open it up? the pentagon or whoever -- our american friends, other humanitarians, we just discussed providing humanitarian aid to this area across the border. they were demanding an arrangement which would allow humanitarians to provide the assistance without the consent of the ukrainian government. we cooperated with that. we produce a resolution which allow the procedure in place.
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i do not see how with a straight face they can argue against this move of russia, especially with the background of our discussions with icrc and ukrainian authorities and all the others who would care to listen. and i have numerous discussions with some in the powers in new york to explain all the details, and have seen there are no context taking place between the capitals. >> you mentioned the syrian resolution. do you think at some point it will be necessary to arrange some kind of solution in ukraine? >> we are trying to do that. the first we tried to produce a resolution on ukraine was june 2. some members of the security council chose to play politics with this humanitarian issue and immediately started putting killer amendments to any draft we produced.
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>> do you see a role on the secretary-general for trying to solve -- if not solve, trying to calm this crisis? at the beginning he was trying o shuttle between moscow and kiev? >> he has been on the phone, and from what we know from this conversation, he was sending the right signals. mr. feltman just made a visit to kiev, and he was previously visiting kiev. this time he was asking to go to moscow. the people who could offer to receive him were not there. the trip the moscow could not be arranged. we would welcome anybody's effort, if the effort is aimed at trying to bring about a cease-fire and movement toward a political process which is provided by the geneva document of april 17.
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>> ambassador, on this situation in the middle east, as far as isis is concerned, it is being said that isis is a threat to international peace and security. as the russian spokesman for the russian government, do you believe that isis should be declared a threat to international peace and security and that the united nations should undertake an action to somehow meet this threat? >> i think everybody who can do something useful to combat that threat should try to do that. at this point, no one has proposed any ideas for the involvement of the united nations on the security --
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irect involvement. we will follow that in our discussions, and we have the russian -- no trade of oil with terrorist organizations in the middle east. there was a resolution posed by some other member of the security council. so we are working on a political front. if other things are proposed, we are going to consider them. >> ambassador, what do you say to critics who say that this aid convoy is really an effort to resupply the pro-russian separatist rebels? >> with baby food, with baby food. >> rebels have babies, too. >> you are from the voice of america, are you? no, no, no. please wait for me to say the next thing. the united states do not have monopoly to humanism, you know. we are all human. so if you are trying to question our humanism, i would resent that. but knowing you for such a long time, i know that that was not
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your intention. that was a fair question. this is my response for question. >> thank you. for almost a decade, we see you -- i'm going to another part of -- >> please go ahead. >> thank you. go into serbia and being a big brother of them. now the prime minister of serbia says that ukraine's sovereignty is not in question. they support it fully. they are not going to export notes to russian now. what you say on this? >> you know, i think for the -- the ambassador of serbia will be here next friday. i will talk to him about a
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umber of things. >> my question was about the prime minister of serbia. >> i heard that there were some statements. i would be interested to hear their side of the story. before i hear their side of the story, i do not want to respond your question. >> ambassador, for real, you have been a real supportive of serbia for many years. you yourself, for almost a decade. >> myself is not important, but now that you mention it, i have been a supporter of serbia since 1992, so it has been more than a decade. >> questioning these elements regarding gaza and the cease-fire. do you believe that going back to the arrangement of 2005 in gaza is still viable, especially that the forces have changed? >> you need to talk to the parties to figure out what they need, and my understand is that ou want something more on both sides. so we will see where it goes.
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>> the ukrainian ambassador is going to speak right after you. what should be bear in mind as we listen to him? >> bear in mind what i just told you, that they say things that are blatantly not true. for instance, a statement from their foreign ministry saying that they do not know what the content of the cargo is, and i did tell you that we informed them about the content of the cargo as far back as august 12. and 59 of the people were on the ground starting august 15 to check the cargo. unfortunately, they are saying things that are not true, and they give conflicting -- various officials give and take the interpretations of their objections. i have heard a person from the security council who started complaining about the trucks. but the trucks -- we told them that they were going to be russian trucks. now he is talking about objections about trucks. so unfortunately, they chose not to work cooperatively with us, and this is something which we are offering to them.
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we want to also provide humanitarian assistance. we said let's do it together. you will help us and give us all the green light. please. >> investor, how many trucks -- what is the route they're planning to cover in the area that if you have any idea? >> i don't. originally, we accepted all the ukrainian proposals. we wanted to take a shortcut. we proposed a longer way. we accepted their proposal. again, i heard today on russian television that it takes only three hours to come from the border to the city of luhansk, so it should not be an overly complicated operation. i'm sorry? >> how many trucks reached the place? >> ambassador, if these trucks or the next trucks will be
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ttacked by the ukrainian force -- what will be your -- >> i do not want to be answering the question. >> yesterday kuwait arrested a person from isis who bragged that he spoke to two people in syria. then the authorities released that one person. >> i'm not familiar with this situation. we will talk about later. >> are you content -- >> i'm not familiar with the question. thank you for telling me about it. thank you very much. another question, please. >> there are media reports that some of the trucks convoy were empty. so can you verify that -- >> no, no, i can't. >> so you do not know what is in this trucks -- >> i just read it to
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everybody. the nature of the cargo is completely clear. >> at some of the trucks are empty or not? >> i do not know. i do not know. anyway, i do not want to go into it. professionals are dealing with it. sometimes you have things in support. when you move a lot of cargo hich want to deliver, and some truck is breaking down with baby food. you need to have a spare truck to put this cargo on the spare truck. when you move 280 trucks, sometimes and make sense to have some empty trucks. but i do not know if it is the case. thank you very much.
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>> ukraine's deputy u.n. ambassador spoke after the russian ambassador. he said his country is not convinced the russian convoys are intended only to provide humanitarian relief. this is about ten minutes. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. thank you very much for your attention. i'm sorry we're holding this confidence at such a short otice. i just want to make a short statement, which is taking place in the ukraine. we are deeply concerned with the unilateral actions of the russian federation and delivery of the military convoy in the east of ukraine. he we take it as a blatant violation of the sovereignty of ukraine international law.
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this is the humanitarian assistance to ukraine either. s you might know on august 14, when they were sent by the ukrainian government, their temporarily under control by terrorists. in total over 70 trucks, up to 800 pounds of cargo have been dispatched for the eastern part of ukraine. for those people who need ssistance. that delivery includes fish and sun flower oil and so on and other necessities. yesterday our government also started to clear the humanitarian assistance,
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humanitarian russian convoy on the russian-ukrainian border. of y dozens of trucks humanitarian assistance have een clear. despite that fact, russia has been aid establishing rules and procedures without the effort of the international committee or red cross as it was agreed preliminarily. also the border and customs service have started clearing russian convoys. by early morning today, dozens
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of trucks with humanitarian assistance have been cleared. we are deeply concerned with the unilateral actions of the russian federation over the delivery of the humanitarian convoy in the east of ukraine. it indicates the aaggressive nature of russia's actions. as we previously emphasized, the russ side is fully responsible for the safety of the cargo. it is important to note the ukrainian -- ukraine has already taken all necessary measures to ensure the security of the cargo. in order to prevent any
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provocations we issued all necessary instructions for the safe passing of convoys, despite all attempts by the ukrainian side, the contact between general staff of the armed forces of ukraine and one of russia has not been established. which is critical to ensure security along the road. terrorists carry out mortar attacks along the route of the cargo. we are not aware of the content of the agreement of the russian site with insurgentses and do not disclude the possibility of any provocations. we consider this to be another blatant violation of the fundamental principles of the international law, including infallibility of borders, international affairs of another state and fulfillment of international obligations by the russian federation. we call on the russian
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federation to take all possible measures to comply with previously negotiated conditions n the humanitarian aid supply. we regret that russian humanitarian convoy in fact creates more problems than encourages solutions of the risis. on this i want to conclude my short statement. ok, so thank you very much. no questions for the moment. as soon as we will get the develops inside, we will have -- >> a few questions? let me. >> ok, if you have time. >> the russian ambassador just aid russia actually got some consent from ukrainian government at the top level, and the border guards did not let the convoy --
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what was the situation? was there concern of the ukrainian government to get these convoys through or not? >> i do not get your question. i do not -- our border guards started to clear the humanitarian convoy. we started to do this yesterday, yesterday afternoon. and by this morning, as i mentioned, we cleared about dozens of trucks. unfortunately, russia, despite those actions, that they did not wait until all the convoy would be cleared, and they resorted to unilateral actions. yes. >> in your statement you say that the ukrainian government is concerned about the safety of those trucks. so you would mean that those trucks can be used like an attack on those trucks, can be
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used as an excuse to escalate the confrontation? what is your fear? >> the fear is that we as a government can provide security and safety to those cargo when it is moving from the territory which is controlled by the central government. and we cannot provide full security to the convoy on the territory controlled by terrorists. and unfortunately, we have not heard anything about the security guards from another part of the fight, and we believe that they could organize some provocations. >> are you saying because when these trucks across the border, are you saying that the ukrainian government will not
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try to stop them at all, i mean, even if they pass through? >> i think our government will take all appropriate measures which are necessary to protect our sovereignty. i'm sorry. i thank you for your attention. i have to go. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> the subject of russian convoys also came up in today's white house briefing. national deputy adviser ben rhodes called it a violation of sovereignty and the beheading of james foley represents a terrorist attack against the united states and militant group isis poses a greater threat today than it did six months ago. his is about 45 minutes.
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>> good afternoon. i'm going to let deputy national security adviser ben rhodes lead us off to 10, 15 minutes and take care of foreign policy and national security questions and i will pull up the rear. >> great. thanks, everyone. let's get to it, jim. >> if you cover on the recent international developments, one is nato has said russian artillery have moved into ukraine and firing on government positions -- and inaudible] >> with respect to the chinese jet, the pentagon spoke to this today. we communicated directly to the chinese government our objection o this type of action.
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in terms of the details the pentagon spoke to those but we encouraged constructive military ties to tchinia and this type of action is clearly violates the spirit of that engagement and we made our concerns known directly to beijing. with respect to the developments in ukraine, we very much condemn the violation, flagrant violation of ukraine's sovereignty we saw today with the movement of this russian convoy into ukraine. there had been negotiations during which it was made clear that ukraine would have to accept the delinchry of any humanitarian convoy into the country. it was made clear the icrc would have to participate in the delivery of any humanitarian assistance. that has not taken place. the icrc is not part of this delivery. the government of ukraine did not give agreement for this convey to move within their borders. i think this is part of a pattern we have seen in recent weeks and highlighted of russian
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support to armed separatists in eastern ukraine that, again, violations ukraine sovereignty and destabilizes the situation. d we have highlighted above russian support to armed separatists in eastern ukraine that violates ukraine's sovereignty and destabilizes the situation. soon we are concerned about this. we are in touch with the training government. we will be in touch today with our partners at the un security council, to discuss next steps. russia should take the opportunity to remove this convoy from the thing ukraine. if they do not, they will face additional consequences in the united states and our partners and the international community. >> apparently nato is saying there are russian utility -- artillery in ukraine as well. >> we have seen the use of russian artillery you in ukraine. i would not want to speak to an individual instance today, but it certainly has been a pattern
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whereby we have seen firing from within russia into ukraine, and we have seen disturbing movement of russian artillery and military equipment into ukraine as well. i would say that this takes place in the context of the separatists dramatically losing support within eastern crane and ukrainian military making gains in places like donestsk. and the way, however, to respond to that situation and the humanitarian need, the legitimate humanitarian need in eastern ukraine is to pursue a path of deescalation, not to move forward of further violations of ukraine's sovereignty. which has only alienated russia from the people of eastern ukraine and isolated russia in the international community. >> on the islamic state, general democracy said islamic state can only be defeated if the fight is taken to them in syria. does the president agree with that? if so, how does he intend to
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undertake it? would it mean a significant change in the mission against islamic state? >> we certainly agree any strategy to deal with the isil organization has to deal with both sides of the border, iraq and syria. the strategy we are already undertaking does address that. in the sense that we are providing training and equipping and assistance to the iraqi security forces and kurdish forces fighting them on the ground in iraq. we are also providing support and military assistance to the moderate syrian opposition, what we would like to see is those efforts squeeze the space where isil operates. but there are other elements to our strategy. one is to encies the support of partners in the region and
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international community because this poses a significant threat not just to the united states and to the iraqi and syrian people, but the entire region. there are things we can do with partners to mobilize communities in places like iraq to work to expel isil. then there's the question of u.s. military action. the president has already authorized u.s. military action on the very specific missions of protecting our people and personnel and our facilities in baghdad. he's also authorized military action to deal with the humanitarian crisis on mount sinjar. as we look ahead and look forward, we are going to do what is necessary to protect americans. so if we see fighting against americans, we see a threat to the united states emanating from anywhere, we stand ready to take action against that threat. we have made very clear time and again that if you come after americans, we are going to come after you, wherever you are. that's what's going to guide our planning in the days to come. >> has the president signed off on air strikes against isil in syria? >> again, i want to get ahead of
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decisions. the president has been presented with specific military options outside of those that are carrying out the kurd missions in iraq, but we would certainly look at what is necessary in the long-term to make sure we are protecting americans. again, the long-term strategy will have to take people on the ground taking the fight to isil. that's iraqi and kurdish forces. that's syrians who we are supporting on the ground. if we have a need to protect americans and to take action when we see plotting against the united states and our interests, we'll reserve the right to do so. but i'm not going to get ahead of those decisions. >> it's fair to say you are actively considering air strikes against isil targets in syria? >> again, you heard the president say we'll be relentless against isil. we'll do what's necessary to protect americans and see that justice is done for what we saw with the barbaric killing of jim foley.
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we are actively considering what's going to be necessary to deal with that threat. and we are not going to be restricted by borders. we have shown time and again that if there's a counterterrorism threat, we'll take direct action against that threat if necessary. >> last thing, on ukraine, the russian convoy, do you see that as a direct invasion of ukraine? >> well, at this point again we see this as part of a pattern of flagrant violation of ukrainian sovereignty. a direct incursion into their territory. they continue to have masses of military forces on the border, too, that would be a further escalation were they to move into ukraine. we are giving the russians a clear message that they need to remove this convoy from inside of ukraine's borders. if they don't, we'll be making determinations with our international partners about how to ratchet up the cost and consequences on them. clearly, again, this is not something that is started today. from the arming and training of russian backed separatists, to the shootdown, we have he seen
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escalation and that escalation in a dangerous way. the russians should take a path to de-escalation, if they don't, they are going to find themselves further isolated. not just from the people of eastern ukraine but the entire world. >> the way the administration, including yourself, is talking about isis today, it's a big jump from what the president himself said in january calling isis j.v. players. would you still agree with his assessment a few months ago? >> i think what the president was speaking to a few months ago was the fact of the matter is you have many different groups operating across the middle east and north africa. as we shift from a situation in which the counterterrorism threat emanated from al qaeda core, we are going to need to evaluate which of these groups pose a threat to the united states. which of these groups pose a threat to our personnel. and which are more localized, militia-type forces. potentially dangerous but can be handled by local security forces. clearly isil, which has a long history and origin dating back
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to a.q.i., al qaeda in iraq, has gained capacity in the last several months, as the fighting in syria has given them safe haven there. as they have advanced across iraq and gained heavy weaponry and become better funded through various funding streams, including what they are able to sell in terms of oil and gas. the ransoms they have been able to obtain. that has developed their capacity in a way that has increased the threat. they pose greater threat today than they did six months ago. we are taking it very seriously. that includes the direct military action we are taking in iraq. that includes the support -- increased support we have provided to the iraqi and kurdish forces and the syrian opposition. we are going to do what's necessary to deal with this counterterrorism challenge. >> the former deputy director of the c.i.a. said, quote, isil's first terrorist attack against
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the united states. do you agree with that? >> absolutely when you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack. that represents a terrorist attack against our country and american citizen. and i think all of us have the foley family in our thoughts and prayers. we have seen isil seek to advance too close to our facilities. certainly for our own comfort. the president's decision to take military action a number of weeks ago was out of direct concern if they were able to get into arbil they could pose a threat to our personnel and conflict there. we have seen them pose a threat to our interests in the region, to our personnel and facilities in the region, and clearly the brutal execution of jim foley represented an affront, an attack not just on him but american. we see that as an attack on our country when one of our own is
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killed like that. >> how would you assess this threat to americans living in the united states? do you take their threats seriously? >> we have to take their threats seriously. to date they have operated much like an insurgency. in syria and iraq. again they are deeply rooted in -- the insurgency in iraq we have faced for many years. they have of course posed a huge threat to the people in that region. it's important to underscore. as the president did the other day, that it's not simply the threat they pose to the united states. it's the threat they pose to the entire world. they have killed thousands of civilians and muslims more than any other faith. so whatever pretense they have to establish themselves as speaking for the muslim world i think is completely disproven by their actions in that part of the world.
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for americans, what i say we monitor very closely whether or not isil will seek to develop plots that are aimed at the west. aimed at beyond this geographic area where they have been operating. we are doing that. we are actively consulting with european partners about how to watch the threat they could pose to the west. we take their threats seriously because they have to take every threat that's made against the united states seriously. we are going to deal with that through the action and strategy we have in the region to squeeze them. we are also dealing with it through homeland security and the president's going to convene at the head and state level a u.n. security council meeting because we are concerned about foreign fighters coming from western countries. >> are they capable of a 9/11-type attack? >> to date we have not seen them focus on that type of planning.
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that doesn't mean we are not going to be very mindful they could quickly aim to pivot to attacks against western targets outside of the region. again this is something we are going to monitor very closely because we certainly take seriously the fact that this is an organization that has a cadre of fighters who are clearly willing to do horrific things, as we saw in that video, and as we have seen as a massacre, innocent civilians in iraq. they have significant stream of funding that they have acquired over the last year or two. and, again, if they show the intent or they show plotting against the united states, we'll be prepared to deal with that if necessary. >> bigger picture what we are doing in iraq, is the united states now engaged in a broad counterterrorism effort to defeat isil?
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>> the iraqi government is certainly the front of the effort to defeat isil inside of iraq. we are providing them with support to do that. i think the strategy is one that we want to evict isil from their safe havens and squeeze the space they are operating in. and ultimately again push them out of that space. our contribution to that will come in many ways. it comes in the form of the air strikes that are protecting baghdad, that have given space for iraqi forces to push forward against isil. it comes in the form of military assistance and advice and intelligence sharing that we have with iraqi and kurdish forces on the ground. it comes with our political support in service of a new and inclusive iraqi government, which should be able to broaden
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the coalition against isil so we see more of iraq's neighbors, again working with, for instance, sunni communities, to evict isil. this is going to have to be a team effort. but we have very unique capabilities we can bring to bear and supporting those on the ground working to fight against isil on the frontlines. >> basic question. is it the objective of u.s. efforts here to -- \[inaudible/\] >> our objective would be to see an organization like isil defeated. our military objectives, i'm just separating out, the fact that we have military objectives that the president's articulated, that aim to protect our facilities in iraq and prevent human catastrophe, in that long-term strategy of working for defeat of isil, we'll participate not just through our military actions but training, equipping of iraqi security forces, kurdish security forces on the ground. ultimately they are the ones who are going to have to work to evict isil from their communities. again their efforts to form an inclusive government in iraq i
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think will go a long way towards enlisting the support of those communities who have been somewhat disaffected from the government in recent years. >> i would like to get you to respond to michael foley's comments -- \[inaudible/\] >> mr. foley and entire foley family, can i not imagine how it must feel to lose a loved one and in such a horrible way. i certainly understand that any family would want to make sure that we are moving heaven and earth to find and bring home american hostages. i can assure you that we have done everything that we can possibly do to try to bring home our hostages. it's an incredibly difficult circumstance in a place like syria. again where you have such violent conflict raging.
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we have used all of our military, against, diplomatic resources that we can bring to bear to try to find out where our hostages are. to try to rescue them. when we saw an opportunity to try to work with any country that might have any means of locating them. and tragically we weren't able to rescue mr. foley. but we are going to keep trying for all of our hostages, not just in syria but around the world. out of respect for the fact that there are sensitivities involved with that, but this is a small number of hostages who are held within syria. and we are going to continue to do whatever we can to try to bring them home. every day that they are in custody, they are -- is a day they are at risk. [inaudible]
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>> i think the president has spoken to the fact that our military objectives in iraq right now are limited to protecting our personnel and facilities and addressing humanitarian crisis. we have to be clear this is a deeply rooted organization. they have been there for 10 years. when you go back to a.q.i. it is going to take time, a long time, to fully evict them from the communities where they operate. we can do things, though, in the immediate term, to address the threat to the united states and our people. and to push them back. and to get space for these security forces who are taking the fight to them. we can create a coalition that can support iraqis and moderate
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syrian opposition in their efforts to squeeze isil. that's what we are doing. it's going to take time when you talk about an objective like the ultimate defeat of isil. it will take time to dislodge a group that has been operating in this part of the world for the better part of a decade in an insurgency. what we can do is address the threat to the united states. give the security forces the space they need. go on the offense. push them out of the communities they are in. and then work towards that ultimate goal of defeating isil. this is a cancer that has to be eradicated. that's how we look at this. we have to have our near-term goals that put the safety of americans front and certainty. then in the long term we'll work with our partners to defeat this organization. so, yes. as you're doing that, you need to make sure that if there is a threat to the american people that we have the ability to take action. that's what the president did, for instance, when they were bearing down on our facilities in narbil. we are already pushing them back. you saw after we began our air
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strikes, for instance, the kurdish forces with our support were able to make advances and retake a big piece of critical infrastructure in iraq. so that's the dynamic that we are seeking to foster. one that doesn't just contain but that allows those forces on the ground to go on the offense. >> [inaudible] >> necessary to deal with an outbreak like ebola that we have seen. we have prioritized getting people and resources on the grouped in places like liberia and sierra leone. so we are working to strengthen their public health architecture. there are clear steps they can take to contain the outbreak and make sure that people are getting appropriate care.
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that's what we focused on with the c.d.c. and other u.s. agencies. if there are opportunities for us to do additional things, we'll review those. but the best solution in our mind is to put the public health infrastructure in place in those countries to contain this outbreak, treat those who are suffering from it, and ensure it doesn't spread beyond their borders. i don't have any updates for you on additional military resources. we focused on public health resources to date. >> the president announced the air strikes in iraq -- what's happening, what's going to happen, not going to happen, do you believe that that statement he made if -- it \[inaudible/\] [inaudible]
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>> first question, mike, the president it always keeps the american people updated about the status of any military action and major foreign policy and national security actions. even since he announced those air strikes earlier this month, i note he has spoken a in of times to developments in iraq and developments associated with our efforts against isil. so clearly i think any additional action that he would take is one that he would explain to the american people, whether it's in iraq or anywhere else. and we will keep the american people fully informed. i think the american people understand that this president's very deliberate about the use of force.
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he doesn't rush towards the military option. he takes very seriously when we put u.s. military action on the table. when we have our pilots flying missions like the air strikes we are undertaking in iraq. however, i think the american people also understand that there are some threats that have to be dealt with. and we are dealing with the threat from isil in iraq by protecting our people there. and as we have done against al qaeda around the world, we'll take whatever action is necessary to protect our people. president obama has shown he'll do that. whether it's in pakistan -- we'll take direct action even as we develop long-term solutions that empower partners on the ground. with respect to legal matters, i wouldn't want to prejudge an action we haven't taken. i would say that the actions taken in iraq are consistent with the president's constitutional authority. the actions we took in syria because we were trying to save americans were imminent danger. i think any additional actions
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we take we'll consult with congress. >> the things you have drawn about iraq is you were invited in. you mentioned syria -- \[inaudible/\] [inaudible] >> hypothetically that action hasn't been taken. to take the example of what we did. you don't need to be invited in if you're trying to rescue your people from imminent danger. that's the basis we took to try to rescue our hostages. we have a legal justification for any action we take. we would consult with congress. this is again a problem that we
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have to deal with as a nation. and so whether it's our ongoing operations in iraq or additional steps that may need to be taken against isil, we would carry those out in very close consultation with congress about their support and their role in providing support for our efforts. thank you. >> if we obviously understand that americans who have loved ones who are in harm's way want to do anything to try to bring them home. we provide support in any way we can have our military, diplomacy, intelligence resources, law enforcement resources. but as a matter of policy, we do not provide ransom or any funding for terrorist organizations. we feel very strongly that it is not the right policy for governments to support the payment of ransom to terrorist organizations. in the long run, what that does is, it provides additional
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funding to these terrorist organizations, which allows them to expand their operations. it incentivizes the kidnapping of foreigners. in ways we have seen, frankly, with organizations like isil and some al qaeda affiliates. so again, as a matter of policy i think the u.s. government remains committed to the notion that we will not provide funding for terrorist organizations that we believe that only creates perverse incentives for those terrorist organization who is have gone forward and the source of funding and we are going it cut -- to cut off and choke off their source of funding. we'll use all the resources of u.s. government to find and if possible bring home those americans missing. as i said, that will include our military, our intelligence, our law enforcement, and our diplomacy. thanks. >> before we get started. a quick note, mostly of
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appreciation as we wind down our past few weeks here on the vineyard. it's been a busy few weeks. i appreciate your patience and flexibility as we move through a lot of breaking news and developments, both up here in washington and around the world. appreciate you working with us. appreciate your flexibility and feedback as we try to make sure we are getting you the best and accurate and quickest information we could. with that i will answer your questions. >> going golfing this week. explain why he does this. >> i am not going to get into the president's mindset on that. i will say that generally i think that sports and leisure activities are a good way for relief and clearing of the mind for a lot of us.
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>> has there been any consideration, any discussion of maybe take a day off of golf. [inaudible] >> the president did give a powerful statement in this auditorium wednesday afternoon. i think that anyone wondering his views on both the situation with isil, that video or his concern for the foley family should go back and review that statement.
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it was delivered from the heart. it was candid. it was honest. and it was open. i think anyone trying to assess how seriously he takes the gravity of that situation should listen to it again. >> no doubt about that. [inaudible] >> i understand you're asking about the optics. let me take a minute to explain how we approach this. first and foremost the president is set on doing his job. to us that's paramount. what i think you see, just because the president is in a
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different location doesn't mean he's not doing his job. i don't think anyone in this room who's been covering this or following the president for the past few weeks could deny that the president's been deeply engaged on issues both domestic and abroad. it's important for us to understand, and i think that's been evident, is that the issues the country's facing both on the international stage and back here at home have absolutely captured the president's attention while we have been here. >> a quick follow-up. \[inaudible/] [inaudible]
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>> i'm not going to do too much -- i think the president spoke about isil 38 hours ago and the brutality they committed, barbaric acts, and everything the president is going to instruct the united states government both again military, diplomatic, and intelligence in order to see justice served. so i don't think there's any dispute right now, discrepancy right now because he spoke with you a few days ago about that. \[inaudible/] [inaudible] >> this is beyond anything we have seen. it seems to be these big differences depending who you are talking about. can you iron this out? >> sure. i'm happy to iron it out. the president a few days ago in
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which he said isil has rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent and unarmed civilians. they abduct women and children and subject them to torture, rape, and slavery. they have murdered muslims,, they target christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering when they can for no run, they have declared their ambition to declare genocide against the people. i don't think we are parsing our approach on this. >> in those terms is that beyond anything we have seen? >> i think that -- addressed this a little bit ago. i'm not going to be here to parse the differences between al qaeda and isil. both are clearly terrorist organizations. both want to do harm to innocent people.
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i think the president's record on counterterrorism speaks for itself. >> agree with secretary hagel's assessment? >> what? >> this is beyond -- a threat beyond anything we have seen? or isis is a force beyond anything we have seen? >> i think how the president views isil has been articulated a couple times now. >> on domestic policies, can you give us the white house -- [inaudible] >> today the administration took several steps to ensure women whose coverage is threatened receive coverage for recommended contraceptive services through their health care plans at no additional cost as they should be entitled to under the affordable care act. while continuing the administration's goal of respecting religious beliefs. the rules, which i believe you
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are referencing, are in response to recent court actions and balance our commitment to helping ensure women have continued access to coverage for presensitive services according to their health, while respecting the administration's goal of respecting religious belief. >> the nonprofit -- [inaudible] >> the administration believes the accommodation is legally sound, but in light of the supreme court order regarding wheaton college, the departments are augmenting their regulations to provide an attorney for objecting nonprofit religious organizations to provide notification, while ensuring enrollees of such planned organizations receive separate coverage of contraceptive services without cost sharing. >> i know there's two separate rules, one for the nonprofit and
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closely held profits. i'll refer you to h.h.s. on how those are implemented. i'm not sure. i know -- first and foremost we want congress to act. that's going to be our bedrock principle on this. we believe congress and should act to ensure any women affected by recent supreme court actions get the same overage, options, everyone else is offered. legislative action is the quickest and best way to ensure that women get access to the services they need and we call on congress to act quickly. this particular step -- a few steps along the way. so i'm happy to get back to you on that. >> [inaudible]
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>> it's not going to surprise you to know that we strongly disagree with g.a.o.'s conclusion. the we reject the implication that the administration acted unlawfully. the president has the constitutional responsibility to protect the lives of americans abroad and specifically to protect u.s. service members. it's important for everyone here to understand that the g.a.o. report expressly does not address the lawfulness of the administration's actions as a matter of constitutional law. >> i could tell you that the administration's actions occurred only after the secretary of defense determined that the risk posed by the detainees to the united states or u.s. persons of interest was substantially mitigated and the transfer was in the national security interest of the united states as required by the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2014. at the time you'll recall the
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president was very clear that our commitment to men and women serving overseas to leave none of them behind is a bedrock principle for him. one that doesn't come with caveats. that's why he acted in that matter. >> let me understand the impact. [inaudible] >> you asked the white house's reaction. i have given that to you. in terms of impact of the g.a.o. check with the g.a.o. [inaudible] >> the president has been in touch with the attorney general since the attorney general was in missouri. i think it's fair to say that we have been encouraged by what we have seen the past few days. the president, last week and on monday i believe, called for a de-escalation in the tensions.
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that was paramount for him. so far we have seen the developments of the past few days. to answer your question, the president has been in touch with the attorney general. the president and many of us at the white house are closely monitoring and receiving regular briefings on the situation in ferguson. as you know the department of justice opened an investigation, an independent federal civil rights investigation into the death of michael brown, and both the president and attorney general have committed to a fair, thorough, and independent investigation. >> what does the attorney general -- [indiscernible] >> i'm not going to get into the internal communications. i think the department of justice has put out a lot of readouts of that trip. i know it's well covered by your colleagues. i can tell you that the president felt that the attorney general had a very good and worthwhile trip to ferguson. he met with members of the community, the congressional delegation, local officials, along with f.b.i. agents and d.o.j. personnel conducting the federal criminal investigation
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and received an update on each of the progress. he also met with the parents of michael brown. >> if i could just ask -- [inaudible] >> any scheduling announcements at this time. i do think you have seen the president speak about this again so very openly and candidly over the past few days at length about how he views the situation in ferguson. the attorney general went out there earlier this week. so he's continuing to monitor this. his first and foremost priority is with the safety of those in ferguson. >> can you update us on where the president is in terms of his process --king [inaudible] >> as i think you'll recall on
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june 30 the president spoke to you all in the rose garden. that was on the heels of being informed by speaker boehner that the house republicans were not going to bring up immigration reform for a vote. as you may also recall we believe that bipartisan bill passed by democrats and republicans in the united states senate should be brought up for a vote. we are not even asking house republicans -- the house leadership to vote for it. we are asking for them to bring it up for a vote. because i bet you a good deal that that would pass. with both democrats and republicans in the house. that said, speaker boehner did inform the president we are fairly forthcoming in that. and the president announced in the rose garden he was directing the director of homeland security and attorney general to identify additional actions the administration can take on its own within the president's existing legal authority to do what congress refuses to do and fix the broken immigration system that's been plaguing our country for many years now. if congress is not going to do their job, the least we can do
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is ours. the president expects the recommendations by the end of the summer. i don't have any additional updates for you to read out at this time. [indiscernible] >> i'm not sure the status of the recommendations in coming to the white house. i can tell you the president has put great a deal of thought into this already as you have heard many times. and as soon as we have anything definitive, any announcements, we'll make sure you get those. >> is the president open to going that far [inaudible] >> the numbers are in the newspaper, they were not put out by the administration. we are preserving the integrity of this process to allow the
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president to receive those recommendations from the attorney general and the department -- secretary of the department of homeland security. we are going to review those. as the president said he wants to act by the end of the summer. >> one final question following up. [inaudible] >> i think, again, what the president made clear at the time of the guantanamo transfer was that his commitment to the men and women that serve overseas is that we will leave no men or woman behind. that's what he's been keeping faith with and is unshakable for him. as we made previously clear the administration determined it was
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lawful to proceed with the transfer in order to the protect the life of as you us service -- u.s. service member held captive and in danger almost five years notwithstanding the congress didn't receive the 30 days notice. again we disagree with the g.a.o.'s conclusion and reject the implication the administration acted unlawfully. it is with great regret i do not have a week ahead for you. despite my best efforts. we'll have that on paper later today. >> thank you. >> the role of isis you have talked about, how much of that would you attribute to the payment of ransom by other countries? how much would the administration be working with other countries or pressuring them not to keep paying these ransoms? >> our policy is clear. the united states government has a matter of long-standing policy does not grant concessions to hostage takers. doing so would put more americans at risk of being
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captive and be a funding stream for these terrorist organizations. let's be clear this isn't just u.s. policy, this is a growing international norm. in january of this year the security council unanimously adopted resolution 2133. an unprecedented resolution which identifies kidnapping for ransom as a source of terrorist financing, expresses the council's determining to secure the safe release of hostages without ransom payments or political concessions, and calls upon all member states to prevent terrorist from benefiting directly or indirectly from such concessions. >> pent press secretary also spoke with reporters. addressed u.s. military air strikes in iraq targeting islamic militants. 40 minutes.t
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>> i want to say something at the outset. we are concerned about the russian convoy across ukraine's border. this action or any actions taken to increase tensions in the region. not send vehicles, persons or cargo of any kind into the ukraine whether under guise of humanitarian aid. vehicles andemove personnel from the territory of ukraine immediately. will result ino additional costs and isolation.
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consulting with the international red cross and international partners and as we details to provide on what we know, we'll do that. the u.s. consider this an invasion and is the u.s. action, either calling counterparts overseas either in ukraine or russia? it's certainly unauthorized entry into ukraine by this are consulting with international partners right now about next steps. additionale anything to add at this time and i think again in my opening statement made it very, very clear that what what we expect of russia. calls between the administration -- >> this is just happening today of any outreach today certainly by this building otherwon't speak for agencies in the official government. i will remind you that the talk to thed
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thester a few days ago and minister guaranteed that there would be no military the pretext, using of humanitarian relief, and, in there would bes no military members as part of the humanitarian convoy. you said under the guise of humanitarian cover. does the u.s. have evidence that military forces and military equipment? >> i'm not prepared to speak to specific evidence at this time. we've made our position very, very clear, that they should not under the guise of humanitarian convoy, to use that excuse to cross the border way. unauthorized we have a lot more work to do here and i think we'll sort this day.hroughout the i think you'll hear more from us throughout the day. we heard justice -- secretary hagel and chairman dempsey talking about a long-term
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industry. you could give us a sense what does it mean, are we going to face, to see changes in regards to the current operation right now in iraq? >> i think what the secretary i'm prettyng to and sure the chairman was referring to have at we need regional approach and agency and international approach about posed by this particular extremist group, and that this would take time to develop this kind of multilateral and multinational approach to deal with this threat. said thisent himself wasn't going to be over in a matter of weeks. all recognize that this group didn't grow up they didn't get the capabilities they got overnight. for ae been watching this while and we recognize it's going to take a while but just as critically, joe, it's going to take a while for everybody, not just the united states military.
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and the secretary was clear about this yesterday. you're not going to see the problems all isil through a military run. we're a tool.ent, we are conducting operations inside iraq against this group kurdishrt of iraqis and but we're not the only tool in the tool box that can or used. be >> does the pentagon know what's the size of isil in iraq and syria? are we talking about 10,000? 20,000? >> it's a difficult number to joe.t, believe me, we've asked ourselves that question. it fluctuates a lot. it changes. weekly, then certainly daily. fluctuation soly it's hard to pin it down. this isn't a classic army with
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order of battle that you can look at a map and say this is have.ny they clearly it's thousands, no question about that, but it changes every day. as we talked about, they have free flow across the border between syria and iraq which for all purposes doesn't exist for them so it's difficult to pin it down to a given number. >> if we go back to russia and another question. it not accurate that you estimate there might be up to 18,000 troops near the border between russia and ukraine and isn't the reality that you have seen very recently a number of additional heavy weapons f.a.-22 surface-to-air missiles and long range artillery go across and can you bring us up to date on this theatening encounter chinese military has had with the u.s. military this week in the air. >> there's a lot there, barbara. let's start with ukraine.
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i'm reticent to give a hard arrayedn russian troops along the border. i have said i have said for several weeks it is north of 10,000. i believe it is still north of 10,000. we do believe they continue to add to their battalion tactical groups there? >> is it not closer to 18,000, well north of 10,000? >> i am going to stay where i have stayed, which is north of 10,000. it does fluctuate. we have seen a consistent increase in the last week or so. i haven't exactly seen troops moving away. they have certainly added and reinforced those troops. but again, i am really reticent to get into numbers. it is hard for us here in the pentagon to give an exact order of battle for another military's forces when you are not there with them. north of 10,000, i think that is fair to say.
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more wore some than -- worrisome than the number is the readiness that exists in these groups. they are combined arms capable. armor, artery, infantry, air defense. they are very ready, very capable, and they are very mobile, and they continue to do nothing but increase the tension on the other side with ukraine. this gets to your second of three questions. just as worrisome is the continued support to the separatists, which continues to this day and includes heavy weapons systems, air defense sls, artery systems, tanks. we are seeing a lot of hardware going across that border on a routine basis. >> and russian troops? >> well, it is hard to believe -- it strains credulity to think it wasn't accompanied by russian forces.
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but again, let's not get fix eighted on the numbers. the capabilities that exist in the troops on that side of the border and the capabilities that continue to find its way into separatist's hands. now to china. i know you all may have seen a press report on this. i am going to give you an update here about it in case you weren't following. on the 19th august, an armed chinese fighter jet conducted a dangerous intercept of a navy p-8 interpret aircraft. it took place about 135 miles east of ha-non island in
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international air space. we have registered our strong concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional interpret, which posed a danger to the crew and not customary with international law. it undermines efforts at continued developing military to military relations with the chinese military. that is where are abouter now -- where we are now. >> how close did it get? >> it is difficult to say with precision, but within 30 pete of the p-8. very close, very dangerous. >> is it correct that as they went within 30 feet they moved around the u.s. aircraft, over, under and around it at close range? >> we believe they made self passes, three different occasions, crossed under the aircraft with
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one pass having only 50 to 100 feet separation. the chinese jet also passed the nose of the 9-8 a lot 90 of the -8 at 90 degrees with a point of showing the weapons. then they threw directly under and alongside the p-8, bringing their win tips to within 30 feet and then conducted a roll over the p-8, passing within 45 feet. [inaudible question] >> i mean a roll. i am not an aviator, so i am not going talking with my hands. if you have the p-8, the fighter is going over like this. so pretty aggressive and very unprofessional. as i have said, we registered our concerns very strongly to -- through official department
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matic chance with the chinese. this kind of behavior not only is unprofessional, it is unsafe and certainly not keeping with the kind of military to military relations that we would like to have with china. >> do you have photos or video? >> i believe there is imagery of it. [inaudible question] >> i don't know. i am not sure. >> can you say if the administration is considering more seriously now expanding the air campaign in iraq to directsly confront isil in a way it hasn't with the next mission or expanding the strike zone area? some of the comments that administration officials have
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made in the past few days that maybe that is under more serious conversation than in the past. and can you give us an update on the upgrade of weapons? >> on your first question, i think secretary hagel el and the chairman spoke well to it yesterday. i don't know that i can expound on it any further. we continue to assess and monitor isil activities. that is one of the reasons we put assessment teams there in the first place, to get a situational awareness of what is going on there. as you know, we are engaged in supporting iraqi security forces, and not just only, but with air strikes, which we believe have had an effect. i am not going to get ahead of planning that hasn't been done or decisions that haven't been made. we don't telegraph our punches, but i think you can rest assured that the leadership here in the pentagon understands the threat posed by this group, understands the threat posed
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inside iraq, and we are gaining every day a better understanding of iraqi security force and kurdish force capability in meeting the threat inside iraq. two points i think are important to make. i am going to make these points, and i know i am not answering your questions. i am not going to talk about any future planning or operations. but it is important to remind everybody that what we are doing in there is in support of iraq and that ultimately this a fight that the iraqi security forces have got to take on. the second point is there is not going to be a purely military solution. so when the secretary and the chairman were talking yesterday, they talked about using all the elements of american power and international influence as well to deal with this. ultimately the answer is going to be found in good governance. i know this doesn't off the immediacy needed for this threat,
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but it is the ideology of good government. it is removing the pietri dish through which groups like this can foster and grow. we are a tool in the tool box. we are going to continue to conduct the missions that we have been conducting in iraq. you have seen it more today. i think central command released another press release. we are over 90 air strikes. >> when did it become a sense of u.s. self-defense? the administration has said again and again that it won't hesitate to act against any organization or terrorist group that acts against americans. that seems different than helping the iraqis push that back. >> what we are doing in iraq does both of those things. the secretaries mentioned yesterday is part of the mission is supporting, advising, assisting,
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helping, iraqi security forces and kurdish forces in blunting the momentum. we believe we succeeded, but it is also about protecting some u.s. facilities. i think the united states military has over the last several years a pretty good track record of defending american sbst, citizens and facilities in many places around the world, protecting them and defending them from terrorist threats. [inaudible question] >> imet sorry, yes. -- i'm sorry, yes. secretary hagel el has set up a task force here at d.o.d. to examination options. no decisions have come out. i have nothing to announce about that today. that said, we do continue to help the iraqi government in
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baghdad conduct those kinds of resupply missions, in some cases actually flying their equipment up to the north where it needs to get. and we have been encouraged by the assistance of international partners like the u.k.. i also want to take the opportunity today to thank albania. they have now come forward and offered to conduct resupply missions for kurdish forces, which again we are very grateful for. >> admiral, can you help me understand what it means when they say they cannot rule out air strikes? >> the secretary didn't rule anything in or out. i think he said that all options remain available, and they do. i'm not going to speculate about where that might take us, justin. i think you can understand why we wouldn't do that.
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>> on the foley operation, there was a suggestion from at least one member of congress today that the president or that the white house was slow to approve the rescue mission and this may have le to not getting there on time -- may have led to not getting there on time and that the hostages were moved. do you have any indication that that was slowed down in in way? >> i don't have any such indication. as we have talked about before, attempts like this. just as critically, it takes time to be informed enough to make that kind of operation. intelligence is often laird over time. like you guys working with sources, you build a picture over time from many different vehicles. that is the way intelligence
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works, and that is the way it worked in this rescue attempt. i think chairman dempsey said it well yesterday. that there was a lot of planning and effort went into it. onsite, we had indication that they had actually been at that site. when they were moved, we don't know. but to say it was slow-footed or down in a ham-fisted manner, or that it was an intel failure i think does a disservice to the immense amount of work and the courageous decision it was to move forward to make the attempt. if you will allow me a second to editorialize, i think it says a lot about who we are as a military and as a country, that we are willing to try to pull something like that off. a lot of bravery, a lot of skill, a lot of courage. there will be a lot of names and faces you will never know of people that put their lives very
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much at risk to try to save the lives of others. i think that is pretty darn commendable. >> last question. is there any update on sending this 300 u.s. security personnel to baghdad? is there any specific threat to the embassy in baghdad? are these people being sent there to prepare for an evacuation? what is going on? we heard this request from the state department. when is it going to be fulfilled, if at all? >> what i will tell you now is we are processes a request by the state department for some additional security force personnel for baghdad specifically. like all requests that we get for forces, we take them seriously. we explosion sourcing options and force protection requirements that go along with it, and any number of other factors that go into this.
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we are reviewing that right now. i don't have a decision to announce on it today. as for the need, i wouldn't get into -- i don't talk about specific intelligence matters. i won't do that today. i am not aware of a specific three stream that led to this request, but clearly it is the kind of request that we take very seriously, and we will. >> last night the missouri representatives met to talk about the 1033 program. can you tell me if the secretary is contemplating a review or temporary suspension of that program and when that might happen? >> the secretary is keeping an open mind. he shares the concerns. certainly, as that concern could lead to the use of military equipment, he has not made a decision about conducting a review. he is gathering information.
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he not only met with those representatives, he held a meeting with senior staffers the day before to ask lots of probing questions. i do want to point out -- the military isn't the only source of tactical gear used by people in this country. most of the stuff you are seeing in video out of ferguson is not military equipment. ferguson itself, they have two humvees from this program. a lot of the stuff is not u.s. military equipment. point number two, 95% of the property transferred to local law enforcement through this program is not tactical. it is not weapons. it is shelving, office equipment, communications gear, that kind of thing.
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i think it is important to keep this thing in perspective. when the secretary wants to be -- he wants to be, as he looks at this program, he wants to make sure we are striking the right balance. that the rate residence is being transferred. that the accountability is in place. he is also mindful that it is not a good place for the pentagon to be holding sticks out to law enforcement. there is a reason why we are not involved with local lawn force in activities. he wants to make sure that we take the proper place and said this democracy. >> is there any account of these vehicles being heavily armored? >> i do not know if they are or not. 2 humvee vehicles we provided for soft skinned, not armored.
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other tactical vehicles, i cannot say to where they got them. i just don't know. as you look at the video coming out of ferguson, i understand how people look at that and say look at the military gear. most of it is not military gear. it doesn't belong to us. it was not provided to them. i just wanted to provide a little bit of perspective on your question. margaret? >> we have heard a lot about the response to local retaking their country, and helping to craft a regional response. yesterday, secretary hagel talked about $500 million to help train and equip. syrians that we want to work with. what is the status of that program? it is not going to be funded until 2015. >> the program is part of the overseas contingency operations budget request that was
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submitted to congress this summer. that is on the hill for contemplation and it has to be authorized by congress. you're right that it is a fiscal year 2015 request. if authorized and appropriated we would not be able to access that money. and therefore would not be able to accept that program until this get your 15 -- until fiscal year 15. we are working through congress and through the budget. the budget vehicles available to us to get that. while we')re waiting for congress to act, the secretary is waiting for the joint chiefs of staff, federal command, and his own staff here to further develop the ways in which --should we the funding we are asking for, the ways in which we would execute that. i do not have any hard decisions. i cannot say where would take
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place or how many people would be trained. there is still a lot of homework to do. we kept congress informed until they went on break. we were keeping them informed in what the thinking was. we are going to work. the secretary wants to work with congress as they both reviewed the appropriate request, and we continue to develop our plans. >> is there a sense this needs to happen quickly? is that what the secretary is trying to do? >> we are working through the budgeting process to develop this program. while, yes, everybody shares a common sense of purpose here when it comes to training in equipped mission for the opposition, we also do not want to get wrong either. you can only go as fast as his right.
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-- as fast as right. that means that you have to have a good plan in place. a key to that is a proper vetting process, which we just have not nailed down. it is very important, in order to do this, do have a positive impact on the opposition, that you are working with the rate -- the right sorts of folks. >> my understanding of what you are saying, that this building would not have the authority to act without congressional approval? >> we do not have the authority now to begin a train and equip program with moderate syrian opposition. we want to have the authority and we want to have the sources with it. we want to build a program that makes sense and that will do the job. we are still working on that now. >> in january, this president equated isil's capabilities to aging a varsity team. which seems to be in contrast with what the secretary said
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yesterday. i was wondering if there had been an analysis done to get the secretary to that position. does that mean that isis is getting stronger? >> a couple of points. what the president said yesterday the day before about iso--- -- isil. what the secretary said yesterday. everybody has the same view here about the threat posed by isil. not just to iraq, but to the region. this is august. you are talking about, so were made in january. we have been watching this for months. they have grown in capabilities. they have grown and capability with speed. helped along by resourcing. from some criminal activity. as well as donations.
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and ransoms. and helped along by sanctuary that they have in syria. so, we have all been watching this. they have advancement capability. and we solve the speed with which they gained ground and held ground in northern iraq over the summer. to answer your question, it is a constantly changing, serious situation. their threat continues to grow. we believe it does pose an imminent threat and it is a threat that we take seriously. >> the new york time quoted nato officials saying that russian artillery have fired on ukrainian forces. what do you know about that? is that a game changer? >> i did not see the report, so i will not comment on a report i have not seen. what i said at the outset --
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the support for separatists, the buildup along the border, the constant flow of significant weapons systems across the border in ukraine, needs to stop. it just needs to stop. that is as far as i can go. tony? >> the convoy going into there. one of your guys said that it could be a trojan horse. actually, the military could not go in under the guise of humanitarian. do you have any indication that this is a trojan horse? humanitarian supplies, but you still think -- ? >> we do not have the perfect picture of what is in those trucks, tony. i don't have an imperfect picture either. it is the entry, the unauthorized entry into ukraine, which as i said at the outset, is a violation of territorial integrity. we call for russia to pull those
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convoys back. >> what is the status of the fiscal 16 budget? you have the specter of sequestration returning. it will be far worse than these others crises. >> we are hoping it does not become a crisis, tony. we want congress to do the right thing, which is repeal sequestration. the work on the 16 budget continues. the comptroller has given his guidance on a range of guidance. >> you are here two years ago when the pentagon was resized for not planning for sequestration. today, in terms of planning for what may likely happen -- >> we have given the planning guidance for a range of budgetary options. i really don't want to go into any more detail than that. you saw how we dealt with sequestration and the planning that we did for a when we submitted the 15 budget. our focus now is on getting that 15 budget authorized and appropriated.
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we have not only had libertarians, we have had many issues up on the hill. >> what do we know that this china pa that happened? >> there was not some machiavelli an attempt here to conceal. i think we needed to process information and figure out what happened. and, i also believe, and i think this was the right course too -- we wanted to make sure that we had taken the opportunity to register our deep concern directly with the pla, which we have done. it made no sense to go public with that until we have had a
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chance to deliver that, which we did today. i am not aware of a response, thank you. >> do you have any indication from u.s. allies whether there will be air strikes in northern iraq? many have weapons. are there possible airstrikes? i would like to know why they they have expressed hesitancy. >> your question presumes hesitancy. i am not going to speak for other countries up here. it is hard enough for me to speak for what i have to here. i speak for the united states military. that is my job. i am not going to talk about what other countries are willing to do or the timeline. yes? >> i pointed at her. i will get to after that. >> the joint operation center in baghdad is evolving. could you describe how they
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changed since they first set up? the u.s. is looking at beefing up in erbil? >> the joint operation center continues to be operational, one in baghdad and one in erbil. the personnel in each one has stayed fairly static. there is some fluctuations. i think i can give you an update. in baghdad, there are 92 people in that joint operation center. erbil, 68. that has stayed pretty steady and has not changed much. i'm not aware of any plans to beef them up. they are right about where they need to be. >> you said the following. this i mean what they are doing versus the number of people there? >> now that they are up and running and we are conducting airstrikes inside iraq, they are working more and more closely
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every day with iraqi and kurdish forces on systems and providing advice. but, i would not read more into it than that. like any military operation, you know, every day you advance and you deepen the dialogue. you increase cooperation. your turn. >> at least, can you give us a few details as to what level the u.s. military is cooperating with partners in the region, combating operations in northern iraq? secondly, can i get your assessment about the situation in syria in terms of the moderate opposition clashes? how are airstrikes affecting this situation in syria, while isil is free to go back to syria? >> the answer to your second question is we have not made any decisions on --
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with regard to syria. i do not have any, i will not speak about operations that were not conducted. i cannot not possibly begin to answer the question. on the first question, the international partners that we are dealing with most every day in iraq -- the iraqis. and, we have made it clear that a big part of our job there is to help assist them in combating this threat. we are doing that every day. there had been some international partners who have come forward and made it public that they would assist in the humanitarian side of that mission, the u.k. and australia, the french, and others -- italy. i will let them speak to what they are doing and how they are doing it and the decisions they are making. with regard to day-to-day,
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specially with airstrikes, it is being conducted with our partners in iraq, our iraqi partners. yes? >> are we likely to see an i got time for just a couple more. >> on the budget, are we likely to see an additional oco request before congress takes up spending measures sometime in september? >> i'm not aware of any, and i wouldn't get ahead of that. i think the secretary said it pretty well yesterday that we think we're going to be ok for fiscal year '14, but he wouldn't -- he opened the door for the possibility that in -- for '15 we might -- you know, we might need to look at some additional funding sources. but we're not there yet, we just don't know. >>do you have any sense of a timeline of when that -- >> i do not, no. you had your hand up for like ever. he got -- that was easy. all right, last one. >> so, i want to go back to the chingh


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